Un total de 18 pages ont été trouvées avec le mot clé Concevoir et animer un projet. logo rss
le 28.01.2014 à 16:35:30

Animation of collaborative tools : restraints and enablers.

Card's author : Outils-réseaux
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description : animer

What restrains

  • Lack of participation
  • At tools level
  • At facilitator's level
  • At project level
  • Lack of time

What enables

  • At people's level
  • At tools level
  • At organisation level
  • At projects level
  • The 9 laws of cooperation

1. What restrains

Main pitfall : lack of participation (non-collaborative situation)

At people's level

  • Lack of time : to handle the tools, to use them
  • Fear of other people's opinion, of judgement (from peers), of being ridiculous
  • Problem with writing, with the language
  • Disconnection with real life (too virtual, which person(s) and which project(s) are behind the tool ?
  • Difficulty to change one's practices to adopt those of the group (resistance to change)
  • Problems of copyrights, intellectual property, fear that information might be stolen, Fear of losing power by sharing information.
  • Difficulty in handling tools, technical fear :
    • fear of difficulty
    • fear with web tools
    • computer = complicated
    • heterogeneousness of the group with the handling of tools.
  • A difficult access to internet :
    • slow connection
    • obsolete software
  • Difficulty to get logged in :
    • loss of the password
    • loss of the web address
  • Lack of motivation for the project, members don't make the link with their own personal interests :
    • fear of misunderstanding messages
    • habit of a centralized working
    • institutional environment

At tools level

  • Fear of tools, of difficulty, of an not enough ergonomic interface : the computer is a problem.
  • Equipment, obsolete connexion
  • Protection, identification.
  • Not adapted needs.
  • An implementation that is not progressive enough, that doesn't take sufficiently into account the different stages of the group's life.
  • Difficulty to translate texts with emotion and hidden meaning.
  • Several tools for the same use.
  • Need for a paper base, for concrete.
  • Complicated Tools.
  • One can't find how to participate.
  • An evolution of tools that goes too fast (displays, features).

At facilitator's level

  • Too many requests (urgent ! To validate, misled question).
  • Omnipresence or absence of the facilitator.
  • Messages too long, too many items of information , not enough transparency.
  • Founder = gravedigger.
  • Employee : the financing of the job overrides on the network's objectives.
  • Not enough listening of the group's needs.
  • The facilitator does himself instead of making do.
  • Mixing up in the roles : management, leadership, facilitator.

At project level

  • Ethical drift, risk of rupture.
  • Institutional representation ( Fear of losing power by sharing information.).
  • Demobbing : bad apprehension of involvement.
  • Difficulty in perceiving concretely the projects, its results.
  • Relevance of the project.
  • Vocabulary : level of the shared jargon ?
  • Complexity : members can't see the entirety of the project any more.
  • Level of involvement that is too high.
  • Lack of visibility: of the time required, of the project's interest, of its purpose.
  • No facilitator.
  • No tracks of the project's story.

The time

  • Lack of time :
    • for the handling of tools
    • for the involvement in the project.
  • Different rhythms: employees / volunteers.

2. What eases

At people's level

  • Physical meetings, friendliness
  • Esteem assessment, quotation of all contributors
  • Mixing up of audiences (see forum)
  • Reduction of the risk of participating, enabling exit and multi : -membership : simplified membership procedure, possibility of disengagement!
  • Virtuous circle of motivation :
    • Project / meaningful action
    • Feeling of ability
    • controllability :
      • cognitive engagement
      • perseverance
      • success.
  • Making up individual interest with collective interest.
  • Showing the mechanism.
  • Win-win strategy
  • Questioning people on their objectives
  • Welcoming new comers, sponsoring.
  • Technical back up : knowing where to find the technical referent, getting instructions for use, assistance sections

At tools level

  • Behaving rules
  • Netiquette
  • Progressive implementation
  • Simplify !!! Hide features
  • Instructions for use, assistance section, trainings...

At organisation level

Upload file Cea.jpg
  • Showing the group's activity : summary, reformulation, historical background, showing what is happening in sub-groups, regular news : summaries (TST)
  • Strong incentive to develop habits : only put reports on the wiki, make mistakes in the spelling of people's names on purpose
  • « Professional » facilitators :
    • emerging jobs
    • separating organization from facilitation
    • know how to be rather than know how to do
    • being in permanent alert
  • Synthesizing, reformulating, gardening

At project level

  • Propose an historical background, an notebook of events
  • Minimize the needs at the beginning : putting on line unfinished productions
  • Control critical tasks : compromise between flexibility and continuity of the system, the project must content itself with a minimum contributions
  • Work rather with thoughtfulness than with intention : and projects emerge by listening to the group, pinpointing objectives instead of expected results
  • Risk analysis : will of success or fear of failure ?
  • Definition of purposes and running (SAGACE matrix)
  • Clear objectives , charter
  • Productions : Free Licenses to turn them into common properties

The 9 laws of cooperation

  • Reduce participation risks
  • Lower the threshold of acting out
  • Non consumables goods and environment of abundance
  • Communities which last converge on cooperation
  • Evaluation by esteem
  • Minimizing needs at the beginning
  • Minimizing failure risks by controlling critical tasks
  • Time for opportunities
  • Never forget any of the rules !

Lowering the threshold of acting out

Acting out with human beings tallies with a rude fall

  • Free software :
    • Giving, before any other action, an a priori authorization for use and modification thanks to a license rather than imposing an authorization request is another example of elements which ease the acting out. (Jean-Michel Cornu)
  • Tela Botanica :
    • Registration is easy, licence and charge free.
    • Use of Forum and Wiki
  • Incentive to participation with simple exercises :
    • Make a mistake on purpose in the spelling of a person's name to have her react and encourage her to correct it by herself

Non consumables goods and environment of abundance

  • Tela Botanica : the Flora of Metropolitan France project
    • Stemming from the work of one person : work of naming and taxonomy on 75 000 names.
    • 55 599 files modified by members of the community
    • Adding of 46 794 vernacular names (several languages)

Communities which last converge on cooperation


  • Joining very much upstream to avoid competition downstream.
    • GNU/Linux
      • GNU and Free Software Foundation : 1985
      • Linux : 1991
    • the Flora of Metropolitan France project : 2001

Evaluation by esteem

  • Tela : Project of compiling botanical articles (25674 articles)

  • De Boissieu Henri - Un acer hybride nouveau pour la flore française. - 1912 - dendrologie, plante hybride, acer x bormulleri, localité, p. 77-78 - Société Botanique de France, Bulletin de la Société Botanique de France, Bull. Soc. Bot. Fr. (1904), Tome 59 - Fascicule 1 - Saisie : Jean TIMBAL -Art. n°13807.

  • Delahaye Thierry, Henze Gaston, Lequay Arthur - Les orchidées de Monthoux - 1996 - Savoie, Avant-pays, Acéracées, acer monspessulanum, Fabacées, Argyrolobium zanonii, p. 15-19 - Départ./Région : 73 - Société Mycologique et Botanique de Chambéry, Bull. de la sté Myco et Bota de la Région Chambérienne, N°1 - Saisie : Sylvie SERVE - Art. n°479.

  • Delahaye Thierry, Lequay Arthur, Prunier Patrice - Les découvertes botaniques de nos sociétaires en 1996 - 1997 - Savoie, violacées, Viola collina, loranthacées, Viscum album, acéracées, acer monspessulanum, joncacées, Juncus arcticus, liliacées, Erythronium dens-canis, p. 31-32 - Départ./Région : 73 - Société Mycologique et Botanique de Chambéry, Bull. de la sté Myco et Bota de la Région Chambérienne, N°2 - Saisie : Sylvie SERVE - Art. n°495.

Minimizing needs at the beginning

  • Linus started by re-using codes and ideas of Minixa (the whole of Minix code has been given up or completly re-wrote since)
  • The "Cathédrale et Bazar " example : Fetchmail based on popclient and Fetchpop
  • Tela :
    • Recovery of a synonymy work by M. Kerguelen on 75 000 names
    • recovery of numerous data bases constituted by amateurs.
  • Putting online unfinished documents because they can be improved by contributors. If the putting-online needs the completion of the document, the group's dynamics won't get under way.

Minimizing failure risks by controlling critical tasks

  • Brooks Law : "adding manpower to a late software project makes it later " : complexity increases as well as the number of exchanges and therefore as the square number of persons.
  • Tela Botanica :
    • The association contracts partnerships and et takes responsibility for the consequences
    • Employees are on duty and provide tools and services
    • Members of the community carry out plans and give sense to the network
    • The piloting committee operates coordination and validates decisions

Risk analysis

  • The fear of failure leads to a minimum risk-taking. One is then tempted to protect everything, and this is typical of today : everything is tagged, locked (in particular legally saying). For example, within administrations, there is a lack of opening which reflects a rigid mental functioning.
  • On the contrary, willing to succeed implies the implementation of means to reach the appointed aim. This approach refers to a mental model much open and dynamic.

Auteurs : Association Outils-Réseaux et tous ses stagiaires
Crédits illustrations sous licence Creative Commons : CC-By Outils-Réseaux - CC-By Ell Brown - CC-By Cea - CC-By Marc Smith
le 10.02.2014 à 11:33:58

Collaboration in companies: from Coopetition to Collaboration

Card's author : Hélène Laxenaire - SupAgro Florac
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Ideas developped by the author in the field of cooperation within the book or conference :

Long live the co-revolution: for a collaborative society by Anne-Sophie Novel and Stéphane Riot

Introduction: this is not a full review of this work, but a summary of the chapter on Radical collaboration

In their book Long live co-revolution: for a collaborative society, Anne-Sophie Novel and Stéphane Riot describe collaboration between enterprises differentiating coopetition (a portmanteau word : competition+cooperation) from radical collaboration. For two years, they promoted Radical collaboration within the network Entrepreneurs of the future

The interest for enterprises to cooperate

The term competition comes from the Latin word competere which means to search together, to make efforts together ; thus, originally, there was no notion of adversity or aggressiveness as is the case today when one talks of competition between companies. The idea is not to suppress this, since it is also a vector of innovation and emulation, but rather to reduce the burden caused by an overly aggressive competition and to reduce it specifically in those cases when competition is useless or even dangerous. In this line, the authors note that the first advantage of companies cooperating is the reduction in costs linked to inter-company conflicts, something that should be an interest for all company CEOs! These costs have been estimated to amount to 50 billion Euros in France each year, according to the American researcher John W. Henke, based on projecting the situation of the American car industry.

The evolution of cooperation between companies

Adam Smith's theories on the interest of competition and those of Joseph Schumpeter on creative destruction have taken root in the economic sphere. But since the 1980s' some companies realised that networking and setting up strategic alliances brought relational advantages and allowed accessing more resources. Then, in the 1990s', faced with the increase in research and development costs, in parallel to the obsolescence of objects while the convergence of technologies allowed for scale economies, some companies decided to collaborate in developing products with a longer lifespan using components that could be reused by several companies/

Collaboration allows solving common problems

Especially goals linked to the environment and sustainable development. These goals can stem from companies sharing convictions or from legal requirements imposed from outside. Fighting against a bigger common enemy: this is how Google participated in developing the browser Firefox within the Mozilla foundation, when it is actually competing against its own browser Google Chrome; all this to destabilize Microsoft Internet Explorer, the market's giant.


The term coopetition was created by Ray Noorda, the founder of Novell, and became popular in the work by Nalebuff, B. and Branderburger, A. Co-opetition, a revolutionary way of competing and cooperating, Village Mondial, 1996. This is the alliance between cooperation and the market: we cooperate for certain things and compete for others. For the authors, cooperation between a company, its providers and its customers lead to products and services that are similar and therefore to potentially increasing the market share. In addition, this alliance can allow penetrating into new markets by joining forces. The conditions for coopetition require a study on inter-dependencies between companies, defining a concrete goal and an agreement to share the effort and the gains.

Examples of coopetition

  • In 2009, the Prufock Café in London created an “unloyalty card”. Customers had to go for a coffee at cafés from the competition and show their card to get it stamped. Once the card was full, customers could go back to the Prufock Café where they were given a free coffee. The goal was to retain customers of the Prufock Café by showing them that they served the best coffee, but also to force the managers of other cafés to guarantee the quality of their coffee, since they know they face competition. This also allowed bringing a stream of new customers. Ultimately, however, the main goal shared by all was to find a creative answer to the expansion of Starbucks cafés.
  • Fiat and PSA created a joint subsidiary that manufactured commercial vehicles of both brands, allowing scale savings by using the same components.

Radical collaboration

The term radical collaboration appeared in the United States in 2009. Three CEOs of competing companies in the field of green technologies (genGreen, 3rdWhale and Creative Citizen) decided to establish a “radical collaboration” scheme that was facilitated by the fact that they shared the same values and the same conviction on ecological emergency.
The difference between coopetition and radical collaboration is measured by evaluating the competition advantages and shared elements of “intimate” intellectual property. In radical collaboration what is shared is a highly differentiated added value (production secrecy, R&D); in coopetition the benefit is scale savings. Participants in the “unloyalty” card do not share their recipes or their knowledge on coffee.
Radical collaboration favours open innovation approaches, it is not about collaborating together to create a predefined product or service, but about developing an ecosystem to share knowledge and skills that will allow innovation to emerge. This innovation is not necessarily technological, it can also be social. And it emerges both from company collaborators and their customers.

Examples of radical cooperation

  • The field of the environment is very often convergent. For example, collaboration between the NASA and the ESA (in a context of strong competition) regarding environmental issues: managing space waste, the life cycle of satellites and the impact that launching spacecrafts has on biodiversity. This cooperation takes the shape of exchanges between specialists and a joint creation of new materials that are more environmentally friendly (to replace those that were going to be banned since they were too harmful)
  • Green X Change is a platform created by Nike, Creative Commons and Best Buy to share research. Anyone who is interested can put their innovations on this platform by choosing a licence that draws inspiration from free software and that allows other companies to benefit from the invention. This licence allows the owner of an innovation to choose who can have the rights. The idea behind this is to allow companies in different industries that do not compete against each other to share the fruits of their R&D. This platform is finding it difficult to expand outside its founding companies, but its authors see in it a huge potential driver of extending radical cooperation.

Recommendations by the authors for a Radical collaboration

  • Explain the concept, beyond the representations given in French to the terms “collaboration” and “radical”, which have a different connotation in English
  • Changing one's reflexes and one's vision on competition, open up to new opportunities.
  • The four pillars of a relationship: goodwill, reciprocity (also having goodwill with oneself), clarity and freedom to innovate (elements mentioned by the authors of the work: Juliette Tournand, La stratégie de la bienveillance, Inter Editions, 2007).
  • Being sure of the long-term; collaboration requires time to get installed and only shows an effect in the long-term
  • Creating a context that allows participants to be free and to engage spontaneously in reaching a negotiated and consensual solution together. Not distributing tasks between companies, like one would do in a collaborative process
  • Sharing skills and knowledge
  • Ensuring that contributions are complementary: linking the individual interest to the collective interest
  • Anticipating everyone's responsibilities: responsibility for the success or failure, financial setbacks, intellectual property
  • Transparency in the exchanges during the project and communication to all members
  • The simpler the process, the greater the chance of completion
Short introduction of the book's author :
  • Anne-Sophie Novel: doctor in economy, journalist specializing in sustainable development, founder of the collective blog Ecolo-Info, member of the network Entrepreneurs d'avenir.
  • Stéphane Riot: founder of Nove Terra, expert in sustainable development and accompanying the human factor in organizations, a member of a research group and prospection groups for new economies and organizations (bio-imitation, neurosciences, psychopedagogy, management…)
Literature references : NOVEL, Anne-Sophie and RIOT, Stéphane. Vive la corévolution !: pour une société collaborative. Paris, France : Alternatives, 2012. Manifestô (Paris), ISSN 2258-9325. ISBN 978-2-86227-711-0.
le 08.09.2014 à 14:54:10


Card's author : Jean Michel Cornu
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description :

Facilitating convergence in an environment of abundance with commons

Paradox of the tragedy of the commons

In a text now famous "The tragedy of the commons" 1, Garret Hardin presents the three unique solutions to live together with a set of goods to share. He describes a field, joint property of the village. The farmers 's cattle graze on it . It browses grass and deteriorates this common leaving behind muddy plots. Without a thorough application of policies, the interest of every farmer is to take advantage as quickly as possible of the field by sending on it the maximum animal that will make the most of it before the whole field is a sea of mud.
The tragedy of commons only forecast three possible solutions to this situation:
  • The field becomes a large field of mud
  • A person who has a power of constraint allocates resources on behalf of the village
  • The field is divided into plots managed by each farmer who has a right of property.
Eric Raymond 2 takes this example to show how cooperation is a priori not so simple.

The limits of the tragedy

To reconcile the individual and the collective interests does not seem obvious in the scenario described in the tragedy of commons (otherwise, we would live better for a long time!). Nevertheless, if Hardin concludes in its work that the only solutions to the lack of men's responsibilities are the privatization of commons and/or the interventionism of the state, he recognizes later that his basic premise is not always valid. His colleague Gary Warner indicates: " Hardin recognized later that the characterization of the negative aspects of the common goods was based on a description... an open (regime), not regulated by an external authority or a social consensus 3.

Without destruction the territory is not limited any more

There are other cases which lead to different conclusions: in the tragedy of commons, the cattle eats the grass and destroys gradually the field. In the field of intangible assets such as software, contents, art or knowledge, the rules are intrinsically different: the reading of a text does not destroy it, to give an information to somebody does not mean that we don't have it anymore.

This simple difference is fraught with consequences. This means that the exchange leads to a multiplication of value and that the land is not as limited as before. As stated nicely by Jean-Claude Guédon, professor of comparative literature at the University of Montreal: "A digitized bird knows no cage."

A new notion of property

The notion of property does not disappear for all that. For example in the development of freeware, rather often, a person detains the right to integrate the modifications proposed by all. Raymond calls him the " benevolent dictator. " But everybody can come to use, copy or redistribute freely the software produced collectively. Everybody can circulate freely on the territory of the owner and it is exactly what gives it value.

A new notion of economics

The economy itself was based on exchanges between the two protagonists (the transaction), and on consumption in the end by what the experts call "the final destructor" (the consumer.) If we want to understand better the rules of commons, we will extend the current analysis to take into account: the collective exchanges (with a global rather than elemental balancing) and the non-consumptive use of property.

The gift economy

One of the examples of economy which is not based on transaction, looks a priori very much like a utopia. It is the gift economy such as we find it in some very specific environments.

Yet the expression "gift economy" must not be understood as a kind of utopia that push each one to become altruistic even if it goes against personal interest. It is rather an asymmetric mode of exchange. When monetizing a property has no meaning because it is abundant and easy to find, and when all minimum needs for survival are fullfiled, the only thing that we can still look for is the esteem of the community. The fact that the counterpart of the gift goes through all the other members helps the convergence of individual and collective interests.

Abundance: source of gift

One of the key elements that favors a shift from exchange economy towards gift economy is the shift from rarity to abundance. The abundance means that players have solved their security needs and they are looking for something else such as recognition. Abundance can exist, as seen before, in the field of intangible assets and in the field of knowledge...

Some examples of gift economy

There are different communities that benefit both from material safety and abundance. In these cases, these communities have seen naturally the emergence of a gift economy.
On certain tropical islands, the food is plentiful. Marcel Mauss studied the implementation of the gift and his various characteristics4.
Closer to us, the scientific community has had for a very long time the habit of sharing all its discoveries. The colloquiums are the opportunity occasion to present to all its results and to gain consideration and esteem from it.

The community of free software developers followed a similar path. It was a question at the beginning of researchers working in diverse laboratories and universities (they thus benefited from a relative material safety). They applied successfully the same methods as the scientists in the field apparently more industrial of software.

