Joi Ito plans a radical reinvention of MIT’s Media Lab –- with the building as just one hub on the network
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Joi Ito plans a radical reinvention of MIT’s Media Lab –- with the building as just one hub on the network
Sue Braiden's insight:
Wonderful article about the ways in which Joi Ito is opening up MIT's Media Lab to help empower everyday people to solve some of the toughest problems communities face, starting with our next door neighbour, Detroit. Some incredible innovation here!
3 pages chocked full of out-of-the-box thinking and a deeply needed resourcefulness.
<SNIP>By opening up the Media Lab, Ito hopes to move closer towards his goal of "a world with seven billion teachers", where smart crowds, adopting a resilient approach and a rebellious spirit, solve some of the world's great problems. His is a world of networks and ecosystems, in which unconstrained creativity can tackle everything from infant mortality to climate change. "We want to take the DNA [of the lab], the secret sauce, and drop it into communities, into companies, into governments," he says. "It's my mission, our mission, to spread that DNA. You can't actually tell people to think for themselves, or be creative. You have to work with them and have them learn it themselves."</SNIP>
I've been collecting URLs related to "Sharing Economy" for nearly ten years at http://delicious.com/hrheingold/sharing_economy -- and now we're seeing it kick into high gear. Technology lowers barriers to collective action (smart mobs) and also lowers barriers to sharing (sharing economy). -- Howard
"As the sharing economy picks up momentum, its reach has become global. In cities and towns around the world, people are creating ways to share everything from baby clothes to boats, hardware to vacation homes. There are also groups emerging that consciously identify with the big-picture sharing movement. These groups focus on education, action and community-building, and advocate for a cultural shift toward widespread sharing.
From neighborhood-level cooperatives to global organizations, these groups work to bring sharing into the mainstream. They see sharing as a new paradigm; a means to a more democratic society, and they understand that sharing is not a new fad but an ancient practice that technology is reinvigorating."
Via Howard Rheingold
"Residents in the Bridgeview neighbourhood formed a west-end youth outreach initiative and earlier today we hosted a meeting where Windsor Police and RCMP educated youth about drugs and crime. Olympian boxing coach Charlie Stewart allowed us to use his gym for the meeting."
SOURCE: Fabio Costante.
A costumed hero is patrolling Windsor, but he isn’t looking to fight crime.
An anonymous Windsor man has taken on the moniker of Crimson Canuck in his fight against poverty. He collects food, bottled water and clothing to give to Windsor’s impoverished while patrolling the streets.
Crimson Canuck now wants to help Windsor’s homeless prepare for winter. “Right now I’m looking for any type of warm weather gear or even something as simple as granola bars, which can go a really long way.”
Shawn Cousineau, owner of local Rogues’ Gallery Comics, has partnered with Windsor’s superhero. Windsorites can bring clothing, bottles of water, food or cosmetic supplies such as deodorant to his store for Crimson Canuck to pick up.
“I’m like his Commissioner Gordon,” said Cousineau, who’s been serving as a drop off point for Crimson Canuck for the last month. “I love what he’s doing, he’s all about community … he’s someone local for kids to look up to as a role model.”
Click through to read more about our masked crusader's mission and motives, and howyou can help.
SOURCE: Darryl Gallinger, The Lance, University of Windsor
With help from Architects for Humanity, a "mobile food market" is bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to some of Chicago.
It's not that I needed another reason to absolutely love Chicago, but if I did, this would be it. What an innovative way of bridging the gap between poverty and health. This pull quote was the gut check for me:
"Nationally, about 2.3 million U.S. families live more than one mile from a grocery store and lack access to an automobile, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The landmark study “Examining the Impact of Food Deserts on Public Health in Chicago” completed six years ago that popularized the term “food desert” found that 600,000 people in Chicago alone suffered from limited access to healthy foods. Minority communities are particularly vulnerable to the negative health impacts caused by a lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Research has found that African-Americans living in food deserts are significantly more likely to die from a poor diet. "
Transparency Rwanda has now turned to the youth in the fight against corruption through the Anti-corruption clubs in schools.
The clubs are now being taught how to tackle this problem from all frontiers including their neighborhoods.
“Youth are the leaders of tomorrow, so their involvement at an early stage is a big boost to the noble cause of fighting corruption in our society,” said Mupiganyi.
It's interesting to find that as Canadians we're at the top of this list. That's not unexpected (I know how fortunate I am to live in this country), but I certainly don't feel it in the trenches since our economy imploded (with everyone else's) four years ago.
