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Constructing Agoras of the Global Village: a Co-laboratory of Democracy on the Conscious Evolution of Humanity.

INTRODUCTION

The 47th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS), which was held in Crete between 6 and 11 July 2003, addressed the issue of the Conscious Evolution of Humanity: Using Systems Thinking to Construct Agoras of the Global Village.

The President of the ISSS 2002-03 and co-chair of the conference, Alexander Christakis, feels very strongly about the ancient Greek concept of the agora: the public space where citizens congregated and engaged in dialogue on common issues. Dr Christakis, or Aleco to his friends and colleagues, was for all practical purposes the godfather of this particular agora, with his conference co-chairperson Ken Bausch and Gianfranco Minati taking the role of the Project Leaders and Diane Conaway, a long-time associate of Aleco, as the Co-laboratory Coordinator making sure everything went smoothly--a rather challenging task considering we were on a Greek island. The ISSS 2003 Annual Conference goals were:

* to define what a democratic global discussion might look like (agora as process);

* to describe what a global village achieved by an effective global discussion might look like (agora as product);

* to explore how local discussions as processes and agoras as product might come about;

* to make explicit what thinking globally and acting locally means for individuals and groups within the ISSS;

* to fashion the ISSS into a model functioning agora;

* to decide how the ISSS can become organized for influencing the course of globalization;

* to discover how to enhance the practice of boundary-spanning dialogue across disciplines and civilizations.

In an effort to achieve these objectives, this specific workshop addressed the fundamental question of how to promote the setting up of agoras of the global village. With a diverse set of participants from different parts of the world engaged in a structured dialogue, facilitated by Surinder Batra, Sabrina Brahms and Marios Michaelides, the overall aim was to generate the interest to conduct similar co-laboratories by participants in different parts of the global village.

The specific objectives set for this workshop were:

* to create a shared understanding of the challenges that will need to be addressed in the construction of agoras of the global village in the context of globalization;

* to build commitment to an action agenda for collaboratively addressing the 'system of challenges'; and

* to begin forging a 'chain of interactions' which will embrace the variety of stakeholders of the situation in implementing the agenda for overcoming the system of challenges.

The 47th annual conference of the ISSS aimed to mark the beginning of a long-term effort to construct agoras of the global village. The expectation was that each of us, the people with knowledge and skills in the practice of Interactive Management (IM), would contribute in our own way to realize this vision. To achieve this it was necessary to attract knowledgeable participants and the ISSS 2003 conference was providing this opportunity. The idea for this workshop came out of Asilomar Conversations in November 2002. A preliminary dialogue began there with a core group of practitioners that included, among others, Aleco, Ken Bausch and Sabrina Brahms. The discussion continued through the Internet (Agoras of the Global Village, 2003).

While many conference participants read the postings on the Internet, few seemed to respond. At the conference, all interested people were invited to participate. This resulted in many people stopping in to observe and get a feel of the process, but few were able to dedicate the full four evenings to active participation. There were some scheduling conflicts with other concurrent sessions that hindered more active participation. Researchers presenting at other sessions were essentially blocked from participation in the co-laboratory.

This problem in participation affected the desired outcome but primarily the expected commitment by the participants to this outcome. It became obvious early on that this would be a more theoretical discussion of IM with experienced participants sharing their concerns rather than a forum to lay the groundwork for an action plan for the formation of global agoras. However, this did not lessen the commitment of the participants and facilitators to come to grips with some of the fundamental issues regarding agoras.

DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY

The workshop was designed to take place in two phases. The first phase aimed to deal with the first objective of the workshop, which was to collectively describe the existing situation and create a shared understanding of the challenges that will need to be addressed in the construction of agoras of the global village in the context of globalization. The second phase was dedicated to exploring options and building commitment to the produced action agenda for collaboratively addressing the 'system of challenges' as well as to begin forging a 'chain of interactions' which will embrace the variety of stakeholders of the situation in implementing the agenda for overcoming the system of challenges.

The total time available for this workshop was 12 hours: four 3-hour evening sessions. It was really a major challenge to try to achieve these objectives in the available time. The hope was that using a structured dialogue approach would snake this possible. The methodology employed was Interactive Management (IM) (Banathy, 1996; Warfield and Cardenas, 1994), which is specifically designed to assist groups in dealing with complex issues, in a reasonably limited time.

