Apollo 13, MacGyver and ‘Resource Maximization’

Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the service module upon which the Command Module depended. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need to jury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17.

Aploolo 13 duct tape
Credit: NASA

The astronauts of Apollo 13 had to do what they had to with limited resources, none of which were designed for the task at hand. But all the same, they made it work and gave us one of the great examples American ingenuity. It’s now time for this ingenuity to come home … home to our communities.

Forward to 2015

It’s July, 2015 and we are submersed right in the middle in of the abyss of useless junk otherwise known as the 2016 presidential election and all it’s irrelevant glory. Daily we get reports from the various campaign junkets. Hillary Clinton is stumping in some coffee house in New Hampshire. Jeb Bush is probably across the street trying to figure out how to duck and roll from inevitable questions concerning the debacle his brother and father caused in the Middle East … unsuccessfully so if I may say so myself. The rest of the inhabitants of the Republican circus bark their tired anti-Obama clichés as they rumble down the road.

Everything is about the game. The media discuss only a candidate’s ability to attract donors or at best what a candidate might want to do if god help us, they get elected. But most of the time, we don’t even hear that. The best we can hope for is some sort of soundbite on their views of a current event or disaster the media deems worthy of throwing in our face ad nauseam. There is zero fourth estate critical discussion and analysis. Only a secured seat on the Hillary Clinton or Ted Cruz campaign plane matters. Fear of ruffling a feather reigns supreme at risk of getting kicked to back of the bus or worse yet out the door.

But regardless of who the American people deem worthy or least repulsive, the effects of their decision aren’t likely to have much of an impact on public’s lives … regardless of what the media portrays. The real game is will be played on the state and local levels. The political shenanigans being played out at these levels will have a much large effect on the state of our communities and our wellbeing than anything happening in Washington. Under foot is a movement nationwide, led by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), designed to roll back just about any semblance of safety net this country has constructed. The targets on the front lines of this movement are state legislators and local elected officials. These are the people we don’t pay much attention to during our trips to the voting booth. Who we choose in these races is often an afterthought, with decisions probably being made according to strict adherence to party lines. And this is exactly what the right-wing austerity kings are banking on – literally.

Just a couple of week ago it was announced that mega donor oligarchs Charles and David Koch and Sheldon Aldenstein will join forces to push their 2016 agendas of political rape and pillage. Our state and local governments are in dire risk of being overtaken by this newly constructed joint machine of conservative influence and mayhem.

Unfortunately, even if the other side had an answer to this unbridled assault on all things for the common good – they seem powerless to do anything about it. However well intended the Democrats, liberals or progressives may be, their ability to counter the organizational and monetary prowess of this malignant metastization is nill. This is especially the case in many areas where the push back is needed most. Urban progressive and liberal strongholds are holding their own and in many cases, such as Los Angeles and Seattle, making inroads (i.e. minimum wage legislation). But much of the rest of the country, such as the midwest and former labor hubs like Wisconsin and Michigan, is going just the opposite direction. And the ones politically leading this middle class deconstruction are the exact ones who are leading the polls for the GOP presidential race, such as Koch brothers puppet Scott Walker of Wisconsin. If you are a pro ‘big government will fix all what ails’ type of person … you’re probably crying in your beer right now. If you find the money to pay for it. The future does not look bright for you and your idea of the American Dream fast becoming a distant memory.

‘We the People’ need a new strategy

I read an interesting piece few months ago by Heather Fleming, CEO of Catapult Design. Catapult Design are designers, engineers, and educators working with forward-thinking organizations using technology as a means to drive social change. Their process features a human-centered approach to social challenges. The piece I read follows the same train of thought as the Apollo 13 example I used above, but only its metaphor is based on the ’80s TV show MacGyver. Below, according to Ms. Fleming, are MacGyver’s ‘four enablers of creativity’ or as I call it Resource Maximization – utilizing what you have to its fullest and not worrying about what you don’t have.

  • He is a do-er. It’s easy for teams to sidestep creativity when taking on a new endeavor by quibbling over objectives. Ambiguity is uncomfortable. MacGyver uses action to work through the ambiguity. He could sit and have a discussion about his options, or create a tradeoff matrix, but he chooses to learn by doing.
  • His resources are defined. One of the first things he does at the start of a design project is figure out what he knows and what he doesn’t know. He makes constraints. It’s a contrast to what we associate with creativity—which is blue-sky, free-thinking, no rules. But the lack of constraints, or lack of a creative process, is in fact a deterrent to producing innovative results.
  • His goal is clear and a deadline is imminent. For MacGyver, the bomb is always ticking down. He has a defined amount of time. Failure is not an option. It’s similar to that feeling you get the night before a deadline, when the creative adrenaline rushes in at 2 a.m. The pressure is necessary to drive action.
  • He doesn’t have to ask for permission. Imagine if MacGyver had to stop with 15 seconds left on the bomb ticker to get clearance to use a set of pliers. Creating an enabling environment—tools on hand, creative ‘places,’ ‘time’ for creativity, diversity in thought—is what helps him get the job done.

A community must maximize what it has … and not worry about what it doesn’t

Every community has an abundance of resources. To identify, uncover and ‘maximize’ these resources, is the trick. A top-notch web designer could be sitting in a high school English class. An unemployed electrician could be at home just be waiting for an opportunity to help his community rather spend another day sitting on the couch watching home improvement shows. A neighborhood card club might want to deliver homemade food to a shut-in rather play that hundredth hand of Pinochle. And the less we have, the more resourceful we need to be.

Indians have an expression called jugaad – meaning an innovative fix using few resources. While this thinking may conjure up the enterprising street merchant, the meaning is often used to signify creativity to make existing things work or to create new things with meager resources. The definition of our resources today is no longer those that we have been given or directly control, but those around us we can access. But this only works if we have the mindset to see it that way, and the resourcefulness to access it. We especially see this with the proliferation of the sharing economy.

Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the first alternative energy movement was taking hold.  Jimmy Carter’s investment tax credits and an energy crisis had created a new booming business. Everybody was talking solar energy.  At the time, when my Dad wasn’t teaching current events in high school, he was selling, talking and living solar energy.

There was this little town down the road from where we lived in North Dakota called Surrey.  They wanted to jump on the bandwagon and heat their new community swimming pool with solar.  My dad went out to look at the situation and give them a bid.  The problem was, Surrey only had about two thousand people and not much of a budget for anything, let alone a solar heated pool.

