Participatory Distributed Systems design: Local coordination for global management

Fundamental to participatory distributed systems design is the notion of local coordination. Every participant moves and acts according to its own interest, steering towards well-being and survival. By accumulating outcomes of all participants steering towards well-being and survival according to certain rules, a participatory system executes its mission (Brazier & Nevejan 2014).

For example a traffic navigation system such as TomTom not only indicates itineraries for car drivers, it also includes real time data about traffic jams and possible alternative routes to support participants in TomTom’s distributed participatory system to adapt their own itineraries for their own well-being. As a result, traffic jams dissolve.
Self-organization and emergence are key to the notion of ‘local coordination for global management’, that is fundamental to complex systems design. Participatory systems design – integrating social, ecological and technological systems – builds upon principles of complex systems design and specifically adds the value of presence for allowing people to accept responsibility in complex environments (Brazier & Nevejan 2014). In this approach presence as a value for design functions as a design requirement, as a factor of analysis and as a key value in Design for Values.

CN , Frances Brazier