IM promotes the integration of contributions from individuals with diverse views, backgrounds and perspectives through a process that is structured, inclusive and collaborative (Alexander, 2002; Christakis, 1973; Christakis and Brahms, 2003). A group of participants who are knowledgeable of the situation are engaged in collectively developing a common framework of thinking based on consensus and shared understanding of the current state of affairs. IM promotes focused communication among the participants in the design process and their ownership of and commitment in the outcome.

IM seeks to appropriately balance the behavioural demands of group work with technical assistance that makes it possible to deal with the complexity of issues (Christakis, 1996). It is designed to prevent groups from prematurely focusing on decisions before they have adequately defined the situation, and under conceptualizing alternatives in the decision process.

IM integrates the following five synergistic components of group decision-making:

(1) a group of knowledgeable participants who represent the variety of perspectives that need to be brought to bear in dealing with the situation;

(2) a trained facilitator who is able to guide the group through the decision-making process;

(3) a computer-assisted consensus-building methodology to help the group generate, structure and select ideas;

(4) an appropriate computer program to increase efficiency and productivity of group work; and

(5) a specially designed physical environment that includes visual display space for ideas and structures promoting transparency and communication among the participants.

IM assigns to participants all responsibility for contributing ideas and the management of the process to a trained facilitator. Methods for generating, clarifying, structuring, interpreting and amending ideas are selected to match the phase of group interaction and the requirements of the situation.

The two methods used in this workshop were the Nominal Group Technique (NGT) and Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM). NGT was employed to encourage the participants' creativity in generating their ideas and the ISM to manage the group's communication.

NGT allows individual ideas to be pooled effectively and is used in situations in which uncertainty and disagreements exist about the nature of possible ideas. It involves five steps:

(1) presentation of a triggering question to the participants;

(2) silent generation of ideas in writing by each participant working alone;

(3) recording of ideas by the facilitator in the plenary on flip-chart paper and posting them on the walls surrounding the group;

(4) focused discussion by the participants on the listed ideas for clarification of their meaning; and

(5) selection by the participants of the snore important ideas through voting.

ISM is a computer-assisted method that helps the group identify the relationship among ideas and impose structure on the complexity of the issue. The ISM software utilizes mathematical algorithms that minimize the number of queries necessary for exploring relationships among a set of ideas. ISM can be used to develop several types of structures such as influence, priority and categorization. The five steps of ISM are:

(1) identification and clarification of a set of ideas (using NGT);

(2) identification and clarification of a 'relational question' (e.g. does A support B?);

(3) development of a structural map by using the relational question to explore connections between pairs of ideas;

(4) display and discuss the map; and

(5) amendment of the map by the group, if necessary.

THE SYSTEM OF CHALLENGES

To creatively generate the challenges, the NGT mentioned above was employed, with the following triggering question:
   'What local and global challenges do we
   anticipate in constructing agoras of the global
   village with the engagement of local stakeholders?


The participants identified 37 challenges, which were projected on the screen and recorded in the computer. A printout of each idea was produced and they were all posted on the wall. In the next step the facilitator pointing at each element asked the person who proposed it to clarify to the group what did he or she meant by that. After each item was clarified the facilitator ticked it of with a marker and went to the next one, until all the challenges were clarified. The clarifications were also recorded and a complete list of the obstacles with their clarifications was produced and circulated to the participants. This list is given in Table 1.

The third step of the process was the selection of the more important Challenges. Each participant was asked to subjectively select five items that he or she thought were of higher importance. Compiling all the votes, a prioritized list was produced and is reproduced here in Table 2.

The top 12 items, the ones that received more votes, were selected from the prioritized list and the participants began a structured dialogue, using ISM (as explained above). The elements were projected on the screen in pairs with the following Relational Question:
   'If challenge X was successfully addressed,
   will that SIGNIFICANTLY support addressing
   challenge Y?'


During each comparison, the participants were engaged in a focused dialogue exploring the particular relationship as it was projected on the screen. This produced a lively exchange among the participants, enabling them to go deep into the meaning of the issues.

