Many of us have been inspired by the cooperation meme lately, and it appears that our collective spirit has given birth to Junto!
In case you haven’t been following along, Junto is a concept we’ve been discussing for a global communications and collaboration platform. It starts with a simple interface, combining video chat with a text box and a twitter backchannel, all streaming in public, real-time. It could be used for any number of projects or goals – organizations could use it for open innovation or to show how they are taking social responsibility in the world, groups with similar initaitives could use it for huge group discussions and meetings in order to accelerate the process of organizing and taking projects from idea to action, and individuals could use it to engage in dialogue and create shared meaning and shared understanding across geographic and cultural barriers. For more context, check out the original post here.
The longer term goal is to build in a family of tools and functionality that will aid in thinking and development, such as:
– live collaborative whiteboard
– concept mapping, possibly linked with twitter in order to automatically send links to specific areas of a project
– Junto video sessions to be time-coded and tagged for easy search and later reference
– emotional/intuitive symbol language to express feelings around ideas and concepts
– data visualization, heat-mapping and sounds linked to information to quickly visually & auditorily “get” a piece of information
– tools for checking cognitive biases around information
There are other high-level concepts floating out there, but I think these are the ones that are immediately being looked at. While these aspects are being explored, a trust-based profile structure is being created, which is intended for people to be able to express inherent strengths, values, skills, social connections, and where they can contribute within a process, so that we have the opportunity to reach out to one another, make a connection, and team up to get things done!
And beyond that, it’s for us to evolve as people. If you’ve followed along here over the months, I talk about getting back to the fundamentals of who we really are, about deep values, interconnection, social learning, building intelligence, and raising consciousness. It works for some by sitting in meditation alone on a mountaintop, but I think it also happens when we make connections with people who unexplainably resonate on our frequencies and pull us forward. It doesn’t replace real life interaction – but the Web sure does allow us to make beautiful music together. 😉
So here’s a quick overview of where we’re at and who’s stepping forward so far:
David Carroll (@aquarious) – [Location: NYC] – Manifestor
Dave emailed me a few weeks ago, offering to help with prototyping the initial platform. We met up on Wednesday, and now, 2 days later, the first version of Junto “0.01” (ha) has emerged. Dirty prototype here:
Junto lobby: http://dave.parsons.edu/junto/
We played with it a bit last night, and had nine people on video, and around 500 people who came in over the course of the evening to check it out. Here’s a quick video of what it looked like. (We were having some audio issues, so everyone is being quiet, but essentially we have the initial components of video boxes, text box, and Twitter backchannel (which is offscreen).
We’re just using this as a “proof of concept” – we’d like to build the whole thing from scratch for the real version, so hopefully some developers will start getting interested in the project. (hint hint)
Gavin Keech (@gavinkeech) – [Location: Adelaide, Australia] – UI & UX Designer
Gavin has a very creative mind, and has come up with some interesting sketches and ideas about what the interface could look like, how it could function within a layered visual system, and how it ties in with the profile system. He’s also helping us think about the bigger picture of what this platform will become after it goes beyond the Junto discussion platform. We’re talking about calling it ebiidii – ebii for short.We realized that Junto is just the discussion… so what’s the other thing that it’s encapsulated by? We were trying to think of a word that describes the essence of cooperation, collaboration, manifestation, and intentional evolution, but so many times words are already laden with meanings and preconceived notions, so we wanted to create something new. We noticed how people have been shortening the name of this blog to E.B.D., hence ebiidii. Not only does the acronym describe what we want to be (Emergent by Design), but the letters seem to have a lot of symbolism in themselves. The ‘e’ could be for emergence, evolution, energy….. the b and d are like mirrors, representing how we can reflect ourselves to others, and how others are mirrors of ourselves, and the double ii’s are like two groups meeting, but also the iiii gives a feeling of an echo, or a frequency, or a resonance. We thought that that was pretty cool, and it almost named itself. And the shortened version of ‘ebii’ is just so darn cute.
Gunther Sonnenfeld (@goonth) – [Location: Los Angeles, CA] – Change Catalyst
Gunther and his colleagues are working on developing a platform to help local communities create infrastructure and affect change. Here’s a bit from his site:
Our partnership with CIF (The Canadian Institute for the Future) is leading us down a swift path towards a new dynamic publishing platform, designed to build infrastructure in local communities by way of transmedia development and a robust microfinancing engine. Basically, we’re hoping to re-engineer the storytelling process and make it profitable (and equitable) for entire groups of people. In our humble belief, participatory culture is something that must be empowered if we want to affect real change in the near and long term.
