Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Month: February 2010 Page 1 of 2

Building Better Problems

The solution to any problem is entirely dependent on how the problem is defined. Likewise, redefining the problem, exposes huge opportunities for new solutions.

In Fact, a great deal of innovation arises not from a clever solution, but from a clever new definition of a problem.

For example, “build a better mouse trap” has entirely different outcome when one simply changes the definition of the word “trap”.

Manufacturing Problems.

Commercial Air Transportation, for example, was once lauded as a “Time Machine” because airplanes could carry a person into “a future” that was otherwise impossible to emerge in, or to a “past” that would never have been witnessed by any other means.

However, solving this problem created many more problems such as runways, infrastructure, car parking, noise, oxygen, crashing, etc. Diligently, we went about solving those problems as well. Unfortunately, solving each of those problems created a host of new problems. Today we’re down to solving the 3.0 ounce of toothpaste rule and the flammable underwear problem.

At some point we need to ask if we are manufacturing problems with every new solution. At what point is innovation taking us backwards? How prevalent is this human trait and does it have anything to do with the financial deficit?

Redefine the Problem

One of the greatest opportunities of Social Media (which is rarely cited by the experts) is the opportunity to redefine problems in the context of social media. Using our airline example, we know that commercial aviation arose from WWII as a response for bringing troops to static battle fields with such dynamic machines as the DC3. This worked great after the war too!

Today we still treat people as static and airplanes as dynamic. Suppose we were to redefine the problem so that people are dynamic and the airplane is static?

Think about it, people go about their life with work, family, and friends. Then they hop into a long aluminum tube, tie themselves down and sit there doing nothing. After a few hours, they emerge from the tube to go about their life, work, family, and friends. The aluminum tube is static, not dynamic – it’s a time machine, remember?

The opportunity, therefore, is for people to self-aggregate using social media around locations, schedules, and events related to life, work, family, and friends. The market could then supply the correct size aluminum tube to meet the need of the community. After all, wouldn’t it be easier to move one airplane to meet the ‘market of many’ rather than trying to move the ‘market of many’ to meet one airplane?

This may sound trivial now, but don’t underestimate the creativity of social entrepreneurs to build a better problem to solve.

Should Educators Command an Equity Position in Students?

The idea that a mentor may take an equity position in a protege is not new – it happens in families and extended families as elders are fully aware that the children will provide for the family in the future. The connection is not to hard to grasp that it’s in everyone’s best interest to help the kids – all of the kids. This is the social contract.

Somehow that connection gets lost when everyone is competing for the same set of limited jobs and everyone is responding to the pressures of insurmountable debt to banking institutions.

As Social currencies begin to replace the decaying monetary currency, a new set of social instruments will arise. The scope and range of new social contracts is unlimited and should be expected to increase substantially. These social contracts will become tangible in a communities and may he used in a system of trade that stores and transfers knowledge efficiently in a community.

If a father can teach a son how to become successful in the family business, why can’t a community of fathers teach a community of sons to be successful in a community of businesses? This may need to happen whether we like it or not.

The Interesting Thing About Interest Rates

Money represents human productivity, but the interest on money represents risk. This means that the lender collects interest because that represents the risk that they assume in departing from their money. Meanwhile productivity fluctuates naturally and can be affected by a many external forces.

The problem is that risk can never be negative, therefore interest rates can never be negative – that is called “breaking he buck”. Risk is a measure of volatility, or, “deviations from what is considered normal”. While there is certainly good deviations and bad deviations, there can never be a “negative” deviation from normal – it is a mathematical impossibility, a glitch.

The result is that productivity must always be driven up and up and up – sometimes in unnatural ways, such as forcing consumption. Constant production is unacceptable – it must always increase. Vacations, free time, family time, and leisure are not acceptable. What if we had a currency that could accommodate a negative interest rate?

What is the Secret Sauce of Innovation?

Most studies on Innovation study the to 99th percentile human in the hope of discovering the “secret sauce” of wealth creation. One such study identifies 5 discovery skills and conclude that the top innovators are also in the top percentile for all these skills. What a surprise that the top university would conclude that they – and people like them – were the secret sauce of all wealth creation.

But what about the rest of the world? What about the individuals and teams of people who actually carry out the plans of those great people? Are they relegated to the footnotes or is there a way for two or more people to simulate the attributes of a 99th percentile person?

This video argues that a 6th discovery skill is the ability to recognize one’s weaknesses AND the strengths of another person. This takes humility and an knowledge inventory of one’s community. Given the ubiquitousness of the persistent economic crisis, ostensibly managed by those paragons of intellect, the masters of the 5 discovery skills – we may need a new way of building so-called “consensus” about what innovation is and who the innovators are.