This technique, using the simple mathematical concept of 'If A > B and B > C then we can safely assume A > C', minimizes the number of combinations needed to examine the influence interrelation between a number of statements in a reasonable amount of time. The fact that we were not dealing with quantities but with ideas made it necessary for the group to go deep into the meanings of the statements producing rich learnings.

It was an achievement by itself that this so diverse group of participants, from South America, Australia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, India, Japan, the United States and elsewhere, managed to explore so many ideas in the few hours they had during the conference.

After going through all the necessary pair comparisons, a schematic presentation of the result was posted on the wall, indicating with arrows the relationship identified by participants. This influence diagram is given in Figure 1.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

The items as shown on the tree of meaning, as Aleco likes to refer to this interrelationship chart, have different levels of influence. This particular tree had five levels. The lowest influence items are shown at the top of the chart and the ones with the most influence, or the deep drivers, again to use Aleco's jargon, at the bottom.

This chart makes the interpretation of the outcome of the participants' observations easy and visual. In this case, if the deep drivers on level 5, namely, challenge 30: The necessity of an infrastructure to support the construction of global agoras; and challenge 37: Who owns the agora?; were adequately addressed this would support addressing challenge 24: Lack of equal access to information resources.

Then the tree branches off in two directions, on the right, overcoming challenges 30, 37 and 24 significantly helps in How to implement a win-win philosophy? (challenge 20) which in turn contributes to addressing challenge 17: Dealing with conflict of interest among stakeholders. On the left of the chart, on level 3, we have a group of challenges that are influencing each other. These are challenges 1: The linguistic challenges; 4: How do you select and engage stakeholders?; 6: Communication can mean control or democracy; 9: What happens when there is a lack of trust and cooperative ethos?, and 28: How do we continuously develop the agora?. Addressing these challenges will significantly help in addressing challenge 36: Who speaks for stakeholders who cannot speak for themselves?, which in turn will support in addressing challenge 23: How to make ethics relevant for economic decisions?

This was the final influence diagram of challenges to creating agoras of the global village. During the first phase of the workshop there were several important issues that arose. Two of these challenges are important to examine in greater detail because they apply to all forums and agoras.

Who are the stakeholders? is one of the key questions in any dialogue. This was true in the workshop in Crete as well. On the opening night, there were about 20 different countries represented and about 35 participants. They brought a real breadth of ideas to the table. However, because some of these participants never returned, this meant that those ideas had been orphaned. There was no one to defend or support those ideas. Other participants tried to step up and speak for those ideas, but it was very difficult. This issue of identifying stakeholders and engaging them is a critical aspect in any sort of structured dialogue. Without the participation of all the stakeholders, no dialogue can really succeed. Even if their ideas are heard, without the force of a personality to defend and expand these ideas, they may suffer and not be given the attention they need to survive the process.

In the global agora forum, it was also realized within five minutes of starting that one of the facilitators was in fact a prime stakeholder in the process. As one of the authors of the pre-conference documents, Aleco was very interested in the forum. He was brought to the stakeholders' side of the table for some very positive interaction. This process of identifying him as a stakeholder and shifting him from a facilitator to a participant in the dialogue parallels the real-world situation on gathering the stakeholders who are involved in any issue. There may be subtle shifts in the process. Many times it is not clear at the outset who the real stakeholders are.

Another fundamental issue that needs to be addressed from the outset is Who owns the agora? Interestingly, this very important challenge was dropped on the table at the last minute. It was the very last idea. It was only four words and when the author was asked to clarify this statement, he said, 'It is self-evident.' This all-important idea is about power: 'Who owns the agora?' Really, who owns it? Do we own it? Do the stakeholders own it? What about stakeholders who don't know there is an agora? This single issue came up again and again in the next three evenings and very fruitful discussions arose each time. This is an unresolved issue that needs to be explored and elaborated further.

And this issue arose within our own agora in Crete. Did we really subscribe to this idea of agoras of the global village? Were we committing to participate in this? Many of the participants on the first evening were questioning the amount of commitment to the idea of an organization that was fostering agoras in various places. So it became very interesting as we asked this question of ourselves and saw theoretical issues suddenly applied to our own discussions in a recursive way.

