Forty minutes into the 8th Rebooting the Web of Trust, we can comfortably say that it is one of the digital world’s most innovative collaborative workshops.
We’ll be “LIVE WRITING” this event (and will just be editing and adding to this blog), because that’s precisely the point of the workshop: seeing what happens when lots of smart people get together and confront a big empty whiteboard. Here’s what’s supposed to happen:
- The first day is about ideation and team formation. People meet in small groups of 4 or 5 people, share ideas, vote to see which shared ideas should percolate to the slightly bigger groups, and from there, work on getting better ideas. When there’s a pause in the ideational process, everyone is supposed to reboot and start from scratch;
- On the second day, teams are expected to coalesce around shared topics of interest, and generate a draft abstract for a working paper that explores the new topic;
- By day three, the goal is to have working papers published on GitHub.
To get a sense of the spirit of #RWOT8, here is a kickoff video shared by a Catalan government official who opened the event venue to our global group.
You can view this as a usual promo video, full of buzzwords and emotionally-charged images. But some of the themes seem to dovetail well with #RWOT8, challenging us to think in unconventional ways.
“We don’t believe in perfection, but strive for it nevertheless.”
So on the one hand, #RWOT8 Barcelona is utopian in its desire to unleash new waves of humanism and digital emancipation. But it’s also deeply pragmatic, and built on a posture of radical humility. To echo the welcome video, we hope #RWOT8 “teaches us to forget what we know so that we can learn again.”
[11:48 Update]: Here’s the GitHub repo for #RWOT8.
[12:03 Update]: After a series of kickoff events, we moved to morning work sessions. The main task is to identify areas of interest and to coalesce around a series of ideas and working groups.
[12:32 Update]: We were treated to a live demo of a AR/VR game engine for localized safety training walk-throughs and experiences, including gameified fire-safety trainings in home and workplace environments.
[14:48–15:39]: Afternoon works sessions included individual generative ideation exercises — nudging participants to experiment with longer time horizons (how will your idea be changing the world in 2040?) and alternative modes of story-telling.
[16:12–17:31]: We worked in plenary contexts to narrow concrete areas of interest and form breakout groups that leverage our individual areas of expertise and collective intelligence.
[17:32–18:30]: Working groups, where our goal was to reframe narrower research questions and start outlining potential abstract ideas for whitepapers.
[18:30–19:30]: The #RWOT8 organizers place high expectations on participants because they know we can meet and exceed them. After the working groups, we returned to the plenary to cross-pollinate ideas.
[20:40–23:59]: Off to Tapas (in Barcelona’s former central bullfighting ring, which is now a gorgeous plaza).
Day 2 (Saturday, March 2, 2019)
[10:36 Update]: We started by taking stock of the main themes from Day 1. Among the many concrete themes raised this morning, one problem in particular stands out — “how to bring in diverse voices, and develop techniques and tools for greater inclusivity” as a co-requisite for identity-process design.
[11:08 Update]: Demos!
Lots of demos on the deck (check out GitHub for details), so just sharing a few photos.