Some Situations Call for Proximity-Oriented Approaches Like the Shared Situation Guide, Leading to More Sustainability and Variety

Some Situations Call for Proximity-Oriented Approaches

Hello,

Are you, as an individual or in your organization, exploring ways of thinking about and relating to situations that could make more progress on the big and small challenges you face, and humanity faces? Whether you’re exploring or not, what follows will expand your possibilities. First, these four definitions will help with what’s coming up. A situation is whatever you are dealing with or considering. An element is anything you’re considering as separate, including a person, place, thing, idea, feeling, time, group, relationship, etc. A relationship is any kind of association or connection between elements. And, the proximity consists of elements related or potentially related to a situation, in physical, mental and other ways. With the proximity thinking framework I created, you can consider situations and challenges with the four basic terms situation, element, relationship and proximity. Although considering elements, relationships and the proximity may each be important in dealing with situations, sometimes one or two of them may dominate our attention and activities, even when that is less effective. You may see that many of our approaches for dealing with challenges, which are kinds of situations, tend to be more element-oriented and/or relationship-oriented. For example, approaches like markets, politics and hierarchies are typically more element-oriented and/or relationship-oriented, meaning they have a greater focus on elements and/or relationships than proximities. No doubt, certain kinds of situations are most effectively dealt with by element-oriented and/or relationship-oriented approaches. However, some of the big and small challenges we face are shared situations, and may be more context-related or environment-related, or may relate to diverse elements across areas that may not typically be connected, so they are more proximity-oriented. And, sometimes it’s easier and more effective to consider a proximity, such as when relationships between elements are hard to define or in flux much of the time, so element-oriented approaches become difficult. Plus, sometimes it just becomes clear that we need to focus on a proximity. For example, consider shared challenges like climate change, sustainability, shared projects, shared spaces, shared resources (whether big like water or power sources or small like parks or kitchens), or shared events (whether big like a festivals or conventions or small like potlucks, picnics or meetings). These kinds of shared challenges are more proximity-oriented. In these kinds of challenges, it can help to relate more directly to the proximity of the situation. Networked technologies, when combined with some new proximity-oriented processes I’ve developed, let us relate more directly to proximities.

While developing the proximity thinking framework, I created some new proximity-oriented approaches that let us relate more directly to proximities. How? By deploying the four ProxThink growth model processes of RelatePoints, ProxMonitors, Vadi Agreements and ProxRewards (proxri) on a collaborative, networked, mobile platform. The ProxThink growth model was developed to work with networks, and grew partly out of asking myself, if you want to relate to a proximity sort like we relate to a person, what would be needed? A RelatePoint is a primary starting point or place for coordinating relationships in the proximity, and is similar to the ability to meet and/or talk to someone. A Proximity Monitor, or ProxMonitor, provides greater awareness of and information about the proximity, similar to the feedback we get from facial expressions, voice tonality, body language, and of course what someone is saying, when we relate to them. Similar to commonly accepted standards of behavior and ways of interacting with people are Vadi Agreements. The term Vadi (pronounced vah’dee) is short for valuable differences. Vadi Agreements acknowledge that differences are a part of relationships and some differences have value, and provide relationships and agreements which can help valuable differences persist, adapt and change as needed. ProxRewards (proxri) are somewhat similar to the need, when dealing with someone, to provide encouragement, positive feedback, rewards, and so forth, which help one or both of you, and which keep the relationship flowing. So a ProxReward is a reward which relates elements in the proximity, and is often a reward made with the proximity in mind. ProxRewards are also called proxri for short (pronounced prox’ree).

When deploying the four growth model processes discussed above on a collaborative, networked, mobile platform, you have proximity-oriented approaches that are integrated conceptually and technologically. With them, people can relate more directly to the proximity of their shared situation. These approaches can help us make more progress on the big and small challenges humanity faces, but also everyday challenges and shared situations. In the process, these approaches help create more sustainable proximities and sustainable variety. It’s both fascinating and a nice surprise that these approaches can make our lives more sustainable as well as more interesting, healthy and vital with more variety. I think sustainable variety is closely related to what nature does, which is perhaps a clue that these approaches have value and potential.

The proximity-oriented conceptual and technological approaches mentioned above come together in a specific form in the collaborative and mobile Shared Situation Guide. You can use it for shared situations with friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and others. It works on your Android phone or iPhone, your tablet and your computer. I’d like you to try it. It helps your group relate more directly to the proximity and each other, improving shared situations. It turns the proximity into more of a tangible, living thing, making it easier to relate to. It also gives people chances to relate to the proximity and each other in a wider variety of ways. Combined, these things can help groups with a shared situation come alive and thrive, and life becomes more enjoyable. There may be other people in proximities you share who are already using the guide, or if not, you can start collaborations that others can join. Keep in mind that the Shared Situation Guide is a preliminary implementation of proximity-oriented approaches, and more will need to be done to integrate the processes it uses into our systems and lives. Learn more, access and try the Shared Situation Guide, find guide workshops, access guide starter sets, and discover other people who are using it, at sharedsituations.wordpress.com.

