Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

Tag: Innovation Economy Page 1 of 5

Plenty of Work But Where Is The Knowledge?

Millions of people are looking for Jobs.  Meanwhile, employers complain of a chronic “skills mismatch” that prevents them from hiring people or initiating new innovations.

When an engineer is laid off from an airplane manufacturer, a company like Starbucks has no idea what that person knows even though aircraft and milk steamers have a great deal in common from the perspective of the Engineer (both are pressure vessels subject to extreme environmental conditions).

The same is true for a marine engineer, and HVAC engineer, or an electrostatic coating machinery engineer.  Each of these disciplines has far more in common than they have differences.  However, if you compare the descriptions for any of these jobs, they sound like they all happen on different planets.

God forbid you are not an expert on MS Excel, which only takes a few hours for almost anyone to learn – yet not tagging that radio button can negate 20 years of experience that only 1% of people have the desire, discipline, and intellect to achieve.

The same holds true for many talents and professions. There are serious problems with the way that we discern the supply and demand for knowledge assets.

What is needed is an intermediate knowledge inventory in the commons that everyone can index to.  So when an engineer tags “pressure vessels” the term registers into the resident ontology of all observers.

Why is this better?

Of course companies are trying to eliminate variance and risk by hiring a person who has been trained by someone else – preferable a direct competitor.  On the other hand, the mantra of modern business is to innovate.  Innovation does not happen by duplicating yesterday’s ideas. Mixing diverse combinations of knowledge assets, and not all common knowledge assets, accelerates the process of Innovation.  Think of all the music that is yet to be created for lack of musicians to play the different instruments.

An intermediate knowledge inventory solves both problems by allowing companies to introduce diverse knowledge assets without introducing irrelevant knowledge assets.  It also gives people far more mobility to pursue specialties that they are most talented and interested in.  As such, the allocation of knowledge assets would improve to match supply of knowledge with the demand for knowledge in an innovation economy.

There is not a shortage or work, only a shortage of knowledge about knowledge.  

The Science of Change

Calculus has been called the greatest achievement of the human mind.  Yes, it is a little difficult to understand … until one day it becomes the simplest, most obvious, and glorious form of expression ever imagined.  Like a musical instrument, there is a point where all the symbols and lines can disappear and the artist can express himself or herself in the medium of the art – leading to many more great achievements of human mind.

The Science of Change

Calculus is amazing because it can make the invisible visible.  From sub-atomic particles, gravity, silicon circuits, diffusion of medicine through cell walls, to the discovery of new planets in distant solar systems – none of which are directly visible to the observer, yet their existence enables human imagination, innovation, cooperation, and social development at the most fundamental form.

Changing Wall Street

Wall Street lives quite comfortably in our homes, political system, our food , and our occupations – without being seen directly. Wall Street is utterly invisible.  Most of their work doesn’t even happen on Wall Street.  How did they accomplish this?  How were they so successful in occupying Main Street without being seen?

The Trojan Proxy

Wall Street is a mathematical construct – it exists in the form of symbols and numbers, or, “proxies” for making stuff – but not the actual stuff itself.   That is the vulnerability that we can easily exploit.  If we are smart, we can dismantle Wall Street brick by brick and they will happily walk right through the door because “our door” – the knowledge asset inventory – can be made indistinguishable from any other “proxy” for making stuff.  (I write extensively on this strategy in the prior posts).

There is a bigger message here that I hope does not get lost in the clamor.  There is likewise a very easy way to occupy Wall Street, however, it’s going to take a little mathematical cleverness. How do we make them visible to us and ourselves invisible to them.

The key is that we need to change ourselves. We need to transform, not them.  We don’t need to occupy Wall Street, we simply need to occupy Main Street because that is where they occupy us.  It is not enough to marvel at our numbers, civil disobedience, and cardboard signs.  We need a Science of change so that we can do so.

Collaborative Consumption Is Here To Stay

There is a persistent myth that a “financial deficit” is looming to destroy all that fall in it’s wrath.  The only deficit is the inability for Money – as we know it – to articulate the value that is created in and by communities.

Social Flights is a new venture that combines cutting edge social technology with the universal truth that collaborative consumption of even the most complex system increases the efficiency of that system.

Social Value as a financial instrument

Social Flights attempts to demonstrate the inevitable – social value can and will be convertible to financial value. Social value can and will enter the balance sheet.  Social Value will not only impact the bottom line – it will become the bottom line.

The Invisible Hand of Social Capitalism

Social media is emerging as a dominant force behind economics, global politics, innovation, and community organization. Meanwhile; it is the art and science of finance that has failed to keep pace with technology.  Social Flights introduces a new class of business methods that can close this gap.

Social Flights sorts people and airplanes with data, not financial infrastructure.  The Value Game provides incentives for communities to organize themselves around travel and transportation assets.  So instead of forest-to-dump consumerism, a shared asset is preserved by a community for the greatest service life possible.  Social Flights demonstrates this with an airplane; however, a hotel, car, tour package, or a trade show/convention are quickly pulled into their own value game cycle given the airplane game playing out in proximity to them.  In fact all “assets” – social, intellectual, creative, or financial – can be pulled into their own value games in response to those acting around them.

Travel: An Ideal Benchmark Industry

We are starting with travel. Specifically, air transportation because of it’s complexity, high profile, and significance to most people and industries. Furthermore, corporate jets are beautiful, awe inspiring, controversial, and conjure the image of power and grace.  Most importantly, travel is pivotal enterprise and the best system for the diverse high-value transfer of new ideas to occur.

Nothing economic can happen until people get together to build something

The value of most commercial activity may ultimately become dependent on the quantity and quality of the data emerging from the millions of Value Games playing out in communities across the globe. Any and all shared assets – from public infrastructure to money itself – can be shared collaboratively in hugely profitable Value games.

New to the Public Domain

Nothing like this has ever been put together before so there is certainly much to learn.  Many people will fail to recognize where we are going with this. However, the rewards will be high and the implications will be vast if we are successful. There will be an extraordinary amount of knowledge to be share to the public domain.

