Journal

The shift from a complicated to a complex world

Fri, 2005-11-18 11:43.

A synopsis of a recent breakfast meeting with Dave Snowden, head of the Cynefin Centre and thought leader on complex systems and narrative and their application in business.

As he described his learnings and discoveries about complex adaptive systems and how pervasive they are in our business and personal lives, I began to realize that appreciating enterprises, organizations and systems as (mostly) complex rather than merely complicated is more than just a basis for re-framing business methodologies, it is a completely different way of sensing and dealing with the world. It changes everything. Here are just a few of the extraordinary paradigm shifts that this reframing provokes:

Complicated World Complex World
Assumption of order ("research this to find out if there's a market for it" Realization of unorder ("let's explore what might happen if we did this")
Importance of aggressiveness and charisma to "lead the change" Importance of collaboration and humility to participate in the evolution
Actions driven by authority-based direction Actions based on learnings from conversations, consensus and freedom to act bounded by personal responsibility
Top-down hierarchical communication and knowledge transfer Peer-to-peer (networked) communication and knowledge transfer
Military win/lose competitiveness Natural win/win cooperation and coexistence
Emphasis on action (making decisions quickly and 'expertly') Emphasis on paying attention (making decisions continuously, improvisationally)
Assumption of rational choice ("tell people why they should buy X") Realization of entrained behaviour ("study people to discover if they might buy X")
Primacy of objective reality ("what's happening here") Primacy of perception ("what do people think is happening here")
Changing the way things are Understanding why things are the way they are
Assumption of intention ("why did this happen") Realization of meaning ("what do we learn from this")
Assess causality Look for pattern and correlation
Focus Experiment
Leadership is everything Membership is everything
Strive for stability Strive for resilience
Exploit weaknesses, opportunities, needs via speed-to-market Explore weaknesses, opportunities, needs via continuous environmental scan
Mechanistic (machine) models of behaviour, relationship, order, connection Organic (natural) models of behaviour, relationship, order, connection
How do we solve the problem How do we deal with the situation
Set "go-to-market" mission, objectives, strategies, actions Understand the market and actors' identities and influence the attractors and barriers that bring the market to you
Market as rational

Market as emotional

 
Link via Dave Pollard's Blog

"people are a resource, not a cost"

Wed, 2005-11-16 22:09.
In memoriam of Peter Drucker

The UNESCO Global Alliance's Creative Cities Network

Wed, 2005-11-16 11:20.

The new economy is quickly taking shape, giving rise to mass production and consumption of unique experiences, and cities that can effectively harness human creativity are at the heart of this evolution. Cities play an integral role in the transition toward a new economy because they harbor clusters that are essentially hubs of creativity with the potential to shape global demand for a city’s local offering.

By providing a global platform for a city’s local cultural assets, the Creative Cities Network is facilitating access to know-how, information and experiences to all member cities as a means to promote the development of local cultural industries and to foster member cities’ worldwide recognition.

Why Cities?
Cities are increasingly playing a vital role in harnessing creativity for economic and social development:

• Cities harbor the entire range of cultural actors throughout the creative industry chain, from the creative act to production and distribution.
• As breeding grounds for creative clusters, cities have great potential to harness creativity, and connecting cities can mobilize this potential for global impact.
• Cities are small enough to affect local cultural industries but also large enough to serve as gateways to international markets.

Creative cities have managed to nurture a remarkably dynamic relationship between cultural actors and creativity, generating conditions where a city’s “creative buzz” attracts more cultural actors, which in turn adds to a city’s creative buzz. This virtuous cycle of clustering and creativity that is shaping the foundation of creative cities is also perpetuating the evolution of the “new economy.”

The new economy is making it possible for creative clusters that are equipped with local content to interact on a global level, evoking a competitive environment that further generates creativity. Harnessing this creative energy of cities in a way that allows local cultural actors to benefit from global interaction embodies great potential for the development of local cultural industries
Link

On a sidenote we are pleased to see that Berlin has just been promoted as "City of Design"
Link

Topics from the UNESCO Creative Cities Workshop, 13 September

Wed, 2005-11-16 11:11.
Creative cities – catalysts for nurturing talent and creative enterprise
  • Barriers and opportunities in developing creative cities.
  • Role of public policy in shaping creative cities.
  • Ensuring exposure and training for upcoming artists.
  • Establishing public creative spaces – impact on local communities.
  • Integrating indigenous knowledge systems in the age of information technology.
Cultural industries - vehicle for local economic and social development
  • Practical support for micro-businesses.
  • Engaging city officials in cultural industry development.
  • Measuring economic impact – tools for fundraising and policy.
  • Pooling cultural resources.
  • Promoting “Creative Tourism” – interactive cultural tourism.
Creating a common vision – mobilizing multi-sector cultural stakeholders
  • Finding and engaging sustainable leadership base.
  • The press – advancing the city's vision and objectives.
  • Integrating city's evolving vision in city initiatives.
  • Communicating the local vision on a global level.
Connecting city's efforts to needs on-the-ground
  • Communicating city priorities to needs on-the-ground and vice versa.
  • Overcoming internal fragmentation among cultural actors across all sectors.
  • Realizing synergies - stimulating cross-sector partnerships.
  • Translating local collaboration on a global platform.