If you explore the proximity thinking (ProxThink) framework and the Shared Situation Guide, you’ll learn more about and use the concept of proxri, briefly introduced above. You’ll also see that the framework and Shared Situation Guide are offered via proxri. Proxri in practice are sort of like the give and take of a neighborhood, relationship, friendship or perhaps being a considerate traveler. How do you proxri? Basically, you consider the proximity, including your benefits, your circumstances, the other party’s circumstances, and some wider context, and then proxri as appropriate. A proxri may include money, things, services, ideas, tasks, relationships, actions, and so on, as well as a combination of these. So a proxri to me for the framework and guide might also be a referral, consulting or speaking engagement, teaching gig, grant, or other opportunity. In addition, I’ve created a collaboration deal so that people who collaborate on or improve the framework and guide can get proxri. If you think my work might be, or is, useful, interesting or has potential, please consider a proxri for it. You can find out more about my circumstances via this ProxMonitor. You can learn more about proxri here. You can make financial proxri here or via the proxri links on most any page of proxthink.com. As far as non-financial proxri, you can let me know about them by contacting me via the contact methods mentioned below.

Please contact me with any questions, comments, or for other related reasons, via the contact links on the Shared Situations or ProxThink websites. Also, if you’d like to get involved in growing the shared situations approach on various levels (social, technical, legal, organizational, etc.), please get in touch.

Thank you,
David Loughry
Shared Situations website: sharedsituations.wordpress.com
ProxThink website: proxthink.com

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Networks offer possibilities for greater variety, vitality and liveliness?

(r] proxthink.com

Networks and technology can leverage the efforts of a few. This can create a lot of value. I’m not the first to say this, of course.

Wikipedia is created and maintained by a tiny fraction of the people who use it.

In freemium-supported websites, the whole site is supported by a tiny portion of users who pay.

Further, the people who create and maintain Wikipedia like doing it. And, the people who pay on a freemium site see the value of paying. In both cases, networks and technology leverage the efforts of a few, and create much value for other people in the process.

How many more things can we apply this approach to, in the process freeing up more time and resources, and improving the quality of life?

Part of the secret is technology allows people to leverage their time so much. Even among the small number of people contributing to Wikipedia and other group-created efforts, it usually doesn’t take all their time. It’s not like a full-time job.

Maybe networks and technology make, or can make, the notion of specialized work dominating your life less common. And being bored less common.

This is related to another thing about Wikipedia. How many worldwide, free, online encyclopedias do we need? One may be enough.

So what if we didn’t focus on making money so much as creating vibrant contexts, environments and proximities within which to live? Proximities in which the focus could be more on variety, vitality and liveliness? Isn’t that a big part of why people want money anyway? They want to be able to do a variety of different things. Maybe technology and networks offer new ways to create contexts and proximities within which people have that.

What is holding us back? Perhaps we need a new framework to think about this problem, and to structure new approaches. That’s what the ProxThink framework offers, I believe.

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.

Flow of Life

(r] proxthink.com

Ultimately, perhaps there is no reason to get up in the morning, or to start, stop or continue doing anything, or to enjoy anything, other than this reason: to be in the flow of life.

Being in the flow of life is another way of saying being related to life. Being is about relating, which is one of the foundations of ProxThink.

Many organizations, systems and processes, or parts thereof, from philosophy, religion and books, to businesses, markets and governments, to friends, networks, associations and family relationships, exist at least in part to keep us in the flow of life, or encourage us in the flow of life.

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.

Outline for a Post on Coordination and Collaboration for Shared Challenges

(r] proxthink.com

Here’s an outline of something to build on later:

It’s clear there are classes of problems which markets are ill-suited to tackle.

We need to shift the emphasis for these types of problems from elements to proximities.

A sustainable proximities approach can assist with these types of problems. It includes the ProxThink growth model, as well as networks, technology and participation/coordination practices embodied in things like Web 2.o and Wikipedia.

Many hands make light work.

With many hands and a sustainable proximities approach, many tough, intractable problems that markets are failing to solve, may become almost trivial.

In the process, I believe we could have some fun solving these kinds of problems.

Not only that, variety and vitality could be increased, making life more interesting and enjoyable.