Collaborative consumption is here to stay because it represents a higher value economy than forest-to-dump consumerism.  The financial deficit is simply the inadequacy of Money to articulate Social Value – not the inadequacy of people to be happy, creative, and productive in their communities.


Social Networks and Innovation Banking

'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 Gridlock.

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 in social currency. If we mimic the structure of the Financial System with the emerging structure of Social Value Systems, we see a huge opportunity to develop an alternate financial system that can capitalize and securitize knowledge assets in social media.

Ingenesist.com

Music by Phil Felicia

American Day Dreams

As we discuss many times in this blog; human knowledge assets include combinations of intellectual capital, social capital, and creative capital. Of course nobody can survive without all of these elements, however, I am continuously amazed at the power of the last and most important element; Creative Capital.

This video is from an extraordinary Seattle Musician named Aaron English. I have known Aaron for several years and follow all of his work. He is always up to something completely interesting. Aaron can say more in 4 minutes that I can say in 100 blog posts.

Artists and musicians have what I call “communication density”. They are the true innovators among us.  They can combine so many different concepts, media forms, and objects to produce something completely new and interesting. Artists create value. I rely heavily on the artists for my day dreams.

Please enjoy this video – American Day Dreams. Watch it several times. Don’t forget to daydream

Death By Résumé

Résumé: A French word for separating the body from the brain

We are entering a renewal in the work force. The global imperative is for the United States to become an innovation economy now. This is an entirely different animal than the Industrial revolution; I have long argued that the résumé system is by far the most archaic knowledge management “currency” of trade in use today.

The entire premise of the résumé is destitute, if not destructive, in the modern world. Words on a computer screen are a very low level ‘media form’ being used to describe a very high ‘media form’; social, creative, and intellectual capital. It’s like using crayons to design an aircraft.

If the key words are so important, why have any other words?

A manager always hires people that remind them of themselves. They estimate the future success of a candidate based on their own limited, and often static, past experiences. The world is moving so fast and has become so complex that no manager can possibly know enough to capitalize the future based on a viable statistical sample of past experiences – we’re all holding on for dear life in a hurricane of change. The problems and opportunities of the future are so huge, so important, and happening so amazingly fast yet the allocation of human resources is worse than random for a candidate pool.

Here are a few comments that I’ve picked off some recent Human Resources Community Blogs:

***

1. And our future goes with it:

“Most recruiting systems I’ve seen screen out innovators. Any résumé that is unique, different or convention-defying gets surreptitiously put in the junk pile.”

2. Start by looking in the junk pile:

“The Innovation Economy requires that the talent that creates the most value for an organization must rise to the top. Innovators are playing an increasing role in creating shareholder value – one might argue that they create the most shareholder value these days – and figuring out how to find and attract this very different breed of talent is one of the most critical initiatives you can launch within your organization.”

3. What part of “share holder value” are we having difficulty with?

“The most innovative people I have ever met don’t follow conventions in their experience or in their résumé. Or, they get bored very quickly when they can’t innovate or are forced to focus on operations, and efficiency. Most might look like (and even be) job hoppers”

4. Here is my favorite comment – I wish I could hug this person:

“I think it takes more than a résumé to screen an Innovator in or out. As blogs, blog posts, social networking, more powerful search tools, personal websites, the emergence of video on the web, talent platforms that offer CRM, etc. etc. etc. continue to become additional tools for an employer to consider in making a hiring decision, is the résumé still a currency for a candidate?”

***

We have an inventory and CAD model of every nut, rivet, and panel that goes on an airplane – why would we try to build anything without one?

So Please, let’s evolve out of the revolutionary times and develop a real community knowledge inventory. It must be computer enabled and based on a taxonomy that everyone knows and understands. It must be read, analyzed, sorted and vetted by social networks and communities of practice. It must integrate with knowledge assets from anywhere in the world.

What’s Your Cut of the $5 Trillion Knowledge Economy?

People accumulate a wealth of knowledge in their lives as they pass from project to project and industry to industry.  Each of our social, creative, and intellectual pursuits and exposures combines to form the person who we are and the contribution to society that we represent.

Your knowledge and experience also helps others predict what preferences you may have and what decisions you may make. Corporations, advertisers, banks, insurance companies, and politicians all want to know this and they will go to extreme and expensive measures to get it – why not just sell it to them?

Peace sells, but who’s buying?

Management of companies, little league teams, Rotary Clubs, even raising a family, is extremely valuable knowledge to a wide variety of situations. Civic service, spirituality, military service, and philanthropy provide a basis for a host of knowledge attributes.  Academic accomplishment, physical achievement, artistic expression, manual dexterity, and whole body coordination provides great insight to the application of all knowledge.  Physical challenges, grief, personal struggles, and the experience of injustice further add to the wealth of knowledge one accumulates in a lifetime.

Every person is unique with a different set of knowledge than any other; therefore, everyone has something to offer to someone else.   Each person’s combination of formal and informal education is valuable in it’s uniqueness.  With the proper system and incentives in place, trillions of dollars are on the table to bid for access to your knowledge.

The Den of Thieves:

The resumes that we post on Monster.com are woefully inadequate and so heavily gamed that predictive utility related to your future decisions and innovative capacity is severely compromised.

The credit score also measures past behavior by tracking negative events; many of which are outside the control of the subject such as a layoff, fraud, medical emergencies, etc.  Again, the credit score is quite useless as a predictor of future decisions and innovative capacity.

Now we have Social Media and the mad scramble to be visible in social media space.  The scourge of marketers, spammers, and fraudsters are close behind chasing your information that they are all too happy to sell to the aforementioned “clients”.

Take a Step Back … and get a grip

We are talking about your information that describes your knowledge attributes which predicts your preferences, your future decisions, and your innovation.  Yet complete industries exist to collect it from you for free, organize it, and sell it to others for a great deal of money.  There are 5000 job boards collecting resumes, 300 Million credit scores being securitized by Wall Street, and 12,000 social media sites aggregating your creative content, relationships, and knowledge attributes.

