technology use

Negotiation 2.0

Kelly Crew wordpress Negotiation can either be distributive or integrative. In distributive negotiation, parties are seen as adversaries and outcomes result in one clear winner and one clear loser. Integrative negotiation is a different approach; parties are seen as collaborative problem solvers who rely on mutual interests to move forward and set agreements. Outcomes with integrative negotiation are win-win: both parties walk away with something they wouldn’t have achieved on their own without negotiating.

The whole idea of integrative negotiation was pioneered by a group at Harvard University in the late 1970s/early 1980s and documented in their “negotiation bible,” Getting to Yes. But even with the concepts’ 30-year history, it seems many negotiations are still hard-fought battles using dirty tricks or force. In some cases, a lack of focus on the interests at stake, rather than parties’ established positions, causes simple disputes to be brought all the way to court just to find a resolution – a costly process that is inefficient for all.

Could web 2.0 technologies be used to foster more integrative negotiation? A quick search on “negotiation 2.0” reveals that some work has already been done on this topic, but the field is still open. The University-Industry Demonstration Project created TurboNegotiator, a software tool to enhance university-industry negotiation. It quickly identifies common interests and areas that need compromise. This virtual 3rd party can facilitate a quick and efficient process.

Chapter 8 of the recent book Negotiating the Business Environment brings negotiation into the Twitter age. The book as a whole is focused on the specific business bureaucracies, markets, and networks that affect negotiations. Chapter 8 focuses in on social networks; what are the ways in which they can be used to overcome the resource scarcity, time scarcity, geographical separation, and the inability to maintain an ongoing dialog barriers to negotiation?

These technologies have a lot of potential to facilitate productive conversations between Towns, constituents, and land developers as well. This is an area we hope to see explored more in the future; tools like Mind Mixer and Engaging Plans may also be well on the way.

-          Terra Curtis

Two Examples of Computer-Aided Visioning

Earlier this month at the PlanningTech Conference at MIT and the American Planning Association’s annual conference in Boston, I heard lots of buzz and several sessions dealing with the topic of technology-enhanced community participation processes. Recently, I heard about two examples actually happening in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Boston.  In San Francisco, You Choose Bay Area is a website meant to engage citizens in envisioning their future.  It was put together by a large group of Bay Area stakeholders – regional governmental groups, non-profits, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

The website leads citizens through five panels: challenge, priorities, choices, outcomes, and get involved.  These panels first educate on the issues facing the Bay Area, then ask the user to state their own priorities on things like conserving water, decreasing local traffic, and clean air.  After these priorities are set, the user has to make choices about where to build and how the area will grow.  The outcomes panel further educates by highlighting how the citizen’s choices affect their own priorities, making clear the tradeoffs that are necessary in city and regional planning.  The last panel gives the user the opportunity to spatially tag their choices by leaving their zip code; they can also sign up to an email list to stay informed as the regional planning process progresses.

In Boston, Second Life was used to help facilitate community visioning in its Allston neighborhood.  Hub2 was launched in 2008 in helped members of the public, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Harvard’s Allson Redevelopment Group envision the proposed Allston Library Park.  Meeting participants were able to visit Boston Island to move things around, leave comments on particular aspects of the 3D model, and imagine alternatives.

A white paper was written about this particular process; among other things, it highlighted the need for planners themselves to be more intimately involved when the public participation process gets high tech.  In Allston, no architects or planners were actually present.  This also poses challenges for the Bay Area website and other initiatives that attempt to open up the public process to those who cannot or do not want to attend public meetings in person.  How meaningful can “engagement” with a 3D model of one’s own city really be?

-Terra Curtis

 

Two Examples of Computer-Aided Visioning

Earlier this month at the PlanningTech Conference at MIT and the American Planning Association’s annual conference in Boston, I heard lots of buzz and several sessions dealing with the topic of technology-enhanced community participation processes. Recently, I heard about two examples actually happening in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Boston.  In San Francisco, You Choose Bay Area is a website meant to engage citizens in envisioning their future.  It was put together by a large group of Bay Area stakeholders – regional governmental groups, non-profits, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

The website leads citizens through five panels: challenge, priorities, choices, outcomes, and get involved.  These panels first educate on the issues facing the Bay Area, then ask the user to state their own priorities on things like conserving water, decreasing local traffic, and clean air.  After these priorities are set, the user has to make choices about where to build and how the area will grow.  The outcomes panel further educates by highlighting how the citizen’s choices affect their own priorities, making clear the tradeoffs that are necessary in city and regional planning.  The last panel gives the user the opportunity to spatially tag their choices by leaving their zip code; they can also sign up to an email list to stay informed as the regional planning process progresses.

In Boston, Second Life was used to help facilitate community visioning in its Allston neighborhood.  Hub2 was launched in 2008 in helped members of the public, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Harvard’s Allson Redevelopment Group envision the proposed Allston Library Park.  Meeting participants were able to visit Boston Island to move things around, leave comments on particular aspects of the 3D model, and imagine alternatives.

A white paper was written about this particular process; among other things, it highlighted the need for planners themselves to be more intimately involved when the public participation process gets high tech.  In Allston, no architects or planners were actually present.  This also poses challenges for the Bay Area website and other initiatives that attempt to open up the public process to those who cannot or do not want to attend public meetings in person.  How meaningful can “engagement” with a 3D model of one’s own city really be?

-Terra Curtis

 

How Does Your Gadget Grow?

Retrevo, an online reviews site and marketplace for all things tech, conducted a survey of its users earlier this year to help determine the distribution of technology use in the U.S. and abroad.  Given that it surveyed only its users, at first glance I am inclined to think the results will be biased toward the highly tech literate.  Nonetheless, as a first look into this set of data, the results are interesting and perhaps quite useful.image credit to afro.com
Perhaps unsurprisingly, my prior state of California and home of San Francisco came out on top of the two green categories, winning the Most Likely to have Recycled a Gadget in the last year (47% more likely than the average home in other states), the Most Likely to have Energy Efficient Gadgets, and the Most Likely to Stream TV Content.

Slightly more surprising, perhaps, was Michigan coming in Most Likely to have a Point-and-Shoot Camera.  I’m not sure what this says about Michigan; maybe people in Detroit have taken up photography with all their free (read: unemployed) time, or maybe they’re just technological laggards who haven’t moved on to the all-in-one iPhone or Droid phones.

Besides being a purely interesting exercise, where could this new data lead us?  In particular, for Living Labs’ interests, it provides a great basis for investment in technological solutions to city services.  If people in Phoenix aren’t comfortable with new mobile technologies, then we shouldn’t try to employ mobile parking tools there.  However, if San Francisco is going through gadgets so quickly they’re already recycling them, maybe we should focus our efforts there.  The whole point of having a global network of innovators is to spread that innovation globally; the strategy of how to do that will depend on the marketability of ideas in each market.  Thanks, Retrevo!

-Terra Curtis