Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Month: March 2011

The Future Of Money And Technology; Monetizing Intangible Capital

The following video series was recorded at the Future Of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco on February 28, 2011. The name of this panel is Monetizing Intangible Capital. The speakers are Mary Adams (moderator), Art Brock, Greg Wendt, and myself. All six parts are posted below (8-10 minutes each) for public distribution, comments, and review.

I found this panel to be extremely interesting and especially valuable since these panelists represents an important cross section of professionals who are actually doing the hard work of designing, testing, developing, and producing specifications for the creation, storage, and exchange of what could represent a large percentage of the value in our global economy.  This discussion is not insignificant by any measure.

Mary Adams opened the panel with a remarkable statistic that 80% of our economy exists in the form of intangibles that do not necessarily show up in the balance sheet of the global economy – which is notably in crisis at this time.   Mary offers a working definition of Intangible Capital as consisting of 3 primary components: Intellectual Capital (the stuff between people’s ears), Relationship Capital (degrees of connectedness to a social network), and Structural Capital (tools, processes, and data).   Then, Mary adds a fourth category called Strategic Capital which includes planning, formulation, and scenario testing.

Mary then brilliantly guides the audience and the panel through 50+ minutes of high quality interaction addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time from the uprising in the Middle East, to Healthcare, Global Warming, Organic Food Production, and even the Internet Kill Switch – all these subjects become interconnected and relevant in this domain.

Art Brock introduces a set of very important ideas about how there is a vast amounts of “Value” that is not, and many never be, adequately articulated by a “monetary” system that exists today.  It is therefore necessary to capture value in a completely different manner involving higher forms of expression which, in turn, introduce a new “value system” that would better represents social priorities and the fair distribution of resources and associated wealth.

Greg Wendt introduces his work related to articulating the planet Earth as the “Meta Economy” under which the financial economy is merely a subset.  When accounted in this manner, humans are spending beyond our planet’s means to replace resources consumed.  As such, we cannot expect to arrive at a “Balanced Budget” by anyone’s definition unless we include a full accounting of Earth’s productivity.

I, myself (representing The Ingenesist project) suggest that there is a small flaw in market economics that can be corrected where the factors of production include a “knowledge inventory” rather that a material inventory of land, parts, and simple labor.  Such a knowledge inventory, if articulated in the correct format, can act as the basis of a social currency that may compete admirably with, if not fully replace, a vulnerable dollar based economy.

I was deeply impressed at how four highly recognized experts can approach a similar problem from four completely different directions and environments yet arrive at fully complementary set conclusions and subsequent solutions.  I encourage the viewer to watch the entire series as this is truly a rare meeting of minds.

Monetizing Intangible Capital Part 1/6

Monetizing Intangible Capital Part 2/6

Monetizing Intangible Capital Part 3/6

Monetizing Intangible Capital Part 4/6

Monetizing Intangible Capital Part 5/6

Monetizing Intangible Capital Part 6/6

The Mashup of Gamification and Collaborative Consumption

I found an interesting article by Kim Gaskins at titled: Where the Game Layer Really Counts: Sharing & Peer Communities.

I sensed some resigned frustration from her as she reflected upon a somewhat trivial nature of current innovation in this new social genre called “gamification”. Predictably, in the end, Gamification amounts to little more than feeding the advertiser’s insatiable addiction to that extra dose of personal data coursing through the veins of unbridled consumption capitalism.

She is not alone.

In reading her article, I was, however, stuck with a particular stroke of clarity. Kim provided the following diagram showing the intersection of Social, Economic, and Environmental reality that she calls the best gaming opportunity for business and societal benefit.

This is a very important observation. Kim identifies the intersection of three “communities” and suggests that a game opportunity may exist.  Even though the article appeared in community blog, she stopped short of saying “This is where you put the shared asset”.  So I’ll say it for her:

This is where you put a shared asset.

