[Meeting notes] How digital spaces and online interaction foster action

Add your notes here please, simply click "Edit"! Ping @Matteo @Federico_Monaco and others..

The session is dedicated to advancing the opencare work on the collaborative, interdisciplinary paper about digital spaces mobilizing people to common action. Feel free to jump in and leave a comment with your impressions. Does it make sense to look at opencare stories and conversations in this way? What are we missing?

We want to assess and parse existing conversations for signs of action taken by opencare community members.

Types of events

The contemporaneity of the action in OpenCare is in that any offline action also has an online component (hybrid action).

An event in opencare is an occurence, and any event can have two dimentions: nature and goal.

Matrix for trajectory of "event"

Care related nature 


Care related goals

  1. [Human exchange] / to be added!
  2. Information sharing
  3. Knowledge creation
  4. Community building
  5. Product design/ production
  6. Service design/ delivery

324 stories in opencare: more than a repository of cases, but with the intention of making them into collabs

Trajectory of instances – we are not flat on action; to understand all the potentiality we need to look beyond action, how it returns in the community to create new knowledge creation.

Remarks for the matrix: other reasons for interaction go beyond info sharing; it is also about mental/ mental support, or human needs etc.. (asking for help!)


  • Pick 10-11 events
  • Read the stories and classify them using the framework proposed by Ezio. Identify markers for each stage in the trajectory from i.e. Information sharing to d.e. Product/ Service design (Noemi & others)
  • Use Amelia's meta tag: "connection made on site" to identify markers for action! The goal would be to explore the way in which the dynamic unfolds.
    Go to: 
    Search for "connection made on site" in the upper left side
    Select "Show details about the elements" (eye icon)
    Click on the tag (red dot) in the middle of the figure
    Get the list of the (19) comments 
    Click on the comment, then see the title of the post where the comment was posted.
  • Develop detailed explanations for each of the care-related events : nature and goal (Ezio)


Add the point about how to use the meta tag for action

Noemi's picture

@Amelia can you please explain your point again, in writing? Just edit the wiki! Much appreciated.. thx!


10 Posts

Amelia's picture

Based on the "conection made on site" tag that I've been using to designate when people in the community connect and make plans to take their conversations offline (or onto another online platform), I've pulled out 10 stories that we could potentially start out with:

1)      How Open Insulin works to open-source science and medicine

Comments: 12


2)      Caring for Life--- a dream of fixing the care home crisis in the UK

Comments: 24 -


3)      Crisis? What crisis? The journey back to my eco-roots

Comments: 6


4)      Little Side note: what is the role of the government in this bottom-up care project?

Comments: 22


5)      PUNTOZERO WEBLAB about innovation and healthcare professions

Comments: 8


6)      COSMUS (diy) One to one: Donating backpacks full of care

Comments: 29


7)      Trauma Tour

Comments: 21


8)      Home, sweet Home



9)      Step up

Comments: 11


10)   Huis VDH: how can we build vacant spaces into home-like structures to build up resilience

Comments: 9


The positive: these have a certain kind of interaction in them, so we know we will have datapoints. The negative: this could skew our data towards a certain kind of action.


1, 6, 7

Noemi's picture

I will start with those three -  which we know moved further, and see what we get!



Codes for action + semantic codes

Amelia's picture

The idea I proposed yesterday: to go through these 10 posts (and, if it works, all the Open Care stories) and code them based upon the kind of action taken according to Ezio's categories (a-f above).

We would need to distinguish between these two codes (working on this with @Jason Vallet right now). We are thinking we will do this via a hierarchy (so, nesting all of these kinds of codes under the parent "non-semantic" or something along those lines).

The exciting potential outcome I see from this is the ability to see if certain kinds of topics (as illustrated by semantic codes) produce or tend towards certain kinds of action (as illustrated by Ezio's categories). So, it is possible that, for example, "diabetes" co-occurs with "product design" strongly, whereas "mental heath" co-occurs with "information sharing" strongly. Then we can start to generate some hypotheses based upon the visualisation. We can also then see not only WHAT people are talking about, but HOW they are talking about it/what actions they take around it!


