31 January 2005

Landing the Brand - Modo Fac in Edinburgh

I left the Summit for the Future and headed for Edinburgh, Scotland last Friday to participate in a group workshop with 8 other people to "land the brand" Modo Fac.

Modo Fac is the inspiration of Kerry Santo, a wild mix of Liverpool scowse humor and her amazing heartfelt social-fixer-of-the-universeunderpinned with "we-can-do-it" power. Her story alone should inspire people to join Modo Fac and continue the chain of events.

Kerry chose the name Modo Fac because it means "just do it" in Latin. She seeded the idea of Modo Fac as a club on Ecademy. We began holding discussions about a range of issues. Somewhere along the line, I moved from outside to inside. The spirit behind Modo Fac captured my sensibilities and I recognized that we shared a common purpose.

The work we did on Saturday only reconfirmed that. Using a systematic approach to capture the dynamic human content of this group, we landed it into a framework of vision, values and performance differences. With this brand architecture, Modo Fac cab now attract and inform partners and players who want to champion the building of the organization and the space. Now people can see the space where they can contribute that special bit of themself to make a difference.

The vision: ‘To create a space where people can contribute ‘when and where’ they want AND CHAMPION what they’re good at without feeling pressured!’

Hats off to Kerry Santo and her merry group of inimitable individuals dedicated to helping people be all that they can be in a business world that embraces social cause as a core value.

If you want to join in a group of people who are making a difference, and not just talking about it, the visit the Modo Fac site and invest your money into something with great purpose.

Summit for the Future - Amsterdam

Last week I participated for two days in Summit for the Future in Amsteram. I missed the last day because I had to run off to a project in Edinburgh.

During the Summmit we listened to some very knowledgable speakers and discussed preferred futures in five sectors: Trade, Energy, Healthcare, Science & Technology, and Media. Tom Lambert, Vladimir Petrovskiy, Glen Heimstra and Wendy Schultz (the speakers) shared their thoughts and identified some trends that are shaping the world and impacting our future. We then broke out into discussion groups focused on a particular sector with our own set of speakers relevant to that sector.

Jonathan Marks led the Media knowledge stream where I was a participant. He had invited Paul Kafno, Helen Shaw, Wim van de Donk, and Gerd Leonhard to share their thinking about the future in different areas of media.

Paul Kafno - previously with BBC and now with HD Thames - addressed the future of the viewing vehicle, basically High Definition TV. He said we have an opportunity to re-invent an electronic service to the home. He also said our big challange would be to find a way to re-purpose entertainment brands where people will pay. Most likely convergence will drive the strategies behind how the different technologies will move forward. According to Paul, "immersion" - high level engagement moving into mediated experience - will come from our engagement with high defintion viewing. People will be the dynamic hub rather than technology.

Helen Shaw and Wim van de Donk shared their experiences with the changing mandates for creating media policy.

Helen - a longtime broadcast journalist - has been investigating the globalization of media relations and its impact on democracy. She addressed the consumer-citizen quandry, where our different needs and wants in each of those roles reflect the conflicting nature of how we operate as a society. The profit driven agendas of the big media players are at odds with the public's values, and the public is demanding verification of the content and delivery of information. Trust and accountability will drive the strategies of information dissemination. Helen sees fragmentation into smaller media groups to serve a greater purpose as the way forward. The partnerships and alliances are key to survival, not as organizations, but as a culture. She sees a convergence of social, political, technological, intellectual and creative content for the public good.

Wim van de Donk looked at the new map and functions that the evolving media landscape has to fulfill for society. He sees a policy repertoire as creating relationships with audiences. Policy has to reflect the real landscape and society's values. We have to create policy that's aligned with what's happening and not make broad policy for the long-term. He belives there is growth opportunity for media economics as it becomes inclusive and less exclusive. Protectionism can no longer drive strategy. Media policy needs "learning".

Gerd Leonhard comes out of the music industry and wowed us with his take on the role music plays in our lives and how we will access and share it. He wrote the book, The Future of Music. Technology will move to the background. filters will become crucial. People will swap libraries. The content economy will change from per unit ownership to a subscription model for access. The future digital home wll have computer technology as the backbone in the background with a big high definition screen on the wall. The mobile phone will be our tool and channel for accessing and playing content. Time-shifting - download, freeze, replay later - is the trend. Packing "lifestyle" will be a key service.

My out-take from those sessions on the dynamics shaping our future were rather simple. All of this will change the traditional business model. Age dynamics will play a role in how. The "digital natives" born after 1981 will have a much smaller population than the ever-living "digital immigrants", which will push the envelop with bio-technology augmenting any aging issues. In a much more global context, we will see responsible human practices drive business behavior. We - people, individuals - will demand a more people-centric, social values based model. The personal brand will drive new economics, not the business brand.

I have to speak with Jonathan Marks to find out how they closed out the Summit, and if there were any BIG eye-openers after that.

20 January 2005

Quantum Cryptography

According to Scientific American -- Quantum cryptography has marched from theory to laboratory to real products

Cryptography depends on "factorization" or other algorithmic mathematical formulas. "It is easy to compute the product of two large numbers but extremely hard to factor it back into the primes."

"...the advent of the quantum information era -- and, in particular, the capability of quantum computers to rapidly perform monstrously challenging factorizations -- may portend the eventual demise of RSA and other cryptographic schemes. 'If quantum computers become a reality, the whole game changes,' says John Rarity, University of Bristol in England."

Government and companies needing high security tranmissions can now buy quantum-cryptographic possibilities from two companies...as yet undisclosed.

Whether or not we can be in two places at the same time, maybe our message can...coded and carried with integrity, safe from prying eyes.

Can you think better when you're typing?

Clive Thompson posited a very interesting question - Can you think better when you're typing? - yesterday in his blog, Collision Detection. Appropriate name for a blog about this topic.

Since we are glued to our computers, how many of us still write by hand?

I frame out concepts by mapping the thought process by hand with diagrams and pictures, and then fill it in with keys words and concepts. Then, I use this "picture" as my guiding structure for building the story. Clients love it - because they always have something to show people that explains the situation at a glance. Writing things out by hand helps me consolidate my thoughts. Once that is accomplished, the fingers fly across the keyboard.

Share your thoughts here...or...Cruise over to Collision Detection and add your thoughts to the others...they are worth a read.

The 5 Steps to Corporate Responsibility

Thought this was appropriate given the work that Martin Dewhurst is doing with CSR. Modo Fac means "Just do it".

This HBR article: The 5 Steps to Corporate Responsibility is about a company's journey through 2 dimensions of learning - organizational and societal. The author, Simon Zadek, calls it "civil learning". I like that. It appeals to me. I like what this man is saying - and I like that he's saying it in Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge, where lots of people will read it and share it. "The trick is for companies to be able to predict and credibly respond to society's changing awareness of particular issues."

We could make a meme out of that - "civil learning". Just keep saying that- "civil learning" - and pass the concept around.

The article is worth a read because it frames the whole issue rather well.

The Lifecycle of Memes

Found this very informative paper - The Lifecycle of Memes - written by Henrik Bjarneskans, Bjarne Grønnevik and Anders Sandberg. They have analyzed three well-known memes to examine their lifecycle.

They say that a meme has to complete a cycle again and again - and that it will die if it is unable to complete the cycle.

But... this was the best part...

"Before our paper ends, we will inform you of our until now secret sub-goal with this paper. It is our intention that by now you, by reading this text, has been infected with one of the strongest memes on the planet: The Meta-Meme, e.g. the meme about the theory of memes. It is our sincere hope that you will tell your friends about this (yes, transmission and further infection) or maybe even let them read this paper. In either case, unless you carry a very strong vaccime (se appendix), we have made you a host. And you didn't even flinch. You should be lucky we are not after your money..."

So, I decided to help them perpetuate it.

18 January 2005

Email Dialogue between Malcolm Gladwell & James Surowiecki

This week at Slate there's an on-going email exchange between Malcolm Gladwell and James Surowiecki that has captured my attention. Both clever writers on topical issues today - not to mention authors of some great books - they are addressing subjects like What Do We Mean When We Talk About Intuition? and Challenging the Standard Model of Decision-Making in emails to each other. Intersting dialogue they've got going. Have a read.

James Surowiecki wrote "The Wisdom of Crowds", a book I highly recommend you read, if you haven't already. Malcolm Gladwell just came out with "Blink after "Tipping Point" caught the attention of everyone.

James Surowiecki used to write a column at Slate and now writes the 'Financial Page' column for The New Yorker. Malcolm Gladwell is a writer for The New Yorker as well.

Sounds of an Alien World

This is just way too cool for words.

