The Village is Digital
If you’ve been following our journey you may know that we refer to the complex interactions between “real people in real places” as the Village. These interactions may take place spontaneously in a moment. We see the Village as any space (physical or virtual) where people are connecting with purpose and generating mutual wellbeing. On one hand it’s a simple conversation, and at the same time it’s so much more.
A colleague once asked, “So what’s all that got to do with healthcare? Isn’t that just people living their own lives?” That word “own” embedded so innocently in her question could well be the key to 21st century wellbeing. Like it or not, our “own” lives are becoming increasingly interconnected. As a result, it is becoming increasingly possible to measure how our personal choices and behaviour combine to generate demand on public services.
The measurable patterns of behaviour within a Village are predictable. This is true to the extent that where you grew-up and went to school could be an indicator of your life chances. Your Village and how you navigate it can predict how well you are paid; your life expectancy or your likelihood of suffering from any number of lifestyle diseases. This makes the question of what is really going on in a Village extremely important for those concerned with reform.
Add to that the rise of the “virtual” Village empowered by the internet and digital social networks, and you get an even more interesting scenario. Now the people you feel most connected to could easily live half way around the world. Yet you’re able to share; communicate and draw upon their emotional support as easily as if they lived next door to you.
Echoes Through Time
The “Voice of the Village” is the inert and often organic flow of knowledge that knits a community together; physically or virtually. This kind of hyper-local knowledge cannot be found through a Google search. It is buried under layers and layers of complex relationships; accidental and deliberate interactions. Most significantly, it is culturally encoded in the tribal clusters of interests and shared experiences that define the course of our lives. So, you see, my colleague was right.
“It is buried under layers and layers of complex relationships; accidental and deliberate interactions”
That said, this flow of Village knowledge leaves an exhaust trail which can, with the right tools, be readily detected and analysed. Like Koestler’s “Ghost in the Machine”, our data trails echo through time, place and space to give each community a unique personality, and with that personality comes a unique voice. Our “Voice of the Village” concept invites Villagers to share their experiences to co-design tools that listen to and respond to local issues.