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<div class="page-header" > <h1>Federation through Stories</h1> </div>
 
<div class="page-header" > <h1>Federation through Stories</h1> </div>
  
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<p>[[File:Elephants.jpeg]]<br><small><center>Even if we don't mention him explicitly, this elephant is the main hero of our stories.</center></small></p>
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   <div class="col-md-3"><h2>Information technology and innovation</h2></div>
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   <div class="col-md-3"><h2>What the giants have been telling us</h2></div>
   <div class="col-md-7"><h3>Liberating and directing creative work</h3>
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   <div class="col-md-7"><h3>The invisible elephant</h3>
<p>On our main page we suggested that when we liberate our creative work in general, and our knowledge work in particular, from subservience to age-old patterns and routines and outmoded assumptions, and then motivate it and orient it differently, a sweeping Renaissance– like change may be expected to result. We motivated this observation, and our initiative, by three large changes that took place during the past century – of epistemology, of information technology, and of our society's condition and information needs. In Federation through Images we took up the first motive. Here our theme will be the second one.</p>
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<p>The most interesting and impactful ideas are without doubt those that challenge our very order of things. But such ideas also present the largest challenge to communication! A shared [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] is what <em>enables us</em> to communicate. How can we make sense of new things, while they still challenge the order of things that gives things meaning?</p>
<p>In Federation through Images we used the image of a bus with candle headlights to make a sweepingly large claim: When innovation, or creative work in general, is "knowledge-based" and directed as it may best improve or complete the larger whole in which what is being innovated has a role, then the difference this may make, the benefits that may result to our society, are similar as the benefits of substituting light bulbs for candles may be to the people in that bus. </p>
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<p>When they attempt to share with us their insights, the visionaries appear to us like those proverbial blind or blind-folded men touching the elephant. They are of course far from being blind; they are the <em>seers</em>! But the 'elephant' is invisible. We don't even have the words to describe him yet!</p>  
<p>There is, however, an obvious alternative – and that is what is in effect today. It is to simply have everyone act as it may best further (what they perceive as) their "personal interests" – and trust that the "free competition" or "the survival of the fittest" or "the invisible hand" of the market will turn that into common good. The real-life stories we are about to tell will help us make a case for an informed and more sober alternative.</p>
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<p>And so we hear the [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] talk about "the fan", "the hose" and "the rope" – while it's really the ear and the trunk and the tail of that big new thing they are pointing to.</p>
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<h3>We begin with four dots</h3>  
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<p>The way to remedy this situation is, of course, by connecting the dots. Initially, all we can hope for is to show just enough of the [[invisible elephant|<em>elephant</em>]] to discern its contours. Then interest and enthusiasm will do the rest. Imagine all the fun we'll have, all of us together, discovering and creating all those details!</p>
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<p>We'll begin here with four 'dots'. We'll introduce four [[giants|<em>giants</em>]], and put their ideas together. This might already be enough to give us a start.</p>
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<p>The four stories we've chosen to tell will illuminate the [[invisible elephant|<em>elephant</em>]]'s four sides (which correspond to the four [[keywords|<em>keywords</em>]] that define our initiative):
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<ul>
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<li>What constitutes right knowledge, and the right way to knowledge ([[design epistemology|<em>design epistemology</em>]])</li>
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<li>How should the new information technology be used ([[collective mind|<em>collective mind</em>]] paradigm, [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]])</li>
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<li>How shall we direct our creative abilities ([[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]]) </li>
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<li>How to put knowledge itself to good use ([[guided evolution of society|<em>guided evolution of society</em>]]) </li>
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</ul> </p>  
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   <div class="col-md-3"><h2>The nature of our stories</h2></div>
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   <div class="col-md-3"><h2>These stories are vignettes</h2></div>
   <div class="col-md-7"><h3>They illustrate a larger point</h3>
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   <div class="col-md-7"><h3>New thinking made easy</h3>
<p>We choose our stories to serve as parables. In a fractal-like manner, each of them will reflect – from a specific angle, of course – the entire situation our creative work and specifically knowledge work is in. So just as the case was with [[ideograms|<em>ideograms</em>]], stories too can be worth one thousand words. They too can condense and vividly display a wealth of insight. Bring to mind again the iconic image of Galilei in house prison, whispering ''eppur si muove'' into his beard. The stories we are about to tell will suggest that also in our own time similar situations and dynamics are at play.</p>
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<p>The technique we'll use – the [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]] – is in essence what the journalists use to make ideas accessible. They tell them through people stories! </p>  
<h3>They lift up ideas of giants</h3>  
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<p>We hope these stories will allow you to "step into the shoes" of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]], "see through their eyes", be moved by their visions.</p>  
<p>How to lift up a core insights of a [[giants|<em>giant</em>]] out of undeserved anonymity? We tell [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]] – lively, catchy, sticky... real-life people and situation stories. They are the kind of stories one might want to tell to an assembly of friends over a glass of vine. Their role is to distill core ideas of daring thinkers from the vocabulary of a discipline, and give them the visibility and appeal they deserve. If you are like us, weary of Donald Trump-style sensations in the media, then you might be glad to find here sensations of a completely new kind – that are in a truest sense good news, and also relevant! And with <em>completely</em> different protagonists! Our sensations will bring to the foreground some of our most innovative and daring thinkers, and make them a subject of conversations. What they'll have to say will give us the power of think new thoughts and handle large and small issues in completely new ways. </p>
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<p>By combining the [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]] into [[threads|<em>threads</em>]], we begin to put the [[invisible elephant|<em>elephant</em>]] together. The [[threads|<em>threads</em>]] add a dramatic effect; they let the insights of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] enhance one another.</p>
<p>By joining [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]] together into [[threads|<em>threads</em>]], and [[threads|<em>threads</em>]] into [[patterns|<em>patterns</em>]] and [[patterns|<em>patterns</em>]] into a [[gestalt|<em>gestalt</em>]] – we can create an overarching view of any situation, and of our historical, global situation at large – and see in a completely new light how those situations may need to be handled. </p>
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  <div class="col-md-3"><h2>The incredible history of Doug</h2></div>
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Right way to knowledge</h2></div>
<div class="col-md-6"><h3>How the Silicon Valley failed to understand its giant in residence</h3>
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<p>Before we go into the details of this story, let's take a moment to see how it works as a parable. The story is about how the Silicon Valley failed to understand and even hear its giant or genius in residence, even after having recognized him as such! This makes the story emblematic: The Silicon Valley is the world's hottest innovation hub. The paradigm shifts have, on the other hand, always been opportunities for creative new actors, for unconventional and daring thinkers and does, to emerge as new leaders. Could the large paradigm shift we've been talking about indeed be an opportunity for new actors to take the lead – <em>even in</em> technological innovation? </p>
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<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Physics gave us a gift</h3>
<p>Douglas Engelbart, the main protagonist of this story, is not only [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]]'s iconic progenitor or "patron saint"; to quite a few of us he has also been a revered friend. Among us we call him "Doug". So we'll continue this tradition sporadically also on these pages.</p></div>
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<p>
<div class="col-md-3 round-images">[[File:Doug.jpg]]<br><small><center>[[Douglas Engelbart]]</center></small></div>
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<blockquote>
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(T)he nineteenth century developed an
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extremely rigid frame for natural science which formed not
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only science but also the general outlook of great masses of
<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Engelbart too stood on the shoulders of giants</h3>
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people.
<p>It is in the spirit of [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] to at least mention the [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] on whose shoulders Engelbart was standing. We'll here mention only one, whom we also need to lift up as an icon. [[Vannevar Bush]] was a scientist and a scientific strategist par excellence,  who pointed to the urgent need for (what we are calling) [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] – already in 1945!</p>
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</blockquote></p>
<p>A pre-WW2 pioneer of computing machinery, and professor and dean at the MIT, During the war Bush served as the leader of the entire US scientific effort – supervising about 6000 leading scientists, and assuring that the Free World is a step ahead in developing all imaginable weaponry including The Bomb. And so in 1945, the war just barely being finished, Bush wrote an article titled "As We May Think", where the tone is "OK, we've won the great war. But one other problem still remains to which we scientists now need to give the highest priority – and that is to recreate what we do with knowledge after it's been published". He urged the scientists to focus on developing suitable technology and processes.</p>
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<p>Werner Heisenberg got his Nobel Prize in 1932, "for the creation of quantum mechanics" he did while still in his twenties. </p>
<p>Engelbart heard him. He read Bush's article in 1947, as a young army recruit, in a Red Cross library in the Philippines, and it helped him 'see the light' a couple of years later. But Bush's article inspired in part also another development – and that's what we'll turn to next.</p></div>
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<p>In 1958, this [[giants|<em>giant</em>]] of science looked back at the experience of his field, and wrote "Physics and Philosophy" (subtitled "the revolution in modern science"), from which the above lines have been quoted. </p>
<div class="col-md-3 round-images">[[File:Bush.jpg]]<br><small><center>[[Vannevar Bush]]</center></small></div>
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<p>In the manuscript Heisenberg explained how science rose to prominence owing to successes in deciphering the secrets of nature. And how, as a side effect, its way of exploring the world became dominant also in our culture at large; in spite of the fact that frame of concepts was
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<blockquote>
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so narrow and rigid that it was difficult to find a place in it for many concepts of our
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language that had always belonged to its very substance, for
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instance, the concepts of mind, of the human soul or of life.
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</blockquote></p></div>
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<div class="col-md-3"> [[File:Heisenberg.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Werner Heisenberg]]</center></small></div>
 
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  <div class="col-md-7"><h3>Engelbart's epiphany</h3>
 
<p>Having decided, as a novice engineer in December of 1950, to direct his career so as to maximize its benefits to the mankind, [[Douglas Engelbart]] thought intensely for three months about the best way to do that. Then he had an epiphany.</p>
 
<p>On a convention of computer professionals in 1968 Engelbart and his SRI-based lab demonstrated the computer technology we are using today – computers linked together into a network, people interacting with computers via video terminals and a mouse and windows – and through them with one another.</p>
 
<p>In the 1990s it was finally understood (or in any case <em>some</em> people understood) that it was not Steve Jobs and Bill Gates who invented the technology, or even the XEROS PARC, from where they took it. Engelbart received all imaginable honors that an inventor can have. Yet he made it clear, and everyone around him knew, that he felt celebrated for a wrong reason. And that the gist of his vision had not yet been understood, or put to use. "Engelbart's unfinished revolution" was coined as the theme for the 1998 Stanford University celebration of his Demo. And it stuck. </p>
 
<p>The man whose ideas made "the revolution in the Valley" possible passed away in 2013 – feeling he had failed.</p></div>
 
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  <div class="col-md-3"><h2></h2></div>
 
 
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<h3>Engelbart's vision</h3>
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<p>Since
<p>What is it that Engelbart saw? How important is it? Why was he not understood?</p>
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<blockquote>
<p>We'll answer by zooming in on one of the many events where Engelbart was celebrated, and when his vision was in the spotlight – a videotaped panel that was organized for him at Google in 2007. This will give us an opportunity to explain his vision – if not in his own words, then at least with his own Powerpoint slides. Here is how his presentation was intended to begin.</p>
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the concept of reality applied to the things or events that we could perceive by our senses or that could be observed by means of the refined tools that technical science had
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provided,
<p>[[File:Doug-4.jpg]]<br><small><center>The title and the first three slides of Engelbart's call to action panel at Google in 2007.</center></small></p>
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</blockquote>
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whatever failed to fit in was considered unreal. This in particular applied to those parts of our culture in which our ethical sensibilities were rooted, such as religion, which
<p>Around that time it became clear that Engelbart's long career was coming to an end. By choosing title "A Call to Action!", Engelbart obviously intended make it clear that what he wanted to give to Google, and to the world through Google, was a direction and a call to pursue it.</p>
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<blockquote>
<p>The first slide pointed to a large and as yet unfulfilled opportunity that is immanent in digital technology. The digital technology can help make this a better world! But to realize this potential of technology, we need to change our way of thinking.</p>
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seemed now more or less only imaginary. (...) The confidence in the scientific method and in rational thinking replaced all other safeguards of the human mind.
<p>The second slide was meant to explain the nature of this different thinking, and why we needed it. The slide points to a direction. Doug talks about a 'vehicle' we are riding in. You'll notice that part of the message here is the same as in our [[Modernity ideogram]], which we discussed at length in Federation through Images. But there's also more; the vehicle has inadequate "steering and braking controls". We'll come back to that further below.</p>  
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</blockquote></p>
<p>The third slide was there to point to Doug's way to remedy this problem. It sets the stage for explaining the essence of Doug's vision; for understanding the purpose and the value of his many technical ideas and contributions, which is what the remainder of the slides were about; and ultimately for his call to action.</p>  
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<p>Heisenberg then explained how the experience of modern physics constituted a rigorous <em>disproof</em> of this approach to knowledge; and concluded that
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<blockquote>
 
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one may say that the most important change brought about by its results consists in the dissolution of this rigid frame of concepts of the nineteenth century.
INTERMISSION [[The future of innovation]]
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<em>The most important</em> change?!</p>
  
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<h3>What exactly happened</h3>
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<p>The key to understanding  this "dissolution of the narrow frame" is the so-called double-slit experiment. You'll easily find an explanations online, so we'll here only draw a quick sketch and come to conclusion. </p>
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<p>A source of electrons is shooting electrons toward a screen - which, like an old-fashioned TV screen, remains illuminated at the places where an electron has landed. Between the source and the screen is a plate pierced by two parallel slits, so that the only way an electron can reach the screen is to pass through one of those slits.</p>
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<p><em>One</em> of the slits?</p>
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<p>What really happens is this: When the movement of the electron is observed, it behaves as a particle – it passes through one of the slits and lands on the corresponding spot on the screen.</p>
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<p>When, however, this observation is <em>not</em> made, electrons behave as waves – they pass through <em>both</em> slits and create an interference pattern on the screen.</p>
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<p>The question naturally arises – are electrons waves, or particles?</p>
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<p>The answer is, of course, that they are neither. </p>
  
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<h3>What this tells us about our "frames"</h3>
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<p>Electrons defy both our language and our reason.</p> 
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<p>Experimental results compelled the scientists to conclude that "wave" and "particle" are concepts, and corresponding behavioral patterns, which we have acquired through experience with common physical objects, such as water and pebbles. And that the electrons are simply something else – they <em>behave unlike anything we have in experience</em>.</p>
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<p>In the book Heisenberg talks about the physicists unable to describe the behavior of small quanta of matter in conventional language. The language of mathematics still works – but the common language doesn't!</p>
  
