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Organizing our teams for www.myfoodstory.com

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  • Andrius Kulikauskas
    Note: I share news from the Minciu Sodas laboratory with our friends at Solaroof http://groups.yahoo.com/group/solaroof/ Perhaps this is a chance to work
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 6, 2006
      Note: I share news from the Minciu Sodas laboratory with our friends at
      Solaroof http://groups.yahoo.com/group/solaroof/ Perhaps this is a
      chance to work together? Andrius, http://www.ms.lt

      Thank you to all for wonderful letters that have gotten our work for
      http://www.myfoodstory.com and Greg Wolff's vision off to a great
      start! I'm quite energized!

      I share my view of the big picture for our work.

      This is a fantastic example of paid work that we're doing to serve a
      client who is also willing to "meet us halfway" regarding our own
      interests. Indeed, my own work is primarily to manage that meeting
      halfway. Therefore I've focused on connecting three different angles:
      - Crops, which is what the public can connect to, and so our client
      does, too.
      - Technologies, which is what our "independent thinkers" care about,
      because they represent helpful innovations.
      - Values, which is what I care about, because that is how we can hold
      together a wide variety of people, and they are our asset.

      It's my job to give shape to that connection:
      - Make sure that the public can think about the information in terms of
      particular crops on their mind, which is also why we're featuring one
      team per month.
      - Make sure that our "workers" (for free and/or for pay) are able to
      think about this in terms of technologies they'd like to introduce,
      advance, develop and promote.
      - Make sure that I as an organizer am building our lab in terms of
      values so that all of our activity has long term significance and

      My own personal goal is that our lab's culture might grow stronger while
      we double in size (if possible) every year. I think with this project
      we have ample resources to do this. In practice, it means that by next
      summer, I'd like us to have 200 to 300 writers and 2,000 to 3,000
      readers, whatever the venues might be. We've had good success these
      last few years organizing discussion groups around leader's key
      concepts. We'll probably grow from 15 groups to double or even triple
      by next summer. We'll also look for new kinds of venues including
      wikis, databases, blogs, chats, conference calls, streaming radio,
      podcasts, and more. I also would like us to have strong activity in at
      least a few languages so that we are truly multilingual. This all means
      that we're not to think in terms of isolated groups but in terms of a
      network of interconnected venues, each contributing it's dimension.

