One way people from very different backgrounds can work together efficiently is when they assume roles. Using roles has the benefit of making certain preferences explicit. Explicit preferences can reduce misunderstandings and prevent mistaken assumptions. This is like the SixThinkingHats.

One suitable pair of roles are: dreamers and makers.

The “Dreamers” are visionaries. They imagine a future, and work to motivate others. They can’t say exactly how to go about it. They are firm in their belief of what the goal should be. They may make use of PoeticReasoning.
The “Makers” are ConservativeEngineer?s. They have a technical understanding that the Dreamers do not. They tend to act as a ColdBlanket, focusing on what works immediately. They are focused on the next practical step. They prefer small incremental changes.

Note that these are just stereotypes. There are many people who do not constrict themselves to either of the two roles. DouglasEngelbart? is a famous example, who worked as both a visionary, with a long term plan, vision, aspiration, as well as a technician, pragmatic, capable on focusing on mid and near-term plans. RobertHorn? is another example. There are examples among the non-famous, as well. The FederationOfDamanhur, almost to the person, is made of people who are simultaneously dreamers and makers.

But when there are people in the role of Dreamers and people in the role of Makers, they can still work with each other, forming a circuit of MutualInspiration. The Dreamer must realize that not all of what they ask for can be implemented. And the Maker must understand that they need inspiration from the outside if they want to put their tools to creative new uses.

These roles can be chosen consciously, when trying to move things along, or they may appear temporarily, in a particular team, or they may be part of our characters. For the purpose of this discussion, it doesn’t matter.

See Also


Hmm… How about this?

I count myself as someone who makes, and understands technology, but is not a ConservativeEngineer?. I play the conservative engineering role only some times. At others, I’m quite content with a new design, a long-term plan, etc.,. IterativeVsIncremental. It all depends on the specifics of what is being proposed, where things are at, where we want to go, etc., etc.,.

Do we want to focus on acts, roles, or people? Or do we want to say, “none?” That we’re just talking about the forces in general? (Reality vs. Dream.) Or do we want to remain a stew, sort of like HiveMind, before it was split in 3?

I’m confused about what’s intended for the page.

I needed the necessary words to describe my role in our company compared to a friend of mine who also worked there. Similarly, I felt my relation with MattisManzel was easier to handle for me if I thought about it in these lines. It’s a way of explaining to myself that I need people like that to do what I do best in the context of programming free software.

I’m not sure this kind of use can be broken down into acts, roles, or people.

Well, there’s always that thing of sort of:

  • “Now I’m going to think thoughts that are creative, without caring about what’s possible or not.” “Now, I’m going to throw out ideas thinking about them critically, recognizing the constraints of technology.” This is where we get into a role.
  • An individual creative thought, without regard for technology, might be an act performed in that role.
  • A person who is always in the creative mode without regard for reality is a person. But I don’t think these people exist, anywhere. That said, it may be useful to say: “XYZ is a creative thinker only, they can’t think technically in this particular domain.” As far as that domain is concerned, the person is incapable (in the near term, without substantial training) of reasoning over it. We can only call them “creative thinkers.”

I qualified “people who are” with “people in the role of.” Perhaps it is more even now.

Don’t worry, we got along very fine, Alex and I on wikimania. I’ve been rather shy there, np.

Dreamers are visionists. Two words for it. The version with the connotation of failure and the version of glory. Makers is another glorious version. The conterpart are Bricollageurs, Bastler, dunno in English. So VisionistsAndMakers? or DreamersAndBricollageurs?.

But maybe not. Maybe it is just not fair if 20 minutes of pinning down a visionary idea causes months of hard labour for the makers. Maybe it should remain DreamersAndMakers therefore. The catch22 is when feeling I cause work, I want to cope up with it and doing the best (’n only) thing I can I produce more visionary ideas, causing even more labour, encouraging me to produce more …, ;)

The potential of too many visionary ideas annoying the makers as for them every idea involves a hell of a lot of technical thinking remains. We’ll mind the gap, will we?

Me too, I need people like you to do what I do best in the context of free software and what follows after.

2010 revisit

I wrote my comments on this page in 2005; I don’t think I knew about the FederationOfDamanhur. But now I do.

I think the Damanhurians pretty much blow the dichotomy out of the water – to the person, they are Dreamers & Makers, with almost religious conviction towards both ..!


Define external redirect: RobertHorn DouglasEngelbart VisionistsAndMakers ConservativeEngineer DreamersAndBricollageurs

EditNearLinks: IterativeVsIncremental ColdBlanket