PHASE 2: OPTIONS TO ADDRESS THE SYSTEM OF CHALLENGES

Once the influence diagram of the challenges was constructed, options to meet those challenges needed to be considered. This part of the process also started with a triggering question. However, the exact wording of the triggering question proved rather difficult. Were the options those to be taken by local stakeholders or were the options to be taken by some outside agency to provide support to those local stakeholders? In the end, it was decided to focus on the options available to local stakeholders. However, separating these two groups was not easy, as will be seen from the results.

To creatively generate options to address the system of challenges the NGT mentioned above was employed once again with the following triggering question:
   'What are options which, if adopted and
   implemented by local stakeholders, will help
   them meet the system of challenges in
   constructing agoras of the global village?'


After the silent generation of ideas by the participants, a total of 25 options were proposed and recorded, then posted on the wall, presented and clarified, as given in Table 3. The voting resulted again in a prioritized list of options, as given in Table 4.

The top eight options that received the larger number of votes were selected from the prioritized list and the participants began a structured dialogue using the ISM, as in the first phase. Only this time each option was paired with a challenge and projected on the screen with the following relational question:
   Does acting on option Z significantly support
   addressing challenge X?


Similarly to the first phase, during each comparison, the participants were engaged by the facilitator in a focused dialogue about the particular relationship projected on the screen.

The resulting chart, given in Figure 2, shows that three options if acted upon can significantly help in addressing one of the deep driving challenges, number 37: Who owns the agora?

These are Option 4: Identify/ reveal dominators/ owners; Option 24: Link to an established entity that has the capacity to initiate agora construction activity; and Option 16: Promote a climate of community ownership and partnership in addressing concerns/problems/issues.

Another three options if acted upon can significantly help in addressing the other deep driving challenge, number 30: The necessity of an infrastructure to support the construction of global agoras. These are Option 2: Find the resources to support the process of construction; Option 5: Provide infrastructure (that is, methodology and materials) to continuously support the construction and sustainability of global agoras; and Option 12: Organize planetary networks.

Finally, option 19: Identify stakeholders who may not identify themselves as stakeholders; and Option 23: Identify potential problems with language and literacy and disability access, if acted upon can significantly help in addressing challenge 24: Lack of equal access to information resources.

Once again these discussions raised interesting and critical points. The most important was the question of who should act. The discussion evolved around whether the workshop participants should develop a list of actions that we, as the design team, need to adopt to enable local stakeholders to set up their own agora or actions which local stakeholders themselves should take.

Finally, the consensus was to go with actions local stakeholders should take, but once again the discussion of the implications of our words was a challenge to our assumptions and personal commitment. The discussion of where the responsibility lay in our own forum was very fruitful.

CONCLUSION

The results of the workshop on constructing agoras of the global village were mixed. As part of a larger conference on systems science, the expertise of the participants was high, but it also led to problems, as many of the participants were unfamiliar with the IM process. The workshop became a demonstration of IM techniques.

Participants, being scientists of some sort, systems scientists or computer scientists, kept asking the facilitators and the technical staff to continually answer and speak about the process and this derailed the process. So, in addition to the continuing flux of participants, moving in and out of the discussions, there was a multi-layered series of derailments going on here during this process.

Even though the forum was focused on generic agoras, there were many good suggestions and the most important of these were incorporated into the final influence chart. The one question which was at the deepest level still was 'Who owns the agora?' And a second influential question was: 'How can we provide an infrastructure to encourage development of agoras of the global village?' Those are two very important questions. They clearly have no simple answer; they might have no answer outside the context of specific agoras. Certainly in the time allotted for the co-laboratory, only the surface of these questions was touched. Still, ISSS 2003 was a great opportunity for addressing this latter issue of providing an infrastructure for those agoras of the global village to be created. Overall, the usefulness of the interactive management process and structured dialogue in general to create agoras, engage stakeholders, and develop solutions for various problems in the global village was clear.

EPILOGUE

Shortly after the completion of this workshop and the conference in Crete, Ken Bausch, the co-chairperson of the ISSS 2003 conference, wrote the following to the participants of the workshop. It is included in its entirety as an epilogue to this report.

