More and more often we witness the emergence and growth of "open" communities with permeable boundaries and operationally effective. The effectiveness is achieved despite the fact that their members are not permanently involved in the communities' activities and their evolution. These communities often show effective self-organization and they show unanticipated collective intelligence, creativity and innovation.
Looking at some recent examples, especially in the urban context, we can observe an emergence of a specific subset of these communities in the public realm, being involved in collective actions - rather than following the plans and explicit will of the existing organisations. When these distinctive types of communities emerge in the public realm, the interplay between the "individual" and the "collective" becomes rich and productive, especially thanks to the "openness" of the involved actors, such as public and private parties (municipalities and individuals), to act outside - and free from - the existing organisational constraints.
Open communities in the public realm have been identified in many different contexts and are characterised by different types of social innovation initiatives, including living labs, communities of practices, communities of interests or communities of places. All these social innovation initiatives involve some sort of collective actions and follow very complex, as well as very interesting, decision making processes, which are hardly described by shared models of decision making theory.
Specifically, in open communities decisions:
And yet, those environments are perceived to be highly democratic, innovative, and leading to successful social innovation, cohesion processes and decision governance. The key questions are: What is the secret of this success? How do open communities self-manage and implement decisions, which often break the rules of the mainstream decision-making in the public realm?
These questions may be addressed through answering a more specific questions, including:
The papers presented at the Symposium aim to explore the above questions by attracting researchers and professionals working in such disciples as decision making theory, active governance, democracy, collective intelligence theory and technologies.