We’ve also been talking about how a conversation platform could evolve to include a way for individuals and groups to reach out and help each other, via a virtual currency or microfinance implementation, so it seems of mutual benefit for us to co-create this platform. This was encouraging news, as this idea can manifest more quickly with access to their financial resources. We’re also both aligned with the idea that this is to be an open source, publicly available platform for anyone to use and benefit from.
Ishan Shapiro (@notthisbody) – Narrative Architect
Ishan is an active member on SpaceCollective and recently attracted my attention with a project he’s working on to develop an emotion/intuition-based symbol language, called “zoacodes.” It builds on Ebon Fisher’s work, and they’re just on the front end of teaming up with designers and typographers to craft this new thing. We’re not sure yet how everything fits, but it’s unfolding. He’s also been working on how reputation works in online spaces, and has been tracking that work in on Twine under ‘Friendships in Hyperconnectivity.’
Gabriel Shalom (@gabrielshalom) – [Location: Berlin] – Videomusician, Immediator, Transmedia Narrative Design
Gabriel recently reached out to me after my ‘Future is Networks’ post, and has a lot of ideas about the future of open source video http://vimeo.com/6668034 and visual storytelling. As the discussion platform evolves, and video sessions can be recorded and parsed and tagged, we’re hoping Gabe will share some insights into what that could look like.
Michael Gusek (@mgusek555) – [Location: San Raphael, CA] – Evolver
Michael is working with Syntience, a company pioneering a holistic approach to understanding data, called Artificial Intuition. Once our platform is sufficiently developed, we’re going to see how their software could accelerate our ability to make sense of information, connect with each other, and make ideas manifest.
The other big thinkers that have been shaping these idea over the months are Bernd Nurnberger (@CoCreatr) [Location: Yokohama, Japan] ), Ned Kumar (@Nedkumar) [Location: US], Spiro Spiliadis (@spirospiliadis) [Location: Canada], Mark Frazier (@openworld) [Location: Virginia], Michael Josefowicz (@ToughLoveforX), Cole Tucker (@cole_tucker) [Location: North Hampton, MA], and Nuno Raphael Relvao (@UnfoldedOrigami) [Location: Coimbra, Portugal]. There are many more – this is a global effort, after all – but I’m going to stop here for now. Because this is a distributed effort, energy levels will rise and fall, people will come and go, and everyone will participate and contribute as long as it stays pure and fun. I’m going to just keep calm and collected and keep doing what I’m doing, and we’ll see where things go from here. 🙂
In case you’re interested, here’s the results of a brief survey I tweeted last week, just to gauge initial interest in this. We’ve also begun a Google Wave for collaboration until people decide that something else is more effective.
I’m so excited to see how all these different groups and people across space and time are coming together around this shared vision of creating something that will better help us help ourselves.
We don’t know how it’s going to unfold, but it is incredibly inspiring to see the interest mounting, and I’m eager to see more collaborators and participants getting involved!
Next steps are to entice more developers and coders to build the infrastructure so that this system can emerge, and to begin experimenting with the look and functionality of this site so that it can be as simple, intuitive, and beautiful as possible so that the largest number of people can quickly benefit from using it.
Onward & Upward!
Nuno Raphael Relvão said:
Wow!! The pace at which this has moved is incredible.
I am a follower, and cannot wait to see where this leads all of us.
Cole Tucker said:
The video couldn’t possibly capture the excitement I felt during that.
Love and thanks to everyone involved!
Ned Kumar said:
Venessa, this is great stuff. Congratulations.
One of the best part of this endeavour has been the fact that we are our own pilot – <b)collaborating to create a collaborative model for the future.
And I am thankful to have met so many wonderful folks through these interactions – a junto side-effect that I definitely relish.
Three Cheers – here is to Junto!!
renata lemos said:
this sounds like a start up! next thing you know you guys will be the next twitter.
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As in my Bridge8 post – the three things that are sticking with me from my first Junto are real-life people, conversation dynamic and creating something new. I’m really excited by the potential and congratulations to everyone who’s pulled this together so quickly and in such an inspiring way.