Join The Ingenesist Project:

The Ingenesist Project specifies a system where your knowledge attributes are expressed in a packet of code that you control, distribute, regulate, withhold and track as you wish.

The result is that you will be paid to learn, to know, to practice, and to participate in life as you wish.  It becomes in your best economic interest to produce exactly what you are best at, and have a talent for producing.  It will be in the best interest of corporations, marketers, Wall Street, insurance companies, and Politicians to support you in these pursuits so they can “farm” the knowledge today that will buy their products tomorrow.

The Definition Of Innovation Must Change

Innovation is currently defined as “A new idea that has a favorable economic outcome”.  The problem is that nobody can solve one equation with two unknowns, i.e., what’s a new idea? and what’s the economic outcome?  By this definition, you can only identify innovation after it has occurred.  So, it’s not very useful – in fact, it is a tragic definition and it must be scrapped immediately.

The trick is to identify the new ideas and direct them to the appropriate economic outcome, not the other way around as many companies and agencies try to do.  Most good ideas can’t find a place to be profitable in a silo, so they are scrapped. This is not the fault of talent or the idea, but invariably both are lost.

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.

Social Capitalism and The Innovation Bond

We know the Venture Capitalists look for returns of 1000% on their investments. We also know that Corporate innovation (as reflected by the S&P 500) enjoys a long term median return rate of about 9-10%

It follows to reason that all of the innovation that could return somewhere between 10% and 1000% goes largely un-capitalized. This does not mean that the innovation does not exist – it only means that it is invisible to any existing financial system, it is accounted as “intangible” – or worse, it shows up as a liability.

Parents caring for children, Children caring for elderly parents, Mentors educating proteges, groups of people organizing, sharing knowledge, and growing families – all increase the net productivity of society. Legions of people creating options and opportunities for themselves and each other in communities, social media, and extended networks – all increase the value stored in communities.   Billions of people-hours inventing better ways to do the things that they do, compensating for the shortcomings of governments and corporations – all of this innovation falls into the range between 10% and 1000% ROI, yet, remains invisible and un-capitalized.

Social media as a whole is growing at well over 200% per year where every single interaction creates incremental multiples of social value – otherwise people would not do it (to say that people are irrational is to say that markets are irrational).  Where is all that value going?  Meanwhile, in the current Global financial debt crisis, institutions that hold huge amounts of cash are scouring the globe for pockets of low-risk productivity as sanctuary from volatile financial markets.

Now, suppose that an innovation bond were to come along which produces a risk adjusted return of, say, 15%. This means that human productivity is being reliably increased somewhere in a community by only 15% per year. If this were the case across a broad sector of inter-related communities where productivity were denominated in a fungible currency, investors would seek refuge in the Innovation Bond.  If the Innovation Bond returned say, 20% or more – all the money in the world may drop the debt based currency in favor of the innovation based currency by seeking refuge in innovation bonds.  Yes, I said it – “all the money in the world”.  Now, get over it.

Proceeds would be distributed to organized communities whose knowledge inventory is formatted like a financial instrument in the form of entrepreneurship. Proceeds would go to communities where the probability of success is known long before the bets are made in the form of Cheap Venture Capital. Proceeds would go to communities where productivity is defined by an un-corruptible algorithm through decreased volatility coefficients. Proceeds would go to communities where assets are valued accurately by true supply and true demand.  Proceeds would go to less developed communities with the highest social arbitrage potential rather than those with the most powerful marketers and lobbyists.  Most importantly, money would go to corporations that adopt the innovation economy. The stronger the institutions of Social Capital become, the greater the value of an innovation bond.  New production of goods and services would reflect these social priorities in the True Value Game.

In effect, Social Priorities will drive Wall Street priorities instead of Wall Street priorities driving Social Priorities – that is Social Capitalism

In the future, there will be only one sustainable investment left – people, communities, and their natural willingness and ability to be productive with their time. The rest is history.

***

Material based on video series here

Cluster Funk

I recently attended another one of those economic development summits where a bunch of people with long titles gets a chance to speak on a panel touting the mysterious benefits of a mysterious innovation clusters that create mysterious wealth that can only be realized if their mysterious department is funded.

Nearly every speaker concluded with the following paraphrase: “if only government would fund this or that, everything will be fine”, or, “if only corporations would fund this or that, then we’ll all be better off”

Uhmmm…sorry to break the news, it ain’t gunna happen.

Innovation clusters are all the rage in regional economic development circles. Actually, they are “industrial clusters” because several companies in similar industries collocate in the same geographical area. The industrial cluster then attracts supporting industry and often causes the migration of educated and motivated people to the prospect of jobs. I suspect the ‘innovation’ moniker comes from the notion that new ideas will somehow result from similarity of ideals and purpose.

Group Think Tanks

There are, however, a few drawbacks to industry clusters; they are vulnerable to stagnation, silos, and external shocks. As companies become organized and technologies mature, patents and trade secrets take hold. As they ‘go public’, SEC regulation effectively places a gag order on everyone and sharing slows while stagnation sets in.

Soon after, dozens of nimble companies consolidate into a single giant to achieve economies of scale. Finally, silos form under the weight of multiple layers of management while jobs are mechanized or outsourced.

Then, something somewhere happens to shock the cluster; the end of the cold war leveled the So Cal aerospace cluster. 9/11 busted the Seattle Aerospace cluster. The dot.com bomb stunted Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Route 128. Hurricanes and environmental disasters hit the petroleum cluster, stem cell and genetic engineering legislation stalled biotechnology, and corruption continues to shock financial institutions. At the end of the cycle, companies divest, people defect and a new planet starts to form someplace else.

Remember “scrubbing bubbles”?

While occasional cleansing, in a Schumpeterian sense, is good for industries, the extreme volatility takes a horrendous toll on that invisible turbine of the economic engine – social fabric. Families, friendships, professional networks are strained or collapse and those who dedicate their life to a career path – the pure innovator themselves – can be left marginalized by obsolescence.