The consensus was to put several panels on a nearby roof and pump the heat to the pool.  Problem was … that solution cost two to three times more than they had.

Now the pool hadn’t been built yet and the only work done was the excavation for the new tennis courts next to it. Now what is a solar panel but just a way to collect the sun’s heat a send it where you need it.  And what is one of the hottest things we encounter in our daily lives? Asphalt! My Dad’s solution was to run PVC pipe under the tennis courts and circulate the pool water through it.  No solar panels, just asphalt. Surrey got it’s solar heated pool … and under budget.

Look at your community in different way … a way where YOU are the solution

“Imagine” … close your eyes and think about where you live – your neighborhood. What does it look like? Imagine walking the streets, looking at the broken playground at the elementary school down the block, the vacant lots riddled with weeds, the elderly woman outside the blue house that hasn’t been painted in years.

Imagine looking inside the local middle school where you know there are children that have fallen behind, and could catch up with just a little extra help – but won’t get it. And think about how they will probably drop out … forever handicapping their future.

You walk down Main Street. Remember when it was “the place” to go, whether you wanted a gift for your niece’s birthday, those few special grocery items or even that “once-a-month” night out. It’s not the same now. The Wal-Mart, Wall Street chain restaurants and big box stores have made those memories a distant thing of the past.

Everywhere, when you really think about it, you realize help is needed …everywhere. And everywhere there are opportunities to help, to make your community better. But in most cases, it’s only those that live in those communities, in the neighborhoods – who are the ones that can help.

Government isn’t going to help. Especially now, with dysfunction being in vogue. Resources available five years ago have, or are in danger of being severely cut. Schools are now more concerned about budgets than they are about children. Local beautification efforts, well – that’s a thing of the past. Food banks are full of patrons, but food on the shelves … not so much. Communities need help.

I’m not a libertarian or anti-government aid. I’m a realist though. To debate endlessly about what should be done by someone else is counterproductive if it isn’t likely to happen anyway. We can look at our circumstances two ways. We can reminisce and wish they were better, maybe like they used to be (or least how we thought they were). Or we can look at our ‘little worlds’ as opportunities, opportunities to do something, to make things better. We don’t have depend on someone else or some government to do it for us. Just grab the people around you, your friends and neighborhoods and ‘fix’ something in your community.

Your resources are everywhere. You just have to open those eyes you closed when you imagined what needed to be done. Now is the time to take examples from MacGyver and the heroes of Apollo 13, and even my Dad – take what we have … and ‘maximize’ it.

Now is time for our communities and the people in them to come together – and instead waiting for help … help themselves!

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If you haven’t, I invite you to start by delving into my ideas by reading the series, On the Road to Your Community’s Perfect World,” This is my articulation of how we can create better, more inclusive, unique communities as the solution to our society’s pressing issues. Consider each week’s post a Mile Marker (MM), a cerebral off-ramp from the highway of your daily routine, taking a you little further down this road to a better version of society.

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I can be found on Twitter at @clayforsberg and on Google+

Silos

On June 25 in 1876, two mortal enemies found that the differences they had between them paled in comparison to the a threat both encountered.  After the Civil War, the U.S. government turned its attention to the Wild West and the fight against the Indians – or as they called them, “savages.”

Two warring tribes, the Lakota Sioux and the Cheyenne were being relentlessly pursued by the U.S. Army – and specifically, General Armstrong Custer.  After numerous skirmishes with minor military leaders, they learned of Custer’s intention of attacking them in Southern Montana.

Separately neither the Sioux nor the Cheyenne had the upper hand … but together, maybe the result could be different. Unprecedentedly, Lakota chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull met secretly with Cheyenne chief Gall and devised a plan for their mutual survival.

The Sioux encampment of 6,000 plus was set on the banks of the Little Big Horn River in Montana.  Starting the night of the June 23, Sitting Bull moved the Sioux women and children down river out of harms way while the warrior chief Crazy Horse amassed the Sioux warriors in the cover of brush on the river bank.  After numerous skirmishes with Gall and his Cheyenne on high ground on 25th, the next day Custer moved down towards the banks of the Little Big Horn only to come face-to-face with the Sioux.

The infamous battle of Custer’s Last Stand lasted only twenty minutes with Custer’s army being annihilated.

Custer's white crosses

While the current economic climate and the fate of your community may not equate to the dire situation the Sioux and Cheyenne faced (or maybe economically and socially it does) … lessons can still be learned.

A community can’t isolate itself in a silo

A community’s resources extend beyond it’s borders: physically and socially. The borders and boundaries arbitrarily drawn a hundred years ago are nothing but an impediment to growth today. Let rivalries end on the high school basketball courts and football fields. A community can’t isolate itself in a silo in an attempt to ‘hold onto yesterday.’ And yesterday wasn’t really as good as we remember it. Civic and cultural myopia is a disease. A community should have it’s own identity and that’s good, but that doesn’t mean that identity shouldn’t evolve and expand. And with that evolution comes breaking down the ‘silos’ arbitrarily constructed many decades ago for purposes not at all relevant today. Threats and opportunities change as time changes. It’s a community’s responsibility to open their eyes and minds to all resources available to them, whether traditionally geographic or not. 

The boom in sports facilities is the latest version of a flawed strategy by cities — “building bling to accelerate growth,” said Charles Marohn, president of Strong Towns, a Brainerd-based community development organization. “You could be like the guy who has the big house and the big truck that are all under water.”

City and county municipalities concern themselves often only with their image and not so much of the actual welfare of their residents. We see this across all government entities. Ultimately this creates unhealthy competition amongst civic neighbors. Whether it be competition for property taxes generated by oil refineries in Billings, Montana or a Wal-Mart Superstore in Southern California, municipalities wage war in revenue ‘fight to the death’ cage matches – each trying to outdo each other offering freebies and rebates. And seldom is any consideration given to the indirect costs. Police, fire, sewer and water services aren’t delivered by Santa Claus.

An interesting piece came out in the Atlantic earlier this year called, “The Miracle of Minneapolis.” Ironically it should have been called “The Miracle of the Twin Cities.” The piece details the success the Minnesota metropolitan area has had in combatting neighborhood inequality. The Twin Cities have broken down the silos of individual cities and municipalities and worked as a unit. The region plans as a single unit and shares tax revenue as a single unit. For the most part no neighborhoods are left to blight and ruin because not having a sufficient tax base. Of course the Twin Cities plan is not perfect, but it seems to work better than any metro area that condones infighting amongst its constituent towns and cities (which is pretty much every other one).