Next Steps

Amelia's picture

So our next steps, as produced by talking to @Federico Monaco right now, would be to take these 10 stories, code them, and also close-read them and analyse them for the paper.

Question---- do we stick with these stories or pick other ones?


How is the coding done, technically?

Alberto's picture

Have you decided on this? It could happen in many ways. We could even code on OpenEthnographer (requires Ethnographer role on Edgeryders). This would create annotations with different authors and the same codes (those proposed by @Ezio Manzini ).

Advantage: this codìng lives together with the semantic one already done by @Amelia. Disadvantage: the cleanliness of the dashboard is disrupted. It would require GraphRyder to be customizable by users: "hide the coding by Noemi", or even "color differently the children codes of nodes  "action", as we discussed yesterday with @melancon and @Jason Vallet .

If this is too complicated, what do we use? I think it's important to have a common format.


Depends on priorities

Amelia's picture

As I see it, there are two options depending on the scope of the paper.

The first option is that we leave the collective coding/ethnographic work for later, and focus on the question of action. If we do this, then I suggest I just do the coding to keep everything standardised. I will use Ezio's codes, and ideally we could separate them out using the colour scheme discussed with @melancon and @Jason Vallet . To be able to distinguish these visually would be really useful. I could also sit down with @Federico Monaco and we could do it together, or we could all as a paper-writing team sit down and do it together (so, multiple drivers, but only one manifestation on the platform itself). Via a hangout call or something like that. Could even record to preserve the inevitable hilarity :p (So more like option 1a and option 1b here)

Option 2, the option discussed with @Federico Monaco and @Jason Vallet is to run the coding test off platform, on google docs or using a survey, so we can see the different things people come up with. I agree with them that it is too complicated to have everyone on the platform right away, especially given that the question of collective ethnography/coding isn't at the heart of this particular paper. We have to remember that we have a LOT of great data here as well as experiments in mind for the future that we can use in different papers. We need to be wary of stretching ourselves too thin--- analytical depth beats breadth every time.


Glossary ( a proposal ... )

Ezio Manzini's picture

Open Care Glossary

Ezio Manzini                                 Draft 1 (non revised text)                         18.03.2017

The following definitions are specifically proposed for the OpenCare community.

They are conceived as tools for the internal discussion and for giving coherence to the different research teams activities and results.

They are divided in two groups:

  • First group / words for the different events discussion and evaluation. They are an up-dated version of the ones proposed in my presentation, the 14 March, in Geneva. They could also indicate the parameters for the events discussion in the proposed matrix (see below the up-dated version).
  • Second group / words for the research development. They have been used, but not really discussed, in the 14 March meeting in Geneva. They could also be used for the next phase of the research development.

All the word definitions are tailored on the OpenCare specific characteristics. They are based on both normal language and concepts taken from different research fields, as: language-action theory*, actor-network theory**, ecology of infrastructure***(see below some selected bibiliography)

First group / words for the events discussion

Event: something that happens in the OpenCare digital environment. It can include: statements, conversations, actions (i.e. the digital component of actions).

Digital environment: the OpenCare digital space where online events (as, conversations and actions) take place. Depending on its embedded affordances, these events can be, in different ways, supported, oriented or hindered.

Conversation: a sequence of interactions taking place in the OpenCare digital environment. It is related to a given matter of concern. Its interactions are asynchrony and done in a written form. Therefore they are traceable.

Action: a coordinated sequence of interactions aiming at changing the state of things inside and/or outside the digital environment. In our research we directly consider and evaluate the ones happening inside the digital environment. But we are interested to register also the one happening outside it, which can be:

- results of conversations happening inside the OpenCare digital environment

- triggers of new conversations happening inside the OpenCare digital environment

(here there should be the "Emerging types of evetns" matrix - but the system doesn't  up-load it)    NB. This matrix has been upgraded, keeping in account the discussion done in the Geneva meeting

Event nature: the inherent features, character, or qualities of an event. It describes the event structure, independently from its specific contents.

