Hi all! In the past few months, there has been a lot of excitement and momentum building around the Junto concept, which has been great, and expanded all of our views of where it could go. I just wanted to take the time to reclarify the philosophy, definition, and components of Junto, so that we know what steps can be carried out to bring the vision closer to a reality. Thanks again for everyone’s involvement in this collective learning and building process!
junto :: philosophy
For far too long, information and knowledge have been locked inside silos, repeated across disciplinary fields, differentiated by jargon but not substance, then lost and rediscovered, repackaged, reworded, and resold, over….and over….and over.
We are at a critical point in human history, where as a globally interdependent society, we must learn how to lower these barriers, share information, collaborate, and cocreate value in new ways. The solutions to many of our problems are already out there, but it’s still not obvious how to find the information and people who have them.
The Web is a medium to make this possible, and while there are many theories about how open design, open innovation, and public knowledge sharing can work for mutual benefit, there are still only a handful of powerful examples.
How do we go from theory to practice, and amplify the power of networks?
We just have to start experimenting and see what works. A growing intentional community of thinkers, artists, designers, and change agents is gathering around the idea that we can’t do it alone, and we’re all in this together.
So let’s start playing.
junto :: what it is
Junto is an environment for open discussion, combined with a public backchannel. it’s not about being a platform – it’s more of a meme and a mindset of collaboration and cooperation. Junto was a club started by Benjamin Franklin for mutual exchange of knowledge and information and personal and business development. When I proposed the concept of Junto, it was in that spirit that the community of people who believe “we can’t do it alone” would model the behavior online of what generative dialogue and open innovation looks like.
That was the very simple initial concept.
There are many parallel initiatives that can evolve and emerge from this, one of the most immediate being an opportunity for individuals to start juntos in their local communities. Inspired by Open Space Technology and World Cafe formats, we hope to demonstrate what effective collaboration looks like, so we can all learn, empower ourselves, and then implement those techniques at our local levels to get things done.
junto :: components
livestreaming video – my initial proposal was to host a dialogue, meaning 2 people. the idea evolved to include a format for group dialogues as well, so we’re thinking there should be no more than 4-5 people in the video discussion during any one session. an additional option would allow other potential participants to be able to enter a “waiting area,” and enter the conversation when one of the other participants exits.
multiple spaces – the environment allows for unlimited discussions that could be occurring in parallel. there will be a directory available, searchable as a calendar and also by keyword, so that you are able to see what live conversations around a specific topic are in progress at the moment, as well as what conversations are upcoming.
2 types of discussion – the host/facilitator can select one of 2 types of discussion to have – freeform or structured.
- freeform format – there is no time limit, it is just open-ended; good for brainstorming, idea generation, and hashing out perspectives and clarifying an issue
- structured format – this version is constrained, and intended to actually produce some type of “product” or piece of knowledge or task or actionable step at the end; the conversation has a limit of 20 minutes, and at the end a text box must be filled in that summarizes the takeaway of the discussion. this box will have a limited amount of characters that are able to be entered, which encourages the participants to be clear, concise, and to the point.
shared document – an area for participants to co-create text documents
shared whiteboard – an area for participants to co-create drawings
concept mapping – each conversation will have a mapper who is documenting the conversation on a concept map. the reason for using a concept map instead of just a word document is that complex issues often have many interrelated components and branches, and a concept map allows for visual representation of this. each “node” of information on the concept map can contain other metadata, which can be accessed by double-clicking on it, and another box of information will pop-up. that box could contain information like keywords, links to more in-depth info around the topic, names of people associated with the topic, etc.
public backchannel – as this is intended to be a public discussion, there should be an ability for an unlimited public backchannel. there would be a textbox available for the backchannel to enter in their comments or suggestions so that they are able to contribute to this generative discussion. the participants can join the backchannel directly through the site when they click on a conversation, or they can be imported in from twitter.
