Unified Design Principles

Principled Choices: On Embodying Values Throughout Cosmos

Design principles provide the constraints limiting possible options. For the system to attain its mission, it cannot offer space to everything. Even as it strives to include everyone it could serve, Cosmos must also be an exclusive space, where only certain things grow—as in the case of soil composition and acidity being conducive to only some plants to prosper, and not others. Cosmos is a system that supports only the behaviors (again, human or computer algorithms) that move it toward its own fulfillment of purpose–its own destiny. There is still much flexibility and creativity possible within these constraints.

To the extent that certain patterns permeate the entire realm of Cosmos, they may be considered “Constitutional.”

It is important to recognize that every service or capacity that Cosmos plans to deliver emerges not only from the programming of a platform, but also from the customary patterns of behaviors among the creative participants which result in “desire lines” on the platform and ruts or norms of communication and relationship. There is a kind of “cultural programming” that is just as necessary for the Cosmos’ success as the design of its technological or economic systems.

In DP: Community/Social, we discuss norms and behaviors that feed into outcomes conducive to our mission. Social conditions and cultural metaphors about reality have a profound influence on shaping the behaviors and choices of individual humans–so, this domain is one way that the system regulates (sufficiently, but not overly) the behavior of its constituent members toward optimized outcomes. New users will be “imprinted” with first impressions of “how things happen” at Cosmos that will form the cultural code encouraging, permitting and discouraging certain behaviors. Behaviors, displayed and circulated through the social web, become a kind of intangible implicit constraint that represents the expression and enforcement of shared values and purposes.

The technological platform both constrains and enables by its structure–perhaps even more significantly than the community’s culture. The platform’s structural design is of equal importance as the norms reflected in social spaces–and, equally, must be values-based. The user interface is the effective “portal” through which any and all benefits from the platform are accessed. The programmed operations–that is, the processes, workflows and algorithms that are concealed under the user interface–are what functionally allow for the deliverance of benefits to members. Many of Cosmos’ value-proposition-based innovations are structural in nature (I.e., altering the normative flows of resources and resultant forms). Therefore, users may need to be trained continuously on the platform—and the platform should also be training itself to users’ tastes (and “desire lines.”)

Thus, it is of the utmost importance and responsibility to Cosmos to construct these systems in ways that best embody its values and orient towards the fulfillment of its mission. The ideal is that the technological system would enable the utmost measure of user freedom & customization (creativity and self-expression through the system) without sacrificing integration (the system-facilitated weaving of complex interrelationships across the distributed network–resulting in resilience, autonomy and creative power.) To balance these equally crucial tensions, dynamic and layered controls affecting the flow of resources (incl. attention) through the system would be interactively arranged by participants, with an effect of continuously expanding and diversifying opportunities (like how ecosystems progress and mature).

The energy originating at an individual’s point of attention and further extending to touch various forms of their accumulated capital (such as financial, social, intellectual, creative, and spiritual capital), that the platform can itself “capture and channel” meaningfully, can have transformational effects on the productive/creative outputs of the entire system in a distributed way. As adrienne maree brown reminds in Emergent Strategy, “what we put our attention on, grows.” The pathways carved into habits by the flow of energy becomes the organic structure—though, the structure can be augmented to tweak possible flows, just as well. This is much like how a permaculturist might use structures to intervene and augment the way water flows through a landscape to enhance the land’s biological capacity. The more investment, or, the more water “sunk and spread,” the more system-wide enhancement. Thus, Cosmos’ principles, in tandem with the life energy infusing attention to these purposes and values, form the flexible foundation from which any current and future benefits may be realized.

General design premises/assumptions: what we model, we imprint; what we construct, constrains (and enables); what we infuse, enables.

Cosmos’ Unified Design Principles
Which appear at every scale: see Tripod View.
And as they appear here, are sorted by type of feedback loop. (For more on this, see Algorithms-Rules of the Game.)

Learning Orientation. Experimentation. Equanimity/willingness to fail.From Agile, “fail small and often.” Iteration. Adaptive.Using feedback loops to rapidly inform action and growth. Heuristic—building off of our best ideas “as of now,” progressively. See also: Human-centered design. [Derives from self-actualization pattern.]

