Session: Articulating a Shared Vision

Session: Describing shared vision:
Day 1
Facilitation: Jeff
Notes: Samuel
Full transcript: link to google doc

The group began with a review of the possible two overlapping but different themes: developing a shared vision versus the tools and ways in which we enact the vision. It was decided that we would tackle two conversations at once because they inform each other. The proposal was made for this conversation to be oriented towards informing the upcoming GOAT Manifesto session. Two processes were used: A free conversation that was transcribed in detail. And a paper that was passed around with a prompting question: What are the core principles you think of the GOAT community+ could support?

In the go around session the group first reflected on the original GOAT and the ‘intent,’ the first organizers had for the event/community. The session group then did a go around where people described what they saw as the purpose of GOAT today. Key ideas that emerged: individual (i.e. real) relationships, shared knowledge and information, building a commons, connections, different levels of engagement (societal level vs community), active empowerment.

Question then turned to issues in tech - negative feedback loops that codify harmful practices/relationships etc. How do we not do this? The need for a vision and mission is to support us in actively replicating this kind of tech loop. We need first principles. We shape technology and it shapes us and the environment. Can we invert the process to think about how nature imprints on us and how we can then build tech around nature?

So our mission is really global - not just about ag tech but the society we want. Ie it is normative in that we understand there are values associated with it. So we need to be thoughtful in this process and this where a design justice perspective is helpful. But there is a tension between big hairy audacious goals versus practical actions which allow us to achieve these. So the question turned to how do we measure success - ie) whether we know if we are meeting our vision. Discussions turned to graphing tools which could describe the complexity of the network relations.

Again the idea of first principles is important. This is a hierarchy of vision. The question was asked whether we are explicit about things we don’t want (ie movements that are against bioengineering etc). Or are we just saying we are doing one thing - ie Digital tech for agriculture. Can we exclude certain types of agriculture if we are open? This led to the question of what is open. Comparing open-source to commons we need to understand that commons are not necessarily open access. All commons have governance mechanisms and agreed protocols between communities which manage them.

Are we a community or an event? Is the gathering ongoing? The group agreed that the purpose of GOAT is really to sustain engagement and connections between members - build relations. The conversation came full circle with the group asking: What are the outcomes we want to have as this group. What are the experiences we want to have in this group? How to define a vision and mission to support this. We need a process that has

  • vision;
  • mission;
  • principles;
  • outcomes.

If we are a community how do we get to a shared statement of purpose? Does this become dictatorial and closed eventually? Making a statement will inevitably leave some people out, but it is necessary. This is a question of a democratic process. How is GOAT governed? How can we be adaptable? How can we ensure that the approach we take - whether an agreed vision or the way we measure or perform on it - stays open and responsive to feedback.

In addition to the paper responses (see full transcript), the group concluded with closing personal thoughts for next session that might inform the bigger manifesto articulation:

  • Design justice theorists - need to reflect on the literature and practice to inform this work
  • Leaving space for different ways of being and doing + knowledge
  • Coming up with next steps based on this conversation
  • Inclusion of measurement feedback tool
  • Something tangible to operationalize the things we have discussed
  • Open supportive and inspiring
  • Ongoing conversation with community
  • Helpful to define some scope of what we are talking about - ie mision, vision, principles etc.
  • Revisiting constantly what are the needs of the community - staying with this question.
  • A well defined vision statement
  • That this feeds into the other sessions and that we can find ways to operationalize less tangible aspect of the vision
  • Reflecting on this connection between nature-people-technology. What order should those things be influencing one another? The choice of values drives this.

And here are the paper process responses:

Question: What are the core principles you think the goat community should support?

  1. The GOAT community understands its place outside of the tech community
  2. Shared knowledge is important and impactful
  3. Making sure our knowledge/results in action and impact
  4. Cross culturally accessible and empowering
  5. Impactful actions… targeted at whom? Each other, food supply? Etc
  6. The GOAT community is committed to helping each other and society at large effectively and collaboratively develop and employ open source technologies in support of healthy, equitable , resilient and sustainable foods systems.
  7. Igniting power, meaning and connection in al members of our food systems
  8. I want a filly empowered, diverse community of thinkers improving our agricultural technology that is able to develop hands on the best and most comprehensive concept of human happiness,
  9. Creating and honoring a community informed by many perspectives that support an equitable and ecologically just society.
  10. Governing resources to grow food = hardware, software, data, knowledge, practices
  11. Support regenerative practices
  12. A welcoming community that has clear pathways to enter it and accessible pathways to use the tools it creates
  13. Supportive fun and inspiring
  14. GOAT should be informed by the deep work of agroecology movements and food sovereignty movements that are led by diverse groups of practitioners that have collectively co-articulated the kinds of futures and worlds they want.
  15. Community of people that care about (know that what you do affects others)
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Full Session Transcript

