Personal Blog of Joe Brewer

Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

A Global Convergence of Social Movements?

In Collaboration, Economic Patterns, Social Change on May 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm

What will the world look like in 2050? 2070? 2100?  It’s impossible to say for sure, especially since the collective impacts of human civilization have altered the state of the world at unprecedented scales.  We stand at a cross-roads with an uncertain future.  And we have important decisions to make.

In this post, I’d like to suggest a promising path that lies before us.  It is a road we can travel down if enough of us choose to do so.  Imagine if the major social movements of the world — sustainability, global justice, world federalism, corporation reform, open collaboration, and social finance — were to congeal into a new way of being.  There are trends that suggest this is already happening.  We can help amplify this convergence.  Or we can suppress it. Continue reading “A Global Convergence of Social Movements?” »

What Is Open Innovation?

In Collaboration, Video Blog, Wisdom of Crowds on May 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm

In this video I offer a definition of open innovation and explain how it can be used to create “interaction architectures” that unleash the wisdom of crowds to solve previously intractable problems. Open innovation is an emerging arena for best practices in collaborative design, business strategy, and social change.

I’ve argued elsewhere that open collaboration will be a central component of all emerging business sectors and technology markets in the new economy.  I also see open innovation as providing a pathway to solving the climate crisis through the rapid deployment of ideas and technologies in an economic system built around shared ownership and interactive solution-making.

The Key Ingredient for Revolutions

In Human Behavior, Social Change on May 12, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Earlier this year, a wave of populist uprisings swept across Northern African and the Middle East.  Regimes fell, new governments were put in place, and questions lingered about why some countries initiated revolutions and others did not.  Of particular note was the observation that income disparities are greatest in the United States, and yet there is no sign of revolution on the horizon.

The American people have lost faith in our cultural and political leaders.  Public confidence in governing institutions — corporations, the mainstream media, the federal government, and banks — is at an all-time low.  Living wages are scarce and corruption is widely recognized in the electoral process.  And the final bulwark of democracy fell last year with the Supreme Court decision with the Orwellian name “Citizens United” that granted corporations unlimited access to influence elections through direct advertising.

So why haven’t we seen a revolution in the United States?  What drives a country over the edge?  How can analysts mark the trends that convey a structural civil unrest that culminates in political transformation?  There are excellent frameworks for the stages a social movement goes through (like this one), including a tipping point where new behaviors go mainstream and shift the scales.  But what precursors tell us that such a tipping point is nearby? Continue reading “The Key Ingredient for Revolutions” »

The Open Source Solution to Climate Change

In Collaboration, Economic Patterns, Wisdom of Crowds on May 4, 2011 at 5:48 pm

I think I’ve discovered the solution to climate change, or more accurately, the paradigm through which innovative solutions will be widely implemented around the world that reduce our collective impact on the environment.   No it is not a “tech fix” in the form of new gadgets that people use.  Nor is it a piece of legislation that places a price signal on carbon emissions (although that remains essential as part of the restructuring of our economic systems as we transition to sustainable models).

Simply put, it is a way of sharing good ideas so they spread far and wide. Continue reading “The Open Source Solution to Climate Change” »