Holistic Self-awareness: Modeling after successful structures & behaviors of living systems (from bacteria to human life to ecosystems). “We observe and model successful patterns that emerge in healthy systems.” Ecosystem modeling. [Obviously: related to self-actualization pattern (which is modeled after living processes.)]

Regenerative. “Energy contributed into the system is not extracted, but rather feeds back into increased benefits available to entities in the system.” This is essential to the cooperative business design (members own, control and benefit). It is also a crucial design aspect for siphoning off capital from status quo or “legacy” systems (see: financial ram pump) and “capturing” it into a regenerative system that results in spirals of abundance for users. [Derives from: ecosystem modeling.]

Reciprocity. “We develop trust by circulating our gifts generously–and in ways that benefit each and all of us overall.” Fairness. Equity. Honesty/transparency. You get what you give. [Derives from: regenerative behaviors.]

Sponsorship. “I take an active interest in you and your work; I see you and I uplift you.” [Derives from: regenerative behaviors.]

Amplification. “That which you do, that resonates in me, I amplify by sharing, supporting and remaking.” [Derives from: regenerative behaviors.]

Note: Amplification and sponsorship are closely aligned. They are constitutionally the same in that the seed of both is the behavior of one to “boost” or bolster the creative expressions of another in the system. Thus, they are different only in flavor. Sponsorship is like showing nurturance in a direct, close relationship; amplification is like “cheering” or championing someone, and does not require closeness between participants.

Cooperation & collaboration. Integration."We should strive to integrate our efforts where there is overlap and collaborate to realize the best version possible of what we are creating."Refinement - “ending up at what works.”: “As sword sharpens sword,” we hone and shape each other to be our best selves: we expect to see transformation/change as a result of our use of the platform & engagement with the community. [Derives from regenerative behaviors.]

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^The Positive Feedback Loops^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

We’d be doomed if we sought to eliminate tensions! The model will thrive best according the attunement of the system in light of its countervailing yet essential forces. Like an ecosystem, we embrace the reality of tensions to be dynamically balanced and it is very much part of the fun & challenge of the “game.”

Diversifying. “Diversification of culture infuses vitality into the community: we embrace difference and creative tensions.” [Derives from regenerative behaviors (recirculation of materials diversifies forms).] -------Integration (convergence) & diversification (divergence) are polars to be dynamically balanced. Yet when viewed as fundamental, indispensible tensions intrinsic to abundant, regenerative ecosystems, the two polars are unified on a spectrum of modeling ecosystems.

Praxis. Cosmos is a praxis playground for visionary ideas. When faced with stimulating theories, Cosmos urges the question “what is its use value?” That is, can people use it to live better lives? If an idea cannot be used or realized/implemented effectively, what are its merits? How could it be combined or reworked so as to have applicability to the human situation? ------Experimentation/visionary (open-mindedness) & praxis (structure/actions) are polars to be dynamically balanced. Yet when everything is to be learned from, these two polars are unified on a spectrum of self-actualization/learning orientation.

Dynamic balancing. Cosmos would be a set of functions contained in programmed algorithms, the tweaking of which would enable various changes (and cascades of effects) in the system. The more self-aware and self-monitoring the system, the more likely it is to improve and develop. Cosmos will enable autopoetic learning through member participation in adjusting the control algorithms, but it will strive to avoid allowing catastrophic errors that might undermine the whole of the inputs invested.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ The Stabilizing Feedback Loops ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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It’s not clear to me what this refers to. (newbie). It’s great stuff you have written :slight_smile:

don’t quite understand this statement. what is it about the nature of spectra that allow them to unify poles?

Oops! There should be a link there. I’ll fix that now. Here’s the link, Durwin! Design Principles: Community & Social Norms

Thanks @DurwinFoster. Yes, kind of a heady clunky phrase, huh? This could definitely be reworded! :slight_smile:

What I’m trying to say is that we need both integration (unifying) and diversification (differentiating) processes to be able to attain the kinds of masterful and beautiful outcomes we seek–we need the complexity that results, and that these two poles never be “at rest”–exactly like in an ecosystem. We must acknowledge that there are continuous tensions generated by the interplay of these opposite forces, and so we must agree to play the “infinite game” of striving for balance, though balance will never be attained. Actually, it’s not some kind of static “balance” that we ultimately seek–it’s more like how can we “paint” or “dance” with these forces to generate the most thrilling, inspiring results.

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