This powerful use-case is simple to implement, well-received by those who participate, and probably the simplest way to get started engaging with others as a knowledge broker.

First I'll describe the use-case, then explain the steps to implement it.

In this use-case, the knowledge broker (KB) invites people to a 1-hour meeting. The KB uses the first 10 minutes of the meeting to have attendees answer a question by logging into the Cognitive City and clicking a button on their homepage view that opens a simple survey form. Their answers populate a network view in real-time as they submit them. When the KB sees that all (or enough) answers have been submitted, they share their screen to show the network that has formed from the group's answers, and use the connections between people's answers to facilitate a 40 minute conversation, adjusting the layout of the network based on the conversation. In the last 10 minutes of the meeting the KB brings attention to a set of concepts that have converged in the network layout and uses this constellation of concepts to shift the conversation toward next steps. After the meeting the KB emails the group with a screenshot of the network that resulted from the meeting and the next steps they decided on, giving them a persistent tangible artifact of the experience which they can continue to reflect on. If a subsequent meeting is desired based on the next steps, it can repeat this process, simply using a different question to move the conversation forward, and with participants filling it out prior to the meeting instead of during the first 10 minutes. This process has been shown to be a engaging, effective, and efficient way to run meetings, whether with a team of people who already know each other, or with a group that is meeting for the very first time. 

KB Preparation Time: 1 hour

Activity Time: 1 hour

KB Post-Activity Time: 30 minutes


1. This use-case centers around the question that will be used as the conversational prompt. This question could be very generic, if it is being used as an ice-breaker or get-to-know-you team-building activity, or it could be very specific if it is being used to drive a team towards a consensus on a particular matter. In either case, the KB must first create an element type in their Cognitive City that will hold the responses to the question. We suggest naming this something like "Responses to <date> <meeting>":

The reason we suggest naming it like that is because when someone is creating a new element of that type, the data entry form will have the heading "Create a <name of element type>". You can see this if you hover over the element type you just created and click on the first icon for manually adding an element of that type:

Now you have the ability to add responses, but your form isn't asking for anything interesting, so the next step is to fix that.

2. Now we'll get the addition form for the responses to capture useful information, and not to prompt the user for information that isn't really necessary. For example, we've found that in this use-case, it isn't really necessary to have a "Name" for each response element. They are just "responses". What's important is what's inside them, so we're going to update this element to have a default value for name and to hide it so that the user doesn't need to worry about it. To do this, modify the definition of the element type. Open the definition by either double-clicking on the element type or hovering over it and clicking on the next-to-last "define" icon. Once the definition page opens, edit the Name field by double-clicking on the field or clicking on the three dots on the right of the field and selecting "Edit". Under the "Appearance" section give it a default value of "Response", and under the "Validation" section turn off the "Required" setting:

Click "Save" to close the definition form, and then click the three dots to the right of the Name field and select "Hide":

The text under the "Name" field will update to reflect that the Name field is now hidden. Since there are no other fields defined, if you try to manually add an element (hover over the element type and click the first "Add" icon) you'll see a form with no fields:

Now it's time to add fields to support the question you want to use to drive your meeting. In order for this use-case to work, it's important that one of the fields is long-text and one of the fields is a connection to another element type. A great way to start is to use the long-text field to ask people to enter a few sentences in response to a question, and the connection field to have them associate their answer with a few keywords. Here's how to modify your model to support that:

  • Add another element type called "Meeting Response Keywords" and then drag a connection from the Responses element type to the Keywords element type:
  • When you connect two element types together, the system will automatically add connection fields to both element types. In this case, you don't want the connection field on the keywords element type, just on the Responses element type, so open the definition of the Response Keywords element type and delete the field that references the Responses:This will leave you with just a single field called "Name" on the Response Keywords element type:We want the keywords to just have a single Name field because this streamlines the data-entry process for people when they enter a new keyword. Save the new definition of the "Keywords" element type.
  • Now edit the definition of the "Responses" element type. Add a long-text field with the field name being the question you want to ask:After you add this field, edit the "Response Keyword" field that was automatically added when you connected it to the Response Keywords element type. Change the field name to just "Keywords", and use the "Description" to explain to users that the keywords should be based on what they just wrote and how to use the auto-complete interface by writing something like "Please provide at least 3 keywords related to your answer above. Start typing to see if the word you want is already in the list. If so, select it. If not, add it by clicking the "Create <...>" option that appears." The field will already be defaulted to the auto-complete UI allowing multiple values:After you save this field, rearrange the order of the fields (click on the left edge of a field and drag it up or down to change order) so that the Keyword field is last. At this point you should have just three fields - the Name field, which is hidden, and then the field that asks the question and the field that links to keywords:When you hover of the Responses element type and click the first icon to manually add an element, now you should see a form that look like a simple survey with a question at the top and a place for keywords underneath:

3. Before we create a network view that will allow people to both enter responses and see the network created as a result, we will want to make sure that the responses people enter are automatically connected to their user node. Every person who logs into the Cognitive City has an element that represents them, but this is not immediately shown in the model. This is because it is one of the special element types that comprise the Cognitive City's "system model". In order to see it, click on the "Settings" button in the upper right corner of the model canvas and check the box "Show System Model". You'll see a number of element types appear in grey, including one called "City Users":Drag a connection from the "City Users" element type to your "Responses" element type and name it "Submit":

Once this connection is in place, edit the definition of the "Responses" element type again. You'll see that because we made a connection to City Users, the system automatically added this as a field to the form. Delete this field as shown below. Note: we're only deleting the field on the form, this doesn't affect the connection between the element types which stays intact.We deleted the field from the form because we don't want people to have to manually enter their name on the form. The system already knows who they are because they are logged in, so we can ask the system to automatically make this connection without the user having to worry about it. To do this, staying within the definition of the element type, navigate to the "Forms" tab, open the "Actions" section, and toggle on the "Connect User on element creation" option. This should automatically fill in the "submit" connection since it is the only way the two element types can be connected:Click "Save" and you're done with the model building needed for this use-case.

4. Now that you've created your element types ("Responses ..." and "Response Keywords"), and you've made sure that responses get auto-connected to the users who enter them, it's time to create the view that you'll use for both data-entry and data-visualization. Click on "Views" in the left Admin panel and click "Create New" :In the query window that opens up, under "Data Source" you should see the "Responses ..." element type that you created earlier: Select this and then click the "+" button that appears to its right after it's added to the query. Scroll down to see the connections to keywords and users:Click on the "Response Keyword" connection to add it to the query pattern, then click the + button again and add the City User to the pattern as well so that it looks like:Then select "Visualize" in the top and click the "Visualize" button with the default "Network" visualization selected:

Because there aren't any responses entered yet, your visualization will be blank! Don't worry, it's expected that it will look empty like this:

5. Now we'll add an "Action Button" so that users of this view can add responses. Click the cog icon in the upper left corner of the view to open the options panel for the view and select the option for "Controls". Under "Global Action Buttons" click the + button next to "Element Creation Buttons":An element creation button will be added with a default element type. Change the element type to be your "Responses ..." element type:After you set the element type, change the label to something that encourages clicking, like "Answer this question!":Click on the little "<- View Options" options at the top of the options panel to go back to the previous options menu. This time select "Info Panel" and toggle the option that shows the info panel on load. Add some text to the default content explaining to users that they should click the button:To see what effect this setting is having, click the "<" handle on the far right to expose the info panel. You should see your description text along with your action button above it:The other buttons that you see - "Clear" and "+ Add Node" - are there only because you're an admin in edit mode of the view. Click "Save" and give your view a name. When it reloads, it will reload in view mode, and you'll see the simple info panel with just the single action button:

6. Test it out! Click the button in the info panel and your form should pop up:After you fill it in (make sure to enter keywords, for reasons we'll discuss later), click submit, and you'll see it show up in your view, connected to the user who submitted it (you) and the keywords entered:

You aren't limited to entering just one response. For testing purposes go ahead and enter a few more responses. Have the additional responses use some of the same keywords and some new ones so that you can see how the network evolves with each addition. To delete responses, toggle the view to "edit" mode by clicking to the pencil in the upper right corner, select the responses you want to delete and click the delete button that appears in the right detail panel.

7. Set your view to be the default homepage view for the City, or add it to the top navigation bar so that people can get to it easily.

8. Test the crowd-sourcing capability of your view prior to the meeting by inviting people to the City. Customize the invitation text explaining to them how to access the view and that they should follow the instructions in the left info panel to answer the question. Make sure to set the notifications for the City so that you'll get an email when people join the City. This way you'll know when people are accepting your invites, and you can check your view to see if it's growing with responses.