At the Ingenesist Project, we developed something called The Value Game that we are testing in several different business models. The value game is very simple: Three communities are brought together to interact around a shared asset.  Each community interacting with each other, while also acting in their own best interest, would be acting in the best interest of the asset.  The result, we expect, will be the preservation for optimum utilization rather than forest-to-dump consumption.

Meanwhile, the fact of interaction between these communities creates “social currency” that articulates the true social value of the asset. Where social currency is readily convertible to financial currency, the paradox of market capitalism is broken.

Kim’s observation is important – she is talking about a marriage between collaborative consumption and gamefication.  People need to watch this mash-up very closely and we must innovate in this domain very rapidly.  We will need millions of value games playing out in communities across the world if we are to hedge the inevitable implosion of financial currency while also preserving our most valuable shared asset for future generations.

Thanks Kim – you are on to something very important.

Can Advertisers Curate Themselves?


Get Real by Playing for Real

At the end of the day, any ad campaign needs to get real people to take real and tangible action.  Ideally, the advertiser wants to see the real effectiveness of a campaign in real numbers.

The Value Game is applied to a new jet charter start-up called Social Flights and offers an opportunity for advertisers to become part of the experience of the traveller, rather than a distraction to everybody. Instead of paying a website for click throughs, the vendor can pay the traveler directly to “click through” a catalog of products.  As long as your product is relevant to the travel experience, the traveller will be interested and engaged.

The Game is to be relevant and this is where Social Flights helps create the playing field.

Social Flights will collect data about a travelers intentions in a fully open agreement.   Travelers submit this data to the game with the explicit understanding that vendors will compensate them with relevant discount coupons.  Data are normalized so that the traveller is anonymous in every respect while still providing very rich intentions to the vendor.  Vendors can now target their value proposition with great precision.

What’s a Travel Trader Game?

This sets up a game where the traveler, when presented with many options, will plan their trip and influence their friends based on the perceived value of the options presented to them – it’s like holding properties on a Monopoly(TM) Board.   As the travelers play the game, the vendor is being discussed, researched, and propagated all across the web in real time and in real context with a tangible experience as the travelers decide what activities to pursue.

Win twice: Let People Game the Game

When someone “clicks” on the vendor proposition from their “experience environment” of travel, their intention to be interested, informed, entertained, and fulfilled by your product is much higher than in a off-experience “forced” impression.  When they compare, and even trade, coupons with their friends, a negotiation happens which influences a group of people.  These negotiations lead to discussions all across the Internet.  These discussions mean different things to different people so a fresh pool of customers is always on tap for the next round of play.

Why let Facebook own YOUR game when you can own it yourself?

Social Flights allows travelers to sell their data to vendors who, in effect, compensate the traveler with discount “option” that can only be exercised if the traveller (and their friends) makes a purchase.  Advertising is essentially FREE until the traveler exercises their discount option.  Even then, the advertiser has all the information that they need to determine the quality of the effectiveness their campaign and the effectiveness of a competitor’s campaign.  No matter whether you are the traveler or the vendor, how you play the game becomes YOUR intellectual property.  Patent that Facebook!

The Value Game

The Value Game (TVG) introduces a new class of business plans that will help communities to articulate social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital toward the production of goods and services.  The earliest versions were developed in a international education project in Mexico under NAFTA (1996-1997), and at The Boeing Company (1998-2008).  More recently, Social Flights  deployed TVG in 2009-2011, and CRManage in 2011-2013.

TVG is a multi-agent algorithmic game comprised of a shared asset and a collection of diverse players (agents) in whose individual best interest it is to preserve the asset (sustain play) rather than consume it (game over).   The proper selection of the asset and the proper grouping of the players defines the game incentives and payouts (sources and sinks).  Collaboration yields higher profit than competition.

General Form:

The following video describes an early version of The Value Game beginning with the Airplane Game and then generalizing the idea to include all shared asset communities.  Please note the final slide in the video inrtroduces the genesis of Curiosumé – or the Personal API that would be essential to automate The Value Game as a multi-agent algorithmic game.