The term “Innovation Clusters” makes for a good soundbite for politicians because it fits on the “Jobs R Us” banner they can stand in front of (thumbs up) for the next election cycle.   The term keeps funds flowing to organizations to publish studies that conclude that more studies are needed. Maybe these summits ought to be renamed to Cluster Funks because that is largely what they actually promote.

Let’s Argue About the Definition of Productivity Instead

Many arguments rage because of poor definitions to terms. If people cannot agree on a definition, they will not agree on much else. A definition should be definitive – here I will tackle 5 of the most elusive definitions that are at the center of much, if not all, global controversy: Data, Information, knowledge, innovation, wisdom

To state the obvious

It should be obvious that data, information, knowledge, innovation and wisdom are related. The test is simple: if you corrupt one of them, all the others become corrupted. The question becomes; how are they related?

Consider the following definitions

Allow me to provide the following 4 relationships:

1. Information is derived from the productivity of data

2. Knowledge is derived from the productivity of information

3. Innovation is derived from the productivity of knowledge

4. Wisdom is derived from the productivity of innovation

These relationships are very useful.

1. They include everyone, they exclude no one.

2. They are personal enough to reflect individual value system yet discrete enough to not contradicting the value system of another.

The question now resides in how we define productivity, that is a much simpler, more efficient, and far wiser problem to be arguing about. Besides, a singles solution solves 4 problems.

Financial Currency vs. Social Currency

The difference between the current economic paradigm and the next will balance on the difference between financial currency and social currency. Let me explain:

The flawed calculation

Obviously, the Gulf Oil Spill was a result of a flawed calculation. As a result, the rig was not equipped with an “acoustic trigger” in the event of an explosion – should the dying surface workers fail to hit the manual cut-off – this device would automatically shut the well.   The device costs 500,000 dollars.

The estimated damage at 1 month of constant spilling was estimated at 14 Billion dollars with no solution in sight. The residual social cost in unemployment, health and destruction of social fabric could easily double that score. The long-term cost to industries and natural ecosystems could double that number again.

Score: 500,000 dollars vs. 50 Billion dollars; The financial currency to social currency ratio = 1: 100,000

Ted Nugent, a fervent and vocal Republican, Tea Party spokesperson, 2nd amendment activist, hunting enthusiast, and hard rock guitarist accuses this nation of losing it’s culture of accountability. His quote on CNN this weekend “I never had a fire, but I have a fire extinguisher in every room of my house. The spill was a criminal act of negligence”. In this case, I would have to agree with ‘The Nuge’.

Accountability is a calculation

When a company performs a cost benefit analysis, they look at the remediation cost of peril and the cost of mitigating peril and the probability that the peril will occur. The problem arises from the valuation of remediation cost; quoted in financial dollars “subject to litigation” when it should be actually be quoted in social currency. Litigation risk is not a proxy for social currency.

In the example of the Gulf Oil Spill, this equation was off by a factor of 1:100,000. Every other possible failure calculation that could have occurred was likewise flawed by the same ratio. Therefore, there is 100% probability that none of the perils were properly mitigated, hence, accountability was zero. I am sure the 11 workers who perished would have agreed.

Scraping the Deep Web

So what would accountability look like? We see that Social Media, in general, provides a remarkable system to punish low integrity and reward high integrity. Could this medium of exchange in social currency provide an accountability standard to hedge financial currency?

If Facebook can map the human consumption genome, technologists certainly have the data scraping ability to develop a true value calculator that can compare financial value to social value for any venture, prior to the venture being executed. In fact, we should be able to predict what ventures are more likely to occur given the relative values of social and financial currencies. The fear, of course, is that this will hurt business.

True leverage calculator

A true value calculator would, in fact, be better for business because it improves business intelligence shifting opportunities to meet true market demand. A true value calculator would not eliminate markets, it would liberate the true demand of a market. And if that is not enough, consider the 100,000:1 market leverage that the trade in social currencies could have over financial currencies.

Now that’s a business to consider!

Georgism; When Old Ideas Become New Again

Henry George was discredited for many ideas which are now emerging in with the increased economic influence of Social Media, social capitalism, trade of limited natural resources, and the trade of social currencies in reaction to the demise of financial currency.

The new film “The End of Poverty?” begins with the same question which Henry George asked in P&P:

Why does poverty become a deeper problem as a society becomes more prosperous?

While times and technology are far different than 110 years ago, early ideas are sometimes essential to peel back the complexity and look for the “truisms” that drive the Human Condition. Only then can we find both our common ground and our common direction.

From WikiPedia: Henry George (September 2, 1839October 29, 1897) was an American writer, politician and political economist, who was the most influential proponent of the land value tax, also known as the “single tax” on land. He inspired the philosophy and economic ideology known as Georgism, which is that everyone owns what he or she creates, but that everything found in nature, most importantly land, belongs equally to all humanity.

[The following is a lose adaption from a 1993 article by Robert V. Andelson which can be found here with links dutifully provided by Stephen Nacci, 2010]:

…The method of discrediting Henry George is described in “The Corruption of Economics

The book describes basically taking Classical Econonomics and distorting it by
artifically merging land into capital, and distorting Classical economic thought
with NEO- Economic thought, and pushing this agenda through media and
institutions… over the last 100 years…

Henry George’s first book, Progress and Poverty: An inquiry into the cause of
industrial depressions and of increase of want with increase of wealth… The
Remedy
was self-published in 1879. It went on to become the best-selling book ever on
political economy,* and in the 1880s and 1890s was said to be outsold only by
the Bible.

*Political economy is the science which deals with the natural laws governing the production and distribution of wealth and services.

He went on to write several other important books including Social Problems, The Land Question, The Condition of Labor, A Perplexed Philosopher, The Science of Political Economy, and (published posthumously) Protection or Free Trade, and a number of articles and speeches, including The Crime of Poverty, Ode to Liberty, Thou Shalt Not Steal, Thy Kingdom Come, Causes of Business Depression, and Justice the Object, Taxation the Means.