Break down our self-imposed limitations in search for solutions to citizenry wellbeing

But even with the success of the Twin Cities enlightenment, we need to look past governmental entities and the traditional description of civic demarcation … and expand our cerebrally self-imposed limitations in our search for solutions to citizenry wellbeing. 

On the global front we’ve seen this search take us to the formation of non-governmental organizations where their participants are united not by geography or politics but rather by cause, ‘solutions’ and the desire to voluntarily make an impact.

The term “non-governmental organization” was first coined in 1945, when the United Nations (UN) was created. The UN, itself an inter-governmental organization, made it possible for certain approved specialized international non-state agencies—i.e., non-governmental organizations—to be awarded observer status at its assemblies and some of its meetings. Later the term became used more widely. Today, according to the UN, any kind of private organization that is independent from government control can be termed an “NGO”, provided it is not-for-profit, non-criminal and not simply an opposition political party.

One characteristic these diverse organizations share is that their non-profit status means they are not hindered by short-term financial objectives. Accordingly, they are able to devote themselves to issues which occur across longer time horizons, such as climate change, malaria prevention or a global ban on land mines. Public surveys reveal that NGOs often enjoy a high degree of public trust, which can make them a useful – but not always sufficient – proxy for the concerns of society and stakeholders.

The devolution of the Nation State

Parag Khanna, Managing Partner of Hybrid Reality, a geostrategic advisory firm (amongst other things) hypothesizes the decline of the nation-state:

“The broader consequence of these phenomena [devolution of nation states] is that we should think beyond clearly defined nations and “nation building” toward integrating a rapidly urbanizing world population directly into regional and international markets. That, rather than going through the mediating level of central governments, is the surest path to improving access to basic goods and services, reducing poverty, stimulating growth and raising the overall quality of life.” 

While Khanna was speaking mainly of nations and federal governments, the same postulates can also be applied to local governments. Why can’t a socially connected geographic area function as a NGO around common cause and joined concerns? Granted most local charities and non-profit groups that help out operate this way, and these groups may be geographically inclusionary … their focus and direction probably isn’t. Normally they operate as silos themselves focused on their own funding raising and disbursement of resources acquired. Each have their own cause and flag to bear. Seldom do they cross-pollinate efforts to synergize around the overall wellbeing of the communities they serve. Non-profit classifications and tax reporting create environments ‘holding on to their own.’ The sharing of donor and membership lists is often considered taboo. Competition here is not unlike that we see with municipalities. Many national and international concerns, by nature of their visibility and marketing resources, monopolize prominent ‘do gooders,’ leaving little more than scraps for local causes that often make a much larger impact in the community in areas of higher concern.

Imagine if silos, governmental and not, were taboo. Imagine sharing was the norm, not the exception. Imagine if the only concern was the people … not who was doing the helping. The goal should be breaking down silos of municipal and charity jingoism in lue of ‘making things happen.’

Individual volunteers and ‘Solutionists’ that can move from cause to cause

Imagine if the goal was to create an open-ended platform where invitations were extended to all, regardless of high school nickname or charity religious affiliation. This all-inclusionary platform is here to provide tools and guidance for diverse group aligned only around the causes and solutions they seek to pursue – not those pre-picked by marketing budget or the media.

This platform is not to be hierarchical, but rather organizationally flat. Any power structures created are only done so for each cause or ‘solution’ and the pursuit of them. On going organizations, constantly in pursuit of a cause and existing only for the act of self-preservation, are taboo in our evolved ‘solution’ based societal norm. When a problem or opportunity arises, groups are immediately formed and activities dispatched using the resources of the platform (including the human resources connected only to the platform). Individual volunteers or ‘Solutionists’ move from cause to cause depending on their current passions and availabilities. Nothing is wasted. Resources are put towards the solution, not to the preservation of the organization.

rhizome
Credit: Debi Keyte-Hartland

We need to look past these artificial restrictions we impose upon ourselves. And to do that, we should look past only the organizational concoctions devised by the human species. Nature provides many desirable alternatives including a Rhizome theory developed by French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Rhizome features societal cross-pollinated connections, that allow for multiple, non-hierarchical entry and exit points. Their theory is depicted in the example of the “orchid and the wasp” taken from the biological concept of mutualism, in which two different species interact together to form a multiplicity (i.e. a unity that is multiple in itself). Deleuze and Guattari called the organizational representation of the serendipitous platform of ‘solution’ activity I described above, the ‘Smooth Space.

As humans we put too much trust in hierarchy, structure and institutional control. In theory some of this is fine, but in practice in puts too much authority and power in the hands of few. We can’t assume all of those we entrust in leadership positions will be as benevolent as we wish. We need to only look at the statistics of the ever-increasing levels of inequality, especially in the so-called developed world. The more developed a country gets, the higher it seems is the concentration of wealth in the upper echelons of its population. This is an institutional problem, not a people problem. And blind jingoistic allegiance to these organizational structures produces little but inefficiency, bloat and inequitable distribution of affluence to those in power.

We need to think new and break convention, especially on local levels where change can occur easiest, and where it can occur while working within the constraints of the system. Let’s not build structure for the sake of structure and create silos because we always have.

The human mind is adaptable and able to mold to situations and needs, both in itself and others. Let’s take advantage of it.

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If you haven’t, I invite you to start by delving into my ideas by reading the series, On the Road to Your Community’s Perfect World,” This is my articulation of how we can create better, more inclusive, unique communities as the solution to our society’s pressing issues. Consider each week’s post a Mile Marker (MM), a cerebral off-ramp from the highway of your daily routine, taking a you little further down this road to a better version of society.

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You can follow me on Twitter at @clayforsberg and on Google+

The “Kernel,” Your Community’s Cross-Generational Ecosystem

“Beth Jacob is a New Orleans architect and historian whose research specializes in the historic preservation and adaptive reuse of New Orleans’ public markets. Jacob found that these markets and public spaces did more than just offer a space for communities to buy staples. They were true neighborhood places that served as anchors that attracted other businesses to the area as well as providing a physical space for civic discussion.”

