Investigatorius, know yourself...
- I'm very happy that our laboratory Minciu Sodas http://www.ms.lt has
become a workplace where independent thinkers can pursue their
investigations, and thereby help stimulate a wide variety of projects.
I want to invite us all to think about becoming an Investigatorius at
our lab. I write to our working groups (Global Villages, Cyfranogi,
Thinking Powerfully), to our gateways in different languages (EN, ES,
AR, BOS, FR, DE, IT, BY), and to our friends (1Village, ActAlive,
ProdigalArt, ERDE, OnDemand, PersonalBrain). I appreciate thoughts on
how each of our groups might serve as homes for investigators.
What does it mean to be an Investigatorius at the Minciu Sodas
laboratory? We have two full-fledged examples in Franz Nahrada of GIVE,
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/globalvillages/ and John Rogers of WICC,
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cyfranogi/ I share my thoughts to help
them boldly play their role. I encourage us all to support them and
leverage their efforts. I also look forward to having more
Investigatorius at our lab, including Joy Tang and Jeff Buderer
http://www.onevillage.biz, Chris Macrae http://www.valuetrue.com, Gary
Alexander http://open.coop, Kerry Santo, and all who might wish to
affiliate themselves with us in this way.
An Investigatorius is one who leads us into the unknown along a
direction that they care about. We encourage them to "think out loud".
Their unfolding quest to "know themselves" helps bring together, and
hold together, a variety of people and projects. The Investigatorius
helps us grow together as a framework, an ecosystem. They are able to
reflect further as their vision unfolds and their ideas grow tangible.
An Investigatorius helps us focus on our long-term work. They help us
find the long-term value in all of our work so that we are truly helping
each other and feel encouraged to work-in-parallel. They have us invest
ourselves in what is eternal (people and concepts) rather than what
comes and goes (groups and projects). In particular, they allow us to
invest ourselves in them, and some concept that they care about.
Would you like to be an Investigatorius? Here is a list of questions
you might answer. As you think through this, share your thoughts with us!
A) What is a subject that captures your interest?
An "independent thinker" is one who returns to their thoughts and keeps
pursuing them further. Write about a subject that captures your
interest. It should be a subject that you could write about forever.
It can be narrow or broad, but it should be inexhaustible. Rytis
Umbrasas cares about helping people use the Lithuanian alphabet on their
computers. I think John Rogers is interested in community currencies,
and Franz Nahrada is interested in how modern technology can help us
return to villages. I'm interested in knowing everything and applying
A1) What is a page (or pages) where you overview your findings on your
Let us know! (and let us know if you need help to set one up). It
should be a place where you can keep folding in your work-in-progress.
You can do this by yourself, or in conjunction with others, so long as
you can put your thoughts down.
Rytis Umbrasas a loose collection of his thoughts and links:
and also a page where he and Viktoras Dagys present advice on Lithuanian
Geoff Thomas, Becky Booth, John Rogers and Sarah James of WICC document
their work-in-progress on currency design:
Franz Nahrada is writing a FAQ at the ERDE wiki:
and the ERDE team is preparing a Grundtvig proposal:
I have a set of notes on "Life, My Understanding" in English:
which I'm rewriting in Lithuanian:
Franz, John, let us know where we should look for your thoughts when we
want an overview.
It's also important that these pages be in the Public Domain (except as
noted) so that we can help effectively by encouraging us all to work
with this material in a variety of ways.
A2) Where do you share your thoughts of the day?
This might be a blog, a discussion group, a wiki, etc. It should be a
place in the Public Domain (except as the material notes otherwise) so
that we can all work with the material without having to ask for permission.
B) What is the key concept that for you gives eternal purpose to your
We wish to invest in you deeply, not superficially. So we need to
appreciate the grounds for your interest. What is the broader concept
that you care about? What is your deeper concern? What does your
interest mean to you? What idea or value does it tap into within you?
You might ask, how does it relate to "caring about thinking"? because
that is what lets us share it with any independent thinker.
For Rytis, it is the idea that machines should cater to people; people
should not have to cater to machines. For John, it is "participatory
society". For Franz, it is "global villages". For Joy Tang, it is
"courage to create". For Kerry Santo, it is "values". For me, I think
it is "caring about thinking". The concept should be so deep and
central to our lives that it can serve as a window looking out onto
everything that we care about in life. It is the "belly button" to
which we can keep returning and adding meaning to everything our minds
touch. We should feel so comfortable with our concept that we don't
feel it restricts us in any way, but rather encourages us to grow in
every way. We should feel that our concept is the starting point from
which people can understand who we are, and
B1) How would you describe your idea in one sentence?