Listen to the sounds of alien winds picked up by Huygens' microphones in its descent through Titan's atmosphere. You can also hear radar echoes from Titan's surface.

ESA's website has so many interesting photos, articles, sounds. It's fascinating to follow Huygens' trip as it explored Saturn and Titan.

17 January 2005

The Social Affordances of the Internet for Networked Individualism

Ran across this paper - The Social Affordances of the Internet for Networked Individualism - as I began to prepare for teaching my next Master class Working with the dynamic network structure of Brands, Identity & Concepts using Applied Connective Dynamics (ACD).

Though it was written in the spring of 2003, it has more relevance now than then. Webspace is rich in choice for social networking platforms - LinkedIn, Ecademy, OpenBC, and many, many more - and collaborative spaces like wikis. Blogs and aggregators have democratized publishing. The tools we have at hand for managing our expeditions in webland multiply weekly - ping sites for getting our blogs and sites recognized and listed in search engines, del.icio.us for tracking bookmarks and following what others are reading, Flickr for cataloguing and posting photos, flash based polling tools for keeping a live pulse on what people are thinking and doing, and so many others.

As I finish writing the reader for my students, I question what is relevant and what will remain relevant. I want them to build a brand out of their human content using a wiki for working simultaneously online and a blog for expressing and sharing their experiences in doing this.

What do they really need to know without overwhelming them?

13 January 2005

First ever earthquake movie created

Check this out from New Scientist Breaking News - First ever earthquake movie created
A pioneering technique using data from GPS receivers has been used to make the first movie of an earthquake. The animation shows the Earth's surface deforming during a magnitude 8.3 quake in September 2003 off the coast of Hokkaido in Japan.

Will we soon see how the Asian earthquake appeared?

11 January 2005

How the Earthquake affected Earth

How the Earthquake affected Earth The Dec. 26th Indonesian megathrust earthquake quickened Earth's rotation and changed our planet's shape.

"January 10, 2005: NASA scientists studying the Indonesian earthquake of Dec. 26, 2004, have calculated that it slightly changed our planet's shape, shaved almost 3 microseconds from the length of the day, and shifted the North Pole by centimeters."

I would like to understand what impact this has on our life and what this means for the future. Anyone know?

10 January 2005

Random WebCams from around the World

Flemming Funch from Ming the Mechanic has assembled a collection of WebCams from more places than you can imagine. Just click on one of the images and it activates it.

9 January 2005

Homesick for my New Mexico

Since I am hiding out in my studio writing to a publishing deadline, I have music going all the time - my soundtrack for writing and thinking - a longrunning playlist created with iTunes. Suddenly, the exotic and seductive guitar from Ottmar Liebert's CD Opium sends my thoughts jet-streaming back to Santa Fe. I ache for the smell of piñon burning in the kiva fireplaces, the afternoon sun turning the cliffs of the mesas purple, and the icy cold of the wind burning my face while the sun blinds me as I race down Al's run. The guitar is the instrument that plays the complex soul of my dear New Mexico...and no-one captures that better than Ottmar Liebert.

The Zia - our state symbol - photo from Ottmar's collection

Ottmar has an online Listening Lounge where you can sample a taste of the exquisite sounds of his guitar. If you love guitar and really unique melodic music that talks to your being, buy his CD's and listen away.

Tsunami Victim Burial Task in Hands of Thai Monks

Years of 'corpse meditation' now serving monks well - The Washington Times: World - January 03, 2005:

PHUKET, Thailand — The grim task of cremating thousands of tsunami victims has fallen to Thailand's saffron-robed monks...
" 'That's what monasteries are for: They remind us of the true nature of life, which is this impermanence and transitory nature.' "

Search Looks at Image Recognition

Wired News: Search Looks at the Big Picture

"A group of European researchers is developing technology that could vastly improve image searching by identifying the components of an image. The group, which includes the Xerox Research Centre Europe and universities in France, England, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland, has developed software that can recognize everyday objects in digital images."

This could cut down bad searches based on erroneaous metadata - bad tag descriptions - written by people trying to draw traffic to their site.

Being an image junky, this appeals to me. I prefer stories and information illustrated with images anyway.

Last.FM Personalized Online Radio

Last.FM - Your personal music network - Personalised online radio station

I really enjoy where music is available these days. Here's another station online.

7 January 2005

Not One Damn Dime!

There seems to be a grassroots idea movement afoot in the USA. I have now received over 20 emails in less than 2 hours about this.