Finally, the small community of the particularly rich people spends a lot of time getting involved in great humanitarian causes to gain the respect of their fellow contemporaries.

Abundance is abundant

The affected field is larger than we imagine. If tangible assets seem limited for a majority of people, it can be otherwise with intangible assets. So the proverb of Kuan-Tseu " If you give a fish to a man, he will be fed once ; if you teach him to fish, he will be fed all his life ". The fish is a consumer good which can be rare if there is a shortage or few fishermen. Learning to fish is on the contrary a knowledge which becomes more and more plentiful every time a person teach another person to fish..

Rules of gift

But all is not a bed of roses in the world of gift and abundance. You don't make an altruistic out of everyone just by changing the rules of the game.
Drifts are thus observed when one or more characteristics specific to a gift are not respected. The gift economy is simply governed by different rules than the consumption-based economy.

First deviation: Maintaining the shortage

One of the first deviation is to manufacture shortage artificially in order to return to the better known rules of consumption economy. This is common on physical goods such as oil. It is also possible to make "usable" or more precisely "obsolete" intangible goods. The software industry has been very good at it and now in France the tax administration considers that it takes one year to a software to pay for itself, much less than hardware!

If patents, copyrights and fashion rights are aiming to protect creation, they must be however scanned very carefully not to become a weapon against abundance and... creation.

First rule: Abundance is safe and well shared

The project has to concern a good which can become plentiful to favor gift economy. This should be the case of non-consumable intangible assets (knowledge, software, content ...). In this case, the exchange results in a multiplication of the value. The switch to an economy of abundance or scarcity doesn't only depend on the abundance of the initial good but also on the mechanisms of sharing and protection.

Second deviation: Giving to crush others

Despite the altruism that gift economy "seems to show", it is nothing more but an economy with rules neither better nor worse, simply different. Maurice Godelier describes the rules of a particular gift: the potlatch. It is a sacred act , either a gift or a destruction, a kind of challenge for the one who gets it to do the same. " In the potlatch, we give to crush the other with our gift. We give him much more than he can give back or much more than he gave us 5.

Second rule: Evaluation is global and decentralized

The other big change is in evaluation. It is decentralized, done by all members and on the whole of the gifts done. That is very different from trading where each deal is valued. Consequently, evaluation is there empirical and depends on each of us. It can't be mesured because it is not possible to compare gratefulness with a precise and given unit.

Examples of benchmarks

In trading, "benchmarks'' are more and more frequent and widespread in global markets, any of us can more or less understand their evolution. In gift economy, each one has his own "benchmarking system" according to his own criteria. But the group phenomenon could generate the rise of locally recognized benchmarks.

We will see later the rules to establish a self-regulating mechanism for evaluation.

Third deviation: Claim for one's due

Another deviation is to ask back for one's gift to the person or the family who received it, instead of waiting to receive it from the whole of the pears. This deviation is often seen in African families which have otherwise a great tradition of solidarity and cooperation.

Third rule: A not requested compensation – a two stroke mechanism

The third thing which changes in the gift economy is what the donor earns. In trading, the one who gives the good asks in exchange for another equivalent good or for a representation of the value of the good (some money). With a gift, the donor doesn't expect anything back from the receiver or anyone else. He gets later the gratitude of the whole community, which will not estimate each gift but the whole of what he gave. In a second stage this gratitude brings him advantages as we shall see it farther.

Thus, it is not necessary to expect altruism from all to implement projects involving cooperation. Donors get benefits that are simply more subtle to understand because they are part of a two stroke logic.
Given unit.


A gift economy arise when commons are plenty. This involves new notions of property and economy.

Exchanges of intangible property would normally lead to a multiplication of value and to their abundance. It is often possible to make choices that lead to shortages or to abundance.

There are rules of the gift which if they are not respected lead to deviations:

  • The abundance must be protected and well shared to avoid the return in an consumer economy.
  • The evaluation must be global and decentralized so that no particular gift is used for crushing someone.
  • The compensation must not be requested from the receiver to avoid debts...

Facilitating convergence by giving a long term vision

The prisoner's dilemma

The example of the prisoner's dilemma is a paradox where people can act against their own interest. A thief and his accomplice are caught by the police. Each one can choose to betray or not but they don't know beforehand each other's reaction. In this case, if both agrees, they will pu through much better. But one might be tempted to betray his accomplice to avoid being the only accused, in case of betrayal. By his denunciation he can also get a relieved punishment. Very often, when in doubt, the two prisoners denounce each other and they both end up losers 6.

That kind of situation happens quiet often. When we ignore how somebody can react, we consider the case of a betrayal (or more simply the case of lack of cooperation). In this case the other doesn't play the game, the least bad situation for us is not to play ourselves. However, from a global point of view, the gain is much more important if we both cooperate.

The CRF method

The prisoner's dilemma was studied within the framework of games theory... Lacking information on the other's behavior, the least bad individual answer is against general interest. However, the results change when there is more than a single event, but several iterations. In this case, each can gradually get information on how the other responds.

The simulations done so far show that the most effective solution is to start by cooperating and then to copy one's behavior on the other's: if he cooperates, we also cooperates, if he betrays, we do the same.

More specifically, the most effective strategy was discovered in 1974 by the philosopher and psychologist Anatol Rapaport [RAP] quoted by Bernard Werber 7: it is the CRF method (Cooperation-Reciprocity-Forgiveness). In this case we start by cooperating and then depending on what the other person does we copy his behavior, and finally we reset counters being ready to cooperate again. This approach is the most efficient to help someone who has betrayed once to understand both that you will not let her do and that you're ready to go forward on a cooperative basis.

Enabling the maximum opportunities of long term interactions

From these two examples, we can see that when the experience is unique, the trend is betrayal, whereas a strategy heading towards cooperation becomes possible when attempts are reiterated.

To enable these interactions to happen, there is a need to spend enough time together. The very definition of a community is to gather people for a long time and to create a relationship between them which is based on confidence.

A community for a long term cooperation

One of the most effective manners to make people cooperate is to create a spirit of community. It involves a feeling of membership and a mutual confidence(trust) between the members.

Again, by proposing new game's rules doesn't mean that everyone will become an altruist. Thus for communities there are risks to produce opposite results than those expected.

First danger: The community dies before having a past

The starting up of a community is the most sensitive time. When the interactions between community members grow, betrayals naturally occur which lead to conflict.

Starting up a community is a prerequisite. The benefits of the community are not there yet, and the multiple steps that could help to break the prisoner's dilemma have not yet operate.

Firts rule: Giving people a long-term vision

We have seen that the optimum method was to start cooperation (even if it means acting differently according to others' reactions). It is therefore possible to promote cooperation between people who have no common past if these people have the knowledge that they will spend time together agin in the future.

The sociologists call distance of horizon 8, the lap of time during which people think theywill be together. This very subjective notion is a key factor for wether people will cooperate or not. There is thus much less robberies in small local stores even when the store has just started up, than in large anonymous and undifferentiated supermarkets. Perceived consequences of an act are different according to the story we can later share with the persons concerned.

Of course, it is not an absolute rule. Everyone doesn't act at best for his own interests because the CRF method is not assimilated by everyone. But the vision of a common future favors cooperation while the lack of long-term horizon promotes opposite behaviors.

The more people have had positive experiences of cooperation around them by seeing other people starting to cooperate, the more they assimilate the CRF method and the easier it is to set up a community.

Second danger: The lost past

When we have spent some time with people, many ordeals based on the prisoner's dilemma have occurred. If the group has not died of these tribulations, it strengthens progressively. But one of the peculiarities of human being is the ability to forget. This function is essential not to overload the brain with every useless experiments. But gradually as cooperation sets up, the idea of danger recedes and the memory considers the past ordeals as lower priority events.

If past ordeals are forgotten, the group returns to the more dangerous situation of the community's starting up.

Second rule: History is the basis

The legacy of the group is a key element to enable it to keep on building cohesion rather than rgoing back to the dangerous point of departure.

With the exchanges studied in the previous chapter, inheritance is the second foundation of human society according to Maurice Godelier 9: "Our analyses leads us to conclude that there cannot be a human society without two domains, the one of exchanges, whatever and however we exchange, from gift to potlatch, from sacrifice to sale, purchase, market, and the one where individuals and the groups keep preciously for themselves things, narratives, names, ways of thinking, and then transmit them to their progeny or to those who share the same faith. Because what we keep always constitutes "facts" which drive the individuals and the groups back to another time, back and in front of their origins.

We will see that the fundamental tasks of the coordinator is to develop a history capitalizing the common heritage

In addition to the relations which are gradually established within the community, the community is also based on the sense of belonging. The implementation of "rituals" and common references are also a foundation on which is built the collective heritage.

Third danger: The imitative cycle

It's hard for us admitting that besides our individual behavior which we believe we control, we are submitted to collective behavior. The sways in the crowd and the reactions of panic are familiar to us for because we saw them in movies or sometimes undergone them. But it seems impossible to us to do the same things which we believe are nonsense simply by mimicry.

René Girard 10 depicts a collective behavior anchored in the human behavior which backs up the integrity of the community thanks to the sacrifice of a "scapegoat". The mimetic cycle which he describes occurs in several stages.

Conflict often begins with a "mimetic desire" of wanting what the other has.

When a conflict occurs (and it occurs of course more or less frequently), the person who feels betrayed often has an aggressive attitude. Whether we recognize it or not we have a natural tendency to mimicry and our behaviors take after the others' (even if you don't accept it, advertisers have understood that very well). By imitation, the other person takes an aggressive stance and then gets involved in what psychologists sometimes call the "verbal ping-pong" where the goal is to kill the other's stubbornness with stubbornness, each one pumping energy from the other.

The third step is the spreading of the spirit of aggression, always by imitation, to the whole community and conflicts are increasing. This mechanism is very well described in the comics "Asterix and the Roman Agent." As aggressive reactions increase, the group influences behaviors and engenders a self-cumulative effect.

When the tension in the group reaches a dangerous level that threatens its integrity, either there is a split, each choosing one side or another, or the group voids all aggression through a "scapegoat ". He is preferably selected from outside the conflicts which have no other links between them than the mimetic effect. He is often a weaker and very different person on whom all aggressiveness will strive irrationally.

Once the overflow of aggression is spilled, the scapegoat is "demonized" as the source of all evils to justify the reunification of the group over its destruction and to forget the circumstances of the "sacrifice". The reconciled group has saved his integrity by sacrificing an innocent scapegoat. Oblivion allows the group to resume its course until the next cycle.

Third rule: Clarifying the ''scapegoat mechanism''

One of the difficulties in understanding the mechanism of imitative cycle is precisely due to the fact that it can only work in en environment of unawareness. Participants of this cycle can't accept the mimicry of their behavior, nor its irrational climax up to the spill of aggressiveness on an innocent and moreover the mechanism of oblivion of this atrocity.

René Girard goes on showing that the mechanism of victimization that puts victims at the center of our attention is firmly rooted in our Judeo-Christian civilization. Our data strongly focus on the consequences for the victims, which was not the case in earlier times. This process has a beneficial effect because it prevents the blindness and forgetfulness required to operate the imitative cycle.

Clarifying the mechanism of "scapegoat" can break the imitative cycle. It does not prevent the rise of tension and it is necessary to find a more acceptable new safety valve. The chapter on resolution of conflicts proposes some additional thoughts.
Mimicry of human kind has not only negative effects. It can be seized in a positive way, such as the possibility to spread the CRF method in the community "by the example."

Fourth danger: The closed community

The fourth danger for a community is to close on itself. The group can keep on improving but by cutting itself from the world outside, there is a risk of developping a sectarian behavior harmful to its members.

It doesn't mean that frontiers between the inside and the outside of the community can't exist. The feeling of membership and the existence of peculiarities specific to the group are essential for its existence. But it can grow rich only by remaining open on the outside.

Fourth rule: Allowing withdrawal and multi-membership

It is not always easy to find objective criteria to qualify a group open or closed. A survey on sects conducted by the French parliament 11 recommands tax audits on suspicious movements as they often are intended to bring wealth and power to a presumed guru.

However, there are two criteria that promote the opening of the group to the outside:

Each participant must be able to leave at any moment.
Belonging to other groups should be allowed and even encouraged to enrich the group through these informal links.


If the dominant strategy in the case of a single event is often betrayal, the method CRF (Cooperatio, Reciprocity, Forgiveness) is the most efficient when numerous common and iterative experiences occur.

A community multiplies the opportunities and experiences and thus promote convergence towards cooperation.
There are rules to prevent the community from deviating:

  • Give everyone a long-term vision
  • Enable the development of such behaviors as CRF
  • Develop a history to preserve the common heritage
  • Avoid a ''going back to zero"
  • Clarify the mechanism of imitative cycle and find another safety valve
  • Eradicate the focus on a "scapegoat"
  • Allow everyone to leave at any time and encourage membership in other groups
  • In order to avoid sectarisation as in closed group

Facilitate convergence by establishing mechanisms of esteem

The Peter's principle

Laurence J. Peter studied the paradoxes which urge an organization going from bad to worse. His most known principle indicates that "In a hierarchy, every person tends to rise until she gets to her level of incompetence" 12

Indeed, when someone is appointed to a position and fulfills his task, he is promoted to a new position. The process continues, allowing him to practice his skills on increasingly complex tasks until he reaches a position where he has reached his "level of incompetence". He is then no longer able to fulfill his role as well and is no longer promoted. He then remains stuck to the position where he is the less competent.

This case is just one of many paradoxes that arise when one wishes to evaluate human labor as objectively as practical and scientific facts. From this point of view, the work of Taylor who made the most scientific planning is more adapted to machine than man. At the time this work was published, many people were working machines. Today, the machines are sophisticated enough to take over the most repetitive and schedulable work. In return, the task of creating, as well as those requiring high scalability and subjective estimation are undergoing a strong development.

There is absolutely no denying any evaluation but rather to find new methods that apprehend human characteristics better: subjectivity, motivation or lack of motivation, good or bad faith. These different criteria are peculiar because not measurable even if they can be estimated to a certain extent. So this is a true revolution in the evaluation systems in a world based on objective measures since the XVIIth century. However, we see that the same subjective evaluations can produce phenomena of regulation and self-correction that is their mainspring.

Evaluation of conventionnal projects

The purpose of assessment in a conventional management project is triple :

  • Know beforehand whether a project can be given to someone or to a team
  • Ensure that the project is corrected along its development to improve results
  • Assess the project post factum to see if it was successful

Usually, in the industrial projects submitted to a call for tenders for example, the first and the last goals outdo. The investment of a representative being heavy, he tries to know beforehand if his money is well invested. During the project, he tries to correct it so that the project goes on well. Then finally, he assess if the result can be used for further stages (broadcasting of the results or basic contribution to another project following a ''taylorized'' assembly-line).

First deviation : Beforehand assesment

Often to attract contributors, they are given a "title" in the project. It often helps to motivate the person by bringing recognition from the very start. Beware though, titles have three dangers :

  • It's a beforehand recognition which places us in the Peter's Principle
  • They often give a coercive hierarchical power.
  • They are dangerous when operating because they block a role that can not easily be taken over by another if necessary.

Ideally, the title given is not exclusive and does not give special power. A "binding agent with the Spanish-speaking world" (which does not preclude having other) is better than a "person in charge of translations into Spanish''.

First rule: Assess after the event (post factum)

Let's assume that a project is developped in an environment of abundance, the minimum necessary for its survival needs are fullfiled and that there is sufficient time to allow the group to mature at its own pace. In this case, the beforehand assesment is far less important (except perhaps for the one in charge of the project who must decide whether to launch it or not). In this case it is more useful to correct the project along its development.

Similarly the final assesment is often about assessing the realization of what was expected beforehand rather than judging its usefulness and the use that is made afterwards.

Assesment during the progress of the project may instead provide a mechanism for self-correction afterwards to maximize the use made of the results already achieved by the project. Potential contributors will be involved according to their personal evaluation of the project, of the coordinator and of what they can gain from the results.

Second deviation: Limited assesment

The assesment is usually done at specific times, just like a photo of the project, sometimes only before and after the project. In this case, it doesn't apprehend human evolutions that even small at the start may swell quickly then suddenly switch to cooperation or betrayal. It does not allow to seize opportunities early enough at the source.

Second rule: Continuous assesment

When allowing continuous assessment, we enable the emergence of vicious or virtuous circles "that will magnify until a brutal change of behavior. According to the observers' insight (and we will see in the next section that many people are better than one in this case), differences can be detected early enough to act accordingly.

Third deviation: Assesment by a reduced number of persons

Often, the project is assessed by representatives who want to know if their money is well invested. The evaluation is done by an external person (an agent) which ''only needs'' to be convinced with a well presented report on what will be done or the expected results. Of course during and at the end of the project, actual results are also included in the balance but indirectly.

Third rule: Assesment by the whole community

The assesment of cooperative projects should not be made ​​by the person who facilitates its starting up, but by the entire community which will focus naturally on useful projects, well made ​​and presented in an understandable way. If the project was initiated or supported by a representative, he will know its value of the project according to its progressive use by the targeted community.

Fourth deviation: Objective assesment

Another danger with conventional assesment is the obligation to define objective assesment criteria which by definition approach what is desired without ever reaching it. Only objective factors are taken into account properly. The unmeasurable subjective elements such as good faith or motivation during the progress of the project are neglected, or worse, are subject to an accumulation of objective rules increasingly complex which favor the opposite effect.

Example of country assessment: Rating indicators

Many evaluations are made ​​for countries on financial means (rating indicators) such as Gross Domestic Product. There is a great temptation for policymakers to act directly on the assessed criteria rather than on their causes. GDPwill not enhance for example the difference between a country where the majority of wealth is in the hands of a small group of leaders and a country where wealth is better distributed. We try then to add more and more ''corrective'' financial criteria, but without encouraging the assessed leaders to act on causes rather than on assessed criteria.

A very interesting approach was initiated by the United Nations Program for Development with a Human Development Index based on several criteria which approximate at best the object that is to be evaluated.
These criteria apprehend: health, education and economics.

This is probably our best today to assess human development in a country with an objective indicator, but each rate itself is a mean and only objective, measurable criteria are taken into account. It is then possible to educate better a privileged part of the population or to enroll without seeking to increase school performance indices. Multiplying criteria only makes the task more subtle for those who only strive to adapt their performance to optimize the values ​​of each criterion. But it gives less chance to fulfill at the very best the specific criteria to the indicator for those who very honestly focus primarily on causes.

The traditional methods of objective measures achieved with the scientific advances of the XVIIth century itself require developments to go beyond simple means: sometimes we add standard deviations to average rates (average deviations from the mean). If it gives an idea of the scale of differences, some more subtle points are not taken into account, for example the homogeneous distribution of a population or the division into two or more groups more or less privileged with little chance to move from one group to another.

Side effects (the extreme limits) can also disturb simple objective laws (for example, monopolies). You must have an idea of ​​what happens far from balance and even on limits.

Fourth rule: Reintroduce subjective evaluation

If the evaluation criteria are essential, especially when outsiders must objectively analyze the results, they are however insufficient. On the contrary, the long term collective assessment enables a direct promotion and expansion of a project by attracting new contributors every day, but it s ill suited for an objective assessment.

The problem comes from impossibility to measure good faith objectively. It is only possible to obtain a measurable objective assessment afterwards and with greater or lesser margin between the measured result and the evaluation criteria.

Agrreing on the reintroduction of a subjective evaluation, such as the one provided by the esteem brought by a project, is essential. To lessen difficulties, it is important that it should be decentralized and global and obtained by the whole community and the outside world.

The end of coercive power allows an auto-regulated evaluation

Of course, the implementation of an evaluation afterwards, continuous, subjective and by the whole community seems insoluble if we keep a traditional approach of assesment. To get out of Peter's apparently insoluble paradoxes, we will need, as in the previous chapters, to propose a different environment which doesn't impose the same limits any more.