1. Statement: information given to make something public, without the specific intention of starting a new conversation, and/or taking part in an existing one.

2. Trigger of conversation: information given with the specific intention of starting a new conversation, and/or vitalizing an existing one.

3. Conversation for knowledge: a sequence of interactions related to a given matter of concern aiming at better understanding it.

4. Conversation for action: a sequence of interactions related to a given matter of concern, aiming at changing the state of things.

5. Action in the digital space: a coordinated sequence of interactions capable to change the state of things inside the digital environment.

6. Action in the hybrid space: a coordinated sequence of interactions capable to change the state of things outside the digital environment.

Care-related goals: the aim of the event for what care-related issue are concerned.

a. Opinions exchanging: expressions of care-related ideas, opinions, feelings

b. Information sharing: exchange of care-related information and experiences potentially useful for care-related actions.

c. Knowledge creating: actions aiming at producing original care-related knowledge.

d. Community building: actions aiming at creating opportunities for meaningful care-related encounters.

e. Product designing/realizing: actions to collaboratively conceive and realize care-related products.

f. Service designing/delivering: actions to collaboratively conceive and realize care-related products.


Second group / words for the research development

Matter of concern: topic capable to gather and assemble a variety of human and nonhuman agents.

Socio-material assembly: the gathering and assembling a variety of human and nonhuman agents dealing with a matter of concern.

Socio-material ecosystem: the technical and social environment where conversations and actions take place.

Affordance (of a digital space): a quality or property of a digital space that, by defining and making clear its possibilities, limits and rules, support, orient or hinder online conversations and actions. It depends on the way that digital space has been infrastructured.

Infrastructure: a large scale socio-material assembly that affords local practices, in our case, conversations and actions. Each infrastructure has two components:  the operational (physical) infrastructure, and the relational (socio-cultural) one.

Infrastructuring: the action of improving large scale socio-material assembly giving it more effective affordances. Infrastructuring requires long term commitment and results from different kinds of design initiatives: operational infrastructure must be directly design and realized, the relational one emerge from adding up the effects of several local practices ( in our case conversations and actions).


* Language-action perspective


** Actor-network theory

  • Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel Making things public: atmospheres of democracy. (Cambridge, Massachusetts Karlsruhe, Germany: MIT Press ZKM/Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, 2005).
  • Bruno Latour, Reassembling the social: an introduction to actor-network-theory. (Oxford New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).


*** Ecology of infrastructure

  • Susan Leigh Star and Karen Ruhleder, Steps toward an Ecology of Infrastructure: Design and Access for Large Information Spaces (1995), Information Systems Research, Special issue on Organizational Transformation, edited by JoAnne Yates and John VanMaanen
  • E. Bjorgvinsson, Pelle Ehn, Per Anders Hillgren, PA., Participatory design and democratizing innovation, PDC‟10, 29-NOV-2010, Sydney, Australia

For reference?

Alberto's picture

Very useful, thanks. Will keep it handy.



Federico Monaco's picture


Hi @Ezio Manzini  i add here the figure about the matrix.


3D matrix, research roadmap and co-design ethnography

Federico Monaco's picture

Yesterday @Ezio Manzini and @Costantino and me had a meeting to discuss issues about the matrix presented at Cern, some research aspects about openrampette and how the ethnographical research at WeMake could be of benefit to the mainstream project.

3D Matrix

We came out with a add for the matrix, the time dimension, and clearer remarks on what happens when actions (or goals) turn instead to events (conversations). So the model would represent the possibility to slide from a A(n) condition to a B(n) and the other way round.

For instance, this is the case of the ethnographical research at WeMake, as from an action taken locally there is a sliding to posts on opencare and discussions (like the one held yesterday by Ezio, Constantino and me). Even the "locality" concept was discussed as actions can be taken in hybrid and multisituated scenarios as well.

About openrampette there was a discussion going on about whether consider it a community or a activity and if it can become a "interest" oriented community (like Edgeryders) or a "results" oriented one.

Last, but not least, building together some common and shared ontologies (check the glossary proposal of Ezio) would definitely help to embed in the smoothest way the ethnographical research to the goals and streamlines of the opencare project where co-design and open participation are strongly of concern.