conversations viewable from multiple locations – i’m not sure of the feasibility of this, but it occurred to me that it would be interesting to be able to import a junto directly onto your blog, website, or facebook page, effectively allowing you to host a conversation from your own space.
user profiles – participants can list their topic areas of interest, areas of expertise, and keywords for conversations they would like to participate in. they are also able to list what they can bring to the table in terms of an open collaboration process. meaning, they define the types of roles they feel best suited for, in order to be easily found and approached to join a discussion or project. users are able to create synapses to each other and build out their social network, as well as define the relationship to those people. the user’s network can then be viewed as a data visualization, and filtered by different criteria (keyword, role, location, etc.)
ranking participation in discussions – in addition to having a text box to fill out at the end of a discussion, users will also be able to evaluate each other on their effectiveness at engaging in collaborative, cooperative dialogue. the point of a junto is to be productive, and so behavior and participation that moves the conversation in that direction is rewarded. participants who are argumentative for the sake of arguing, disrespectful, or unable to support their arguments productively will not be ranked as highly. the public backchannel also has the ability to rank participants. these rankings will show up on the users’ profiles as a way for everyone to begin to establish a metric for evaluating each other’s expertise or value to a generative conversation.
hosting – i am looking for suggestions of what the community thinks about this.
That’s the overview! Please share any feedback you have, and share this with developers who may be interested in helping with this project. Thanks.
Thanks for making the #junto opportunity and the framework so clear.
On your last point, I think there may be a way for visual feedback to be given in a quick, rich way.
Here’s an example of a radar graph that could show various “opportunities for improvement” when rating the inputs of individual participants.
The shape of the graph could be set through click-and-drag movements on the axes representing quality and style of contributions.
The feedback ratings by non-participants could also be shown on the same graph, by using different colors, as in this example: http://j.mp/9fcBdw .
Over time, user profiles in socnets could include links easily absorbed visual feedback graphs of this kind, showing where an individual had made the most valued contributions to junto topics.
What do you think?
Venessa Miemis said:
that’s a really good point, mark. you can “rate” an individual, but also offer them suggestions for improvement, so that the emphasis on the rating system is to encourage growth, not to put people down.
do you have thoughts on different rating criteria?
I looked at a number of meeting feedback forms on the web, without finding much that looked apt.
Here are some early ideas for rating people in a junto —
– How aligned did the person seem with the intent of the junto?
– Did they help ideas in the junto evolve?
– Did they reflect good qualities of spirit?
– Did they suggest ways for the junto to actually apply its insights for a better world?
I’m sure there are likely other, deeper dimensions on which to give feedback. Hope hope there may something in the above to help them emerge.
Andrew Di Genova said:
These are some excellent ideas. In her book “Interaction Design” by Helen Sharp, in a chapter about designing for collaboration, Abigail Sellen, a senior researcher at Microsoft in Cambridge, suggests that these kinds of feedback and reactions from users should be tested with prototypes, to verify actual results with hypothesis. Seems that although these assumptions we are making can be a great tool, if misused, they also have some harmful potential. Would be good to see how they would actually be used before implementation. I really like your ideas, and it sure would be fun to test them too.
Agree very much to testing. I would not like our feedback to slide towards the dark side of formal performance reviews.
A comment that is related to one of your links: It is not TheTransistor, but TheTransitioner… little different…
How come you don’t express your ideas about hosting? I can imagine some conversations – especially when you want them to be really generative (in the sense Scharmer uses it) could be improved by good hosting. Manybe others not…
Venessa Miemis said:
i think you misunderstood. i mean hosting as in web hosting services…..
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Michael P. Gusek said:
Gabriel Shalom said:
Not to complicate things, but maybe it would be good if the user profiles were just aggregates of other user profiles from existing social networks? I really like the idea that you can just join in by connecting to your twitter account, for instance.