In 2006, Bob Drake* did a thought-by-thought updating into contemporary language of Progress and Poverty, which was published with the subtitle “Why there are recessions and poverty amid plenty — and what to do about it. Or, download and listen to Bob’s MP3 here

We hope you’ll explore Henry George’s answers — and his remedy. We are persuaded that the problem of poverty can only be solved through recognizing what George taught.

To Accelerate Serendipity, The Whuffie Factor

Tara Hunt; Future of Money and Technology Summit 2010

Tara Hunt; Future of Money and Technology Summit 2010

In 1999, Cluetrain Manifesto flipped everything we knew about online behavior on it’s head. The integration of information being published on the Internet reached a tipping point indelibly articulated for all time by Doc Searles: Markets are Conversations”

The Whuffie

In 2003, Cory Doctorow published Down and Out In The Magic Kingdom where he introduced the concept of Whuffie as a form of reputation currency that accounts for social value in a fictional future society. In Cory’s thesis, people who produce things that represent social value were awarded Whuffie. People who produce anti-social value were punished Whuffie. The twist was that everyone has equal say as to who is awarded Whuffie and who is punished Whuffie. In retrospect, the concept of Whuffie, stands today an important metaphor marking the beginning of the social media revolution.

The Whuffie Factor

In her book The Whuffie Factor (2009), Tara Hunt identifies the facts of a reputation backed exchange among real people, communities, companies, and social interactions – with all their associated human complexities. By the gift of wisdom or intuition, Tara’s choice of the modifier “Factor” is an important distinction. In mathematics, a “Factor” is a multiplier against some other quantity.

Social Capital

In Tara’s book, Whuffie is roughly synonymous with ‘new’ social capital – a hugely complex financial instrument that is currently emerging before the eyes of all practitioners of social media. In 2010, everyone still struggles to articulate social capital with a 1999 vocabulary of new conversations living in old financial markets. There simply is no word for the phenomenon of social media daily manifesting in so many new and valuable ways – it’s just too new.

Yes, Tara has critics, but most I believe are short sighted. The term “Whuffie” is as good a word as any, so deal with it. The term “Factor” is what Tara is really talking about, so lets move on.

Love ’em or Hate ’em, Whuffie is a Derivative.

From Wikipedia: a derivative is any agreement or contract that is not based on a real, or true, exchange ie: There is nothing tangible like money, or a product, that is being exchanged. For example, a person goes to the grocery store, exchanges a currency (money) for a commodity (say, an apple). The exchange is complete when both parties have something tangible.

If the purchaser had called the store and asked for the apple to be held for one hour while the purchaser drives to the store, and the seller agrees, then a derivative has been created. The agreement (derivative) is derived from a proposed exchange (trade money for apple in one hour, not now).

Infinite Possibilities

In short, the current value of the relationship is backed by the past and future value of the many other relationship(s) formed. The twist is that social media has vastly equalized people’s impact on the true value of relationships – this remains consistent with Doctorow’s thesis. Tara takes us a step further where the underlying asset can be generalized as simply “value” where the Whuffie Factor is a derivative against this value. This is consistent with Searles’ thesis.

Social Currency

In my opinion, The Whuffie Factor will become one of the seminal books of its time period. Indeed there are many excellent books in the genre of collecting, building, engaging, storing and exchanging trust, reputation, or influence in Social Media. What sets Tara’s book apart is that, like Doc and Cory, she had the guts to call it something real.

Elevate the conversation or get out of the way

Tara Hunt effectively nails this profound abstraction to the floor so that the rest of us can now walk through to define and articulate the Holy Grail of our generation; a true Social Currency. Bravo Tara, Bravo

To Accelerate Serendipity, that’s the Whuffie Factor.

Photo Source/Credit; Jesse Lara

Non Quantifiable Exchanges

IMG_1468-600-creamy-tuna-sandwichI had a personal breakthrough recently at the Future of Money and Technology Summit. I sat on an excellent Panel discussing non-quantifiable exchanges for an audience of about 70-80 very intelligent people.

Non Quantifiable Exchanges
Moderator: Tara Hunt, The Whuffie Factor
Chris Heuer, Social Media Club
Dan Robles, The Ingenesist Project
Micki Krimmel, NeighborGoods

I will write a post for each of these incredible panelists in the near future because each are building out the infrastructure of the new economy just by doing what they like to do most.  Soon everyone will be doing the same.

My experience

For one hour, we engaged in a remarkable conversation together. For me, it was a watershed event – I grew personally, socially, and intellectually.

Throughout the 16-year history of The Ingenesist Project, my challenge has always been to explain and demonstrate how the simple act of a conversation among informed people does, in fact, create value in a process that extends back to an intensely complicated production system. The value contained, stored, and exchanged by people is a direct result of their accumulated past and the interaction with their own environment. Until this summit – those two ends would rarely meet.

For example:

Reaching into your wallet and pulling out a dollar bill to purchase a can of tuna fish may seem like a very simple transaction. It is, in fact, intensely complicated from the funding of the fishing vessel, compliance with international law, packaging and distribution, all the way to the creation of the dollar in your wallet amplified through the miracles of the fractional reserve system. It is deeply complicated.

When we bite into our tuna sandwich, we take this complexity for granted. We are in fact, consuming the strenuous articulation of a financial system disguised as the simplicity of the checkout stand, the application of mayonnaise, and aroma of toasted wheat bread.

Similarly, for any meaningful conversation, the events prior and the effects after the conversation, for bettor or worse, reinforce the system through which future conversations will be shared.

While it would have been inappropriate to deep dive on this panel – I was able to transact effectively in this conversational currency system. I was able to come closer to communicating this comparison between the financial transaction and the knowledge transaction in a public forum than likely ever before. For this, I am deeply grateful.

No matter how you slice it:

1. The vast majority of value of an exchange has a history far greater, and future effect far longer lasting, than the transaction itself.