 Case Studies:

Slide01The Ingenesist Project has tested The Value Game in several industries ranging from the Aviation industry to the Construction industry.

Aviation; Social Flights

Our first project called Social Flights was a ride sharing system for private aircraft.  The goal was to incentivize the self-organization of communities around available seats in private airplanes that were located anywhere in the US at any particular time. Constraints included weather, crew scheduling, aircraft availability, and daunting FAA/DOT regulations.  Social Flights was acquired in 2011.

 Construction Remediation;

TVG insuranceThe second project was called which organized condominium owners  and their surrounding community (banks, insurance, contractors, HOA, and extended community) around a multi-million Dollar renovation project.  It was set that all players had it in their best interest to converge on a successful project rather than diverge into dysfunction.  CRManage was acquired in 2013. A case study can be found in this article published in an influential Insurance Industry Website.  The Value Game; A New Class of Business Methods for Condominium Reconstruction.

Generalized Value Game:

In a generalized Value Game, each of the players in the game would be replaced by the personas of players using the Curiosumé platform.  Since the personas represent the intentions of a player relative to the shared asset in a digital form, they can then be processed by the WIKiD Tools algorithm in order to arrive at valuation.  As collections of communities interact in value games preserving many assets, the combined value can be aggregated into a single financial instrument such as a community bond which may underwrite the modern community currency.  

Specifications for building The Value Game:

The Value Game Spec UX copy


All comments welcome.  Material based on video series here

The New Definition of Innovation

Innovation is most often defined as a good idea that has a favorable economic outcome – in other words, you know it when you sell it.

I have seen Corporate executives glow red in the face shouting down top talent barking out; “It’s not innovation unless you can show me the money!”

In reality, you can’t see the money unless you can first see the innovation.

Nobody can solve one equation with two unknowns, i.e., what’s a new idea? and what’s an economic outcome? The trick is to identify the new ideas and direct them to the appropriate economic outcome, not the other way around. Many companies live in a silo where many good ideas can’t find a place to be profitable, so they are scrapped. This is not the fault of talent or the idea, but invariably both are lost.

An Innovation economy built on a platform of social media will collect the ideas existing in a community, outside the construct of the corporation, and distribute them to the most worthy economic outcome; maybe a corporation or maybe not – that’s not the point, Boss.

The existing definition of innovation is insufficient for use as a way to identify innovation in the present. There is no way to build an innovation economy upon a flawed definition and unpredictable value of innovative activity. This new interpretation will allow innovation to properly behave like a financial instrument.

Can Communities Curate Themselves?

The transportation industry encompasses all modes of travel, including air, rail, road, and water.  But if we take a more practical look, transportation systems simply collect randomized objects and sort them into collections of similar objects.  The transportation system then moves those collections to some other location and curates them back into randomized collections at the destination.

Now, let’s really tell the truth

Look at transportation again; something is removed from the hands of one person and placed into the hands another person. That’s it, everything else is sorting, moving, and curating.  An airport, connecting hub, baggage claim, destination terminal, parking garage, taxi pick-up, hotel shuttle are all in place to sort and curate packets of humans.  Multiple stations means multiple sorting or multiple curating.  People standing in line are just waiting to be sorted and curated – only to wind up scrambled.

What if the packages could sort themselves?

A nice bacon quiche for the holidays

What if people could sort themselves into the right collection already curated for their destination?  They could then be transported directly without the massive infrastructure of sorting hubs, stations, interstate highways, and rental cars.  Social media applications are tremendously powerful tools that are only now becoming sophisticated enough for people to sort and curate themselves.

Often, people like to think that scheduled airline flights are convenient and they are willing to get in line to be sorted. But at the end of the day, the same people are going to the same locations.  If the entire airline system were self-sorting, then the proper sized aircraft could be deployed to the proper sized market instead of artificially constraining supply and demand to meet the size of the airplane.  In fact, scheduling will improve without the friction of institutional sorting of people and planes.

Space, the final frontier

Social Flights is pioneering the concept that people can self-organize around their own communities and municipal airports without the need for hub terminals.