Ken Bausch wrote:

As Paul Hays explained in the closing session on Friday, this was not a typical co-laboratory [IM] session. It had the character of an academic exposition. It did, however, generate an interesting product, the attached superposition pattern [Figure 2]. We might consider the Agora process in Crete as a first iteration of a process that this practitioner's circle might work to improve and might want to implement.

As far as improving it, a specific triggering question could be generated that emotionally engages the practitioner stakeholders to pursue it electronically at-a-distance by means of some appropriate methodology, be it WebScope, Syntegrity, Technology of Participation, etc. or some combination of them.

In terms of implementing it, scenarios of cooperation will have to be worked out considering the superimposition of the influence pattern of proposed activities (options) upon the influence pattern of perceived challenges that will be faced in constructing agoras.

The options on level VI have the greatest leverage in efforts to construct agoras. By considering each of them individually and collectively, we may begin to see how we can efficiently contribute to building networks of functioning democracies.

Option 4: Identify/reveal dominators/owners: This is a research function that operates in small organizations and global ones. Checkland's CATWOE requirements incorporate this need and specify the importance of Weltanshauungen in specifying who the owners might be. Critical Systems stresses the alternative to existing power structures. It seems that ISSS should tackle the project of identifying owners of organizations according to the Weltanschaung that they incorporate. We might generate a useful taxonomy that would enable common discourse and cooperative activity.

Option 24: Link to an established entity that has the capacity to initiate Agora construction activity: The Institute for 21st Century Agoras was set up to meet this need and there are other organizations in the same field, notably the Institute of Cultural Affairs with its long history of active facilitation. There are no doubt other such organizations that might want to band together in some common endeavors. This practitioner's circle might evolve into an effective coordinating institution.

Option 18: Promote a climate of community ownership amt partnership in addressing concerns/ problems/issues: We all do that in our practices and we might devise ways to coordinate and disseminate our methods.

Option 2: Find the resources to support the process construction: The resources are financial and personal. If we were to formulate a strong program as a consortium of methodologies and practioners, we would have the requisite personnel and would be a strong magnet for the necessary funds. This is especially true if our programs are practical, measurable, and on the ground.

Option 5: Provide infrastructure (that is, methodology and facilities) to continuously support the construction and sustainability of global Agoras: Among our various methodologies, some are especially useful in some area or stages of Agora-building: theoretical understanding, inclusion of stakeholders, initiating dialogue, conflict resolution, generating quality observations, identifying leverage points, ongoing support, building coalitions, training practitioners, etc. By webbing together, we can provide the best of facilitation to our communities and organizations in a lively communal atmosphere.

Option 12: Organize planetary networks: There are hundreds of future-looking networks today. Heiner is active in a number of them. I have over 100 links to them. Many of you no doubt are similarly connected. Some of them, such as Leonard Duhl's Healthy Cities movement, are on the ground in hundreds of locations. We can make ourselves available to these groups to facilitate their efforts and help them to coalesce into a coherent world force.
Table 1. List and preliminary clarification of challenges we anticipate
in constructing global agoras--generated by the participants at the
Global Agoras Co-Laboratory, 7 July 2003

Triggering question: 'What local and global challenges do we anticipate
in constructing agoras of the global village with the engagement of
local stakeholders?'