Could also be possible to do something like http://flavors.me but I guess we’d need to evaluate which social networks would make sense to connect with to obtain the relevant:
Venessa Miemis said:
well, the ideal, as we talked about, is that the profiles would be automatically generated by the content of the conversation, but that would require voice to text recognition and an AI, and i don’t think we’re quite there yet. 🙂
oh, i forgot the other descriptor that you and i had discussed:
Kay Mejia said:
I am wondering how the ‘pieces’ – freeform and structured dialogs – will be mapped. Is there a tool recommendation for this? Would it be done in a freeform manner like RSA Animations? Or a more ‘linear’ method? Posted after the dialog?
Has anyone approached the TED network to see whether they would be interested in a collaboration/hosting? junto seems like the next logical step for them, and I see you already subscribe to this organization.
Finally, I have a concern about the inherent limitation in the type of knowledge available via such a share. If one is only looking at individuals with direct experience in the given topic area – or some directly related knowledge of said area – in order to be a contributor, does this act as the same type of restriction on creativity that is found when subscribing to purely academic resources? In other words, if the only people thinking/exchanging ideas about a topic are those indoctrinated in current systems, is there enough flexibility to allow truly new ideas to germinate?
Class, gender and race play a part in the above concern. How is one to structure these discussions to invite participation from all walks of life, while retaining boundaries of scope?
Please forgive me if these issues have already been discussed elsewhere. I am new to this blog. If someone would point me to the post that addresses them, I would greatly appreciate it.
Venessa Miemis said:
i do like the idea of graphic recording (like the RSA videos), but i’m not sure how that would be implementable at the moment. the open source concept mapping tool we are looking at using is called Compendium (http://compendium.open.ac.uk/institute/index.htm), but we may use something that’s even simpler.
i haven’t approached TED, but it would be interesting to get them involved.
there is no limitation in who can have a conversation. any person/group could start a junto, and share the link with others to join the backchannel.
i think the above sentence addresses the class/gender/race concern… anyone can start or join a discussion.
the initial post about this concept is here – https://emergentbydesign.com/2010/03/22/junto-discussing-ideas-worth-spreading/
thanks for your feedback!
Monica Anderson said:
I have witnessed a small fraction of the intense work that has gone into this project, and I am amazed at the clarity and simplicity of the final (well, current) vision considering the chaotic nature of the process that has created it from the plethora of “ingredients” that were considered for inclusion, including the parts I tried to push into the pot. This simplicity is, of course, a requirement for success both in implementation and adoption.
This has crystallized a lot from the earlier sketches. It is not overloaded with features; the concept is *very* clear. I think this is implementable in limited time to such an alpha that we can start using it and see what works and what doesn’t.
I can hardly wait. I want it and I want it now 🙂
The whole team behind this project continues to amaze me. I hope to meet more of you all over time.
Venessa Miemis said:
thanks monica. hopefully we can get the next iteration going soon….
Cole Tucker said:
Thank you so much for putting this together Venessa! Alongside the roadmap, this provides a level of narrative clarity for the project. I’m really happy to see you’ve distinguished between formats for the Junto and think this is one area where particular communities can thrive and bounce innovations between.
I think you and Gabe each have some complementary ideas regarding profiles. Since news of Diaspora came out, I thought that perhaps Junto profiles should work as extensions off of one of those platforms. That way, the individual can decide how much of their non-Junto data they save while also having the heavy-lifting of storing Junto-generated profile meta-data taken care of by already existing systems.
Venessa Miemis said:
or maybe the profile is completely a product of the interactions within the collaborative environment. i.e. it could link out to “professional profiles” (LinkedIn, etc) or other information from other networks, but the Junto profile is specifically an aggregation of your skills at collaborating with others – listening, receiving feedback constructiveness, personal responsibility and accountability, etc…..
and then in this case, you don’t really “manage” your profile. you can link out to profiles elsewhere, but the profile in junto is generated by other people’s reviews?