2. When the production systems become more integrated with markets value is created, huge shifts in value can be transferred.

3. Conversation is currency

This, I believe is the future of money and technology

Future of Money and Technology Summit

I was invited to present at the Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco on Monday April 26. Representing The Ingenesist Project, I’ll be seated on a panel with two very important futurists; Chris Heuer and Micki Krimmel discussing non-quantifiable exchanges. The ever esteemed and respectable Ms. Tara Hunt will be moderating the session.

From the FMTS website:

The Future of Money & Technology Summit will bring together the best and brightest thinkers around money, including visionaries, entrepreneurial business people, developers, press, investors, authors, solution providers, service providers, and organizations who work with them at the convergence of cash and commerce. We meet to discuss the evolving money ecosystem in a proactive, conducive to dealmaking environment.

What I find especially interesting is the incredible collection of technologies for the storage of value and the amazing group of entrepreneurs corresponding to the exchange of value in future markets. The definition of currency is something that is used as a medium for the storage and exchange of valuable. As such, it would be quite the understatement that the FMTS will be a valuable experience.

A great deal of thought, planning, and money has gone into these ventures and now they are together in one room. This can only be attributed to the increasing inability of the current financial system to function as an equitable means to store and exchange value that drives entrepreneurs to new conclusions.

When I witnessed the Mexican Devaluation, the social reaction was to empty out the local WalMart. Those “goods” such as clothing, appliances, and furnishings became an intermediate currency that stored the prior day’s peso value for exchange with tomorrow’s market. The same is true for most financial crises with significant devaluation events in recent history.

The clear and present difference is Social Media.

We now see people busy at work to replace the old currency with improved systems and tools for the storage and exchange of value before the actual calamity arrives. In effect, the new systems are hedging the old one.

It will take many years for the implications and importance of events such as the Future of Money and Technology Summit to make it into the case studies of the major B-school curricula. Ironically, that does not mean that real history is not being made – or shall I say, old history is not being re-made.

So please consider joining us at the conference (details). If you are attending, please, please, please, find me and let’s talk about everything. As always, thank you dear reader because ultimately you are the only reason that people want to talk to me 🙂

Innovation Suicide

The following question appeared on a Linkedin Forum that I follow:

Complete this sentence: The ONE factor that is MOST important to innovation is… and here’s why…

I have said this in a few blog posts and I’ll say it again here: The current definition for “innovation” may be the single most disastrous eliminator of innovation.

Innovation Suicide:

Yeah, it kills itself. Really, look it up – it’s a horrible cacophony of buzz bits and weasel speak that amount to nothing more than “Ya know it when ya see it”.

Any definition is supposed to give the reader enough information to duplicate, recognize, and identify instances of the subject – Preferably before the event has ended. Think about it – if the definition for Innovation were clear, nobody would be asking this question.

I am always amazed at how simple the answers to complex questions – and how complex the answer to simple questions – can often be.

Question: THE ONE: Complete this sentence: The ONE factor that is MOST important to innovation is… and here’s why…

My Answer: The Definition of Innovation

Here is why:

Information, knowledge, and innovation are obviously related to each other.

1. You can’t have one without the other two.
2. If you cannot measure one, you cannot measure the other two.
3. where all three are integrated, the system becomes efficient.

Yet, the definitions of each term do not include the other two. Therefore, the current definition of innovation is insufficient to describe the condition. That is why this is the ONE most important factor.

Let me prescribe the following analogy; distance, velocity, and acceleration are obviously related.

1. You cannot have one without the other two.
2. If you cannot measure one, you cannot measure the other two.
3. where all three are integrated, the system is efficient.

This is because distance is the point between two facts, velocity is the rate at which the distance between two points changes. Acceleration is the rate at which the velocity of travel between two points changes.

Therefore let’s re-define innovation as follows:

Information are facts and data. Knowledge is defined by rate of change of information. Finally, innovation is defined by the rate of change of knowledge in a community.

If we can accept this definition, everything changes. Seriously, everything changes.

Now, that’s Innovation!!!

* note: If you are familiar with differential Calculus you may see how a new economic paradigm may arise from this algorithm.

The Brain-Picking Economy

brainI come across an increasing amount of posts and discussions related to alternate currencies, social currencies, and knowledge as a tangible asset, etc.  It is as if people are grappling with something that they don’t quite understand or can’t quite grasp – but, soon will.  Really, don’t lose heart – they are definitely on to something.

Sandy Jones Kaminski of Bella Domain provideds a well developed argument against letting people pick your brain by proposing the “no brain picking list”.   While somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the article portrays a common frustration felt by specially qualified people who get too many requests for “brain picking” and not enough turkey sandwiches to justify the time-value of the exchange.

[People who ask to pick your brain are either asking you to work for free or they are trying to bypass the very hard work required to build a social network by asking for your referrals]. While not quite a reason to end brain-picking, it certainly indicates a hugely inefficient market.

Taking some clues from the banking industry

A bank seeks to match most worthy money surplus  (rich people who will not pull their deposits abruptly) with most worthy money deficit (employed people with good credit history).  In order to accomplish this, the financial system has 5 essential components: a currency, an accounting system, a vetting mechanism, entrepreneurs, and business plans.

Now suppose we transpose the rules of finance on the rules of brain picking.

Currency

A currency is defined as a vessle that stores and allows for the exchange of value.  So it’s natural to expect that relationships, networks, “contacts”, “followers” and all the other accoutrements of social mediation are means by which we store value.  We invest time in developing our own knowledge assets and we invest those assets in our relationships.

Accounting System

The balance sheet needs to, well, balance.  The first assumption I make is that every single living breathing person on Earth holds value. It’s only a matter of whether they have a surplus in knowledge assets in that which I have a deficit and vice-versa. Since my deficits far exceed my surplus in the vast majority of human knowledge, I am always looking for a fat juicy brain to pick as well.

