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Resources: Braiding and Inclusivity

Braiding is a brand-new collaboration tool that creates an inclusive environment in which everybody can contribute equally. It is a written method of communication. Topics or agenda items are displayed as separate discussion panels, called Braids, that are presented to the participants sequentially on a rotating virtual carousel. As the carousel rotates the debate on each topic builds. At the end you have a full written record with no need for anybody to take minutes.

It sounds simple – because it is. But it is also utterly unique, unlike anything else on Earth, which isn’t surprising as it was originally designed for use in space. It is also extraordinarily powerful and effective.

Braiding is so powerful because it is based on fundamental principles of human communication.

Effective communication only happens when you are ‘co-present’ with other people. It’s that feeling you get when you are sitting on the sofa with a family member or in a restaurant with a group of close friends and the conversation just flows. Co-location is not the same thing. You could be in a meeting room with a group of colleagues yet feel totally isolated and excluded. You can hear everything they say, but you cannot engage, you cannot communicate. Co-presence requires synchrony which, from a psychological perspective, has a very specific definition. It means “to have a shared focus of attention and behaviour, coordinated by a shared rhythm and maintained over time.” So co-presence cannot occur in an asynchronous environment.

Braiding can create synchrony and co-presence in a way that was previously impossible. It’s a subtle but extraordinarily potent effect and it’s how Braiding unleashes the power of diversity.