Cool condensed concept, Venessa.
As for the profiles, I see a hybrid emerging.
1. Your profile on Junto, the default data for sign-up.
2. Your history, focus and feedback as it emerges. Here I see need for a setting to review each piece of feedback received to make it public or private, just like some bloggers prefer to review comments before releasing them.
3. Links to existing profiles you maintain on other sites.
One set of data I would like to see in the Junto profile is the question,
(i) inspired by the 1988 Tokyo PC User Group BBS
Semira Soraya-Kandan said:
Well done Venessa & Team! I am also utterly amazed and admire the energy all participators of this development have created around the junto project.
I do share some of the above concerns with respect to feedback.
As I have a long experience with various forms of group dialog formats, methods, approaches and training, I very happy to share my views on how to support quality dialog.
Let#s have a junto meeting on this soon 😉
Venessa Miemis said:
sounds good, when are you available? i am around on wednesday july 7. let me know via twitter @venessamiemis or email emergentbydesign at gmail
> As I have a long experience with various forms of group dialog formats, methods, approaches and training, I very happy to share my views on how to support quality dialog.
Ditto. I worked with Action Learning, Appreciative Inquiry, Art of Hosting, Bohmian Dialogue, Chaordic Design, Generative Dialogue, Integrative Decision Making (as in Holacracy), Open Space, Presencing, Wisdom Council, and World Café.
I am interested to connect with any practitioners of those disciplines in the junto community. who are fascinated by the possibility to co-create junto-enabled process templates that practitioners, communities and organizations can use for transformation facilitation.
In the junto concept, I found the most practical and feasible expression of a web-enabled, emergent system for boosting our collective intelligence that became a matter of our survival and thriving as a species.
The rest of my comment is in my blogpost “on junto, élan, Kosmic coincidence, and movement cartography” – http://www.community-intelligence.com/blogs/public/2010/06/on_junto_elan_kosmic_coinciden.html .
Michael Yanakiev said:
Wow! This looks like an amazingly feasible framework with so many constructive comments as add ons. The amalgama of different scientific disciplines is well under control for the time being. It is kind of laughable concerning philosophy. West Churchman and Russ Ackoff perceived philosophy when they were researching its practical value in the 1980’s as ‘something that had to be able to bake bread.’ Later on somehow they started to evolve in their understanding starting to joke that its ‘a conscious misuse with terminology especially designed for this purpose.’
Scientific research was defined as ‘a research where the input was real, while the output imaginary.’ I guess that what I am trying to say is, that I saw many brilliant ‘big boys and ladies – D.Meadows included’, who started things with great
expectations only not to be fulfilled. To me giving’ Junto’,the benefit of the doubt with a back up on radical skepticism things sound a bit vague and too good to be entirely true and able to be operational zed. However the future is not contained in the past, so lets start things moving around. Still the idealized design should be technologically feasible, operationally viable, and have the capacity to learn and adapt quickly. One can also consider and be guided by three operating principles : the participative principle, the principle of continuity, and the holistic principle.
Flemming Funch said:
It seems to me like Junto means to be so much more. There’s a subtext not quite yet explicitly expressed.
The overview is very nice. But it’s like, if Skype implemented all those features tomorrow, we’d also think it was nice, but we wouldn’t think of it as something world changing.
Junto has an energy around it which is much more ambitious, it seems to me. You’re not hiding that by any means. You do mention that is about the collaboration and the learning between the people, and not about the platform. And from the vibe of the people involved, it feels like something that aims big and deep, something that wants to change the world, rather quickly.
The actual features of the product that you clearly present seem almost trivial. It is some work to do a piece of software like that, I know. But it is a bit like it is simply a sample project to keep the focus. Like, if we all agreed to organize a great picnic together, and we each grab different parts of the project, and we collaborate and communicate and weave our ideas and activities together. And we have a fantastic picnic, but then we realize that it wasn’t at all about the picnic, but about the process of working together, and if we could do that, we’re now ready to do all sorts of bigger things.