Social Flights is pioneering the concept that airplane operators can self-organize to bring the right airplane with the right performance characteristics to the right market flying point-to-point without the massive capital investment in infrastructure, gate contracts, and market scarcity.

Social Flights is pioneering the concept that communities can self-organize to accept travelers at the destination with their own businesses and services without the massive Wall Street fueled invasion of national hotels and portfolio managed services.

Collaborative Communities

Social flights is built on The Value Game where communities of people collaborate to share an asset.  Community transportation is an asset that people can gather around, that they can own, and that they can sort, curate, and create profit for themselves.  Join Social Flights in this important new mission.  Call us to see how we can help you, your travel tribe, or your destination community arrive at a common and lasting goal without subjecting yourself to the “sorting machine”

An Ode To Japan

A Familiar View From a Familiar Land

I was deeply moved by the events in Japan over the last several days.  I have spent many weeks over several years in that country from my work supporting All Nippon Airways with Boeing.  I have also experienced several earthquakes in Japan, obviously nothing like the most recent.

Throughout many of my writings, I talk about the integration of of knowledge assets, the integration of markets, and the integration of communities.  Yet here I reflect that there is likely no country as tightly integrated as Japan.  This is the reason why they are so resilient and will arise successful despite any adversity that they encounter.

Several years ago, I was in downtown Tokyo during a magnitude 5.4 Earthquake.  The central subway loop closed down and the feeder trains kept pouring people into the station – the streets filled to standing room only.

As the account manager for All Nippon Airways, I was amazed at the astonishing reliability that they achieved with the aircraft fleet.  Reliable airplanes are essential because transportation is tightly integrated; if the plane did not leave on time, the trains would keep dropping people off at the airport and it would quickly fill up to, again, standing room only.

I have worked with dozens of Japanese engineers.  They are an amazing group in themselves – they design for two or three levels of fault tolerance in all of their decisions because when things go wrong in Japan, they go very wrong.  Their airplanes are impeccable throughout despite severe service requirement. Airplanes leave on time or they are replaced, but they always deliver on their promise of safety and security. Many of the buildings are sacrificial; meaning that they may may no longer be useful after a big quake, but they will not fall.  The train station may fill up, but the trains won’t crash.

This mindset has permiated into all of their products.  Where Americans may see obsessive compulsive drive to higher degrees of quality for no apparent reason, the Japanese see solutions to problems that don’t yet exist.  They take deep personal responsibility for failures that are two or three levels deep in unlikely probability.

It is not surprising that the casualty numbers so far, while deeply tragic, are not what one would expect given the magnitude of the event – the Earth was knocked off it’s Axis by this temblor, but the Japanese were not.

I extend my deepest condolences to my many friends and colleagues of Japan and stand ready to help in any way that I can.

A Grand Central Value Game

A Grand Central Value GameFew people realize that there is nothing new about the Social Graph.  Facebook did not invent it – in fact, Graph Theory is a branch of discrete mathematics that was first developed back in the 1700’s by a Swiss Physicist named Leonard Euler.

Likewise, Zynga did not invent Game Theory.  Again, Game theory is a branch of Applied Mathematics with origins dating back to the 1700’s in a paper by James Waldegrave.

A Graph Theory and Game Theory Mash-up

It follows that The Ingenesist Project is not the first to mix graph theory and game theory to form A Value Game.  While I cannot pinpoint the first example of this, I did recently find an article in American Heritage Magazine Invention and Technology magazine about what appears to be an excellent early example of A Value Game.

Not So Grand Central Station

In the late 1800’s, New York City’s Central Train Station was clearly not so grand.  It amounted to a huge surface train depot with dozens of parallel lines and platforms covered by a huge structure that filled with smoke from the old steam engines.  The train yard bisected 17 blocks of neighborhoods where soot and ash rained everywhere.  The station created widespread urban blight and health issues for dozens of city blocks surrounding the terminal.