A shared vision of our community - people in open ag tech
What do we want these tools to do

Normative question : What do we want our society to look like

Is this 2 Groups? shared vision versus the tools to get us there

A group working on tools
Can we create a structure that in a perfect world what would it look like
This would be a functional system that catches all of this

The tools are the shared vision

There is no manifesto
We have wanting to be getting to one
We need some first principles
what we all agree as a osciert
Then we have a clear idea of what the tools we need
IT outlines what we might need as a group

What do we mean by society?
Not distinguishing between this community and society.

What kind of exercises to capture this?
Popcorn style discussion
Pass the paper
Pass the paper prompt
Start with the vision and go around

In 2018 Goat organizers came up with an initial vision:

On the website there is a broad vision:

The technologies that produce our food and the data about our food system should be public, and enable control by the farms and farmers that produce it. Together, we can collectively address the problems which prevent the creation of advanced, high quality open technology and its adoption.

In that year - all that info came in> no it came from a few people

It is not a vision but an intent.

Is open always good

Greg - my vision for the community is one that starts with individual relationships
Cross cultural understanding and knowledge - recognize that different people have different ways of expressing and processing knowledge
Environmental stuff
Shared knowledge - shared information
Building a commons of knowledge
THere are clear connections between the knowledge of communities and broader society
We don’t want to build a community that is too inward facing
Common humanity around food - transport, how we relate to resource on earth
Participation in community - community is not effective people are not participating
MOre than one people and orgs have the tools to improve their food system

SO GOAT is organized around active empowerment
ACtive versus passive empowerment
COmmunity development approach
Tech space - gives power to people that already have it
As a community developer how do we get people interested in this stuff?
IT tends to be concentrated in people that already involved
I was thinking of empower - who are we are empowering
Farmers emers of the foods system or consumers, or workers
Are we empowering people that already have power?
Thinking aspirationally - I would like to see that we have an impact on the way that people think of the ownership of technology

We create an alternative out there that actually shifts the norms of the industry
EG right to repair - big ag equipment
Being able to have your typical farmer - not someone that is into this subculture- ie your average farmer that might be able to ask these questions and have options
THere is some education here that is giving people alternatives

Large scale changes in the hearts and minds in people - people recognizing
Empowerment… people feeling like they have some control
Examples - Tesla did for electric cars - came out of nowhere and forced the hand
and then they enabled others

Initiate large scale change
Big hairy audacious goals -w e want that for a vision that gets people excited
ANd that we need all the steps that get there.
Having this thing

Finding ways to translate actions that are examples that reinforce the vision
codifying visions and rules that we don’t necessarily want to reinforce
Algorithms and how we can reinforce the existing structures that we create
FIRST PRINCIPLES truly asking what does it mean to be truly equitable
How to create feedback loop to measure success
Success is not a self reinforcing feedback loop - or timeframe etc -
so we need really good and accurate metrics that don’t make things worse over time

How to shift the the model
How to keep in mind the non tech aspects of things
How to bring in more relationships that inform the non tech world.

The paper is coming around as well.

We will set up a google doc that we can all work on

And we can get it into a clearer thing

Tangibility - making sure that the knowledge and learnings we have come back into this
Assessment how do we know we are making progress

Making sure we are not just codifying existing mechanisms
How do we decide this is the right way? Are we just making dictatorial decisions?
Is there a democratic process ? How is GOAT governed

Are we building a paragraph vision>
Do we have statements about governance ?
We need a set a principles - ie) we believe in transparency in the process
These kinds of things are what we are actually doing.