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<h3>What this tell us about reality</h3>
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<p>In "Uncommon Sense" Robert Oppenheimer Heisenberg's famous colleague and the leader of the WW2 Manhattan project – tells about the double-slit experiment to conclude that <em>even our common sense</em>, however solidly objective it might appear to us, is really derived from our experience with common objects. And that it may no longer work and <em>doesn't</em> work when we apply it to things we <em>don't</em> have in experience.</p>
  <div class="col-md-3"><h2>The incredible history of Eric</h2></div>
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<p>Science rose from a tradition, whose roots are in antiquity, and whose goal was to understand and explain the reality as it truly is, through right reasoning.</p>  
  <div class="col-md-7"><h3>Innovation 2.0</h3>
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<p>Science brought us to the conclusion that <em>there is no right reasoning</em> that can lead us to that goal.</p>  
<p>However incredible the story we've just told might appear (a very smart man trying to communicate a very important insight to a whole community of very smart folks, and (to use the expression for which Doug was notorious) "they just didn't get it!" – the story <em>does</em> have a simple explanation: A shared paradigm (consistency with a set of basic assumptions) is what <em>enables</em> us to communicate. The seemingly naive metaphor in Doug's second slide, the image of a vehicle in which we ride toward our future, points to a whole new paradigm in the way in which we use our creative capabilities. Consider the way the things are presently done: A scientists learns how to do physics, or biology, and does that. A journalist, similarly, learns the trade of media reporting from the past-generation journalists. There is no awareness of a larger, systemic purpose involved, no possibility of adapting what we do to that purpose. With every new generation, we are just passing on those 'candles'.</p>
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</div></div>
<p>Technological innovation is presently driven by "market needs":  What are the scientists doing? What do the journalists need? We can use new technology to have them do those things incomparably easier and faster! </p>
 
<p>In his second slide, Doug was pointing to a radical alternative. Information, knowledge work, and information technology, have  <em>systemic</em> roles and purposes. Information must be perceived as a system within a system. We must configure our way of handling it as it may best suit its vitally important roles in the larger systems so that the larger systems may fulfill <em>their</em> vitally important roles. </p>
 
<p>There's a message on an even higher level in Doug's second slide that one whole category of human activities, of decisive importance to our future, cannot be driven by age-old habits, or "the market"; that it must become "systemic" or informed. And when it does, that it will serve us incomparably better and more safely than it does, guide us toward an incomparably better future. But this – as Naomi Klein observed – changes everything! It changes <em>the</em> most important meme or gene in our 'cultural DNA'! We are not in the habit of using information to make this sort of basic, directional choices. To get there will require one whole evolutionary quantum leap. But isn't that what we've been talking about all along?</p>
 
<p>Hence the difficulty in communicating it. We don't come to a lecture to hear that sort of thing! We are all far too busy to ever come back to such basics. We come to a talk to get a technical idea – and perhaps implement it in the new system we are building. Not to learn that the very <em>direction</em> of technological innovation has to change! We have no time, and no place to such messages. And hence we just ignore them.</p>
 
<p>But here our goal is to change that practice. We've now heard Doug's basic message. But can we rely on it? In what follows we'll begin to connect the dots. We'll connect his vision with the insights of other [[giants|<em>giants</em>]]. We'll begin to see the emerging order of things in which the mentioned details will make perfect sense. We'll begin to draft the  [[invisible elephant|<em>elephant</em>]].</p>
 
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   <div class="col-md-6"><h3>What this tells us about science</h3>  
<h3>Connecting the dots</h3>
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<p>Heisenberg was, of course, not at all the only [[giants|<em>giant</em>]] who reached that conclusion. A whole <em>generation</em> of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]], in a variety of field, found evidence against the reality-based approach to knowledge.</p>
<p>[[Erich Jantsch]], the main protagonist of the story we are about to share, will here serve as an icon for those very insights that Doug's audiences were lacking, to be able to understand what he was talking about. It's what we've been calling [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]]. We shall see his insights were so similar to Doug's, and his story so parallel to his, that we couldn't help calling it "the incredible history of Eric". Jantsch was, however, focusing on questions that were complementary to Doug's: What properties do our large and basic systems (such as our civilization at large, or Doug's 'vehicle') need to be safe or governable or sustainable or simply "good"? In what way should we intervene into those systems so that they may acquire those properties? Who – and in what way, that is, by what methods – should do such interventions? </p>
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<p>We'll here let one of them, Benjamin Lee Whorf, summarize the conclusion.</p>  
<p>Having received his doctorate in astrophysics at the tender age of 22, from the University of Vienna, [[Erich Jantsch]] realized that it is here on Earth that his attention is needed. And so he ended up researching, for the OECD in Paris, the theme that animates our initiative (how our ability to create and induce change can be directed far more purposefully and effectively). Jantsch's specific focuse was on the ways in which technology was being developed and introduced in different countries, the OECD members. Jantsch and the OECD called this issue  "technological planning". Is it only the market? Or is there some way we can more effectively <em>direct</em> the development and use of the rapidly growing muscles of our technology? </p>
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<p><blockquote>It needs but half an eye to see in these latter days that science, the Grand Revelator of modern Western culture, has reached, without having intended to, a frontier. Either it must bury its dead, close its ranks, and go forward into a landscape of increasing strangeness, replete with things shocking to a culture-trammelled understanding, or it must become, in Claude Houghton’s expressive phrase, the plagiarist of its own past."
<p>So when The Club of Rome (a global think tank where a hundred selected international and interdisciplinary members do research into the future prospects of mankind) was about to be initiated, in 1968, it was natural to invite Jantsch to give the opening keynote. </p>
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</blockquote>
<p>Immediately after the opening of The Club of Rome Jantsch made himself busy crafting solutions. By following him through three steps of this process, we shall be able to identify three core insights, three key pieces in our 'elephant puzzle', for which Jantsch must be credited.</p>
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It may be interesting to observe that this was written already in the 1940s – and published a decade later as part of a book.</p></div>
<p>But before we do that, we'll give due credit to a couple of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] whose insights helped Jantsch see further.</p></div>
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  <div class="col-md-3"> [[File:Whorf.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Benjamin Lee Whorf]]</center></small></div>
<div class="col-md-3 round-images">[[File:Jantsch.jpg]]<br><small><center>[[Erich Jantsch]]</center></small></div>
 
 
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<div class="col-md-6"><h3>What our systems must be like</h3>
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<div class="col-md-6"><h3>We are at a turning point</h3>
<p>A scientific reader may have noticed that Engelbart's innocent metaphor in Slide 2 has a technical or scientific interpretation. In cybernetics, which is a scientific study of (the relationship between information and) control, "feedback"  and "control" are household terms. Just as the bus must have functioning headlights and steering and braking controls, so must <em>any</em> system have suitable feedback (inflow of suitable information), and suitable control (a way to apply the incoming information to correct its course or functioning or behavior) – if it is to be steerable or viable or "sustainable".</p>
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<!-- ANCHOR -->
<p>Norbert Wiener is a suitable iconic [[giants|<em>giant</em>]] to represent (the vision that inspired) cybernetics for us. Wiener studied mathematics, zoology and philosophy, and finally got his doctorate in mathematical logic from Harvard – when he was only 17!  Then he went on to do seminal work in a number of fields – one of which was cybernetics.</p>
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<span id="Story_of_Doug"></span>
<p>In the final chapter of his 1948 book Cybernetics, titled "Information, Language and Society", Wiener puts forth two insights that are of central interest to our story.</p>
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<p>The Enlightenment empowered the human reason to rebel against the tradition and freely explore the world.</p>  
<p>The first is that our communication (or feedback loop) is broken. Wiener does that by citing Vannevar Bush's article "As We May Think", which – as we have seen also inspired Engelbart. And also in another way, as we'll see next.</p>
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<p>Several centuries of exploration brought us to another turning point – where our reason has become capable of self-reflecting; of seeing its own limitations, and blind spots.</p>
<p>Wiener's second insight is that the market won't give us control. Wiener [[knowledge federation|<em>federates</em>]] this insight by citing another [[giants|<em>giant</em>]], John von Neumann (whose many seminal contributions include the design of the basic architecture of the digital computer, which is still in use), and his results (with Oskar Morgenstern) in the theory of games. And by discussing common experience. Wiener's argument has the form "see what my estimable colleagues have found out; doesn't this explain the dynamics we have been witnessing daily? Here we have further evidence that indeed our communication is broken!"</p>
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<p>The natural next step is to begin to expand those limitations, to correct those blind spots – by <em>creating</em> new ways to create knowledge.</p>
<p>But let's listen to Wiener's tone. Isn't he suggesting that some deep and power-related prejudices are at play (recall Galilei...):
 
<blockquote>
 
There is a belief, current in many countries, which has been elevated to the rank of an official article of faith in the United States, that free competition is itself a homeostatic process: that in a free market, the individual selfishness of the bargainers, each seeking to sell as high and buy as low as possible, will result in the end of a stable dynamics of prices, and with redound to the greatest common good. This is associated with the very comforting view that the individual entrepreneur, in seeking to forward his own interest, is in some manner a public benefactor, and has thus earned the great reward with which society has showered him. Unfortunately, the evidence, such as it is, is against this simple-minded theory.
 
</blockquote >
 
You may understood Wiener's technical keyword "homeostatic process" as what a system must maintain to be (as we now call it) "sustainable". It's been defined as "feedback mechanism inducing measures to keep a system continuing".</p>
 
 
</div>
 
</div>
<div class="col-md-3 round-images">[[File:Wiener.jpg]]<br><small><center>[[Norbert Wiener]]</center></small></div>
 
 
</div>
 
</div>
 +
-------
 
<div class="row">
 
<div class="row">
  <div class="col-md-3"><h2></h2></div>
+
<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Right use of technology</h2></div>
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Planning as feedback, systemic innovation as control</h3>
+
<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Digital technology calls for new thinking</h3>
<p>With a doctorate in physics, it was not difficult to Jantsch to put two and two together and see what needed to be done. If our civilization is on a disastrous course, and if it lacks suitable "headlights and braking and steering controls) or (to use a cybernetician's more scientific tone) "feedback and control" – then there's a single capability that we as society are lacking, which can correct this problem – the capability to look into the future, and steer the way by correcting our systems.</p>
+
<p><blockquote>
<p>So right after The Club of Rome's first meeting, Jantsch gathered a group of creative leaders and researchers, mostly from the systems community, in Bellagio, Italy, to put together necessary insights and methods. The result was so basic that Jantsch called it "rational creative action". The message is obvious and central to our interest: Certainly there are many ways in which we can be creative. But if our creative action is to be <em>rational</em> – then these essential ingredients must be present. </p>
+
Digital technology could help make this a better world. But we've also got to change our way of thinking.
<p>Rational creative action begins with forecasting, which explores different future scenario; it ends with an action selected to enhance the likelihood of the <em>desired</em> scenario or scenarios. So what they called "planning" (notice that this had nothing to do with the kind of planning that was at the time used in the Soviet Union) was envisioned as the new and enhanced feedback that our society lacked in order to have control over its future:
 
<blockquote>[T]he pursuance of orthodox planning is quite insufficient, in that it seldom does more than touch a system through changes of the variables. Planning must be concerned with the structural design of the system itself and involved in the formation of policy.
 
 
</blockquote>
 
</blockquote>
Policies, which are the objective of planning (as the authors of the Bellagio Declaration envisioned it) specify both the institutional changes and the norms and value changes that might be necessary to make our goal-oriented action in a true sense rational and creative (Jantsch, 1970):
+
These two sentences were intended to frame Douglas Engelbart's message to the world – which was to be delivered at a panel organized and filmed at Google in 2007. </p>
<blockquote>Policies are the first expressions and guiding images of normative thinking and action. In other words, they are the spiritual agents of change—change not only in the ways and means by which bureaucracies and technocracies operate, but change in the very institutions and norms which form their homes and castles.”</blockquote>
+
<h3>An epiphany</h3>
</p>
+
<p>In December of 1950 Engelbart was a young engineer just out of college, engaged to be married, and freshly employed. His life appeared to him as a straight path to retirement. He did not like what he saw.</p>
<h3>The emerging role of the university</h3>
+
<p>So there and then he decided to direct his career in a way that will maximize its benefits to the mankind.</p>
<p>The next question in Jantsch's stream of thought and action was roughly this: If [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] is a necessary new capability that our systems and our civilization at large now require, then who – that is, what institution – may be the most natural and best qualified to foster this capability? Jantsch concluded that the university (institution) will have to be the answer. And that to be able to fulfill this role, the university itself will need to update its own system.
+
<p>Facing now an interesting optimization problem, he spent three months thinking intensely how to solve it. Then he had an epiphany: The computer had just been invented. And the humanity had all those problems it didn't know how to solve. What if...</p>
<blockquote>[T]he university should make structural changes within itself toward a new purpose of enhancing the society’s capacity for continuous self-renewal. It may have to become a political institution, interacting with government and industry in the planning and designing of society’s systems, and controlling the outcomes of the introduction of technology into those systems. This new leadership role of the university should provide an integrated approach to world systems, particularly the ‘joint systems’ of society and technology.” </blockquote>
+
<p>To be able to pursue his vision, Engelbart quit his job and enrolled in the doctoral program in computer science at U.C. Berkeley.</p>
In 1969  Jantsch spent a semester at the MIT, writing a 150-page report about the future of the university, from which the above excerpt was taken, and lobbying with the faculty and the administration to begin to develop this new way of thinking and working in academic practice.</p>
 
<h3>Evolution is the key</h3>
 
<p>In the 1970s Jantsch lived in Berkeley, wrote prolifically, and taught occasional seminars at the U.C. Berkeley. This period of his life and work was marked by a new insight, which was triggered by his experiences with working on global / systemic change, and some profound scientific insights brought to him, initially, by Ilya Prigogine, the Nobel laureate scientist who visited Berkeley in 1972. Put very briefly, this involves two closely related insights:
 
<ul>
 
<li> we cannot – that is, nobody can – recreate the large systems including the largest, our civilization, in any way directly; where we <em>can</em> make a difference – and hence where we must focus on – is their evolution;</li>
 
<li>the living and evolving systems are governed by an entirely different dynamic than physical systems – which needs to be understood</il>
 
</ul></p>
 
<p>Jantsch was especially interested in understanding the relationship between our – that is, people's values and ways of being, and our evolution. He saw us as entering the "evolutionary paradigm". Bela Banathy cited him extensively in "Guided Evolution of Society". The title of Jantsch's 1975 book "Design for Evolution" points unequivocally in the same direction as our four core keywords. The keyword [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] we adopted from him directly.</p>
 
