We believe that better solutions come from cooperation not competition
SOS borrows heavily from Open Space Technology, a format that has been used with great success by thousands of groups.
SOS also borrows from the work of Frederick Laloux, as laid out in his seminal book Reinventing Organisations plus many other models of decision making and organisation.
Other methodologies are drawn on, most seem obvious, such as critical thinking, but are so often missing.
The core principle is semantics. Using standard terminology and structure, data can be easily stored and shared.
As a species, we are facing multiple crises - and they are all related.
It is no longer sufficient to provide better ambulances at the bottom of the cliff.
It is also no longer sufficient to build a better fence at the top of the cliff. We need to start asking why people are landing at the bottom of the cliff. We cannot assume even that they are just slipping. Some might have been pushed and some might have jumped.
To even begin to tackle the problems we face we must ask WHY? and ask WHY? again and again until we find the causes of the causes.
Then we must start looking to our own and other communities to see what proposals could be and have been made. Not just proposals to deal with the immediate issue(s) but proposals to deal with the causes and even the causes of the causes.
It might seem obvious to say it, but for any system to be sustainable, it needs to be stable, that is, in a state of dynamic equilibrium, what biologists call homeostasis or what economists call a steady state. The SOS system, by asking for examples of effects and by rating proposals for sustainability, encourages group members to make proposals that tend towards a dynamic equilibrium and are thus sustainable.
Hot Topics meet Cold Logic
Swarm intelligence meets Measured debate
Local meets Virtual.
The Fabric of Society meets the Web of Life
The SOS system is primarily a decision-making tool. It can be run locally or on-line
However, unless any information gathered is shared and discussed, the real benefits will be diminished, if not lost.
This builds on the work of the W3C - see The Semantic Web Made Easy. This means that results can be collated and then be shared and searchable.
The SOS system is Open Source which means that any person, community or business can use it - and importantly can share their output. Data can be stored in Word or Google documents, in a database or as XML files.
The SOS process can be run "off-line" in any community, using simple tools; a meeting place and some pens and paper. Even in communities where the majority of the population have internet access, there will still be a percentage who cannot or will not use the internet. Running local meetings allows the whole community to be a part of the discussion.
As mentioned above, the various crises we face are connected, but most "tools" and forums for addressing these issues focus on "solutions". Rarely are the causes of the issues examined and rarely are they connected to other issues. SOS explicitly makes those connections - to build a "skein of causation". The system also encourages inclusivity; no more Externalities.