Shared Glossary of terms

I think a shared glossary will be an important tool for our community to develop and maintain. We might discuss in these forums how we will develop and contribute to it and where to best position it to be useful across communities. For example, the Food Solutions New England is also working on a shared glossary, and does not yet have a place to host the conversations or post the most up to date terms.

Here are a few terms that I think are important to define:

An unusual assembly of available components to address a particular challenge. A hack is an individual effort and creates an isolated workable solution. A hack is the basis for empowerment using global knowledge and local production.
A tool is any workable hack that has been tested and replicated over time, and by other parties. A tool becomes a tool through documentation and communication. A tool can be a physical object, or a method or framework that can be documented (i.e. software). There are four types of tools that can be used in combination to address a challenge.
An observation tool is used to record behavior over time and describe the conditions of change. Observation technology also enhances the basic human senses to enable greater perception into the environment (how things work).
Examples include qualitative such the cameras, microscopes, telescope, and thermal imaging and quantitative tools such as analog and digital sensors such as thermometers, barometers, pH, soil and air moisture sensors.
An Analytic tool is any tool used to interpret and make use of observations and observational data. Examples include tables, charts, statistical tools (i.e. spreadsheets) and models used to predict future system behavior based on past observations
Communication tools are used to share observation and analyst with other individuals and organizations. Communications tools enable the compounding effect of knowledge and experience. Examples include printed text, digital text, photographs, and digital media. This also includes the infrastructure to enable the movement and exchange of observations and analysis over time to enable collaboration.
Action tools are what we use to act on and change our environment. Action tools and our choices of tools are a reflection of our understanding of our environment defined by our collective observation, analysis and communication. Examples include a cover crop roller, a moldboard plow, animal or plant breeding choices, crop rotation choices and related practices.
Adaptive Management
Adaptive Management is a process of continual improvement by adjusting “action” based on high frequency observations and analysis rather than by recipe or prescription. It requires a high level of system understanding and observation, analysis and communications feedback.
A discrete portion of a tool that has a particular function. Components can be assembled in different combinations to create to hacks or tools. The larger the library of components, the more “genetic” diversity to choose from when creating new tools or hacks.
Tool (see prior description for types of tools)
A tool is composed of groups of components assembled to address a particular challenge/problem (as identified by a challenge/problem statement).
Kit / Group
A kit is a group of tools which are assembled together to address higher level challenges (personal or organizational). Kits are modular and tools can be swapped in and out to address changes in systems understanding and different approaches.
Replication of efforts
The conscious process of repeating other’s efforts, and communicating the results of those efforts.
Duplication of efforts
The undesired state of isolated problem solving without knowledge of prior or parallel work, or conscious communication of the results of those efforts.
Challenge Statement
Also called a problem statement. A statement that clearly describes the motivation, objective and approach of the person organization and/or tool. A problem statement is used to clarify the purpose of the action.
There are three primary types of challenge statements

  1.  Personal Statements
  2.  Tool Statements
  3.  Organizational Statements

In general organizational statements focus on high level goals, mid level goals are addressed by personal statements, and tool statements focus on detailed, low level goals. The basic syntax for each is as follows:
Personal Statements
I am a______. I want______, because________.
Tool Statements
This tool was created by______, to________, because___________.
Organizational Statements
Our objective is_________, because_____________.