Saturday, January 16, 2016


Quoted at length from Self-organization of complex, intelligent systems: an action ontology for transdisciplinary integration, Francis Heylighen, Integral Review:

A mobilization system would combat this confused and unproductive way of acting by
redirecting effort in the most efficient way at the most important issues. This requires the
following steps:

  • helping people to reach consensus about the specific goals that they consider most important. This can be done in part by seeking inspiration about fundamental values in the evolutionary worldview [e.g. Heylighen & Bernheim, 2000], in part by creating effective discussion systems that help a group to come to a well-reasoned consensus. Examples of such systems are being developed on the web [Klein, 2007; Malone & Klein, 2007].
  • motivating and stimulating people to work towards the goals that have thus been agreed upon. Here, a very useful paradigm is the concept of “flow” [Csikszentmihalyi, 1990], which specifies the conditions under which people work in the most focused and motivated manner. These conditions are:
    • clear goals: there should be minimal ambiguity about what to do next;
    • immediate feedback: any action should be followed by an easily interpretable result, so that you either get a confirmation that you are on the right track, or a warning that you need to correct your course;
    • challenges in balance with skills: tasks should be neither too difficult nor too easy for the people entrusted to perform them, in order to avoid either stress or boredom.
    • Additionally, there exists a wide range of techniques from psychology, behavioral economics and memetics that help us to formulate goals and tasks in a way that is maximally motivating, persuasive and easy to follow [Heath & Heath, 2007; Thaler & Sunstein, 2009; Heylighen, 2009]
  • coordinating and aggregating the individual contributions so as to ensure maximum collective results. This can be built on the mechanisms of stigmergy and selforganization mentioned before [Heylighen, 2007a; Parunak, 2006].
By minimizing uncertainty, confusion, friction and procrastination, work that is mobilized by
such a system would not only become much more productive and effective, it would also
make the participants more satisfied with what they are doing.

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