Politicians and the Railroad Companies tried to correct the problems but every proposed solution created ten more problems.  Too many trains, not enough land, technological struggles, funding, traffic, property values, pollution, safety, collisions, politics, noise, fires, were only a few of the problems in conflict.

A Grand Central Value Game

Today, Grand Central Station is a model of ingenuity resulting from a brilliant and engaging solution to a complex problem.  A remarkable Engineer named William J. Wilgus had created something that looks a great deal like a modern Value Game.

A Grand Central Value GameThree Dimensions to A Value Game

His first challenge was to pay for the construction of a new station.  His second challenge was to build the station without closing the existing station.  His third challenge was to not use any more land.

His solution was to bury the station.  He made the walls of his underground structure strong enough to support large buildings (now skyscrapers) above.  He then used the huge real estate market gains to finance the project

Grand Central Valley Game:

In this case, the very important railroad station was the shared asset.  Player 1 was the community (politicians) surrounding the station, player 2 was the real estate market, and player 3 was the railroads.  Each acting in their best interest collaborated to arrive at a solution to what was considered an impossible problem.

With the advent of Social Media and collaborative gaming technologies, “Value Games” may be created to solve many of the world’s most complex problems while also releasing vast amounts of value to a social system simply by reorganizing the same players on a three dimensional playing field interacting around any shared asset.

Model For The Mobility of Engineering Professionals Under NAFTA

I published the following paper in 1996 as part of my participation in the negotiations for mutual recognition of Engineering Professionals under NAFTA.  We had just completed a program that ultimately sent close to 200 Mexican Engineers to the U.S. NCEES Engineering Board Exams with the support of CETYS Universidad and The State of California BOPELS.  In short, the performance of Mexican Engineers on this exam was extraordinary.  Their pass ratio was comparable in every way (especially when language disparity was removed), to US engineers who took the same exams.

Model For The Mobility of Engineering Professionals Under NAFTA – Please follow this link for PDF: INCNE596

This work is highly significant because it represents original research toward what was likely one of the first modern attempts to trade ‘human knowledge’ like a financial instrument.  The idea was that Mexican, American, and Canadian Engineers would be allowed to practice engineering in the exchange of services across all three borders.  The hope was that the financial structure that supported the American and Canadian engineering profession as a vetting mechanism [for the technical risks details associated with major infrastructure projects] would transfer into Mexico.

Comparative Education

It is also significant because this may be one of the largest comparative education projects between the Mexican Education system in Engineering and the US engineering education system as measured by an established standard examination.  For example, data clearly showed an advantage in Mathematics for the Mexican engineers but a disadvantage in physics and chemistry – likely correlating to the cost of producing such education (labs and equipment) between the two systems.

Relative States of Development

It is abundantly conclusive that Mexican Engineers, and therefore the Country of Mexico, is highly capable of development and technology enterprise based on the education criteria in which America measures itself.    So when looking at the relative states of development between the two countries, the question arises; if the difference is not in the quality of engineers, then where is it? Of course, the answer does not surprise us when we see political turmoil as the source of most wealth disparity metrics.

Language Disparity

Finally, on a relatively minor discovery, this research measured a language disparity of approximately 15% in the speed that the engineer from Northern Mexico can accurately interpret an engineering problem expressed in technical English.  This is useful when planning timed exercises such as examinations where language differences are difficult to remove from the sample set.

Epic Value Game FAIL

As it turned out, the Mexican Negotiators did not accept the author’s recommendations presented here in stead adopting an MRD strategy that was highly restrictive to both the mobility of engineers and the vetting requirements of financial institutions. America literally handed Mexico the Knowledge Economy on a silver platter and Mexico refused.

This author argued in 1996 that Mexico would compete in the future with emerging economies such as China and Vietnam in the the low-value labor market rather than competing with, say, India for the highly valued knowledge market.   It is unfortunate that they chose the former.  I’ll leave my opinions as to why, for a future post.

Model For The Mobility of Engineering Professionals Under NAFTA

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