Nonetheless, I'm intrigued by the yardsticks used to gauge the placement of the 5 countries Sarah Seltzer shares in her piece, and most especially by the number of times that a commitment to family is part of this equation, both culturally and legislatively (through support for things like maternity and paternity leaves).
Some interesting things to consider in this piece in terms of community health and well-being, and perhaps indicators of where investing in further innovations in these areas might be worthwhile.
Aldon Hynes shared this film about Boston street doctor, Jim O'Connell, who makes house calls to the homeless in Boston, delivering life-saving care and offering his patients a chance to feel whole again.
I'm in awe of people like Dr. O'Connell who literally get out their in the trenches, and think the lessons that can be learned from what is working in his model are worth spreading in other communities, not just in the U.S., but globally.
Director, Jeff Schwartz, says he believes this feature-length documentary can "advance public awareness across America in countless communities, homes, health care facilities and classrooms", and that he hopes it will reignite the debate about health care and poverty. I agree that this is very important, and wonder if there isn't a better opportunity to fuel this than through old-school media such as DVDs, with what is likely a prohibitive licensing and shipping cost for many people who would otherwise be happy to host a screening?
If you really want an idea to take root and go viral, you make it cheap and easy to spread through the net. What would have to happen to make this possible?
I realize having it underwritten by commercial interests would perhaps frowned upon, but maybe something like a Kickstarter or Indie-Go-Go campaign to distribute the costs through crowd-funding might get traction.
The "Healthcare for the Homeless" program is a valuable example of community engagement, and I'd like to help share it more broadly.
Aldon Hynes ,who shared this with me, is with Community Health Centre, Inc., a U.S. based program created by citizens 40 years ago to reach out to some of the most disenfranchised populations to ensure they have access to world-class health care, regardless of income or their life situation. CHC, based in Connecticut, also has a health care for the homeless program where they go to shelters.
I'm not certain if we have anything like this here in Windsor, but I'd like to find out, and wonder if anyone is interested in seeing screen parties for "Give Me a Shot of Anything" happen here in Windsor?
How'd you like to join me in a West End festival of innovation? A little good food. A few good books. A couple of "micro-adventures" right here in our own backyard. Here's what I'm thinking ...
I called City Engineer Mario Sonego this morning to learn more about the thinking behind whether or not local merchants receive compensation from the city for lost revenue during extended periods of construction.
While I'm waiting to hear back, I found myself thinking more about how we can help with this as residents.
I'm new to the West End, having only moved here last September. Once I got over the initial fear, I found myself delighted by the feeling of an "unexpected vacation" right here in my own backyard. I'm surrounded by a wealth of global cuisine and experiences the moment I walk a few blocks down into the village.
This is what I've been thinking about this morning, and it occurs to me that we might be able to have a little fun while taking it personally. Each of us has the ability to influence this, and even if on a small level, it will surely add up.
What if, as West End residents, we were to work with merchants to host a series of evening and weekend events, inviting people to join us in micro-adventures? A visit to Anne Beer's "The Bookroom" to pick up a good read, heading next door for a bubble tea at "The Teory", picking up lotus seed pastries at "The Majestic Bakery", then heading to "Pho Xic Lo" for an exotic bite to eat? This is just one example of a fun and relatively simple little get-away we could invite other Windsor residents to join us on, introducing people to the bounty of culture (sometimes our best-kept secret) while helping shore-up the merchants during this difficult slump as construction continues.
Yes, I know that parking is problematic right now, but we can find the best ways to manage this and post safe, accessible areas ahead of an event. I think it would be fun to work with local merchants to create mini-adventures and invite Windsor to join us.
We certainly have it within us to create a little uplift even in a dire economy.
Who wants to help?
More kid-powered urban innovation! ... and again, from Detroit. With the immense difficulties it continues to face as a community, they sure know how to raise great kids.
About a week and a half ago I shared a story about a 9-year-old named Joshua Smith who heard the city of Detroit was "broke" and decided to do something about it.
This time kids are leading the way in "sustainable business":
<SNIP>Pauline Roberts and Rick Joseph teach the same class of 54 students at Birmingham Covington School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb outside Detroit. Roberts teaches math and science, while Joseph teaches arts and social studies. Up until recently, says Roberts, the pair "realized we didn’t know what each other did in each other’s rooms." The fifth and sixth grade students in their classes wanted to learn more about sustainable business, so Roberts and Joseph teamed up on what would become a huge project: Doing Business in Birmingham.