<h3>The incredible part</h3>
 
<p>Norbert Wiener was of course not alone in observing that a meta-discipline was needed, that would (1) provide a common language and body of knowledge for communication among and beyond the sciences and (2) provide us an understanding of systems, so that we may secure that they the core socio-technical systems we are creating are suitably structured, and thereby also "sustainable". Von Bertalanffy reached similar conclusions from the venture point of mathematical biology; and so did a number of others, in their own way. In 1954 Bertalanffy was joined by  biologist Ralph Gerard, economist Kenneth Boulding and mathematician Anatol Rapoport at the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences – and they created an organization that later included (as a federation) most of the others including cybernetics, and became the International Society for the Systems Sciences. Realizing the importance of this new frontier, many brave young women and men joined the systems movement, and the body of research grew immensely.</p>
 
<p>The research in the part of games theory that Wiener found especially interesting also subsequently exploded. During the 1950s more than a thousand research articles were published on the so-called "prisoner's dilemma". The message from this research that will be for our story can be found in the opening of the corresponding Wikipedia page: It is that perfectly rational competition, where everyone maximizes the personal gain, can lead to a condition where <em>everyone</em> is worth off than what would be reached through cooperation. </p>
 
<p>Erich Jantsch spent the last decade of his life living in Berkeley, teaching sporadic seminars at U.C. Berkeley and writing prolifically. Ironically, the man who with such passion and insight wrote about how the university would need to change to help us master our future, and lobbied for such change – never found a home and sustenance for his work at the university. </p>
 
<p>In 1980 Jantsch published two books with a wealth of insights on "evolutionary paradigm" – whose purpose was to inform the evolutionary path of our society; he  passed away after a short illness, only 51 years old. An obituarist commented that his unstable income and inadequate nutrition might have been a factor. In his will Jantsch asked that his ashes be tossed into the ocean, "the cradle of evolution".</p>
 
<p>In that same year Ronald Reagan became the 40th U.S. president on the agenda that the market, or the free competition, is the <em>only</em> thing we can rely on. That same "simple-minded theory", as Norbert Wiener called it, marks our political life still today. It is also what directs our technological innovation and creative work in general, and hence also our travel into the future.</p>
 
 
</div>
 
</div>
 +
<div class="col-md-3"> [[File:Engelbart.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Douglas Engelbart]]</center></small></div>
 
</div>
 
</div>
 
<div class="row">
 
<div class="row">
  <div class="col-md-3"></div>
+
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Wiener's paradox</h3>
+
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Silicon Valley failed to hear its giant</h3>
<p>"As long as a paradox is treated as a problem," David Bohm wrote, "it can never be dissolved." We must recognize that what we are witnessing is a paradox and not a problem. Indeed, this paradox might well be identified as "the mother of all problems" – or at least the characteristic problems that mark our era.</p>
+
<p>It took awhile for the people in Silicon Valley to realize that the core technologies that led to "the revolution in the Valley" were not developed by Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, or at the XEROX research center where <em>they</em> found them – but by Douglas Engelbart and his SRI-based research team. On December 9, 1998 a large conference was organized at the Stanford University to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Engelbart's Demo, where this technology was first shown to the public. Engelbart received the highest honors an inventor could have, including the Presidental award and the Turing prize (the computer science equivalent to Nobel Prize). Allen Kay (another Silicon Valley icon) honored him  even more highly, by asking "What will the Silicon Valley do when they run out of Doug's ideas?".</p>
<p>In her 2014 keynote to the American Society for Cybernetics, Mary Catherine Bateson – the daughter of two prominent forefathers of cybernetics and of the systems movement, Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson observed that cybernetics should not really organize itself as a scientific discipline; that its main reason for existence is "cognitive therapy" to help us the people overcome a cognitive illusion we acquire in early childhood, namely that the direct cause-effect relationships we perceive are the only thing that matters.</p>
+
<p>And yet it was clear to Doug – and he made it clear to others that the core of his vision was neither implemented nor understood. </p>  
<p>At the 2015, at the 59th yearly meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, with Mary Cathrine Bateson also present, we presented a talk titled "Wiener's paradox – we can dissolve it together". Our point was that <em>the very first thing</em> that the world needed to hear from the systems movement, the one that Wiener reported already in 1948 (that we cannot and should not trust "the market" to direct our ride into the future; that systemic insights and action must necessarily be used if we want this ride to be "sustainable"), the one that is necessary for the whole opus of the systems sciences to become socially relevant and impactful – has not yet been communicated. And that to dissolve the paradox, the traditional-academic organization and activities (that evolved within traditional academic disciplines for an entirely different purpose) will not be sufficient – and that some systemic self-organization, or what Engelbart called "bootstrapping" (see below) will be necessary.</p>
+
<p>Doug felt celebrated for wrong reasons. He was notorious for telling people "You just don't get it!" The slogan "Douglas Engelbart's Unfinished Revolution" was coined as the title of the 1998 Stanford University celebration of the Demo, and it stuck.</p>
<p>But we also use this keyword, [[Wiener's paradox|<em>Wiener's paradox</em>]], in a broader sense – to signify that <em>the entire academic enterprise</em> might now find itself in a similarly paradoxical situation.</p> </div>
+
<p>On July 2, 2013 Doug passed away, celebrated and honored yet feeling he had failed.</p>
<div class="col-md-3 round-images">[[File:Bateson2.jpeg]]<br><small><center>[[Mary Catherine Bateson]]</center></small></div>
+
 
 +
<h3>The elephant was in the room</h3>
 +
<p>What was the essence of "Engelbart's unfinished revolution"? What did he see, which he was unable to communicate? </p>
 +
<p>Whenever Doug was speaking or being celebrated, that elephant, which is the main hero of our stories, was present in the room. A huge, spectacular animal in the midst of a university lecture hall – should that not be a front-page sensation and the talk of the town? How can such a large thing remain unseen?</p>
 +
<p>And yet nobody saw it!</p>
 +
<p>If this may seem incredible – take a look at these first four slides that Doug prepared for the 2007 "A Call to Action" panel at Google. This presentation was organized to share with the world Doug's final message, at the end of his career.</p>
 +
<p></p>
 +
<p>[[File:Doug-4.jpg]]<br><small><center>The title and the first three slides that were prepared for Engelbart's "A Call to Action" panel at Google in 2007.</center></small></p>
 +
<p></p>
 +
<p>You will notice that Doug's "call to action" requested new thinking. And that he introduced this new thinking by a variant of the bus metaphor we used to introduce [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]]. </p>
 +
<p>And that the third slide brought the "nervous system" metaphor we shared on the front page.</p> 
 +
<p>If you wonder what happened with this call to action, you'll easily find the answer by googling Engelbart's 2007 presentation at Google. The Youtube recording will show that  
 +
<ul>
 +
<li>these four slides were not even shown at the event (the first slide that was shown was number four)</li>
 +
<li>no call to action was mentioned</li>
 +
<li>Engelbart is still introduced in the Youtube subtitle as "the inventor of the computer mouse"</li>
 +
</ul>
 +
</p>
 +
 
 +
<h3>The 21st century's printing press</h3>
 +
<p>How important was Engelbart's intended gift to humanity?</p>
 +
<p>The printing press is a fitting metaphor in our context, as the technology that made the Enlightenment possible, by giving access to knowledge.</p>
 +
<p> If we now ask what technology might play a similar role in the <em>next</em> enlightenment, you will probably answer "the Web" (or "the network-interconnected interactive digital media" if you are technical). And you would probably be right.</p>
 +
<p>But there's a catch! </p>
 +
<p>While there can be no doubt that the printing press led to a revolution in knowledge work, <em>that revolution was only a revolution in quantity</em>. The printing press could only do what the scribes were doing – while making it faster!</p>
 +
<p>The network-interconnected interactive digital media, however, is a disruptive technology of a completely <em>new</em> kind. It is not a broadcasting device, but in a truest sense <em>a nervous system</em> connecting people together! </p>
 +
<p>A nervous system is a thinking and sense-making organ, not a broadcasting device.</p>
 +
<p>To use it right, a <em>a new and different specialization and organization</em> of knowledge work must be put in place.</p>  
 +
 
 +
<h3>Bootstrapping</h3>  
 +
<p>You may now easily guess what it was that, Doug felt, he was leaving unfinished. He called it "bootstrapping" – and we've adopted that as one of our [[keywords|<em>keyword</em>]]. </p>
 +
<p>Bootstrapping was so central to Doug's thinking, that when he and his daughter Christina created an institute to realize his vision, they called it "Bootstrap Institute" – and later changed the name to "Bootstrap Alliance" because, as we shall see, an alliance rather than an institute is  needed to do bootstrapping. </p>
 +
<p>"Bootstrapping" meant several things.</p>
 +
<p>Being a systemic thinker, Doug saw that the most effective way in which one can invest his creative capabilities (and make "the largest contribution to humanity") – is by applying them to improve <em>everyone's</em> creative capabilities, including one's own.</p>
 +
<p>And most importantly, Doug saw that <em>the systemic change</em> was the necessary next step, if "collective intelligence" (which he understood as our ability to respond to rapidly growing complexity and urgency of our problems) should be the result. And that systemic change can only  happen when the people carry it out in their own work and institutions, with their own minds and bodies.</p>
 +
</div>
 
</div>
 
</div>
----
+
-------
 
<div class="row">
 
<div class="row">
  <div class="col-md-3"><h2>The future of innovation</h2></div>
+
<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Right way to innovate</h2></div>
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>A way of looking</h3>
+
<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Democracy for the third millennium</h3>  
<p>By [[innovation|<em>innovation</em>]] we mean creative action that makes a difference in the world, that induces change. We have adapted this most common business concept to our needs – when an idea (insight, invention...) becomes hard-wired in our daily reality, when it has made a difference, then it becomes an "innovation". </p>
+
<p>
<p>Notice that [[innovation|<em>innovation</em>]] is what drives our societal and cultural evolution; it's the movement of our metaphorical 'bus' or Engelbart's 'common economic-political vehicle' in which we ride into the future.</p>
+
<blockquote>
<p>[[innovation|<em>Innovation</em>]] has a result which we have hitherto ignored. This thing has  been a kind of a casualty, a collateral damage, a side effect... of our "successes in business", of the present way in which we've been evolving and innovating and conducting affaires.  Not because it's a small detail – on the contrary! It's because it's so <em>large</em> that we don't see it! Like a mountain on which we may be walking, it determines what and how we see things – but it's not something we can see from the place where we stand. It's what Banathy called "the systems in which we live and work". </p>
+
The task is nothing less than to build a new society and new institutions for it. With technology having become the most powerful change agent in our society, decisive battles will be won or lost by the measure of how seriously we take the challenge of restructuring the “joint systems” of society and technology.
<p>So we have a maaaaajor challenge – to make that thing visible to us the people! We gave our communication design team that challenge, and here is what they came up with. </p>
+
</blockquote>
[[File:System.jpeg]]<br><small><center>System ideogram</center></small>
+
Erich Jantsch reached and reported the above conclusion quite exactly a half-century ago at the time when Doug Engelbart and his team were showing their demo.</p> </div>
<p>The original image was partly animated. But anyhow, this image is a placeholder for a core [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] challenge.</p>
+
<div class="col-md-3"> [[File:Jantsch.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Erich Jantsch]]</center></small></div>
<p>The insight that this System [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is meant to convey is to help us see ourselves as parts or clogs or nuts and bolts in those large systems. Seen as the systems in which we work, they are those large economic-political 'mechanisms' whose purpose is to take our daily work as input, and produce socially useful effects as output. Seen as the systems in which we live, they determine not only the quality of our lives – but also the very course, the very nature of our lives.</p>
 
<p>How are those systems? How have they been evolving?</p>
 
<p>And this is where – to acquire and complete the insight we are talking about here – we need quite a bit more courage, more presence of spirit, more patience to stay focused, than what most of us are able to gather at this point. Those large things are not only our "reality" – they even determine how we see reality, and <em>what</em> we consider to be real. How can we dare to question them, to examine them? And yet that is what we must do.</p>
 
<h3>An insight</h3>
 
<p>A likely result, when we've gone through this exercise – and you'll find ample material and evidence on these pages to get us started – is a two-sided coin. And the value of this coin is beyond astronomical – it's our future, and our world!
 
<ul>
 
<li>"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them," said Einstein. Systemic thinking – or perhaps better said [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] as systemic thinking in action – offers itself as a natural or <em>informed</em> alternative. If we now follow this alternative for just one step, if we begin to apply it – as we just did – then Einstein's most famous word of wisdom can be paraphrased as "We cannot solve our problems with the same <em>systems</em> we used when we created them." If you are still frowning, more evidence – a lot more evidence will be provided on these pages; and an invitation to resolve the remaining hesitancies in a conversation. And so on the one side we find that learning to see and update those systems is a <em>necessary</em> condition for our future. Like evil masters, those gigantic things have been flagrantly and mercilessly misusing our daily work, and turning it <em>against</em> us! And this is true not only for the 99%, but also for the 1%! </li>
 
<li>On the other side we find something even much <em>more</em> spectacular – something which truly requires daring, unusual independence of spirit... to see. And that is that the possibilities for improvement are properly speaking <em>enormous</em>! We don't need to work so hard (not at all)! We don't need to stress and strive and compete. Imagine – just imagine – that 90%, perhaps even 99% of our work may be spent for not better purpose than spinning the wheels of an obsolete and largely dysfunctional "economic-political" 'machinery'! <p>If you follow this line of thought just a few steps further, perhaps with the help of the links provided below and all the rest that's been said on these pages – you will have no difficulty understanding why improvements in our condition, in the efficiency and effectiveness of our work, similar to the ones that have been reached through the Industrial Revolution, may be reached by this approach. You will also have no difficulty – especially with the help of the extensive portfolio of examples or [[prototypes|<em>prototypes</em>]] provided in Federation through Applications – seeing how this new creative frontier will open up a wealth of new possibilities for a broad variety of creative contributions including social entrepreneurship, business and research. You may then indeed be (and you perhaps already are) perplexed by another question – why has this possibility been so consistently ignored, and for such a long time? This indeed most interesting question too can be answered by [[knowledge federation|<em>federating</em>]] knowledge – by putting together insights from the [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] in the humanities. We have initiated this exercise by developing The Paradigm Strategy Poster, which we'll use to initiate our conversations.</li>
 
</ul>
 
</p>
 
<p>So the insight we are talking about is properly speaking a civilizational, or evolutionary, turning point!</p>
 
