DoTank

The Do Tank strives to strengthen the ability of groups to solve problems, make decisions, resolve conflict and govern themselves by designing software and legal code to promote collaboration. Tools alone cannot create a culture of strong groups. Hence Do Tank projects address the role of legal and political institutions, social and business practices and the visual and graphical technologies — what we term the “social code” — that may allow groups, not only to foster community, but to take action.

Our innovation laboratory centers around three fundamental design principles:

  • Design for the group not the individual. In groups people can accomplish what they cannot do alone.
  • Make the group graphical. Use the graphical, networked screen to help the group see its own values, rules and practices, thereby giving rise to social institutions.
  • Embed structures through technology. Improve collaboration through the design of social and legal structures and replicate those structures through the interface.

The Do Tank targets the “capability gap” in practicing collaboration and forming groups among people who realize the opportunity for more collaborative decision-making in their governments, communities, businesses, or other organizations but do not have the experience, skills, models or tools to fulfill the potential.

We bring “democratic” approaches to bear on our design work — democratic understood, not as political ideology, but as a way of life where people work together to pursue shared goals.

To this end, we develop graphical and visual prototypes; convene “conspiracy” meetings to design collaboratively with the input of engaged thinkers from a wide variety of disciplines; and run workshops to develop strategies for transforming prototype into rough consensus and running code. We also pursue scholarship, writing and theory on the impact of technology on the future of a democracy of groups.

For more information, please contact: David R. Johnson at davidr.johnson@verizon.net or Beth S. Noveck at bnoveck@nyls.edu