Learning better, together.
By MATHEW MYTKA
I’ve had periods in my life where I have struggled with writing. A common experience for many of you reading this I’m sure. But this is not about me and my struggles with writing per se. Or how to overcome writer’s block or something like that. It’s about me writing about the adventure we’ve embarked on with Greater Than Learning. Nate prompted me and I’m committed to write everyday about the adventure. This is the output from day 0.
The focus of this post is about the platform as a case study on how to design trustworthy platform technology and the organisation.
Using case studies in learning environments and curriculums is not new. When I helped build Australia’s first entrepreneurial college in Sydney we used case studies. But never the traditional textbook case study. ACME corp is doing this thing and here is how they did it. Those case studies suck. They are hard to relate to and are fucking boring for any student. Instead the “case” in the study was actually the student. Their project work. Their passion and emotional transformation. Their journey trying to define how they could use their talents, abilities and passion to do something meaningful. Something that aligned with their values and earned them money for doing it. It was project based learning and we did have to design example case studies into course delivery. But it was different, and attracted many talented students. It was emotionally and intellectually challenging for trainers, coaches, mentors and students alike. But it was a powerful learning model.
So how does this relate to Greater Than Learning?
What we’re doing is a little “meta” if you will. Yes we have courses and learning activities. They use examples from our work and how we are applying models, methods and techniques to design the organisation and platform. But if it’s a case study what is our research question?
How do we help individuals, teams and organisations design for the qualities of trustworthiness at scale? In the technologies they design and engineer. In the cultural values they have, the behaviours they engage in and the incentives used. We were doing this well in our services business but that was not a scalable model. A little on that in an upcoming post from Nate. But the services business model itself would not scale the positive impact we believed was needed.
So Greater Than Learning serves as the basis for this broad thesis. We are building the organisation, platform and technology to represent this. The case study is the platform and the project for learners is too. We’re all learning to make better, together.
Why? Because we are stronger together.
We’ve seen these statements before. From heads of state or the members at Davos. They’ve consistently demonstrated their incompetence.
The command and control organisations and hierarchies are inappropriate for these challenges. But all stakeholders regardless of position in the idealogical quagmire need to work together. We need grassroots movements. We need change to be catalysed from multiple angles. We need new systems. New models of coordinating collaboration. True crowd-sourcing models. As opposed to the extractive “crowd-fleecing” we so commonly see with surveillance capitalism. We need to co-design free and open source protocols for the supermind that is our species. We need more cooperation.
Competition is great. It enhances divergent thinking and innovation. But we need to cooperate better. We need coopetition. We need to harness the creative tension between various perspectives. Connect various groups and communities in the responsible tech and innovation movement. Collectively sense make and work on solutions to solve some of these “big fucking hairy challenges” together. These ones we face as a species relating to the design and use of digital technologies.
In the coming weeks we’ll be working through a transitionary phase. From a privately held corporation to a platform coop. One that is community owned and democratically governed. The exact details of this are being worked through. But we’ll provide a frame of reference to co-design it with you. You can view the draft here.
If you are a working in ethical tech, responsible innovation, beneficial tech, small tech or some other term used for this nascent field we need you. If you’re a researcher, academic, practitioner, student, investor, executive, policy maker I invite you to join in on this. It is the case study you’ve been looking for.
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