In a cooperative project, we try to obtain the cooperation of the members and to coordinate their works to get a result. The power of constraint (hierarchical or contractual power), is not any more in the center of the management of the project. The end of the power of constraint allows an auto-regulated evaluation.

The pure and simple abolition of the coercive power may seem a heresy heading to the " field of mud " of the tragedy of commons. We will see on the contrary that in an appropriate environment, it allows to get out of usual paradoxes.

When we are not "forced to cooperate" any more, each one gets involved or uses the results according to what he sees of the project. If globally, the project generates esteem, it will develop more and more. The evaluation is then subjective, post factum and continuous by the whole community of the contributors and of the users. The whole creates a virtuous circle.

The power of the coordinator is limited to the ability of integrating or not the proposed changes by the contributors and possibly exclude a person from the community he established. For what's left, he can only encourage people to become user or contributor, with no power to compel them.

Collaborative projects are well suited to projects between structures or inter-service projects. The running of associations sometimes allow to develop non-hierarchical projects of this kind.

Other approaches

One of the difficulties with giving up the power of constraint is that it requires projects requiring a very low involvement when starting up, an environment of abundance and no deadlines nor expectation of a particular result. This is exactly criteria which allow the implementation of a cooperative project, as we started seeing it.

The complete abandonment of power of constraint given by the title or the employment contract is replaced by the incentive to cooperate with the results obtained and esteem. This is a major difference with the conventional project management. It is therefore not easy to follow both approaches simultaneously. We will see in the chapter on mixing methods that projects using fully or partially the power of constraint can simply give some advantages in promoting the greatest possible post factum long term and subjective evaluation by the community.


Assessing a project can be done:

  • After the event (post factum)
  • Continuously
  • Apprehending subjective ideas
  • By the entire community of contributors and users

This can be achieved by giving up the power of constraint and by letting esteem for the project and its members do its self-regulation job.

1 HARDIN, Garrett. The Tragedy of the Commons. Science [online]. 13 December 1968. Vol. 162, no. 3859, p. 1243–1248. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. DOI 10.1126/science.162.3859.1243. Available from: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/162/3859/1243The population problem has no technical solution; it requires a fundamental extension in morality.PMID: 17756331
2 RAYMOND, Eric S. Homesteading the noosphere. First Monday [online]. 1998. Vol. 3, no. 10. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/621
3 "Hardin later recognized that much of his characterization of the negative aspects of the commons, which according to his analysis 'remorselessly generates tragedy'... was based on a description, not of a commons regime in which authority over use of the resources resides within the community, but of an open access regime, unregulated by any external authority or social consensus" : WARNER, Gary. Participatory Management, Popular Knowledge, and Community Empowerment: The Case of Sea Urchin Harvesting in the Vieux-Fort Area of St. Lucia. Human Ecology [online]. 1 March 1997. Vol. 25, no. 1, p. 29–46. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. DOI 10.1023/A:1021931802531. Available from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A%3A1021931802531
4 MAUSS, Marcel and WEBER, Florence. Essai sur le don: forme et raison de l’échange dans les sociétés archaïques. Paris, France : Presses universitaires de France, 2007. Quadrige. Grands textes, ISSN 1764-0288. ISBN 978-2-13-055499-8.
5 GODELIER, Maurice. L’énigme du don. Paris, France : Fayard, impr. 1997, 1997. ISBN 2-213-59693-X.
6 See the journal "Pour la Science" which edits an article on the prisonner's dilemma every six months (Scientific American). Pour la Science - Le magazine de référence de l’actualité scientifique. [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://www.pourlascience.fr/
Voir aussi Le dilemme du prisonnier. [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://web.archive.org/web/20050302205551/http://www.apprendre-en-ligne.net/jeux/dilemme/home.html
7 WERBER, Bernard. L’encyclopédie du savoir relatif et absolu. Paris, France : Albin Michel, 2000. ISBN 2-226-12041-6.
8 GLANCE, Natalie and HUBERMAN, Bernardo. La dynamique des dilemmes sociaux. Pour la science [online]. 1994. No. 199, p. 26–31. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=4210574
9 GODELIER, Maurice. L’énigme du don. Paris, France : Fayard 1997. ISBN 2-213-59693-X.
BLONDEAU-COULET, Olivier and LATRIVE, Florent (eds.).
Libres enfants du savoir numérique: une anthologie du “Libre.”Paris, France : Ed. de l’Eclat, impr. 2000, 2000. Premier secours. - Perreux : L’Eclat. ISBN 2-8416-2043-3.
BARBROOK, Richard. L’économie du don High Tech. [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://web.archive.org/web/20090917124333/http://www.freescape.eu.org/eclat/2partie/Barbrook/barbrook2.html
10 GIRARD, René. Je vois Satan tomber comme l’éclair. Paris, France : B. Grasset, 1999. ISBN 2-246-26791-9.
11 GUYARD, Jacques, BRARD, Jean-Pierre and FRANCE. ASSEMBLÉE NATIONALE. Rapport fait au nom de la Commission d’enquête sur la situation financière, patrimoniale et fiscale des sectes, ainsi que sur leurs activités économiques et leurs relations avec les milieux économiques et financiers. Paris, France : Assemblée nationale, 1999. Les Documents d’information - Assemblée nationale (Texte imprimé), ISSN 1240-831X ; 1999, 33. ISBN 2-11-108354-2.
12 "in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." : PETER, Laurence J and HULL, Raymond. The Peter principle: why things always go wrong. New York : Bantam, 1969. ISBN 9780553244151.
See also an interview of J. Peters : The Peters Principles. Reason.com [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://reason.com/archives/1997/10/01/the-peters-principles

Source: CORNU, Jean-Michel. La coopération, nouvelles approches. http://www. cornu. eu. org/texts/cooperation [online]. 2004. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://fing-unige.viabloga.com/files/cooperation2.pdf

Photo credits : StephanieHobson sur Flickr - CC-BY-SA
le 05.02.2014 à 10:17:41

Cooperating, between efficency and resilience

Card's author : Jean-Michel Cornu
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description : Robert Ulanowicz is a theroretical ecologist known for his studies on the organization of flows of energy and nutrients within ecosystems. Other complex fields such as networks are highly impacted by his discoveries. He noticed that completely optimized systems are not sustainable1. Therefore, if we choose to grow only the most optimized corn seedling, there is a high risk to loose the whole crop with the first parasite. The now retired Professor of Maryland's University, got involved in systems' sustainability and demonstrated that this latter was optimum when the right balance between resilience (which needs a larger diversity to the detriment of efficiency in order to increase the adaptability to problems that may arise). This optimum occurs closer to resilience than to efficiency (in a ratio of one to two thirds).
That balance point between optimization and adaptability, between order and disorder2, is where new possibilities stand out; in a nutshell, where the possibility of innovating is maximal. This result, about the risks of only optimizing without developing adaptability, is not only a statement on biological systems, but rather a deep rule on all complex systems. It can thus be applied to innovation, network's running, complex choices and civilizations themselves3.

1 ULANOWICZ, Robert E. A third window: natural life beyond Newton and Darwin. West Conshohocken, Pa. : Templeton Foundation Press, 2009. ISBN 9781599471549 159947154X.

2 Benoît Mandelbrot: "Between the field of uncontrolled disorder and Euclid's excessive order, there is now a new zone of fractal order". See also the Edgar Morin's notion of "dialogic" which links two antagonistic principles or ideas appearing as if they should repel but which are inseparable and essential to understand a same reality".
3 TAINTER, Joseph Anthony. The collapse of complex societies. Cambridge, Etats-Unis, Etats-Unis, 2000. New studies in archaeology [Texte imprimé] / ed. Wendy Ashmore, Clive Gamble, John O’Shea,... [et al.]. - Cambridge : Cambridge University press, 1976-. ISBN 0-521-34092-6. The idea that the lack of adaptability leads to extinction was taken over and applied to economics by Clay Shirky in the article "The collapse of complex business models" accessible on his blog (it would have been better to talk of a complicated and hard to adapt economical system rather than a complex one).
le 16.01.2014 à 16:57:31

Cooperation or collaboration : what differences ?

Card's author : Outils-réseaux
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description : Between cooperation and collaboration, the difference is finely shaded.
F. Henri and K. Lundgren-Cayrol analyse in a very clear way the difference between these two notions.
The following presentation resume widely this analysis.

The first difference : how is the work shared?

Generally, collaborative and cooperative groups work together on a common or shared purpose.
The difference is very much visible in the way the work is shared :

By cooperating


The group is divided in specialized teams which take over part of the tasks. Members of each team have specific responsibilities. The set is achieved only when all members have done their part of the work.

The first difference : how is the work shared?

By collaborating


Members of the group work on a common purpose. But each, individually, tries to reach by himself the consensual purpose. Two productions occur in parallel : a collective production and the individual productions of each participant.

Other differences

From this way of doing the common task ensue other differences :
  • Groups maturity
  • Interactions between people
  • The way to consider the purpose

Groups maturity

  • The cooperative approach is more structured and framing. The manager organizes and "checks" the work. That kind of work suits better the "child group";
  • The collaborative approach is more flexible and members of the group have more freedom. It suits the "adult group".

image maturite_groupe.png

The cooperative approach can be seen as a method of initiation and preparation to true collaboration.

Interactions between people

Interactions between members of the group play a major role.
  • by cooperating, the complementarity of tasks creates a feeling of mutual dependence, interactions are therefore very strong but "hierarchized"
  • by collaborating, pooling of ideas prevails, interactions are rather associative, they are then richer and more intense.

The way to consider the purpose

Why are we working together?

image coop (5.6kB)

By cooperating, each member is responsible for an action or an under-task. The purpose is a collective production, the group reaches a purpose as an entity.
image coll.png (5.6kB)

In collaborative approaches, each one uses all the resources within the group.

In conclusion

These two notions are not "stabilized" yet even though we agree that collaboration involves a more democratic process: relations are more egalitarian.

Cultural filters are strong and in both cases they may have a "negative" connotation :
  • "collaborate" sends back to the dark days of World War II,
  • "cooperating" associates with abusive policies of rich African countries

In reality the difference between these two ways of doing is not as clear-cut: we swap easily from one approach to the other
le 17.01.2014 à 17:06:38

ICTs at the service of territorial projects

Card's author : Outils-réseaux
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description :
Carte ProjetTerritoire 2
The impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the territories poses some questions, summarised by the contributors to this work ICTs and territories. What are the consequences of information and communication technologies on urban life, territories and mobility? (2005):
  • does the existence of a virtual world mean the end of distances and territories?
  • to what extent can ICTs contribute to the development of territories and, eventually, to the reduction of spatial inequalities?
  • can new tools usefully accompany the process of conciliation and public debate and the construction of a network democracy?
  • how can we conciliate three ICT appropriation logics: individual, to reorganize the ways of working and a last one which is half-individual, half-public, where the challenge is using the potential of ICTs for the benefit of collective objectives?

In a nutshell: obstacles and success factors

1. Obstacles

  • Territorial projects generally have a strong political dimension to them, whether they are lead by a group or not: when tackling the notion of “territory”, the concept of “power” is never far…, a dimension that must be taken into account.
  • Be careful with poisonous people: in a local territory, creating on-line tools for public expression could become a tool for people with bad intentions, who will try to express their ideas outside the rules of democratic debate.

2. Success factors

Some key actors

  • The inhabitants of a territory! They must play an active role and this requires time!
  • Decision-makers (and potential funders of actions): without them, without their support, it is difficult to get durable projects that mobilize on a large scale.
  • Indispensable facilitators: DPS (Digital Public Spaces), to accompany the public towards new tools and uses.
  • A dense social tissue that is willing to cooperate.

A project aligned with the territory

  • A diagnosis of the territory: the features (and problems) will guide any possible projects and their objectives. For example, projects will be different between territories: large / very small, rural / urban, targeting an ageing population / a mixed uprooted population…
Beware of territorial diagnosis made by people from outside the territory when there has been no consultation with the population. It is important to have a participatory analysis (permanent observatory).
  • It shouldn't only be virtual: the project must fit into the reality of the territory: and make visible and link events that happen in the territory, initiatives…

Answers for the territory?: feedback on experiences

To get an idea of what can be done, let's explore some dimensions offered by ICTs when they are used in territorial projects to:

1. Create links between its inhabitants

In many other types of projects, strengthening the links between the inhabitants of a territory is the crosscutting goal: links between generations, social means, to fight isolation, de-compartmentalize actors and create innovation…

Tools to support organizing local events
  • neighbourhood meals
  • the day of the neighbour
  • ads

Social networks
  • La Ruche (in Rennes, and Brest): a local social network
  • Peuplade: a site linking neighbours

Local themed networks
  • Directories of actors, skills…
  • Environmental education: Coopere 34 (Hérault), APLRE

2. Inventories of resources and creating a common good

Participatory inventories

  • Territorial wikis: "A territorial wiki is a wiki that hosts a base of knowledge linked to a geographical space: a territory, municipality or region. Started up by a territorial group, an association or by volunteers, they aim to develop collaborative writing on a territory." (Wikipedia)
  • Wiki-brest
  • wiki-manche
  • Picardia
  • wiki-Toulouse
  • WikiPompignan (Languedoc-Roussillon)

  • Carto party : collectively making a map of a territory using Openstreetmap (an application that allows making a copyright-free map) and Chimere (to add a layer with the information for that territory: heritage sites, resources, points of interest… without overloading Openstreetmap):
  • Plouarzel Carto party: the first French commune to be fully charted using Open Street Map. (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Plouarzel_prepa_mapping_party)

Making public information free

Public information financed with public funds should be reusable for everyone. However, in most cases this information is protected by copyright. Making this information free would be a powerful driver of innovation to create new services, new values. There are several territories that became involved in this path, starting in England and the US:

3. Recovering the territory

Its resources, heritage, initiatives…

Territorial websites
The first devices created.

Aggregating RSS feeds
RSS feeds allow grouping, “aggregating” all news information on a territory. They give visibility to the dynamism of a territory for a very low price.

Territorial calendars
Bringing together and disseminating on several sites the news and activities in a territory using standard formats

Territorial resources databases
Balades scientifiques (by Connaissances): an inventory on the scientific heritage in the Languedoc-Roussillon region: http://baladescientifiques.fr/

Augmented reality
Potential projects?
Territoires sonores: a site aiming at bringing value to the territory of Cap de la Chèvre using sound media: http://www.territoires-sonores.net

4. Allowing participation and citizen expression

City or neighbourhood forums on the websites of local institutions or associations: there are many of these on the Internet and were one of the first tools established within the territorial projects framework.
Neighbourhood blog

Participatory TV

Participatory debates
  • Facilitating the debate on the future of the scrubland (Les Ecologistes de l'Euzière, Languedoc-Roussillon) with Freemind
  • Wiki created by the city of Clermont Ferrand for a consultation with its citizens on town development (http://www.clermont-ferrand.fr/mazet/index.php/Accueil )

Participatory multimedia creation
  • etoileur (by Kawenga in Montpellier): "e-toileur" is an accompaniment project allowing an artist or performer to find a place in a Multimedia Access Space and develop a cultural action together. (http://www.kawenga.org/centrededoc/html/e_toileur.pdf)
  • Audiomaton is a device created by the artist Cécile Guigny using an old photo-booth that has been transformed into a simple system to record sounds. At an event (Internet Festival…) the testimonials of users can be posted on-line and feed an audio library. (http://lam34.org/wakka.php?wiki=AudioMaton )

5. Making services more accessible

Taxes, job centres, administrative procedures…: increasingly, a larger number of administrations are providing (or imposing) on-line services. The basis of this baseline movement is to make these public services more accessible, even in the most remote areas. This dematerialization does eliminate some physical distances, but one must be careful not to forget the technological barrier that leaves many “digital illiterates” aside.

Relocating professional activities and creating shared working spaces in less central areas: ZeVillage? (http://www.zevillage.net/)

E-learning and ODL
Dematerialised pedagogical resources.

6. At the service of the sustainable development of territories

This is one of the big challenges our territories are facing today: how to develop without mortgaging future development?

With this idea in mind, the following has been suggested:
  • the possibility of dematerialising services and activities as a way of minimising the carbon footprint
  • the possibility of citizen participation and consultation

7. To inter-link territories (inter-cultural dimension)

ICTs and the Internet in a certain way bridge gaps and increase the possibilities of inter-linking distant territories.

le 05.02.2014 à 11:24:11


Card's author : Jean Michel Cornu
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description :

Motivations to ease involvement

Book "la coopération, nouvelles approches" version 1.0

Paradox: the HS system

A project does not develop simply because the participants are doing what they are told to do, but also because they get involved.

When the ORTF (Office de Radio et Télévision Française) started up, teams worked in a large emulation. Many premieres have been possible thanks to groups of passionate people who invented television (how to shoot a drama, the overlay mechanism that adds a background behind a anchorman ...). There were wonderful innovations and also and of course many mistakes.

To finance television which was becoming increasingly expensive, advertising was introduced. Gradually, a pernicious effect appeared: during ads it was necessary that a maximum of people should watch television. It became impossible to fail. TV programs were clearly defined and selected BEFORE by managers. Innovation and creativity became risk factors. People who realized emissions became performers of fully defined and calibrated projects. They lost consequently the pleasure of discovery and recognition when they invented something extraordinary. Another form of recognition was granted not to innovators but to those who had a visible place with the growing broadcasting of media. It became interesting to fight against each other to get the best seats, the best titles and even fame.

Those who wanted to keep on innovating and making beautiful things were less and less recognized, they lost heart and fell into the system that François Closet called the HS system ("Holy Shit ...")1.

Let the best contributors get their hands on pieces of the project

When television programs became critical events, the right to make mistakes had to be deleted. But innovation and creativity are not robotic process. It takes many failures to achieve a great idea. Providing a precise planning of what needs to happen kills innovation. Thus, Norbert Alter 2 explains that innovators are not recognized when starting up and are often rejected.

On the contrary, one of the characteristics of collaborative projects is that the coordinator-owner only has the right in the end to change his project as he wishes. Everyone can come and go on his " territory." The more the passers-by will want to stop and settle the richer the project. To retain the best and most active contributors, it is good to give them a small piece of property in the form of a sub-project that they can coordinate, even if what they do is not originally planned.

The key is to adopt an "active let-do'' as long as the proposals match the project. For example, it is better as much as possible that everyone choose his role, seeking to get involved in roles that are not or ill-taken in order to "find his place", rather than assigning roles beforehand. The queueing theory present that kind of rebalancing 3.

The counterpart of gift

As seen previously, cooperating in a project, and even getting involved and giving without expecting immediate counterpart is not necessarily an altruistic act but a way to reconcile personal with public interest by postponing and globalizing the given counterpart.

Consumable goods (or their counterpart in money) are poorly adapted to provide an effective counterpart, because we have there a simple exchange based on a unitarian assesment of the value ??of each gift. This shows the difficulty to live only on the gift because we also need, among other, consumer goods for our basic needs. However, we will see that by rebound effect, the most intangible goods gained in a gift system can in a second time greatly facilitate the obtaining of these tangible assets.

Gains that can be expected as a result of these gifts are of three kinds:
  • Skills
  • Pleasure
  • Recognition
In trading, we get back for our labor the developing of skills and some money that indirectly helps to fullfil the basic needs and to buy what can please (even if it is possible and recommanded to take pleasure directly from work).
In gift economy, we get in counterpart of our work the development of skills and pleasure, as well as recognition that enables to get indirectly a valuation of the social status to fullfil better ones vital needs.
The feeling of a job well done is also a bonus for those who are sensitive. It's a personal feeling free from collective reactions, and for that we won't give more details here.

First counterpart: Skills

Any participation to a project must enable the acquisition of skills in the operational areas where we get involved, but also the meaning of the participation and the project management. From this point of view, we can compare the acquisition of skills to what a company tries to get with its training budget and its research and development budget in an economy of exchanges.

