This blog is part of an online learning platform which includes the Pathways to New Community Paradigms Wiki and a number of other Internet based resources to explore what is termed here 'new community paradigms' which are a transformational change brought about by members of a community.

It is intended to offer resources and explore ideas with the potential of purposefully directing the momentum needed for communities to create their own new community paradigms.

It seeks to help those interested in becoming active participants in the governance of their local communities rather than merely passive consumers of government service output. This blog seeks to assist individuals wanting to redefine their role in producing a more direct democratic form of governance by participating both in defining the political body and establishing the policies that will have an impact their community so that new paradigms for their community can be chosen rather than imposed.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Creative Discovery on New Community Paradigm Pathways

The last blog post continued to explore the new Kumu map of the New Community Paradigms (NCP) Wiki (the map is also contained within the wiki page). Here is a tour if this is the initial general introduction but this post does not depend upon it. The last blog post expressed the view that the NCP Wiki Map was not so important on its own but as a tool for creative discovery, an idea which will be explored further in this post.

Actually, it is not the NCP Wiki Map itself that is the basis for creative discovery; it is instead the Kumu program at its foundation and the application of systems thinking in the use of that tool. Still, the NCP Wiki Map is believed to be a pretty good example of what can be done with Kumu, especially when applied to complex community issues as is being attempted here. 

It should be made clear though that New Community Paradigms is not endeavoring to become a large organization or movement. It is intended to be designed as an expandable and evolvable template that a group within a community could use to leverage potential community resources. 

The last post also spoke of getting ahead of myself. In the post previous, I had jumped from dealing with planning and placemaking within complex systems (of greater community involvement) to contrasting complicated top-down management systems and complex community governance systems, as had been discussed in past posts, and then jumped back to planning in the context of creating healthy communities. The point and a rationale behind this effort are that not only is organizing information gathered over time challenging but disseminating that information in a coherent manner within complex social networks, especially when others are unfamiliar with the concepts, can be a daunting undertaking. While examining "complexity" and its relation to community building and development has been of interest since the early beginnings of this effort, it was wrong to jump back and forth without more context.

There are then three separate concepts about which people have to be persuaded to invest time into understanding, Kumu mapping, systems thinking, and community issues (actually a host of concepts filed under new community paradigms). This obviously is not going to be for everyone, to be truthful, not even most people. Most don’t need to be experts though in all three, actually not even particularly in any one of them but they would have to have some knowledge and more importantly would need to be able to collaborate. I believe though that, in the hands of even a small number of people working together, it could begin to make a difference. 

After the confession, it was a matter of discussing the resources to be found under the recent Planning for Healthy Communities wiki page and connecting to the mapped element for it (use the “On Kumu Map” link at the top), and other elements of the Places and Healthy Communities maps (also accessible from narrative sections to the left) and then clicking on the related Asset Based Community Development element moving next into its own map then back to the wiki (use the URL near bottom of the element’s narrative section or double click the element within the map). 

This continued in the next post with exploring  Community Design, and Community Arts (both under Places, mouse over the listed text) with Healthy Cities and began tying them together (needs to be repeated, clicking a map’s white space reveals underlying map).

The Places map may be the most complex appearing of these maps but is basically a collection of eight related issues (put the mouse over the center Places element within the map to highlight first degree connections) which bridge over into other sectors. The Healthy Communities and Asset Based Community Development maps aren't that complex on their own. Individual elements though within these maps can appear in other maps and all can be connected. Hopefully following element paths into different maps will generate new ideas, new connections could be developed. 

The last blog post also attempted to create a mental model of “Artistic Thinking” as pathways of connections, the first, being the Art and  Healthy  Communities Map. The mental models for the current configuration NCP Wiki Map were developed through the related blog posts found in their most closely related wiki page. Although blog posts are not always the defining basis of the mental models for all of the map elements, connections were not created unless what could be seen, and better yet delineated in writing, as establishing some meaningful relationship. These then helped to define the NCP Wiki Map’s structural level connections, especially the bridge elements connecting substantially different elements and sectors together. 

These new sets of pathways were then enhanced further after publishing the blog post introducing the ability to highlight or focus on certain element or groups of elements. As explained in the Art and  Healthy  Communities Map narrative, going through the different levels of focus new elements appear.

This is where this being a solitary endeavor, due to my introvert and introspective nature, runs into its limitations. Having everyone already learned Kumu mapping is the best solution but until that can be taken for granted it seems necessary to provide explicit instruction on issues such as white space or determining focus. 

This is being attempted, in different ways, with the two new pathway sets. Further directions are provided in the hope people will learn Kumu directly and figure out how to navigate on their own or the other way around, both work. The hope again is that the map can be designed so that groups of individuals with different interests and backgrounds could work together and create common collaborative maps but that's not happening here yet. Instead, this is more at the level of explorations, if things work, and experimentation, if they don’t.

Two other new sets of pathways, Pathways to Healthy Communities Map and the Collective Impact within NCP Map were also created for the post, as working at the mental model level of the Systems Thinking Iceberg Model

Because it involves the entire larger overall NCP Wiki Map, the initial Pathways to Healthy Communities Map is apparently complex. However, by clicking on “Focus on Pathway” the specific specialized map is focused upon or by moving further down to the second paragraph of the narrative section one can also choose to only highlight it.

Further down the narrative section, the narrative approach is integrated with the graphic elements of the map. Unlike maps such as Places, there is more than a collection of related objects underlying the map’s organization. The connections cross over different sectors influencing each other. One can follow these pathways by mousing over the text within the narrative. Additional directions can be found in the Pathways to Healthy Communities Map itself.

The Collective Impact map, on its own, is not seen as being directly subsumed or above other elements of the NCP Wiki Map. Rather, it is seen as being related to other elements. These particular displayed relationships, as configured within the map,  were based on my individual inquiries. Different relationships could be created, developed and evolved further by others. 

The Collective Impact within NCP Map, which is accessible through the main Collective Impact map, is of a different configuration. The map’s narrative provides access to greater focus or further down the ability to highlight within the map by passing over with the mouse. Selecting the Community Impact Focus Map allows one again to highlight or by following the directions select the specific map then proceed 1, 2 or 3 degrees out or clear the map to its original configuration. As the narrative for the map states, though, not all elements will be related meaningfully to but a number could be integrated into supporting Collective Impact efforts. 

It is still necessary though to visit each element of interest’s wiki page by double clicking on that element or clicking once to open up its narrative and then clicking on the displayed URL. There are then a variety of resources available though these are by no means exhaustive, undoubtedly more are out there. These are the building blocks for creating new community innovations by providing more in-depth information. There is not, however, any correct pathway or any right answers to be revealed.

The long term goal then is not to get people to use my map but to get people to build their own maps, using systems thinking approaches, preferably together with others in their community. The NCP Wiki Map is capable of being “copied”, what Kumu calls “Fork”ed (past tense?) and is licensed to fully authorize this (get to the NCP Wiki Map, three line icon top left corner, click, look for “Fork Project” left-hand column). 

Past Posts