MANAGING THE VOLUME OF INFORMATION, AND CANADIAN CULTURE OF PEACE PROGRAM WORK

March 24, 2005

Dear Members,

You probably note that our list of Yahoo Groups (nodes on our Canadian Culture of Peace Program “CCOPP” Stakeholder’s Web) is growing.  The volume of messages will grow, and there will be cross-posting and some duplication.  I also anticipate more “explosive growth” in the near future.  I am optimistic to think that more and more people are getting the picture (vision) of the Culture of Peace Program, the beauty/importance of Peace Education as the antidote to violence of all sorts, and the path (process) developing of how we get there, to see that real peace in the foreseeable future is possible and how they fit in/what they can do.  Our good friend Paul refers to this as becoming like an “infectious agent” (i.e. in a good way), and the results may be explosive when we reach a tipping point – get ready J

So, I thought I would try to provide an overview of our current experience of how this is developing, and some tips on how to manage the volume.  Your input is requested.

Background Reading

  1. I refer you to the picture of our developing CCOPP Network/Web which I have copied below (see http://www.peace.ca/CCOPPorganization2004.htm for the complete article).  In it, you should see a “ripple” effect cascading outwards as we create more working groups.  Quite simply, Web nodes will be born as the need arises and inspired peace promoters emerge.
  2. Canadian Culture of Peace Program Stakeholder Network Design - This design document is offered to build on the foundational principles that the UN determined and to prepare for a CCOPP operations / marketing document that describes how the CCOPP programme is to be operated and promoted.  This document attempts to answer several key questions necessary for building a culture of peace.  Why is an organization peaceful or violent?  How should peace organizations organize themselves?  How should peace organizations relate to each other?  What kind of expertise should the CCOPP develop?  In the following operations / marketing document the following questions will be asked.  What opportunities should the CCOPP pursue?  How will the CCOPP grow?  How will the CCOPP measure its success?  Click here for HTML or Microsoft Word document.
  3. Drafting a Protocol to Guide our Conversations and Relationships

How our “Organization” is Unfolding

We have been referring to the basic organizational units in the Network by several different names: Node – organization – Group - listserver – communication – relationship – doing projects/programs together.  It is difficult to delineate the real differences or where one of these concepts leaves off and another starts.  What comes first – the organization or the listserver tool that facilitates organization?  I think the listserver tool that facilitates organization.  The listserver is akin to our “office” where we come to work with each other.  An office without walls.  This is why, in the original Stakeholder Web document that I wrote at http://www.peace.ca/CCOPPorganization2004.htm , I showed the Network manifesting itself through the Yahoo Group email listservers.  This why whenever we are ready to take action on a new COP Action Area/Idea, the first task is to create a Yahoo Group email listserver as the tool for communicating, organizing, networking, dialogue, information dissemination (also see process/methodology below).  Until we have a bricks and mortar office building (which could be an existing office say at a University or wherever), the listserve will be our office (supplemented by the web site, in-person meetings and conferences).  This will be about ‘how people get together’, efficiently, effectively and economically.

It will take discipline to try to keep the flow of information from being overwhelming.  Participants will have to try to target their messages to the most appropriate group, and minimize cross-postings (so, for example, if you want to talk peace education then direct your message to the CPIdiscussion list).  There will be general messages that do cut across all Groups (eg. Our CCOPP Newsletter), and there will be specific messages that should be targeted to the Specific Group.  There will be people who get involved at the General (what I have referred to as the Institutional or Network Management) Level, those that get involved at one or more Specific Action Area Levels, and some who do both.  Those responsible for Specific Action Areas should keep an eye open for things discussed on their list that should be brought to the attention of the General Level and/or other Action Areas.  Those responsible for the General Level will have to decide what messages should go to the Action Areas.  (It should also be noted that a Specific Action Area such as Free Flow of Information in due course will develop an ‘Institutional or General Level’ and ‘Specific Action Areas’ such as the Culture of Peace News Network or “CPNN” within it.)

I expect that, after establishing the General/Institutional Level Groups/listservers, the next stage is to establish Specific Action Area Groups/Listservers as the need and interested people emerge.  For example, CCOPP spawning a CCOPPfreeflowofinformation Group.  I further expect that when it grows unwieldy, it may spawn new Groups (such as a specific CCOPPCPNN Group).  We might encourage that organic process of creating smaller, local Groups/nodes/lists.  But again in the world of duality, we will have to deal with both large and small nodes because some people will want to be part of both large and small organizations – they both have their purposes.  It will be a supreme challenge to try to stay efficient.  This is the nature of self-organizing and organic systems.