Second counterpart: Pleasure

This might seem a low score which could be obtained in many other ways. However, in the exchange economy too, once our basic needs fullfiled, money helps mainly to satisfy our need for pleasure and even our need to look good and our need to show others our social success through more luxurous godds such as travel, entertainment, etc.. In cooperative projects pleasure is no longer brought ??indirectly through gains in money, but directly by the project itself. It is even an essential criterion in project management: it must allow participants to find pleasure and as a counterpart, pleasure will act as an engine to generate involvement which is the key of success for every project.

Third counterpart: Recognition

It is a fundamental gain in a free collaborative project. As well as the exchange economy does not directly provide the fullfilment of basic needs but brings money which allows to do so, recognition has by rebound effect several advantages:
  • A very effective way to attract the cooperation of others in projects that we could offer
  • The fullfilment of the need for recognition that we all have
  • Increased resources (hiring, promotion) that results indirectly from esteem that we generate or the titles that we have acquired.

The last two counterparts are often disowned by the diehard of volunteer projects. The need for recognition is too much alike about its perverted version: egocentrism. As for the increase in means, it is possible to ignore it only if we have fullfiled all our basic needs and obtained safety. This advantage is often denied because it involves a significant risk of deviations as we shall see later. To give a comparison, recognition enables to get what a company looks for from its research, communication or marketing budget in an economy of exchanges. provides that a company in the exchange economy research through its marketing and communication budget.

Now again, something which can seem negative in our environment where personal interest is paradoxical with general interest, becomes a foundation of the cooperative project when personal and general interest are reconciled.

Deviations of recognition

In the gift economy recognition plays the role of money with the differences already identified: global evaluation afterwards on all the gifts. The counterpart is not asked but received from the whole community.

It takes more time "to get'' your first pay, which explains that a gift economy works all the better since the actors have already fullfiled their vital needs and can concentrate on other less urgent needs (need for recognition, pleasure, acquisition of skills, facilitating cooperation of others in future projects...).

We have seen, however, that two of these gains at least (fullfilment of the need for recognition and the increase in means) have possible deviations.
Particularly, the fullfilment of the need for recognition can grow in egocentrism. In this case, the recognition is not received from others, but is considered as a due. However, thanks to a mechanism of natural regulation, the person who falls into this trap and has no coercive power over others sees her peers turning away from her.

The different kinds of recognition

Regarding the increase in means through an increased social status, we must distinguish several forms of recognition. If each one brings a form of power, it is also necessary there if there is or not a kind of coercive power over others linked to it.

  • The honorary title is normally obtained after the end of a participation in a project. In order that this kind of recognition works operates, it is necessary that involvement in the project stops afterwards. The title then provides a measure of the recognition gained without bringing power. The only possible deviations are to keep on being involved and a poor assessment of the reward. This may happen particularly if a single person or a small group decides to award the title. It is possible then to influence the person responsible for awarding to get a not deserved title or on the contrary to deny it to someone.
  • Esteem is obtained during the clife of the project and allows those who receive it to keep on acting by attracting even more easily the cooperation of others. Its biggest drawback is that it is not measurable (there is no "unit of recognition"), although it can be ... estimated. But this form of recognition brings many benefits. Assessment is continuous and may increase or decrease by a permanent self-correcting phenomenon. The evaluation is distributed as it is done by all. It is done according to what we have done and not on what is announced. It provides a non-binding power: it will be easier to attract the cooperation of others but esteem can't force them to cooperate. Finally the last advantage, the number of people who can receive esteem is not limited, we are in an economy of abundance that facilitates redistribution of esteem for others.
  • The operational title is obtained before filling the role associated with it. This time, it is a readily identifiable measurement. But the evaluation is done by a particular person or a small group on the basis of the esteem already obtained in other roles. The title can also be obtained from the announcement of what will be done (eg in tendering for a contract ). Then we are completely in the field of the Peters' principle 4 " In a hierarchy, every person tends to rise up to achieve his level of incompetence." This is a consequence of this evaluation system "beforehand". One significant point is that the operational capacity gives most of the time a coercive power on the " subordinate " that we would like to see cooperating. Finally, the number of posts available is limited, and to give an operational title it is often necessary to release one .

First rule: facilitating the mechanisms of counterpart

One of the fundamental roles for the coordinator of a project is to get sure that everyone finds his interest in cooperation with others. For this, it is important to be continuously careful to facilitate the learning of new things and of funny times especially if they are collective.

The coordinator should also be aware that each one harvest the esteem he deserves. Organizing the circulation of information on the each member's achievements, keeping a history of achievements are effective means of facilitating self-regulation esteem.

Second rule: Allow everyone to see each other by building by stage

Even before achieving great things, members of the community will unconsciously test the ability of the community to recognize its results.

We have seen that the larger the group the more it generated opportunities. This seems opposite to the ability to receive recognition, the actions being drowned in the number. However, it is possible to be visible even in large groups because whay counts is the number of contributors and not the total number of people.

But the number of regular contributors is limited. To allow more people to get involved, there must bea gradual segmenting of the project into sub-projects. The art of the coordinator is to advance the project at the right pace from a unified idea until the branching to subprojects, to allow at each step a minimum number of contributors and that this number is not an obstacle for contributors to see each other an to be recognized.

Third rule: Don't give titles but non-exclusive roles to members

The subtlety between the title and the role is important. The title brings the realization of recognition. It is often exclusive, which makes impossible having other people who assume the role openly if the level of incompetence is reached. In addition, the title is often accompanied by a coercive power that goes against regulation mechanisms proposed by the participants of cooperative projects.

The non-exclusive role allows to guide and encourage a member to contribute (especially at the beginning when the number of contributors is low or zero). But the role should be won every time to receive esteem in return. If it doesn't go along with a coercive power, the person with a role a role will have to motivate other contributors if she wants to multiply her according to a process close to the implementation a complete project process. The distribution of a non-exclusive role in a person's motivation to get involved and can eventually lead to the coordination of a successful sub-project.


In order to involve even more the best contributors and to keep them motivated, the natural counterpart mechanisms must be facilitated:
  • The development of skills
  • Pleasure
  • Recognition

For this, the coordinator must follow these rules:
  • Facilitate exchange mechanisms (knowledge, pleasure, recognition)
  • Allow everyone to see by constructing the project step by step
  • No titles but non-exclusive roles for participants so that they make their own pieces of the project.

Reducing the risks to get involved in a group

Paradox: only those who do nothing have time

No doubt, if you've tried to bring together people, you have stumbled upon this curious paradox: Those who could make the most of a community are either already involved in other groups, or they are putting together their own project. They do not have the time to invest in your project.

Others do not have sufficient material safety to get involved.

There is a third class of persons involved in numerous projects. They will join with your joy. But if they can bring the wealth of links to other groups, they will have neither the time nor the interest to contribute significantly to your project.

The paradox can be stated as follows: "Unless exception, the best contributors do not have the time to invest in your project."

Reducing risks when during the involvement

Those who are often asked to participate in projects have become accustomed to say no first and then possibly think about it. For having very poorly followed this rule, I have often found myself overwhelmed by too many commitments. This can only be done at the expense of our involvement in the projects we participate in or that we take up.

Once again, it is necessary to let the regulatory mechanisms play their part. Someone who arrives in a project can never be sure that it is really interesting for him or even if he will stay. It is therefore necessary to minimize the risk of getting involved in a new project.

For this there are two criteria:
  • One depends on the person itself: You can get involved once vital needs are fullfiled.
  • The other depends on the group: Entering a group should not be a commitment to contribute or even stay.

First Rule: Everyone must have a material safety

It is necessary that everyone has solved its problems of material safety:

  • Either by participating in the project within the framework of his work if the organization to which he belongs sees an interest in it,
  • Either by having a sufficient flexibility to participate voluntarily.

The direct funding of people for a project raises a problem of acceptance by other unpaid people and of expectation of results that require other methods. A person may, however, be employed by a participating organization in the project. She is then paid for her role of link to the project rather than directly for the work done within the framework of the project.

Open or closed communities

An important area in the development of cooperative projects is about the open or closed aspect of groups.

If a coordinator gathers a community of users who can not easily make the choice to leave the community, then the community is said to be closed. If instead the community allows any user to get out easily, if contributions can come from anyone, then the community is open. It seems that some rules stand out to form an open group:
  • Each member of the community can come out of the community any time and on his own initiative. If a member disrupts the functioning of the community, the coordinator has the right to exclude. He however does not have the power to maintain in the community someone who wants out.
  • It is possible and even very positive to be part of many communities. Everyone can freely choose the groups he wants to join.

The establishment of an open community of users-contributors is preferable to a closed community.
Sects are closed groups.The membership to other groups just as the exit from a sect are highly discouraged. The guru has more than one power to compel its members.

The criteria that we have given are not about the entry into the community. There are cases where communities stop entry using cooptation or other mechanisms. There are several types of these mechanisms such as the coordinating nucleus of a project when it involves many people or the community of project coordinators.

Coordinating nucleus and steering group

We have seen that the great difference between contributors and resident coordinators lays in the execution of critical or non-critical side tasks. Thus the coordinating nucleus of a project can sometimes consist of several people. In this case it is best to choose the coordination team in which each member will support critical tasks very carefully. Cooptation is then the best system. It's the the main coordinator's job to choose its partners and ensure the coherence of the team.

Users do not choose each member of the coordinating nucleus but penalize the efficiency of the coordination team by contributing or else by going out of the community. The information they have is a key criterion to avoid deviations. Paradoxically, the operation is similar to a stock exchange or financial market : A "bet" is built on an idea, a strategy, a team and the penalty is an increased demand of the title.

In all cases it is preferable that the coordinating nucleus (and also the number of critical tasks) remains as small as possible to avoid increasing complexity imposed by the law of Brooks. Ideally the coordinator must be alone.

One solution is to form a steering group. It gathers members of the community who were given roles (non-exclusive and non-critical) to undertake tasks of which none is vital to the project. Such a non-critical steering group allows then to have very active contributors who can even take over the coordination of a subproject without the risk of jeopardizing the whole project if one of them fails.

Community of peers

The community of project coordinators is a community of co-opted members: people enter the community when they are recognized by their peers. Here, the community is only aiming to exchange. Without anything to produce in common, there are no critical tasks. It is mainly used to host exchanges and recognition among its members. This closed community is dangerous, however, if recognition is based only on its members and not on an open community of user-contributors.

Thus, in free software, there are two types of communities. Hackers (also called ethical hackers to distinguish them from others): They are often people who implement cooperative development of free software projects. They get their recognition (and therefore their status as hackers ), not only from the hacker community, but also from user-contributors of their open communities.

Communities of interest such as hackers protect their coherence from the outside by mechanisms of selection:
  • The vocabulary or social context allows recognition between members
  • The need for an initiation time enables to acquire the qualities needed to be recognized as a member of the group (technical skills, patience, sense of compromise ...). Secrets must be gradually discovered.
On the contrary, the "crackers" are hackers who secretly develop viruses or pirate websites. The community of crackers is formed of people who recognize them as crackers. If they have the equivalent of users (who are so in spite of themselves!), they don't have an open community of contributors. Regulation by the involvement of users-contributors can't occur.

A community whose door is closed is not necessarily a bad thing if it allows the building of a coherent coordinating nucleus by cooptation or allows exchanges between people with a common culture. However it must enable exit and multi-membership to stay open and it has to be based on other open communities to allow mechanisms of regulation of recognition and hence avoid deviations.

Second rule: Entering a project must not be a commitment to contribute or to stay

This "opening" may seem as a disadvantage, and it seems more interesting in the short term to make its users "captive". But the real assessment of the project needs the esteem of the users who choose to contribute or on the contrary to leave. The questioning made imperative by this continuous assesment leads the project to a virtuous circle of quality. Of course the coordinator keeps the power to expel a member who would disrupt the overall operation.


In order to avoid that good contributors perceive participation in your project as a commitment to risky involvement, it's necessary that they have a good material safety and that the group is open.
An open group allows everyone to leave at any time and encourages multi-membership on the member's initiative.
To minimize the risk of getting involved in a project:

  • Each member must have a material safety
  • Joining a project must not be a commitment to contribute or to stay

Involvement : lowering the threshold of acting out

Paradox: the train is gone

If you arrive just in time to catch your train, you can hop in and go as expected. If you arrive 20 minutes before, you have a safety margin and the total duration of your trip (including waiting time) will be extended by 20 minutes. But if you get a few seconds after the train, all of your travel is messed because you missed your train!

We often have a linear vision of things. However, many phenomena occur non-linearly according to a threshold. One area where we often encounter this kind of threshold and fall is psychology.

Lowering ''the threshold of acting out''

The acting out with humans corresponds to a brutal swing. The mathematical theory of chaos describes quiet well the threshold which lead from passivity to cooperation 5 . This threshold depends on the person but also on environment.

Example: encouraging action by sending an email

Consider an Internet message asking users to view a specific page of your website. If the address of the page is in the message and the user only has to click, you will have much more people who will visit your page than if you consider that they have the address of your site and they can do very well to find it. The enemy in this case is the phrase you hear too much in projects " it's their problem ".
If the coordinator sends a message to its users to contribute actively, he must send all items so that those who receive his message won't have to seek additional information to contribute. Otherwise he can only cry over the lack of dynamism of his users. He will however be the first responsible for it. Think for a moment oft the different times in your life when you got involved and those when you didn't. Your attitude depended on your direct interest to what was proposed, the dynamism of the group, but also on small insignificant details that have facilitated or not your first action.

Authorizing the use and the modification beforehand through a license rather than imposing an authorization request before any action is another example of elements that facilitate the acting out.

First Rule: KISS (Keep It Simple and Stupid )

A project will find his contributors if they are able to understand what the initiator wanted to do. At each step, the choice should be simple and understandable. Very often simple solutions are the best.

There i one golden rule to ease contributors to act out. It stands in 4 letters:
K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple and Stupid).

Don't consider that all the participants in your project understand the project as well as you – in the heart of it – do. There are several reasons for this:

The information you provide to your participants are likely to be more easily understood with your mindset than with theirs.
Your participants do not have access to all the information, especially those which seemed obvious enough to you and that you didn't send.
Finally, although some contributors can be very involved, they will always be less than you and therefore select and assimilate better the subset of information that is related to the project.

Second rule: Be reactive above all

On the contrary, a project presented long ago and whichh does not start leaves the potential participant in an attitude of non-participation that he will quit with difficulty. Be careful with promises of actions that are delayed. These delays in the starting up are usual in traditional projects based on constraints (eg financial). They kill motivation and opportunity to switch potential participants to cooperation.

Being reactive... This rule may seem simple but it is often what makes the success or failure of people's involvement. It should be understood that the mechanism of action evolves over time. The more time goes by the more difficult it becomes to act. At every moment the threshold goes up.

In time management, it is always recommanded to start right away what we have to do. Otherwise you will need more willpower to do it later. This "disease" that leads to postpone is called "procrastination."

If you want to coordinate a project, do not try to just be reactive: try to surprise your members being hyper-reactive! Thus you will not only get your contributors themselves to be reactive, but they will feel more recognized if you answer quickly to their suggestions and you will also save a huge amount of time simply by reacting quickly and often.


In addition to the increasing of motivation and the minimization of risks, the secret of involvement is in lowering the threshold of acting out.

Two rules are needed to lower the threshold:

  • KISS (Keep It Simple and Stupid)

1 CLOSETS, François de. Le système E.P.M. Paris, France : B. Grasset, 1980. ISBN 2-246-00969-3.
2 ALTER, Norbert. Sociologie de l’entreprise et de l’innovation. Paris, France : Presses universitaires de France, impr. 1996, 1996. Collection Premier cycle (Paris), ISSN 1158-6028. ISBN 2-13-047491-8.
3 Queeing theory, see for example MORSE, Philip M and KIMBALL, George E. Methods of operations research. [Cambridge : Published jointly by the Technology Press of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Wiley, New York, 1951. ISBN 026213005X 9780262130059.
Recherche opérationnelle. [online]. [Accessed 29 January 2014]. Available from: http://web.archive.org/web/20011115005936/http://chronomath.irem.univ-mrs.fr/LudoMath/ro.html
4 PETER, Laurence J and HULL, Raymond. The Peter principle: why things always go wrong. New York : Collins Business, 2009. ISBN 9780061699061 0061699063. "in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence."
See also the interview of Peters : The Peters Principles - Reason.com. [online]. [Accessed 29 January 2014]. Available from: http://reason.com/archives/1997/10/01/the-peters-principles
5 See an example : Chaos and flight home page - Daniel Vandewalle. [online]. [Accessed 29 January 2014]. Available from: http://web.archive.org/web/20020328105527/http://www.ping.be/chaoflight/pageen/bookchaos.htm.
PRIGOGINE, Ilya. Les lois du chaos. Paris, France : Flammarion, 1997. Champs, ISSN 0151-8089, 369. ISBN 2-08-081369-2.

Source: Cornu, Jean-Michel. La coopération nouvelles approches. Available online <http://www.cornu.eu.org/texts/cooperation>

Photo crédits: Via catalana by SBA73 sur Flickr - CC-BY-SA
le 08.09.2014 à 15:12:31

Mapping to get an overview

Card's author : Jean-Michel Cornu
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description : 1

Long live antagonisms !

Whether during a collective discussion with different points of view, or moreover during an argument, everyone defends his idea and keeps repeating it to be sure it will be taken into account - or more - impose itself to others. This quirk usually prevents everybody from having an overview on the proposed ideas : each one looks for what justifies his position and possibly what discredits the other's. The discussion goes round and round.

If we look closer, they are two things in these exchanges : members try to reach altogether a truth or a solution, but often replacing the rational approach by a late justification of the chosen positions 2 ; and besides there is an often unconscious game going on where every member tries not to be caught out but rather to be held in high esteem by the others. Very often, there is a presupposition that only one solution is true or at least is the best. This situation frequently prevents members from looking for other proposals than those given by them at the beginning . Techniques of creativity enables to break this vicious circle but keeping all that is said and proposing new issues to members.

An antagonism is a "situation where two phenomenons or their consequences have opposite effects 3". In the tale of the blind men and an elephant 4 , each blind persons touches a different part of the animal and draws a different conclusion which seems opposite to the others. But an opposite is not a contrary, which is completely incompatible with the proposal of the beginning. So, we often oppose success and failure. But these two opposites are not as incompatible as they seem at first sight. Those who have carried out projects are well aware that during a lifetime one comes across both success and failures... unless one doesn't do anything which enables neither to succeed nor fail5

It is then important in a discussion not to exclude proposals from the start, but on the contrary to look for new ideas in order to sketch the "map" of possibilities before trying to choose. 6

Limits of the speech

Let's illustrate a speech. It has a point of departure – often a question – a progression and an arrival, the conclusion. It looks like a walk in a forest for instance , with its point of departure, its progression and its arrival. But if we try to walk altogether without accepting to follow one and only one person, then things get bad. The conflict may be shown as a common departure point and two opposite progressions. How can we depict this conflict as only one speech ? We can depict each progression, but we can't depict only one departure point, only one progression and only one arrival as when we argue... Similarly collective intelligence can be represented as several departure points (several points of view) for the same arrival (the topic to keep in mind) . As in the story with the blind men and an elephant, it's not possible to have only one speech. Creation consists in linking two ideas to create a new one. Here too a unique speech cannot enable to leave from several potential towards numerous arrivals. The speech is therefore limited in its ability to show some domains 7. Sometimes we even turn round and round ! Jacques Monod 8 showed that it is our symbolic language and our capacity to build up speeches which makes up our intelligence. So, we humans have an intelligence allowing us sometimes to make rational speeches. It has enabled to develop civilizations and even to send men on the Moon. But this kind of intelligence is of no help neither for solving conflicts nor dealing with collective intelligence or to apply creativity ! That is surely why we are the only animals smart enough to master nuclear power but stupid enough to use it to shatter the Planet in thousands pieces...