These community oases, such as the public markets described above by Beth Jacob, won’t create themselves. In fact any community based effort is competition and will face obstacles put in front of it from big business and very often local government compliant in their activities. It’ll take a concerted effort by all residents of the community, young and old. In my previous piece I discussed the need for us to “Bridge the Gap” between generations as a vehicle for community and societal sustainability. Now it’s time to become pragmatic.

“We can’t just ignore the fact that our generations aren’t connecting and it’s hurting our ourselves and our communities. However disconnected we are today, it will probably be even more in the future. Change isn’t slowing down. And we can’t just wish or legislate away this divide. We have to make a concerted effort to connect the ages – for everyone’s benefit. We have to create the environments and situations that accommodate and nurture these connections.

Imagine if we lived in communities where “shared generational experiences” were a priority. These communities would have abundance of opportunities for “shared experiences; serendipitous opportunities for the young and old to enter each other’s “experience worlds, worlds where the mentee could also do the mentoring. We can do it. And I described in my previous piece, we don’t need a Lady Gaga reaching out to a Tony Bennett on every corner in each of our communities and neighborhoods. We just have to give serendipitous encounters some space to happen.”

But to do this we need to expand our minds to the definition of what these spaces can be. Public markets are just one type of these ‘spaces.’

What this bridging of generations will do is form the foundation for the re-building of the ‘Middle Ring’ housing the melting pot that innovation needs to percolate. And we have a movement, or should I say a mindset, afoot right now that may well prove to the perfect vehicle for this foundation, the makerspace.

A makerspace is a community-operated workspace where people with common interests, often in computers, machining, technology, science, or art can meet, socialize and collaborate. In general, makerspaces function as centers for peer learning and knowledge sharing, in the form of workshops, presentations, and lectures. They usually also offer social activities for their members, such as game nights and parties. Makerspaces function as open community labs incorporating elements of machine shops, workshops and/or studios where makers can come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make things.

“Bridging the Gap” through film and 3D printing

“With one somber PBS documentary and a second project about “negative addictions” under his belt, William D. Caballero wanted to lighten the mood for his next film. That’s when he started giving a close listen to the rambling phone messages left by his Puerto Rican grandfather. “I’d laugh and play them for my friends,” Caballero recalls. “I realized I should do something with the voice mails because I felt like my grandpa’s messages had a universal quality that anybody could identify with.”

But instead of crafting a conventional documentary portrait of the colorful old man, Caballero twisted technologies, including 3D printing, to his own filmmaking ends and made the hilariously charming “How You Doin’ Boy?”

With his 3D printed inch-tall protagonist primed for action, Caballero drove from his New Jersey home to North Carolina and shot the short film’s co-star: a 20th-century rotary dial telephone, in his grandfather’s house. As a final touch, Caballero used Flash software to transform his grandfather’s handwriting samples into a custom font that spells out voice messages on screen.”

Technology is often a great divider amongst generations. But it doesn’t have to be. Technology is nothing but a means to an end. And it’s this that can be the common ground that connects people regardless of age. Remember the workshops of our fathers and grandfathers, and the tinkering that went on there? It was the same with our grandmothers and their crafts. How many grandparents homes aren’t adorned with needlepoint on the walls. Our grandparents didn’t buy art, they made it.

Bill Zimmer, a middle-aged software engineer at the Asylum in New York City, says that what’s going on in the maker movement would be more familiar to denizens of the year 1900 than any period since, because manufacturing is not only being domesticated — it’s being democratized.

Makerspaces aren’t a new thing, they’re an old thing. They’re that old shoe box on the top shelf of the basement closet that you’ve now figured out there’s a lot of interesting stuff in it – stuff that is surprisingly relevant today. Regardless of age, boys and girls like to make things, just like their grandparents do. Why don’t we create a ‘space’ where they can do it together? And let’s make it a space where one can mentor the other.

The older generations can teach the younger generations on the basics and history of ‘making things.’ And then the younger ones can teach their surrogate grandparents on how to bring these basics into the year 2015 through technology advances.

A makerspace should be a community serendipity hub where collaborative ideas can turn into real life things. And the more generationally inclusionary your makerspace is … the more your community will benefit from it.

This ‘space’ can be the seed of the “Bridging the Gap” initiative. We need a ‘Kernel’ … a space where things can grow – physically and sociologically.

chaos

A cross-generational co-creating ‘space’ where everything and everyone is a project

Imagine your community having a ‘space’ where everyone is welcome regardless of age, wealth or any other differentiating factor. Your ‘Kernel, would be a place where things happen, not just talked about. Your ‘Kernel’ is a ‘space’ where people come together under common goals, working together. Imagine your ‘Kernel’ being your community’s hub … a place where anytime of the day of night – things would be discovered, transformed and created.

Imagine your ‘Kernel’ being a makerspace not unlike a modern-day version of your grandfather’s shop – only where the skills and knowledge of yesterday are synthesized with the technology of today. Imagine your ‘Kernel’ being craft center much like you’d see in grandmother’s spare bedroom when you visited her, filled with yarn, paints, fabric and any other material you’d need to ‘make things’ you’d end up taking home to hang on your wall.

Imagine your ‘Kernel’ being a ‘space’ where the smells of its latest culinary concoctions emanate from its doors and windows, all created in a  physical melting pot representative of the metaphorical melting pot making up your community’s residents; young and old, male and female, rich and poor. And all these creations are started right there at your ‘Kernel’ in its greenhouse and gardens. And of course what isn’t eaten of premise is delivered to your community’s unfortunate and those most in need.

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Your ‘Kernel’ must be about help, cohesion and collaboration. Every member of your community in unique and adds to its social and intellectual fabric. And every member of your community has gifts, talents and resources to offer. Sometimes they are evident to those who possess them. But often they’re not. It’s at this time when it’s up to you and your fellow community members to uncover them and expose these talents to the light so all can see them and benefit.

All too often people treat the knowledge and expertise as possessions to be kept close. It’s up us to show them it’s better for this knowledge to be is spread throughout their community … especially to the young. Your ‘Kernel’ should act as a nexus for these mentoring activities. Research indicates that community centers, even in much lesser forms than what I propose here with the ‘Kernel,’ provide young people with a physical and emotional safe haven. These ‘spaces’ result in higher levels of self-esteem and confidence for its participants than any other social settings including family and school.

