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Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

Building Block #2: Protocols and Standards

In Building Blocks, Communication, Education, Innovation, Learning, Program Launch, Software, Standards and Protocols, Technology on October 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm

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Many companies are reluctant to agree to protocols and standards, instead striving for competitive advantage by standing out from all the competitors.  Certainly it’s good to offer something “extra,” but in today’s rapidly changing world, customers want to know what they can count on.  Will your device, software, or approach work with other devices, software, or approaches, now and in the future?

Protocols and standards remove uncertainty and accelerate the pace of change.  Perhaps your company would rather slow things down.  If you do, it will be at a cost.

Protocols and standards are a valuable building block for handling all the inevitable changes occurring.  Not implementing protocols slows down the rate at which you solve problems.  It does not slow down the rate at which problems occur!

Remember to use as many protocols and standards as possible, as building blocks on your next major project.  If protocols and standards don’t exist, work with industry leaders to create them.  Tell the industry leaders this message: Creating protocols and standards makes you a leader; waiting for others to create them makes you a follower.  One way or the other, talk up protocols and standards, and get as much consensus as possible.  Make it clear you’re working on behalf of your customers, to deliver what they need.

The following protocols and standards will create major breakthroughs in commerce:

  • Broad adoption of many OASIS standards, like OASIS DITA.
  • A wide range of standardized mobile apps for students to learn and use in the real world.
  • High-level application tools for end users to design and run their own applications, in the same way that they now use spreadsheets and simple database queries.
  • An XML extension and HTML adaptations to permit smart TVs to classify and broadcast Internet content, creating “unlimited channels.”
  • Any protocol or standard where U.S. companies in an industry agree to come together and collectively win their share of the global market.
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Building Block #1: Memes

In Building Blocks, Communication, Innovation, Learning, Program Launch, Technology on October 15, 2012 at 3:32 am

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The concept of a meme—“an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture” (Merriam-Webster, 2012; in other words, something that “goes viral”)—has been around since 1976, coined by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins (Dawkins, 1989, p. 192).  Not surprisingly, the concept of memes has gone viral, with students everywhere passing pictorial memes from the popular meme websites.  At the moment, though, everybody sending and receiving memes has no idea of their true power.

Pictures with text are an ideal form for a meme, although single-word and short-phrase concept titles also work well, like evolution, the Green Movement, diversity, and so on.  Just saying one of these phrases—in a positive way—lets you belong to a vast global movement.

Memes are driving forces in society.  Richard Dawkins created the term to explain sociological evolution.  To date, however, I don’t believe that anyone has tried to engineer social forces using memes—until now.

  • What if memes could be used as a universal communicator throughout the world?
  • Even within a nation, jargon creates language barriers.  A common meme-based vocabulary of words, phrases, and images, however, could break down those barriers.
  • Memes let you think across disciplines.  You don’t have to understand the underlying engine for an idea to refer to it.  You can talk about the Green Movement without even understanding its major components and ideals.  For example, you can speak about getting the Green Movement and advocates of diversity together to create a new global Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.  Memes let you think “big picture.”

Let us consider how memes might work as a social engineering force.

The ubiquitous smiley face has become overused (that’s a hazard of something that goes viral), yet most people still translate the image as “Have a nice day!”  Of course it also connotes happiness.  For that matter, emoticons and icons everywhere become universally recognized.

Consider the following statement:

If people around the world could agree to a simple formula like this, it would go viral, and millions of people could work together, independent of their mother nations, and their respective laws.  Naturally, the words would be translated by a translator into respective languages.  Once someone learns this meme, however, they can recognize it on a website regardless of the language.  What’s more, people of different languages can then carry on a simple dialog to agree (or disagree) on other principles based on other memes.

Consider the ramifications for the workplace.  Executives, industry experts, technology experts, trainers and mentors, administrative staff, salespeople, and more will be able to converse freely in memes.  Memes will serve as mantras to unite, while keeping core values front and center.

Do you see how memes will accelerate thinking and communication? If not, fasten your seatbelt.  If you thought ideas and events were happening too fast already, get ready for the meme-driven world.

Do you like this idea? Why not tell others about America 2029? The website is America2029.com.  Let’s see if the America 2029 logo can go viral!

References

Dawkins, Richard (1989). The Selfish Gene (2 ed.).  Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.Merriam-Webster (2012).  Meme.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  Chicago, IL: Britannica Online.  Retrieved 10 October 2012 from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meme

Building Blocks

In Building Blocks, Communication, Innovation, Program Launch, Software, Technology on October 6, 2012 at 5:53 am

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The key to productive innovation is to identify, label, and use building blocks, rather than building from scratch.  At this point, the number of tools, standards, protocols, and other building blocks is growing at an unmanageable rate.  The key is for innovators to access this information efficiently.

Most of these building blocks are accessible only by technology gurus, with little written guidelines for application experts.  Experts in all domains should be planning how to incorporate such tools as RDF (Resource Description Framework), OASIS DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture, FOAF (Friend of a Friend), the HTML “link” element, and an entire alphabet soup of other building blocks.  These tools let developers create “smart” systems that are easier for humans to use, yet ironically, the tools themselves are not accessible to mere mortals.

As soon as CEOs and other corporate strategists can use these tools to talk to various levels of management, and have the domain managers instruct developers to use these tools within their specific domains, then the true power of these building blocks will become evident.  Right now, the building blocks are mere toys for technologists to play with.

Henry Ford took all the knowledge of the garage tinkerers and formalized it into the modern assembly line.  We are at the point in history where the world is ready for us to automate knowledge creation using these building blocks.