First of all, I’d like to welcome @MaciejBud to the team, who not only has offered to participate, but may help using services of his visual communication agency explainedvisually.co. We have PM’ed a bit about creating a small explainer video to introduce potential members to our community.
In this post I want to address Maciej’s rightful request for more clarity of community position and goals:
Maciej: “Regarding the website and the whole strategy - I can also help you with that. I think that we should have a clarity before we create a video since then it can be laser-focused on communicating the things that can trigger the audience.”
In the next paragraphs I will elaborate on this, so we can refine together. Then ultimately I’ll add the outcome to the strategy document of Aware Prepare dogfooding campaign as well as post a pinned topic to the forum.
Community, mission and strategic pillars
New tech comes with (often unforeseen) Harms that need to be addressed by Solutions urgently. Tech evolution and disruptions come ever quicker and uncontrolled, and we can see that ‘tech overcomes us’.
Our community that is currently mostly a forum, must become a solution-oriented, positive-spirited, creative group of people from all walks of life, that offers ‘A place of action’, not cheap talk and complaints only.
Hence we work on the mission “To Re-align Technology to Humanity’s Best Interests”, just like the CHT. And we work along the same strategic pillars (copied from the announcement):
- Cultural Awakening - By raising awareness of harms of technology, and showing an alternative path
- Public Pressure - Aimed at political and organizational change, and better regulation and protections
- Engage Employees - To stimulate the proper mindset for people on the workfloor and promote adoption
- Apply Humane Design - By offering production-ready best-practices, design patterns and work methods
The forum organization reflects this and has further sub-categories to go into specific areas (more later).
The idea is that each strategic pillar reinforces the next, and that the solutions are developed within each pillar are fed back to the other pillars:
Awareness leads to Cultural awakening —> Political pressure leads to regulation and protection —> Engaging employees and regulation leads to adoption —> Engagement and adoption lead to Humane Design application becoming the norm.
We can’t do one without the other. There will be activity in all pillars in parallel. But ultimately the fourth pillar Applying Humane Technology is most important, because here is where the solutions are.
Humane tech harms and subject areas
Humane Tech covers a very big subject area, or areas, and in each we find different kinds of harms that need to be addressed. Also the community has a somewhat broader and different focus than the CHT (more later).
Before I mention the areas, I’d like to mention restrictions to what we cover in Humane Technology:
- We focus on internet and information technologies, how they are built, how they are implemented, and their societal impact
- Citizens and consumers are primary target audiences
We do NOT focus on:
- Animal rights related to tech (some exceptions may apply)
- Industrial tech (other than where the internet is clearly involved, and consumers are impacted)
- Human rights in general (but digital freedom is within scope)
- Enterprise security (only consumer security)
Currently we have the following subject areas (this will be refined further, e.g. recent addition is ‘Ethics’):
- Wellbeing - Mental and physical health
- Relationships - How we interact with each other
- Privacy - Protecting our (digital) freedoms
- Civics - Public discourse, democracy, culture, society
- Children - Education by parents and schools, involvement of children
- Advocacy - Petitions, demonstrations, activism, public speaking
- [none yet] - But probably meetups hackathons, expert/professional information sources
- What is humane design - Refining our mission and subject areas continuously
- Ethics - Ethical frameworks in all work areas involved with other HT areas
- Exemplars - Reference applications, and work methods
Time Well Spent:
- Your Apps & Tools - Certification, discussion of HT shortcomings, HT ‘tool shack’
- News - What is happening in realms of Humane Technology? Being in the loop of trends
- Recommended reading - Books, scientific papers, technical info
In the Humane Design category more subcats will be added. We need best-practices, checklists, and entire knowledge bases for how to bring HT to reality.
Positioning of CHT and HTC
As the forum header states: We are a grassroots community, working bottom-up and crowdsourced, and the CHT is a top-down non-profit organisation, taking a very strategic approach.
Because of this we focus on the strategic pillar differently, placing different emphasis:
CHT aims at highest levels of government and big tech companies at board level
- Awareness is done via mass media, CNN, BBC, NYT, etc. and formulated for more expert audience
- Advocacy to world leaders, and board members of Apple, Google, Facebook, etc.
- Engagement targeted at higher-level managers and board members
- Time Well Spent as a corporate policy to be introduced (and less important in the light of fake news, democracy)
HTC aims at common people, ‘the masses’, companies in general, with the intend to inform them, offer solutions
- Awareness for everyone in each of the subject areas, with knowledge bases and focus on self-help
- Advocacy in the form of petitions, activism, public discussion, etc.
- Engagement targeted towards the regular people on the workfloor, that do the implementations of tech
- Time Well Spent as the promotion of good alternatives to lead our digital lives in healthy ways
Community culture and branding
We still need to design a consistent community brand. It should be uniform across all our channels and community representations.
A very important aspect of the community that should be clearly stated is that:
- Participating in the community should be fun and rewarding
And selfish motives to participate are okay in this, as long as the common good is served. Also:
- You are free to pursue any position in the community structure. Just go for it and persevere
Your activity determines the rewards you reap.
- The community works on a basis of full transparency, crowdsourcing, open-source and in the public domain
In this regard all the works and contributions of its members are properly attributed.
What this all means for community culture and brand perception:
- Fresh and modern
- Positive, solutions-oriented
- Vibrant, creative, exciting
- Relevant, moral and right
- Active and innovative
- Human, people-focussed,
- ‘Cozy’, together,
- Sensitive, understanding
- Easy-going, informal
- Stength in numbers
So that was a quick overview of what the community is all about. Feel free to shoot at it and provide additional ideas and stuff that is missing. This is about brainstorming, so don’t be afraid to say crazy things