Thursday, June 24, 2010

Innovation Commons Concept and Values

Slides from a a web conference on the concept of an innovation commons, values in oranizations, and the results of a survey to determine the values of an innovation commons.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Vuvuzela and Complexity

As almost everyone now knows, the vuuzela is a noise maker used at sporting events, especially the World Cup matches. Its use at events is controversial. The sound pressure one meter from the horn is at the pain threshold, and when played in unison, in a stadium of 100,000 drowns out everything.

When played it produces notes around 235 and 465 Hz. In aggregate, the sound is like a very large angry bee hive.

I wonder if the aggregate sound is random or complex? Does it have structure like a fractal?

And, I wonder when things like the equivalent of the wave will start. I'll be really impressed when something like a beat or rhythm emerges.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Diffusion of Wal-Mart

Temporal GIS map of spatial diffusion of Wal-Mart across USA -- note the numbers upper left and lower right.

From Jim Ronay

Principles of Innovation

The purpose of an organization is to create wealth. Not just wealth in the sense of money, but in its original meaning that is prosperity, well being, and health -- the common weal. And, the organization creates wealth, not just for its owners, but its employees, stakeholders and the community at large. In order to create wealth the organization must innovate.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ingenuity: Humans and their Organization a the Crossroads

Why don't things work the way that they used to? Where are our leaders? Why am I working harder and harder while I seem to be going backwards? Why do my children perceive that they will not have as good a life as mine? Why is violence rampant in our streets? Why are schools, business, and government broken? These are questions that we hear over and over again in millions of forms as we grope to grasp the meaning of what's happening to us.

The basic problem is that our models of organizations and of ourselves are out of date. We, as humans, our societies and their artifacts, have evolved. The gap between what is and what we perceive has widened to the point of breaking. We must change our mental maps to reflect the world. And, our organizations must emulate the new mental maps.

We are at a crossroads and we have a choice. We cannot deny any longer the existence of the need for change. And, we cannot waste our energies any longer fighting against change. We must embrace change and move rapidly towards a new state of being, knowing, and creating. We must develop our ingenuity and the ingenuity of our organizations.


Conversation and Creativity

Creativity and conversation are directly linked. Indeed, conversation, as a generative process, is the prerequisite for all creativity. This becomes immediately obvious if we distinguish between conversation and communication. Derived from the Latin communare, a shared space, communication means interaction in a common context or domain of consensus that makes communication possible and determines the meaning of all that's said. The control of context is the control of meaning is the control of reality.

To create new realities, we must create new contexts, new domains of consensus. That can't be done through communication. You can't step out of the context that defines communication by communicating; it will only lead to trivial permutations within the same consensus, repeatedly validating the same reality. Instead we need a creative conversation (from the Latin "to turn around together") that might lead to new consensus and hence to new realities, but which is not itself a process of communication. I say some thing you don't understand and we begin turning around together: "Do you mean this or this?" "No, I mean thus and such.

During this nontrivial process we gradually approximate the possibility of communication, which will follow as a trivial necessary consequence once we've constructed a new consensus and woven together a new context.

Communication, as a domain of stabilized, noncreative relations, can occur only after the creative (but noncommunicative) conversation that makes it possible: communication is always noncreative and creativity is always non-communicative. Conversation, the paradigm of all generative phenomena, the prerequisite for all creativity, requires a two-way channel of interaction. That doesn't guarantee creativity, but without it there will be no conversation at all, and creativity will be diminished accordingly.

The worse thing we can say about the mass media is that they can only communicate. At a time when creative conversations are essential on a massive scale for human dignity and survival, our society is dominated by a centralized, one-way, mass audience communication system. The mass media system can only speak a world that is already understood to be the world. It can only address problems already understood to be problems.

It can only furnish models of behavior that are compatible with the world as it is already perceived by most people most of the time.

Conversations are closed generative processes through which we create the realities we talk about by talking about them and thereby constitute autonomous reality-communities. The observer as autonomous individual is a myth: there is only the observer-community or reality-community whose constituents can talk about things (like art, science, religion) because they create the things they talk about by talking about them. Every reality community is autonomous -- self-governing, self-organizing, self-constituting. And every autonomous system is organizationally closed: realized through recursive, reciprocal, circular relations that may be
characterized as conversations. Indeed, communities are indistinguishable from the conversations that generate them.

