Thoughts on Why David Sometimes Wins

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Using "Why David Sometimes Wins",

1. Identify 2-5 guidelines, findings, or assertions in the text that seem important for civic intelligence.

2. For each tell why in general you think what you've chosen is important.

3. Using "The Garden" or any other campaign or struggle that you know something about, discuss how what you identified played or didn't play a part in the campaign or struggle. (You can also use an example from you own life -- any creative project you were involved in, for example.)

4. Discuss how this what you identified could be evaluated or measured in general. (Alternatively you could use specific examples.)

These belong in the Wiki...

5. Please also comment on other entries on this page.

Brian's Thoughts 4:50 PM 11/8/2011

1. and 2.

  • A). People do not have the power to change or resist change if they are unable to utilize or move their resources effectively. (Page 5)
    • Having a pile of shovels and hoes doesn't help with farming as much if there aren't enough people to use them all. And even in a hypothetical world with plenty of people with knowledge of the tools, without overarching information on how to best utilize them, instead of creating a properly irrigated farm field, it would be possible to severely damage a plot of land from the human perspective. Social coordination is very important in creating and maintaining a stable society.
  • B). Poor resources, when interacting with the proper environment, can overcome greater resources that are not utilized as the environment deems. (Page 6)
    • As we are seeing in the middle east, groups of people with the abilities to network out of sight of oppressive governments with vast resources compared to the people are falling every month. With the advent of cell phone communication and other socially oriented media, people are able to find other like minded individuals and abolish regimes of dictators that would be otherwise unconquerable by conventional means.
  • C). Waiting for the appropriate timing on the world stage can help lead to greater social gain. (Page 20)
    • Whether it's waiting for the right moment to fire your only rocket, or biding time until ears become more sympathetic to a new idea, it's hard to deny that patience and observing the world at large can really help in application of civic intelligence. To use The Middle East again, once a country notices their neighbors uprising against dictatorships, it becomes all the easier to do it themselves, as they will have more potential allies and the resources of the oppressors will be more scrambled in trying to aid other nations with their revolts.

3. In The Garden

A) In The Garden, the farmers tried to fight the large amounts of money and questionable government processes by acquiring a lawyer to help them, they got one rather late in the process though, which may have severely limited their ability to resist the litigation that was working against them, more importantly; B) They had poor resources that were not nearly as agile in the legal environment of their community as their competitors, even though they had some social backing. Even with their best fundraising efforts, they were unable to come even close to being able to fight the government's decisions on the property. C) The world at large did not notice them nearly as well as they could have at other point. Local interest at the time was more concerned with the wars over in Afghanistan and Iraq, let alone the Mumbai attacks involving bombing trains happened just a few days before hand had really caught the world's attention.

4. Utilization

  • A) The easiest way I can think of to measure utilization of resources would be a cost effective analysis of the tools they had available, compared to the costs of doing something a more conventional way.
  • B)A simple analysis of the market value of the resources available compared to their opponents would be a good measure of how effective they utilized their environment. This would be also have to be assessed by social scientists and historians for a better idea of how the environment was used by both sides.
  • C)Measuring the timing is much trickier. It would involve guessing the likelihood of success in hypothetical situations.

Galen's Thoughts

1 and 2

a. David does not use unnecessary equipment; instead he chooses to approach the battlefield from his perspective instead of the status quo… Civic intelligence represents a new approach to communication that is arising out a confluence old ideas (and criticism of such), new innovations, and itself. It’s collective and non-hierarchal ideal allow the possibility for participants to utilize group cognition in a way that surpasses the capabilities of previous communication and organizational schemas. Therefore it is important to identify what is unimportant in civic intelligence, that may exist within it simply because it has arisen from an existing world. In removing “unnecessary equipment,” we find “David” skillfully wielding the most effective weapon for the situation.

b. Homogenous groups and heterogeneous group both have advantages… Homogenous groups lend themselves toward easy decision making and action because a wide array of competing perspectives does not exist. As long as unusual circumstances don’t occur, homogenous groups rarely encounter problems. Heterogeneous groups have a diverse range of perspectives and tend to suffer from the tension of having many different perspectives to synthesize. Impounding this is the need to translate these perspectives between of many different communication styles. While heterogeneous groups need more time to make decisions and it’s individuals need heightened communication skills, they tend to make better decisions. This is important to civic intelligence because it is not geared towards homogenous or isolated groups, rather its goal is the aggregate communication of a diverse many. Identifying and training in diverse communication methods is the foundation of civic intelligence strategic capacity.

c. Strategy is especially important in a changing environment or when there is a great deal of ambiguity in a process (meaning an ends may be hard to perceive or even unknown). Civic intelligence and its collective thinking aspects generally surpass even the most perceptive individuals. Coming to decisions in civic intelligence, or even coming to an understanding of what a problem to approach is, requires a process of collaboration that can have no clear ends. Understanding how to contribute to an evolving group thought while releasing or incorporating ones own ideas/needs is another important communication skill to learn. The inverse is interjecting ones own ideas/needs in a way that blocks, or confuses the group mind. (i.e. during a jazz improv session someone jumps in with a heavy metal solo)

3 coming soon

Nichs' thoughts:

The three assertions from “Why David Sometimes Wins” that stood out to me were the ideas of motivation, salient knowledge, and heuristic processes. I think these are relevant and important for civic intelligence, because using these ideas as guidelines can greatly enhance a group’s cohesion and autonomy.

Motivation is an obvious necessity for any sort of cause. Even people with few resources can accomplish a great deal if they’re really fired up about the cause they’re fighting for. Motivation was a huge factor in the struggles of the South Central Farmers portrayed in “The Garden.” Because the garden played such a huge role in the lives of the South Central Farmers, they had an enormous desire to fight for it. Because of this, a group of poor, Hispanic people who traditionally have little power in the United States were able to really challenge the status quo. They were able to inspire celebrities to join their fight and raised over $16 million for their cause.

Marshall Ganz describes salient knowledge as “possession of domain-relevant skills, mastery of which is requisite to developing novel applications” (pg. 11). He uses the example of David using stones to fight Goliath rather than a sword and shield to illustrate this concept. Because David had experience using rocks to protect his flock of sheep, he was able to use rocks more skillfully than more powerful weapons he was unfamiliar with. In civic intelligence, it’s important for groups to use the skills they already possess rather than trying to rely on strategies they’re unfamiliar with. The South Central Farmers, for instance, used their passion for their land as their biggest tool in fighting to keep it. They were true to themselves and their roots throughout their fight. Some of the farmers even used their skills with music when throwing the benefit concert to raise money to buy the land. Because they never relied on strategies they didn’t have experience in, they were able to work well as a cohesive group that was constant in their struggles.

The heuristic process basically refers to looking outside the box. By using skills that a group already possess in new ways, a group can grow and evolve without losing the edge of salient knowledge. The South Central Farmers used their knowledge and passion for the land to network with people in power. Being skilled farmers with immigrant backgrounds, they were able to use their stories to inspire more powerful people to help their cause. The benefit concert is another example of this. Their raw passion inspired established musicians to help them, and the farmers that were familiar with music were able to be involved in the concert as well.

I think the South Central Farmers were as successful as they were because they used motivation, salient knowledge, and heuristic processes. Not only did they employ these strategies, they did so organically and collectively. The South Central Farmers are a great example of civic intelligence for this and many other reasons.