Can we have a hierarchy of vision? Sounds like we have different visions.
One thing that can be helpful is what we don’t want to focus on
There is a whole world of genetic modification - there are alot of people that are saying that is the direction to go if we want to be…
Do we want to say we focus on digital tech… ie if someone wants to make a better hoe that might be dismissed
THere are different types of technology that could all fit into things we are interested in

  • kicking one out is not ideal because we
    But what we put here is a function of what we do
    We are making a call to the world for those that want
    Control and ownership - who has control OPEN is not enough

Open versus the commons
Commons are not necessarily open access - there is governance and protocols built into it
THe tension inherent in diversity of ideas
We understand the freedom of rights
We do value a level of governance - because there is accountability to a community
The most important thing is to be transparent and self aware
We need to at least the why and considerations around the thing
Transparent inforcest thoughtfulness
Clearly communicate

WHat we are doing is going to have an impact

Is the gathering an event or communities?
In between the last conference of 2018 we continued on - we have a loosely affiliated group of people that are around and that we can know who to go to for help
How confined is it to open ag tech? Does that go beyond open ag tech?
DO we scope down to ag? How do we stay generalizable?
Nature imprints on us- we build on on that and then it influences the world
It is a community of relationships - personal relationship
Fundamentally this community must be about relationships -
TRUST it must be about trust
Something about understanding the holistic nature of things - not just about your thing but how it interacts with everything
Different categories we are talking about
What are the outcomes we want to have as this group
What are the experiences we want to have in this group?
We want it to be enjoyable where people can learn and grow, - all these expreiences things that we want to have in side
We can have all of that but we are also wanting to have some kind of output or thing
One of the goals is to align development

Thinking of us as creating the pieces of a shared minimal toolbox.
We all want to agree on what the this is so that we can
SO that in x amount of time we can work on something
Humanitarian data exchange - example and precedent
Resources what is out there, what do we have, this also left gaps
The GOATscape group is working on mapping

Could we do a GOAT social mapping
a tool that is a rolling tool - data can be visualized in Kumo - my vision of stacked ontologies
Could Jeniffer perhaps do a demo on this?
Knowing where we are now will help us understand our progress
That map would be a thing
Person to person - org to org, org to person
graph commons is another one for this

How do we measure success -
does it make people feel more connected
does it increase collaboration and projects

This is capable of doing it and requires commitment

It is important not to engineer ourselves to death
The core of what community builds around is a core vision that everyone can understand
ie) when you are a parent you first focus on the kids and then over time you realize that you need to focus on the relationships and the kids will copy

When we try to engineer ourselves into success we just end up where we are today,

There is a a roadmap there is a mapping that can help

THere is a hierarchy
Can we have a vision - could we have a vision on top of a graph
These things are what we are doing and what is possible missing
Almost a symptoms map
Realizing what pieces are maybe missing

THe Fundamental thing we need is to get one vision
words are hard - how to get people to buy into one vision
Is the gap the method of how to get people there
We have this exp in the open hardware world
Sometimes you avoid the hard work and sometimes you engage it
The hard work is that consensus statement
can you say something meaningful not something obvious
If you can get people to collectively agree to it that is something

Even if we come to a powerful statement will that drive change
Does that makes sense to get people to participate

Process for a Statement

  1. Vision
  2. mission
  3. principles
  4. outcomes

We need to be able to make a statement and learn to adapt.
people will feel left out and then we learn

Manifesto - metrics for success- we have a feedback loop
Propose we can’t just expect - technology has a tendency to create feedback loops
But if we avoid feedback we are dictatorial in our processes
How do we not engage unproductive (harmful) tech loop

TO inform next sessions and ideal outcomes wishlist…

  • like to see an infusion of design justice theory - it has already been started and we need to consult theoretical work
  • I would love to see a process for what next steps ar
  • I would love to see an inclusion of measurement feedback
  • Something tangible to operationalize abstract things we arelaking about
  • Open supportive and inspiring
  • Ongoing conversation with community -
  • helpful to define some of the scope of what we are talking about - mission versus vision versus values a lot of different names - lets get clear of what we want to include in this
  • Revisiting what are the needs of this community - return to this question to ensure that we have feedback ( not unproductive) - remind ourselves to have a guiding question that loops in- workshopping
  • A well defined vision statement
  • Feed into another session - complete the other part of the operational component that goes into this. More intangible aspects of the shared vision.
  • nature people tech - what order are we going to prioritize or designs?
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Fantastic job transcribing and summarizing this session Sam! Much gratitude to you and all the participants who were part of what turned out to be a very engaged and productive session.

Hopefully we can continue to build on and off this conversation in the days ahead.


Hi folks on this thread. I want to point out the overlap with things going on over in this other GOATscape thread: Session: Mapping the GOATscape - Open Ag Tech, Tool, and Data Library - #6 by julietnpn
Lets work together!