SGM's Digital Commonplace software was the first to introduce the idea of the "immersive application" - the ability to engage with a piece of web based software without the need to engage with boring forms.
If you're interesting in understanding the value of a "commonplace" tool, and even how a "digital" commonplace would give you the ability to make progress, this brief tutorial should give you some insight.
What Is a "Commonplace"?
The point of a "commonplace" mostly seems lost to us now, but up until the end of the 18th century, it was a staple part of the intelligentsia.
A book that acted as half scrapbook and half journal, it was meant as a place for you to note down ideas, observations, quotes and other miscellaneous information. The "commonplace books" that were eventually produced ended up being somewhat effective in terms of guiding a number of history's luminaries towards a more enlightened path.
Indeed, perhaps the most prudent example of why a "commonplace" was important is evidenced from the various historic figures who kept one.
Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and many others ALL kept "commonplace books" *in some form* or another.
Whilst they didn't "call" the books "commonplaces", upon further inspection, it's evident they all were. They all followed the same pattern - a sporadic taking of notes, interspersed with illustrations and other insights.
The point is that whilst the "idea" of a commonplace book is pretty rigid, the practice of keeping one was never really noted down. Thus, as we entered the industrial age - where the romance and lethargy of previous eras was lost - commonplacing slowly drifted into obscurity.
By the 21st century, digital technology firmly closed the book on it.
Why Is "Commonplacing" Important?
The reason *why* commonplacing is important is because of what it helps you do as an individual. Specifically, it's the focus that it helps you attain.
Commonplacing is really about becoming creative with your work. Rather than being entirely *reactive*, it should guide you to become more inquisitive, inventive and industrious.
Ultimately, it should really guide you into yourself (internal rather than external). This internal focus should give you the patience, persistence and courage to pursue more creative solutions to wider issues you may have.
This creativity lies at the CORE of the all the "luminaries" we've seen using "commonplace" systems. They're basically MAPPING what worked - and what didn't. The stuff that worked typically went into new products.
The Introduction Of A "Digital" Commonplace
To this end, when you look at why a "digital" commonplace may be effective, there are a number of considerations.
Firstly, the whole point of a "commonplace" was not to create a pretty book - it's to organize your thoughts into SYSTEMS that can be replicated, optimized, shared and combined.
The systems which worked "for you" would then end up being either used in the creation of better quality work, or shared with others. This is why the likes of Isaac Newton were revered; they took ideas themselves, experimented with them and used them to develop their own.
Secondly, the reason why so many "luminaries" ended up using "commonplace" methods was because it's primarily a mindset - born of you trying NEW ideas and engaging in new opportunities. Without this mindset, keeping a "commonplace" would be worthless, as the stuff you'd put into it would be nondescript.
All of this means that if you're looking at building a new type of "digital" commonplace, you need to be able to capture this concept as honestly as possible. This is where most people fail - typically designing a "note taking app", which has not only been done, but is not actually what a "commonplace" is about anyway.
SGM's Digital Commonplace software was designed with the sole intention of giving people the opportunity to indulge into the creation of "projects" that they can offer to others. The lucidity, creativity and depth of these projects typically determines the way in which the user is able to gain from the endeavour.
We've found that if you're looking at the "Digital Commonplace" from the perspective of it being a "secret trick" to try and get you into the "fast lane" of success, you'll be sorely mistaken. It's merely a tool which you can use to amplify your results in various areas of your life.
How It Works
As mentioned, the SGM Digital Commonplace basically works by providing an immersive interface for its underlying platform. This interface means that rather than having boring forms to fill in - users have the ability to manage many different "windows" which can be loaded.
This means that the system can actually be designed around the provision of a variety of different types of functionality. That is, a user is able to create a number of systems which they'll be able to use to manage the various pieces of data they may have inside the application.
This interactivity provided the developers with the opportunity to expand the way in which the system was able to work for the user. More pertinently, rather than focusing it around input/output, it gave the users the ability to create dynamic systems through which they were able to optimize, manage and pinpoint exactly where they were looking to grow.
This systemic approach is backed by a huge number of API integrations, which allow the users to input a huge amount of their data from a variety of applications (including email). This - for the first time - means that rather than just storing creativity-based ideas (images etc), users are able to effectively "track" their progress in a variety of different areas of their lives.
Whilst there's no doubt that a number of other "commonplace" tools will come online, SGM's was the first, and some might argue, effective.