“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises” ~ Demosthenes (384 BC – 322 BC)

Mentoring and guidance in your ‘Kernel’ need not be limited to the young though. Consider your ‘Kernel’ an “Idea Farm” where through collaboration and expertise sharing, pipe dreams turn into community entrepreneurial ventures. Consider your community’s ‘Kernel’ a technical innovation hub where it’s power is derived from solar and clean energy. And the tools available for creative endeavours include 3D printing technologies, laser cutters, screen printers, electronic lathes and all the latest software to run them. And imagine everyone, regardless of age having access and teaching other.

Gugnad (Norwegian): Unpaid voluntary, orchestrated community work.

View your community’s ‘Kernel’ not just a technical incubator, but also one for social innovation. Imagine a social hub where organization, groups and individuals can come together under no auspices of hierarchy to create a new evolution of community involvement and betterment … a hybrid or sorts. And these ideas being shared amongst other ‘Kernels’ throughout the world.

Your community’s ‘Kernel’ should be a melding of librarians, civic leaders, students, professors, union members and trades people. It should combine high teachers with grade school students and grade school teachers with high school students. It should mix small business owners with the unfortunate who make their way via the streets and shelters along with the retired. And your ‘Kernel’ can even bring government and elected officials into the mix … as long as they understand their position is no higher or their influence no more than anyone else.

It’s impossible to calculate the effect your ‘Kernel’ will have on your community. The old will transfer their valuable professional and life skills to the young who are so in need of them. These same young will in turn have a ‘space’ where they can focus their attention and their dreams, other than biding time waiting for the other shoe to fall – standing on the street corner.

Your community will turn into one of a problem solving mentality where everything is a resource and waste has been truncated to a ‘four letter word.’ ‘Resource Maximization’ will be imprinted in the minds of everyone. The elderly, rather focusing only on their next doctor’s appointment, will be exercising their minds, their bodies and the most of all … their spirits. And they’ll be doing all of it in an outwardly community benevolent fashion rather than just holed in their home obsessing about their personal condition.

Your community will be revitalized. New businesses will be created. Not those derived from Wall Street chains and franchises, but ones of ideas born in your community and run by people from your community. And these will be the businesses that provide the genesis for the future to build on – ensuring its legacy and prosperity.

Old building

The concept of ‘Resource Maximization’ should not start once the walls of your ‘Kernel’ have been constructed. It must start at the very beginning. Assume traditional methods of financing won’t be available. Assume bids will be irrelevant, let alone the lowest one. Your ‘Kernel’ is about community and the resources it has available. Create your ‘Kernel’ with materials that are indigenous to your community’s locale using what’s at its disposal. And most of all … assume money is not first priority, but only the last resort when all other acquisition options have been tried and exhausted.

Your ‘Kernel’ should be a co-op venture between property owner and tenant. Rather than relying on old the “fallback” of the two-year lease with set rental rates, landowners should participate in the success of the ‘Kernel.’ This success can be defined in returns on joint ventures created in the facility, or it could be participation on monthly users fees by members of the ‘Kernel’those not on scholarship because of age (young or old) or waivers due to income restrictions.

Schools and existing community buildings could be co-oped. In return the landlords would get use of the facility for projects they would otherwise be able to do. Your ‘Kernel’ could even act a recruiting firm for local businesses in need of talent. A business could pay a retainer for access to contract expertise and mentoring generated by your ‘Kernel’ or a contingency is a member referred to them is hired full-time.

“Start your own personal industrial revolution” ~ Mark Hatch, CEO TechShop

Your ‘Kernel’ is an ‘opportunity ecosystem. It is the physical manifestation of my community employment platform, Community 3.0. It provides a ‘prototype’ cross-generational, cross-collar, entrepreneurial learning Hub for smaller communities and neighborhoods in larger communities.

Your community’s empowerment starts with a seed … it starts with a ‘Kernel.

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I invite you to start by delving into my ideas by reading the series, On the Road to Your Community’s Perfect World,” This is my articulation of how we can create better, more inclusive, unique communities as the solution to our society’s pressing issues. Consider each week’s post a Mile Marker (MM), a cerebral off-ramp from the highway of your daily routine, taking a you little further down this road to a better version of society.

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You can follow me on Twitter at @clayforsberg and on Google+

Is Your Community Investing in its ‘Cerebral Infrastructure’?

Two days ago I opened the newspaper to a proclamation that President Obama was proposing a $478 billion public works infrastructure revitalization program. This is no surprise to me. The word infrastructure has been bantered around for the last few months as we ready ourselves for yet another chapter in book of the endless presidential election cycle. “America is losing its edge and is in jeopardy of loosing its vaulting status as the ‘Exceptional One.'” Reminds of the Eddie Murphy movie of the ’80s, “The Golden Child.” No matter how misguided it may bewe must protect and sacrifice for the infrastructure.

The previous chapters have been dedicated to the illusion that education reform would be the savior protector. Now with the not so stellar result results of ‘No Child Left Behind’ and ‘Race to the Top,’ the fleeting attention span of the electorate has been redirected to building things. Not so much new things per se, but rebuilding old things; highways, bridges, pipelines, maybe some electrical lines and transmitters, but mainly stuff revered in support of the almighty automobile. Eisenhower’s corpse six feet under probably has a smile on its face. And believe it or not – as I’m writing this on comes a commercial for NASCAR on Spotify (apparently I’m too cheap to spend the eight bucks a month).

Earlier this week I wrote an open letter to state of North Dakota, where I grew up. Their legislature approved a 800+ million infrastructure bill to rebuild the what the oil industry has decimated in the short time since the oil boom began a few years ago. The state is going to build more roads on top of the ones they’re planning on rebuilding. Dirt roads will get paved and two lane roads will turn into four lane roads. They’re going fix bridges and build overpasses and new sewer systems and whatever else they figure out they can use a backhoe on. Oh, they’ll be some new schools too. After all, those people doing the digging and building need a place to put their kids while they’re doing all that digging and building.

