I’ve been having a lot of fun the past few weeks fleshing out our next-gen profiles for the Collaboratory.

One of the things I think is critical for any sufficiently advanced social network is a way for us to actually express who we are as human beings – emotion, passion, intent, inherent gifts, and the like.

The problem with Facebook and LinkedIn is they predefine the scope of what it means to be human.

Either you’re this or that. This religious affiliation, this political view, this relationship status, this sex, and so forth.

And that’s all fine for those who find comfort in the rigidity of those labels.

But for those who wish to be untethered from that way of thinking, so that we can expand ourselves into expressing fuller human capacity, it’s a bit constraining.

So we’re working on allowing people to show who they are and what they’re about from a deeper, more meaningful level.

To that end, I’ve been playing with the new hive to do mockups (disclaimer – the new hive is for generally for you to “express yourself,” not do wireframes, so it’s no Illustrator – but for a dead simple tool that a child could start using within minutes, it’s perfect.). The above image is just v1 of what I’ve come up with, but I think I’m leaning towards everyone being able to make their profile however they want. We’ll provide a few fields (tribe dynamics, superpowers, strengths, projects, etc), and everyone makes it visually look however they want.

Profiles & Self-Discovery

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years experimenting with various self assessments (8 Tools for Self-Analysis), and thinking about how these assist in the process of self-discovery, clarity, and personal development. We want to provide as many options as we can to engage in this way. We’ve partnered with The Gabriel Institute to provide Role assessments (which we’re calling “tribe dynamics”). Also looking to partner with Gallup for the Strengthsfinder2.0.

Profiles & The Future of Work

And beyond the feel-good reasons of self-discovery, this is about the future of work and value creation too.

As we transition to a society and world of work where people are actually doing things that resonate with their core deeply, I think we need to go through a process of surfacing what we actually care about to help us discern what we’d like to be doing. For many people (at least that I’ve encountered), those deeper desires have been so suppressed over time that the individual isn’t even aware of the connection anymore. <desires for autonomy, mastery, and purpose, as Dan Pink would say>

Learning how to align around projects and opportunities based on our core resonance and values feels a lot more meaningful than chasing the biggest paycheck.

Profiles & Mutual Improvement

And beyond self-discovery and value creation, it comes down to the tie that binds – culture and community.

We’re fostering a community of continuous learning and mutual improvement, and revealing ourselves to each other in this way helps us know how we might assist each other to learn something new (contextual and relevant, or serendipitous) or develop in some meaningful way (help overcome cognitive biases, help heal emotional wounds).

We’re real people. We have these issues, and we’re not embarrassed to acknowledge them, address them, and grow beyond them. It’s’ a step in the direction of cultivating our latent superpowers so that our work teams operate at a level of joy and efficiency that can’t be purchased with any amount of ‘corporate training programs’ or HR ju-ju.

Profiles Part 2

The second part of the user profiles will go more deeply into specific passion projects that are being worked on, whether that’s software development to change the world, or a resilience project to support the local or regional economy.

We’re working on the database that’ll make these projects all searchable so collaborative and co-creative opportunities easily bubble to the surface.

Stay tuned, we’ll be posting updates as they develop!