A map to avoid turning round and round

Fortunately, classical language and speeches are not the only things we have to develop our intelligence. Cognitive sciences have shown that we have several working memories 9 enabling us to keep these concepts in mind. Yet, thinking means linking ideas. We do this with ideas we have in mind, in our working memories. "The phonological loop" is a working memory interested in linked ideas as in our speech or, to get back to our analogy, as the different steps of our walk. We also have at disposal a visio-spatial sketchpad, another working memory interested in different unconnected concepts. If we go back to our walk-in-the-forest analogy, this memory allows the sketching of a map with different items to find directions. In that case, it is possible to keep in mind several opposite or just different ideas. As well as the disposal of a map four our collective walk allows to locate us and the others, it is possible to make a map of ideas to locate ourselves in the debate. We have named this way of thinking, particularly adapted to conflict-solving, to collective intelligence or to creativity, "thinking-2" taking up Edward de Bono's words 10. The map enables to see all the paths simultaneously and to find some new and unexplored ones. We can co-build it with the ideas and progressions of every one during an exchange of views. Such tools as mind maps (mind mapping en anglais) exactly allows to map debates very efficiently.

But contrary to our long term memories, our working memories are very limited. The phonological loop which allows the chain of ideas only allows to keep in mind three concepts 11. This limit appears when we try to remember the thread of a recent conversation. We easily find the three last ideas but it's difficult to go any further. With this limit, we shouldn't be able to build up a speech of more than three ideas. It's in case the fact in animal language. But we humans have managed to go beyond that barrier thanks to a... cultural increase. Invention of symbolic language has allowed us to stock in our long-term memory 12 several thousands of concepts under the shape of symbolic words. We dig in this memory to feed our small short-term memory chaining words one after another to constitute speeches. So, thanks to this continuous feeding of concepts wrapped in words, we can constitute endless speeches. We are so proud of this major progress that we don't stop talking... Even our unconscious talks as Jacques Lacan says !

Our second working memory, the visio-spatial sketchpad allowing us to draw mind maps that we can try to link later on, is also limited. Its "memory span", the size of what we can keep in mind at a given time, is between five and nine 13. We can have an idea of this limit when looking at a picture with several persons on it and once the picture is away, we are asked how many people there were. If the number is rather low, up to seven, we can find from the mental image that we have kept of the picture. But if the number is higher, we can't count them afterward. Once more, we have a common limit most animals. But without cognitive tools enabling us to overtake it, we can't remember more than five to nine ideas in an exchange and we loose the richness of the debate. The human being of the XXIst century is even disadvantaged because of the continuous requests and the need to keep in mind several things. Very often in a debate, we only react to one or two ideas which have marked us forgetting all the others...

Increasing our ability to map debates

As well as we have been able to increase our capacity to build up speeches by stocking symbolic words in our long term memory, we can increase our ability to make mind maps. "the Method of Loci" means to stock symbolic places – here called loci - in one's long term memory and then to associate them with ideas appearing in exchanges ( in the long run it's easier to memorize territories than ideas). We can keep then in our long term memory enough concepts to overtake the limits of our short term memory

Method of Loci14

In the case of thinking-2, we saw we were limited by the size of our short term working memory. To overtake this fact, we could use a map already kept in our long term memory (for example, a city map) to stock different concepts which will be linked to a place on our map.

That's exactly how the Method of Loci works 15 which goes back to the Greeks according to Cicero 16. He says that during a banquet, the poet Simonide de Ceos was invited to praise the master of the house, a custom peculiar to those times. But he included some praises to Castor and Pollux. Scopas, the master, then said to Simonide that he would only pay half what he owed him and that he could ask the twin gods for the balance. A little later during the meal, someone called Simonide to tell him two youngsters were waiting for him outside. As soon as he was out of the house, the roof collapsed on the whole of the guests. Bodies were so squashed that they could not be recognized by their family. But the poet was able to remember the whole of the victims by the places they occupied during the deadly banquet.

Progressively, from a simple mnemonic system, the Method of Loci turned into a system willing to categorize the whole of human thinking on a spatial map. Well over a simple mnemonic process, this system was drawing an art of creating thinking 17. But the use itself of the expression "art of memory" has undoubtedly forced to forget these techniques when printing, then computers substituted themselves to our memory capacities. Nevertheless this kind of method, used since the Middle Ages by monks, allows to think with a great number of concept simply by associating them with parts of a known places, itself being kept in the long term .

Traces of these methods combining concepts and symbolic places – not always real spots but also learnt and memorized maps -are often found in numerous domains : in the use of psalms 18, spoken tales 19, African griots, Yi King, Chinese calligraphy...

Which map for which collective intelligence ?

To enable the development of collective intelligence in the writing of a collective document or in the solving of conflicts for instance, maps can be used to show the different progressions of members and discover some new ones. The use of mind maps (mind mapping) is particularly powerful. During face-to-face meetings, maps can be cast on a wall so that everyone has an overview. Thus it changes completely the way people propose new ideas rather than repeating those they remember... generally theirs.

But there are limits to this approach : mind map soon becomes complex. Someone who arrives along the way will find it difficult to understand. Those who were there from the start can use it rather effectively... until the projector is switched off. The amount of ideas on the map often exceed our working memory's limits and soon after the work session we stop thinking and remember only a few conclusions that poorly illustrate the richness of the discussion. We have successfully tested the superimposition of a mind map on a territory according to the «method of Loci» method. The metaverse francophone library has created a virtual island 20 hosting the different concepts of our book Prospectic 21 on emerging sciences and technologies (Nanotechnologies, Biotechnologies, Complex systems theory, IT, Neurosciences, Cognition...). Besides, in the framework of a 6-sessions public debate on synthesic biology set up by Vivagora, we have mapped real time ideas and opinions about an imaginary city 22.

This method using mind maps proved to be particularly powerful during face-to-face sessions or else during online meetings (synchronous meetings). It's different with asynchronous online meetings, when each member reacts in the debate when he chooses to. Indeed, in this case, the level of member's attention fluctuates from pro-activity to episodic observation 23. Co-mapping step-by-step with everyone's attention becomes difficult. Besides, it's hard to find spots known by all and which can we can use as bases to locate one or two hundreds concepts. Our houses and our environment are well memorized and they can be a media for the method of Loci. But they are different for each member and can only be used individually. The world map could possibly be used as a base because we have all already memorized a part of it, but it's tricky to locate ideas-most of the time subjective- on inhabited countries or territories. For example where would be located the notion of deviance? The best applicant seems to be the human body where even a uneducated person can locate dozens of different spots. Vivian Labrie has experimented this approach with human sculptures composed of several members during debates about poverty in Quebec 24. Besides, during an online debate, reactive participants which are ten times more numerous than proactive ones, get information and summaries through a tool rather geared to text (mail, Facebook, Twitter) 25 which they read regularly and don't really make the effort to look at a graphical mind map on a specific web page. Asking to click on a link in a sent text will reduce by half the number of potentially reactive persons.

Therefore during online debates, it is more interesting to have a mind map exclusively built with (even if with Twitter there is still the need to click on link to propose more than 144 characters). When formatted, the text enables that kind of possibilities with item-structured lists (which make an arborescence as mind maps) and different artifacts allowing to browse a text just like a map, reading an exhaustive reading needless (bold, underlined...). By keeping short the "textual mind map", the size of an average computer screen, we enable participants to have an overview of exchanges and to use Thinking-2 to produce collective intelligence.

  • 1 Thes ideas are originally presented in : CORNU, Jean-Michel. Modes de pensée et conflit d’intérêt. In : Nouvelles technologies, nouvelles pensées ? [online]. Limoges, France : FYP éditions, 2008. Innovation, ISSN 1961-8328. ISBN 978-2-916571-03-4. Available from : http://www.cornu.eu.org/files//ProspecTIC_pensee2.pdf
Available from article : Nous avons non pas un mais deux modes de pensée. Le blog de Jean-Michel Cornu [online]. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from: http://www.cornu.eu.org/news/nous-avons-non-pas-un-mais-deux-modes-de-pensee
  • 2 The rational reasoning process is to put forward an hypothesis and then to try to refute it. Since Aristotle we actually know that it is not possible to demonstrate that a global theory - Aristotle talks of " universal proposal" -is true (a sentence like all rabbits have a tail cannot be completely checked because how can we be sure we have seen all the rabbits...). The rational reasoning process is then to demonstrate that the theory is wrong. If it can't be done, the theory is considered sufficiently good to be provisionally true... until a refutation invalidates it. The scientific reasoning process is based on the rational reasoning process but it attempt tempting to draw checkable forecasts from the theory which allow a refutation... or not.
  • 3 Antagonisme. Wikipédia [online]. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from : http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antagonisme
  • 4 See How to produce a text when you are several hundred persons - La parabole des aveugles et de l'éléphant
  • 5 get to know more, see the square of opposition : Le carré Sémiotique. Le blog de Jean-Michel Cornu [online]. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from : http://www.cornu.eu.org/news/le-carre-semiotique
  • 6 Voir The post factum choice
  • 7 It is because of the use of spoken or written language which unrolls sequentially. Other forms of language could allow to translate simultaneously two or more notions. Like in dance for instance. Bees use that form of language (yet without having an elaborated symbolic language as ours). As well as the language of signs for deaf and hearing-impaired enables things which are not possible with spoken language, for example telling one thing with the left hand and something else even contrary with the right one !
  • 8 MONOD, Jacques. Le hasard et la nécessité: essai sur la philosophie naturelle de la biologie moderne. Paris, France : Éd. du Seuil, 1970. Points. Série Essais, ISSN 1264-5524, 43. ISBN 978-2-02-000618-7.
  • 9 BADDELEY, Alan D. and HITCH, G. J. Working memory. In : BOWER, G. H. (ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation : Advances in research and theory Volume 8. New York : Academic Press, 1974. p. 47–90. ISBN 9780080863597 0080863590 0125433085 9780125433082.
  • 10 DE BONO, Edward. Conflits: comment les résoudre. Paris, France : Eyrolles, 2007. ISBN 978-2-212-53952-3.
  • 11 BADDELEY, Alan D. and HITCH, G. J.ibid.
  • 12 Called "semantic memory"
  • 13 MILLER, George A. The magical number seven, plus or minus two: some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological review [online]. 1956. Vol. 63, no. 2, p. 81. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from : http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/rev63/2/81/
  • 14 CORNU, Jean-Michel. Nouvelles technologies, nouvelles pensées ? Limoges, France : FYP éditions, 2008. Innovation (Limoges), ISSN 1961-8328. ISBN 978-2-916571-03-4.
  • 15 YATES, Frances Amelia. L’art de la mémoire. Paris, France : Gallimard, 1987. Bibliothèque des histoires, ISSN 0768-0724. ISBN 2-07-070982-5, 978-2-07-070982-3.
  • 16 CICÉRON. De l’orateur. Paris, France : Les Belles Lettres, 1966. Collection des universités de France, ISSN 0184-7155.
  • 17 CARRUTHERS, Mary J. Machina memorialis : méditation, rhétorique et fabrication des images au Moyen Age. Paris, France : Gallimard, 2002. Bibliothèque des histoires, ISSN 0768-0724. ISBN 2-07-075746-3.
  • 18 CARRUTHERS, Mary J.ibid.
  • 19 Des cartes pour décrire des contes : rencontre avec Vivian Labrie. Le blog de Jean-Michel Cornu [online]. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from : http://www.cornu.eu.org/news/des-cartes-pour-decrire-des-contes
  • 20 ile Prospectic. ProspecTIC [online]. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from : http://prospectic.fing.org/texts/ile-prospectic
  • 21 CORNU, Jean-Michel. Nouvelles technologies, nouvelles pensées ? Limoges, France : FYP éditions, 2008. Innovation (Limoges), ISSN 1961-8328. ISBN 978-2-916571-03-4.
  • 22 Biosynth-ville : la ville de la biologie synthétique. Vivagora [online]. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from : http://web.archive.org/web/20130619184123/http://www.vivagora.fr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=436:biosynth-ville-la-ville-d-ela-biologie-synthetique&catid=21:nos-actions&Itemid=111
  • 23 Voir Size of groups and parts of members
  • 24 Collectif pour un Québec sans pauvreté. [online]. [Accessed 4 February 2014]. Available from : http://www.pauvrete.qc.ca/
  • 25 Voir Size of groups and parts of members

To sum up

In a debate with several people, and even more in a confrontation, each one tends to defend his idea and to repeat it constantly so it is taken into account. In practice it's often seen that different points of view don 't rule each other out but on the contrary complement each other to give altogether an overview. To go past the facts, me must take into account the two ways of thinking that are each using a different working memory.

The first, based on speech consist in sayings ideas one after the other, just as we make a step after another to progress from a starting point until an arrival. This way of thinking especially allows a rational approach but it hardly takes into account conflict (a starting point, two directions), collective intelligence (several points of view on the same arrival) or else creativity (finding new ways between several starting points and several arrivals) which are all three using another complementary way.

The second way of thinking is based on mapping. It consists in arranging on the same mind map ideas according to their proximity, without trying to select them offhand, to get the more complete vision on ideas and possible progressions. Mind maps (mind mapping in English) which are co-built and projected to all during sessions are very efficient to give a global vision to the whole group and allow therefore to look for new ideas and new points of view rather than having each member focusing on one or two former ideas.
To go further, two possible approaches :
  • the Method of Loci : During synchronous meetings (online or face-to-face), a map of idea can be coupled with another map, often of territories that each one can keep in his long term memory. It can be a place known to all (their cathedral for monks in the Middle Ages)or failing that a co-built place (in the long term a place is easier to remember than ideas) ;
  • Textual maps : in asynchronous online exchanges, people who behave reactively (ten times more numerous than proactive) and the observers (even more numerous) use tools which cannot stand graphics mode very well (mail, Facebook, Twitter). Therefore proposing a drawn map needs to share a link to a web page where the map is hosted. But then only a half of participants will see the map. The possible use of text laying out can then be used to allow the drawing of a textual map which won't need to be read in its whole as a text but can be read as a map : lists of bullet points, formulation of short ideas in one line maximum, bold, underlined and italics to enhance some keywords.

Mot clé : #cartographier

Copyrights : By วาดโดยบุญศิริ เทพภูธร สพอ. นครหลวง จ.พระนครศรีอยุธยา [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
le 14.01.2014 à 14:50:59

Mind maps in public discussions

Card's author : Laurent Marseault
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Testimonies : When facilitating a public discussion, have you ever had:
  • someone repeating the same idea at least 5 times?
  • two people arguing over something when they are actually saying the same without understanding each other?
  • antagonists who argue during the discussion saying "Have you seen what they did…"?
  • participants who find a lot has been done but that not much progress has been achieved?
  • ...

Well it has happened to me very often before using mind maps to help facilitation.


  • a video projector
  • a computer with freemind, X-Mind or freeplane installed on it (I prefer the last one)
  • being well trained in listening and taking synthetic notes.

In the circle at the centre I write the topic of the discussion, and I then briefly write down the elements that link back to the discussion. Mind maps are filled in gradually. Ideas are organised and then re-organised. We stay on one part of the map to focus on a new aspect of the discussion...

Situations that arise when using mind maps:

  • two people disagree on where a word should be placed in the mind map. For them, the same word conveys different ideas, and going through this map they are able to see this.
  • some ideas are easy to place on the map, yet others…In this case, I ask the group to help me find a place for this new idea; very often the difficulty comes from an idea that modifies the way previous ideas are positioned on the map; time to think about it will make the group mature.
  • making all the branches visible at the end of the discussion makes the group aware of the path followed and they very often makes them feel proud of themselves.
  • in a discussion that will be tense, we started by listing the elements of the discussion. Then we grouped them together into three groups: those that do not need discussion because we all agree right from the start; those that we would like to leave for a later stage because they are more than likely to cause difficulties, and the third one, which we started with, is those elements that we can discuss without getting overheated.

Further steps:

  • next the map can be imported to the X-Mind software to play around with the structures (organisational chart, logical diagram, chart…). When the discussion seemed to have ended, the group started to discuss new elements and to work on ideas in a whole, getting the impression that they are moving to a higher level of discussion.
  • Very often, at the end of the discussion some people will ask for the name of the software used. Choosing software that is easy to use, free and that works on all platforms allows participants to lengthen their experience of thinking.

Important notes:

  • nowadays it is possible to build mind maps collaboratively using on-line mind map tools or using freemind, which also offers this function (it takes work to get it set-up)


http://petillant.com section on implementation and comprehension
le 16.01.2014 à 09:43:54

Moving discussion

Card's author : Frédéric Renier, Supagro Florac
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
To begin with : The moving discussion is a facilitation tool that makes it easier to take the floor in public in a group.
Tool's boxes : Animation
Introduction : The moving discussion (still called the Positioning game) is a dynamic form of discussion that promotes participation.
  • A facilitator tells a story that is purposefully controversial. At some key moments in the story, he invites several participants to move to a certain spot within the room, "those who don't agree with what has just been said go to one side, those who agree, go to the opposite side".
  • Nobody can stay in the middle (without a reason), moving in the room really pushes participants to take a side and to provide reasons.
  • Once everyone has chosen "their side", the facilitator then asks who would like to take the floor to explain their position.
  • To start the discussion, he may start by asking who has a strong view regarding what was just said.
  • When one side has given their reasons, it's the turn of the other side to express its reasons. It is like a game of ping-pong. If one of the participants decides that a reason given by the other side is valid, he or she may change sides.
  • When the facilitator decides, the discussion ends and the story continues until the next controversial statement or situation arises, when the discussion starts again.
Requirements :
  • A minimum number of participants (around ten).
  • A controversial story where participants can feel represented.
  • A spacious room.
  • Posters to mark-off the different areas (agree, disagree).
  • Explaining the rules of the game (nobody is forced to speak, but they must all choose a side).
  • Activity duration: 1:30h seems a reasonable duration.
Some practical uses :
  • Breaking the ice quickly between participants, having to take a side quickly becomes a game and contributes to participation.
  • Promoting the participation of the largest number of people, if the facilitator encourages those who have not yet spoken to take the floor.
  • Clarifying everyone's position; showing the diversity of opinions in one another.
Using the tools :
An example of a moving discussion organised by SCOP Le Pavé
Going further :
  • It is possible to write down the reasons as they arise in the discussion and map them.
  • It is possible to give each side 5 minutes or more to fine-tune their reasons collectively.
Advantages :
  • The activity does not require any materials.
  • It is set-up quickly.
  • Can be done outdoors to give participants fresh air.
  • With this format, discussions become a moment of pleasure.
Drawbacks :
  • It is not certain that the discussion will actually "flow".
  • Some participants who do not feel comfortable in a group or with the logic of reasons may feel excluded; this form of discussion should be complemented with other forms depending on available time, number of participants and goals.
Licence : Free
Using : Easy
Setting up : No setting up
le 10.02.2014 à 11:39:26

Project accelerators

Card's author : Laurent Tézenas - Montpellier SupAgro
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description : To ensure this activity works, it is important to take the method onboard and follow the rules.
There must be three roles:
  • a presenter: the person presenting the situation or problem
  • a facilitator - the guardian of the method: who briefly introduces the methodology, gives a reminder of the rules, and ensures everything runs smoothly.
  • a secretary: the person taking notes (this is shared on Etherpad)

Phase 0: preparation (5 min.)
At the start of the meeting, the group must choose:
  • a person to introduce the situation-problem: they are advised to prepare the question right from the start based on their reflection on what they see as a difficulty in their professional practice.
  • a facilitator (guardian of the exercise)
  • a person to take notes (or a role shared on a pad)

Phase 1 : introducing the problem or the situation (5 min)
The person who has accepted to talk about their problem presents the situation as clearly as possible and explains the background. Then he or she explains how they define the problem. The other members of the team listen.