      I have this in mind as we're putting together our teams (six teams for
      six months, but we can think beyond that, too). Each team will have:
      * A team leader who is responsible for investigating and presenting the
      connection between the crop/technology/value, mentoring their field
      agents so they might likewise act as investigators working from their
      key concepts, developing some kind of project (such as a wiki, book,
      database, network) that they care about which will be relevant beyond
      the scope of their work, serving their host and others in the community
      who care about that value and have related projects, and synergizing
      with other teams. It's definitely hard work and underpaid ($500) - but
      there will be bonuses for targets met (up to $500) - and it opens the
      way for more work, and potentially, more funding by others for
      essentially the same work. People who qualify for this position are
      those who have demonstrated that they can be highly active and
      constructive at our lab, which is easy to see from the volume of letters
      at the pulldown for "thinkers" at http://www.ms.lt : Benoit Couture,
      Jeff Buderer, Janet Feldman, Markus Petz, Dante-Gabryell Monson, Samwel
      Kongere, Eric Schneider, Joy Tang all come to mind, where I'm listing
      out those of us for whom such work might possibly be relevant
      financially. Others who would like to are also very welcome, just
      please show yourself through your activity!
      * A host who leads the venue, the working group, where the work takes
      place. This might be the same person as the team leader or not. The
      host will be the touchstone for the "value" that we're organizing around
      and that links with the crop and the technology. That value will be
      their key concept or somehow closely related. The crop will serve as
      their "symbol", the metaphor for unlocking the logic of their values.
      The host will not be paid, but we'll be building their asset, the
      working group, by assembling people there, but in particular, the
      enthusiasts for the crop, which we assume will resonate with the value -
      so we have to set all this up well so as not to disappoint! The host
      will set the tone and think out loud and show what it means to
      investigate, to explore, to personally inquire, and thereby lead. The
      host may personally care for the "project" that will demonstrate the
      vitality of the community, so that it stays in the group, or they may
      simply host it until it is strong enough for its own venue. Possible
      hosts include our existing working group leaders: Franz Nahrada, Janet
      Feldman, John Rogers, Pamela McLean, Jeff Buderer, Eluned Hurn, Lucas
      Gonzalez Santa Cruz, Christine Ax, James Ferguson and God. However,
      Franz's "Global Villages" and Janet's "Holistic Helping" are doing very
      well already and actually may be at their limit in terms of how much
      traffic they could bear, in my opinion, and also they are both working
      on a higher level (much like Direktorius as I do, linking up different
      groups). So it makes a lot more sense for their groups to serve as
      "gateways" where we can assimilate people into our culture and route
      them to where they might be most productive when that's not clear from
      the start. It makes more sense for our resources to help groups that
      could use a boost of momentum, in particular John Roger's Cyfranogi,
      Pamela McLean's Learning From Each Other, Jeff Buderer's Back To The
      Root and Lucas Gonzalez Santa Cruz's Mejores Vias. We might also
      conceivably start new groups around Markus Petz, Maria Agnese Giraudo,
      Dante-Gabryell Monson, Tom Wayburn, Rick Nelson, Samwel Kongere, Shannon
      Clark or others who might rise to the challenge, but especially in other
      languages such as Lithuanian, Spanish, German, French.
      * Four field agents who will earn $100 each. They will help the team
      leader meet the targets and provide a variety of fresh input, especially
      from on the ground and from their different perspectives. It's
      important to understand their "key concepts" and encourage them to think
      in terms of them. So our team leaders can suggest various people but we
      should learn about their value, where they are coming from, so that we
      could figure out the best teams for them to contribute to. And my goal
      is that - as Samwel has - they learn to think in terms of their own
      values and investigatory questions so that we could be personally
      connected to them and they could also reach out to others and include
      them in our culture. This is a relatively low pressured work as they
      will receive the money upfront. It's also a chance for us to support
      local clusters around the world.
      * More people who we will reward with a community currency (probably
      based on up to $3,000 worth of bonuses). And also with the help of the
      team leaders, hosts, and myself, we will synergize with any project that
      someone might bring.

      Also, we have a coordinating group - "Social Agriculture" led by Steve
      Bosserman - and Steve will guide us with his vision and his experience
      will elevate our quality. Greg Wolff and Kevin Jones of
      http://www.xigi.net have discussed having three working groups for:
      - "technology" - I suggest as an open venue our working group
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/workinginparallel/ for which I hope at
      some point to find a leader with a related value
      - "e-services" - this might be perfect for a group based on
      "entrepreneurship" which Shannon Clark might lead
      - "human services" - this I suppose can be pursued at Steve Bosserman's
      group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/socialagriculture/

      So here's so far the teams that I envisage - and this will change
      according to our suggestions:

      I expect to have a team led by Jeff Buderer - as both team leader and
      host - at his group Back to the Root
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/backtotheroot/ relating "farmed fish" and
      "sustainability" and "George Chan's Integrated Farming and Waste
      Management". Jeff, please think, what kind of long term project might
      be most relevant to you (it would demonstrate the vitality of your
      work). Thank you for recommending field agents. Please help learn of
      their interest and what their key concepts on and whether they relate
      closely to sustainability or they might better work for other teams. And
      what month would you like to be featured.

      Samwel Kongere will also lead a team, I imagine on "wifi Internet
      access" and "willingness to take risks" and probably "coffee" or
      "grains". Who might host his work? My first choice is Shannon Clark,
      partly because Shannon would be active at our lab again, and mostly
      because their values seem to be quite related, I think. Also, if we can
      figure this out, we could feature Samwel right away. It's hardest for
      me to find somebody for October before it slips away!