And if it’s not enough for public municipalities to do the building, they’ll be  handing the keys to the city to outside corporate conglomerates in hopes they will be the proverbial “white knight, in the white hat on the white horse” by doing more building. Seldom, if ever, does this work out though. Civic planning textbooks (which apparently aren’t read) are littered with a plethora of stories of corporate subsidies pledged in return of promises of “jobs.” Oh that word “jobs;” it’s as intoxicating as the snake with the apple in the garden of Eden (if you believe in those things). But the apple and the snake … they didn’t work out either. But it doesn’t matter if politicians can say they’re working to provide “good jobs for good hard-working folks.” Look at the craziness we’ve had to endure with the two years of Keystone Pipeline debate. If you’re a politician from anywhere close to where the proposed pipeline is running nasty carcass – you’re touting “jobs.” It doesn’t make any difference that there’s only going to be thirty of these full-time “jobs,” it’s still jobs.

And it doesn’t matter what politicians are doing the talking. They could be Democrat or Republican. They could be federal, state or local. They just can’t help themselves. It’s like crack to them, no  matter the quality.

Coffee Shop posterize

 This insanity has to stop

Now I’m all for “jobs.” But it seems all these jobs being talked about are pretty much the same, as I said “good jobs for good hard-working folks.” This is fine, but not everyone wants to work ‘hard.’ And by hard I mean ‘blue collar hard.’ And I’m willing to bet that a lot of those doing the ‘blue collar hard’ jobs are doing them because they don’t really have any other option. Given the chance I’m sure they wouldn’t mind using their mind instead. Trust me, money or not, it no fun working outside in North Dakota in the winter.

Information technology and the internet have changed work opportunities dramatically. However, few of these opportunities are being taken advantage of in places like North Dakota and other states that are composed primarily of small and medium-sized towns and cities. These ‘new economy’ opportunities are seen mainly in urban areas. But it’s not like they couldn’t be distributed more equitably. These opportunities are not geographically bound. Unfortunately few leaders in the public space understand the real potential here. They are myopically focused on getting the most ‘bang for their buck’ with that new backhoe they proudly acquired for the city.

Apple created $10 billion in revenue for third-party application developers for the iPhone and iPad in 2014 alone. That’s more than all of Hollywood generated. And these developers can live anywhere, even in their parent’s basement in Devils Lake, North Dakota. How much of this flowed to North Dakota or states like that. I don’t know, but probably not much.

The ‘Nomad Economy’ is what I call the makeover of this new workforce. These are people, (mainly young but not entirely) who are either self-employed or own small businesses. It’s estimated that by the year 2020, forty percent of America’s workforce will be freelancers. These are NOT the jobs doing the building and digging in the traditional sense. Most of the digging these people do is digging in their minds and figuring out how to navigate the future which is ever evolving and so much less stable than that of their parents. “Holding onto yesterday” and expecting the life of the long-term corporate employee is no longer an option, or preferred.

Introducing the ‘Cerebral Infrastructure’

Even though the ‘Nomad Economy’ is not geographically constrained, it still requires infrastructure. But it’s not the infrastructure you would think. It’s more of a ‘Cerebral Infrastructure.’ By this I mean accommodation for the physical and mental spaces these self-employed, small business owners or ‘Nomads’ need to congregate, collaborate and create – molding the future for themselves and those around them. Schools can help, but they’re only a part of the solution. We need to look past tradition and what worked in the past to now and beyond. What might have worked a decade ago, may be obsolete today, let alone tomorrow. This is time for elected officials and those they appoint to starting asking questions more relevant than the one they asked even five years ago.

  • Do their cities and towns have co-working HUBs designed to nurture entrepreneurial dreams and turn them into job generating start-ups?
  • Do they have the bikeways, parks, public transportation and community gathering places Millennials, the bulk of the ‘Nomad Economy,’ require?
  • Do they have Makerspaces; places where younger and older generations can learn from each other using 3D printers, laser cutters and CAD (computer aided design) technology to make the unimaginable a reality?
  • Is Twitter prominently used both in the public and private spheres where thoughts and collaborations know no international boundaries?
  • Are there state and local sponsored efforts to not only encourage, but assist financially with these collaborations? Or are they looked at with disdain … as something that comes from where elsewhere and doesn’t belong in its revered culture from the past?
  • Do state and local municipalities utilize technology that involve residents in civic decisions and corresponding operations?
  • Are today’s cities, towns and states collaborating with local NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to solicit ideas on how to make its residents leaders in the realities of the new Nomadic economy?
  • Are they creating contests to attract the best ideas from their best people to build their communities in ways that will benefit all its residents (not just the few in its primary industries)? And do these contests provide financial rewards and mentoring assistance?
  • And are their communities places where the country’s best and brightest would want to move to, to use not just their hands – but their minds; and not only use their minds for others, but to build companies of their own? If it’s not … then why not?

Imagine taking a portion of the money used for roads, curbs, gutters used to reinforce the idolization of the automobile. This money could be used to create a ‘Division of Cerebral Infrastructure.’ North Dakota has a state-owned entity called the Bank of North Dakota. Other states, and even local governments could do the same thing. Not everything has to go through Bank of America or Wells Fargo or Citibank or any other of those blood sucking Wall Street devils that have none of your residents’ wellbeing in mind.

Current I live in Montana. The state has a coal fund that grants or loans money (I’m not sure of the exact details) to businesses based in the state. In theory this is all well and good. In practice … not so much. You see Montana’s coal fund requires any recipient business to back it with collateral. That’s good for brick and mortar businesses like casino/convenience stores and car dealers that ironically don’t provide any real benefit since they just cannibalize other local businesses. But it’s not good for ‘new economy’ businesses and the self-employed like the ones Apple paid $10 billion to last year. It’s also is not good for ‘new economy’ firms like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and the ‘Nomads’ they provide opportunities to. These firms and those like them have raised ten of billions of dollars in venture capital over the last couple years.

This new ‘Division of Cerebral Infrastructure’ can’t act like a bank though. It has to act like a venture capital/private foundation morph. This division’s goal is not to make money directly though. It’s to help generate third-party economic activity which will in turn generate benefit for the community, some directly financial, but most in indirectly as a private business stimuli and resident wellbeing costs savings.

This concept is called obliquity: “the best way to achieve a goal when you are working with a complex system is to take an indirect approach instead of a direct one.”

From competition to ‘Resource Maximization’ using the multiplier effect

The fun part of this ‘project’ would be generating the ideas from the public. The “Division of Cerebral Infrastructure” could hold an annual contest with the applicant projects being voted on by the public via the web. A similar vision of this was implemented by LA2050, a non-profit initiative in Los Angeles that gave away $1 million in grants to winning projects focused improving and transitioning the city to the year 2050. Your community could do the same thing only on a more applicable scale (large or smaller). And the LA2050 people might even give you some advice setting it up (if you asked nicely).