Phase 2: Clarifying the problem (5 min)
Group members ask any questions they may have to properly understand the situation; during this phase they must stick to questions relating to factual information (to better understand the context, for example). The person who explained the situation then makes the clarifying remarks.

Phase 3: contract - reformulation of the question (1 min)
The person who explained the situation clearly states what he or she expects from the other group members. (I would like the group to help me to....)

Phase 4: reactions, comments, suggestions (20- 30 min)
It is especially the other members of the group who intervene: they give their impressions, reactions, perceptions after assessing and interpreting the situation. They work especially to come up with a different way of looking at the situation, fitting a new framework around it. They can give practical suggestions or give advice.
The person who introduced the situation listens and refrains from intervening. This person is interested in noting down what they thought was important to retain.

Phase 5: Synthesis and action plan (5-10 min)
The person who explained his/her situation takes a few minutes to complete a small action plan with the remarks made by the group members (a personal summary of what he/she retained). During this time, the other participants take notes on the ideas and remarks that may be useful to them in their projects (crosscutting ideas, etc.)
After this time to take notes, the person who explained their situation presents their action plan, indicating how he or she will follow it up. Other members do not discuss the choices of the person or his/her action plan; they simply witness the path this person has decided to take; they can express their support and encouragement. “Crosscutting” ideas noted by other participants are presented after this in a large group.
Phase 6: Evaluation and integrating lessons learnt from the experience (5 -10 min)
To close the meeting correctly, it is convenient to have a recap on what happened. The person who asked for help can explain his or her experience; the group can evaluate how he or she proceeded and, if required, can make corrections for the next meeting. The group is advised to leave some minutes so that each group member can take notes on what he/she has retained from the meeting.

Adapted from : PAYETTE, Adrien and CHAMPAGNE, Claude. Le groupe de codéveloppement professionnel. Québec, Canada : Presses de l’université du Québec, 1997. ISBN 2-7605-0981-8.

You may download a simple version, adapted by Laurent Tézenas Download Accelerateur_de_projet.pdf (92.2kB) (in French)
le 05.02.2014 à 13:38:50

The Flow: when cooperation makes you happy

Card's author : Jean-Michel Cornu
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description :

Developping intrinsic motivations

A way of encouraging gift is to develop motivation. Not the intrinsic motivation as seen before (reciprocal gift-giving practices, social recognition), but rather an intrinsic motivation that expects nothing from the outside (self-esteem, self-realization). It is therefore not a free gift but rather a sincere gift, in the sense that there is no profit-sharing ( a "profit in ...") but rather a profit for "1. However, in the theory of self-determination, this distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic is rather seen as a continuum 2.

Intrinsic motivations determined by pleasure and a feeling of autonomy 3" highly interest modern economy. Among them, self-esteem is a driving force for charity (with social recognition which is an extrinsic motivation). Many anonymous donors consider that they are lucky enough to have what they have and that sharing with less lucky people is a good thing, agreeing then with their own values.These later can be personal or cultural. It is then possible to influence on the group's values when you want to implement a system of gift. Building a system of values occurs step by step and may punctually come up to a divergence between teh values of the individual the group's. On the contrary, the system of value is also constituent of the group4, inciting those who recognize themselves there to join the group and rejecting sometimes those who have different values. Another kind of intrinsic motivation is "self-fulfilling. Surveys in psychology have shown that we reach a state of happiness, named "state of flow", when we are completely absorbed in what we are doing. Could we drown into donation to others and find a big happiness in it?

To know more: state of flow5

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, one of the figureheads of positive psychology6, got interested in the 70s in people who dedicated much time and energy to various activities just for the pleasure of it, with no expectations in term of bonuses such as money or social recognition (chess players, climbers, dansers for example). His observations led him to the conclusion that happiness occured when " we gave the best of ourselves". He depicted a principle of optimum experience, a state of flow where we were completely involved in what we were doing. This could be a valuing activity like writing a book, climbing a mountain or a simple everyday's life activity in which we had found an interest to get fully involved in. This could even concern activities considered as chores (washing up, ironing, ect.). Thanks to testimonies and experiences, Csikszentmihalyi has identified several peculiarities describing the state of flow7.
1 – High grade of concentration over a limited field of consciousness (hyperfocus), absence of diversion ;
2 – Loss of the sense of self-consciousness, disappearance of the distance between the subject and the object; ;
3 - Distorsion of the perception of time ;
4 – Direct and immediate feedback. Success and failures along the process are immediatly pointed out and the behavior is adapted according to the situation ;
5 – Feeling of control over oneself and over the environment.

Michael Norton, professor of Harvard Business School shows how happiness can be linked with the act of giving, including money8. He directed a survey on the campus of Vancouver in British Columbia in which he asked students how much they were happy and by giving them an envelope. There was money in it, 5$ or 20$ according to students and also a card indicating for half of the students: "until 5:00 pm today, spend this money on yourself" and for the other half " until 5:00 pm today, spend this money on someone else". At the end of the day, the researchers asked the students what they had spent their money on and how happy they felt now. They noticed that those whom had spent money on others were happier than those whom had spent it on themselves, and this independantly from the amount spent. Michael Norton led a similar study in Ouganda and noticed that the results were the same. To extand the research he ordered a poll to the Gallup Institute asking two questions: "Have you given money to a charity lately ?" and "How happy are you with your life in the whole ?". In a very great majority of countries both answers are positively correlated: giving makes happier.

But there is a difficulty to reach happiness and the state of flow. We tend to favor passive activities (like watching TV...) that gives us a partial but immediate satisfaction, rather than active activities that will make us happy but which need an effort initially. How can we go beyond this "barrier of effort"? The one who enjoys running suffered initially ; the musician had to train sometimes for years before being able to play a whole piece of music, even compose himself ; the simple fact of enjoying some good time with friends requires to go out... At least, it is important to live once the experience before realizing that generates pleasure.

Live a small irreversible experience

To go beyond this "barrier of effort" and find happiness in a state of flow, it can be necessary to live "a small irreversible experience9", the one that will deeply change our point of view by opening perspectives that seemed impossible. Nipun Mehta, founder of ServiceSpace.org, a project incubator at the crossing of volunteering, technology and gift economy, quotes a true story that took place on Xmas day in Mexico. It is a good example of the difference between the idea we have of a situation and the happiness it can provide us 10. "A father and his son are seating by a fir. A slum kid comes along. The father turns to his son and tells him to give him one of his toys. The son is reluctant of course but when he understands that his father is serious, he gets hold on one of his toy, the one he likes less, and gets ready in giving it. But his father says: "Son, give your favorite toy". Albeit initially reluctant, the kid ends up doing what he is told. When he is back, the father thinks he must congratulate his son and acknowledge the sacrifice done by his son. But surprisingly, the kid comes back jumping with joy, looks at his father and says: "Dad, it was incredible ! Can I do it again ?

The acts we do are often done acording to our perception of things, and this perceptio independant from reality depends on environment, on what we hear around us about the topic, etc. Experimental economy is interested in individual and collective behaviors. We have seen an exxample of it with the cumulative prospect theory 11 which shows how much we hate risk. Jacques Lecomte12, professor of psychology of Nanterre's University and of the Institut Catholique de Paris proposes other examples with a particular experience of self-fulfilling prediction, an assertion which modifies behavior only because it is broadcast and so becomes true. In an experience, an experimenter gives the same rules to all participants but tells half the group that they are going to play "the Wall Street game" and to the other half "the game of community". The subjects are twice more numerous to cooperate in the second case ! So, we are predisposed at the same time to cooperation and to competition. But there is a subtlety which Jacques Lecomte enhances: we are predisposed and not predestined for one or for the other. The environment switches us in one mode or the other. The highly developed by men mecanisms of mimicries help to spread self-fulfilling predictions, whether altruistic or selfish...

There are other mecanisms to live first gift experiences. In the example of "Pay-it forward" seen in the previous chapter, the involvment of the beneficiary of a gift to give in his turn to other people "forward" is not a warranty that he will do it. But this promise increases the chance that new gifts will be done. In his presentation to TEDx13, Nipun Mehta presents the "Karma restaurant" in Washington DC. It's a restaurant totally normal where you can eat, but it is kept by volunteers and most of all, at the end of the meal, you get a 0$ bill explaining: "in a spirit of generosity, somebody who came before you donated for this meal. We hope that you will continue the chain by giving too! To pay for a future guest you can leave an anonymous contribution in this enveloppe. Thank you !" Here we are in a Pay-it forward type of action14. Most people accept to give and even if some people are "stowaways ", the fact that giving to others is easier than giving to ourselves has allowed this restaurant to live for over three years. Today, other restaurants of this kind open. The initiative of a former volunteer of the Karma restaurant, Minah Jung has even allowed to evaluate how much we give for others compared to what we are ready to give to ourselves15. She joined professor Leif Nelson of the Haas Business School in Berkeley to make an experimentation in a museum where the entrance fee costs 1$. In a first experience, they left a box were visitors could leave what they wanted. The average amount was of 1,33 $, higher than the usual entrance fee. When they left someone to collect the fees the visitors were ready to pay, the average amount went up to 2$. But most of all, when visitors were told that the entrance was free for them but that they had to pay for the visitor after them, then the average amount of gifts was 3$, three times more than the usual entrance fee ! We are more generous for others than for ourselves...

The oxytocin track to favor our tendency in cooperation ?

Some time ago, an hormone created a great interest in those who wanted to develop cooperation and gift: oxytocin. This little chain of 9 amino acids seems to be adorned with all the vertues16. It interfers in the developing of relationships between mother and child, in faithfulness in couples, and in numerous social behaviors such as confidence, development of empathy, cooperation and altruism. The neuro-economist Paul Zak has even named it the "moral molecule 17". We produce oxytocin when we touch someone (as in handshakes) and even more when we kiss. This hormone, contrary to many others, has no regulating plan and its production can peak highly especially during an orgasm. But this molecule has side effects18. It can cause favoritism to people from you own group against people who don't belong to it19 and can even encourage to desire and be delighted at the misfortune of others20. Is oxytocin the hormone which eases gift or rejection? We will have to go a little further to understand it. In many ways this hormone is different from others. Contrary to others, it has more than two or three effects and takes part in many other situations. It enables the contraction of the cervix during birth, it causes the secretion of milk to allow breastfeeding, it causes erection in men (viagra affects the secretion of oxytocin) and causes a state of pleasure in numerous cases : orgasm but also in a more reduced way when we act in a cooperative way. All these effects may seem heterogeneous even contradictory. To find a coherence in them, it is necessary to notice as the chemist Marcel Hiberrt does21, that contrary to other hormones which enable the individual's survival, oxytocin enables the specie's survival22. It enables reproduction, the care of youngsters and babies, cooperation with members of our league, but also to distinguish those who are inside our group from those who are outside. Then the oxytocin's action depends on environment and one of the tracks to explain its running would be that it focuses our attention on social signals.23. Taking these reservations into account, we could imagine nevertheless the gift of oxytocin as suggested by some. But if a simple handshake helps the production of oxytocin, it's not always easy for contributors to share a long kiss in order to provoke a peak of the hormone ! A nasal spray can be used and studies have shown that it developed confidence 24 But as Marcel Hibert says, how do you spray the bottom of your banker's nose ! Much more important is the fact that if only one of the contributor inhales oxytocin, and not the other, can cause numerous drifts and raises ethical questions. To develop our propensity to give, we had better stick to the natural and reverse production of oxytocin: a simple meeting, a handshake, contact, even danse. It's also the case with "free hugs25" (a movement that has developed worldwide since 2004 where people offer hugs to people in a public place ). The "free hug" generates a peak of oxytocin and makes us happy and furthermore it is symmetric: you can't give a hug without sharing it...

This article is excerpted from the book Benefit from the gift, for yourself, for society, for the economy (Tirer bénéfice du don, pour soi, pour la société, pour l'économie)
The original edition of this book was published in French
Copyright © 2013 FYP Éditions
Original title: Tirer bénéfice du don, pour soi, pour la société, pour l'économie
A work from the collection "Stimulo".
(but this article is licensed under CC-BY-SA)

1 CORNU, Jean-Michel. Tirer bénéfice du don, pour soi, pour la société, pour l’économie [online]. Limoges, France : FYP, 2013. Stimulo, ISSN 2265-7754. ISBN 978-2-916571-87-4. Available from: http://www.cornu.eu.org/news/donner-une-capacite-naturelle-mais-limitee.
2 DECI, Edward L. and RYAN, Richard M. (eds.). Handbook of self-determination research. Rochester, Royaume-Uni : The University of Rochester Press, 2004. ISBN 1-58046-108-5.
3 Motivation. Wikipédia [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivation
4 See in particular the works of Elinor Omstrom, "Nobel Price of Economy" in 2009 for her works on the governance of commons by communities : EYCHENNE, Fabien. Notions de base - Annexe 7 - E. Ostrom : la gouvernance des biens communs. Réseau social de la Fing [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://www.reseaufing.org/pg/blog/fabien/read/83725/notions-de-base-annexe-7-e-ostrom-la-gouvernance-des-biens-communs
5 CORNU, Jean-Michel. La monnaie, et après ? guides des nouveaux échanges pour le XXIe siècle. Limoges : FYP éd., 2012. ISBN 9782916571775 2916571779.
6 CSÍKSZENTMIHÁLYI, Mihály and SERVAN-SCHREIBER, David. Vivre: la psychologie du bonheur. Paris, France : Pocket, 2005. Pocket. Évolution, ISSN 1639-5727Presses pocket (Paris), ISSN 0244-6405, 12335. ISBN 978-2-266-16913-4.
7 Flow (psychologie). Wikipédia [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychologie)
8 Michael Norton : Comment acheter le bonheur | Video on TED.com. Ted : Ideas worth spreading [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/fr/michael_norton_how_to_buy_happiness.html
9 The word is from Laurent Marseault of Outils Réseaux
10 Pay it forward: Nipun Mehta @ TEDxGoldenGateED. Ted : Ideas worth spreading [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://blog.tedx.com/post/17375163362/pay-it-forward-nipun-mehta-tedxgoldengateed
11 CORNU, Jean-Michel. Le taux de satisfaction des besoins réels identifiés. In : Tirer bénéfice du don, pour soi, pour la société, pour l’économie [online]. Limoges, France : FYP, 2013. Stimulo, ISSN 2265-7754. ISBN 978-2-916571-87-4. Available from: http://www.cornu.eu.org/news/donner-une-capacite-naturelle-mais-limitee
12 LECOMTE, Jacques. La bonté humaine: altruisme, empathie, générosité. Paris, France : O. Jacob, 2012. ISBN 978-2-7381-2710-5.
13 NIPUN, Mehta. TEDxBerkeley - Designing For Generosity. YouTube? [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpyc84kamhw&feature=youtu.be
14 CORNU, Jean-Michel. Le don plus efficace que l’échange ? In : Tirer bénéfice du don, pour soi, pour la société, pour l’économie [online]. Limoges, France : FYP, 2013. Stimulo, ISSN 2265-7754. ISBN 978-2-916571-87-4. Available from: http://www.cornu.eu.org/news/donner-une-capacite-naturelle-mais-limitee
15 NIPUN, Mehta. TEDxBerkeley - Designing For Generosity. YouTube? [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpyc84kamhw&feature=youtu.be
16 DVORSKY, George. 10 Reasons Why Oxytocin Is The Most Amazing Molecule In The World. io9 [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://io9.com/5925206/10-reasons-why-oxytocin-is-the-most-amazing-molecule-in-the-world
17 ZAK, Paul J. The moral molecule: The source of love and prosperity. Random House, 2012.
18 YONG, Ed. Non, l’ocytocine n’est pas la molécule de l’amour et de la morale. GALLAIRE, Fabienne (tran.), slate [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://www.slate.fr/story/59785/ocytocine-hormone-calin
19 DE DREU, Carsten KW, GREER, Lindred L., VAN KLEEF, Gerben A., SHALVI, Shaul and HANDGRAAF, Michel JJ. Oxytocin promotes human ethnocentrism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [online]. 2011. Vol. 108, no. 4, p. 1262–1266. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://www.pnas.org/content/108/4/1262.short
20 SHAMAY-TSOORY, Simone G., FISCHER, Meytal, DVASH, Jonathan, HARARI, Hagai, PERACH-BLOOM, Nufar and LEVKOVITZ, Yechiel. Intranasal administration of oxytocin increases envy and schadenfreude (gloating). Biological psychiatry [online]. 2009. Vol. 66, no. 9, p. 864–870. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006322309007628
21 See particularly : La chimie de l’amour - Marcel Hibert - Université de tous les savoirs - Vidéo - Canal-U [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://web.archive.org/web/20120707042548/http://www.canal-u.tv/video/universite_de_tous_les_savoirs/dl.1/podcast.1/la_chimie_de_l_amour_marcel_hibert.7042
22 Another hormone, vasopressin, also greatly contributed to the survival of the species, but with an opposite strategy than oxytocin. Vasopressin control system fight or flight while oxytocin calms and controls the type contact. The first reduces the level of consciousness, while the second could develop attention to social signals.
23 BARTZ, Jennifer A., ZAKI, Jamil, BOLGER, Niall and OCHSNER, Kevin N. Social effects of oxytocin in humans: context and person matter. Trends in cognitive sciences [online]. 2011. Vol. 15, no. 7, p. 301–309. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364661311000830
24 KOSFELD, Michael, HEINRICHS, Markus, ZAK, Paul J., FISCHBACHER, Urs and FEHR, Ernst. Oxytocin increases trust in humans. Nature [online]. 2005. Vol. 435, no. 7042, p. 673–676. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v435/n7042/abs/nature03701.html
25 Official Home of the Free Hugs Campaign. [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://freehugscampaign.org/
le 05.02.2014 à 15:55:46

The size of groups and the role of members

Card's author : Jean-Michel Cornu
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description :

Small groups of up to twelve persons

A cognitive limitation of man concerns the size of the group in which he can, without the help of tools, understand what is occuring. The human being is first of all an animal which can enter into alliances, i.e. "an union between people resulting from an agreement or a pact 1". If many animals can live in herds or packs, very few can choose by themselves to enter into an alliance. Great apes and some cetaceans manage to enter into alliance with up to three individuals, but we humans are limited to twelve2.

For more information: the limit of twelve for human groups

The British anthropologist Robin Dunbar became interested in the relationship between the size of the neocortex of 38 species of monkeys and the size of the respective groups in which they
lived 3. Surprisingly, he has found a correlation between these two elements. He then extrapolated this approach in humans to conclude that the natural limit to the size of a human social network was 148, a number that usually rounded to 150, is called the "Dunbar number" . This number corresponds to the size of the breeders-farmers' villages of the Neolithic, and is still found today in the size of social networks.4. this number – considered by Dunbar as rather approximate – determines the number of persons whith whom we can easily socialize without tools (these tools can be for example the list of friends on Facebook, or simply our adress book, which eanbles us to get in touch with much more people than we can even remember...)5.

The confidence which allows to create alliances requires however to have not only an overview of the various members of the group but also the links between them. We talk of holoptic approach6 (from the Greek holos, whole and optikós, related to sight) in opposition to the panoptic approach7 ( from the Greek pan, all) which enable to see all the persons but not necessarily the links between them.

So, even if chimpanzee have a number of Dunbar around 55 which allows them to maintain packs of this size, they can only enter into alliance with three. Mankind, besides having a high number of Dunbar also has a capacity of holoptism which allows her to create alliances with a dozen people. The maximal size of this alliance corresponds to 144 links between people (by taking into account simultaneously the people themselves and the differences in the link between a first person and the second, and the mutual link of the second towards the first one). So, besides his capacity to constitute a social network of about 150 people (what corresponds to the size of the breeders-farmers' first villages of the Neolithic), mankind is also capable of entering into an alliance which allows her complexer collective actions up toapproximately a dozen people8.