This approach shares some aspects of a barn-raising. Yet it scales because it leverages new concepts, networks, technologies and web participation.

It also leverages probability and large numbers. Although people will participate to varying degrees, some will participate if only because it is enjoyable and interesting. Others will participate because people they know are participating. And for many, just a little effort might be needed. It’s likely this level of participation can accomplish quite a lot.

Although this approach is new, it may not be that complicated. In fact, it may be simpler than using markets for these kinds of problems. And, it may be more broadly applicable, to a variety of problems and proximities, than we imagine at first. It could be a new way to approach shared challenges.

I believe this approach will work. You are welcome to explain to me why it won’t. But a better test would be trying it for some proximities.

In the meantime, see this link for more on the sustainable proximities approach.

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.

Networks Plus the ProxThink Growth Model

(r] proxthink.com

Before networks, markets were a way for people to relate to proximities. But now, networks can allow us to more directly know about and relate to proximities. Especially networks such as the Internet.

But we need updated ideas, tools, models and standards for relating to proximities via networks. ProxThink provides these. Especially the ProxThink growth model.

Given what we’re facing, such as the effects of global economic linkages, the limits of markets, climate change, loss of biodiversity, and other challenges which relate to proximities, we need to begin putting the ProxThink growth model to use in combination with networks. This Sustainable Proximities proposal is a guide for doing so.

See also Networks, Nature and New Possibilities.

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.

Grow the Basic and Broad

(r] proxthink.com

Hello,

Together and individually, we face many challenges. For more viable options, read on.

Given the basic, broad and unprecedented nature of some of our challenges, we need integrated, practical, enjoyable and human approaches, which also support creativity and innovation. That’s why I created ProxThink. Below, you can see links to such approaches I developed by applying the ideas, tool, models and standards of ProxThink.

What I’m working on is basic and broad. It can be used by diverse people, businesses, organizations and regions. I’m asking you to join ProxThink.com to support the work. As a bonus, you’ll get some new options for your own creativity and innovation.

There are three membership levels ($4.95/year, $9.95/year, $19.95/year). You get a 30-day free trial, or a special offer for immediate payment. There are also opportunities to relate and contribute in more engaged ways.

For yourself and others, if would be great if you join here now.
http://proxthink.com/join/

——– ( optional links to explore below ) —————

MAIN SITE: Main site for the ProxThink ideas, tools, models and standards.
http://proxthink.com

PRESS RELEASE: A good introduction and overview.
http://proxthink.com/blog/2008/11/07/proximity-focus-bears-fruit/

CLIMATE CHANGE: A climate change project, including what you can do.
http://proxearth.org

BUSINESS/GROWTH MODEL: A new growth model.
http://proxthink.com/brief/intro-growth-model.php

INNOVATION, PROBLEM-SOLVING, CREATIVITY: Boost them.
http://proxthink.com/join/ways-to-use-proxthink.php#Innovation_Problem-Solving_Creativity

SUSTAINABILITY: Ways to create more sustainable proximities and resources.
http://proxthink.com/ways/sustainable-proximities.php

FINANCIAL TURMOIL AND MARKETS: Also includes coordination, collaboration and resource management (two links).
http://proxthink.com/blog/2008/11/24/financial-turmoil-is-avoidable/
http://proxthink.com/blog/2008/10/31/financial-turmoil/

INTERNET AND NETWORKS: New ways to leverage them (three links).
http://proxthink.com/blog/2009/02/09/networks-plus-the-proxthink-growth-model/
http://proxthink.com/blog/2008/12/17/networks-nature-and-new-possibilities/
http://proxthink.com/blog/2008/11/23/upside-of-combining-the-proxthink-growth-model-and-the-internet/

DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT: New ways to share downloadable content (music, movies, video, art, books, software, etc.).
http://artdown.com/downloads.html

MY BACKGROUND: A little about me.
http://proxthink.com/relatepoint/david-loughry.php

SHORT HISTORY OF PROXTHINK: A bit about the evolution.
http://proxthink.com/blog/2008/12/15/some-proxthink-history/

——– ( end of optional links to explore ) —————

Thanks for your interest. As you can see, what I’m working on is basic and broad. It can be used by diverse people, businesses, organizations and regions. The integrated ideas, tools, models and standards can address some of our major challenges, as well as provide you with some new options for your own creativity and innovation.

For questions, contact me via the ProxThink site. I’m also available via phone and webcam. Plus, I’m available to speak, consult, generate ideas with you, and collaborate on your projects. Further, I’m looking for funders, sponsors, investors, collaborators and partners.

For yourself and others, if would be great if you join here now.
http://proxthink.com/join/

Thanks much,
David Loughry
Los Angeles

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.