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Copy of Berkman Center Application

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Willow Brugh

on 31 January 2017

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Transcript of Copy of Berkman Center Application

You remember that thing you thought was going to change the world?
And then it got too big.
You didn't know how to interact with it any more.
It didn't seem like anybody did.

when something is successful,
We need to make our efforts last longer, or be more intentional in how they dissolve.
when that happens,
Not just keeping things in the lab until they're perfect.
It's important the groups who would benefit from this research be a part of the research.
Call it co-evolution if you like.
Spending physical time with the groups being studied is important.
You can only get so much from reading about a thing - you have to
go do it
to be fully engaged.
Ongoing conversations with the communities of interest means this is a study *with* them, not *on* them.
I have a suspicion that method changes like moving from

and from

are going to have a lot to do with these scaling abilities.
spreadsheets to databases
IPv4 to IPv6
My name is Willow Brugh, and I've spent the last 4 years heavily invested in hackerspaces, the maker movement, and digital humanitarian response.
(the internet knows me as
for somewhat obvious reasons)
So, how do decentralized structures
Saddest of stick figures
I do things like:
Seattle has many hacker spaces, but none were extroverted. Meaning, by their very nature there were barriers to entry. Founding Jigsaw Renaissance was done in an attempt to make safe space for newcomers to the movement.
The communities and projects coming out of hacker and maker spaces are shaping the world, and our interactions with it. Geeks Without Bounds was founded to provide guidance to people with technical skillsets wanting to get involved beyond their own back yard.
Those same spaces also had difficulty existing in the current world - things like zoning, insurance, and getting rent paid on time. I cofounded Space Federation to create a network of sharing and learning amongst space founders and facilitators.
More detail (and projects!) on the CV associated with this application and at blog.bl00cyb.org in the Manifesto section.
(I also really like drawing stick figures to demonstrate ideas)
These groups tend to burn out or fade out. Which is tragic, as they offer a much better alternative for life and culture than our current status quo.
If there is no on-boarding process for newcomers, they either don't complete the joining function or they disrupt the core so that the veterans feel displaced.
Groups or individuals don't try to join, but rather take on the trappings of the movement.
Which is interesting in and of itself - if this is a known stage of a movement's lifecycle, can it be used in its own way?
image via Ping
While I love working with these groups on these objectives, there is a basic problem here which must be addressed for these initiatives to ever be sustainable.
I have devoted my life to figuring this out.
Understanding this underlying problem is imperative if we're ever going to be more than Flash-in-the-Pan.
(As these change our assumptions and brain patterns around association and interaction.)
I'll be talking to a number of differently decentralized groups about how they work (or don't), asking questions around:
What does accountability look like?
How do you do succession planning?
The social norms we adhere to are deeply influenced by what was previously necessary.
Codifying interaction and normalcy enables us to act easily in known scenarios.
(Including those things like education and disaster response that I care about.)
Decentralized networks spring up within, between, and in lieu of hierarchical structure as need and desire permit.
They are based on knowledge sharing and proven ability rather than set methods of interaction.
Paradoxically, encoding them through documentation or even social norms makes them less of what they are (so far).
Interactions based within the status quo are easy - we know what comes next, within a closed set of parameters.
When the status quo doesn't hold up, or is not supporting what it should, or whatever, we build decentralized structures to find our way beyond proscribed paths.
In the simple act of forging new paths, we create new norms, which come with their own standards and rigidity.
portals to standards
Methods of Observation:
(this is WAY more entertaining to look at online, found at http://prezi.com/rpr-9jsfaqjg/berkman-center-application/)
Distributed / Decentralized Power
Mutual Aid / Activism
Distributed / Decentralized Power
Social Change Based
Tech angle
volunteers for
open join, location
or event based
activity / skill based
time and fit
Full transcript