Telecommunication makes possible communities independent of geography, but satellites and telephone wires are merely conduits that operate only in real time with no stored time, no memory; the virtual communities realized through them exist only during transmission with no archival or historical perpetuity, unless the transmission is continuous and pervasive. But when the computer is introduced as a component of a conversational network (the Internet) the power of social organizing is entered. A perpetual universe is created, independent of transmission, and a new class of political entity becomes possible. Autonomous reality-communities that are historically continuous and environmentally pervasive, accessible through any computer terminal anywhere in the world are possible. This is the profound significance of computer

Bringing Up the Leader Within

We are a nation of pioneers. Our strength is our diversity and our 'can do' attitude. The industrial age was merely a step on our path to achieving our national purpose. However, the impact on us has been the fragmenting of our spirit. We are now at a crossroads, and we must make a decision. Which path are we to take?

We know what we have lost. Yet we do not see clearly what we will gain. We can no longer deny that transforming actions must be taken. Yet it is impossible to go back to past as some urge us to do. We must go back to the past only in order to rediscover our strengths and transform them into our future. The role of a leader is to discover and illuminate our path to the future.

Leadership is now a state of mind, not a position. In this highly interactive age, each of us will find that we will increasingly be in situations that demand the exercise of our innate capability to lead. It is imperative that each of us bring up the leader within. We must all develop our leadership capability to its fullest in order for our organizations and institutions to be transformed.


Friday, June 11, 2010

An Interview with Cheryl Honey

Community Weaving is a grassroots community mobilization strategy that weaves the social fabric of community. This social change methodology incorporates the use of web-based technology to weave the human and tangible resources of the grassroots with the knowledge and skills of formal systems to create new ways of being in community. The approach raises social consciousness and awakens the human spirit to its purpose by engaging people to take responsibility for what they care about to create a more caring, just and civil society. In this networking session, Cheryl will reveal the techniques she used to grow a Family Support Network across the U.S. This transformative community building approach weaves a multi-cultural community tapestry of connections within communities, across organizations and around the world. Community Weaving is a cutting-edge methodology featured in the new Change Handbook, 2nd Edition. You don't want to miss this incredible opportunity to learn simple tips on how to grow your networking potential exponentially.

Cheryl Honey, C.P.P., of Bothell, WA, is president of Excel Strategies, Inc. and pioneer of Community Weaving, a social change methodology. She founded Family Support Network, Int'l and developed web-based technology to weave fabric of community within community systems around the world. Cheryl spearheaded a national movement by engaging citizens to take responsibility to creating a more caring, just and civil society. She is an advisor to the Alliance for Human Empowerment and member of the American Creativity Association. She received a B.A. in Liberal Arts & Transformative Community Building from Antioch University, Seattle. She authored Community Weaving in The Change Handbook 2nd Edition, and published numerous articles on community organizing and volunteerism. Communities tap her expertise to develop innovative approaches to build and bridge social capital. She's an Ambassador for Peace, and recipient of the Excellence in Leadership Award and the Giraffe Award, for sticking her neck out.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Culture Networks

By Tim Stock

An updated version of my lecture on Culture Networks for this semester’s Analyzing Trends class at Parsons the New School for Design.

Towards a Science of Simplicity

Simplicity: We know it when we see it -- but what is it, exactly? In this funny, philosophical talk, George Whitesides chisels out an answer.

In his legendary career in chemistry, George Whitesides has been a pioneer in microfabrication and nanoscale self-assembly. Now, he's fabbing a diagnostic lab on a chip.

Intriguing talk.

It leads to a paradox: The more simple things we create, the more complexity we enable in our society.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bring on the Learning Revolution

In this poignant, funny follow-up to his fabled 2006 talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning -- creating conditions where kids' natural talents can flourish.

Why don't we get the best out of people? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it's because we've been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies -- far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity -- are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. "We are educating people out of their creativity," Robinson says. It's a message with deep resonance. Robinson's TEDTalk has been distributed widely around the Web since its release in June 2006. The most popular words framing blog posts on his talk? "Everyone should watch this."

A visionary cultural leader, Sir Ken led the British government's 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education, a massive inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy, and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements. His latest book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, a deep look at human creativity and education, was published in January 2009.

"Ken's vision and expertise is sought by public and commercial organizations throughout the world."

BBC Radio 4