Story books for children have a long history and are universally valued by children and parents alike. Digital stories for children offer new ways to share stories and advance literacy skills in children. The production of a quality eBook often requires a team that includes authors, graphic designers, professional actors for custom narration, music soundtrack and sound effects, and editors and page layout designers for different devices and operating systems. In order to create quality eBooks, the design team benefits from an awareness of what key stakeholders value. For example, what do children, parents, and teachers look for and hope for when they open up their eBook? And if the goal is to design pedagogically valuable eBooks — books that foster literacy skill development – how do we design such books?
Millions of people migrate every year from rural to urban areas. At a time when most cities around the world are projected to experience exponential growth (United Nations, 2015), more work is needed to understand how the city environment influences happiness and health across the lifespan (see recent journal article here). The population of the world is growing, cities are getting bigger, and the ongoing environmental design challenges are immense. If we’re going to live in a city for the whole of our life—from childhood to old age—along with millions of other people, we need to think very carefully about how we design our cities.
This series of blog posts is about collective intelligence and teams. We have applied John Warfield’s collective intelligence methods in a variety of projects. In parallel, we have sought to build upon John Warfield’s vision for systems science by describing how collective intelligence methods can be embedded within an educational support structure. More recently, I have been thinking about the principle of freedom as non-domination and how it can be used to inform both structural and relational design choices that facilitate more impactful collective intelligence work on a larger scale. My next blog post will focus on the application of collective intelligence to the design of technology supporting participatory democracy.
Facilitating team communication and problem solving is challenging, but it is hugely important and incredibly rewarding. Successful teams not only produce high quality outcomes, the social processes that teams use in carrying out their work can enhance members’ capability to work together interdependently in the future, and the team experience itself can also contribute positively to the learning and personal wellbeing of individual team members (Hackman & Woolley, 2008).
Warfield notes that understanding societal problems always involves an effort to identify how problems in the problem situation interact. This requirement to understand the situation is the same for societal problems that operate on a large scale, such as international peace keeping or national well-being, and for societal problems that operate on an apparently smaller scale, such as improving education in a local school. As such, when a team comes together in an effort to resolve a societal problem, effort is needed to understand the set of problems that interact in the problem situation, and the nature of these interactions.
Embracing the principle and practice of freedom as non-domination marks the beginning of a learning process (Pettit, 2014). As noted previously, freedom as non-domination implies that people are empowered and have control over their direction in life, both as individuals and as part of a team. Theory and research in psychology highlights the importance of being in control.
If we wish to build an applied social science grounded in the principles and practice of collective intelligence, then we need to understand team communication.