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Invitation to participate in an experiment regarding collaborative model development

Title: Invitation to participate in an experiment regarding collaborative model development

Friends in the P2/compliance assistance community --

Our laboratory (Pacific NW National Lab, operated for the US Department of Energy by Battelle Memorial Institute) annually reinvests some $20 million dollars of our revenues into "...research and development of a creative and innovative nature that is selected by the Laboratory Director or his or her designee for the purpose of maintaining the scientific and technological vitality of the Laboratory."   This is known as Laboratory Directed Research and Development, or LDRD.

One of the LDRD investments we're very excited about is a new initiative to explore the use of advanced techniques for understanding the dynamics of decisions about technology -- how technologies are adopted, how technology policy decisions are reached, and how those decisions influence the evolution of both new and existing technologies.   Over the next few years, we will be investing a significant amount of Lab resources (> $1M per year) into this topic.

One of my tasks under this initiative is to evaluate the potential for massively collaborative approaches to building models of technology decision making.  In support of this assignment, I would like to invite your participation in an informal trial of collaborative mind mapping using a commercial web-based application called Mind Meister*.

I've created a very crude mind-map diagram of the factors influencing improved environmental performance by the regulated community, and posted it online to the Mind Meister web site.  This map is intended to spark discussion (hopefully in the form of other contributions to the map) and is not intended to represent a robust model of how improvement is achieved.  However, my thesis is that via online contributions by  large groups such as this, a robust model CAN be developed collaboratively.

You can view the current state of the model at:


Now, here's the invitation part: 

I'd like to invite any on this distribution to add your thoughts to the map.  You can add additional factors (nodes) by highlighting a node and clicking the "add" button in the upper left of the screen, you can also add notes to each node.  You can even delete nodes, other than the main one.  I will be watching the evolution of the map and continuing to participate as a user myself.  I'll be running this trial until February 1, so be sure to get your thoughts in soon.

Anyone who wishes to may view the map.  However, I must invite any collaborators via the web site. So if you're interested in adding your thoughts to the model, please send me a brief e-mail and I'll add you to the list of collaborators.  You'll be e-mailed an invitation to sign up for the (free) Mind Meister account, at which point you will be allowed to edit the map as if it were your own.

Though I encourage you to make your edits online, if you would like to comment or suggest changes to the map but don't want to sign up for a MindMeister account, please feel free to e-mail your thoughts to me, and I'll implement them for you.

Please see my disclaimer about MindMeister, below. I will add that I've had an account for several months and have not seen an uptick in unsolicited e-mails, and have received only minimal e-mail traffic from the site owners themselves. 

Thanks in advance for your participation.  If you have any other feedback or questions about this work, you know where to find me.


*I should note that PNNL has no involvement, business or technical, with the MindMeister.com web site, other than as users.  This invitation should not be seen as an explicit endorsement of any software product or online service.

which is about as lawyer-like a statement as you're likely to see from me, folks.

Scott Butner
Director, ChemAlliance (www.chemalliance.org)
Senior Research Scientist, Knowledge Systems Group
Pacific NW National Laboratory
MS K7-28
3350 Q Ave
Richland, WA 99354
Voice: (509)-372-4946/Fax: (509) 375-2443
E-mail: scott.butner@pnl.gov