Gabriel Shalom said:
So far experiencing Junto has been giddy, visionary and even addictive. I think this is the cutting edge of the Internet as we know it. I am SO excited to see this evolve!
Michael P. Gusek said:
Congratulations and thanks for the shout out. I am very happy to be a part of this amazing adventure.
If anyone is interested in hearing more, please feel free to contact me.
Tim Kastelle said:
Congratulations Venessa & community! Great job. I hope that one of these happens sometime during hours when Australians are awake! 🙂
In any case, I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this develops.
Cole Tucker said:
It’s been sunlight in Australia for at least two of the Juntos! Look forward to you dropping in.
Suzie Graham said:
First jumped into Junto last night (Australian time). Wow! Congratulations Venessa. So impressed, and just awed by the potential. Look forward to hearing more (maybe at Wisdom 2.0 Summit?) especially how we’re picking up on the frequency around who we are and raising consciousness. It is a beautiful world 🙂
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Gunther Sonnenfeld said:
FYI, last night I had an incredible (and lengthy) conversation with Charles Knapp, one of the founding partners of Trafalgar, one of the oldest and most reputable VC firms in the world. He regaled me with stories linked to the global financial crisis (he knows all the heads of the banks – or what used to be the ‘banks’ – Goldman, for example, is about to bite the dust…), and he’s very embittered by what’s happened, both economically and culturally.
Well, sure enough, his firm is now dedicated to ventures that are not only sustainable (mostly in the sense of corporate transparency), but those that do good in the world.
Here’s the best part. They are specifically looking for platforms that merge communities and microfinance. The quick and simple backstory on this is that his daughter is doing some incredible work using microfinance communities in Africa to adopt and/or support children there. His work in China has also influenced the thought that meme development must be implemented in order to create mindshifts that can break destructive socio-economic patterns, while embracing traditional value systems. A couple of lateral examples of this would be the recent (or fairly recent) Avatar demonstrations that took place in Palestine (a form of ‘transmedia activism’), and the recent (albeit incremental) advancements of the democratic voting platform in Iraq that has been largely shaped by scholars of Hammurabi.
Naturally, I told him about Junto and our microfinance platform effort, UBIQUID.US, and his eyes lit up. (BTW, by “our” I mean a core group of instigators and disruptors, but really all of us…)
What I told him next, and his response, gave me great solace – I emphasized that the conversation pieces (Junto et al) could NOT be commercialized, and that the entire paradox of the social web has revolved around the fact that open networks (or what could have been open networks) – and their respective participatory dynamics – have largely been cattle-prodded and herded into distending “pockets” of idea and information-sharing.
He got it.
His response jumped ahead to the notion that capital markets could be socialized (as in a social capitalistic kind of way…) and that it was now the duty of entities like his to show regulatory concerns and other government and lobbyist groups the co-created value of networks. In other words, to show the gatekeepers that open networks are evolving and cannot be denied the right to life and practice, and in a larger sense, that these dynamics can actually improve what they themselves do.
We agreed that corporations of all types and sizes could actually profit handsomely from this, while of course improving and supporting local communities (the argument here is who cares if they’re not totally “invested” in affecting change, so long as the urgency to do so – by whatever economic conditions that predominate – forces that hand in getting them there). We also talked about how transmedia storytelling and participatory narratives could be used to productize, remove copyright boundaries, co-create value, and allow individuals (via social graph) to flourish alongside of companies.
We also both agreed that value could now be created without the need for capital input, or even capital output (an idea that another colleague, John Posner, has put forth). The implications for this are astounding in two ways:
1. This suggests an entire re-engineering and re-instutionalization of our failed credit system, one that is community moderated and curated.
2. It also suggests that participatory reward can now live within the context of true cause & effect – meaning that people who have been previously “uninspired” will now see the impetus in defining their own roles as active contributors to society.
So, take for example, the notion of smart grid credits — use these to watch energy efficiency spike, map it out spatially (geomapping and data volumization) and link it to other early stage efforts (there are bunch of disparate groups already doing this) so that people can see and be the change. (On a more crude level – this type of currency aside – hark back to the Obama election and remember how roughly 30% of the voting populace were those who had never registered or voted before.)