(1: Set A)     The linguistic challenges
               There are a variety of languages. Do we have a common
               language? Do we need a translator? Q. Are you talking
               common languages or languages used within disciplines?
               A. It could be languages such as chemistry and art. Q.
               Would you also consider different levels of education?
               A. Only if there is a linguistic difference. Q. What
               about metalinguistic issues? A. I am not considering
               metalinguistic issues.
(2: Set A)     Interaction between the local and global
               It is not clear that local communities benefit from the
               global Benchmarking I think I would like a place where
               people put examples of local agoras.
(3: Set A)     Need for benchmarking agora
(4: Set A)     How do you select and engage stakeholders?
               My experience is that it is hard to know how many
               stakeholders should be involved
(5: Set A)     Coalition groups within stakeholders
               Coalition groups try to destroy the group process.
               Q. Are you talking about? Q. Are you expecting
               that stakeholders be human? What about corporations?
               A. I am talking about negative influences
(6: Set A)     Communication can mean control or democracy
               Agoras are becoming more democratic, but the power
               structure has a greater need to control
(7: Set A)     How do we identify and face challenges that vary both
               locally & globally?
               The context can vary in attempts to construct global
               agoras
(8: Set A)     How to preserve cultural diversity
               How to respect different values and local languages.
               Q. Is this related to the process of discussion or
               the issues that are discussed? A. The issues. Q. Trust
               and cooperation are necessary for agoras, but may not
               be present. Q. Trust between. A. Both
(9: Set A)     What happens when there is lack of trust & cooperative
               ethos?
               An agora process takes longer. We have already taken a
               long time and often we do not have time. Q. Is not time
               duration contradictory to dialogue? A. Yes. Q. Do you
               mean that people do not have time in their busy lives to
               dialogue? A. Yes.
(10: Set A)    Too lengthy discussion or decision-making processing in
               view of a short deadline for a solution
               The problems at the local level are often aggravated
               by decisions made on a global level that violate local
               traditions. Q. Creativity can be more important than
               traditions. A. We need both creativity and tradition
(11: Set A)    How to stimulate creativity while respecting local
               tradition
               How do you make manipulation obvious? You can use
               manipulative language to explain manipulation. However,
               there are more forms of manipulation than language.
               A. TV reduces out democratic language. My emphasis is
               on making people aware of manipulation. People are
               deprived of the language necessary to make information
(12: Set A)    How to make the stakeholders aware of social
               manipulative techniques (language)
               Economic effect, participation, facilitation, etc.
(13: Set A)    Disparity in economic resources available for
               participation
               Similar to how do you select stakeholders?
(14: Set A)    Little or no access to participation in the construction
               process
(15: Set A)    Literacy issues
               30% of people in Q the world cannot read. Even in the
               United States and Japan, many people cannot read. How
               do we deal with non-literate cultures and people?
               Q. Would you consider English? A. It is covered in
               another observation. Q. Are you considering other
               disabilities? A. We could. Q. Are we
(16: Set A)    Are the benefits at the global level good at the local
               level
               They do not seem to be, especially in the Third World
(17: Set A)    How do agoras deal with conflict of interest among the
               stakeholders?
               Similar to coalitions and opposition to the process and
               the Q. ls there some vulnerability in trying to
               implement decisions? A. Yes
(18: Set A)    How to support a bottont-up approach after a stakeholder
               engagement?
(19: Set A)    Communication can relate to meaning but also what
               escapes the grasp of meaning
               You have to separate emancipation from. There is always
               something that escapes the grasp of meaning in change.
               Q. Do vou mean escapes conscious awareness? A. When ever
               you construct change, something escapes q W
(20: Set A)    How to implement a win-win philosophy?
(21: Set A)    Differeut semantics of worldview or preconceived notions
               Everybody assumes that other people have the same
               worldview
(22: Set A)    How can we give to the people participating in agora
               the sense that they are adult beings?
               Q. Are we precluding children? A. Of course not.
(23: Set A)    How to make ethics relevant for economic decisions?
               How to make evident for local and global issues
               unethical behaviour
(24: Set A)    Lack off equal access to information resources
               There is a digital divide. There is a bias against
               minority viewpoints and languages
(25: Set A)    Ways off thinking about participation that foster
               passivity
               I'm trying to identify the mindsets that hinder
               participation
(26: Set A)    Opposition to recognizing stakeholders
               In a world of power structures, dialogue is often
               manipulated bv limiting participants. It can often
               occur also between competing groups. In Japan, there is
               a tendency to blame the victim
(27: Set A)    How can a dialogue be shaped in order to facilitate
               interaction?
(28: Set A)    How do we continuously develop the agora?
               There is a developing process that needs to be monitored
(29: Set A)    How do we resolve the gap in the education level of the
               stakeholders?
(30: Set A)    Do we need an infrastructure meant to support the
               construction of global agoras?
               Challenges vary in unpredictable ways.
(31: Set A)    How do we evaluate and communicate the outcomes of the
               process of the stakeholder dialogue so that we go to the
               next round?
(32: Set A)    Fear of repression by local super-stakeholders
(33: Set A)    How do you bring antagonistic stakeholders to the table?
(34: Set A)    How do you detect the process of social emergence?
(35: Set A)    How to honour culture differences within the process
               and in the understanding of stakeholder input?
               Clear
(36: Set A)    Who speaks for stakeholders who cannot speak for
               themselves?
               Clear
(37: Set A)    Who owns the agora?