Not sure I understand..

Noemi's picture

What's the difference between an interest oriented community and a results one?

Also, isnt it difficult to code the progress of the interactions while they happen onsite in Milano?? Do you see the beginning points and the paths towards that community which you design?



3D Matrix

Ezio Manzini's picture

In relation to the #Federico 3D matrix: where I totally agree to consider time as a third dimension, I am not sure that to adopt a 3D model is really effective. In my view a model is a tool to represent some aspects of reality making them clearer. And doing it in a easy intuitive way. Moving from the bidimensional to the three-dimensional model we gain precision, but ve loose clarity.

I would stay on the 2 dimensions matrix, finding other ways to indicate as the events progress in time.   

You write " About openrampette there was a discussion going on about whether consider it a community or a activity and if it can become a "interest" oriented community (like Edgeryders) or a "results" oriented one.. For me is clear that, by definition, openrampette is a "matter of concern" that aggregate a result-oriented d group of people (that we can define as a result-oriented community)


Tentative answers to Noemi's questions

Ezio Manzini's picture

Noemi's question 1: What's the difference between an interest oriented community and a results one?

(A) community of interest, or interest-based community, is a community of people who share a common interest or passion. These people exchange ideas and thoughts about the given passion, but may know (or care) little about each other outside of this area. Participation in a community of interest can be compelling, entertaining and create a community where people return frequently and remain for extended periods. Frequently, they cannot be easily defined by a particular geographical area (Definition taken from Wikipedia).

(B) A result-oriented community is a group of individuals that can be quite diverse (in terms of  knowledge, experience, power resources, motivations and interests), but decide to work together to achieve a result that, for different reasons, they all consider as a positive one. This means that they must find personal meaning or self-interest in the result the community is committed to achieving. The process must be designed so that people are given every opportunity to understand and personally relate to the result and the data and information that support it. 

It comes that the nature and the way of working of the two communities a quite diverse. Some people can be members of both (A) and (B) communities and, bridging the two, can play a role of mutual enrichment.

Noemi's question 2: "...isn't it difficult to code the progress of the interactions while they happen onsite in Milano?? Do you see the beginning points and the paths towards that community which you design?

I leave the real answer to Federico. I can only say that the case we discussed in Geneva where (mainly) following a trajectory from (A) to (B), where, in the "open-rampette" case, it is the opposite, i.e. from (B) to (A). Therefore the way to discuss them cannot be exactly the same. In my view, the interesting point of the "open-rampette" case observation is to verify if an how is relevant the fact that some members of the (B) community created around the co-design process of the open rampette are also members of the (A) community (of edgeryders).  And, if the answer is positive, in which way they played the role of bridging the two communities, feeding them with some kinds of information. 

My personal question on these doubel trajectories (A) > (B) and (B) >(A) can generate some forms of collective intelligence? And if the answer is yes, in which way? That is: what a working definition of collective intelligence could be in our case?



"isn't it difficult to code the progress of the interactions?"

Federico Monaco's picture

Thanks @Noemi for asking.

The main issue with doing ethnography is time. You need a long, long time to understand how representations are enacted, or objects circulate in the "native environment", i.e. you need to wait that things happen and understand what is noise and what communication, what is relevant and what not, then switch metaphors, talk to different people, change you mind and perspective on what you thought was a main issue, as something is not working as explanation, or doesn't fit in former descriptions.

Things look already so different since the beginning of the research and are always "on the move"; i mean that i cannot just frame a daily activity and describe it to come up with coding. You need to access the whole cosmology, the history, the network of values and what is really shared by people here. What i say is that "to understand makers you must think as makers". Here you have open innovation in a openspace for a opencare project. And it is not a matter of describing what happens online or on place, given that such projects have different phases lasting more weeks, even months. So designing and daily activities are dedicated to many aspects and involving different people not present at the same time. About designing community it takes also time to experience and evaluate practices involving many participants. At the moment we are still defining a working model, based on hypothesis given by case studies.