Our Metacaugs group is very busy reading, building and organizing but the question arises: what is our mission statement? In our Orientation Guidebook we mentioned these purposes:
- Gain a deeper understanding of the world; learn how technology, environment and economy are changing at an accelerating pace;
- Think about what the consequences are for societies;
- Figure out how we can contribute - individually and collectively - in a positive way;
- Discover which skills and tools we need in order to contribute effectively;
- Practice and develop these skills and tools (using a peer-to-peer based methodology)
All this is related to our reading, chapter by chapter, of books such as Thank you for being late by Thomas Friedman and Whiplash by Jeff Howe and Joi Ito.
However, we do lots of others things - related, but different and ‘owned’ by specific members of our group.
- The Qiark-project which is
a platform that aims to crowdsource answers to questions by amplifying the intelligence and judgment capacity of individuals and groups.
Qiark succesfully raised money on Crowdcube.
- The concept-mapping tool Metamaps.cc.
a free and open source platform that supports real-time sense-making, distributed collaboration, and the creative intelligence of individuals, organizations and communities. We are currently in an invite-only beta.
- Someone is writing a book about being mindful citizens.
- The above mentioned reading chapter-by-chapter reading could become a course about futurism, a syllabus, a book.
- Someone wants to make a tool for crap detection (detecting fake news etc)
All these projects have something in common: they are ambitious and want to make the world to a better place. It’s about enhancing thinking, decision-making, collaborating. The people involved are pretty smart and can give great feedback. Some are experts in decision-making methods, others in visualizing thought processes, are trained educators, communication specialists… Most of them got an extensive training by author, thinker, artist and educator Howard Rheingold involving theory and practice about collaboration and “mind-amplifying tools” (think social bookmarks, wikis, forums, blogs, synchronous online discussions, collaborative mindmapping).
So I thought - maybe the mission statement of Metacaugs is being an accelerator. People come to us with ideas and projects which potentially have a huge impact on humanity and we accelerate processes and ideas by unleashing our peer-to-peer methods and intelligence.
This is not a very original idea, as it is being practised by anohter cohort of Rheingold-alumni.
This how the Peeragogy Accelerator explains its purpose and main characteristics:
The purpose of the Peeragogy Accelerator is to use the power of peer learning to help build great organizations.
We will do this by investing time and energy, rather than money, building a distributed community of peer learners, and a strongly vetted collection of best practices. Our project complements others’ work on sites like Wikiversity and P2PU, but with an applied flavor. It is somewhat similar to Y Combinator and other start-up accelerators or incubators, but we’re doing it the commons based peer production way.
Four stages are suggested:
- Set the initial challenge and build a framework for accountability among participants. (1-3 weeks)
- Bring in other people to support your shared goals, and make the work more fun too. (1-2 weeks)
- Solidifying your work plan and learning strategy together with concrete measures for ‘success’ to move the project forward. (1-3 weeks)
- Wrap up the project with a critical assessment of progress and directions for future work.
Personally I would add a specific methodology: Lean Canvas.
Business plans take too long to write, are seldom updated, and almost never read by others but documenting your hypotheses is key.
Lean Canvas solves this problem using a 1-page business model that takes under 20 minutes to create.
Search for “Lean Canvas” to find a wealth of tutorials. Here you find the Canvas document.
A business incubator is a company that helps new and startup companies to develop by providing services such as management training or office space. (Wikipedia)
In our case it could be Metacaugs providing a more formal structure (that of a non-profit or foundation) for fledgling projects needing not only peer2peer inspiration and advice but also a formal identity in order to present projects, participate in competitions etc.
As of yet Metacaugs itself has no formal identity, but we could consider changing that.
Metacaugs is in practice evolving into the direction of an accelerator, maybe an incubator. This would be a great way to continue the work done by Howard Rheingold and his co-learners. The diversity of the Rheingold-alumni made it until now difficult to leverage the power of the network, but using Slack as our main communication hub and adopting an accelerator methodology, this could change for the better.