CICOLAB's Back to (Home)School Summit

There’s a high possibility we will be back under a quarantine for the fall, but no one in charge seems to have any clear or effective plans on how to provide inspiring online education for our youth. (See this NY Times article.)  In fact, the educational gap between the haves and have-nots has caused an unparalleled rise in inequality and segregation around the globe.  Could this be the greatest opportunity we’ve ever had to turn our ultra-meta collective intelligence conversations on governance, scalability, and pattern language into actual solutions to real problems? 

CICOLAB's groundbreaking "disaster capitalist" approach invites an exploration of how to opportunistically exploit this calamity to engineer a coup against traditional education, make school safe for the next generation of free-thinking weirdos, and achieve a visible win for justice.

Join us for a hastily-assembled Back to (Home) School Summit on Monday, August 10 at 12pm PST / 3pm EST / 9pm CET in Lauren's zoom room at


Move over, safe space! Humanity can no longer afford you.

How can we create environments where people can be their biggest, most magnificent, ridiculous selves? Where significant social and technical innovation can take place? We started with "safe space," but the truth is, there is no space less welcome to jokes (check out our first conversation on the topic here) and more vulnerable to passive-agressive tyrants.  If we are to realize our dream of creating progressive memes, we have to come up with our own pattern.  

Thus, our latest invention:  the "brave space”.
See the call notes below to discover the conversational path that led to this idea.

Engaging young kids online is a herculean task, not for the faint of heart.  While adults politely pretend to listen while responding to emails, kids simply wander away, giving us oh-so-direct feedback of what works and what doesn't.  But we are committed to building spaces for curious children to explore, and so we are letting their inquisitive minds guide the session.

Join us on Sunday, August 9 at 8am PST / 11am EST / 5pm CET in Lauren's Zoom room at