The yearlong project, which culminated in a green business rating system (and ratings for businesses in Bloomfield Hills), started with field trips organized by the kids themselves to downtown Detroit. After speaking with the people behind big businesses--theaters, hospitals, sports arenas, and the like--the kids "came back with huge amount of knowledge about what it means to be sustainable in business," according to Roberts.</END SNIP>
Sounds like a wonderful program to embrace in the classroom, and hope something similar might be considered here.
SOURCE: When we talk about business sustainability, the focus is usually on the businesses themselves. But sometimes, kids can add a lot to the conversation.
Really interesting article comparing nature's propensity to rely on networks with social media resources, and how, like Mama Nature, we can use them to solve tough problems.
... "We have a lot to learn from nature’s powerful networks. Networks increase strength, resilience, diversity, and adaptation, which facilitate growth and innovation. We can use networks to create these same traits in society, in communities and even our companies: to solve wicked problems facing our world; to tell, share and create stories that transform; even to just have fun."
Interesting read and places things in a more valuable context than traditional social media mores.
Some wonderful examples of the culture of shared resources. People I respect keep pointing to the importance of this trend within communities. Must be worth paying attention to! Certain aligns with my shift to a more zen life, owning less and appreciating more. -- Sue.
George Carlin once said that "fighting for peace is like f***ing for virginity". I'll be the first to admit a genuine reluctance about our ability to deal with extreme violence and oppression without resorting to violence ourselves. Find 15 minutes to invest in Scilla Elworthy's TED talk on "Fighting with non-violence" and I suspect you'll have moments that challenge you the same way they did me. Scilla has spent her life trying to answer the question "how do we deal witha bully without becoming a thug?" Scilla Elworthy manages to take an idea that many of us find residing in the "fluffy bunny" ethos and turns it into something quite concrete, with examples of "do-somethings," both on the personal level and in a more global, political context, that give pause and allow us to consider it in a much more personal way.
She addresses 3 key hurdles and ways to turn them into tools:
On a personal level my favourite was an anecdote about those 3 a.m. terrors that wake us up out of our sleep, because we're worrying so much about a particular thing, and how our fear grows fat on the energy we feed it. She offered a very simple idea about how to tackle this, and on a personal level it really resonates! Here's what she said:
"Sit down with the fear like a child beside you. You're the adult. Your fear is the child, and you talk to the fear, and you ask it what it wants, what it needs. How can this be made better? How can the child feel stronger? And you make a plan, and you say "okay, we're now going back to sleep. Half past seven we're getting up, and that's what we're going to do".
Scilla gives several compelling examples of wisdom in action, and in the moment, in the context of a couple of very frightening political confrontations, including those experienced by Aung San Suu Kyi and Chris Sharp (worth watching to gain the context here).
She credits 80-year-old Boston Professor, Gene Sharp, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Sharp with having influenced the toppling of multiple dictatorships around the world during the last 30 years. He shared 81 methodologies for non-violent resistance in his book "From Dictatorship to Democracy" http://www.amazon.com/From-Dictatorship-Democracy-Gene-Sharp/dp/1846688396 something that I'm going to add to my nightstand for very personal reasons. While I may not live in a warzone, there are times when it feels like that's exactly since moving a year ago. I find myself so shocked at the situations I've had to face, and at times so paralyzed by fear, that I am desperate to take back my life. I suspect that Gene Sharp's methodologies apply on the level of personal confrontation as much as they do political, and am looking forward to borrowing on his wisdom as it seems so many others have been doing, with success, for decades.
So glad I invested the time into this talk.
SOURCE: TED Talks How do you deal with a bully without becoming a thug?
Brainstorming, whether you believe in it or shun it, is a fantastic neologism. But as Frog Principal Designer David Sherwin has found, it’s also a very American word--one that doesn’t exist in every language.
Sue Braiden's insight:
The "Collective Action Toolkit" is a resource for change makers, and Frog is making it available free of charge:
Designed to teach youngsters in the developing world how to work together to tackle tough problems in their own communities, Frog’s "Collective Action Toolkit" removes language barriers that don't translate across cultures well, and offers simple ways of helping people getting ideas off the ground. While it may have been designed for youth engagement, it's an excellent resource for developing "a universal framework for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds to tackle big problems in their communities" .
Thanks so much, Cynthia Gentry, for helping me discover this brilliant resource!
