It is worth pausing to reflect on the fact that cultural studies have historically been separated from science. Yes, it makes sense to apply the tools of science to the movement of planets, properties of metals, and other physical things. But isn’t culture different? Isn’t it made of something other than physical stuff? This is a question that philosophers have grappled with since before the foundations of modern science were set in stone. And it has still not been fully resolved in the minds of quite a few contemporary thinkers.
As a quirk of the world we live in today, it just happens to be the case that the resolution to this age old debate is unfolding around us right now. You may be surprised to learn that the philosophical divide between science and culture is breaking down because so many of us are buying smart phones and surfing the net. Wondering what I’m talking about? Jump to the next section. Continue reading “Can Culture Really Be Studied Scientifically?” »
By contributing to this project, you will help spread the ideas that can challenge climate denial and the dogmatic beliefs of skeptics who have stalled out a global response to the greatest environmental threat ever to confront humanity. We are experts in the dynamics of culture—specializing in the study of memes, political frames, social networks, and brand marketing—with a passion for applying our craft for the betterment of humanity.
So if you are frustrated by the lack of forward motion on global warming, concerned about the world your children will inherit, and ready to see us all reach a global tipping point in awareness and all the collective actions that follow, this project is for you! Continue reading “Launching the Climate Meme Project!” »
I’ve organized some of my thoughts on the evolution of cooperation, how society forms organizations, and the key insights into human nature that will be needed to build a political pathway to global sustainability. Then I put them into a video:
Imagine it’s the year 2050 and a vibrant, high-tech global economy is thriving. We made the transition away from fossil fuels. Our cities are designed around regional security and multi-layered resilience. Prosperity is widespread and capitalism has taken a new form that promotes human well-being as its modus operandi. In other words, we’ve transitioned to a configuration of sustainability and relative stability on a planetary scale.
Last year I gave a workshop on How to Bring About Large-Scale Behavior Change that set out to accomplish an ambitious goal — to demonstrate that all of the essential knowledge for designing large-scale social change campaigns exists and can be taught to practitioners from many different backgrounds.
The workshop was such a success that I was asked to give it again, this time as a 3-Part Series breaking down the materials into a set of tools and activities that tailor the content to the particular challenges faced by attendees. And I realized that this provides an excellent opportunity to share this knowledge more widely with change makers all over the world. So I have partnered with Sustainable Seattle to launch a crowdfunding campaign to fund the creation of a Designer’s Manual for Large-Scale Change.
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?” »
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.
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).
I’ve dedicated a lot of research over the last few years to understanding the deep trends that will define the next economy. As I’ve written elsewhere, the global economy goes through a creative-destructive cycle every 50 years. And now we’re in the midst of a collapsing paradigm that is soon to be replaced by something new.
In this article, I will explain what the new paradigm is and how it will impact every sector of society — including business, government, education, and basic research. The old economic paradigm was a service economy built on the digital communications revolution that began in the early 1970’s. It is winding down now as financial capital has decoupled from productive capital and the global speculative bubble has burst. The financial meltdown of 2008 had many causes, but its most important result is that our major societal institutions have stalled out and the funding models that drove the whole system no longer work properly.
This systemic shutdown requires a new paradigm for economic production, one that has been incubating in the minds of lead innovators for several years now and is just beginning to get recognized as the next model for the burgeoning new economy.
This morning I had a great conversation with a local entrepreneur who has decided to leave Seattle and move to the Bay Area because he can’t find enough institutional support for his team’s tech start-up.
By contrast, a visit to San Francisco showed him what a supportive culture for entrepreneurs looks like. He was chaperoned around from attorneys to venture firms to be sure his enterprise would be walked through all the steps necessary to bring it to market. His team has chosen to relocate because they need to get to market quickly and the pace is just too slow here. Continue reading “Why Talent Leaves Seattle” »
We are in the midst of a revolution where self-organized crowds have begun to displace entrenched powers as the primary driver of social change in the world. At the heart of this revolution is the capacity for people to easily find like-minded peers and collaborate using social media tools. Crowdfunding has grown in popularity as a way for artists and entrepreneurs to directly engage their fans and invite them to help make their projects a success. The most visible element in this process is the money that changes hands. Yet, there are much more interesting (and potentially transformative) things going on that warrant special attention. Continue reading “Why Crowdfunding Isn’t Really About Money” »
Public Speaking :: Innovation Design :: Integrative Research k I am a social visionary, innovation strategist and interdisciplinary scholar who weaves together brilliant people and ideas to create integrated solutions t0 the world’s most pressing challenges. My passions include design for social change, the architecture of social enterprises, creating large-scale behavior change, and incubating social ... Continue reading »