Table 3. List and preliminary clarification of options for constructing
agoras of the global village

Triggering question: 'What are options which, if adopted and
implemented by local stakeholders, will help them meet the system of
challenges in constructing agoras of the global village?'

(1 : Set B)    Distribute the ownership of the agora from the outset
               Multiple order
(2: Set B)     Find the resources to support the process off
               construction
               Financial resources are necessary for the construction
               of an entity that initiates the process
(3: Set B)     Openingly acknowledge strategic interests, anxieties and
               values
               Transparencies--be transparent from the onset--what are
               your interests, who? The stakeholders, the community
(4: Set B)     Identify/revealing dominators/owners
               Original owner, hidden--the real powerbrokers are not
               revealed, the stakeholders need to see a power
               structure. Stakeholders need to demonstrate that there
               is a situation and need to be identified
(5: Set B)     Provide infrastructure (that is, methodology and
               facilities) to continuously support the construction and
               sustainability of global agoras
               Methodology, the place, the facility the environment
               that will continuously provide infrastructure to support
               the construction of sustainability of global agoras
(6: Set B)     Encourage institutions to accept change and engage with
               other stakeholders in order to design and evaluate a
               shared future
               Without engaging institutes you will never commit
               significantly anyone in changing things, solution should
               be one of many
(7: Set B)     Identify and communicate with existing agoras
               Learn from what is available, learn what is going on and
               build on what you have learned
(8: Set B)     Promoting the possibility of an agora
               There are places that aren't aware of their role as
               stakeholders or the process--just knowing that it is
               possible and having the technology to deliver a process
(9: Set B)     Adopt a defined dialogical process to facilitate
               dialogue
               That process should be robust to meet that challenges
               that are not met with any other dialogue
(10: Set B)    Promote the decision-making processes that are value
               driven, not only information driven
(11: Set B)    Address constantly the challenge off 'continuous
               emergence'
               In an agora setting we will be encountering like a river
               flowing down, we should be constantly aware of the
               challenge that nothing is the same
(12: Set B)    Organize planetary networks
               By organizing the networks on a global level, we must be
               able to influence change. Does this mean mutual support?
               Yes
(13: Set B)    Increase availability of options for access to
               information
               To make information resources available to all sources
               to enable then to access it
(14: Set B)    Promoting the use of mutual languages in human
               interactions without artificial influences or
               manipulation (TV, advertising, etc.)
(15: Set B)    Engage local stakeholders in meaningful design dialogue
               (See #9)
(16: Set B)    Promote a climate of community ownership and partnership
               in addressing concerns/problems/issues
               Depending what type of agora--if it is community based,
               need to develop partnership within the community. Needs
               to be a generalized fostering of a sense of community
               within communities
(17: Set B)    Induce systemic, associative thinking by education
               When you teach, you need to be aware of teaching other
               related areas as well; i.e., when you teach economics,
               you should teach mathematics
(18: Set B)    Disseminate relevant knowledge and information to all
               local stakeholders continuously and equitably by means
               of an observatorium
               That is what is happening the state of Michigan with
               families with children with disabilities--they have been
               engaging stakeholders for some time. Able to secure
               facilities large enough to display information and
               stakeholders are able to observe work produced within
               the process as well as previous work
(19: Set B)    Identify stakeholders who may not identify themselves as
               stakeholders
               People do not see that they have the opportunity to
               participate in this process
(20: Set B)    Design for transformative leadership experiences
               Meaningful dialogue
(21: Set B)    Ensure the recursive clarification of objectives with
               stakeholders
(22: Set B)    Experiment prototype local agoras
(23: Set B)    Identify potential problems with language and Literacy
               and disability access
               There are situations where people speak different
               dialects, educated, uneducated, different languages,
               places where conflicts are divided by linguistic
               lines--many areas where people cannot read. This must be
               addressed early on so that the stakeholders are assured
               their particular linguistic needs are met
(24: Set B)    Link to an established entity that has the capacity to
               initiate agora construction activity
               For example, the Institute of 21st Century Agoras set up
               a precedence for the agoras for Crete
(25: Set B)    Offer to local stakeholders system design capabilities
               and the opportunities to practice system thinking