(I did fail to point out in this discussion that the ability to network with similar people is a distinctly different than the ability to network with dissimilar people. As such, the 5th discovery skill and the 6th are distinct)

Social Currency And The Innovation Bank

'Innovation and Growth, Chasing a New Frontier' book launch(2)The real estate market is trashed, money markets are unstable, commodities are in the tank, the banking system is corrupted to the core, inflation is looming around every corner, and the politicians are engorging themselves in a game of Cerebral Gridlock.

Literally, there is no safe place to put your money. Instead, people are investing their productivity in social media – social media is simply a storage device for knowledge assets. Soon it will become a stock exchange for knowledge assets. Investors should not take this lightly – the best place to store your money is in the real productivity of real people.

People are trading knowledge assets in social media. This exchange is denominated by a conversational currency. If we consider the structure of conversations and compare that to both the structure of social networks AND the structure of our financial system, we see a huge opportunity to develop an alternate financial system that can capitalize and securitize knowledge assets in social media.

Music by Phil Felicia

A Community of Knowledge Assets

A Community of Knowledge AssetsOur culture organizes itself around winners and losers. Corporations reflect this competitive nature to the core of their Capitalist doctrine. Sports analogies abound across the enterprise straight through to the HR department always on the lookout for the most amount of superstar for the least amount of money.

Social media has every industry trying to understand the concept of community. Among the most difficult ideas to grasp is that knowledge assets in a community live on a bell curve, not in winner and loser columns. Everyone is an expert at something and nobody is an expert at everything. Someone who is not performing adequately is simply a misallocated asset, not flotsam subject to jettison at the next layoff or outsource “opportunity”.

A Community of Knowledge Assets

Like most assets, there is a perfectly legitimate market for everyone in a community – nobody need be excluded, marginalized or laid off. Social Media is turning the tables on the hierarchy and old winners who don’t play by the new rules quickly become the new losers. Maybe we ought to run our economy like a community instead of losing so badly at trying to be a winner.

A Community of Knowledge Assets

Breaking The Monopoly on Money

Hundreds of community currencies are forming across the globe. Gaming currencies are jumping back into reality. Europeans communities are calling for the authority to print their own money arguing that the fractional reserve system is like trying to recover from a war by waging more war (a novel thought).

Many people doubt that the dollar has more than a decade or so of steam left as the interest on debts mythically exceeds the total amount of money on Earth (at least in my world). Yet banks march on, heading straight for the cliff.

Governments are polarized against themselves (and in cooperation with other governments) to solve the problem – except by reducing services to the people. But isn’t this why Governments exists in the first place? Are they suggesting their own elimination? Of course not, so they issue press releases worth about as much as the photons they are printed with.

Meanwhile, corporate media is trying to dominate (and subdue) social media….ultimately, the end game will be the other way around. This short video invites the status quo to look at what people are “doing and saying with their productivity”

Social Media as a Vetting Mechanism


Where the vetting mechanism fails, the system fails. This has happened in countless instances from the current financial crisis to nearly every product, market, environmental calamity, or political failure in recorded history – the referees who were supposed to keep their eye on the ball, did not. Likewise, where a vetting mechanism is effective, the system is efficient.

EBay does little more than defend the vetting mechanism (feedback system) and entrepreneurs do the rest. The credit score allows companies and people to capitalize and securitize assets. The US legal system keeps the game of commerce as fair as practical. Police officers and school boards keep our society safe and smart. We often overlook the importance of vetting in our communities.

Today, we find severe problems in finance and government and people are investing their knowledge assets in social media as the place to “store and exchange” their present and future productivity – instead of debt. As such, social vetting is taking many different forms to validate, qualify, and quantify those assets.

While the progression may not be noticeable, there will be a tipping point where the medium has built enough trust that it can support a currency. This new currency needs to be only a little bit more “trustworthy” than the currency it will replace. This is the point where knowledge becomes tangible.

Video: The Calculus of Global Outsourcing

calculus-failPicture credit

The knowledge economy is a completely different asset than the industrial revolution’s Land, labor, Capital economy. Yet, our modern accounting systems and even our definitions of terms such as innovation, work, employment, education, are built from industrial era or military logistic roots.

Modern Globalization is a system – it must be analyzed like a system. Data, Information, knowledge, and Innovation are profoundly related in a system. If you take away one of the components, the others become worthless.

When we outsource our knowledge economy, the innovation economy is exterminated. The Ingenesist project specifies an Innovation Economy built on social media which will capture the knowledge inventory of communities – let’s hope that we have not forgotten how to build an ….

Video; Will Social Capitalism Replace the Corporation?

mysocialnetwork Meet the new Org Chart

A corporation is simply a legal entity – otherwise, it is fictitious. A corporation is made up of people who have a social agreement among themselves to do what is in the best interest of the legal entity.

There is very little about a corporation that cannot be duplicated in social media. This calls into question the nature of social media vs. the nature of corporations.  Here we uncover a third pillar to the US economic recovery; Social Capitalism.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén