A revised narrative for SSNA, starting from a video

In late 2021, @nadia produced a video for a fellowship application she was considering. I was impressed by it, as it seems to capture nicely the broader societal significance of the fairly technical work we are doing in the Reznet. At the time we were all swamped in end-of-the-year work, but I proposed to her to make a new version in early 2022, where the protagonist is the company rather than Nadia as an individual.

In late 2021, another thing happened: @markomanka and I started doing due diligence on the idea of a commercial offer, related to a platform-ish for qualitative research. Later on, @jean_russell joined the group. Marco pointed out that a naming decision is pending, and is due fairly soon as preliminary discussions with possible clients are already under way. Nadia agreed to help, but she is too far removed from the discussions Marco, Jean and I have been having.

So, I propose to put together these two things. I propose a meeting with the four of us, plus whoever in the @company is interested in coming. Before the meeting, we watch the video and give it some thought. In the meeting, we discuss on the narrative that the video underpins. This will help Nadia to make the second version of it, and also to come up with ideas for the naming-branding.

I propose:

  • Thursday 27th at 15.00 CET
  • Thursday 27th at 16.00 CET
  • Friday 28th at 18.00 CET.


@nadia, could you please share the link to that video?


Hi Alberto: The video is here:

Hello, Thursday at 16 and Friday work for me.

I think I can only do the Friday time this round. Thanks!

Watched the video and I share the feeling of being impressed @nadia

As I can’t fit the proposed slots in my agenda, but I will be talking to Nadia on Friday. Maybe we can look at it during that meeting @nadia

Guys, this has completely fallen through the cracks. :frowning:

@markomanka and I met earlier this week, and we agreed that the time has come to prepare a pitch. Marco has successfully pitched to his would-be client the idea of ethnography as a vehicle to knowledge, and now we should build a pitch for Edgeryders as the right company to provide it.

The way we see it, there are two steps to this:

  1. Harden the narrative behind the offer.
  2. Based on the narrative, build the offer proper.

Problem is, we had to pile about 20 hours of extra work (and counting) to recruit the new lead ethnographer. Can I ask @nadia and @jean_russell to take the lead on this one? By this I mean reschedule the meeting on the narrative and lead it. Then we can work on the pitch together.


@jean_russell and I are having a call to discuss this this afternoon.


Hello @nadia @jean_russell @markomanka I propose to pick up this thread next week. On Marco’s and my side we are still very busy, but at least we did finish with recruiting the lead ethnographer.

Nadia told me just now that she is not up for scheduling the meeting. So, here is a Doodle.

I remind you of the agenda:

Also ping @company again, for whoever is interested.

@jean_russell and I did some work on it but we need some input especially from @markomanka https://edgeryders.eu/t/ssna-narrative-following-up-on-albertos-call-to-make-a-video-for-ssna/16676

ok Guys, after our call and chatting with @jean_russell I think I have it:

Edgeryders is the collective intelligence company. Team faces and names + 1 line about each. We are on a mission to. Since year x we have…Our methods and tech have been developed in research partnerships with leading universties. We have worked with.

We offer (Product name), a tool for observing and understanding human behaviour using data without reducing us to robots. But still allows us to see higher level dynamics. This means we can make better informed decisions.

We generate “Warm data” as a complimentary tool to mechanical machine learning. An early warning system to detect flaws in machine generated inferences. It represents data as a learning living system. ensure that data serves humans instead of the other way around. And that human decision making is not engineered out of the system.

Keywords: warm, relational, contextual, living, humanist, learning, evolving, dashboard, massive open ethnography, ssna, management, data, machine learning


Super love this line, “that human decision making is not engineered out of the system” really nice way to not automate management.

1 Like

To build the story for the film we use a storyboard with 6 scenes in it.

  • Each scene should be no longer than 150 words.
  • Each sentence should be approximately the length of a tweet.

