Inventing the Future

How to Think

During the post-9/11 dot com bubble-bursting, I worked at a dying company that had an “offsite” guided brainstorming session on how to save the business. I think it was on a disused floor of our rapidly emptying Tech Square office building. I had heard of various bits of brainstorming methodology before, e.g., no criticism of ideas; quantity over quality of ideas, and so forth. But I had never gone through such a complete formal process like the one the facilitator took us through.

Well, just as I had heard about early adopters and s-curves long before I had read Crossing the Chasm, there are now lots of software and general business methodologies built around Brainstorming concepts. The idea is to have a somewhat reproducible process to identify and explore everything that matters in the task at hand. Agile programming, including eXtreme Programming and Scrum, have the same general purpose. The key is diversity of viewpoints about specific questions.

Now we’re seeing a sort of slow motion explosion in the use of virtual worlds for this.

Read More »

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

A Promising First Step

O.K., it is only a modest first step, but it is still nice to see.

In keeping with that whole “use the internet and new technologies, government transparency, yadda yadda yadda” stuff from the campaign, Obama and his transition team have now set up a new website for the transition at change.gov.

The website includes many of the features that made the Obama campaign website so effective. It is also an unprecedented time to compliance with a campaign promise (even before taking office). More importantly, if you click on the technology agenda, you will observe that it is pretty much the same tech agenda as from the campaign website.

That may not seem like a big deal, until you notice the top items. Protect the Openness of the Internet and Encourage Diversity In Media top the list.

Yes, it is merely a continuation of his previous campaign commitments. Yes, simply saying protecting the openness of the internet is your top priority does not actually gaurantee you will do it. I am not some Kool-Aide drinking neophyte. But I am also not someone who thinks that cynicism substitutes for wisdom and can’t wait to rush to proclaim that all that progressive stuff was just campaign chin music. I find it pleasantly reassuring that (a) these guys continue to show the same level of discipline in planning and execution they did during the campaign, (b) they appear quite serious about the business of governing, and (c) they seem to be on track to take us in the right direction.

Not bad for Day 2 after the election . . . .

Stay tuned . . . .

Posted in Life In The Sausage Factory, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , | 6 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Off to Big Tent In Denver Next Week.

For anyone who cares, I will be in Denver next week, but not for the Democratic National Convention (although I wouldn’t say no if someone wanted to slip me a pass — hint, hint). I will be attending the Big Tent event for bloggers, progressives, and anyone else who cares to wonder over and see what the changing face of online politics looks like. The event is running in parallel with the Democratic Convention, with significant overlap, although not actually part of it and far enough away geographically to be separate and distinct. I shall leave it to the reader to draw his or her own meaning from this.

Still, the hope is that the Big Tent event will attract significant cross over from the convention. On Tuesday, in conjunction with Common Cause Colorado, there will be a symposium on media issues and all that policy stuff I do over in my day job at Media Access Project. If you’re there, you can catch me speaking on media ownership and its impact on diversity in the afternoon, and/or my colleague at MAP, Parul Desai, talking on network neutrality. In the morning there will be a bunch of other speakers, including FCC Commissioner Jonathon Adelstein, so it should be fun.

Anyway, if you see me out there, feel free to come up and say hi.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Free Press Rescue Internet Radio Campaign and Paper Magazines

My friends at Free Press have put together a campaign to fight the threat to internet radio. you can find out how to take action at their website here.

Meanwhile, going from newest technology to oldest, Free Press co-founder and media scholar/activist Bob McChesney has sounded the alarm on an increase in postal rates that will hit small magazines much harder than big ones. The deadline for comments in this proceeding is April 23.

The Internet is wonderful, but does not eliminate our need for independent magazines and other “old tech” news and diversity of views. So while I hope that folks will sign the internet radio petition, I really want to urge everyone to sign on to the postal rates campaign as well.

Stay tuned . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Yet Another Amazing Esme Conference

Regular readers will know that I have tremendous respect and regard for Esme Vos and her Muniwireless.com website. So I’m pleased and delighted to attend her upcomming conference June 19-21 in Santa Clara, CA: “Building the Muniwireless Ecosystem.”

What makes Esme’s conferences rock (other than her continuing to have me back) is:

(a) Each conference has a new program about 6 months ahead of the “conventional wisdom.” Esme doesn’t just take one conference on the road. Each conference has new program items, new speakers and new insights that folks who don’t attend will have to wait 6 months to read about in the trade journals.

(b) Esme doesn’t just invite industry reps or big names. She reaches out to community organizers, innovators, and others to provide a real diversity of views.

(c) Vendor parties with open bars.

You can still register at the “early bird” discount rate until June 5. Click here to see a schedule of programming items that should convince you why you need to go. Then click here to register. The two conferences I’ve attended have both oversold, so register quickly if you don’t want to miss the fun.

Stay tuned . . . .

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