<p>This turning point begins to act on us and grow into a sweeping change as soon as we begin to look still deeper, and (with the help of the insights of last century's [[giants|<em>giants</em>]]) begin to probe into the nature of our evolutionary and systemic blindness. What we've hitherto perceived as "objective reality" becomes seen as a result of our socialization – and an instrument of our socialization by which our systems, our  unseen and incompassionate 'masters', are keeping us at bay. Paradigmatic changes naturally and readily follow.</p>
 
<h3>A rule of thumb</h3>
 
<p>We are here talking about first of all liberating creative work from that obsolete 'machinery', from being caught up in it – and then using it in an informed way, directing it, so that it may TRULY serve a good purpose.</p>
 
<p>See (once again – we may be repeating ourselves, but we'll fix that...) how [[innovation|<em>innovation</em>]] is done today. In the sciences we obey to our disciplines. In public informing we learn to do certain kind of reporting. Those things evolve slowly, as the market (the modern 'god' to which we the people pay allegiance) dictates. Then technological innovation  comes in, driven by the same market, and asks: What is it that the scientists are doing? And the journalists? We can make that incomparably faster and cheaper for them! The result is, of course, that information becomes a commodity, and we all end up competing over how much of that of that thing we can produce even more, cheaper and faster, and still make a living! But OK, that's just a small example.</p>
 
<p>So what we are converging toward is a rule of thumb. "Innovation must be [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic</em>]]!" We must innovate with the view toward improving "the systems in which we live and work". We are not accustomed to having this sort of 'rule of thumb'. Yet we may now begin to see that <em>anything</em> can be improved, and even <em>radically</em> improved, when it becomes informed – even our work with information, and even our creative work and work in general!</p>
 
<h3>An example</h3>
 
<p>In Federation through Images we saw that the goal of [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] is an evolving hierarchy of insights, principles, rules of thumb... that can inform and guide our handling of basic things in life. We federate basic knowledge, basic insights. What we've just seen is an example. But already this single example shows how this <em>systemic</em> creation and use of knowledge can be a scaffolding for a whole new phase in our evolution – and the beginning of it.</p>
 
</div>
 
 
</div>
 
</div>
----
 
 
<div class="row">
 
<div class="row">
   <div class="col-md-3"><h2>Engelbart's legacy</h2></div>
+
   <div class="col-md-3"></div>
  <div class="col-md-7"><h3>Engelbart and the invisible elephant</h3>
+
<div class="col-md-7">
<p>So what is Engelbart's key insight? What is his core contribution to the emerging paradigm? There are several. But here's perhaps the most spectacular or breath-taking one. Yes, it's the one that gives the "nervous system" to the elephant, so that this huge and mighty animal may not go rampant and destroy everything around...</p>
+
<p>We weave their stories together in the second book of Knowledge Federation trilogy, whose title is "Liberation" and subtitle "Democracy for the Third Millennium". Their stories <em>belong</em> together. The task to "build a new society and new institutions for it", which (as we'll see in a moment) Jantsch saw as necessary for making our society capable of responding to its new condition and issues, is (as we have just seen) also what's needed to use the new information technology in a good or right way.</p>  
<p>Imagine yourself walking toward a wall.</p>
+
<p>But why this subtitle? Why "democracy"?</p>  
<p>You may be thinking your own thoughts. Listening to music. Looking around. But then something happened: And suddenly you see yourself standing still, a wall is in front of you. As your conscious mind is becoming aware of the situation, you realize that your muscles have already reacted to it! </p>
+
 
<p>So Doug's insight, in 1951!!!, was that the digital technology, connected in a network, provides this capability – we can think together just as the cells do in an organism!</p>
+
<h3>Why "democracy"</h3>  
<h3>The printing press could not do that</h3>
+
<p>In the old [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]], democracy is what it is – the free press, the elections, people's elected representatives. As long as that is in place, we have democracy <em>by definition</em>. </p>  
<p>The printing press is a suitable metaphor here – many authors saw it as one of the key contributing factors for the Enlightenment. Suddenly knowledge became widely available, and reproducible! But still the printing press could only mass-produce and BROADCAST data. </p>
+
<p> The nightmare scenario in this traditional conception of democracy is a dictatorship, where a dictator has taken away from the people the democracy and its instruments.</p>  
<h3>Engelbart was not a technology inventor</h3>
+
<p>But there is another way – to consider democracy as a social system where the people are in control.</p>  
<p>In the reality 'on the other side of the mirror', where we [[knowledge federation|<em>federate</em>]] basic and most useful insights as guiding principles for directing our daily lives and our evolution, there can hardly be a more basic and more useful guiding principle than a one by which the use of our creative capabilities is directed. It is therefore worth emphasizing that  Engelbart (while being perceived as a technology inventor, and hence never really receiving any serious academic credit or attention or support for his work and ideas) contributed not only the <em>principle</em> of systemic innovation, but also a suitable methodology – and published it six years before Erich Jantsch and others met in Bellagio to create their own version of such a methodology. </p>
+
<p>The nightmare scenario in this systemic conception of democracy is what Engelbart showed on his second slide it's the condition where <em>nobody</em> is in control, because the system is lacking whatever is needed for <em>anyone</em> to be able to control it!</p>  
<p>Engelbart's methodology, which he called "augmentation",  governed also his own work throughout his long career. It is therefore best to understand his real contributions by explaining them in the context of his very approach to innovation.</p>
+
<p>A dictator is a smaller matter – he might be ousted; he might come to his senses. But when the control is physically or <em>systemically</em> impossible – then we really have a problem!</p>  
<h3>Augmenting human capabilities</h3>
 
<p>[[File:Augmentation.jpeg]]<br><small><center>The slide in Doug's 2007 presentation at Google, which he used to explain "augmentation" – his systemic innovation methodology.</center></small></p>
 
<p></p>
 
<p>So here's the "new thinking". </p>
 
<h3>Engelbart's technical contributions</h3>
 
<p>The meaning and the value of everything that Engelbart created, or dreamed of, must be understood in the context just presented.</p>
 
<p>Even the technical pieces that he received the credit for, the interactive user interface, collaboration on a distance... Doug experimented with linking people together in a seamless way. With a mouse in the right hand and the chorded keyset in the left, and the eyes fixed on the screen one does not even need to move his hands to do most of the instant processing...</p>
 
<p>Similarly the Open Hyperdocument System, which was the design philosophy underlying the NLS system that was demonstrated in 1968. People thinking together will not necessarily create... old-fashioned books and articles! Why not let the new hypermedia documents freely evolve, or even better, be loose conglomerations of a variety of media pieces, assembled together according to need... But the Word and the Powerpoint and the email and the Photoshop... – they are all just reproducing the processing of the pre-Web kind of documents. Each in its own document format, not interoperable... Can't create new workflows!</p>
 
<p>And then there are higher-level constructs, quite a few of them. Let's just mention a couple: the Networked Improvement Community (NIC) is a basic new socio-technical system for a (generic) discipline the B-level improvement activity... But there's another, C level – improving the improvers, organized as a NIC of NICs. But that's exactly what we are calling the [[transdiscipline|<em>transdiscipline</em>]]; and that's quite precisely what the cybernetics, and the systems sciences, are about.</p>
 
<p>It is most interesting in the larger context we are exploring to see that Engelbart developed an original <em>methodology</em> for [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] – already in 1962, i.e. six years before the systems scientists did that in Bellagio! The methodology is based on "augmentation system"... (explain?)</p>
 
<h3>The future of innovation</h3>
 
<p>[[File:Capabilities.jpg]]<br><small><center>The slide Engelbart used in his early 1990s "Bootstrap Seminar" to explain his approach to innovation.</center></small></p>
 
<p></p>
 
<p>So we may see Engelbart's key insight as this "P" in the above slide: Something was possible with the new technology that was not possible before!</p>
 
<p>But what is "N"? What is still needed, so that we may become "collectively intelligent"?</p>
 
<p>The answer is "systemic innovation"...</p>
 
<p>Engelbart also saw an original solution to the Wiener's paradox. He called it [[bootstrapping|<em>bootstrapping</em>]]. The point is to not (only) tell the world how the systems should be, but engage in re-creating systems hands-on. Typically, but not exclusively, this is achieved when the developers of the system use themselves as the initial human part of the system. This idea was the core of Doug's all action in the last two decades of his career. When in the late 1980s he and his daughter Christina created an institute to share his gift to the world, the institute was first called "Bootstrap Institute", and it was later renamed "Bootstrap Alliance". The idea is clear – to bootstrap, the key will be to create alliances with businesses and universities and other institutions, and [[bootstrapping|<em>bootstrapping</em>]] the systemic change together with them.</p></div>
 
</div>
 
  
-----
+
<h3>First things first</h3>
 +
<p>Jantsch got his doctorate in astrophysics in 1951, when he was only 22. Recognizing, like Doug, our society's new and growing needs, he soon got engaged in a study (for the OECD in Paris) of what was then called "technological planning" – i.e. of the strategies for developing and deploying technology.</p> 
 +
<p>So when The Club of Rome was to be initiated (fifty years ago at the time of this writing), as an international think tank whose mission was to provide our society the guiding light it needed, Jantsch was chosen to put the ball in play by giving a keynote speech.</p>
  
 +
<h3>How systemic innovation was conceived</h3>
 +
<p>With a doctorate in physics, it was not difficult to Jantsch to put two and two together and see what needed to be done.</p>
 +
<p>If our civilization is "on a collision course with nature" (as The Club of Rome diagnosed), then (as Engelbart metaphorically put it) its headlights and its steering and braking controls must be dysfunctional. </p>
 +
<p>So right after The Club of Rome's first meeting in Rome, Jantsch gathered a group of creative leaders and researchers in Bellagio, Italy, to put together the necessary insights and methods. The result was a [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] methodology. </p>
 +
<p>By calling it "rational creative action", Jantsch gave a message that is central for us: There are many ways to be creative; but if our creative action is to be <em>rational</em> – then here is what must be done... </p>
 +
<p>Rational creative action begins with forecasting, which explores future scenario, and ends with [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]], as a way to steer toward the most <em>desirable</em> future.
 +
<blockquote>We are living in a world of change, voluntary change as well as the change brought about by mounting pressures outside our control. Gradually, we are learning to distinguish between them. We engineer change voluntarily by pursuing growth targets along lines of policy and action which tend to ridgidify and thereby preserve the structures inherent in our social systems and their institutions. We do not, in general, really try to change the systems themselves. However, the very nature of our conservative, linear action for change puts increasing pressure for structural change on the systems, and in particular, on institutional patterns.</blockquote></p>
  
 +
<h3>The emerging role of the university</h3>
 +
<p>If [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] is the new capability that our institutions and our civilization at large now require, to be able to steer a viable course into the future –  then who (that is, what institution) will foster this capability? Jantsch concluded that the university (institution) will have to be the answer. And that to be able to fulfill this role, the university itself will need to change its own system.
 +
<blockquote>[T]he university should make structural changes within itself toward a new purpose of enhancing the society’s capacity for continuous self-renewal. It may have to become a political institution, interacting with government and industry in the planning and designing of society’s systems, and controlling the outcomes of the introduction of technology into those systems. This new leadership role of the university should provide an integrated approach to world systems, particularly the ‘joint systems’ of society and technology.” </blockquote>
 +
In 1969  Jantsch spent a semester at the MIT, writing a 150-page report about the future of the university, from which the above excerpt was taken, and lobbying with the faculty and the administration to begin to develop this new way of thinking and working in academic practice.</p>
  
<h3>The 20th century printing press</h3>
+
<h3>The evolutionary vision</h3>
<p>The printing press is a suitable metaphor for explaining the substance of of Engelbart's vision, as put forth in his third slide – and its role in the larger picture, in the emerging larger paradigm. Gutenberg's invention is sometimes mentioned as <em>the</em> main factor that led to the Enlightenment – by making knowledge sharing incomparably more efficient. What invention might play a similar role today?</p>
+
<p>Even this brief sketch of Erich Jantsch's vision and legacy would be unjustly incomplete, if we would not mention evolution.</p>  
<p>"The answer is obvious", we imagine you say, "It's the Web!"  "Of course it's the Web", Engelbart might have answered, as he indeed did in his very first slide. "But we've also got to change our way of thinking." Doug's second slide pointed to <em>systemic</em> thinking as the new thinking that needs to be used. His third slide was there to explain exactly why this new thinking is the key to making a radically better use of information technology. Considering the importance of this matter, you'll grant us the time and the pleasure of taking a closer look at each of its three paragraphs.</p>
+
<p>Jantsch had at least two strong reasons for this interest. The first one was his insight – or indeed lived experience – that the basic institutions and other societal systems were too immense and inert to be change by human action. And that changing the way the systems evolve provided a whole other degree of impact.</p>  
<p>The first paragraph sets the stage for Doug's core discovery.
+
<p>Another reason Jantsch had for this interest was that he saw it as a genuinely new paradigm in science, and an emerging scientific frontier.
<blockquote>Many years ago I dreamed that digital technology could greatly augment our collective human capabilities for dealing with complex, urgent problems.</blockquote>
+
<blockquote>
Doug's observation posited on his second slide, that our civilization was rushing into the future at an accelerating speed, led him to identify the accelerated or "exponential" growth of a single factor, "complexity times urgency", as a core challenge to be tackled by "augmenting our collective intelligence". </p>
+
With Ervin Laszlo we may say that having addressed ourselves to the understanding and mastering of change, and subsequently to the understanding of order of change, or process, what we now need is an understanding of order of process (or order of order of change) in other words, an understanding of evolution.
<p>The second paragraph frames the core of Engelbart's vision.
+
</blockquote> </p>  
<blockquote>Computers, high-speed communications, displays, interfaces—as if suddenly, in an evolutionary sense, we are getting a super new nervous system to upgrade our collective social organisms.</blockquote>
+
<p>Jantsch spent the last decade of his life living in Berkeley, teaching sporadic seminars at U.C. Berkeley and writing prolifically. Ironically, the man who with such passion and insight lobbied that the university should take on and adapt to its vitally important new role in our society's evolution – never found a home and sustenance for his work at the university. </p>
"A super new nervous system!" The reference here is to the completely new capability that the new media technology affords us. Doug called it CoDIAK (for Concurrent Development, Integration and Application of Knowledge). The key point is in the word "concurrent". We are linked together in such a way that we can think together and create together – as if we were nerve cells in a single organism. You put something on the Web and <em>instantly</em> anyone in the world can see it! People can be subscribed and be notified. You may have a question – someone else may have an answer... Compare this to the printing press – which could only vastly speed up what the people (the scribes, or the monks in the monasteries) were <em>already</em> doing – copying manuscripts. But the principle of operation remained the same – publishing! But when we are all connected to each other through interactive media technology – <em>completely new</em> processes become possible. And as we shall see – also <em>necessary</em>!</p>
+
<p>In 1980 Jantsch published two books about  "the evolutionary paradigm", and passed away after a short illness, only 51 years old. In his will he asked that his ashes be tossed into the ocean, "the cradle of evolution".</p>
<p>To see how this may help us deal with complexity and urgency of problems, imagine your own organism going toward a wall. (You may think this matter is simple – but we know <em>scientifically</em> that there is some quite complex processing of sensory data that leads to this gestalt.) Imagine now that your eyes see that something is wrong, but are trying to communicate it to the brain by publishing research articles in some specialized field of science. Imagine furthermore that the cells in your nervous system have not specialized and organized themselves to make sense of impulses, filter out the less relevant ones... Imagine that everyone in your body is using the nervous system to merely <em>broadcast</em> information! Would you be confused? Well that's exactly the condition in which the development of information technology has brought us to. </p>
 
<p>The third paragraph points to the unfulfilled part, which remained only a dream.
 