We don't know thus how to cooperate normally in groups of more than a dozen people. To go beyond, we had to develop strategies: set up a hierarchy so that the leader manages at the most a dozen second-in-commands who themselves shall manage a dozen people 9 ; or else have representatives (of God or of the Peolpe) which allow us to focus on a few persons according to a centralized star-shaped structure ; or even trust a single mechanism of exchange in the group - money - rather than having to know every person and every interaction between them. But could we exceed the barrier of twelve to benefit directly from the collective intelligence of a largest number without having a hierarchy, representatives or monetary mechanisms as intermediaries?

The astonishing principle of 90-9-1 in groups over twelve

Beyond a dozen participants, we cannot follow any more the entire interactions in the group. It becomes easier thus for a member of the group not to participate unless it is noticed. If in a small group, participation is a standard and non-participation an exception, in a big group on the contrary, only those who decide to participate do it.

But those who participate are not always the same. We to get involved a lot into certain groups and not into others, according to the interest we have in the group. If the number of people who are active seems to us too low, we have a natural tendancy " to supersede". If on the contrary, more people than what seems necessary are already at work, we tend to remain inactive, even become it if we were active. This explains a very counter-intuitive rule: whatever the peolpe in a large group, the percentage of active people stays even, according to the 90-9-1 principle10:
The proactive persons who take initiatives are between one and some percent.
The reactive people who react when asked are between ten and dozens percent.
Others are not all totally inactive. Some are " observers11" who follow the works of the group, use them for them, even if they do not participate. So, there is a whole gradation in the more or less active roles that a participant can play, allowing him to get involved more and more or less and less.

The percentages observed in the existing groups confirm well the principle of 90-9-1. This rule has curious implications. Let's imagine a group of hundred people. We shall have thus naturally at some non-active people, decides to exclude them to concentrate on the small group of about ten active persons. His new group will keep not the same active persons but the same percentage of active persons which plumet to... approximately one. He will well end up alone ! On the contrary, let us take a group of about fifty people. To exceed five or six reactive persons, it is necessary to make quite a lot of efforts. Let's imagine that this time we add about fifty other people even less concerned and thus who may remain rather inactive. We observe that certain people who were inactive, including in the initial group, become more active to keep the same percentage of active persons in the group. Reactive people come up to a dozen...This surprising behavior is well verified on the spot: we have generally a rough understanding of the number of members of the group who allow some to choose to become active or inactive.

The number of participants structures the groups

A group working normally will thus have approximately 1 % of proactive people and 10 % of reactive people. It will be necessary to make efforts to increase the percentage of reactives to 20 %, see up to 40 % in very exceptional cases. In order to have a big group producing as much as a small group of a dozen people without requiring too much efforts, the group will have need at least a hundred participants to have at least about ten or dozen reactives.
Between twelve and hundred participants, we are thus in the case of an intermediate group: too big to allow us to keep the pace up with all that's happening and hence to manage it in a constraint way , and too small to do as well as groupe of a dozen persons without requiring major efforts of animation. Beyond a hundred contributors, it is possible with a reasonable investment, scale up and then have a group with over twelve active people Au-delà de cent participants, nous pouvons avec un investissement raisonnable, "passer à l'échelle" et avoir un groupe dont le nombre d'actifs dépasse la barrière des douze, on conditions that we take into account the reactive behaviors (at least 10%) and not only pro-active ones (at least 1%). There is also a high limit: beyond a thousand people, organizers and other proactive persons which undertake some tasks of management, are themselves a group of over twelve, jeopardizing the coherence of the group12. A group of several thousands people seems then more complex to manage. The French-speaking network of botanists Tela Botanica implemented intermediary members to identify better the proactive persons and started to constitute a group so they could exchange between them. Beyond, in groups of several dozen thousand members, the number of proactive persons soars, exceeding a hundred and allowing other forms of regulation and a centralized and collaborative governance. Some very large groups exist where management is not done by constraint but by opportunity. It happens for example with wide online projects such as the various linguistic versions of Wikipédia encyclopedia or else the collaborative mindmap. The understanding of what eases the implementation and the development of such big groups is still unclear.

To know more about the subject: for proactive persons, Internet is divided in three

When you wish to work with a large group which stays limited to few hundreds, even one or two thousands, it is imperative to seek to work with the reactive people (ten to up to some dozen %) and not limit yourself to the proactive ones (one and some %). on the internet, the difference.On the Internet, the difference is reflected in the notion of push and pull tools.

A pull tool is a tool which obliges to "pull" information from where it is. This is the case for conventional websites but also forums and major web 2.0 tools for which we must be proactive to get their information. On the contrary a push tool is aiming bring in (to "push") information to us, or more precisely to the tool we consult everyday. In our everyday life, its the answering machine (with a pull tool, we would have to question each of our friends' or boss' voicemail to see if there is not a message left for us or for the group... It's also like that with our letterbox that we check regularly and where our letters are sent. We then just have to "react" to what we received.

In the case of Internet, the push type app is mail. To work with several other people, est le courrier électronique. Pour travailler à plusieurs par exemple, mailing lists enable to exchange directly in each others' mailbox, without forcing people to go proactivelyy on the group's website. But there are now several sites which we consult regularly, Facebook, Twitter or other social networks. One of the major difficulties of working together with a great number of people is that we can't check everything sytematically: letterbox on the way back home, answering machines and voicemails, private and pro mailboxes, Facebook and Twitter professional or private accounts. More and more people only check regularly their mails, Facebook or Twitter, sometimes two of them. In terms of push tools, and so in a reactive approach, the internet is then divided in three, even if it is still possible to seek proactively information through channels we use less regularly.

In companies, there is often a privileged channel. For example the use of mail is compulsory and it is then possible to push information directly to the different employees. In this case, and to prevent proactive people from being frustrated - being the more motivated even if ten times fewer than the reactive people – it can be interesting to allow push as well as pull methods. It is possoble to associate a forum and a mail to get the advantages of a mailing list and the pull tools: when a new subject is posted on the forum, most contributors get it by mail. Then they just have to email back to and their answer will be on the forum. Those who wish to adopt a proactive approach but avoiding bllocking their mailbox can go straight on the forum to read the topics, other people's contributions and then contribute. According to the number of participants, and to avoid drowning those who receive the information by mail in too many messages, it is possible to adopt a reactive approach on all posts for the majority of the group (for groups limited to several hundred people)13 ; or to send emails only on former questions, or to receive by mail only the initial questions, a selection of contributions prepared by the managers and summaries of discussions for larger groups. Those who wish to get the details of all contributions must then get the information proactively on the forum14. Ideally, the choice of receiving all contributions or only important mails by push in his mailbox (questions, summaries, invitations ...) should remain the choice of participants, regardless of the group's size.15.

In the case of large groups bringing together people from different backgrounds (individuals, various organizations ...), when selecting a tool push, e.g emails or on the contrary Facebook, part of potential contributors are excluded. To avoid this, one must be able to get information and contribute through the channel he regularly uses. This tool which will enable to receive all exchanges or only initial questions and summaries through a chosen channel (Facebook, Twitter) and to answer simply directly with this tool, is still to be developped. This tool must also enable those who wish it, to get proactively contributions on a forum type tool and even contribute from it.

The importance of large groups of 100 to 1,000, based on reactive people

Although very large groups now represent a new horizon showing that it is possible to work with thousands of people and maybe more, large groups of a hundred thousand people are of particular interest for two reasons.

Before beeing very large groups of several thousand or even tens or hundreds of thousands people, groups start with only several hundreds members. It is therefore important to understand the way large groups operate to allow the emergence of very large groups. Besides, many subjects have not for vocation to gather thousands of people. Even if it is necessary to increase - sometimes a little artificially – groups of several dozens persons to exceed a hundred, it's not always always possible to increase all groups beyond several hunders or thousands of people. The work groups of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) which develop each standrads for the internet are typically of some hundred people. Same for the different groups to which the project Imagination for People provides support as a partner and which are interested in identifying and supporting projects for a particular side of social innovation (Fab labs, third places, currencies, innovation in the South, energy, group management ...).
However, these large groups require to take into account the particular reactive and not just proactive persons who in this case are not enough.

In brief

Once a group exceeds a dozen members, each person takes a proactive reactive, observer or inactive posture, and can switch from one to another according to various criteria. We observe in a rather counterintuitive way that the percentage of active persons remains outstandingly even (90-9-1principle): proactive people are between one and some per cent and reactive people between ten and dozens per cent.

We can deduct from it that groups can be identified by the number of members:
  • Small groups up to twelve persons who can be managed in a constraint way (While waiting for an action of each of the various members) ;
  • Intermediate groups between a dozen and a hundred people who require more efforts in management to obtain reactions ;
  • Large groups between a hundred and one or several thousand people who enable to produce collaboratively... under conditions to focus on reactive persons ;
  • Intermediate very large groups of several thousand people among where the proactive members's group is hard to keep coherent ;
  • Very large groups over dozens of thousands people where proactiove persons are numerous enough to make management less constrained ;

Large groups between a hundred and one or several thousand people are of particular interest: they are a must for groups who are likely to become very large, and mostly they are a size that corresponds to the number of people which can be gathered around many specific topics. But they need to take a particular care to members who act proactively (they can be approached in online systems with push tools such a email, Facebook or Twitter rather than pull tools as the web or forums) and not only to proactive people who are not numerous enough.

Mot clé: #taille28

1 alliance. Wiktionnaire [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/alliance
2 CORNU, Jean-Michel. Donner : une capacité naturelle mais limitée. In : Tirer bénéfice du don: pour soi, pour la société, pour l’économie [online]. Limoges, France : FYP, 2013. Stimulo, ISSN 2265-7754. ISBN 978-2-916571-87-4. Available from: http://www.cornu.eu.org/news/donner-une-capacite-naturelle-mais-limitee
3 DUNBAR, Robin. Theory of mind and the evolution of language. Approaches to the Evolution of Language. 1998. P. 92–110.
4 GONCALVES, Bruno, PERRA, Nicola and VESPIGNANI, Alessandro. Validation of Dunbar’s number in Twitter conversations. arXiv preprint arXiv:1105.5170 [online]. 2011. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://arxiv.org/abs/1105.5170
5 CORNU, Jean-Michel. Donner : une capacité naturelle mais limitée. In : Tirer bénéfice du don: pour soi, pour la société, pour l’économie [online]. Limoges, France : FYP, 2013. Stimulo, ISSN 2265-7754. ISBN 978-2-916571-87-4. Available from: http://www.cornu.eu.org/news/donner-une-capacite-naturelle-mais-limitee
6 NOUBEL, Jean-François. Intelligence collective, la révolution invisible. TheTransitioner? [online]. 2007. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://thetransitioner.org/Intelligence_Collective_Revolution_Invisible_JFNoubel.pdf
7 BENTHAM, Jeremy. Panopticon; or, The inspection-house: containing the idea of a new principle of construction applicable to any sort of establishment, in which persons of any description are to be kept under inspection: and in particular to penitentiary-houses, prisons, houses of industry ... and schools: with a plan of management adapted to the principle: in a series of letters, written in the year 1787, from Crecheff in white Russia. To a friend in England. Gloucester, Royaume-Uni : Dodo Press, 2008. ISBN 978-1-4099-5202-2.
8This corresponds approximately to the maximum size of a human family, the size of human groups before the establishment of villages in the Neolithic or the maximum size of the small jazz bands that do not have a conductor to ensure direction, unlike "big bands"...
9In constrained environment such as fire brigades in action, a hierarchical level is added as soon as the level n-2 exceeds 12 people (and not the level n-1 immediately dbelow as in the other cases). During a forest fire for example, the trucks of 4 people have a leader each. When it is necessary to mobilize 4 trucks (16 people 4 leaders) a leader of higher grade is named.
10 Règle du 1 %. Wikipédia [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A8gle_du_1_%25
11 Les observateurs dans les groupes. Fing : groupe intelligence collective [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://ic.fing.org/news/les-observateurs-dans-les-groupes
12This does not happen with reactive people that react to proposals from managers or other reactive people but interact less with each other and therefore do not constitute a sub-group but only a part of the main group.
13 In 2012 the Internet Nouvelle Génération Foundation has developed a tool enabling to contribute by email (push approach) on forums, to set on one's social network (pull approach) when the question is about about collective works such as Digital Question or Digiworks gathering between one and three participants : Réseau social de la Fing. Réseau FING [online]. [Accessed 30 January 2014]. Available from: http://www.reseaufing.org/
14The Adeo group (13 DIY trademarks across the world: Leroy Merlin, Weldom...) tested in 2013 the combination of email and forum in order to send only questions, selections of contributions and summaries to the 1,500 members of the group who were exchanging on the definition of the group's strategy. In that case, everyone would receive by mail the same (limited) information and only the proactive members would search, if they wanted, the details on the forum (pull tool).
15The group on digital prospective from Franche Comté uses a discussion list to exchange, but some members have chosen not to receive mails from the list (eventhough they belong to it in order to contribute). But they receive carbon copies - for the moment in a manual way – of important emails: summaries and invitations.
le 15.01.2014 à 11:07:54

Tricks and tips to start a cooperative network

Card's author : Outils-Réseaux
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description : Since 2003, Outils-Réseaux has been helping groups to take cooperative methods and tools onboard. Doing this we have been able to identify some facilitating elements or, on the contrary, some barriers to cooperation and participation.
Tools are not cooperative by nature; they become cooperative when they are used correctly and in a favourable context.
The “tricks and tips” listed here do not require extraordinary technical skills or a large budget. A facilitation technique, using a tool that can be created with 2 clicks or an adequate set of mind of a network facilitator can achieve much more than building oversized factories running on gas, which are expensive (literally and figuratively).
This list draws on this experience but must also be extended!

Co-operator humanum est

Cooperation is a unique feature to the human being, our main driver and survival tool. Three centuries of competition should not allow us to forget that we come from thousands of years of cooperation and collaboration.

Three fields

Our era will have to deal with three challenges in the field of cooperation:
  • Learning to cooperate between humans: Countries from the global South / Rich countries from the global North / poor people, people with different religions, men / women…
  • Making humans cooperate with the environment: less pollution, less harmful activities, ...
  • Allowing each person to cooperate better with him or herself: reconcile humanity with animals, the female side with the masculine side...


Separating learning from cooperation...

...and using it for hot topics!
It is best avoiding controversial issues to start cooperating. It is better to test cooperative methodologies and tools on small projects that are not too challenging rather than on projects that are vital to the network.
For example, pooling teaching materials for an education network on the environment, while what is vital for the network's members is to find funds. When the network members have gained some experience in cooperation and have developed a common experience, then they can start working on a project to pool financial means.

Generating small irreversible cooperation experiences

Every large voyage starts with small steps.
Even if it seems that cooperation is a major component in human existence, centuries of “healthy competition”, “we mustn't copy” and “to exist, it's best not owing anything to anyone” have handicapped the people engaging in it. It is therefore useful to gradually bring the cooperative dimension back into the equation.
All changes are a process of rupture that requires a change in a person's representations, ideas and methods.
For a network to start cooperating, these ruptures must be caused, these changes that are often irreversible: for this we suggest generating small irreversible cooperation experiences:
  • lifting a rock, 340 men gently pulling in opposite directions: an excellent experience, but one needs the occasion to do this.
  • several people taking notes at the same time and on the same page (using Etherpad, Google doc or Gobby: tools that enable co-writing a text on-line), is easier than lifting a rock and much more effective.
  • facilitating a discussion using mind maps (freeplane, freemind, Xmind…), projected live onto a screen, a technique that allows visualising all the group's ideas quickly, moving from a linear mindset to a way of sailing through ideas that can adapt to the audience (where it is easy to bring in new ideas).
  • drafting and valuing recaps of discussion lists (see the example of Tela Botanica); the network members sometimes discuss very specific topics. The person who started the discussion should make the recap. There is a list of recaps from the following discussion lists that is a copy-paste or a more organised drafting).
  • including content that is not perfect, to be corrected: hearing only the bravery to defend the purity of language, those who yesterday totally opposed participating in a computing tool overcome the technical barrier and correct mistakes! (this tip is even more effective when an error is linked to a person's name: to the worry for a perfect spelling, there is also the spur of ego…)
  • organising cooperative games: for example the Tao game.

Starting face-to-face

When talking of a “cooperative network”, we often imagine a group that is not always in the same space and at the same time: there is distance work involved, synchronous and asynchronous exchanges. In the opposite sense, there are very few virtual communities that only work at distance: meetings and gatherings are important moments for the network dynamics.
When starting up a network, it is always good to use this “face-to-face” time to test and experiment with tools and methods that could continue to be used at distance: establishing what is going to be used at distance when people are together.
This will allow everyone to become familiar with them and learn, and will ensure a continuity between the face-to-face and distance work.
For example, in a network's meeting, one of the members asks a question to the other members. Everyone can give one or more answers written on small pieces of paper giving their contact details. This way answers are summarised and are made visible to all. Then the person who asked the question can get the contact details of the people who answered to the question and can create a discussion list to continue exchanging from a distance.
For example, it is possible to establish tools to work from a distance that will all of a sudden generate questions on how to proceed face-to-face: rules on taking the floor, decision-making…very often these rules are implicit. In a group, drafting the minutes of a meeting is often done by one person. If we have a co-writing tool to take notes, this will automatically generate questions: can everyone write? Who will validate the minutes? It is clear that the tool isn't the problem, it simply generates questions.

Starting by oneself

Charity begins at home. or To change the world you must first change yourself.
Many structures have a project to make a group cooperate, a network. But first of all one has to start using cooperative methods and practices: it is about applying to oneself what one wishes to apply to others.
cf. The ITPTS, "Interactions Transformation Personnelle, Transformation Sociale" (Interactions Personal Transformation, Social Transformation): not opposing the wishes to change the world and work on oneself, both are related and must be articulated
A fact: a structure that does not cooperate internally and doesn't use tools for this will find it very difficult to find cooperation around it.
But how to proceed when you're in a highly static and restricted context that is not very open to these practices? One needs to start off from the smallest of places to cooperate, some trustworthy friends, a small and venturesome working group…One can always find two or three people who are willing to play the game!

Starting with simple things

Use tools that are easy to use for people
When working with IT tools, the first step is the most important. If the first contact is easy, contributors will feel reassured and will want to engage a little further and will accept that some time to learn or become familiar with the tools is necessary.
It could also be possible to hide some of the functions from users at a first stage and wait for the group to become more mature before gradually adding new bricks. Or wait for them to ask for this and make the technical tool advance based on the group's demands.

Keeping things practical

Using tools that are easy to install and configure and that don't require technical skills
Rather than waiting to have the necessary means to create a customised tool, it is best to start from the moment the network dynamics starts to see a need to have ready-to-use tools that are easy to install and use: crafting some tools that are not too burdensome but that allow starting to work on cooperative issues (Google doc, Netvibes).
Of course this is not perfect: it would be better to have one's own tool with free software. And some may even be against using free on-line services that stock your information with the risk of them being used for commercial purposes. This is true, but the network facilitator must remain practical. These tools are to be used knowing what they are for and what they are: free on-line services, not tools that allow you to be totally independent. Nevertheless, thanks to their simplicity they can be used to surface cooperative dynamics.
We will wait to see real uses fall into place before moving on the specific developments if they are required.

Guiding in use

Guiding with attention rather than with intention:
  • managing a project "with intention": from the start, the coordinator plans some goals, the execution of the project, the timeframe, the budget… <this is the traditional project methodology>
  • managing a project “with attention”: the facilitator creates cooperative situations (getting people to meet, getting them to introduce themselves, so they can exchange…) and then being pursuant and reactive (suggesting supports so that what arises from the cooperative situation can lead to projects, actions, cooperative work…) <cooperative project methodology>
The facilitator must force him or herself to be quiet, to leave his or her ideas aside and to adopt an attitude of listening and observation.
Furthermore, the facilitator must create favourable conditions for the collective needs to appear: for example, a questionnaire where the results are shared collectively. Google Drive is perfect for this purpose since it allows you to process the answers statistically and to create graphs. Giving everyone the results in real time allows the facilitator not to monopolise the global vision: the group is made visible to the group.