Vetting Mechanism

If the game isn’t fair, nobody will play.  Social media provides the most critical element of brain-picking economics.  Any time someone asks to pick my brain, I’ll do a Google search or conduct a social media profile on them. What I find will quickly determine what the initial contact will involve a courtesy email or a 3 hour golf game.

Business Plan:

Buy low sell high.  That’s the mantra of capitalism, but it remains “unspoken” in social media.  If a person is very successful at picking brains, there is an inherent quality in that which may be useful to me. I will study them. If other important people have allowed this person to pick their brain, why not me? If I’m getting a lot of pickers from a certain demographic, maybe that represents a business opportunity, seminar market, or speaking engagement.

An entrepreneur is as an entrepreneur does

Entrepreneurs do nothing more than identify assets and elevate them from a low level of productivity to a higher level of productivity.  I ask my brain picker who they have also discussed the matter with. I also ask them places and dates of those interactions.  I ask them about people in their social network, rumors, concerns, projections.  I ask them their goals an objectives in talking with me – exactly as I would do for any client….

…well before you know it, I’m picking their brain.

Does School Interfere With Education?

I guess that is could be considered sacrilege for a college professor to suggest that higher education is inadequate in some way.  My position is that the college degree must go away in favor of strategic combinations of high resolution knowledge assets.  The irony is that those who really “get it” understand “school” better than the schools.

The price of college education compared to the value of college education in society is skewing toward obsolescence. The news reports are filled with stories of unemployed MBAs and Engineers.  Over qualified, out of date, over generalized, specialized into obsolescence are all risk conditions that can make college a liability, not an asset.

There are many articles in these archives that outline my opinions on the subject. So here is what the kids say….

*************

They Should Pass A Social Currency Option

cubscout-mainMy new favorite rebuttal to any argument from economic ailment to political controversy is: “I’d like to see a social currency thrown into the mix”.

It is really convenient to have the same position on all issues; Health Care, Terrorism, abortion, financial meltdown, education reform, and political scandal – my response is the same. “I’d like to see a social currency thrown into the mix”.

What the heck am I talking about?

Several recent blogs articles (and here, and here, and here) have converged around the idea that social currency is something that people earn from being active in a community, network, or social organization. Social Currency in lauded upon the recipient in many forms such as Google juice, respect, engagement, trust, re-tweets, reputation, merit badges, check-ins, tokens, Whuffie, wiggly worms, etc…

Regardless of what you call it, all social currencies have a very unique characteristic that differentiates them from a financial currency. Social currencies reward high integrity and punish low integrity.

Social Currency can be earned or converted:

Organizing a community around a common goal is serving a need that government and corporations do not have to fulfill in their “Social Charter”. So it has value.

  • Helping a neighbor find a job supplants the work of the government funded unemployment office.
  • Helping an elderly neighbor with their shopping supplements the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Adopting a child alleviates expenditures in the foster care system, abortion, and possibly the courts and prisons.
  • Helping local vendors stay afloat by organizing a community of group buying or groupons reduces the demands on bankruptcy courts and social services.

Social Currency can also be eliminated:

  • Public servants and politicians who squander the trust of their constituents through acts of corruption and impropriety
  • Corporations who decimate local priorities in favor of Wall Street priorities.
  • Breaking the law, endangering others, neglect, fraud, breech of social contract .
  • Consumption far in excess of social contribution.

Take any issue and apply social currency

The health care debate is an excellent example. First, let’s apply a social currency to all of the people voting on the bill. Next, let’s apply a social currency to everyone arguing against the bill. Next, let’s apply a social currency to everyone arguing in favor of the bill. Let that count establish the burden of proof of the argument.

Next, let’s pay for Health Care Reform in social currency, not financial currency. That means people with a surplus of social currency receive health care at a certain rate. People with a deficit of social currency receive health care at a different rate.

Finally, compensation to health care providers would also be biased by a social currency. Providers with a surplus of social currency are paid at a different rate than providers with a deficit of social currency.

What about cheaters?, who pays these subsidies? how do you count it?, It’s a job killer, corporations will go bankrupt, losers still lose, Holy cow, this messes everything up!!!!

Actually, it’s not much different than how we allocate money on a credit scoring basis. It’s not any more difficult to count than the blood-money coursing through the veins of an unvetted financial / insurance system. Most importantly, constraining a Financial Currency with a Social Currency sets up a whole new landscape of benchmarks and incentives that accelerate innovation, in effect, printing new currency.

That’s what I mean when I say; “I’d Like to see some Social Currency in the Mix”


Foursquare Economics

foursquareThe Next Economic Paradigm is arriving and the first entries include Foursquare.  Few people understand the significance of this new class of social media applications. Foursquare contains many (but not yet all) of the components of the Innovation Economy that we have been discussing for several years at Ingenesist.com, Conversationalcurreny.com, and Relationship-economy.com.

Here is what Foursquare does have:

Geolocation: Sure, social media has been great sport for chatting with your buddies across the world, but nothing really happens until the rubber meets the road.  people need to be in the same location in order to “build something” together.  We call this The Last Mile of Social Media

Mayor of Popcorn: As silly as this may sound, badging it is a highly sophisticated feature that we have called the “knowledge Inventory“.  In order to build anything, there must be an inventory of parts. “Knowledge” is not the exception as the crude and archaic resume system would have people believe.

Knowledge is an asset and it will perform as an asset if it is characterized in the form of a quantity and a quality.  “Mayor of Popcorn”, believe it or not, is in the correct form.

Vetting Mechanism: Vendors are an equal part of the social network and will soon provide their coupons, specials, and other economic incentives on Foursquare because advertising any other way is dead meat.  Vendors will live in a system that is in their best interest to practice high integrity rather than low integrity while favoring mom and pop operations that live in the community.  We call this “Social Vetting” as it lives beyond law and government – let the market be the judge.

Here is what they do not have (yet): Currency

The attraction of foursquare is the promise of fun and fancy crowd play.  The incentive is to be seen as connected, mobile, and plugged-in.  As such, people will be implicitly attracted to you like bees to a flower. In actuality, this game takes Social Media right to the edge of becoming a new financial system that can compete with, and challenge, the almighty dollar. No kidding.

