Bricolage Lab

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Tech Committee Bricolage Lab[edit | edit source]

Tech Committee
Bricolage Lab

Between our May and June meetings the exchange of group emails raised some important questions about what we can and should do, but then the discussion stopped. Possibly that's because each of us thinks everything worth saying has been said and settled. For me that's not the case. For me, the differences of view are far from settled, but saying what's worth saying doesn't work in a chain of group emails, which will quickly fork into incoherence. And once-a-month meetings with a crowded agenda and a pre-set clock do not allow a thoughtful group to deliberate on a complex question.

Let's think about the strategic and procedural aspects of our activities. The first sentence in the governance charge to our committee points in the strategic direction: "The Technology Committee is a service committee established to educate the Windrows community on the effective use of communication and other technology." The second sentence, as an afterthought, throws in procedural topics: "The Committee is also charged with assessing and recommending to the Board measures for the maintenance and continuous improvement of technology used throughout Windrows."

How can we think strategically about "the effective use of communication and other technology" with respect to the Windrows community? This is not as difficult a question as it might seem to be, for we have witnessed, and perhaps engaged as players, a lot of strategic change in the effective use of communication and other technology. I'm sure here and there a long-range plan had a part, but massively and consistently the strategic change has come about as novel communication and technical systems emerged in the field of human interaction.

From whence did the nascent systems come? From a person or group putting something together and saying, "Hey look at this. Can we make it do something?" They configure a rough working prototype, explore what they and others might do with it, they think about what they need to do to make it a working system. Even a strategic deployment of known innovations in settings where they are not in use, won't come from a formal plan initiated by the armchairs at the top; it comes from in situ emergence as persons who are not using the innovations institute them, situate them, set them up within their activities.

  • We can do that through the Tech Committee, and rather than suggest how as a vague possibility, I've put a preliminary configuration of MediaWiki on some unused server space at my disposal, calling it the Tech Committee Bricolage Lab and saying, "Hey look at this. Can we make it do something?" It can give us an experiential context in which to set our discussion of communication and technology at Windrows. For instance,
  • The initial configuration posts the working documents we've had before us since the March 2024 committee meeting in a way more suitable for active comment and collaboration.
  • With some additional configuration (over say 1 week), we can prototype a Windrows wide calendaring system and explore the potentials and limitations of its usability and extensibility.
  • With its present configuration but a commitment of effort by each of us, we can draft and share our own personal profiles to see how that information becoming public within the committee informs the ease, flexibility, and understanding of our discussions.
  • With it we can conduct and share the scanning and analysis activities called for in the draft long-term plan.
  • If it becomes evident that the Lab facilitates our work, we can extend and adapt our configuration of MediaWiki so that other committees and groups can develop their use of it to serve their needs and purposes. Such an extension of usage can become the Tech Committee's most effective way to educate the Windrows community about communication and other technology.

Monthly meetings


Working documents