Beautiful, beautiful...

Contrary to what we could believe, aesthetics and graphics are very important: they have a power to motivate the group members and brings value to the collective productions.
We can even use flashy things, highly appreciated by some:
  • flash animations,
  • rollovers and drag and drop functions using jquery technologies or mootools,
  • Rolex...

Mirror mirror on the wall

Establishing processes for the group to have a collective image of itself
Making the group visible to the group is an essential stage to get cooperation moving between the members. It is the concept of “holopticism” described by Jean-François Noubel.
Different techniques and tools can be used:
  • mappings of the members: to represent the community so it can take shape, so it is less virtual and adopts a geographical dimension.
  • making an inventory of skills (identifying everyone's strong points and writing it on a mind map, for example) or of things we are ready to share (what resources does the group member have that they could share with the other members?)
  • sharing problems and obstructions to one another, and things that others can help you with.

Encouraging contributions

To get cooperative dynamics started (and to extend it in time) based on voluntary participation it is important to bring value even to the slightest of contributions. For example, mentioning all those who have contributed to a project, even those with a minimal contribution (apology of the positive reinforcement).
There is nothing wrong with pleasure!
It may also be very useful for a network facilitator to get to know people who contribute occasionally very well to find the link between their concerns and the project.

Clarifying the terms of use

When imagining a cooperative network it is extremely likely that exchanges will lead to common collective productions.
To avoid any problems or misunderstandings, it is best to sit down and discuss the terms of use and the rights that apply to common productions right from the beginning of the dynamics:
  • who owns the contents produced collectively?
  • can this content be sold?
  • can it be transformed? ...
Creative Commons licences (a flexible copyright contract to make works free) would help thinking about this issue and would provide a legal framework for the creation of common goods.

Being surrounded by good “followers”

"It is quite often said that a group's liveliness depends on the quality of the facilitation. Of course, this is partly true. But in this short home video you will see a talented explanation on how leadership is essential to get things started, but that without followers engaging in the action, things wouldn't work."

(article taken from the blog 362point0.org)

Getting people moving, producing and cooperating

Producing and getting common goods produced

It's up to you!
le 15.01.2014 à 11:23:53

Using Google questionnaires at FNAMI LR

Card's author : FNAMI LR
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Testimonies : The network of participating musicians is mainly facilitated by a small group around the chairwoman of the network.
Creating a questionnaire would allow testing the ideas generated in this small group with the rest of the network members to enrich them.
The first option (creating a questionnaire on paper, sending it, gathering the answers, processing them and making a summary of it all before distributing it to the group) was discarded: it took up too much time and required too many means.
To facilitate the work, a Google document was created.
The first step The association FNAMI-LR was created in 2003; does it meet our needs? Where are we heading? yielded almost 100 replies.

Training people to use Google questionnaires

A little more than one hour was needed for people new to this tool to learn to create a questionnaire; this training allowed the group to take charge of the tool fully and now it is used quite systematically. We noticed the results from having volunteers from the association using it in a professional framework.

Managing the questionnaire

The questionnaires were sent by e-mail and were also posted on the FNAMI site. This enabled the network members to answer the questions directly. Results were automatically added to a Google Document spreadsheet.

Analysing the outcomes

Google Document allows processing the answers automatically when possible (histograms, average values, pie charts…) by using the form function/add a summary of answers. There are several pages to process the data which made the analysis much easier.

Feedback with the results

The results were given back to the network members in a general assembly. They confirmed some analysis made by the steering committee, and at the same time allowed proving the needs collectively and in a shared way; they were especially useful to show several new issues considered as priorities by the group.
Some results were posted onto the website automatically using the option of creating widgets with the results in the form of charts, graphs or spreadsheets...
This procedure to automatically provide the results is positive in many ways: it reinforces participation (my answers are visible and used right away), it promotes participation (they can't see me so I must reply), it looks "flashy" and some people really like this ;-)
Internet link : http://fnami-lr.org
le 16.01.2014 à 17:22:41

What if we were not so individualistic ?

Card's author : Jean Michel Cornu
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description :

When humans choose themselves to form an alliance with

Many strategies take into account human's egoism: for example systems which force to work for a common cause or for the economy which enables to negotiate a price depending on supply and demand with individualistic and rational « agents ».

Personally, I am interested in strategies of cooperation starting from the same presupposition: the humanbeing has both a selfish and an altruistic side. We must first seek to converge the interest and the collective interest. Worse: in case of a general conflict, someone altruistic would act for other people's interest to the detriment of his own. He would then be disadvantaged in a Darwinian sense...

Yet three pieces of information I recently aknowledged show that human being (as some animals) can do things to get something vital, that are seemingly against his interests : allying with others.

Even animals are sometimes altruistic

Turdoides are birds which feed other members of their group's broods, protecting themselves. Many species have members accepting to be sentries for others. They show then their utility in being part of a coalition.

The man who says all he does facing profiteers

Man too does things which could seem to be against his own interest. Jean-Louis Dessalles from Telecom Paris, in an interesting conference called "human language, a paradox of evolution", shows that language should normally disadvantage its user: the one who shares information while the one who listens has simultaneously his own information and others'.

Yet we are descended from a man who talks. This fundamental invention that occured 100 or 200,000 years ago is even the reason of our intelligence according to Jacques Monod in "le hasard et la nécessité". What kind of Darwinian advantage Nature could give to one who speaks and gives information to others ?

Two attempts to explain

We cannot call simply upon the collective benefit for the species because this argument is not relevant enough facing the inconvenience for the individual to give without expecting in return.

Another attempt to explain: John Miller Smith approached the evolution by the theory of game, showing that something could be done (for example giving an information) in order to get something else fair's fair approach). This needs to speak to those we believe are able to play the game but also to a have a system for detecting cheaters (approach developed by W.D. Halmilton).
But the « Green-Beard theory" images the difficulty of altruistic people to recognize each other:

"Let's assume that altruistic peolpe wear a green beard to identify each other. The few selfish persons from the same species who also wears a green beard will be tempted to cheat... And will succeed once again to the detriment of altruistic people !".

Yet, some researchers of the Ecology Lab of the Pierre et Marie Curie University (ENS-CNRS) and from the Royal Holloway College (London, UK) have shown recently that altruistic people could be one step ahead than cheaters by "modifying slightly and regularly the color of their beards". Simulations showed that in this special case, altruistic people could have a competitive advantage on selfish people but also on selfish cheating people.
Nevertheless: the fair's fair approach, if it enables to understand some altruistic behaviors, is not working with language because we often talk to a set of people.

The wise man points at the moon and the madman looks at the finger

Jean-Louis Dessalles proposes a third very attractive hypothesis. He noticed that the little human being, even before being able to talk, have a trend to point with their finger, i.e. sharing information. It's not the case with animals.
An experience illustrates this:
Some food is hidden under one bowl and nothing under another: showing the right bowl to a chimp does not incite him to get the food whereas going towards the right bowl incites the animal to go and get the food. On the contrary the child will understand the information just by being pointed the right bowl.
The difference is that the animal does not generally integrate in its communication the given information which does not expect a return. Communication helps to show physical strength, sexual attraction but not things useless to the communicator.
Man also communicates this way, but he will also add information without expecting other information back. Doing that, he's gonna show others the qualities which make him worth joining the groupe (self-abnegation, altruism, sincerity...).

The benefit in terms of survival

If mankind spends around 20% of is awake time communicating with others and giving information at loss, it is doubtless because he takes a crucial advantage of it. She must counterbalance the inconvenience of sometimes doing things in the group's interest but to his own detriment.
Human being has little chances to survive on his own. But L'être humain a peu de chances de survivre seul. But unlike other animals, he forms less alliances with others outside his own family. He might then have developed a capacity of elaborate language in order to give information and thus showing that he can be accepted by the group.
Chimps can only unite when two or three (not to be confused with a pack or a herd: in a coalition, individuals have chosen each other). Probably thanks to language, mankind is able to form alliances with several persons. In a small group, choosing individual strength brings more to the whole ; in a large group, strength is brought with the number of members and thus enables the ability to cooperate together.

Conflict of interests and assumption of altruism

This approach may explain a peculiarity of groups: in case of a conflict of interests, there is an unconscious belief that the person will fight for the group to her detriment. Of course, when we discuss of this in full consciousness, we realize that it is not necessarily the case.
This a an annoying consequence: when one is in a conflict of interests he cannot tell others: "Hey, I have a problem,I can't act in the group's interest". And yet, this could help in most cases to find a third way enabling to reconcile individual and collective interests ; but this would mean that we are not just altruistic, contrary to what we have proved unconsciously with our communication to join the group.
Thus, one of the problem making cohabitation harder for mankind is that when a conflict of interests occurs, it cannot be discussed. It stays unsaid and sometimes unconscious (for example utters of anger that we try to justify with objectives purposes when they are just resulting from other causes of which we are not fully conscious...). What is left unsaid makes it difficult to solve problems generated by the group. It seems to come exactly from what enables us to get together: our ability to share information freely to show our capacity to join a coalition !

Hume and mankind's bias

In an audio presentation about "artifice and society in the work of Hume" (recorded anthology of French Thought), Gilles Deleuze demonstrates that for David Hume, man is not selfish but biased. That means that he has a sphere of privileged sympathy.
For Hume, there are three types of sympathy: with close relations, with parents and with fellow human beings. They match the three principles of association which he identified in his works (particularly on association of ideas): similarity, continuity and common causation.
The moral problem then is not to manage selfishness (which is the starting point of the contract often said to be the base of society and institutions, in particular with his XVIIIth century contemporaries), but rather to go beyond the circle of natural sympathies to expand it to the whole society. For Hume, the legislation no longer prevents selfishness (which has not been statisfying till now) but overcomes our biases more constructively to expand the circle (not for the contract anymore but for what Hume called the "main rule").

The purpose(s) of living together

In other words, we could ask the question this way: can we find rules favoring the enlargement of the circle of people choosing themselves (coalitions are often the base of our ability to survive) to expand them to the rest of human kind and beyond the kingdom of life.
But like every question, this question must be completed by its counterpart to enable to go further (in a dialectic approach), and we could also add: how can we prevent the assumption of altruism, that enabled us to enter a coalition, from blinding us collectively to assume the defense of our own interests.
le 17.01.2014 à 16:48:58

What tools and for what purpose? (depending on the network's evolution)

Card's author : Outils-réseaux
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description : There are many tools for networking, collaborative tools many of which are available with free software. They offer very open fields of application, but sometimes it is difficult to find one's way in this jungle of tools and functions.

A Network's Life

The creation of networks: 5 basic steps

image Etapes réseau

These steps occur simultaneously. They guide the way for new arrivals.

Tools for each of a network's life stages

**Process** **Function** **"Small arrows"** **Preferred tools**
Creation Creation of the network's identity Grouping the arrows of the same colour General discussion list and dynamic mapping of the network members
Information Exchanging information between network members Grouping the arrows pointing in the same direction Themed discussion lists, forums, news
Transformation Establishing collective projects Surfacing of the projects' "big arrows" Workshops and tools to support projects
Outreach Interaction with the surroundings The action of project arrows on other surrounding arrows Disseminating data on a website (using CMS: dynamic content integration)
Consolidation Opening and following the dynamic Permeability (dashes) to new members and conservation of internal dynamics (spiral) Onboarding, classing information, presence of a history

Creation of a network

This first stage is about giving visibility to the sense of belonging to the network. It is important that each new actor is immediately made visible, for his or her sake (existing in the network and being recognized within) and for that of others.
The essential tools for this first stage go through a round of presentations in a face-to-face meeting.

Description: tools to conduct on-line surveys. Some process replies statistically (graphs, percentages).
Google Forms

Network information

Saying “I am part of a network” is not enough to be a stakeholder; it is also necessary to say what we are passionate about, what we expect to do in the network, and with whom we would like to do this. For this, the network's members must be able to exchange information effectively, talk to one another, create groups based on shared interests and give visibility to the topics of discussion that could then lead to future projects.

Discussion and distribution lists, forum

Social networks:

Network transformation

This stage -which is actually an ongoing process- is identified at the start, when projects are created and set up. It is really a transformation at the heart of the network, since it starts creating an organisation and starts to be operational through its projects.

The necessary tools for this stage are those that allow working together on projects, and are a whole array of collaborative tools to share documents and information, co-write, exchange, synchronise and think together.

Document sharing:
D Manager


On-line office suits:
Google documents

Google Calendar
Php I calendar

Mind maps:


Social bookmarking:

Network outreach

Now the network has visibility through the projects it hosts and facilitates and interacts with its environment.
This interaction can happen at different levels: interaction with the public within the projects' frameworks, interaction with institutional partners that support and encourage projects, interaction with other networks to exchange or transfer skills and experiences…

CMS : content management system

Rss :

Network consolidation

This stage aims at ensuring that, even if the network has survived the 4 first stages with some of its members, it is open to new members.
At this stage, tools are more methodological (the network history, charter, guides for new members, manuals on how to participate...).

However, there are some tools that help visualising the activity of a network with a lot of content more easily.

Tag clouds:

Illustration credits under Creative Commons licence: by - Outils-Réseaux
le 17.01.2014 à 15:20:24

Which tools and for what purposes ? (depending on the type of group)

Card's author : Outils-réseaux
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description :

Decision grid

What type of group?

SIZE: managing the speaking SMALL GROUP: immediate exchanges MEDIUM GROUP: facilitating exchanges LARGE GROUP: managing the number of exchanges
SCOPE: reinforcing bonds LOCAL GROUP: synchronising NATIONAL GROUP: moving back to the local WORLD GROUP: moving back to the national
PURPOSE: adapting the tools to the aims CONVIVIALITY: mastering the informal PRODUCTION: mastering the critical tasks to Co-build DISSEMINATION: publish and making oneself known
MATURITY: towards autonomy CHILD: starting the first step ADOLESCENT: managing conflicts ADULT: remaining open and young

SMALL GROUP: immediate exchanges

  • E-mail
  • Synchronous communication tools
This family of tools encompasses those that make it possible to talk live and at a distance:
  • chat or instant messaging tools: communicating through written messages in almost real-time
  • VOIP tools: to talk live (voice transmission)
  • Videoconference tools: to talk and see each other live (sound and image transmission)

MEDIUM GROUP: facilitating exchanges

  • Discussion and mailing lists, forum
A discussion or mailing list is a specific use of email that allows public postings of information to users who have subscribed to them.
  • Discussion list:
A list for exchanges via email on a topic or for a group. Anyone can write to the list and everyone receives what is published on the list. (n vs. n)
  • Mailing list: a reading-only list via email to distribute a newsletter, for example. The letter is distributed to everyone but none of the recipients of this letter can modify it or communicate with other recipients of the mailing list (1 to n)
  • Web Forum: on-line discussion group: you can check and write messages and answer them using a web browser. Messages are classed by discussion threads.

LARGE GROUP: managing the number of exchanges

  • Tag cloud
A tag cloud is a visual representation of the tags used more often on a website. Generally speaking, these tags use font sizes that are larger the more popular or frequent the tag is.
Summaries : refer to the example the use of lists by Tela Botanica

LOCAL GROUP: synchronising

  • Shared calendars
Calendars that can be viewed on the Internet and be modified by several people.

NATIONAL GROUP: moving back to the local

  • Directories
There are no key tools available to make directories, but it is a tool that is often found in other systems:
  • Social network tools, for example, allow creating member directories,
  • CMS generally offer an electronic registration and also offer member directories,
  • A list of members can be created on a wiki by opening a page for each of them.
  • Mapping
Systems to install interactive mappings on a website. They can be used to map a community, a network under construction: an absolute must to get cooperation started!

WORLD GROUP: moving back to the national

CONVIVIALITY: mastering the informal

  • Trombinoscope
  • Social network and micro-blogging
Social networks: a web-based service allowing people to create a public or semi-public profile in a limited system, to build a list of users they are connected to, to view and browse through their own relationships and those established by other users.
  • Micro-blogging: (sometimes referred to as mini-blogging)
It is a brief version of a blog that allows posting short articles, much shorter than in a typical blog, which may also contain an image or even a video attachment. Aggregation feeds are lighter than in traditional blogs and can contain the full message. Distribution may also be restricted by the publisher to a circle of people.

PRODUCTION: mastering the critical tasks to Co-building

  • Wiki
  • Document sharing
In a group, it often becomes essential to share documents and resources. To do this there are either on-line systems ready to use or free software that can be installed in a host. Ideally one wants to choose the options that allow synchronicity.
  • On-line office suites
More and more, it is possible to carry one's office around on the Internet: on-line office suites are used more and more often. The advantage of this is that they allow a collective use and in real time: ideal to promote cooperation!
  • Social bookmarking
Social bookmarking is a way for internet users to save, class, search and share their favourite links.
  • Mind maps
A mind map is a way of communicating and transmitting information between people in a graphic way. The idea is to place a central topic (a word or a drawing) in the centre of a sheet of paper and, from there, developing branches that contain different ideas that link back to the topic. This concept was invented by the mathematician Tony Buzan in the 1960s.

DISSEMINATION: publish and making oneself known

  • Newsletter and mailing list
  • CMS
Content Management System. Defines a group of software programmes that facilitate the creation, updating and publishing of contents on a website. Some of the most popular tools in this category are:: SPIP, Mambo (now Joomla), ez Publish, Typo 3 ...
  • RSS threads and syndication
"RSS" ("Rich Site Summary" or "Really Simple Syndication") is the name given to a data format used to disseminate updates on websites whose content changes very often; news sites, blogs…an RSS thread generally contains the title of the information, a brief summary and a link to another page with extended information. The RSS file, also called RSS feed, RSS channel, RSS thread or information thread is updated to provide the latest information posted in real time.
RSS can be used in two ways:
  • for a personal use. Users are required to have a specific tool called an “RSS reader” or “aggregator” to subscribe and check all the latest information from several websites on one single place, without having to visit the various sites.
  • content syndication: is the automatic publishing on a website of information coming from other sites.
  • Blog
From "Web - log": initially these were like personal on-line diaries which then developed into the support for an array of different public expressions: opinions, the voice of the citizens, activists, testimonials, recitals…
There are several types of blogs: ready-to-use services (blog platforms) or free software programmes that one can install on a server. What they all share is that they allow someone without the technical knowledge to publish articles that are grouped by dates.

CHILD: starting the first step

Simple tools


ADOLESCENT: managing conflicts

Operating rules

  • Surveys and forms
Tools to carry out on-line surveys. Some process the replies statistically (graphs and percentages).

ADULT: remaining open and young

Onboarding for new members, public getting to know the content

 Filter :  autoformation  bureautique  cohérence  communication  Communiquer et échanger  complexité  concept  Concevoir et animer un projet  coopération  Créer/fonctionner en réseau  débat  Enseigner/former  formation courte  formation longue  heuristique  idées  ils l ont fait  initiation  méthode  Organiser et planifier  Organiser un évènement à plusieurs  outil  Outils-réseaux  Parcours animer un projet coopératif  Parcours animer un réseau  parcours ça fume  Parcours communiquer rendre visible son projet  Parcours court animer un projet coopératif  Parcours formateur 2.0  Parcours introduction coopération  Parcours rédiger publier  Parcours technique  Parcours veille collaborative  Parcours1  Parcours2  Parcours3  partage  Partager et construire collectivement des ressources  Partager et diffuser sa veille  Produire et gérer du contenu  publication  Télétravailler  Travailler ensemble et à distance  Veiller  Visualiser des données