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WebStudy Foundation Helping to "Do" Last Humans Work

This is about our Partnership with the WebStudy Foundation:

The Last Humans Project offers a challenge to higher education with its curriculum. The curriculum applies to a course of study aimed at climate leadership (as explained more fully on other pages at this site or in downloadable PDFs). Because this curriculum also has its own institutional mission statement, it will necessarily create a broad conversation on campuses.

Our Project, then, offers a blueprint, but not yet the process to arrive at that activated blueprint. We, therefore, are partnering with The WebStudy Foundation to help with that process.

Lenny Lind, one of the leaders of The WebStudy Foundation, refers to this process as “Virtuous Meetings.” He also refers to their process as an “accelerator.”

Virtuous Meetings and Accelerator both refer to the process more formally known as Facilitated Interactive Engagements (FIE).

Lenny Lind and I found out that we have an intertwined history that neither of us knew about. In the early 1990s, IBM discovered a group decision support system (GDSS) at the University of Arizona and was considering adopting it as an IBM product. IBM gave me a grant to work on implementing what became known as “TeamFocus.” (It started as PlexSys at the University, then was marketed as GroupSystems. IBM licensed the product and renamed it TeamFocus.)

The important part of this story: when we had TeamFocus set up at Gallaudet University where I was working then, we offered the re-accreditation team that was working then to use TeamFocus. We had a live facilitator and about 15 people sitting at networked computers.

Within about 3 hours, the team had completed their work and had reached consensus on a major part of the accreditation process. They said they had expected to take a few days to reach consensus so were delighted and amazed at how TeamFocus had accelerated the process.

I used TeamFocus in a number of ways, hoping it might work as a method for a class of writing students to arrive at their next assignment in the class: topic, scope, methodology (such as using interviews to find ideas for the topic), and so on. The process had that kind of power.

Oh, and it turns out that Lenny had also worked with the University of Arizona and with IBM and had also built out implementations over the years. So, with this shared history and with our recognition that our Project needs to be promoting both a new curriculum and a process by which to implement it, we welcome our new partnership with the WebStudy Foundation.

Contact at The WebStudy Foundation: Gisele Larose,

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