Essay on Creative Problem-Solving

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Acting Constructively

It is easy to troll and criticize others' work. There is a fine line between complaining and creating, and all of our moderators should become familiar with what it means to be constructive. As our project grows, people's stakes in it increase, and emotional charge of participants will also increase. Emotional charge increases because we are proposing potentially disruptive changes that crack peoples' preconceptions, inspire, and cross boundaries in an iconoclastic fashion. This means that there will be many challenges to engaging in a rational, solutions-based approach. The intensity of this work is increasing with time, so it is important to establish clarity on how to manage Forums and other public discussion. This is especially true as hundreds, thousands, and eventually millions of contributors are absorbed into the project. I can only say that we are undergoing explosive growth, that this trend is not likely to stop any time soon, and we need to be prepared and aligned in order to manage our growth successfully.

Keeping Focus

Clarity on our goals for 2011-2012 is critical. It is 50/2/2. This is clearly ambitious, but likewise doable - assuming that the proper GVCS Organizational Infrastructure is established.

Thus, all of our discussion should be passed through the 50/2/2 filter. Other discussions can occur, but it would be better if our entire team is aligned to the 50/2/2 until 2012 - such that a first real community can be built by 2014, and that this can be thousand-fold replicated by 2016.


Note also that the above goals are one application of the project, while the general position of the project is as a neutral set of enabling tools for a wide variety of applications that emerge from open access to GVCS documentation. Most people have a hard time imagining why we should be building ab-initio communities. Most people think that the GVCS should be applied to the 3rd world. Our answer that the GVCS can be applied to any scenario: from retrofitting existing infrastructures (such as the Transition Towns movement for relocalization), to the 3rd world development, to the creation of new communities, to space colonies. Read this further discussion about Why Creating New Communities is not a Crazy Idea.

What to Avoid

Absolute no-no:

  • Any personal attacks will result in banning of a person. A person, upon making proper amends, may be readmitted to a forum.
  • Clear nay-saying without indicating any possible solutions

Here are finer points to consider:

  • To deal with nay-saying that provides potential solutions - the Moderator should be sufficiently informed about the subject matter that s/he can assess the value of the proposition, and therefore, respond appropriately. A moderator should have at least some direct experience with, if not subject matter expertise, on the topic that they are moderating. This has the power to short-circuit discussion that leads to dead ends - while maximizing the creative potential of discussions.
  • Bringing people up to speed is most important when working with new people. I have seen a number of comments on the blog that come simply from ignorance - justifiably so, because our web presence is disorganized. As we move to the next level, We should be clear to point people to background reading when hints of ignorance are visible. We should politely refer the contributor who has not read OSE Project Status, GVCS Status, GVCS Funding Status, GVCS Proposal 2012, FAQs, GVCS Development Template, GVCS Documentation Template, OSE Specifications, Main OSE Website, Forum Policy.
  • It is easy to criticize, and most poeple are good at this. However, it serves no purpose with respect to 50/2/2, so such discussion should be kindly cut off at the knees.
  • Here is the most challenging point: I've seen a number of discussions where people have a load of positive, crative solutions - but on closer inspection, the discussion is just another distraction. I have seen this a number of times, where people provide awesome solutions - but solutions which clearly violate one or many of the OSE Specifications. Yes, the contributor's solutions could be perfectly reasonable, but it may turn out that it does not move the GVCS development forward. Thus, Moderators need to be intimately familiar with OSE Specifications, and how these are prioritized in case of ambiguity. There is never a perfect silver bullet solution - so sometimes judgment calls have to be made when evaluating some decision point based on the GVCS Specifications.

OSE Specifications

Salient Features
Here are the most salient features of OSE Specifications that inform our work. Also, note that OSE Specifications apply not only to the actual GVCS tools - but also to the organizational infrastructure and processes pursued in the development of these tools.

  • Open source design, open business models for distributive economics
  • Lifetime, modular, scalable, replicable, design-for-disassembly
  • Integrated, product ecology, complete community infrastructure
  • New economy, new politics, new human relations emerge from the GVCS
  • Iconoclastic solutions that they do not teach you in school
  • Simplicity, transparency of design

See Also

  • Forum Policy
  • TRIZ, a problem-solving, analysis and forecasting tool derived from the study of patterns of invention in the global patent literature
  • appropedia: Critical thinking - mentions The Three Questions, Six Thinking Hats, Lateral Thinking and the PO (Provocative Operation).