<blockquote>I dreamed that people could seriously appreciate the potential of harnessing the technological and social nervous system to improve the collective IQ of our various organizations.</blockquote>
 
Technological <em>and</em> social nervous system. Doug never tired of emphasizing that what the technology does and what the people do must evolve together. And that progress of the "tools system" has not been paralleled with a similar progress of the "human system".  </p>
 
<h3>The incredible part</h3>
 
<p>There are several points that make this history of Doug in a true sense incredible. The first one is that he had this epiphany already in  1951, when there were only a handful of computers in the world, and (practically) nobody had seen one. Those computers were gigantic monsters made out of old-fashioned radio tubes; and they served exclusively for scientific calculations in large labs such as Los Alamos. At that point Doug saw people linked to computers via interactive video terminals, and through computers to each other, through an interactive network. </p>
 
<p>The other incredible point is that he tried for more than a half-century to explain his insight to the Silicon Valley – and failed!</p>
 
<p>We like to point out that on the many occasions where Engelbart was talking, or being celebrated, there was an 'invisible elephant' in the room (we use this metaphor, of an [[invisible elephant]], to point to the large societal paradigm that is emerging from the fog of our awareness). What Engelbart was pointing toward (just look at the above photo), where he wanted to take us by issuing his "call to action" (as we shall see in more detail below) was a whole new paradigm – first of all in IT innovation, then in creative work, and then in the evolution of our knowledge, and by extension in the evolution of our society at large. What he ended up with was a mere little mouse!</p>
 
<p>If you now google Engelbart's 2007 presentation at Google and watch the recording of the event and its presentation on Youtube, you will see that Doug is introduced as "the inventor of the computer mouse"; that no call to action was mentioned; and that the four slides we showed above – which were (as we shall see below) needed to understand the meaning and the value of his technical contributions, not to speak of those not yet seen and implemented ones – <em>were not even shown</em> on this event!</p>
 
<h3>The invisible elephant</h3>
 
<p>And so it turned out that every time Doug was giving a talk, or being celebrated, there was (metaphorically speaking – we use single quotes to enclose our metaphors) an 'invisible elephant' in the room. A huge exotic animal in the midst of an urban lecture hall – should this not be a major sensation? But alas, the [[invisible elephant|<em>elephant</em>]] remained invisible! And so while our hero was enthusiastically describing this yet unseen animal's ears and trunk and tail, the audience heard him only talk about a fan and a hose and a rope. Naturally, they failed to make the connections.</p>
 
<h3>A story worth telling</h3>
 
<p>You may now see some of the reasons why we found this history worth telling. One of them is that it's a true sensation when we properly understand it, and also a most relevant one – because it points to paradigm-related cognitive impediments, which hinder even the smartest and most successful among us to understand or even to <em>hear</em> (for an entire half-century!)  an insight whose nature is to challenge and shift  the prevailing paradigm (think of Galilei in prison).</p>
 
<p>Another reason – why we told this story on multiple occasions, for example as a springboard story at the opening of the Leadership and Systemic Innovation PhD program at the Buenos Aires Institute of Technology, which we'll come back to further below. So many economies and regions around the globe tried, and often failed, to transplant the entrepreneurial culture and activity of the Silicon Valley to their own soil. This story shows that something else – something much larger indeed – may be not only possible but also easy; something that the Silicon Valley <em>failed</em> to achieve or even understand – owing to the idiosyncrasies of its culture. </p>
 
 
</div>
 
</div>
 
</div>
 
</div>
-----
+
-------
 
<div class="row">
 
<div class="row">
  <div class="col-md-3"><h2>The future has already begun</h2></div>
+
<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Right use of knowledge</h2></div>
<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Be the systems you want to see in the world</h3>
+
<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Giving the society its guiding light</h3>
<p>Fortunately, our story has a happy ending. (...) </p>
+
<p>
<p>Less than two weeks after Douglas Engelbart passed away – on July 2, 2013 his dream was coming true in an academic community. AND the place could not be more potentially impactful than it was! As the President of the ISSS, on the yearly conference of this largest organization of systems scientists, which was taking place in Haiphong, Vietnam, Alexander Laszlo initiated a self-organization toward collective intelligence. </p>
+
<blockquote>
 
+
The human race is hurtling toward a disaster. It is absolutely necessary to find a way to change course.</blockquote>
<p>He really had two pivotal ideas. One was to make the community intelligent. The other one was to make an intelligent system for coordinating change initiatives around the globe. (An extension of.... TBA).</p>
+
[[Aurelio Peccei]] – the co-founder, first president and the motor power behind The Club of Rome – wrote this in 1980, in One Hundred Pages for the Future, based on this think tank's first decade of research.</p>
<p>Alexander was practically born into systemic innovation. Didn’t his father Ervin, himself a creative leader in the systems community, point out that our choice was “evolution or extinction” in the very title of one of his books? And so evolution naturally became Alexander’s choice (we are here talking, of course, about the evolution of our knowledge-work and other systems, so that they may give a suitable orientation to the technological and cultural and social-systemic and other important aspects of our evolution). Alexander’s PhD advisor, Hasan Özbekhan, wrote the first 150-page systemic innovation theory (as part of a project initiated by Jantsch), at the point (in 1968), when systemic innovation was recognized (by the creative elite) as a necessary step toward the resolution of the global issues (which the same elite already then recognized as urgent). Later Alexander worked closely in the circle of Bela Banathy, who for a period of a couple of decades held the torch of the systemic innovation–related developments in the systems community.</p>
+
<p>Peccei was an unordinary man. In 1944, as a member of Italian Resistance, he was captured by the Gestapo and tortured for six months without revealing his contacts. Here is how he commented his imprisonment only 30 days upon being released:
<p>Last not least, as a prominent member of the systems community, as the leader of the International Society for the Systems Sciences Advisory Board and of the Bertalanffy Center in Vienna, Alexander is well positioned to [[knowledge federation|<em>federate</em>]]  the state-of-the-art of the systems sciences into these initiatives.  </p></div>
+
<blockquote>
<div class="col-md-3 round-images">[[File:Laszlo.jpg]]<br><small><center>[[Alexander Laszlo]]</center></small></div>
+
My 11 months of captivity were one of the most enriching periods of my life, and I regard myself truly fortunate that it all happened. Being strong as a bull, I resisted very rough treatment for many days. The most vivid lesson in dignity I ever learned was that given in such extreme strains by the humblest and simplest among us who had no friends outside the prison gates to help them, nothing to rely on but their own convictions and humanity. I began to be convinced that lying latent in man is a great force for good, which awaits liberation. I had a confirmation that one can remain a free man in jail; that people can be chained but that ideas cannot.
 +
</blockquote></p></div>
 +
<div class="col-md-3">[[File:Peccei.jpg]]<br><small><center>[[Aurelio Peccei]]</center></small></div>
 
</div>
 
</div>
 
<div class="row">
 
<div class="row">
  <div class="col-md-3"></div>
+
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>We are here to build a bridge</h3>
+
<div class="col-md-7">
<p>We came to Haiphong with the story about Jantsch and Engelbart; and with the proposal "We are here to build a bridge"...</p>
+
<p> Peccei was also an unordinarily able business leader. While serving as the director of Fiat's operations in Latin America (and securing that the cars were there not only sold but also produced) Peccei established Italconsult, a consulting and financing agency to help the developing countries catch up with the rest. When the Italian technology giant Olivetti was in trouble, Peccei was brought in as the president, and he managed to turn its fortunes around. And yet the question that most occupied Peccei was a much larger one – the condition of our civilization as a whole; and what we may need to do to take charge of this condition.</p>
<p>And indeed – the bridge has been built! The two initiatives have federated their activities most beautifully!</p>
+
 
<p>Prototypes include LaSI SIG & PHD program, the SIL... And The Lighthouse project, among others.</p>
+
<h3>How to change course</h3>  
<p>The meaning of [[The Lighthouse]] (although it belongs really to prototypes, and to Applications): It breaks the spell of the Wiener's paradox. It creates a lighthouse, for the systems community, to attract stray ships to their harbor. It employs strategic - political thinking, systemic self-organization in a research community, and contemporary communication design, to create impactful messages about a single issue, and placing them into the orbit:  CAN WE TRUST "THE MARKET"? or do we need systemic understanding and innovation and design?</p></div>
+
<p>In 1977, in "The Human Quality", Peccei formulated his answer as follows:
</div>
+
<blockquote>
 +
Let me recapitulate what seems to me the crucial question at this point of the human venture. Man has acquired such decisive power that his future depends essentially on how he will use it. However, the business of human life has become so complicated that he is culturally unprepared even to understand his new position clearly. As a consequence, his current predicament is not only worsening but, with the accelerated tempo of events, may become decidedly catastrophic in a not too distant future. The downward trend of human fortunes can be countered and reversed only by the advent of a new humanism essentially based on and aiming at man’s cultural development, that is, a substantial improvement in human quality throughout the world.
 +
</blockquote></p>  
 +
<p>And to leave no doubt about this point, he framed it even more succinctly:
 +
<blockquote>
 +
The future will either be an inspired product of a great cultural revival, or there will be no future.
 +
</blockquote>
 +
On the morning of the last day of his life (March 14, 1984), while working on "The Club of Rome: Agenda for the End of the Century", Peccei dictated to his secretary from a hospital bed that
 +
<blockquote>
 +
human development is the most important goal.
 +
</blockquote>
 +
</p>
 +
<p>Peccei's and Club of Rome's core insight and advice (that the focus should not be on problems but on the condition or the "problematique" as a whole) tends to be ignored not only by "climate deniers", but also by activists and believers. </p>
 +
</div></div>
 
