Feedback and criticism to consider and to discuss about

Yesterday we made the first presentation of the two concepts. It is a time to start discussion on how we could elaborate, improve and put them forward. Design process like this should always be iterative and experimental.

Keep a Green Tree Concept. Dynamic real-time visualizations of progress are important and powerful way of communicating in any process where there are fast and surprising changes. The Keep a Green Tree can be compared to weather report maps: they can be used to predict the future, but also to give confidence for the people. With weather it is good to know if it is raining even if you do not like rain. Also an expectation of a good weather effects on your behavior. The importance of good news is often underestimated. We need them.

There are some open questions related to the concept, although. It is possible that you already have thought these and at least in the stage of building of a demo these will become crucial:

1. How the categorization of the messages is done?

  • I think asking people to categorize their SMS is too clumsy UI.
  • Should there be an editor checking the messages before they go live?
  • Could there be Facebook / Twitter application where one could crowdsource the task for many people? 3 replies with the word “agree” and it goes live with the tag: “Things we agree”, etc.

2. How one should categorize the messages in the case of news?

  • Would there be again some algorithm automatically categorizing the messages / news or should this be editorial work?
  • Could this task be also crowdsourced in some social media service?

The Peace Pack Concept. Muriel Rukeyser has famously said “the universe is made up of stories, not atoms“. The Peace Pack concepts aims to provide platform for people to tell stories to each other. For this purpose one could use video. I think the point of the concept is not the gadgets (smartphone with video camera and video editing, mini projector, speakers etc.) but the idea of:

  1. using video to collect stories related to the conflict, and
  2. organizing “story nights” to watch them together in the communities to facilitate dialogue.

These are also the most challenging part of the concept. These tasks requires a lot of competences from the “Peacepacker”. The competences of using the smart phone to shot the video and to use projector to organize the movie night is not a problem, but to facilitate discussion on them is a demanding soft skill. To do this there should be good instruction for the “Peacepackers”, some training materials and program, too.

There are some open questions related to the concept, too.

1. Should the format of the videos be strict and limiting?

  • We discussed quite a lot about what would be the questions people are asked in the video interview. To find meaningful questions we probably should do some testing.
  • Could the format of the video and the clips of the people be standard and limiting? From the experience of status updates (Twitter) and SMS we know that limiting communications often provides new affordances. Maybe there could be standard and ready-made questions that are also automatically texted to the video and limit of 30 seconds for each response.

2. How we could test the concepts to improve it?

  • I think we should just take one Peace Pack, go to some close community with a minor conflict, such as an apartment building with conflict among the residents.
  • By trying out the video shooting and “story night” we probably could make the decisions related to the form and limitations of the format.

We also discussed yesterday with several CMI staff members that we should organize another lunch meeting were you are presenting the concepts for the staff members.

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