If the public has to vote on it, then the presentations would have to be visually attractive and able to concisely communicate the vision of creators and the benefits to the public. Picture these like the way Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects present themselves. Maybe a contest like this would even bring back some expatriates who jumped the metaphorical ship for greener pastures elsewhere like the urban areas that do offer what they require. And imagine if projects that weren’t funded directly, gained attention and were financially ‘kickstarted’ via other means. Just another example of obliquity. This could go on and on once it got started. In fact, it would be hard to stop –especially if the contest became an annual affair.

When I was at school at the University Of North Dakota, my microeconomics class taught me about bank reserve multipliers. Every dollar put in a bank supposedly generates ‘x‘ times that in economic activity via loans, etc. And by depositing money in the “Division of Cerebral infrastructure” and investing or granting it locally this multiplier concept could become a reality that takes place in every community in the state. Imagine $100 million magically turning into a half of billion dollars. No offense to roads and bridges, but you ain’t seeing that kind of return in traditional infrastructure improvements.

Street fair posterize

But if you have to make physical improvements, don’t make everything so car-centric. The Millennial generation, the foundation of this new Nomad economy, wants bike paths and sidewalks and trees. They want ‘places.’ They want their towns, cities and neighborhoods designed for them and their fellow residents … not for cars. They don’t want to be an afterthought, a nuisance to the automobile culture of their parents and grandparents. Hell, maybe their parents and grandparents would even like these new ‘places’ too given the opportunity.

If a city doesn’t provide these amenities (or actually basics), they have NO hope of retaining their ‘best and brightest’ – let alone attracting them from elsewhere.

No matter the state, all cities, all towns and all neighborhoods are the same

ChangeYourMind

This conversation should be had in every state, every city and every neighborhood in this country and abroad. To rely on the same thinking that caused many of the issues we face today is a prescription of ‘more of the same.’ “Trying to solve traffic problems by building more roads is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger trousers.” It’s time for us to redefine the definition of public infrastructure. The infrastructure we need should be focusing on is what’s between the ears, the ‘Cerebral Infrastructure’ … not just what’s between the curbs and gutters.

It makes no difference if you’re in an official decision making capacity for your state or your city or town. Change can come from anywhere. In fact it normally comes from outside the established power structures and ‘ivory towers.’ Regardless it’s still your community. If you sit idly by and let the ‘same old’ become the future … there’s no one to blame but yourself.

Header image by L. Sean Key (Fargo)

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You can find me on Twitter at @clayforsberg and on Google+

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Collaboration 2.0 … “From Ideas to Action”

I originally wrote this post two years ago so some of the cultural references are out of date. But even after two years, I believe the message still applies. This is especially the case in many “groups” on Facebook and Google+. There’s a lot of extremely talented and well directed people lending excellent ideas.

But it seems as if these excellent ideas stay being that … just ideas.

If there was one trend I would say is leading on the backstretch of the trends of 2011 (can you tell it’s the day after the Kentucky Derby) – it would be crowdsourcing and collaboration. With each week the “getting everyone involved” movement gathers stream. We saw it, and still are, with the Arab Spring in the Middle East. We’re seeing it domestically too. Even”hard to change” corporations are jumping on the bandwagon. Coke is currently crowdsourcing their new theme song (under the guidance of Teio Cruz). And two weeks ago Lady Gaga announced she’s giving away millions at four New York charities voted on by her “Little Monsters.”

In theory, this collaboration movement seems great. Finally, the “little guy” is getting a voice.

“The chasm between ideas and action”

Aside from efforts by a few high profile organizations – I see a problem. How do you move this collaboration off the internet into action in the real world? Not everyone is Coke or a pop star like Lady Gaga.

In my experience, there seems to be a chasm between thoughts and ideas, and the implementation of these thoughts and ideas.

There are numerous great online forums and groups that accommodate collaborative vision formation – but where does it go from there? It seems everyone wants to give their opinion (myself included), but who’s actually going to do the real work making it happen.

Somewhere in the process someone has to have the plan to put these visions to practical use. And then who will do the dirty work of actually executing the plan. That’s the strength of traditional organizations. The ideas that come from them may be flawed … but they get implemented. Even the collaborative revolution we saw in Egypt, earlier this year (2011), didn’t fully take form until the Muslim Brotherhood and their existing organizational structure joined in. The students turned over tactical control to them in the decisive battle of the Kasr al-Nil Bridge which marked the turning point in the rebellion. (And in hindsight, it was the organization of the Brotherhood that carried them past the rebellion right into governmental control)

There is no shortage of great ideas that can probably change the face of our future. Unfortunately, most of them are just ideas – even though they may have hundreds if not thousands of contributors. But someone needs to “take the bull by the horns” and channel them into a productive movements.

At present, it seems those that have the worst ideas, those in positions of power – have the strongest organizations to implement these ideas. (Again in hindsight, we’ve just seen the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt only two years later)

What we need is an “implementation template.” A platform where our collaborative ideas can move from just ideas and visions to acting solutions. While we may want to discard the status quo with a ‘scorched earth’ policy – and start anew … it isn’t practical. We have to grab some of the old and use it however best we can – to change the world.

Serious implementation questions need be answered before even the best ideas can come to fruition.

Every movement, every challenge, has to have someone to lead the charge. Not everyone is a leader however, nor do they need to be. And the organizational structure needed to get things done doesn’t happen by crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing may uncover a leader – but they still have to lead and they must have a plan to do so. Also, will those intricately involved in the idea formation be willing to take a similar influential role in getting it done? And if they aren’t – then who will? These are just a few of the questions that will arise.

We have a unprecedented opportunity to take this place we live in … and make it a whole better for everyone. It’ll take more than just ideas though. That I believe will be the next step in the evolution of collaboration … or as I call it –  “Collaboration 2.0.”

I’d like to make this post a clearinghouse for ideas on how to develop this “implementation template” I alluded to. Please throw in your ideas in the comments on how we can do this. All input, pro or con, is greatly appreciated.

