Conference Session

Collaborative Design Processes and Plone

By: Christopher Johnson and Jon Stahl



About Christopher Johnson & Jon Stahl

A physicist turned entrepreneur, Christopher combines a passion for problem solving, a systems perspective and a decade of international experience in order to turn today's challenges into opportunities to create a more just, sustainable world. He co-founded ifPeople (for-profit) and Inspiring Futures (non-profit) with life partner Tirza Hollenhorst. He serves as CEO of ifPeople, which provides mission-driven organizations with strategy and open source software - including Plone over the last 4+ years for online collaboration. Chris has spoken on GetPaid and the "social sourcing" model used to organize the project in Naples and New Orleans Plone events. He is not a developer, but instead is known for his leadership and facilitation, yerba mate, and a mean cook of fried green tomatoes and okra. He has a son, Alon, who rocks.

Jon Stahl serves on the board of the Plone Foundation, and works at ONE/Northwest, where he and his colleague build websites, databases and technology tools that power civic engagement for the environmental movement.  Jon organized Plone Conference 2006, and is an active gadfly in the world of Plone.

About the session

For the last couple of years, I have been working on the GetPaid project, which I created "social sourcing" for as a way to organize it. One of the main points is the collaborative design process, which enables non-geeks to participate in a meaningful way (ie beyond "oh yeah, you can write the documentation..."). By engaging the people who will be using the software (ie clients) and the developers early in the game, we can get a better design than if we just "go it alone" as one group or the other. My frustration has been with Plone's way of doing this, which is very developer-driven. Even still, it isn't necessarily "documented" as how it happens and is more just a cultural phenomenon. I am going to attempt (hopefully with help of Jon Stahl) to document how things *do* happen currently and then look at some proposals for how to evolve how it happens.

This is a Talk (45 min)