Remember that currency is a social agreement.  History shows that people will trade seashells, tulip bulbs, paper notes, and little copper disks as a device to store and exchange value. All value is expressed in terms of human incentives of some kind.  Well here we have it.  Now let the entrepreneurs play.

That is a huge, huge, huge matter.

The dollar represents productivity….well, so does Foursquare.  What will entrepreneurs do in this environment?  How will entrepreneurs organize communities around “things-o-do” – or even – “things-that-must-be done”?

Here is the hint.  The idea that innovation is the exclusive domain of corporations, academia, or government is now as obsolete as Twitter.  Innovation is now related to knowledge as knowledge is related to information.  Anything that increases the rate of change of knowledge in a community can now be defined as innovation in Foursquare.

Debt and innovation represent the exact same thing.

Innovation is a promise of future productivity. Debt is also a promise of future productivity.   It is only a matter of time that all of the activity in this new generation of social media applications will resolve to, and aggregate around, a new form of currency that will compete with the dollar itself.  Mark these words.

It’s About Asking The Right Questions

bontisMy new favorite speaker is Dr. Nick Bontis. He is smart, funny, dynamic and he has the intellectual horsepower to back it up. I found his work while trolling academic journals for intellectual capital.

Among his dozens of academic papers, I am particularly interested in one that rationalizes that allocation of knowledge assets. It’s brilliant for the reason that it employs much of the same methodology that we predict will be needed to build the innovation economy – not in the hallowed hall of industry, academia, or government –  rather, on a platform of social media.

Here’s the Twist.

The following video was filmed about 10 years ago where Dr. Bontis is making predictions for 10 years into the future, the year 2010.  His predictions do not explicitly include the phenomenon of Social Media.  Instead, he extrapolates to a somewhat more “intellectual” outcome.

This is interesting because it provides us with an experiment that can exclude a huge variable called ‘social media’ and allow us to study intellectual capital as a distinction from Social capital. Dr. Bontis provides some remarkable insights about where we would be headed in 2010 (thus, compared to where we are), free from our social media bias. Cool, huh?

One statement struck my interest when he was framing a definition for “intellectual Capital”.  He said:

“[All the data will eventually combine.  We will then need to ask the right questions]”.

This is an evolutionary change in the way people will need to think. Instead of regurgitating hearsay (a social media staple), people are challenged to provide some modicum of analysis to sets of data that they encounter lest they remain useless (both people and data).  This is expressed in the form of asking the right questions.  The opportunity, therefore, is to bring people into contact with data in their communities and allow them to ask the right questions. We’ve coined this the “Last Mile of Social Media”.

Next he points out, with a very entertaining story, that 30 years ago a school assignment consisted of 95% search and 5% analysis (hence regurgitation) whereas in 2000, he estimated that 50% search and 50% analysis was allocated to the average academic assignment.  In the future (year 2010), 5% of the time allocation would go to search and 95% would be allocated to analysis. Humans would become endowed with higher order learning and thinking skills, the ability to derive new interpretations that will accelerate  innovation.  So kids, how’s that workin’ out?

Of course, he did not anticipate Twitter.  His portrayal of “Nancy the Supercomputer” is replaced by a Facebook the super social network…but even that sets up an even more interesting and important dialog for tomorrow.  Bravo Nick!

Please take a few moments and enjoy this video from Dr. Nick Bontis

They’re Finally Saying Something New About Social Media

Calculus-fullYes, we know that social media is humongous. Yeah, we’ve all heard the 10 amazing ways to “fill-in-the-blank”. Nope, you are still not allowed to shove your products down the consumer’s throat until you have earned their trust.

Now, all of a sudden, a new idea is emerging…it’s barely an audible chirp, but it will become a tectonic rumble before long:

Social Media is beginning to take on the characteristics of a Financial Instrument.

This is a stunning development with vast implications. Allow me to interpret this excellent article by the respected visionary, Brian Solis, as a basis for my argument.

One thing that everyone can agree on is that “information”, “knowledge”, and “innovation” are related somehow. The problem is that nobody can agree about exactly how they are related. None of the definitions for these terms include the adjacent terms and no algorithm exists which performs the conversions, until now.

Now comes the interesting observation:

They say that Google ranking represents a proxy for knowledge in a knowledge economy. What they mean to say is that the rate of change of information with respect to time can be used as a proxy for real-time knowledge. This is a valid idea because Google organizes the World’s information based on time rates of change of the Information.

Yet “knowledge” can only exist between the ears of breathing, thinking, creating, and acting human beings – one important component for which Brian expands the term “Social Capital”. If we carry his observation one step upstream, we should be able to also say that the rate of change of Social Capital (a component of “knowledge”) with respect to time is a proxy for real-time innovation.

Now this idea should be pegging seismographs and flooding the Valley with the ensuing tidal wave of glee. The implication is that we can now identify and organize innovation by simply measuring the rate of change of knowledge with respect to time that an enterprise induces among social networks in a market. Alas, we can now see the direct Integration of Social Media into the business plan.

Calculus is the science of change.

Definitions are fluid, they must change. Brian Solis has, in fact, introduced the construction of what scientists call a “differential equation”. Much like “distance, velocity, and acceleration” are all defined as a rate change of their adjacent term, so too will “information, knowledge and innovation” become defined.

Economics is the science of incentives

It should not go unnoticed that Bankers are scientists too and “money, interest rate, and market capitalization” are also related by the same calculus. This makes possible the miracles of capitalization, securitization, insurance, diversification of risk, options, hedge funds, etc… For better or for worse, Wall Street lives and dies by this algorithm and so do we.

Let me repeat; social media is taking on the characteristics of financial instruments.

Please, I hope that I am not alone in celebrating this historic moment. Few people may recognize this now, but mankind has just experienced an evolutionary leap in it’s understanding of it’s own nature. Bravo Brian, Bravo.

image credit

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)

Page 1 of 5

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

css.php