If we can put shared currency – what amounts to collective infrastructure – behind these types of efforts, and be fully transparent… particularly with government concerns (this is VERY important), then we are looking at incredibly efficient, and relatively swift, ways to improve the world.
So coming back full circle (sorry), effectively, we’re already doing it. Junto is proving that innovation is not the sum of processes, rather the reflexivity of intellectual expression and the spontaneous development of co-created value systems.
The time is now, and as a mentor of mine, Peter Kreitler, put it, it is very likely that in the next 3 years we will know if we are going to make it as a civilization.
I’d like to think that we will.
Gunther, thank you so much. This is great news. One of the short Juntos I was in brought realization we are redefining intellectual property. Now, with money, being an idea backed by confidence, it is a doable step to build a better representation suitable to circulate value or one to store value, not necessarily the same. Bernard A. Lietaer’s complementary currency comes to mind http://www.transaction.net/money/book/
Comes full circle on a dear and deep wish I made in 2001 when I bought “The Divine Right of Capital – Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracy” by Marjorie Kelly. A number of books and authors later, recently including “Life Inc.” by Douglas Rushkoff and “Spontaneous Evolution” by Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D. & Steve Bhaerman, I agree the next three years we will make it as a civilization.
A good time to http://www.wakeuplaughing.com/
monika hardy said:
this is super for educators – i’m having students create their own courses next year.. and in order to do that they are creating their own virtual classrooms. we are hoping to grow http://school2school.ning.com/ – and http://www.students20.com/ in the process… and ebii appears to be just what we have been looking/hoping for..
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great idea, guys. simple and awesome.
Spiro Spiliadis said:
I think taking some tiime to reflect of what has just happened through the months is how transparent this group that has participated is.
Through conversation, and understandings that we are all one, we are transparent and as individuals we are stronger when we are working in sync, and it’s gone beyond to measure this relationship in formulas, we are taking risks, not worried of what others think of our radical ideas and instead listening and detaching from ego,
these attributes need to be noted and complimented because without being detached and without being transparent, and without bringing your full self into aligning with others none of this will happen or it will take a lot longer if we didn’t participate the way we have.
I think these are what has lead to Junto being born…
this is fantastic. it’s like a blessed union of ChatRoulette and Google Wave. if there’s one thing the internet needs, it’s more platforms!
Ruth Howard said:
You’re all bloody marvelous ebiidiis, I’ll continue to observe between other rhythms, thank you so much for vision, verbosity, transparency, fascination, perspiration and inspiration. I’ m finding such marvelous links all on the wave length and breath.
Venessa Miemis said:
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Mark W Schaefer said:
Venessa, Would be glad to support you and participate in any way I can help. Fascinating.
Venessa Miemis said:
thanks mark. maybe you can just start using it with a group and give some feedback about bugs and improvements until we get more builders to help.
Vincent Olivier said:
Hi all, why not just integrate a Twitter feed to OpenMeetings if it hasn’t already been done? Is there a hidden originality in Junto that I missed, somehow?
Venessa Miemis said:
well, this is just a basic prototype to get the discussions going, but the big picture is different from what’s up now. the ‘open letter to tim berner-lee’ post goes into more detail, and i’m going to be posting another update tonight.
Vincent Olivier said:
Thanks for your reply. I think if you are trying to get developers to help you in your endeavour, you should really look at what already exists and at least refer to it. These guys have been putting a lot of efforts into their open source or open spec projects and will rather have you join their initiatives, instead of reinventing the wheel, and/or maybe help them coordinate a “glue” project/spec between all these. Besides OpenMeetings, here are a few pointers :
Open Source Currency
GATE (for text mining in the conversation, etc.)
That’s not to mention the commercial projects….
Anyways, good luck!
Venessa Miemis said:
thanks very much, i don’t want to reinvent any wheels! i want to assemble pieces that already exist into an open source platform for dialogue & collaboration. so i will definitely add these to the list of things to mashup.
Vincent Olivier said:
And last year, here in Quebec, we started a project for a new form of large-scale governance that is Chambre basse (Lower Chamber, or the instance representing the people in a bicameral parliament system). It is in French, be we surveyed those projects back then (including sentiment analysis, that to us, is just a specialized form of text mining, which in turn is just a unstructured version of data mining, all applied to the corpus formed by all the hyper-conversations on a specific public issue or a set of issues).(emergent from existing conversations, that is),
And it might just be me, but as per Google, cabal: a clique (often secret) that seeks power usually through intrigue .