For John, it is: "the participatory society where every citizen feels
valued for their particular genius and contribution - every one a
leader, every one full of unrealised potential"
For Franz, it is: "Global Villages are small and sustainable settlements
embedded in their cultural landscapes and in informational /telematic
networks of support. The working together of these two factors creates
astonishing and endless possibilities to improve our living condition."
B2) What is a memorable phrase that we can use to call your idea?
For Rytis, it is "zmogus valdovas" which might be translated as "human
is king". For John, it is the Welsh word "cyfranogi", which means "to
participate". This is what we will use as your brand. As much as
possible, we want to invest ourselves in brands for people and concepts,
rather than for groups and projects.
B3) What is an Internet domain name which you can acquire for pointing
to your work on your idea?
John has www.cyfranogi.com, and Franz has www.globalvillages.info
C) What is a question to which you don't know the answer but you intend
to discover it?
It should be a question that helps you leverage and clarify your key
concept as you pursue your interests. It should be a question that you
can think about as you work on more concrete things. You should feel
comfortable thinking out loud about and inviting others to help. You
should feel that it is a challenging question, but that you can find the
answer, perhaps in a few months, perhaps in a few years. It might be
part of a larger question that you care about.
John Rogers: How do we design currencies so that they work effectively?
Kerry Santo: What are my values? Nick Duffill: How do you decide what
is important to you? How would you want information presented so you
could make decisions quickly? I'm currently working on: What is the
general structure (that unifies the four primary structures which I have
D) What is a place where you share your work-in-progress on your
question and you engage us to help you?
This should be a place where the materials are in the Public Domain
(except where they explicitly note otherwise). So far we're finding it
most helpful to work at working group (mailing lists) dedicated to our
key concepts. Franz' working group is
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/globalvillages/ and John's is
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cyfranogi/ They've also both agreed that
their groups can serve as homes for other investigators to get
themselves started and build critical mass. In particular, Franz has
invited Jeff Buderer to participate as an Investigatorius at the global
villages group. Joy Tang and I are thinking that she might explore
"courage to create" at the ActAlive group (advocating the use of arts to
address HIV/AIDS and related issues) lead by Janet Feldman
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/actalive/ A weblog and a wiki can also
be very helpful.
E) What is your plan for pursuing your investigation?
I should do more of this myself. What is your strategy for answering
your question? What methods will you use? What data will you collect?
This is very important so that we can all think about how we might
support you. This can be very hard to write out, and perhaps it is
enough to keep a set of notes. But I think this is also the key
requirement for being an Investigatorius at our laboratory. Put
together a plan, and we can point to this as the basis for your work as
an Investigatorius. At that time we can also agree formally about
affiliation (I will write about this separately).
E1) What is something practical that can be achieved as you conduct your
This can be large or small, but helps us know that our efforts can
contribute to some purpose.
F) What would help you pursue your investigation?
This is where our lab can help! We can help organize people, jumpstart
activity, create software tools.
For John and his colleagues at the Wales Institute for Community
Currencies http://wicc.newport.ac.uk/wicc.htm we're creating a currency
design tool which will help us all see the connection between choices
and effects. We'll connect this to other pages where people can explore
related concepts, theories and patterns. We're also designing this
software tool generally so that it can be used elsewhere where there is
a relationship between choices and effects.
For Franz and his colleagues at ERDE, I want to especially focus on
building a pattern language repository. Franz, let's discuss your
needs. It is important that we openly discuss our tools so that others
can offer help or give feedback, and can understand what we are trying
to do. I hope that we might design tools to support the work of Joy and
Jeff and others at One Village as well.
In summary, I invite us all to think of ourselves as investigators. If
we present our work as investigation, then it is possible for our
laboratory to provide support in a deep level. In doing so, we can
contribute in ways that are very cost-effective or even free. Also, I
encourage all of us who are helping (special thank you to Lucas Gonzalez
Santa Cruz, Janet Feldman, Bala Pillai, Rick Nelson, Chris Macrae,
Robert Tolmach, Robin Upton) including our team of programmers (Algis
Cibulskis, Raimundas Vaitkevicius, Emad El-Deen El-Akehal, George
Christian Jeyaraj) to grow as investigators, because that is also how we
can best understand and support them in this path.
I wish this path to be fruitful for us. I am glad to learn from us, and
together keep clarifying this path. I'll pursue this as my own
investigation of "How can we be supportive of investigators?" which
develops my key concept of "open learning". Open learning (which I
think of as being an example of self-learning) is a part of "caring
about thinking" that I want to focus on this next year or so. I will be
working on that through our working group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thinkingpowerfully/ and I invite us to
join me there (send a blank message to
firstname.lastname@example.org) That is also where we'll
discuss more and more of our work designing software tools to support
Thank you to all for "caring about thinking" at our lab, and supporting
+370 (5) 264 5950