Not One Damn Dime! asks that people to participate in a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer spending on January 20th. It wants to bring the retail economy to a standstill for one day - to let big business know that it does not want its dollars spent on war.

What makes this even more interesting is that this is Inauguration Day for the US President....who apparently is spending over 40 million dollars on his inauguration festivities.

From what I've read, Not One Damn Dime! Day is a boycott against Political America's involvement in creating and perpetuating the war in Iraq and their investment of dollars into war instead of their own economic and social infrastructures.

So, if you're headed to the USA, the question will be: Are you going to spend any money on January 20th?

4 January 2005

Clusty - a Smarter Search Engine?

From Business Week Magazine Building a Smarter Search Engine

"Since its launch three months ago, Clusty has generated buzz for its clean design and clever approach. Using artificial intelligence, Clusty groups search results into different categories. The idea is to help people quickly navigate through the flood of results a general search engine lists without any organizing principle beyond popularity."

Give Clusty a try.
Clusty the Clustering Engine

Amateur Videos of the Tsunami

Jeff Pan has assembled a collection of amateur videos of the tsunami. They are powerful and disturbing. He also has link to join network of people volunteering to actively help.

He studied Dutch sociology here in Amsterdam - now living back in USA.

3 January 2005

Creativity and Nanotechnology

Mike Treder has posted an interesting thought on The Center for Responsible Technology's blog Responsible Nanotechnology: Creativity and Nanotechnology

"Here is a thought for the new year, taken from Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi...

Great art and great science involve a leap of imagination into a world that is different from the present. The rest of society often views these new ideas as fantasies without relevance to current reality. And they are right. But the whole point of art and science is to go beyond what we now consider real, and create a new reality. At the same time, this "escape" is not into a never-never land. What makes a novel idea creative is that once we see it, sooner or later we recognize that, strange as it is, it is true. "

As a creative and a scientist, I really enjoyed the confirmation that we create the new reality. Read the rest of the blog because it's rich in thought as well as in links to knowledge.

Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism

Dan Gillmor has retired after 2 decades from writing his newspaper column. He is now a one-man publishing business focused on his fascination with grassroots journalism.

His new blog Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism is worth following. You can also follow the We, the Media blog about the issues and topics discussed in his book "We, the Media" , published mid-2004.

Gadgets for Detecting Wi-Fi Networks

Great review from Wired News: Stalking the Wild Wi-Fi Network about the new gadgets on the market for detecting WiFi signals.

Apparently, Wardrivers - people who drive around with a laptop detecting wireless networks to use - "can now palm a detector that not only spots Wi-Fi networks and details their signal strength, but reveals the name of each available network. Even better, the Digital Hotspotter is the first detector to reveal the most important piece of information of all: whether a network is encrypted."

Handy if you are desperate for online access - but really scary if you're the one with the wireless network where people are poaching the signal. I really like the terminology though - check out Wikipedia's definition of Wardrivers.

2 January 2005

PACmeter - Popularity, Authority, Credibility Online

While I was reviewing and clearing out what I had tagged to Del.icio.us over the year, I ran across this post from Robin Good on his blog. Robin has really created a comprehensive overview of how to measure and ensure Popularity, Authority, and Credibility online.

Check out his PACmeter blog from 11 August 2004. There are links to several academic papers and social network media tools.

Robin's blog is always rich with relevant content dealing with knowledge management, communication and the art of doing business in the world today.

1 January 2005

Branding Resource Portal

TheManger.org has a Portal for Branding Resources

You can access articles and leading thinking about brand definition, perceptions, opportunities, and sector specific perspectives. There is a particularly interesting article on Marketing vs Branding - clearly explains why these two business tools should be kept separate.

Nice resource for those involved in branding and strategic development.


From their site :
RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science.

Check out RealClimate.org

Top 10 Stories 2004 from New Scientist

Get smart with The top 10 news stories of 2004 from New Scientist...and A Year in Technology

2004 Year-end Google Zeitgeist

Check this out from Google:

"Search patterns, trends, and surprises - interactive!

Based on billions of searches conducted by Google users around the world, the 2004 Year-End Zeitgeist offers a unique perspective on the year's major events and trends. We hope you enjoy this aggregate look at what people wanted to know more about this year."

View the 2004 Interactive Zeitgeist
An interactive timeline looking back on the past year (Flash 6 required).