Project: Science Design DialoguePosted: July 5, 2011
I might have got myself in trouble here…
A recent post stirred up some great conversation, and someone actually called me on an idea, and now I have to put my money where my mouth is. My question to the internet was;
“Is anyone interested in starting a dialogue around science with non-scientists?”
The answer was yes (thanks to Peter “Scelop” Nierowski and the mighty Tim McGee), and so now we have to think about setting this up.
Using this blog as the sounding board to get the initial discussion going, here is the game plan, and all you beautiful people out there, let me know what you think.
Here’s the the big goal:
To fuel deep dialogue about research, that includes a diverse array of voices, that opens science to a broader audience.
Here’s the elevator pitch:
A paper is selected for its scientific merit and opportunity. A group of motivated people start a free flowing dialogue that includes written discussions, questions, debates, hopes and dreams.
After a period of time, we call it quits and assemble some sort of review summarizing the discussion. It may be something like RSAnimate, or maybe a snippet of Design Fiction, or a paper that could be presented in a biomimicry conference. This could be a research project housed in a university, non-profit, or another model.
In the mean time a new dialogue would have begun around a different paper, and possibly an entirely new topic, for people to connect around.
The big hairy ambitious goal includes the possibility of this dialogue fuelling further research in different labs and institutions that might lead to some game changing insights and discoveries. Or to an incredible book discussing the implications of science in the broader community. At this point, who knows, the vision is broad, but emergent, and will respond to whatever brews up from the discussions.
Let’s do it – here comes the action plan!
Step 1: Assemble a core group
Core group would include a diverse array of disciplines, designers of different backgrounds and experiences, engineers, business, perhaps law, would love philosophy, and a group of biologists from various disciplines as well.
No real limit on number of voices, but would need to think carefully on what the criteria would be. Here are my initial thoughts:
- Must be motivated to contribute. We need people who write, will add their thoughts and be vocal in the mix.
- Must be driven by curiosity.
- Must be passionate about creating future scenarios of sustainability. My personal interest in fuelling these conversations is the goal of creating deep discussions with long term effects. Therefore I wish for a bias in shaping this conversation.
- Is a biomimicry background required? Not sure. As per my previous discussions, the simple fact of the process means the result will be biomimicry, whether it is explicit or not.
The team should be a blend of grey hairs and fresh naive enthusiasm. Please jump in on the comments if you have any thoughts or recommendations. Does the project need a couple of rock stars that will generate an audience? I wonder if Janine has any spare time…
Step 2: Pick a paper.
I have an idea in mind of where to start, perhaps a straight up bio-materials paper to get things rolling. But our discussion suggested papers could ultimately could be of materials, process, system, sociology, ecology. Whatever tickles the fancy of the group.
Process could be a simple one where everyone suggests one paper each, with a little reasoning behind it, and then we all vote and start the discussion.
I think we keep it simple, and just get started somewhere.
Step 3: Dialogue.
Being new to the world of blogging, I think this medium could work well. Set up one central site, all the core group get accounts to post, and the blog would become a stream of dialogue about the initial starting point.
The blog would be open to the public, allowing anyone to post comments, adding their voices into the mix, which might allow us to create some new friends and hear some new opinions.
We keep the dialogue open for a few weeks, not so long that it gets bogged down, but enough time that everyone can think over it and contribute.
Step 4: Reflect and share.
Depending on the results of the discussion there may be a number of different opportunities at this stage, so it has been left the most open. I would hope that whatever dialogue is generated would be exciting enough to shape what this stage would look like.
Step 5: Repeat!
Learn from the process, refine and fix what is necessary, and look for a new paper to explore together.
Because I simply can’t help it, here is the diagram I drew as I was trying to work out this idea.
Anyone out there interested, or has any ideas of making this idea burst into reality, let me know!
Any names for the project? I’m thinking “Intersections Dialogue” but perhaps someone has something sexier?