Venessa Miemis said:
hadn’t heard of that. i’m going off ben franklin’s club for mutual improvement:
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As Venessa points out, a lot of intelligent conversation happens in person and by video conference. And we do not want to wait for a transcript or meeting minutes. We want to find our areas of interest on a video stream in a more direct way. For that, I propose a simple first step to sort out a convo.
How to sort out the Conversation
Ben F Rayfield said:
“hopefully some developers will start getting interested in the project. (hint hint)”
“We’re also both aligned with the idea that this is to be an open source, publicly available platform for anyone to use and benefit from.”
Venessa, I want to help with Junto. I have the technical and psychology and creative skills to work on any part of the system. It would help if I could have a small salary (enough to buy food and a place to sleep etc) until the project gets going, but we may find a way around that.
I only recently found your writing and videos, and we’ve come to many of the same conclusions and plans for how to improve things. We both figured out that new tools for communication would work. You focus on typing sentences and audio/video chat. I’ve focused more on the unconscious mind and how it interacts with words moving in 3d or realtime generated musical instruments, both as an interaction with AI through mouse movements. I plan to expand that to Nintendo Wii controllers (They connect wirelessly to computers) to use dancing as a form of communication, where the way the Wii controllers turn and accelerate in 3d space (as you’re dancing) is just some extra dimensions like mouse left/right and up/down.
I think Junto can be expanded with skills/resources to get your “pay it forward” started, but not right away. That would have to come later. In 3d, skills/resources/people/text/video could all be in the same space, but you would need AI designed for that to make what you’re looking for come up at the right times. In general, the flaws in society you describe, I think we could expand Junto to fix eventually, in the way it groups communications. Its not about how long we work on it or how big the code is or any other linear measurement. The main thing that would determine our suceess or failure is the accuracy of our software designs and communications on Junto as it becomes popular. If it takes years to beat Facebook in popularity, then the designs are too complicated or something is wrong. You wrote about society being structured to become more complex and most of the efforts going to handle that complexity.
You could be using Monica Anderson’s “Artificial Intuition” AI in many ways. As I understand it, its a general intelligence for any sequence of symbols, so a symbol could be a word, letter, person, skill, mouse movement, or whatever you connect to it. But if you want gradual interactions (select it a little or a lot) and multiple simultaneous selections in 3d, my open-source http://MouseSearch3d.com may work better. I can write its AI code in math in around 5 lines, but it is starting to form whole sentences (in the order words appear) sometimes. When you have many users online, it would help to be able to select any group of them and get a realtime view of their ideas, or if you take text from the videos, you could assign a “state of mind” to each second of the video and search in a simple flat space of many dimensions (position is neural activation of each word) that can be searched and compared quickly. You could do calculus on the state of mind of a person as they continue to talk or between multiple people, and find who thinks like who else, not just who uses similar word patterns.
I have many ideas and theories on what we could expland Junto to do, and ways to make it more efficient and easier to use.
Please try http://MouseSearch3d.com and http://audivolv.com/audivolv.jar (both open-source) and tell me if that kind of unconscious (or more subtle) communication would be useful as an option in Junto. If not, I’d still like to help with Junto on whatever you have planned for it. I think you’re going to change the world.
Also, you can ask Monica Anderson and Michael Gusak about me and my software. I’ve spoken to them about it a few times and given a demo, before I failed to pay my rent and had to leave California. I’d consider moving to wherever in USA.
Venessa Miemis said:
hey ben, thanks for the links. i’m down to discuss how our ideas could mesh.
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Here is a follow-up on “How to sort out the Conversation” I commented above.
Watch a 2-minute video demo of how to get more meaning out of a meeting, based on one of Venessa’s concepts: time-coded tagging.
Willi Paul said:
Hi Vanessa –
Can we do an email-driven interview for PlanetShifter.com Magazine?
Willi Paul, PlanetShifter.com Magazine & Networks
CoolTribe.com: Director of Sustainable Business Development – USA & China
415-407-4688 | email@example.com
LI Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/willipaul
Posts Portfolio: http://www.planetshifter.com/gallery/3
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Marcella Allam said:
Outstanding post over again. Thank you)
Mitzie Sibell said:
Can I get your contact details so we can discuss further?