The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Earlier this month as part of its Technology for Engagement Initiative, Knight Foundation gathered thought leaders to talk about the best ways to use new tools and platforms to bring communities together around important issues. Attendees were asked, where is this nascent field going, and what issues should we be exploring? Here, Project for Public Spaces' VP of Digital Placemaking Daniel Latorre introduces the Tech for Engagement Manifesto his work group started.
A few weeks ago we were all face to face with laptops down and smartphones mostly in our pockets. An amazing feat for a highly wired group. Asked to lead a manifesto break out group towards the end of our unconference, the civic activist in me gladly accepted such a happily ludicrous task to attempt to do in 30 minutes. What you see below is the product, let's call it an alpha, of five attendees' hack at synthesizing the values we heard at the summit along with some input from the wider summit group over email afterwards.
We were inspired by prior works like the Cluetrain manifesto and the Agile manifesto. They are great examples of how, at various points in time, a community of practice turns to each other and feels compelled to define its values. Defining the fuzzy edges of practice is what any cultural group does to clarify its purpose, identity... its meaning in this world.
The intention we all had was to seed this and have it fleshed out by you, the larger community of civic technologists. So here it is. Let's define our hard-learned values. Where should we go? Well, as Alan Kay once said "the best way to predict the future is to invent it."
Let's be bold in our aspirations and constructive critique.
Let's note the skillful puzzles we face today.
Let's aim for wise tensions worth struggling with.
Check out what we've started and add/edit/remix over in this Etherpad or in the comments below.
"The Tech For Engagement Summit 2012 Manifesto v.1a"
Acknowledging deep challenges, we admit that our world is broken, under-engaged and our community fabric is frayed... yet, right now, we also have powerful technology and social tools to meet our civic needs. Our potential uses and improvements to our civic spaces are still largely unrealized. This is our challenge today.
Facing this challenge, in the last few years we’ve been advocating, studying, testing, building, managing, opening, iterating and creating new practices for applying these powerful tools.
Here’s some of what we’ve learned so far:
Related Tech For Engagement posts:
Four ideas for the future of hackathons
Gaming city planning: Community PlanIt in Detroit
Narratives and gaming: design principles in civic engagement
Friend your neighbor vs mowing her lawn: how technology can deepen engagement
Beyond clicktivism: exploring ways technology can engage citizens in improving their communities