Thank you for impressive work!

The course teams have visited the CMI office to present their work in an brown bag lunch on Tuesday 24.5.. CMI staff was impressed by the work delivered and both Media Lab and CMI are now looking into how these concepts could be applied in practice. CMI staff would like to thank all course participants for their hard work and congratulate the teams for producing relevant and feasible concepts in a short time frame.

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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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Keep a Green Tree

Keep a Green Tree is a visualization for displaying results of many different peace activities at once. It can be used to collect together pieces of peace journalism and results of several small projects. It emphasizes the good news and the progress of negotiations.

Keep a Green Tree displays the will for peace as a tree that grows with every message. The messages are either Things we agree about, Things we disagree or Conflict topics. In every conflict, most of the people still agree about most of the things, and with time, these agreed things — the green leaves — will overthrow conflict topics.

Things we agree can be everyday things, even obvious ones, and the things that everyone wants from future nation: safety, healthy, food, families and care.

Things we disagree are disagreements that belong to the fabric of a normal society. People disagree about politics, religion, football teams and their preferred foods. Often the crisis mediation is about recognizing and accepting disagreements.

Conflict topics are the disagreements that have become sore spots for the society. They are often entwined with several other grudges and perceptions of injustice. Peace process can be seen as a gradual change of conflict topics to things we disagree.

Messages collected into the visualizations can come from any source. It is designed to have very few demands about form or content of the messages. The only requirements are that the message has a time of origin, a place or an area where it comes from and a categorization to agreement, disagreement or a conflict topic. They can be SMS messages sent to radio show, video clips collected by NGO project, newspaper articles, blog posts, reports or official documents.

Download/view concept poster as pdf

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Presentation at CMI’s Every Peace Matters Seminar

We presented our two concepts today at CMI’s Every Peace Matters Seminar, celebrating the 10 years of existence of the organisation.

The Peace Pack Concept was designed for the collection and sharing of uniting stories in post-conflict settings. We’ve made some videos both before the Seminar and at the event. We asked people what peace meant for them as well as about their hopes and dreams for the future. The videos will be made available at a later stage – so watch this space!


The other concept on the Momentum of Peace Map is briefly presented in the post below.

Both concepts will now be finalised and a final presentation for CMI will be made in May.

Many people stopped by our stand and asked questions about our work. It was great talking to you all! If you would like to know more about the people behind these ideas, you can find us here, on the People page. Please, let us know what you thought.

Presenting the concept to a visitor (photo credit: Juha Kronqvist)


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We have trees!

A tree with 500 pieces of news, most of them good.

Our representation/visualization -group will be growing trees all over the crisis map. Every piece of data will grow the tree of that area, and good news keep it healthy.

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Can we change 8.4 to 7.4 pls?

Hi – last week we agreed to meet on the 8.4 in the evening at 17pm.. could we change the date to Thurdsay 7.4 from 17pm – 19 pm, we could meet at Siltanen on Hämeentie 13.  Sorry about the change!

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Collection Summary

Next week we will develop the identity and content of a traveling participatory media event. Topics to consider that were discussed on Monday:

Location-specific Models
+ availability of portable technology and local resources
+ duration/stage of conflict
+ appropriate symbols for specific regions

+ directed questions and activities may be safer
+ open dialogue may be more authentic

+ what participants get in return
+ are facilitators able to support difficult/emotional topics
+ can “light”/funny topics be relevant and have impact
+ risk of media hijacking

A National Story
+ possibility that all communities can contribute personal stories to a larger national story

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Production week (4-8.4.) kickoff on Monday 4.4. 10 AM

We are approaching the deadline of the concept presentations and should use the coming week to crystallize the concepts and to prepare the presentation materials.

We agreed to meet on Monday 4.8. 10 AM in the Media Lab 3rd floor meeting room. I will reserve this or some other room for the whole week for the groups.

As discussed yesterday we should in the coming week:

  1. Make decisions on the “brand”, the identity of the concept / product
  2. Prepare presentation materials (poster, flyer, excecutive summary, website etc.) that are communicating the main idea.
  3. Test the concept with some audio-visual materials / demos. These materials can be then used in the presentations, too.

I know that with the concepts there are still many open questions. However, when jumping in to production of these, we are “forced” to do design decisions related to the concepts.

We also discussed yesterday that we probably should aim to present three concepts. Some of them can be presented lighter than others. For instance just a poster is enough.

Hope to see you all on Monday at 10 AM.

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Managing Public Information in a Mediation Process

This is an interesting publication to be considered, especially for the representation / visualization group: USIP –  Managing Public Information in a Mediation Process: Those who mediate international conflicts must communicate publicly with a wide variety of audiences, from governments and rebel forces to local and international media, NGOs and IGOs, divided communitiess and diasporas.

Manging Public Information in a Mediation Process helps mediators identify and develop the resources and strategies they need to reach these audiences. It highlights essential information taks and functions, discusses key challenges and opportunities, and provides expert guidance on effective approaches. Examples from past mediations illustrate how various strategies have played out in practice.

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Questions for CMI

These are the questions that our group has for CMI at this point.

1) What kind of data do you usually have from the middle of the pyramid? We are assuming that the other collecting-group is collecting from lower part of the pyramid and there are some (often confidential) documents from the higher level meetings.

2) When reaching to middle level, do you have a standard way of establishing communications, some ground rules that the partners (other NGO:s, local actors etc.) agree to?

3) How much of the higher level communications could be reported outside, even vaguely, like ‘Progress has been made with x’.

(Ranjit will add more questions)


4) How to ‘roll’ the pyramid so that middle level, and ones at bottom of pyramid feel they have as much ownership and control as the top level in hierarchy? And in that way generate new patterns?

5) How to make conflicting parties culturally anonymous in the information presentation? So that either side(on conflicting sides or along the pyramid) does not put bias on impressions of peace or any patterns?

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