42 Signals

Sun, 2006-01-29 20:59.

Talking about Manifestos: Isn´t it an interesting coincidence that some concepts which have gained momentum lately follow quite similar patterns:

Bruce Mau Design: An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth
Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we've already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

37 Signals - How to make big things happen with small teams (pdf)
Less people, more power
Less money, more value
Less resources, better use
Less time, better time

Manifesto for Agile Software Development
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

The Cluetrain Manifesto
Markets are Conversations

 

The Location of Innovation

Mon, 2006-01-02 20:12.

Further extending the discussion around the role of cities in the global competitive economy there are two influential positions taken by Thomas L. Friedman and Richard Florida. Friedman proposes in his latest Book "The World is Flat" that due to the egalitarian and open nature of the Internet, modern communications and travel, innovation need not be concentrated in historic urban centers.  Richard Florida, avid promotor of the "Creative Class" concept, on the other hand suggests in his article "The World is Spiky" (PDF) that these same forces actually increase the gravitation toward acknowledged centers of innovation.

As always, John Hagels take on that discussion is very much on the spot:

The greatest insight will come from understanding the paradox that the flattening of the world is creating opportunities for even greater spikiness.

Creativity, Design and Business Performance

Mon, 2006-01-02 20:10.

Richard Florida, Charles Landry and Jane Jacobs would probably like to hear that the concept of creativity as a driving force of innovation and urban development is finally taking off.

Especially in the UK the idea is gaining ground with the release of two studies, that underpin the importance of creativity and design innovation as a competitive advantage and critical success factor especially for small and medium enterprises.

1. Cox Review of Creativity in Business: Study by the Chairman of the British Design Council

2. DTI Economics paper: Creativity, Design and Business Performance (PDF)

3. Creative London: The strategic agency for London's creative industries.

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.

Designing Complex Adaptive Systems

Sat, 2005-10-15 21:58.
As we suffuse the world with complex technical systems�”on top of the natural and social systems already here�”old-style top-down, outside-in design simply won’t work. The days of the celebrity solo designer are over. Complex systems are shaped by all the people who use them, and in this new era of collaborative innovation, designers are having to evolve from being the individual authors of objects, or buildings, to being the facilitators of change among large groups of people.

 
Quote from the great book "In the bubble" by John Thackara,

The journey becomes part of everyday life

Sat, 2005-09-17 18:02.
Many values associated with tourism are suddenly an integral part of daily life: The search for the extraordinary, visual, aesthetically pleasing, popular, authentic and ‘magic’. The sociologist John Urry claims that the lines between holiday and everyday life are vanishing. “What now is tourism and what is more generally culture is relatively unclear.” The clear distinction between vacation and the ordinary day no longer has value, and instead one can see tourism as part of everyday life.

 
(Quote from a publication of the Kopenhagen based Creative Consulting Agency Kontrapunkt).
Kontrapunkt On Travelling (PDF, 132 pages, 11.1 Mb)

The Power Of Us

Thu, 2005-09-15 14:45.
Mass collaboration on the Internet is shaking up business.
Full article

Malta and web 2.0

Thu, 2005-09-15 12:00.

I believe Malta is currently witnessing a silent revolution through a growing number of Internet users who are coming to realize that they can have their voices heard without a controlling intermediary. This major paradigm shift is silent because those most active in it are yet to realize the true potential of digital communities and still see themselves as isolated individuals.
Although Malta is a tiny nation dominated by majority rule, embodied in the major political parties and the Roman Catholic church, a small digital community is about to embark on a path of social change which potentially has a much larger effect than any other effort the same social network could attempt without the benefit of the electronic networks of digital telecommunications.
Identity and self-image play an important part in the formation of digital communities. All identities are filtered through the personal experiences and the emotional ups and downs that flow through our interactions with and in everyday life. The Internet goes beyond all other media formats in altering a person's relationship to the so-called 'real' world of everyday life. It offers more possibilities than any other single-medium satellite communication. I don't say this hypothetically or from a position of utopian desire. I've lived on the frontline of Malta's cyberspace for over 10 years.
... Digital communities enable group action and interaction. They also engender constructive contexts and social capital. Reconfiguring the power relationships between ordinary citizens and traditional institutions, digital communities can give a voice to marginalized individuals providing peers who listen and contribute to the development of their unpopular ideas.
This is precisely what many Maltese Internet users are on the verge of discovering.

 
Full article

Archives are at the heart of decentralized communities

Thu, 2005-09-15 10:44.
In decentralized, emergent communities, the community archive defines the community over time. Therefore, designers of such communities need to pay attention to the processes by which these archives emerge. The ongoing debate over folksonomy provides us with a public record of decentralized archiving strategies that do and don't work.

 
Link