----
 
----
 
<div class="row">
 
<div class="row">
  <div class="col-md-3"><h2>See</h2></div>
+
<div class="col-md-3"><h2 style="color:red">Reflection</h2></div>
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Evangelizing systemic innovation.</h3>  
+
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Connecting the dots</h3>
<p>The emerging societal paradigm is often seen as a result of some specific change, for example to "the spiritual outlook on life", or to "systemic thinking". A down-on-earth, life-changing insight can, however, more easily be reached by observing the stupendous inadequacy of our various institutions and other systems, and understanding it as a consequence of our present values and way of looking at the world. The "evangelizing prototypes" are real-life histories and sometimes fictional stories, whose purpose is to bring this large insight or [[gestalt|<em>gestalt</em>]] across.  They point to uncommonly large possibilities for improving our condition by improving the systems. A good place to begin may be the blog post [https://polyscopy.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/ode-to-self-organization-part-one/ Ode to Self-Organization – Part One], which is a finctional story about how we got sustainable. What started the process was a scientist observing that even though we have all those incredible time-saving and labor-saving gadgets – we seem to be more busy than the people ever were! What happened with all that time we saved? (What do you think...?) [https://polyscopy.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/toward-a-scientific-understanding-and-treatment-of-problems/ Toward a Scientific Understanding and Treatment of Problems] is an argument for the systemic approach that uses the metaphor of scientific medicine (which cures the unpleasant symptoms by relying on its understanding of the underlying anatomy and physiology) to point to an analogous approach to our societal ills. The [https://www.dropbox.com/s/2342lis6oqs4gg4/SI%20Positively.m4v?dl=0 Systemic Innovation Positively] recording of a half-hour lecture points to some larger-than-life benefits that may result. The already mentioned introductory part (and Vision Quest) of [https://polyscopy.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/2574/ The Game-Changing Game] is  a different summary of those benefits. The blog post [https://polyscopy.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/information-age-coming-of-age/ Information Age Coming of Age] is the history of the creation and presentation (at the Bay Area Future Salon) of The Game-Changing Game, which involves Doug Engelbart, Bill and Roberta English and some other key people from the Engelbart's intimate community.</p>
+
<p> </p>  
<h3>Evangelizing knowledge federation.</h3>
+
<p>[[File:Elephant.jpg]]<br><small><center>It remains to connect the dots.</center></small></p>
<p>The wastefulness and mis-evolution of our financial system is of course notorious. Yet perhaps even more spectacular examples of mis-evolution, and far more readily accessible possibilities for contribution through improvement, may be found in our own system – knowledge-work in general, and academic research, communication and education in particular. (One might say that the bankers are doing a good job making money for the people who have money...) That is what these evangelizing prototypes for knowledge federation are intended to show. On several occasions we began by asking the audience to imagine meeting a fairy and being approached by (the academic variant of) the usual question "Make a wish – for the largest contribution to human knowledge you may be able to imagine!" What would you wish for? We then asked the audience to think about the global knowledge work as a mechanism or algorithm; and to imagine what sort of contribution to knowledge a significant improvement to this algorithm would be. We then re-told the story about the post-war sociology, as told by Pierre Bourdieu, to show that even enormously large, orders-of-magnitude improvements are possible! Hear the beginning of our 2009  [http://folk.uio.no/dino/KF/KF.swf evangelizing talk at the Trinity College, Dublin], or read (a milder version) at the beginning of [http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-552/Karabeg-Lachica-KF08.pdf this article].</p>
+
<p> </p>  
<p>[[Knowledge Work Has a Flat Tire]] is a springboard story we told was the beginning of one of our two 2011 Knowledge Federation introductory talks to Stanford University, Silicon Valley and the world of innovation (see the blog post [https://polyscopy.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/knowledge-federation-an-enabler-of-systemic-innovation/ Knowledge Federation – an Enabler of Systemic Innovation], and the article linked therein). [https://polyscopy.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/eight-vignettes-to-evangelize-a-paradigm/ Eight Vignettes to Evangelize a Paradigm] is a collection of such stories.</p>
+
<p>Already connecting Peccei's core insight with the one of Heisenberg will bring us a step further.</p>  
<h3>Paradigm Strategy poster</h3>
+
<p>Peccei observed that our future depends on our ability to revive <em>culture</em>, and identified improving the human quality is the key strategic goal. Heisenberg explained that the "narrow and rigid" way of looking at the world that the 19th century science left us was damaging to culture  and in particular its parts on which the human quality depended. And that the "dissolution" of this rigid frame was due for intrinsic or academic reasons.</p>
<p>When the above stories are heard and digested, not only the story of Engelbart must seem incredible, but really the entire big thing: How can it be possible that we the people have ignored insights whose importance literally cannot be overstated? Why don't we innovate on the level of our basic institutions or systems – just as we innovate in technology? Why is there this surreal gap between our cleverness in the small (think of your smart phone) and our lack of attention to the infinitely larger and incomparably more imortant (our knowledge work at large)? What is really going on? Perhaps there is something we need to understand about ourselves, something very basic, that we haven't seen before? It turns out – and isn't this what the large paradigm changes really are about – that the heart of the matter will be in an entirely different perception of the human condition, with entirely new issues... Here is where the real story begins – and it involves weaving together the research and the [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] in the humanities. That is what The Paradigm Strategy poster aims to model, as one of our prototypes. Here is where the [[vignettes|<em>vignette</em>]] are woven together into all those higher-level constructs: [[threads|<em>threads</em>]], [[patterns|<em>patterns</em>]], and ultimately to a [[gestalt|<em>gestalt</em>]], showing what is to be done. The [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] here represent sociology, linguistics, cognitive science, philosophy... They include Bauman, Bourdieu, Chomsky, Damasio, Nietzsche... We'll say more about the substance of this conversation piece in Federation through Conversations. For now you may just explore [http://www.knowledgefederation.net/Misc/ThePSposter.pdf The Paradigm Strategy poster] on your own.
+
<p>Connecting the ideas of Jantsch and Engelbart is even easier, they are just two sides of a single coin. The new information technology can give us the vision we need – provided that [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] is in place, to reconfigure our communication. And if we should also be able to take advantage of that vision and steer – [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] must be there to give us control.</p>
</p>
+
<p>Our key task, our natural next step, is an institution that can give us the capability to evolve knowledge work further – and to use the resulting knowledge to steer the evolution of other systems as well.</p>    
<h3>Systemic Innovation book</h3>
+
</div></div>
<p>"Systemic Innovation" is the title of the book manuscript in the making, which is intended to be the second book in [[Knowledge Federation Trilogy]] (a small book series with which we intend to break the news about [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] to the general public – and initiate the corresponding dialog). The tentative subtitle of this book is "Democracy for the Third Millennium".</p>
+
-----
<p>A note about the subtitle: In the present and so stubbornly persisting order of things or paradigm, "democracy" is the institutions and processes that we associate with this word ("free elections", "free press"...). It is commonly assumed that when all this is in place, then so is democracy – and we the people are in control. The nightmare scenario in this order of things is a dictatorship – where a dictator has taken from the people all those affordances of control and tokens of freedom. But there's a <em>worse</em> scenario – and that's what Engelbart's second slide at Google was pointing to – where <em>nobody</em> has control, simply because the system or systems in which we ride into the future do not afford the possibility of control <em>by design</em>. The dictator may come to his senses; his more reasonable son may succeed him. But if our ride into the future is such that <em>nobody</em> can control it – then we really have a problem!</p>
+
<div class="row">
<p>The book narrative weaves together the histories of Doug Engelbart and Erich Jantsch, as two visionary thinkers who lived and worked in close vicinity to each other, near the two ends of the Golden Gate bridge spanning the San Francisco Bay. Each of them needed the other one to complete his dream (give us the people the vision and control we need to steer safely into the future); and yet they never met or collaborated and it is uncertain whether at all they knew about each other. This story is of course a metaphor for the two lines of activity that those two unordinary men represent as interests and as icons – technological innovation / knowledge media / [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] (Engelbart), and systems science / contemporary issues / [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] (Jantsch). And for the need to combine those two lines of activity.</p>
+
<div class="col-md-3"><h2><em>Our</em> story</h2></div>
<p>While this book is being written, let's just share here another story and [[thread|<em>thread</em>]] – which will both touch upon a theme from Engelbart's 2007 presentation at Google which we've so far ignored ("the breaking controls" on his second slide), and give a hint that may explain the subtitle.</p>
 
<p>So imagine a bright young man, Jørgen Randers by name, traveling from Oslo to Boston, in 1969, to do a doctorate in physics at the MIT. And who having heard a talk by Jay Forrester (systems scientist and founding father of "system dynamics") decided (just as Jantsch did a bit earlier in time and a bit later in his career) that it would not be physics but systems sciences that his career would be devoted to.</p>
 
<p>Jørgen ended up being one of the four authors, all just as young as he was, of what is still most sold and most talked about book on the environmental issues – The Club of Rome report "The Limits to Growth". So imagine now that this bright young man reached the conclusion that our civilization would eventually come to a bitter end – unless... </p>
 
<p>What followed was a series of nonsensical public debates, which marked Jørgen's life. </p>Much later he would bring his experiences to the conclusion that "The need is for ..." – see him say that in [https://youtu.be/SzUKVqD-xKs?t=4m27s the trailer of The Last Call documentary] (the entire six-minute trailer is of course well worth you time and attention). All that really needed to be said – and that is difficult to argue with <em>even without</em> the simulation study – is that our civilization needs 'brakes' – see
 
<ul>
 
<li>The article [http://journals.isss.org/index.php/proceedings57th/article/view/2080/727 Bootstrapping Social-Systemic Evolution], by which Knowledge Federation introduced itself to the systems community at the above-mentioned ISSS57 conference in Haiphong.</li>
 
<li>The [https://www.dropbox.com/s/sirn5scutkgrm6w/Democracy%202.0.m4v?dl=0 recording of a lecture] where this is told as a springboard story in Democracy 2.0 lecture series at Buenos Aires Institute of Technology</li>
 
</ul></p>
 
<p>The book then sets the stage for a short survey of the contemporary developments, including the development of [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]], as we briefly pointed out above. </p>
 
<ul>
 
<li>The Incredible History of Doug continues. We proposed to some of the leaders at Google and at Stanford University, who knew us from before, to take advantage of this year's 50th anniversary of Engelbart's "Mother of All Demos" and correct the historical errors by (1) explaining his vision and contributions, and giving him proper credit; (2) extending that line of action into institutionalizing his work and vision – and thereby "completing Engelbart's unfinished revolution" see [https://docs.google.com/document/d/1isj9-vsEkjikt9wYG9xYhj8az9904CaFl-Ko9qxzjXw/edit?usp=sharing this Google document].</li>
 
  
</ul>  
+
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Engelbart's dream came true</h3>
 +
<p>Less than two weeks after Engelbart passed away, in July 2013, his wish to see his ideas taken up by an academic community came true!</p>
 +
<p>And the community – the International Society for the Systems Sciences – couldn't have been better chosen.</p>
 +
<p>At this society's 57th yearly conference, in Haiphong Vietnam, the ISSS began to self-organize according to Engelbart's principles – by taking advantage of new media technology, and aiming to become collectively intelligent. Engelbart's name was often heard.</p>
 
</div></div>
 
</div></div>
 +
<div class="row">
 +
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
 +
<div class="col-md-6">
 +
<h3>Jantsch's legacy lives on</h3>
 +
<p>Alexander Laszlo was the ISSS President who initiated the mentioned development.</p>
 +
<p>Alexander was practically born into systemic innovation. His father Ervin, himself a creative leader in the systems community, pointed out out that our choice was “evolution or extinction” already in the title of one of his books.  So Alexander did the obvious – and became a leader of systemic innovation and guided evolution. </p></div>
 +
<div class="col-md-3 round-images">[[File:Laszlo.jpg]]<br><small><center>[[Alexander Laszlo]]</center></small></div>
 +
</div>
 +
<div class="row">
 +
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
 +
<div class="col-md-7">
 +
<p>Alexander’s PhD advisor was Hasan Özbekhan, who wrote the first 150-page systemic innovation theory, as part of  the Bellagio team initiated by Jantsch. He later worked closely in the circle of Bela H. Banathy, who for a couple of decades held the torch of systemic innovation in the systems community.</p>
  
<!-- OLD BEGINNING
+
<h3>We came to build a bridge</h3>
 +
<p>As serendipity would have it, at the point where the International Society for the Systems Sciences was having its 2012 meeting in San Jose, at the end of which Alexander was appointed as the society's president, Knowledge Federation was having its presentation of The Game-Changing Game (a generic, practical way to change institutions and other large systems) practically next door, at the Bay Area Future Salon in Palo Alto.</p>
 +
<p>Louis Klein – a senior member of the systems community – attended our presentation, and approached us afterwards saying "I will introduce you to some people".  He introduced us to Alexander Laszlo and his team.</p>
 +
<p>"Systemic thinking is fine", we wrote in an email, "but what about systemic <em>doing</em>?" "Systemic doing is exactly what we are about", they reassured us. So we joined them in Haiphong.</p>
 +
<p> "We are here to build a bridge", was the opening line of our presentation, " between two communities of interest, and two domains – systems science, and knowledge media research." The title of our contribution was "Bootstrapping Social-Systemic Evolution". As a springboard story we told about Erich Jantsch and Doug Engelbart, who needed each other to fulfill their missions, but never met, in spite of living and working so close to each other. </p>
  
<p>[[File:Elephants.jpeg]]<br><small><center>Presentation slide pointing to our goal.</center></small></p>
+
<h3>Knowledge Federation was conceived by an act of bootstrapping</h3>
 +
<p>Knowledge Federation was initiated in 2008 by a group of academic knowledge media researchers and developers. At our first meeting, in the Inter University Center Dubrovnik (which as an international federation of universities perfectly fitted our purpose), we realized that the technology that our colleagues were developing could "make this a better world". But that to help realize that potential, we would need to organize ourselves differently. Our second meeting in 2010, whose title was "Self-Organizing Collective Mind", brought together a multidisciplinary community of researchers and professionals. The participants were invited to see themselves not as professionals pursuing a career in a certain field, but as cells in a collective mind – and to begin to self-organize accordingly. </p>
 +
<p>What resulted was Knowledge Federation as a [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] of a [[transdiscipline|<em>transdiscipline</em>]]. The idea is natural and simple: a trandsdisciplinary community of researchers and other professionals and stakeholders gather to create a systemic [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] – which can be an insight or a systemic solution for knowledge work or in any specific domain of interest. In this latter case, this community will usually practice [[bootstrapping|<em>bootstrapping</em>]], by (to use Alexander's personal motto) "being the systems we want to see in the world". This simple idea secures that the knowledge from the participating domain is represented in the [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] and vice-versa – that the challenges that the [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] may present are taken back to the specific communities of interest and resolved. </p>
 +
<p>At our third workshop, which was organized at Stanford University within the Triple Helix IX international conference (whose focus was on the collaboration between university, business and government, and specifically on IT innovation as its enabler) – we pointed to [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] as an emerging and necessary new trend; and as (the kind of organization represented by) [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as its enabler. </p>  
 
<p></p>
 
<p></p>
<div class="row">
+
<p>[[File:BCN2011.jpg]] <br><small><center>Paddy Coulter (director of Oxford Global Media and former director of Oxford University Reuters School of Journalism), Mei Lin Fung (founder of the Program for the Future) and David Price (co-founder of Debategraph and of Global Sensemaking) speaking at our 2011 workshop "An Innovation Ecosystem for Good Journalism" in Barcelona.</center></small></p>  
  <div class="col-md-3"><h2>Glimpses of an emerging paradigm</h2></div>
+
<p>At our workshop in Barcelona, later that year, media creatives joined the forces with innovators in journalism, to create a [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] for the journalism of the future. </p>  
  <div class="col-md-7"><h3>Our goal is to see the whole</h3>
+
<p>A series of events followed – in which the [[prototypes|<em>prototypes</em>]] shown in Federation through Applications were developed.</p>
<p>Although we shall not talk about him directly, the elephant in the above [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is the main protagonist of our stories. It is a glimpse of him that we want to give by talking about all those people and events. This visual metaphor represents the whole big thing – the Renaissance-like change that now wants to emerge. The elephant is invisible, but we will have glimpses of him as soon as we begin to 'connect the dots'. And that's what we are about to do.</p>
+
 
<p>Recall once again Galilei in house prison, the image which we are using here to point to repressed, or not-yet-heard voices of change. Galilei was not tried for his belief in Heliocentricity; that's just a minor technical detail. The big point was that he dared to state in public that when the reason contradicts the scriptures, it is still legitimate to be open to the possibility that the reason might be right. Today there is no Inquisition, and practically no censorship – and yet (as Italo Calvino observed decades ago, when still only the printed text was competing for our attention) the overabundance of our unorgarnized information will do the censoring just as well. And there are also other factors in play, which we will come back to. </p>
+
<h3>Knowledge Federation is a federation</h3>  
<h3>What the visionaries see</h3>
+
<p>Throughout its existence, and especially in this early period, Knowledge Federation was careful to make close ties with the communities of interest in its own domain – so that our own body of knowledge could be federated and not improvised. </p>
<p>It has been said that a visionary is a person who looks at the same things all of us look at, and sees something different. What we here call [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] are the people with an uncommon ability. You may call it intuition, or creative imagination. We think of it as <em>soaring intelligence</em>: Where the rest of might be painstakingly trying to fit the pieces together, they appear to somehow <em>see through</em> the pieces, and anticipate how they might fit together in a completely new way.</p>
+
<p>When our workshops were in Palo Alto, Doug and Karin Engelbart joined us to hear and comment on our presentation in Mei Lin Fung's house. Bill and Roberta English – Doug's right and left hand during the Demo days were with us all the time.</p>  
<p>Some difficulties are, however, inherent in this kind of seeing. Even a visionary can see (metaphorically) only a part of the elephant. This is because [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]], or the elephant, is so large and complex that anyone can look at it only from a certain angle, which is defined by his or her field of interest and background. And when a visionary tries to explain what he sees to the rest of us, then there's another problem – even suitable words are lacking. So we may hear him talk about a rope, a fan or a hose – when really what he's talking about is the large animal's tail, or ear, or trunk.</p>
+
 