Table 4. Voting results of options on relative importance

Triggering question: 'What are options which, if adopted and
implemented by local stakeholders, will help them meet the system of
challenges in constructing agoras of the global village?'

Option                                                             Vote

(5: Set B)    Provide infrastructure (that is methodology and        5
              facilities) to continuously support the
              construction and sustainability of global agoras
(12: Set B)   Organize planetary networks                            5
(19: Set B)   Identify stakeholders who may not identify             5
              themselves as stakeholders
(24: Set B)   Link to an established entity that has the             5
              capacity to initiate agora construction activity
(23: Set B)   Identify potential problems with language and          4
              literacy and disability access
(2: Set B)    Find the resources to support the process of           3
              construction
(4: Set B)    Identify/ revealing dominators /owners                 3
(16: Set B)   Promote a climate of community ownership and           3
              partnership in addressing concerns/problems/
              issues
(14: Set B)   Promoting the use of natural languages in human        2
              interactions without artificial influences or
              manipulation (tv, advertising, etc.)
(18: Set B)   Disseminate relevant knowledge and information to      2
              all local stakeholders continuously and equitably
              by means of an observatorium
(25: Set B)   Offer to local stakeholders system design              2
              capabilities and the opportunities to practise
              system thinking
(1: Set B)    Distribute the ownership of the agora from the         1
              outset
(6: Set B)    Encourage institutions to accept change and            1
              engage with other stakeholders in order to
              design and evaluate a shared future
(13: Set B)   Increase availability of options for access to         1
              information
(15: Set B)   Engage local stakeholders in meaningful design         1
              dialogue
(17: Set B)   Induce systemic, associative thinking by               1
              education
(20: Set B)   Design for transformative leadership experiences       1
(3: Set B)    Openingly acknowledge strategic interests,             0
              anxieties and values
(7: Set B)    Identify and communicate with existing agoras          0
(8: Set B)    Promote the possibility of an agora                    0
(10: Set B)   Promote the decision-making processes that are         0
              value driven, not only information driven
(11: Set B)   Address constantly the challenge of 'continuous        0
              emergence'
(21: Set B)   Ensure the recursive clarification of objectives       0
              with stakeholders
(22: Set B)   Experiment prototype local agoras                      0
(9: Set B)    Adopt a defined dialogical process to facilitate
              dialogue


REFERENCES

Agoras of the Global Village. 2003. Home page of ISSS 2003. http://www.isss-conference.org//[10 December 2003].

Alexander GC. 2002. Interactive management: an emancipatory methodology. Systemic Practice and Action Research 15: 111-122.

Banathy BH. 1996. Designing Social Systems in a Changing World. Plenum: New York.

Christakis AN. 1973. A new policy science paradigm. Futures 5(6): 543-558.

Christakis AN. 1996. A people science: the CogniScope system approach. Systems: Journal of Transdisciplinary Systems Sciences 1(1): 16-19.

Christakis AN, Brahms S. 2003. Boundary spanning dialogue for the 21st century agoras. Systems Research and Behavioral Sciences 20: 371-382.

Warfield JN, Cardenas AR. 1994. A Handbook of Interactive Management. Iowa State University Press: Ames.

Paul R. Hays (1) * and Marios Michaelides (2)

* Correspondence to: Paul R. Hays, Kwansei Gakuin University, School of Policy Studies, 2-1 Gakuen, Sanda, Japan 669-1337. E-mail: paulrhays@cox.net

(1) School of Policy Studies, Kwansei Gakuin University, Sand& Japan

(2) Cyprus Academy of Public Administration, Cyprus
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Date:Sep 1, 2004
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