As you may have read in my last entry, last week I spent several hours jamming. Specifically, I was participating in Habitat Jam, a Massively Parallel Conference, or MPC, in the tradition of IBM's WorldJam.
When I first logged in, individuals from over 90 countries were actively participating. 7,000 people had already participated in the New Delhi Jam-related event. At the end of 72 hours, there had been 459,402 page views, over 20,000 posts from ca. 30,000 participants, and numerous connections and associations made.
Jammers discussed six topics of global importance, ranging from "Improving the lives of slum dwellers", to "Finance and Governance in our cities", to "Humanity: The future of cities".
I started a thread in Forum 5, "Finance and governance in our cities". My thread concerned eGovernment: "I've seen very little discussion [in Habitat Jam] about the use of eGovernment (which can assume many different meanings) and its direct bearing on making a city successful. Technology can play an important part for all citizens. 'Low tech' solutions (in terms of the citizen user interface, such as New York City's '311' system, have proven successful beyond what its planners had imagined. Other governments are placing more and more action items on line - having learned that static information is of little value. I would be interested in comments on this and seeing a discussion."
Over the next two days, a lively discussion ensued, including different examples of addressing eGovernment as well as 311 type systems. More poignant was the forum on slums, and the fact that slum residents lined up for hours in order to post messages and tell unfiltered and often painful stories of their existence.
Habitat Jam was a joint project produced by the Government of Canada, UN-HABITAT, and IBM to make the process of collective thinking inclusive. It brought together experts, world leaders, and thousands of individuals who care about the future of our cities.
In terms of collaboration and knowledge sharing, it was a milestone event. Bringing together 30,000 people, most of whom did not know other jammers, to discuss something as important as the future of the world, is one of the best examples of an innovative use of collaboration and knowledge sharing tools I have seen -- and perhaps one of the most innovative uses ever.
It's over but you can still see it as a coda site.