In last meeting we agreed to divide into two groups with general themes of collecting and representing the progress of peace process.
Our group is working on how to represent the peace process. Our primary goal is to help middle-to-high level actors in ‘peace process pyramid’ to recognize and understand the trends and developments in all parts of the process.
How we see the situation now, is that the typical middle-level actor is a local area expert, local politician, or other kind of key person who has deep understanding of some aspect of the whole conflict. She can be an expert on issues of some specific group or some specific area. To negotiate efficiently, these actors need to be able to quickly understand where other similar actors are coming from.
Another (supposed) key element for successful negotiations is finding common themes that all agree. Information in crisis situations tends to focus on conflicts and disagreements and our assumption is that the middle level key people are, like everyone, better informed about the problems than the successes.
Together these two challenges point toward something that shows what good developments have come out from a certain area. To illustrate, this map of crisis in Libya shows the opposite: what bad is happening and where.
Our idea is to build an opposite, a map of ‘momentum of peace’, where istead of crisis bubbles dominating the view, the map would visualize the peace process by showing how things we agree are coming from all around the country. These things should be some kind of results from the collecting-team‘s effort. The map should show also the things we disagree politely and conversation breakers, where the later would be the actual crisis and negotiation points. The effect should be that the things we agree soon flood the map, and conversation breakers turn into things to disagree politely.
The reports to display on map should come from all levels of negotiations and always be coded to one of the three categories (color coded green, yellow and red; can be changed to more culturally appropriate). If the report is confidential, then it will only show color of the dot, date and the place. If it is a public message, it can be clicked open.
The map can show the current situation with all of the dots visible or as animation, where the process is played through until the current situation as the dots pop all over the map. The effect we aim to is somewhat similar than in this video of cascading commits to an open source project, but overlaid on a map.
The practical use of this visualization would depend heavily on the quality of the data. If there is a large amount of data, from all around the country, this would be a good barometer of potential problems and a great display of progress. If the data is sent occassionally, from small community projects, then the focus would be on individual dots and the stories within, and the visualization would work as a reminder that most of the people all around the crisis areas basically agree about most things in life. The cognitive effect of this tool would be that you would have to dig for the issues and problems and actively ignore all of the good things that are going on, instead of giving support for focusing on the problems.
Before designing this further, we need some feedback from CMI on what are the middle level actors on crisis negotiation process and what is their role in discussions, how informed they are, how they prepare and who they negotiate with.
During the week 12.3-20.3 half of the team ‘representing’ is on holiday, outside the reach of the internet, but the next week we will discuss this further.