A Many2Many Future / by Nick Ierodiaconou

If the 1980’s recession was attacked through the atomisation of existing social structures. It is increasingly likely to us and trends we see around us that this time around we shall see a response based not upon the further atomisation of society but instead the harnessing of tactics employed by the web2.0. Where we will aim to build a whole new set of real-time dynamic institutions that are able to level the affordance, effectiveness and efficiency of a group, a collective, a community and a common.

This trend is starting to redraw boundaries across consumers, producers, investors, designers - that bridge all these positions to create a new community/collective and a new starting position - where the purpose & the community comes first.

Below is a list of key ingredients we have developed/discovered/learnt over the course of the last few years.

10 ingredients to Group Forming:

  • BINDING PRINCIPLE Is there a necessary shared purpose that the group can accomplish together - a method to bind the group. This may be immediate or distant [a distant purpose will require greater visibility and prominence if it is to facilitate group forming.]
  • DOING IDENTITY Does each member have a visible identity? Can we tell who's who and what they are doing & have done, even if members remain anonymous?
  • APPROPRIATE MEDIUM What is the appropriate medium for sharing information, ideas, learnings or things. When not facilitated by corporate structures - groups rely heavily on informal encounters, transactions and intermediaries to play a critical role in the group value ecology?
  • MACRO TRUST INFRASTRUCTURES How can we actively seed & build trust within the group? What tells us that it's safe to deal with other people in the community?
  • PERSONAL TRUST INFRASTRUCTURES How do we form reputations [thorough p2p relationship, thorough p2host relationships or thorough a mediating reputation platform [ebay]? What lets us build status and how do we do it?
  • GROWTH STRATEGY Have we created ways for small sub-groups/specialities groups to emerge? A growth model that is predicated on fractal behaviour as opposed to pure scaling.
  • GATEKEEPING & GOVERNANCE How do we know who belongs in our community and who doesn't - and simultaenously how do we keep the community open to prevent it ossifying into an old boys club? What's our system of governance? How do we regulate behavior so that it supports our shared values whilst keeping it open to change?
  • MEMBERSHIP What is the give-get between the 'group' and the members? It is important to seed a "contribution to the commons' principle if the group is to be sustainable.
  • LEVERAGING Are members able to harness the 'collective affordance' of the group.
  • MEMORY & FORGETTING Do we have ways to review our history and to track evolution -- and leave behind what's best forgotten? Forgetting or re-evaluation is a critical behavior - if we are to cater for individual evolution within a group context.