Bridging ontologies and point of entry for accessing the collective wisdom emerging

Hi, in the NGI project we are currently building the community journalism anthology deliverable and setting the foundations for future outputs.

We owe it to others and to ourselves to produce something which elegantly weaves together what has been said into something which is relevant to people who have different entry points. There is a tendency for these discussions to be too far removed from the individual human concerns, desires and needs of the people who’s lives affect and are affected. Not as an abstract collective referred to as “the citizen”.

At the same time, if those multifaceted insights are to be actionable in practice, there is a need for bridging perspectives so that the document is relevant to people coming at it from different silos (policymaking area or priority e.G healthcare or economic development or education).,

So how do we connect the dots to ensure that regardless of how you do approach any NGI-related topic, you cannot simplify it to a disembodied, abstract debate about this or that tech. Nor miss the connections of your own area of focus, with other areas of focus (and the people tasked with delivering on them).

To give you a sense of the complexity involved: Here we have three different layers when exploring , sdgs, wellbeing and the strictly tech bits. We need to find a way to reconcile them.

From our work on helping insitutions tasked with devising measures to reach the SDGs, we know that they are pretty big categories and do not necessarily reflect neither how people think about the conditions for wellbeing in their own lives… nor credible paths or measures towards ensuring these needs are met. So we go a bit deeper: This is visualisation of wellbeing indicators as developed by Council of Europe through consultation with people in something like 100 cities and towns around Europe and ostensibly reflects how people articluate/ think about this stuff (we can agree or not, but this has an insitutional legitimacy to it, so it’s difficult to dismiss in a policy setting):


You will see that they do not really match the tech-as-point of departure ways of clustering NGI topics e.g




or the structuring of topics in the policy document submitted to the European Commission:



These disconnects need to be bridged in an output that weaves together human and the technological to the degree required. So as to ensure we do not simply carry over the disconnects of the public discourse and siloed discussions into our own work.

This is where we need our ethnography and ssna crew to help figure out this bridging - the question is how?

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What is a tangible example of why the bridging is necessary:

Take the sustainability of open source alternatives discussion for example. Learning from the Messina example, it may well be that one of the instruments for bridging this needs to look at this as a question of stocks and flows and develop a financing mechanism based on this? But then you would need a discussion between different policy areas for them both to be able to cooperate around the topic. E.g understand how this is crucial to their meeting their goals (e.g birthing a cottage industry that creates work and competences in their own consitinuencies vs throwing money to us companies that do not contribute tax revenue) all the way down to exploring possibilities for pooling or bridging resources at their disposal to secure stocks for the opensource community to keep contributors watered and fed, ensuring dependability of the open source infrastructure and tools. Which in turn grows local demands for home grown tech.

Thanks @nadia. Can you add a link to the source of those visualizations?

we made the top two (myself and maria respectively) and the third one is from this publication that can be downloaded here: https://research.ngi.eu/working-paper-a-vision-for-the-future-internet/

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The starting point I would take for this kind of work would be to do some creative analysis – maybe you could call it generative analysis? – of the space to dig down to concepts that underlie the different ways of representing whatever it is. Is that relevant and of interest, I wonder?

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Hi Nadia. I came across an article a while back that might be able to give you additional perspective on bridging ontologies. Rather than trying to explain it myself, I refer you to the article directly here: https://www.wired.com/story/world-economic-forum-dataviz/ . The article references a platform developed by the World Economic Forum called “Transformation Maps”. I am personally fascinated by this particular tool’s potential. Hope this helps!

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