22nd May 2008 | Draft

Configuring Global Governance Groups

Experimental visualization of possible integrative relationships

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Also available in a PDF version for printing convenience. Associated with Towards Polyhedral Global Governance: complexifying oversimplistic strategic metaphors (2008), Polyhedral Pattern Language: software facilitation of emergence, representation and transformation of psycho-social organization (2008) and Polyhedral Empowerment of Networks through Symmetry: psycho-social implications for organization and global governance (2008)


Context
Exercise A: Using a selection of international nongovernmental groups
Exercise B: Using a selection of 12 UN Specialized Agencies
Exercise C: Using the 20 members of the emergent L20 Group
Exercise D: Sustainable development issues fom Earth Summit (1992)
Presented separately:
-- Animations and video sequences

Context

In the light of the arguments presented in the above-mentioned associated papers, the following visualization exercises were undertaken to determine the value of configuring a set of groups variously perceived as significant to global governance. The selection of groups may be considered arbitrary, controversial or provocative; this is not the point. The purpose is to explore how these groups might be understood as forming an integrated set -- functioning in an integrated, rather than fragmented, manner.

The positioning of the bodies with respect to one another in the images below is to be considered as arbitrary and for illustrative purposes only. The attribution of colours and the juxtaposition of labelled groups is also purely illustrative.

Exercise A: Using a selection of international nongovernmental groups

The bodies were selected for this exercise on the advice of Ashok Khosla, currently one of the Co-Presidents of the Club of Rome. They constitute an array of bodies with which he has varying degrees of involvement -- and by whose (non) relationship he is necessarily challenged.

The bodies included were (in no particular order): Alliance for a New Humanity, CONGO, Club of Rome, Club of Madrid, Club of Budapest, Club of Athens, Great Transition Initiative, Global Youth Action Network, The Elders, IUCN / WWF, Greenpeace, Tällberg Forum, World Future Council, World Movement for Global Democracy, World Spirit Forum, World Political Forum, World Economic Forum, World Social Forum, ZERI

In order to raise further questions, the existence of one other group was hypothesized -- labelled in the visualization by a question mark

Using the Stella Polyhedron Navigator application described in an earlier paper (Polyhedral Pattern Language: software facilitation of emergence, representation and transformation of psycho-social organization, 2008), an arbitrary choice was made to map the 20 such groups successively onto the 20 triangular faces of:

  • an icosahedron
  • an icosidodecahedron
  • a truncated icosahedron
  • a truncated icosidodecahedron
  • a rhombicosidodecahedron
  • a truncated dodecahedron

Other choices made were variously:

  • to show the polyhedron completeky unfolded into its net form
  • to show some stages in the unfoldding from 3-D towards the flat 2-D net form -- an indication of any challenge for the 20 groups in "getting their act together"
  • to show or hide some of the non-triangular faces as an indication of the potential "dialogue zones" by which they were separated and around which they might be configured as stakeholders
  • to show or hide the coloured edges delineating the faces

Within the Stella application, these various forms may be manipulated and morphed in a variety of ways. For the purposes of this paper, some visual results (in 3D in the Stella application) were exported as standard images presented below.

The emphasis is on creating representations which creatively raise new questions for discussion -- if only about the need for representations configured otherwise in Stella to focus the discussion in other ways.

Indications of possible global configurations
of a selection of international nongovernmental groups
Icosahedron: direct "interface" Icosahedron: unfolded net
Global configuration of selected NGOs Global configuration of selected NGOs
Icosahedron: partially unfolded to net form Icosahedron: partially unfolded to net form
Global configuration of selected NGOs Global configuration of selected NGOs
Icosahedron: partially morphed Icosahedron: faces hidden
Global configuration of selected NGOs Global configuration of selected NGOs
Icosidodecahedron:
with "dialogue zones"
Icosidodecahedron:
with "dialogue zones" transparent
Global configuration of selected NGOs Global configuration of selected NGOs
Icosidodecahedron:
with "dialogue zones" (partially morphed)
Icosidodecahedron (partially morphed):
with "dialogue zones" transparent
Global configuration of selected NGOs Global configuration of selected NGOs
Icosidodecahedron (partially morphed):
with "dialogue zones" (2 types)
Icosidodecahedron (partially morphed):
with "dialogue zones" (2 types, 1 transparent)
Global configuration of selected NGOs Global configuration of selected NGOs
Truncated icosahedron:
with "dialogue zones"
Truncated icosahedron:
with "dialogue zones" transparent
Global configuration of selected NGOs Global configuration of selected NGOs
Truncated icosidodecahedron:
with "dialogue zones" (2 types)
Truncated icosidodecahedron:
with "dialogue zones" (2 types; 1 transparent)
Global configuration of selected NGOs Global configuration of selected NGOs
Rhombicosidodecahedron:
with "dialogue zones" (2 types)
Rhombicosidodecahedron:
with "edges" and "dialogue zones" transparent
Global configuration of selected NGOs Global configuration of selected NGOs
Truncated dodecahedron:
with "dialogue zones"
Truncated dodecahedron:
unfolded net
Global configuration of selected NGOs Global configuration of selected NGOs

Truncated icosidodecahedron:
facet diagram

Truncated icosidodecahedron:
net diagram
Global configuration of selected NGOs Global configuration of selected NGOs

Each transformation raises interesting perspectives and questions -- of different value of course. Especially interesting was playing with the geometry and morphing the figure -- as well as introducing a stellation diagram etc. One of the intriguing features was that some of the morphing features cycle through forms continuously -- giving (for once) an impression of the set of governance bodies constituted as a breathing entity.

Exercise B: Using a selection of 12 UN Specialized Agencies

Indications of possible global configurations or representations
of a selection of UN Specialized Agencies
Global configuration of  12 UN Specialized Agencies Global configuration of 12 UN Specialized Agencies
Global configuration of 12 UN Specialized Agencies Global configuration of  12 UN Specialized Agencies
Global configuration of  12 UN Specialized Agencies Global configuration of  12 UN UN Specialized Agencies

Exercise C: Using the 20 members of the emergent L20 Group

Indications of possible global configurations or representations
of the 20 members of the L20 Group
Global configuration of 20 members of the L20 Group of countries Global configuration of 20 members of the L20 Group of countries
Global configuration of 20 members of the L20 Group of countries Global configuration of 20 members of the L20 Group of countries

Exercise D: Sustainable development issues fom Earth Summit (1992)

Mapping of strategic issues onto icosidodecahedron
Derived from one original mapping of a set of global strategic dilemmas (as explained in
Configuring Globally and Contending Locally: shaping the global network of local bargains by decoding and mapping Earth Summit inter-sectoral issues, 1992;
(see extensive commentary and original detailed net representation)
[click on each for enlarged version]

Unfolded net Partially folded net A
Mapping of strategic issues onto icosidodecahedron Mapping of strategic issues onto icosidodecahedron
Partially folded net B Completely folded
Mapping of strategic issues onto icosidodecahedron Mapping of strategic issues onto icosidodecahedron

Animations and video sequences

The application (Stella Polyhedron Navigator) allows for simulated 3-dimensional manipulation asd well as export in 3-D formats, including VRML. However the latter export format lacks distinguishing labels. An alternative was therefore to record the screen sequences as videos (AVI format) that can be replayed in standard players. Several of these, based on those in Exercise A, have been made accessible as an inspiration for future possibilities. They should of course be considered experimental, especially given the bandwidth implications of the longer sequences.

These experiments are presented in a separate document


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