Is it kind of like that? One reason I’m asking is to be clear on whether this should be the time to bring up all the stuff that this specific junto proposal doesn’t cover. If this is “just” one of many future inter-connected evolving projects that are part of a bigger tapestry, there’s plenty of time and space to explore many permutations of features.
Cole Tucker said:
I absolutely adore your picnic analogy. It seems to me that Junto has enough dimensions to it that individuals and groups can go off with what interests them and bring it back to have the resonant parts integrated into the larger project with other bits cast off to find root where appropriate. To myself, at least, Junto aims at more than acting as a shared cognitive framework or narrative space, though.
> Junto has enough dimensions to it that individuals and groups can go off with what interests them and bring it back to have the resonant parts integrated into the larger project with other bits cast off to find root where appropriate.
Right on! To design for emergence, we need to borrow an elegant and time-tested model from evolution: differentiation & integration. Venessa’s outline of the components can help with that bur may not be enough.
Martijn Linssen said:
Great Venessa, that’s a nice list of components
In order to keep it as open as could possible be, I think it would be very helpfull if we could just re-use existing components out there and seemlessly glue them together (apart from the fact that it would seem a lot of fun to me to do so)
Maybe (probably) we’ll have to build-from-scratch one or two apps that function as hub-and-spoke cores for Junto, but if those are kept Open basically anyone can contribute
And I suspect you don’t want to create yet another isolated (social?) network
So, I’ll make a list of what’s out here, describe the components requirmeents and behaviour, their interaction and relationships, and then come up with a few examples of each “in the wild”
Franis Engel said:
I love seeing you present Junto in this way! When you get some programmers committed on this, can’t wait to see it working… If I can help, let me know.
Thinking of a way I could possibly help: Have been realizing that there’s a new livelihood brewing while I wasn’t looking that I would have fun doing – that of graphic recorder. Live graphic recording goes well with the Junto vision, as well as the World Cafe experience – as a “take-away.” http://www.franis.org/holiday
So when you get closer to when you’re going to make your presentation video on http://www.kickstarter.com, let me do some sped up graphic recording while you are talking… at least for part of it.
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Without sounding whimsical and “out there” I’d like to give my thoughts on the people who are the let’s call it, “virtual platform”
For those who participated in the first Junto session, if they recall, the first five minutes was silent… of course that had alot to do with the new space we found ourselves in, but what the underlying meaning was that “we were all in the same space” meaning we all were in some kind of “same frequency”
For the past two months, @nedkumar @toughloveforx @openworld and myself have been throwing around theories and conversating on things called Activity Space/Time, Physical Space/Time, Cognitive Space/Time and Emotional Space/Time…
These concepts are closely related and correlated towards what “junto” is all about on a deeper meaning and understanding…
That what junto is providing is frequency alignment, being in the “flow” at the same time, so that intelligence is built upon….
This is also a very important factor in aligning the thoughts of “tagging” beyond people profiling, when you are in the “flow” with other people this is sharing Activity Space, in that space something happens, “synchronicities” “serendipity” next level connectors,
Are you thinking what I’m thinking…
thought frequencies can be “managed” and junto obviously is the first step towards this designed collaboration for building intelligence…
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Chris Cavalluci said:
Thank you for a great post.
Before I heard of junto, I proposed doing a workshop for the next Interaction conference where participants could engage in a number of experience design activities. Mind mapping is at the technical core of the proposal, and the scale is relatively small but challenging (40 people). My approach to making the workshop possible will be influenced by what I learn from you and others who may be latching onto the junto concept. If selected to give the workshop, I’d evaluate the logistics in a test run near the end of this year.
Venessa Miemis said:
keep us posted. mind mapping & graphic recording seem to be really taking off as tools for capturing the ‘knowledge products’ that are created in brainstorming sessions/conferences
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