      Dante Gabryell-Monson is a great networker and is interested in
      chocolate. He's convinced me that it could be linked to "community
      currency" and I imagine his wider vision of "Reference Mapping" which I
      suppose are knowledge tools for nomadic thinkers. His value is
      "fostering paradigms of innovation" and he would be building on the work
      we have already done for Greg on chocolate. I think this would be great
      to pursue at Cyfranogi if John Rogers is willing, and this is another
      crop that we could feature in October.

      Pamela McLean's key concept is "learning from each other" and she's done
      a great job at getting her group going but we want to get more people
      involved. There does seem to be a connection between her value and the
      technologies that she cares about, which are the online interfaces that
      can be customized for high bandwidth and low bandwidth people to work
      together (such as Moodle or Tiddly Wiki by Jeremy Ruston who is also
      working for Greg Wolff's UnaMesa Association). This all connects with
      the work we've done on our proposal in 2003 to consider social
      networking toolkits for marginal Internet access. What crop seems
      related? Quite possibly chickens because they and their rapid life
      cycle reflect the delicate and ever changing line between the human
      world and the natural world. That would also open up connections with
      preparations for possible pandemic flu if there is a mutation from bird
      flu. So chicken farmers might ultimately be the people most interested
      and able to know and learn and share the real facts. Then my question
      is, Who might be the team leader? So Pamela and I thought of Janet
      Feldman - if you might be interested, Janet - because your extremely
      competent and it would make a great difference here in terms of building

      Janet, if you were to host a team at Holistic Helping - which is a good
      thought experiment - then we would want to find a crop that you think
      brings out what "holistic helping" is all about (I think of something
      like the olive tree, which in the Mediterranean was a foundation for
      "civilization" because of it's great usefulness - for oil, soap, olives,
      etc. Is there a comparable multipurpose "holistic" crop for nutrition,
      medicine, economics, etc. in Africa? Soybean also comes to mind with
      it's thousands of food products.) And also a technology that fosters
      "holistic helping" (you mention "community radio" which makes a lot of
      sense). That would be great! But I think that Samwel's values and
      interests are in a different direction. I'm organizing based on values
      rather than geography. Our different teams will be able to work
      together locally on the ground, but it's important to me that each tune
      into a particular value (such as "holistic helping"). Then it will be
      more meaningful to look for connections between teams, how they can work
      together. Also, you and Samwel are quite possibly our strongest
      participants, and I don't think it makes sense to put our strongest
      people together. It's better to pair each of you with somebody who you
      can help grow stronger, and then have your two teams find ways to work
      together. That's my strategy but I appreciate to hear more if you think
      otherwise. My thought is that - best for me - would be if you might
      work as a team leader for Pamela (if you'd take on this paid work, which
      would be good practice for more in the future) - and then if you like we
      could also have something close to holistic helping - such as
      soybeans/community radio, but take that opportunity to build up a new
      working group around a host of your choice, perhaps somebody in Africa.
      In that case, you could work instead as team leader for that host rather
      than for Pamela. Is my thinking clear? Also, I look forward to your
      thoughts on the Chocolate project, what worked or didn't from your point
      of view, that's important to consider. But as far as "Holistic Helping"
      is concerned, I'm afraid that you're a victim of your own success, I
      would be hesitant to put resources into a group that I think is at
      maximum traffic (2 letter per day) for a subscribership with marginal
      Internet access, when we could be adding a new group and multiplying our
      possibilities for leadership and action. All of this to say that I
      suppose we should think of your activity on a higher level as a
      Direktorius and what that might mean, for example, as your role in
      interlinking groups and moving momentum amongst them. That is my
      concern - how to shift momentum from our most dynamic groups (like
      Holistic Helping and Global Villages) to our less dynamic groups so they
      catch on fire, too. Also, I'm interested if you might work for pay
      because that might strengthen your situation for our work in the long
      term, and also, maybe it's good to challenge you! Thank you for all
      your devotion to all of us.

      Markus Petz would be a great team leader - please write more about your
      interests. I note your value "meaningful inclusion" (perhaps that
      relates to "holistic helping"?) I think of you as an all-purpose
      supporter. Also, it would be great if you might engage and include our
      German speakers.

      Benoit, please let us know if you might be interested to lead a team. I
      would look to you to engage the French speaking world.

