Although the web enables to connect across geographical boundaries, there is an ever growing need perceivable for people to create, join, leave and let decay organizations on the fly. On the Internet, individuals can come together based on interests, skills, passions, and relationships, to collaboratively address an issue. In such a context, contributors are not coerced into joining a formal traditional company, with all the logistics implied. Rather, affine minds can be recruited all over the planet. They might join for the duration of a project, or just even a task, but they are free to choose to stay forever (or for the lifetime of the organization for that matter); they may be inclined to concentrate on one specific undertaking, or participate in countless projects.
To address the global challenges of our times, a possible approach is to scale collective intelligence. Could not the effortless creation and graceful shutdown of organizations at the click of a button, akin popping mushrooms, enhanced with facilitation of participation, search, match and exchange between people go a long way in providing the necessary interactions? What is needed for such p2p organizations to be possible?

The Self

There are countless current projects on the web addressing issues of identity, privacy, etc. For me, these are some of the important issues:

How to describe myself

  • How to present my profile, so that searching, matching, connecting can not only be automated, but so that the profile also conveys a holistic picture of myself to the world.
  • Express different levels of “self”, depending on audience and choice (privacy)
  • Self assessment
  • Legacy (“this is what I did”).
  • Visual representations

How to assess my peer

  • How do we find each other
  • How to match needs
  • Trust
  • How to understand who the other is
  • Visual representations

The organization

Here as well, there is a plethora of tools on the web for working together. Nevertheless, it’s probably fair to say that there is none that “quite cuts it”. Here the challenges are (again, just a selection):

    • How to engage in a common undertaking
    • What do we do together
    • How to work together
    • How to assess each other’s work
    • How to share workspaces and artifacts
    • How to distribute tasks
    • How to reward contributions
    • How to share the organization’s successes
    • Visualizations

In nature, everything is a coherent whole but also part of something bigger (‘holons‘), so issues from “Self” would apply to the organization as well.

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