August 3, 2020: #BraveSpace + Education

  • Full Transcript
  • The notes below are a redacted version of the full notes
    • Present: Charles Blass, Judy Benham, Daya, Lauren Nignon, Daniel Yokomizo, Walter Karshat, Trisha Callella, Stacey Druss
  • Our passions
    • Daya: Creating a safe space:  23:42: just creating spaces where children and or adults depending on who you're talking about, feel, feel a safety to speak up or to feel safe to be themselves or to feel safe to be different?
    • Daniel Yokomizo 27:46: The idea that people have to have some meaning in their life. Agency.
    • Charles: Interoperability. so called freedom to move within the space, so to open up and be yourself, I can I can look at that from the lens of interoperability where whatever needs to happen for you to feel safe to function safely, would also be akin to or like interoperability
    • Stacey 34:48: Helping people with inner work.
    • Trisha: ensuring that children are able to maintain their open minds and avoid standardization, and can be free thinkers.
    • Judy Benham 40:02:  I guess the ability to pursue curiosity is probably a core value for me. In terms of a scientist, that's what it's all about learning new things.
    • Waltar Karshat: My children.
  • Safe Space
    • Dimensions of a safe space
      • Judy 24:58: With young children. virtual spaces are typically not necessarily safe. And it's hard enough to find those senses of community and oversight or supervision that's kind and caring and compassionate and protecting young developing minds.
      • Trisha 46:46: I think you can almost combine fostering curiosity and building safer spaces in the same one, because I think that the safer spaces when you don't have them, then that kills off your curiosity.
      • Daniel 47:13:  I think safety has to do with having no fear to be prosecuted for whatever happens or whatever is being said, I use very strong words, but this is exactly what I mean.
      • Daniel: Trust and vulnerability for a safe space to be safe.
      • Daniel 1:01:57: We need a shared sense of what is acceptable.
      • Walter Karshat 1:02:58:  it's a little too late in the game of humanity to look for comfort and safety and all that good stuff. I mean the promise of security which is sort of safe — we deny now and safety late there is exactly what the oppressive regimes use to enslave people - “we’ll make you safe... other guys are scarier than us...”
      • Daya 1:03:55: There needs to be a holding of space for conflict.
      • Daya 1:10:39: For something to be called a safe or safer space, it's also based on certain agreements that are made by a specific group at a specific time.
      • Lauren 1:11:59: Consistency of rules.
      • Daniel: Instead of talking about safety, I'd like to focus on vulnerability.
    • Irony of a safe space
      • Daya 59:17: To create a safer space, you need to take away boundaries. But to create a safe space you need really good boundaries.
      • Lauren 1:01:33: The one person who said this is a safe space, it was really awful space and super abusive and weird.  So I don't know why there's something about a safe space that winds up to be such a clusterfuck.  I don't know.
      • Stacey 1:40:48: Some people are uncomfortable with other people's comfort.
    • Tips for creating a safe space
      • Lauren: when things get out of whack, like his racial conversations, Ken Homer says, it really helps when people say, "Oh, I feel this in my body."
      • Daniel 1:45:20 And it's basically safe if we are aligned with the goal of the group
      • Daniel 1:48:04 So in the context of the group, talking about creating meanings and seeing what works, which means it should be okay to talk about the ideas, but not to try to push them as the only truth.  And I think there is a difference in there that plays in between those specs.
      • Lauren 1:49:20: There’s something called punching up versus punching down.  And that's when you punch down, you're making fun of people who are of a lower social status than you. And that's when you are taking advantage of a power dynamic when you're punching up.
      • Judy: Agree on the rules, like what information can be shared outside the space.
      • Lauren 2:00:33 you have to have, you have to follow kind of measurable outcomes like profit, or else what happens is it becomes a social nightmare.
    • How does it feel to be in a safe space?
      • It's okay not to be okay.
      • Authentic
      • Okay to ask questions
    • Questions
      • Lauren 1:55:44:  How do you create an environment where people can be bigger, where people don't have to shrink and be small, and where they can kind of grow and be authentic, but they can kind of come to the table with more aspects of themselves and they can usually bring.
    • Brave Space:
      • Daniel (via Telegram) IMO brave emphasizes the person that wants to express themselves not in the community that enables that expression.
      • Daniel (via Telegram) Maybe it should be more like a Dojo?
        • I can be brave when surrounded by my "enemies". Bravery is something about me and how I judge a situation, but very little about others. Actually, if I have to be brave in a group situation it's usually because others aren't being brave and I need to take charge somehow.
        • Safe space has connotations that imply certain duties everyone have.
        • We can add other rules to clarify what we expect of the space, but names are very powerful and influential. e.g. it's easier for someone to slowly be more abusive in a brave space, as long as they frame it as the other person "not being brave enough to get out of their comfort zone" at each incremental step.  The brave callback will make everyone focus on the individual being harassed.
        • IMO safe isn't a good word because people can feel unsafe in safe situations. Also, it says nothing other than some vague promise that people won't attack you.
        • Why I like dojo and the martial arts analogy:
          • 1. People go there to be challenged.
          • 2. They practice potentially dangerous activities to learn how to perform well.
          • 3. They have to learn how to not get hurt, but in a place where people are co-responsible.
          • 4. Practice towards mastery.
          • 5. Classes are mixed and the more experienced are expected to be helpful.
          • 6. There is teaching and learning of specific safety techniques, e.g. falling, holding punches, locking positions.
          • 7. Accidents are always expected.
          • 8. Incidents that cause harm can be somewhat objectively assessed, e.g. safety gear was used correctly?, a more experienced person failed to do their part?, people were careless with unfamiliar techniques?
          • 9. As long as the dojo community does their part people will blame incidents on the aggressors not the community.
          • I'm not particularly pushing for dojo, but these are the kinds of qualities that seem desirable and I think dojo has these sorts of connotations.
          • One challenge I leave for y'all: you get in a dojo, there's only a bunch of people training. People greet you and offer some advice, but other than that they do their own thing. They point you out to a poster that has a list of rules like "expect to be challenged" or "don't be an asshole." That's it. Do you think this is enough for the dojo to flourish?
  • Education
    • Breakout Room Transcript
      • Trisha 2:07 everyone has a voice everyone has thoughts and ideas that are valued and can contribute.
      • Judy Benham 12;18 Well, we're all at different technology levels. And that's part of the challenge and even our conversation, let alone that of other age groups and people from disparate backgrounds.
      • Trisha: But when you deal with children, they need to understand that their voice matters, and that it's authentically heard and listened to.
      • Trisha:
        • I don't think that they could have a conversation around one particular topic for a long period of time.
        • The children would need a bit of support before they would get to that level, but they would, they would be able to then do this all completely on their own.
        • ensuring that there's some way to make sure everyone feels welcome.
      • Charles 9:25 I am very concerned with images of kids going online.
      • Judith Benham  15:46 How do people form the connection? How do they form the group? I mean, the first thing in peerogogy is you actually come to a room or something
      • Stacey: it needs to be interactive. Kids don't want to wait 45 minutes to talk.
      • Stacey: there should be different versions of the same thing for different levels of kids.
    • Lauren's initial idea of using CI to help with current education crisis
    • Judy Benham: What I worry about particularly in the K-6 age range is socialization dimension that's missing for children if they're not with children of similar ages,. And so if this would be a tool that would be simple to use and introduce to both teachers and young children who are probably not very technical savvy at this point, I think it would be tremendously helpful to school districts.
    • Lauren 9:43 Could this be a way to unite the CI community?
    • Trisha 11:18: My daughter participated in just such a program this summer and I have a lot of feedback on it.
    • Judy 20:59: But I'm wondering if there wouldn't be a way to tap into teachers who are interested in this. They're the ones that are going to be key to execution in terms of the social contact with the child, especially in the elementary school level. And you'd want to build into it, I think, the notional construct of middle school or high school.


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