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What is Behind Ephemeral Group Process?

EGP is a way to create high quality civic conversations that can be used to solve chronic problems within intentional communities. This work is the result of a team including a psychologist, philosopher, system design engineer, educator, and political scientist, all trying to answer the questions on the home page. While the design took decades, the past three years have found our team taking steps towards implementation, having now put on three experimental EGP events. The core design elements include novel scientific insights, philosophical ideas, and technological innovations, none of which were available before the year 2000.

Primary among these is the advance of digital networked computer technologies, including especially the ubiquity of the personal palm-sized computational device. These allow for reconceiving the dynamics of community in ways that are not recognized outside of small innovative research groups. Relatedly there have emerged math models of dynamic systems which can be used in understanding community and conversation dynamics. This math was not available for use in modeling decision making until recently, and has yet to be put to use for aiding community-level process.

Another major area of advances involves the understanding of cognitive bias and developmental psychology. Here there are insights into how individuals process information, express themselves, and form relationships, which have never been systematically factored as an aspect of community or conversational dynamics. Relatedly, the past decade has yielded a flowering of group process and facilitation techniques, which also remain unfactored as an aspect of civic engagement and skill.

Finally, the past decade has yielded a new understanding of community itself, as digital innovations enabled an open source revolution in the nature of creativity, productivity, and innovation. This allows for a new way of thinking about digitally enabled distributed intelligence in community process, as well as possibilities for dynamic archives of community questions, answers, and insights.

We are:

Forrest Landry: Chief architect; systems engineer.

Zachary Stein, EdD: Education, human development.

Derrick Yoder: Training; facilitation; inquary.

Justin Olguin: System engineer; code.

Chris Eddy: Archival process; inquiry.