We need most efficient communications when we're working on something specific.  I expect we will have to be flexible to create mini-lists to work on specific things and then terminate them when their work is done.  Fortunately, this is easy to do with Yahoo Groups (although we must put up with a bit of advertising).  At this moment, I can not think of any form of communication more efficient than these listservers.  I find them more easy to manage than bulletin boards, chat rooms, telephone calls (but we can use those tools also, when appropriate).  One thing that people can do to reduce the apparent volume is to change their preferences in the Yahoo system from getting “Individual Messages” to getting “Daily Summary of Messages” (some may also wish to receive no email and go to the web site periodically to read the messages).  Whatever people choose, they must decide what to ignore or delete and what to take the time to read.  In other words, you will have to evaluate the cost (eg. Time, getting some messages you might not want, etc.) vs. benefit (eg. Gems of wisdom, information you can use, etc.) of belonging to the Groups and reading the messages.  You do not have to read everything – it is OK to delete.

We will have to encourage smaller/focused messages (while brevity is good, sometimes length is necessary in a response), interactive user-friendly web sites, smaller working groups, etc. We will have to put on the web site our own “Netiquette” protocol to encourage this. 

Our Evolving CCOPP Methodology or Process

As recent projects have been developing, we have found ourselves currently following an evolving CCOPP methodology as follows:

(1) we start the dialogue by using our “virtual” process - i.e.

(a) create a CCOPPresourceraising Yahoo Group email listserver as a key node in our Stakeholders Web and as a most effective tool for communications, networking, dialogue and information dissemination about raising resources for peace,

(b) invite everyone in Canada with an interest in peace, conflict and resource raising to join the discussion

(c) of the subscribers, poll who would like to help draft a strategy and action plan;

(d) of the small working group, poll who would like to shepherd the process? (employing servant leadership/stewardship principles)

(e) small working group draft the resource raising strategy and action plan

(f) submission to larger group for consideration and feedback and approval

(2) in-person meeting(s) as necessary; people that can not travel to the meeting can be invited to participate via an Internet conferencing method (such as Yahoo Messenger or Skype). 

(3) implementation of action plan

(a) invite everyone in Canada with an interest in peace, conflict and (in this example) resource raising to join in the implementation of the action plan (i.e. time for peace work)

(b) of the working group, poll who would like to shepherd the process? (employing servant leadership/stewardship principles)

(c) working group responsible and accountable for (hopefully successful) implementation

(4) evaluation of progress (results measurement, analysis; are we achieving our goals?; is there a better way?)

(5) revise strategy and action plan; redirection if necessary

Finally, it is important to emphasize that this whole CCOPP process is completely voluntary, people are encouraged to do what turns them on, to be critical and independent thinkers (it is expected that people will do their own homework), that people will “vote with their feet” (the law of mobility).  We think we can offer excellent materials to help participants, and an effective process (co-learning as we go, to develop even better processes and resources).  Developing our relationships and our conversations is peace education building a Culture of Peace at its finest level.

I hope this draft overview is helpful, and would appreciate your comments.

Regards,
Bob Stewart

 

 DRAFT FOR DISCUSSION

 

CANADIAN CULTURE OF PEACE PROGRAM (“CCOPP”)

ORGANIZATION NETWORK/STAKEHOLDER WEB

March 19, 2005

   

A Stakeholder Web (“S-web”) is a network of stakeholders that scrutinizes and attempts to influence an entity’s behavior, in this case Canada ’s implementation of the Culture of Peace and Non-violence Program.  See http://www.peace.ca/CCOPPorganization2004.htm for additional background.

 

A. INSTITUTIONAL /NETWORK MANAGEMENT

 

Small Core Group/Steering Committee (Yahoo Group, dialogue, CCOPP ‘stewards’)

Larger Core Working Group (Yahoo Group, dialogue, directly active participants prepared to make an investment of time, skills and resources in the overall CCOPP, following Culture of Peace and Non-violence values; ref. http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/CCOPPcore ) (Announcements will be placed in the CCOPP Newsletter)

CCOPP Newsletter (Broadcast) (Yahoo Group, broadcast) (Newsletters will automatically be posted to all Groups, and anyone who wishes to subscribe; expect one or two per month)

CCOPP Dialogue – General (Yahoo Group, dialogue, inclusive)

 

B. CULTURE OF PEACE AND NON-VIOLENCE ACTION AREAS (the sub-components are derived from the Agenda of the Hague Appeal for Peace, reference http://www.peace.ca/agendaofthehague.htm , are not necessarily all-inclusive, and will evolve over time)

 

 

·        Provincial/Territorial Culture of Peace Programs (13) (mirroring above where relevant) (13 Yahoo Groups, dialogue, inclusive)

o       Alberta http://groups.yahoo.com/group/albertapeaceeducation/

o       Quebec http://groups.yahoo.com/group/quebecpeaceeducation/ 

·        Manitoba http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ManitobaPeaceEducation/ 

·        Rest to come in due course

Conclusion 

This is the work that needs to be done.  The sooner we proceed the better.  Time is of the essence – people are dying for this.  We need to have a bias for action.  Please step up and do whatever turns you on.  We urge you to be a peace educator and leader.  Your contribution will make a significant difference, is sorely needed and will be greatly appreciated.  And, speaking from personal experience, the unexpected “dividends” that you will get out of this will be considerable.  Finally – please spread the word.  Many hands make light work.  We are part of an international network and the tipping point in favour of peace is rapidly approaching.