<h3>Why visionaries fail to communicate</h3>
+
<h3>The Lighthouse</h3>
<p>The reasons are complex, and the phenomenon is fascinating. We shall look into deeper reasons as we go along. But the large and obvious reason is that they are trying to show us the [[invisible elephant|<em>elephant</em>]], or some of its specific parts. And that our communication, presently, is conceived as fitting things into a (old) paradigm! And so naturally we only hear what fits in, and ignore what doesn't. But (and you will see some quite wonderful examples in a moment) – the real value of the giants' insight is exactly that it <em>changes</em> (improves) the conventional order of things.</p>
+
<p>From a number of [[prototypes|<em>prototypes</em>]] that resulted from our collaboration with the systems scientists, we highlight only one, The Lighthouse.</p>
<p>And so we undertake to enable us to take advantage of the heritage, the jewels we have by materializing the [[invisible elephant|<em>elephant</em>]] sufficiently so that new things can be understood in its context, and fitted in.</p>
+
<p> </p>  
<p>You will now easily understand why our primary interest is not to find out what some [[giants|<em>giant</em>]] "really saw" (even he would not be able to tell us that). What we are above all interested in is to use their views as signs on the road, and ultimately find and see 'the elephant'.</p>
+
[[File:Lighthouse2.jpg]]<br><small><center>The initial Lighthouse design team, at the ISSS59 conference in Berlin where it was formed. The light was subsequently added by our communication design team, in compliance with their role.</center></small>  
<h3>The substance of our project</h3>
+
<p> </p>  
<p></p>
+
<p>If you'll imagine stray ships struggling on stormy seas, then the purpose of The Lighthouse is to show the way to a safe harbor where  [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] is the chosen new way to steer, and to become capable of steering. </p>
<p>[[File:Elephant.jpg]]<br><small><center>Our goal is to organize this activity, and foster this collective capability - of federating knowledge or 'connecting the dots'.</center></small></p>
+
<p>In the context of the International Society for the Systems Sciences as an academic community, The Lighthouse extends its conventional repertoire of activities (conferences, articles, books...) by a single new capability – to inform the public. The task of The Lighthouse is to [[knowledge federation|<em>federate</em>]] the answer to a single key question: Is [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] really necessary? Or is it enough to rely on "the invisible hand" of the market?</p>  
<p></p>
+
<p>You will notice that an answer to this question is needed to give all other work in the community the impact it needs to have.</p>  
<p>Seeing the whole thing is of course fascinating as a spectacle – 'a large exotic animal grazing at our universities, or visiting our lecture halls without being seen'. But the view of it becomes life-changing and essential, when what we are talking about is not really an animal, and not even a finished thing, but something that <em>we</em> need to create together.</p>
 
<p>So our goal is first of all a liberation from a certain fixed way of looking at things, which we acquired while growing up and through education. And then to – not exactly connect all the dots (which may be something each of us will have to do on our own), but foster this whole art, this capability we have all but lost, of connecting dots in general. We undertake to organize it as an academic, and real-world activity. We undertake to institutionalize it, give it the status of "knowledge creation" – which is what it really is, as we have already seen, and as we are about to see. </p>
 
</div></div>
 
<div class="row">
 
  <div class="col-md-3"></div>
 
  <div class="col-md-6"><h3>The substance of this page</h3>
 
<p>So we are about to see only one small part of 'the elephant'. But this will be a crucial part. It will also be a [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] in its own right – a paradigm in knowledge work. In the large puzzle we need to put together, there is a piece we need to create and place in first, because it will show us what all the rest is going to look like.</p>
 
<p>In what follows we will looking at exactly the same 'piece in the puzzle' that we saw in Federation through Images. There we used keywords such as [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]], [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]], and [[guided evolution of society|<em>guided evolution of society</em>]], and the image of the bus with candle headlights to describe it. But while there our angle of looking and focus was on the foundations or  <em>epistemology</em>), here our point of view will be the society's new needs, and the capabilities of new technology. We will then have covered all the three main motivations for [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] that were mentioned on the  front page.</p>
 
<p>We'll tell the stories of two [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] – Douglas Engelbart as the icon of [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]], and Erich Jantsch as the icon of [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]]. But we'll also put on our map just a couple of the [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] on whose shoulders <em>they</em> stood.</p></div>
 
<div class="col-md-3">[[File:2Elephants.jpeg]]<br><small><center>The smaller elephant will call the larger one into existence.</center></small></div>
 
 
</div>
 
</div>
------
 
<p>Here is one of the ways in which Peccei later framed the answer (in 1977, in The Human Quality,  his personal reflections on the human condition and his recommendation for handling it):
 
<blockquote>
 
Let me recapitulate what seems to me the crucial question at this point of the human venture. Man has acquired such decisive power that his future depends essentially on how he will use it. However, the business of human life has become so complicated that he is culturally unprepared even to understand his new position clearly. As a consequence, his current predicament is not only worsening but, with the accelerated tempo of events, may become decidedly catastrophic in a not too distant future. The downward trend of human fortunes can be countered and reversed only by the advent of a new humanism essentially based on and aiming at man’s cultural development, that is, a substantial improvement in human quality throughout the world.
 
</blockquote>
 
</p></div>
 
<div class="col-md-3 round-images">[[File:Peccei.jpg]]<br><small><center>[[Aurelio Peccei]]</center></small></div>
 
 
</div>
 
</div>

Latest revision as of 13:40, 23 December 2018

Elephants.jpeg

Even if we don't mention him explicitly, this elephant is the main hero of our stories.

What the giants have been telling us

The invisible elephant

The most interesting and impactful ideas are without doubt those that challenge our very order of things. But such ideas also present the largest challenge to communication! A shared paradigm is what enables us to communicate. How can we make sense of new things, while they still challenge the order of things that gives things meaning?

When they attempt to share with us their insights, the visionaries appear to us like those proverbial blind or blind-folded men touching the elephant. They are of course far from being blind; they are the seers! But the 'elephant' is invisible. We don't even have the words to describe him yet!

And so we hear the giants talk about "the fan", "the hose" and "the rope" – while it's really the ear and the trunk and the tail of that big new thing they are pointing to.

We begin with four dots

The way to remedy this situation is, of course, by connecting the dots. Initially, all we can hope for is to show just enough of the elephant to discern its contours. Then interest and enthusiasm will do the rest. Imagine all the fun we'll have, all of us together, discovering and creating all those details!

We'll begin here with four 'dots'. We'll introduce four giants, and put their ideas together. This might already be enough to give us a start.

The four stories we've chosen to tell will illuminate the elephant's four sides (which correspond to the four keywords that define our initiative):


These stories are vignettes

New thinking made easy

The technique we'll use – the vignettes – is in essence what the journalists use to make ideas accessible. They tell them through people stories!

We hope these stories will allow you to "step into the shoes" of giants, "see through their eyes", be moved by their visions.

By combining the vignettes into threads, we begin to put the elephant together. The threads add a dramatic effect; they let the insights of giants enhance one another.


Right way to knowledge

Physics gave us a gift

(T)he nineteenth century developed an extremely rigid frame for natural science which formed not only science but also the general outlook of great masses of people.

Werner Heisenberg got his Nobel Prize in 1932, "for the creation of quantum mechanics" he did while still in his twenties.

In 1958, this giant of science looked back at the experience of his field, and wrote "Physics and Philosophy" (subtitled "the revolution in modern science"), from which the above lines have been quoted.

In the manuscript Heisenberg explained how science rose to prominence owing to successes in deciphering the secrets of nature. And how, as a side effect, its way of exploring the world became dominant also in our culture at large; in spite of the fact that frame of concepts was

so narrow and rigid that it was difficult to find a place in it for many concepts of our language that had always belonged to its very substance, for instance, the concepts of mind, of the human soul or of life.

Since

the concept of reality applied to the things or events that we could perceive by our senses or that could be observed by means of the refined tools that technical science had provided,

whatever failed to fit in was considered unreal. This in particular applied to those parts of our culture in which our ethical sensibilities were rooted, such as religion, which

seemed now more or less only imaginary. (...) The confidence in the scientific method and in rational thinking replaced all other safeguards of the human mind.

Heisenberg then explained how the experience of modern physics constituted a rigorous disproof of this approach to knowledge; and concluded that

one may say that the most important change brought about by its results consists in the dissolution of this rigid frame of concepts of the nineteenth century.

The most important change?!

What exactly happened

The key to understanding this "dissolution of the narrow frame" is the so-called double-slit experiment. You'll easily find an explanations online, so we'll here only draw a quick sketch and come to conclusion.

A source of electrons is shooting electrons toward a screen - which, like an old-fashioned TV screen, remains illuminated at the places where an electron has landed. Between the source and the screen is a plate pierced by two parallel slits, so that the only way an electron can reach the screen is to pass through one of those slits.

One of the slits?

What really happens is this: When the movement of the electron is observed, it behaves as a particle – it passes through one of the slits and lands on the corresponding spot on the screen.

When, however, this observation is not made, electrons behave as waves – they pass through both slits and create an interference pattern on the screen.

The question naturally arises – are electrons waves, or particles?

The answer is, of course, that they are neither.

What this tells us about our "frames"

Electrons defy both our language and our reason.

Experimental results compelled the scientists to conclude that "wave" and "particle" are concepts, and corresponding behavioral patterns, which we have acquired through experience with common physical objects, such as water and pebbles. And that the electrons are simply something else – they behave unlike anything we have in experience.

In the book Heisenberg talks about the physicists unable to describe the behavior of small quanta of matter in conventional language. The language of mathematics still works – but the common language doesn't!

What this tell us about reality

In "Uncommon Sense" Robert Oppenheimer – Heisenberg's famous colleague and the leader of the WW2 Manhattan project – tells about the double-slit experiment to conclude that even our common sense, however solidly objective it might appear to us, is really derived from our experience with common objects. And that it may no longer work – and doesn't work – when we apply it to things we don't have in experience.

Science rose from a tradition, whose roots are in antiquity, and whose goal was to understand and explain the reality as it truly is, through right reasoning.

Science brought us to the conclusion that there is no right reasoning that can lead us to that goal.

What this tells us about science

Heisenberg was, of course, not at all the only giant who reached that conclusion. A whole generation of giants, in a variety of field, found evidence against the reality-based approach to knowledge.

We'll here let one of them, Benjamin Lee Whorf, summarize the conclusion.

It needs but half an eye to see in these latter days that science, the Grand Revelator of modern Western culture, has reached, without having intended to, a frontier. Either it must bury its dead, close its ranks, and go forward into a landscape of increasing strangeness, replete with things shocking to a culture-trammelled understanding, or it must become, in Claude Houghton’s expressive phrase, the plagiarist of its own past."
It may be interesting to observe that this was written already in the 1940s – and published a decade later as part of a book.

We are at a turning point

The Enlightenment empowered the human reason to rebel against the tradition and freely explore the world.

Several centuries of exploration brought us to another turning point – where our reason has become capable of self-reflecting; of seeing its own limitations, and blind spots.

The natural next step is to begin to expand those limitations, to correct those blind spots – by creating new ways to create knowledge.


Right use of technology

Digital technology calls for new thinking

Digital technology could help make this a better world. But we've also got to change our way of thinking.

These two sentences were intended to frame Douglas Engelbart's message to the world – which was to be delivered at a panel organized and filmed at Google in 2007.

An epiphany

In December of 1950 Engelbart was a young engineer just out of college, engaged to be married, and freshly employed. His life appeared to him as a straight path to retirement. He did not like what he saw.

So there and then he decided to direct his career in a way that will maximize its benefits to the mankind.

Facing now an interesting optimization problem, he spent three months thinking intensely how to solve it. Then he had an epiphany: The computer had just been invented. And the humanity had all those problems it didn't know how to solve. What if...

To be able to pursue his vision, Engelbart quit his job and enrolled in the doctoral program in computer science at U.C. Berkeley.

Silicon Valley failed to hear its giant

It took awhile for the people in Silicon Valley to realize that the core technologies that led to "the revolution in the Valley" were not developed by Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, or at the XEROX research center where they found them – but by Douglas Engelbart and his SRI-based research team. On December 9, 1998 a large conference was organized at the Stanford University to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Engelbart's Demo, where this technology was first shown to the public. Engelbart received the highest honors an inventor could have, including the Presidental award and the Turing prize (the computer science equivalent to Nobel Prize). Allen Kay (another Silicon Valley icon) honored him even more highly, by asking "What will the Silicon Valley do when they run out of Doug's ideas?".

And yet it was clear to Doug – and he made it clear to others – that the core of his vision was neither implemented nor understood.

Doug felt celebrated for wrong reasons. He was notorious for telling people "You just don't get it!" The slogan "Douglas Engelbart's Unfinished Revolution" was coined as the title of the 1998 Stanford University celebration of the Demo, and it stuck.

On July 2, 2013 Doug passed away, celebrated and honored – yet feeling he had failed.

The elephant was in the room

What was the essence of "Engelbart's unfinished revolution"? What did he see, which he was unable to communicate?

Whenever Doug was speaking or being celebrated, that elephant, which is the main hero of our stories, was present in the room. A huge, spectacular animal in the midst of a university lecture hall – should that not be a front-page sensation and the talk of the town? How can such a large thing remain unseen?

And yet nobody saw it!

If this may seem incredible – take a look at these first four slides that Doug prepared for the 2007 "A Call to Action" panel at Google. This presentation was organized to share with the world Doug's final message, at the end of his career.

Doug-4.jpg

The title and the first three slides that were prepared for Engelbart's "A Call to Action" panel at Google in 2007.

You will notice that Doug's "call to action" requested new thinking. And that he introduced this new thinking by a variant of the bus metaphor we used to introduce knowledge federation.

And that the third slide brought the "nervous system" metaphor we shared on the front page.

If you wonder what happened with this call to action, you'll easily find the answer by googling Engelbart's 2007 presentation at Google. The Youtube recording will show that

  • these four slides were not even shown at the event (the first slide that was shown was number four)
  • no call to action was mentioned
  • Engelbart is still introduced in the Youtube subtitle as "the inventor of the computer mouse"

The 21st century's printing press

How important was Engelbart's intended gift to humanity?

The printing press is a fitting metaphor in our context, as the technology that made the Enlightenment possible, by giving access to knowledge.

If we now ask what technology might play a similar role in the next enlightenment, you will probably answer "the Web" (or "the network-interconnected interactive digital media" if you are technical). And you would probably be right.

But there's a catch!

While there can be no doubt that the printing press led to a revolution in knowledge work, that revolution was only a revolution in quantity. The printing press could only do what the scribes were doing – while making it faster!

The network-interconnected interactive digital media, however, is a disruptive technology of a completely new kind. It is not a broadcasting device, but in a truest sense a nervous system connecting people together!

A nervous system is a thinking and sense-making organ, not a broadcasting device.

To use it right, a a new and different specialization and organization of knowledge work must be put in place.