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You can find me on Twitter at @clayforsberg and on Google+

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Collaborating with Yourself …

Last week I wrote a piece called, “Diversity … Obama are you listening.” I wanted to take the topic of diversity and stretch it past just physical attributes; race, gender, ethnic origin and sexual persuasion. I wanted to bring attention to what I think its true definition is … diversity of the mind. While race, gender and ethnicity definitely contribute to one’s world view … there’s a lot more at play than that.

I believe sociological factors have as much to do with who a person is as genetics. It’s another take on the age-old debate of “nature versus nurture.” How can you tell me someone spending their life in New York or Chicago doesn’t have different views than one living in North Dakota. Or what about different economic worlds, or being homeless. Two years ago I moved from Los Angeles to a small town in Montana. I may as well have moved to the moon.

Exchange

These days collaboration is all in vogue. It appears that decision-making by the many will help show the way to the light. I suppose for some organizations that may be true. But really, doesn’t it all comes down to implementation.

The whole point behind collaboration is that different points of views working together will create a synergy where the result will be better than that produced by just one. Seems to make sense. In practice … maybe not so much. If you talk to any programmer they’ll tell you if you want to have a project take longer, bring in more people to work on it. The same can be true in other types of collaboration. Just by having more minds work on something doesn’t necessarily make it better or happen faster. Often its just the opposite.

Well how do we make collaboration work? This is where a diversity of thought comes in. It’s this diversity that will determine whether a collaboration yields synergy or just a substandard effort that takes twice as long.

“I have found that all positions men take in their beliefs are profoundly influenced by thousands of small, often imperceptible experiences that slowly accumulate to form a sum total of choices and decisions.” ~ Alvin Lustig

Ultimately, a person is a collection of experiences. These experiences are influenced by a plethora of factors; race, gender, geography, income level, and so on. The success of a collaboration is dependent on assembling a truly diverse collection experiences, all lending their unique interpretations to the end result. Whether or person is black or white, male or female means little if their experiences are the same. Two years ago I had my eyes opened when discussing the economy with a homeless man collecting cans and bottles for recycling.

Today on my morning walk I ran across a homeless gentleman collecting cans and bottles from a dumpster. I stopped and started a conversation with him which lasted about fifteen minutes.

We talked about a lot things – the weather, the oil spill and eventually the economy. Even though all the media outlets we’re saying we were coming out of the recession, his take on our economic conditions was that he thought things were getting worse. ”How did you come to that conclusion?” I asked him.

“Well … I see more cheap brands in the dumpsters than I used to. Even last year when things were supposedly worse, people stuck to their expensive stuff. But now it’s changed.”

Interesting, as thought walking away.

Check out the full piece: “Create your Internal Renaissance.” Only through the connecting of the seemingly connectable – does true creativity occur. And the broader our range of experiences are, the more likely this connection is to occur.

But what if a collaboration didn’t require more than one person. While optimally one would think, the more parties involved, the more experiences and greater the diversity of these experiences. Maybe so. But what if you were limited to just one party … yourself. If your life consists of living in the same place, associating with only people like yourself – your “self-collaboration” would be pretty boring … like your life. It’s no different from trying to come up with fresh ideas with people who are nothing other than clones of yourself.

“Create your Internal Renaissance.” Humans are creatures of habit. We tend to do the same things, associate with same type of people as us – and ultimately are influenced by the same sources as always. CHANGE IT UP!

Get out of your comfort zone. Try going places you don’t normally go. If you are a doctor, hang with a plumber. If you’re white, talk to a black person. Take the bus sometimes (no people on buses don’t bite). If you live on the west side, have dinner on the east side. And most of all – if your old (yes Boomers you are old), get some insight from someone young … someone that’s not your own kid.

Collaborating is a two-way street. Rather than worrying about what others can give to you  … concentrate on what you are going to give to them. What do you bring to the table?

And what you bring to the table is all about the diversity of your experiences.

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You can find me on Twitter at @clayforsberg

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Collaboration 2.0 (Part 2) … crossing the chasm!

Crowdsourcing is like herding cats. Everyone wants to go in their own direction – and seldom is it yours. Of course “crowdsourcing” is best added to a project that is already structurally sound w/ core stakeholders … we don’t always have that luxury. Thanks to Max Aetheling – for that bit of insight.

In my May 8 post, “Collaboration 2.0 … from ideas to action,” I discussed the chasm that exists between most collaborative thought efforts and the implementation of the results of these efforts. What’s needed is an “implementation template” to service as a guide to put these ideas and thoughts into play. Well after a few days of thought (sorry, just my own), I’ve come up with a rough out of this “template.” Here we go.

Turning ideas into reality

Before the actual collaboration begins – the stage needs to be set. It’s the job of the collaboration Founders to set the project direction before the rest of the collaborators, or Alliance, is brought on.

  • Define the general premise of what the collaboration is trying to accomplish. This could be an idea, a solution to a problem, or even a general societal benefit.
  • Breakdown the collaboration into components – or Milestones.
  • Determine who you want on your team – your collaboration Alliance. Cast a wide net. You never know where talent will come from.
Once the direction is set – then let the Alliance begin the collaboration.
  • Set up Yammer groups (or equivelent) for each individual Milestone. All members of the Alliance will be members of each groups. They can jump from “sandbox” (Milestone) to “sandbox” or stay primarily in one – whatever their preference.
  • Set a “ship it” date, a deadline. Take advantage of emotional momentum (like the Middle East rebellions). After the deadline – project implementation starts.
  • Create a narrative goal of what each Milestone should strive for. Tell a story. Don’t fall back on lists – make it real.
  • Conduct an active ideas forum. The flow is the responsibility of the Founders. Moderate the activity and keep the goals always in focus. Use a proactive approach for inactive or lagging members.
  • Once each Milestone narrative is set, then the Alliance is to breakdown implementation needs, timetable and determine who will occupy leadership, or Driver positions for each Milestone.
During the project formation the following issues need be addressed.
  •  Total resources needed – things, talent (not money)
  • What resources needed do we currently have – and how compensated
  • What additional resources needed do we not have – how compensated
  • How will the additional resources be obtained and by who
Once the Milestones are laid out, then the real fun begins. Either the current Alliance or a new operational Alliance needs to take it to the next level – and if appropriate, an ongoing concern. Well, that’s a discussion for another post.
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 These are just some thoughts. Feel free, actually I’d like it – if you threw in your  input. I need all the help I can get with those cats!