The connecting business

Wed, 2005-11-16 10:38.
 I harken back to Doc Searls saying in a podcast a year ago that the iPod is a prototype for the future of media delivery. My summary then:

Doc said that the transistor, as an enabler, and the transitor radio, as a platform, really created the medium of radio we know today. Similarly, he said, the iPod is the prototype for the next platform and the next medium.

... It’s not about downloading. It’s not about seeing video on tiny screens. It’s not about iPods.

It’s about breaking free from wires and schedules and devices and pipes and media.

...Herein we see the irrelevant war of content vs. distribution. Some companies are trying to own as much content as they can… but that’s silly in a post-scarcity world, where content will be ever-more plentiful (and ever-better as a result). Other companies are trying to control as much of the distribution (and devices) as they can. But that’s equally silly in an open world, where any device can address any media anywhere anytime (especially once I have my choice of cable modem or Verizon fibre-to-the-house or Google free and ubiquitous wi-fi of the next generation). They’re all fighting in the closed world of scarcity. But we’re past that. I’ll say it again and again: Content is not king. Distribution is not king. Conversation is the kingdom.

If these guys were smart, they should see themselves in the connections business: connecting people to talent and people to information and people to each other and marketers to people. To do that, your asset must be trust, not copyrights or pipes.
 
Via Jeff Jarvis Buzzmachine 

The case for object-centered sociality

Wed, 2005-11-16 00:55.
Jyri Engeström gives well thought arguments, why some social network services work and others don't:
Good services allow people to create social objects that add value. The services that we love to play with have made those objects tangible. They afford tagging, crafting, tuning, hacking. Flickr did it to photos. Del.icio.us did it to bookmarks. Bloggers invented a format for discussion postings that turned them into social objects.

 
This leads him to the question, what will be the next successful candidates? We have Amazon for books, Last.fm and Myspace for music. But how about places and products as objects for objects of online sociality?

Link
PPT-Download (4,9 MB)

Mapping community memory - the case of District Six, Cape Town

Tue, 2005-11-15 18:57.

One great example for object-centered sociality is the case of District Six. This was once a vibrant neighborhood in Cape Town and a living model of how people from different cultures can coexist, until the Apartheid regime ended their community life with its Group Areas Act. Between 1966 and 1982 more than 60.000 people have been removed to the suburban townships and the district was flattened by bulldozers.

The former citizens of District Six have lost their houses, but they haven´t lost their memories. To give these memories a new home, the new government under Nelson Mandela established a District Six museum in 1994 located near the old neighborhoods.

Visiting the museum, I was absolutely impressed, how creatively the people were keeping their memories alive by continuously enriching the documentary objects of their own history in the most vivid and unusual ways. As one example, there is a complete map of the old district drawn on the floor, where former residents can write down the names of their families on the drawings of their houses.

To quote Terence Fredericks, the Chairman of the District Six Museum Foundation:

Working with memory involves ensuring that people’s stories are kept alive, but it is more than this. We take great care in how people’s stories are told, recorded and displayed so that the process assists in healing. The museum also has a very practical focus. By documenting history it is possible for those in the present to trace family and community histories. It is also possible for claims of restitution to be made.
By using the memory and the history of families of District Six we hoped to inspire communities elsewhere in the country, and this is now occurring. By piecing together the stories of all the different communities who were dispersed, the social, economic and political history of this country will gradually become more available to us all. District Six has become a symbol all of that was wrong about forced removals, but also a symbol of the beauty of reclaiming history.

 

District Six - Cape Town
Interview with Terence Fredericks, the Chairman of the District Six Museum Foundation

Nicholas Negroponte on the social impact of peer-to-peer

Thu, 2005-11-03 22:55.
Peer-to-peer is a much deeper concept than we understand today. We're limited by assumptions rooted in and derived from the physical world. Information technology over the next 25 years will change those limits through force of new habits.

 
Link

John Hagel about attention and the value of intermediaries

Wed, 2005-11-02 11:54.
the real value of the infomediary comes from using attention profiles to reduce interaction costs and increase return on attention. The infomediary can help customers to sort through all the options competing for their attention and to connect rapidly and conveniently with the resources that matter the most to them – not only through search but, increasingly, through recommendation services based on deeper understanding of their interests and preferences.

Unfortunately, this is a much more challenging proposition to deliver on than either blocking access to attention profiles or selling attention profiles to the highest bidder. But it is also a compelling proposition that creates interesting opportunities for increasing returns dynamics.

 
Link

The overlooked evidence of shrinking cities

Wed, 2005-11-02 11:42.

6.1 billion people currently live on the earth, 3 billion of them in cities. By 2030, the population of the world will have increased by 2 billion (+33%). This increase will be stem almost exclusively from the growth in urban population. Every day, 190,000 new city-dwellers are added all over the world, 2 in every second. In the year 2030, 4.9 billion people will live in cities.

But not all cities are taking part in this competition. Whether in Germany or the USA, in Russia or China, in South Africa or Iran, everywhere there are also shrinking cities that the constant media focus on boomtowns and megacities all too easily overlooks.

Cities are shrinking all over the world! Shrinking cities are a cultural challenge to us. In the Shrinking Cities project, architects, academics and artists investigate recent developments in Detroit, Ivanovo, Manchester / Liverpool and Halle / Leipzig - and make suggestions.

 
Link