Bootstrapping

You may now easily guess what it was that, Doug felt, he was leaving unfinished. He called it "bootstrapping" – and we've adopted that as one of our keyword.

Bootstrapping was so central to Doug's thinking, that when he and his daughter Christina created an institute to realize his vision, they called it "Bootstrap Institute" – and later changed the name to "Bootstrap Alliance" because, as we shall see, an alliance rather than an institute is needed to do bootstrapping.

"Bootstrapping" meant several things.

Being a systemic thinker, Doug saw that the most effective way in which one can invest his creative capabilities (and make "the largest contribution to humanity") – is by applying them to improve everyone's creative capabilities, including one's own.

And most importantly, Doug saw that the systemic change was the necessary next step, if "collective intelligence" (which he understood as our ability to respond to rapidly growing complexity and urgency of our problems) should be the result. And that systemic change can only happen when the people carry it out in their own work and institutions, with their own minds and bodies.


Right way to innovate

Democracy for the third millennium

The task is nothing less than to build a new society and new institutions for it. With technology having become the most powerful change agent in our society, decisive battles will be won or lost by the measure of how seriously we take the challenge of restructuring the “joint systems” of society and technology.

Erich Jantsch reached and reported the above conclusion quite exactly a half-century ago – at the time when Doug Engelbart and his team were showing their demo.

We weave their stories together in the second book of Knowledge Federation trilogy, whose title is "Liberation" and subtitle "Democracy for the Third Millennium". Their stories belong together. The task to "build a new society and new institutions for it", which (as we'll see in a moment) Jantsch saw as necessary for making our society capable of responding to its new condition and issues, is (as we have just seen) also what's needed to use the new information technology in a good or right way.

But why this subtitle? Why "democracy"?

Why "democracy"

In the old paradigm, democracy is what it is – the free press, the elections, people's elected representatives. As long as that is in place, we have democracy by definition.

The nightmare scenario in this traditional conception of democracy is a dictatorship, where a dictator has taken away from the people the democracy and its instruments.

But there is another way – to consider democracy as a social system where the people are in control.

The nightmare scenario in this systemic conception of democracy is what Engelbart showed on his second slide – it's the condition where nobody is in control, because the system is lacking whatever is needed for anyone to be able to control it!

A dictator is a smaller matter – he might be ousted; he might come to his senses. But when the control is physically or systemically impossible – then we really have a problem!

First things first

Jantsch got his doctorate in astrophysics in 1951, when he was only 22. Recognizing, like Doug, our society's new and growing needs, he soon got engaged in a study (for the OECD in Paris) of what was then called "technological planning" – i.e. of the strategies for developing and deploying technology.

So when The Club of Rome was to be initiated (fifty years ago at the time of this writing), as an international think tank whose mission was to provide our society the guiding light it needed, Jantsch was chosen to put the ball in play by giving a keynote speech.

How systemic innovation was conceived

With a doctorate in physics, it was not difficult to Jantsch to put two and two together and see what needed to be done.

If our civilization is "on a collision course with nature" (as The Club of Rome diagnosed), then (as Engelbart metaphorically put it) its headlights and its steering and braking controls must be dysfunctional.

So right after The Club of Rome's first meeting in Rome, Jantsch gathered a group of creative leaders and researchers in Bellagio, Italy, to put together the necessary insights and methods. The result was a systemic innovation methodology.

By calling it "rational creative action", Jantsch gave a message that is central for us: There are many ways to be creative; but if our creative action is to be rational – then here is what must be done...

Rational creative action begins with forecasting, which explores future scenario, and ends with systemic innovation, as a way to steer toward the most desirable future.

We are living in a world of change, voluntary change as well as the change brought about by mounting pressures outside our control. Gradually, we are learning to distinguish between them. We engineer change voluntarily by pursuing growth targets along lines of policy and action which tend to ridgidify and thereby preserve the structures inherent in our social systems and their institutions. We do not, in general, really try to change the systems themselves. However, the very nature of our conservative, linear action for change puts increasing pressure for structural change on the systems, and in particular, on institutional patterns.

The emerging role of the university

If systemic innovation is the new capability that our institutions and our civilization at large now require, to be able to steer a viable course into the future – then who (that is, what institution) will foster this capability? Jantsch concluded that the university (institution) will have to be the answer. And that to be able to fulfill this role, the university itself will need to change its own system.

[T]he university should make structural changes within itself toward a new purpose of enhancing the society’s capacity for continuous self-renewal. It may have to become a political institution, interacting with government and industry in the planning and designing of society’s systems, and controlling the outcomes of the introduction of technology into those systems. This new leadership role of the university should provide an integrated approach to world systems, particularly the ‘joint systems’ of society and technology.”
In 1969 Jantsch spent a semester at the MIT, writing a 150-page report about the future of the university, from which the above excerpt was taken, and lobbying with the faculty and the administration to begin to develop this new way of thinking and working in academic practice.

The evolutionary vision

Even this brief sketch of Erich Jantsch's vision and legacy would be unjustly incomplete, if we would not mention evolution.

Jantsch had at least two strong reasons for this interest. The first one was his insight – or indeed lived experience – that the basic institutions and other societal systems were too immense and inert to be change by human action. And that changing the way the systems evolve provided a whole other degree of impact.

Another reason Jantsch had for this interest was that he saw it as a genuinely new paradigm in science, and an emerging scientific frontier.

With Ervin Laszlo we may say that having addressed ourselves to the understanding and mastering of change, and subsequently to the understanding of order of change, or process, what we now need is an understanding of order of process (or order of order of change) – in other words, an understanding of evolution.

Jantsch spent the last decade of his life living in Berkeley, teaching sporadic seminars at U.C. Berkeley and writing prolifically. Ironically, the man who with such passion and insight lobbied that the university should take on and adapt to its vitally important new role in our society's evolution – never found a home and sustenance for his work at the university.

In 1980 Jantsch published two books about "the evolutionary paradigm", and passed away after a short illness, only 51 years old. In his will he asked that his ashes be tossed into the ocean, "the cradle of evolution".


Right use of knowledge

Giving the society its guiding light

The human race is hurtling toward a disaster. It is absolutely necessary to find a way to change course.
Aurelio Peccei – the co-founder, first president and the motor power behind The Club of Rome – wrote this in 1980, in One Hundred Pages for the Future, based on this think tank's first decade of research.

Peccei was an unordinary man. In 1944, as a member of Italian Resistance, he was captured by the Gestapo and tortured for six months without revealing his contacts. Here is how he commented his imprisonment only 30 days upon being released:

My 11 months of captivity were one of the most enriching periods of my life, and I regard myself truly fortunate that it all happened. Being strong as a bull, I resisted very rough treatment for many days. The most vivid lesson in dignity I ever learned was that given in such extreme strains by the humblest and simplest among us who had no friends outside the prison gates to help them, nothing to rely on but their own convictions and humanity. I began to be convinced that lying latent in man is a great force for good, which awaits liberation. I had a confirmation that one can remain a free man in jail; that people can be chained but that ideas cannot.

Peccei was also an unordinarily able business leader. While serving as the director of Fiat's operations in Latin America (and securing that the cars were there not only sold but also produced) Peccei established Italconsult, a consulting and financing agency to help the developing countries catch up with the rest. When the Italian technology giant Olivetti was in trouble, Peccei was brought in as the president, and he managed to turn its fortunes around. And yet the question that most occupied Peccei was a much larger one – the condition of our civilization as a whole; and what we may need to do to take charge of this condition.

How to change course

In 1977, in "The Human Quality", Peccei formulated his answer as follows:

Let me recapitulate what seems to me the crucial question at this point of the human venture. Man has acquired such decisive power that his future depends essentially on how he will use it. However, the business of human life has become so complicated that he is culturally unprepared even to understand his new position clearly. As a consequence, his current predicament is not only worsening but, with the accelerated tempo of events, may become decidedly catastrophic in a not too distant future. The downward trend of human fortunes can be countered and reversed only by the advent of a new humanism essentially based on and aiming at man’s cultural development, that is, a substantial improvement in human quality throughout the world.

And to leave no doubt about this point, he framed it even more succinctly:

The future will either be an inspired product of a great cultural revival, or there will be no future.

On the morning of the last day of his life (March 14, 1984), while working on "The Club of Rome: Agenda for the End of the Century", Peccei dictated to his secretary from a hospital bed that

human development is the most important goal.

Peccei's and Club of Rome's core insight and advice (that the focus should not be on problems but on the condition or the "problematique" as a whole) tends to be ignored not only by "climate deniers", but also by activists and believers.


Reflection

Connecting the dots

Elephant.jpg

It remains to connect the dots.

Already connecting Peccei's core insight with the one of Heisenberg will bring us a step further.

Peccei observed that our future depends on our ability to revive culture, and identified improving the human quality is the key strategic goal. Heisenberg explained that the "narrow and rigid" way of looking at the world that the 19th century science left us was damaging to culture – and in particular its parts on which the human quality depended. And that the "dissolution" of this rigid frame was due for intrinsic or academic reasons.

Connecting the ideas of Jantsch and Engelbart is even easier, they are just two sides of a single coin. The new information technology can give us the vision we need – provided that systemic innovation is in place, to reconfigure our communication. And if we should also be able to take advantage of that vision and steer – systemic innovation must be there to give us control.

Our key task, our natural next step, is an institution that can give us the capability to evolve knowledge work further – and to use the resulting knowledge to steer the evolution of other systems as well.


Our story

Engelbart's dream came true

Less than two weeks after Engelbart passed away, in July 2013, his wish to see his ideas taken up by an academic community came true!

And the community – the International Society for the Systems Sciences – couldn't have been better chosen.

At this society's 57th yearly conference, in Haiphong Vietnam, the ISSS began to self-organize according to Engelbart's principles – by taking advantage of new media technology, and aiming to become collectively intelligent. Engelbart's name was often heard.

Jantsch's legacy lives on

Alexander Laszlo was the ISSS President who initiated the mentioned development.

Alexander was practically born into systemic innovation. His father Ervin, himself a creative leader in the systems community, pointed out out that our choice was “evolution or extinction” already in the title of one of his books. So Alexander did the obvious – and became a leader of systemic innovation and guided evolution.

Alexander’s PhD advisor was Hasan Özbekhan, who wrote the first 150-page systemic innovation theory, as part of the Bellagio team initiated by Jantsch. He later worked closely in the circle of Bela H. Banathy, who for a couple of decades held the torch of systemic innovation in the systems community.

We came to build a bridge

As serendipity would have it, at the point where the International Society for the Systems Sciences was having its 2012 meeting in San Jose, at the end of which Alexander was appointed as the society's president, Knowledge Federation was having its presentation of The Game-Changing Game (a generic, practical way to change institutions and other large systems) practically next door, at the Bay Area Future Salon in Palo Alto.

Louis Klein – a senior member of the systems community – attended our presentation, and approached us afterwards saying "I will introduce you to some people". He introduced us to Alexander Laszlo and his team.

"Systemic thinking is fine", we wrote in an email, "but what about systemic doing?" "Systemic doing is exactly what we are about", they reassured us. So we joined them in Haiphong.

"We are here to build a bridge", was the opening line of our presentation, " between two communities of interest, and two domains – systems science, and knowledge media research." The title of our contribution was "Bootstrapping Social-Systemic Evolution". As a springboard story we told about Erich Jantsch and Doug Engelbart, who needed each other to fulfill their missions, but never met, in spite of living and working so close to each other.

Knowledge Federation was conceived by an act of bootstrapping

Knowledge Federation was initiated in 2008 by a group of academic knowledge media researchers and developers. At our first meeting, in the Inter University Center Dubrovnik (which as an international federation of universities perfectly fitted our purpose), we realized that the technology that our colleagues were developing could "make this a better world". But that to help realize that potential, we would need to organize ourselves differently. Our second meeting in 2010, whose title was "Self-Organizing Collective Mind", brought together a multidisciplinary community of researchers and professionals. The participants were invited to see themselves not as professionals pursuing a career in a certain field, but as cells in a collective mind – and to begin to self-organize accordingly.

What resulted was Knowledge Federation as a prototype of a transdiscipline. The idea is natural and simple: a trandsdisciplinary community of researchers and other professionals and stakeholders gather to create a systemic prototype – which can be an insight or a systemic solution for knowledge work or in any specific domain of interest. In this latter case, this community will usually practice bootstrapping, by (to use Alexander's personal motto) "being the systems we want to see in the world". This simple idea secures that the knowledge from the participating domain is represented in the prototype and vice-versa – that the challenges that the prototype may present are taken back to the specific communities of interest and resolved.

At our third workshop, which was organized at Stanford University within the Triple Helix IX international conference (whose focus was on the collaboration between university, business and government, and specifically on IT innovation as its enabler) – we pointed to systemic innovation as an emerging and necessary new trend; and as (the kind of organization represented by) knowledge federation as its enabler.

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Paddy Coulter (director of Oxford Global Media and former director of Oxford University Reuters School of Journalism), Mei Lin Fung (founder of the Program for the Future) and David Price (co-founder of Debategraph and of Global Sensemaking) speaking at our 2011 workshop "An Innovation Ecosystem for Good Journalism" in Barcelona.

At our workshop in Barcelona, later that year, media creatives joined the forces with innovators in journalism, to create a prototype for the journalism of the future.

A series of events followed – in which the prototypes shown in Federation through Applications were developed.

Knowledge Federation is a federation

Throughout its existence, and especially in this early period, Knowledge Federation was careful to make close ties with the communities of interest in its own domain – so that our own body of knowledge could be federated and not improvised.

When our workshops were in Palo Alto, Doug and Karin Engelbart joined us to hear and comment on our presentation in Mei Lin Fung's house. Bill and Roberta English – Doug's right and left hand during the Demo days – were with us all the time.

The Lighthouse

From a number of prototypes that resulted from our collaboration with the systems scientists, we highlight only one, The Lighthouse.

Lighthouse2.jpg
The initial Lighthouse design team, at the ISSS59 conference in Berlin where it was formed. The light was subsequently added by our communication design team, in compliance with their role.

If you'll imagine stray ships struggling on stormy seas, then the purpose of The Lighthouse is to show the way to a safe harbor – where systemic innovation is the chosen new way to steer, and to become capable of steering.

In the context of the International Society for the Systems Sciences as an academic community, The Lighthouse extends its conventional repertoire of activities (conferences, articles, books...) by a single new capability – to inform the public. The task of The Lighthouse is to federate the answer to a single key question: Is systemic innovation really necessary? Or is it enough to rely on "the invisible hand" of the market?

You will notice that an answer to this question is needed to give all other work in the community the impact it needs to have.