      I would like to see a team to help us get going Eluned Hurn's Fighting
      Peacefully, and perhaps related to "water". Chris Macrae is very
      interested in clean water around the world.

      It would be great to have a team that promotes Solaroof
      http://www.solaroof.org Rick, what might be a crop that most profoundly
      illustrates all the value of Solaroof or is basic to it? This would be
      an opportunity for our communities to work closely together and towards
      a shared culture of "active sharing". I note your key concept of
      "Opening Ourselves to Direct Knowledge".

      James Ferguson of our "Ethical Design" group notes the connection
      between architecture and trees.

      Franz, is there a food that best illustrates the value of video bridges?

      I think we'll have a team from Lithuania, too.

      On my mind now...
      - Find a team for October!
      - We have set up our wiki at http://www.myfoodstory.org, thanks to Jeff
      for adding so much to it already!
      - This coming week, create a simple questionnaire-driven interface for
      editing our wiki pages.
      - Start collecting data on producers at the wiki, and meanwhile thinking
      through the data format that is relevant
      - Think through how we might work together with Tiddly Wiki, Xigi and
      other systems.

      Thank you to all for making this the great opportunity it is for us!

      Janet, I share your letter - sorry for taking my time to respond!


      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas
      +370 (5) 264 5950
      +370 (699) 30003
      Vilnius, Lithuania

      Janet Feldman wrote:
      Hello Dear Andrius,
      > Lots of great stuff happening in all forums, and the Food Story
      > project is taking off!
      > I'm sending this to you personally, because I have written 2-3 times
      > lately abt this project, and Sam, but I see in postings that you have
      > not mentioned Sam heading a team at HH yet--as per my
      > suggestion--which I have indicated interest in, for several reasons.
      > In Kenya, KAIPPG is doing just the kind of things you are talking
      > about with kiosks, and we want to do and learn more. I would
      > appreciate Sam and others doing this work at HH--or at least
      > considering this--which we can apply in Kenya and elsewhere for the
      > benefit of us all. I can also be helpful to Sam in this, even while
      > not having time to "lead" the effort at this time.
      > I do have some experience and linkage with agriculture-nutrition-food
      > security (KAIPPG, GenARDIS, GRASSUP)--perhaps more directly than many
      > at our forums (ie at the grassroots in a developing country)--and it
      > seems like HH would an excellent fit for a team. I have tried to
      > outline this is my letters.
      > So a question is: Is there a reason why you have not mentioned HH in
      > that regard? Besides not mentioning Sam at HH, you also didn't place
      > me there when you asked abt me leading a team, so I'm wondering what
      > your thinking is abt this. Any feedback would be great, and thanks
      > for your thoughts and activities!!
      > Blessings and best wishes for a bon voyage and exciting travels, Janet

      > Hello Dear Andrius, Sam, Shannon, and All!
      > Terrific notes, and thanks for the wonderful feedback on the Paul
      > Prueitt posting
      > at GV, Andrius, to which I will respond in a day or so. Exciting
      > possibilities,
      > definitely!
      > One question for now, and these forums: did you read my postings on this
      > subject? I would very much like Sam to consider leading a team at Holistic
      > Helping. This is part of what HH is about...I wish I had time myself
      > now, but I
      > do not. However, if someone else in HH does, then that would be
      > wonderful, and a
      > relief to me too, to give someone else the primary responsibility for
      > a project.
      > I'm happy if Shannon and Sam do want to work together, and I invite
      > them to do
      > so at HH if they like. It's also "OK" if they go elsewhere, esp. given the
      > timeframe. I can definitely see where it will be great for Shannon to
      > have a
      > forum (working group) too!
      > I just wanted to make sure I reinforced the idea that I would lik e
      > Sam to lead
      > the HH team if he so desires, and work through our group if possible
      > (where
      > there are others, like Kennedy-Benter-myself, with agricultural
      > experience).
      > Because Kenya is such a close link for me, I think that could be a good
      > connection re networking too.
      > Thanks much and look forward to figuring out the way ahead on this! Janet
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