What do we put in it?

a. Start with a big problem statement e.g:" It is difficult to plan a transition to a world we can’t imagine."

b. Then the mission statement e.g “my mission is to unlock our imagination and capacity to act.”

c. And proof of authoritativeness e.g “For the past decade I have been building the components necessary to make that happen.”

d. Then introduction of the team: " We are … "

e. Then state what we want from the audience: " We are here to get you to do…"

f. Explain why they should do it right now/ what threat it helps them avoid e.g “…In the next years you will be faced with a choice to do X, or risk Y. We can help you to avoid that by giving you Z”.

g. Describe the Product in 3 sentences e.g
“Witness is a future simulation engine powered by people and technology.
Front end is a simple but sophisticated Role Player Game game to stimulate imagination.
It’s output is rich data from discussions between participants.
It’s back end is software and methodology to collect and analyse data turning them into beautiful, interactive visualisations.”

h. Describle its how people engage with it - walk them step by step through the process: " "

i. Describe its outputs (e.g dashbpoard) and how people use it:

j. Give examples of the kinds of questions it answers e.g:

" Witness creates a space where the answers to key questions are emerging in real time, as a result of
interactions between thousands ‘players.’ What would it feel like to live in society post-green transition society? What could your and your family life and work look like? What options are there to choose from, and what are the hidden costs and benefits to you or your community? How to prepare yourself, your kids- what to learn? Through the game and and data analysis results people can discover and create desirable and realistic answers to their questions."

k. Explain what in our product will ensure that they get the outcome they wanted such as stopping the problem they feared from happening: " The real world impact happens because we are engaging people from different walks of life, disciplines, ideological backgrounds and organisation all over the world. Weaving them into a supportive community of people on a common journey."

l. Seal the deal with social proof: " We have worked with organisation X, B, C, D…What our clients say. about the results/experience of working with us…"

@alberto the above content is something you will need to be involved in developing/ collecting…

1 Like

@jean_russell Perhaps we can repurpose some of the text we produced here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rBbAO0lqqZmlGvJKKQnDon9l9sT5Q_J8jtIs-Brpb5c/edit

1 Like

Feedback in the form of a revised version from @markomanka:

We offer (Product name), a tool for observing and understanding human behaviour using data to capture rich, contextualized “stuggles and solutions”, and condensate community intelligence in a usable form. Ultimately this translates into an ability to make better informed decisions.

We generate “Warm data” (we have to mention that we are referring a term introduced by Nora Bateson) and offer a dedicated processing pipeline as a complimentary tool to current machine learning solutions.

The design of our solution guarantees to maintain meaningful human control on autonomous systems, preventing that human decision making is engineered out of the system. It lets optimisation choices emerge and enrich them with informations about founding assumptions and emerging effects, constituting an early warning system to detect adverse effects of scalable policies and ensuring accessibility and inclusivity, as not to lose the richness and competitive advantages of diversity, all while offering a managed tool to negotiate decisions and strategies.

Keywords: warm, relational, contextual, living, humanist, learning, evolving, dashboard, massive open ethnography, ssna, management, data, machine learning


I am now doing some research around content marketing/ outreach. A question is what kind of work do we want to get and how to best use our official communication channels to generate leads for this kind of work (e.g anthropology in non academic avenues).

  • Methodology-centred: Events & Articles explaining methodology - can be done now. Yes the narrative video. But what other content could we re-use for this?

  • Topic-centred: Pick one topic which we want to be working on, e.g Climate Adaptation. Source and publish only content around that topic - keeping the channel highly focused. This requires us to have research projects on the topics from which we can gather and analyse data.


I tested it with C and his reaction: “huh?! I don’t understand. Why don’t you say: “a collective intelligence tool that uses anthropology to gather and analyse information about human behaviour. It gives you information that allows you to make better decisions.”

  • anticipate a trend before it is really there
  • better match solutions to peoples needs and preferences
  • avoid and detect errors in insights generated by ai

Ping @markomanka @ivan @alberto @jean_russell - Always fun getting reality checks :)) Jokes aside, I found this description is easier to get/ say. And then we can get into more detail when people are interested?


I like it a lot!

Sounds great. And can we run it by C so I don’t get too wordy? :wink:

Definitely yes :grin:

1 Like

hi @Nica - I thought you might want to have a look at this thread as I wanted to reach out and find time for that call we discussed regarding communication/ promoting our work. Curious to hear your thoughts on this…