I was so glad to see this project reach it's funding goal (and then some) recently on Kickstarter. In just three weeks 125 people pitched in "to turn Bootleg Batard from an idea into a community of caring, sharing, inspiration and excitement". With their first goal met, Melina Kelson and Pete Podolsky are now able to begin building "a traditional oven and helping to forge a community centered on naturally good, real food."
"Five years ago, Melina Kelson and Pete Podolsky dug up the sod around their small, suburban Skokie, Illinois, home and transformed it into organic, edible landscaping. Since then, they have watched their garden (featured in Chicago Magazine) become a place where the community unites.
Friends of all ages pitch in to help turn the soil, pull weeds, plant and harvest the bounty. Since then, friends and neighborhood “farm hands” are invited back for canning parties and to share and celebrate the harvest each year. Strangers and neighbors ask questions about planting gardens of their own. They share ideas and frequently taste (and bring home) delicious, wholesome varieties of produce and plants they may not have known about before. Neighborhood school kids tour the garden and local scout groups help harvest food to donate to area food banks."
Click through to learn more about this wonderful project.
TED Talks John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4'x5' plywood board -- and lets his 4th-graders solve them.
Grab a mug of joe on this fine Sunday morning and settle in for 20 minutes with me? Kevin Jones shared a TED Talk given by a remarkable teacher named John Hunter, talking about how 4th graders are solving the problems of the world, and I want to share it with you. John's "World Peace Game" takes my breath away because of the sheer simplicity in his approach to a very complex set of issues, and because of the incredible things it has caused to bubble up. It was a brilliant gutcheck for me this morning, as it's personal.
A friend of mine is deeply commited to finding a new way of approaching peace so that is more than loaded language and a cliché. I had the opportunity to help her with a particular project, and found myself struggling because of the baggage the term "peace" holds for me personally. I found it hard to imagine getting people to care about it when I couldn't get a handle on it myself.
About 2 months ago I had an "Aha!" moment after watching a video about another remarkable teacher reinventing the way technology was taught in the classroom. In that moment I understood that the best path forward is through our kids, and in the classroom, interacting directly with the community in the context of local issues. I wrote my friend a very detailed letter outlining how I thought it might work. I don't remember being so excited about the possibility of something in many years. When I was finished I tucked it away. I wanted to sit on it for a day to see if I still felt as passionately about it and as sure as I did in that moment of clarity. That generally turns out to be a mistake, because with something as risky and potentially controversial as my idea felt it might be, I began to doubt it. I never sent the letter.
In watching this video about John Hunter's "World Peace Game" this morning, I realized the classroom very likely is the best road in. What a remarkable man Mr. Hunter is, and what an inspiring idea to share and scale up. I'm going to go ahead and send my note off to my friend today as I should have a few months ago, and reach out to a handful of colleagues in our local school system, and to John Hunter, to see if we might be able to replicate his project locally, and with a little luck, beyond.
Thank you, Kevin, for sharing this wonderful example of one way forward. Namaste.
Grace Sai is the co-founder of The Hub Singapore, a community and space for purpose-driven individuals, and the founder of Books for Hope, a social enterprise in the field of childrens' education. During her MBA year as a Skoll Scholar at the Said Business School in Oxford, she had the opportunity to mainstream the field of social entrepreneurship, and realised "that an environment that allows people to come alive includes a concentration of intellectual content, stimulating conversations, role models, permission to experiment, tolerance for different personalities and ideologies, and a community of like-minded people".
During the past year 40 volunteers from the "Volunteers of America" program have been working with Norfolk County Sheriff Michael G. Bellotti to cultivate a unique mentoring program for inmates as they prepare to leave jail, and as they re-enter their communities.
The volunteers include a retired court official, small business owner, construction worker, financial services representative and a former school teacher, all helping the inmates re-establish themselves in society, and stay on the right path. The program has produced positive results, with Sheriff Bellotti now looking to expand it.
Click through to learn more about this innovative community connection.
A $100,000 Trillium Grant has paved the way to3 more years of funding for an education program for seniors through "Elder College".
In addition to the social benefits of lifelong learning, activities and hobbies are recognized as keys to the prevention of Alzheimer's Disease. Director and founder, Lloyd Brown John, refers to the program as "brain food" for retirees.
SOURCE: "The Elder College at Canterbury College — a school for seniors — was a success last year so organizers have upped the ante. This year, the school will offer more courses and increase enrolment."
While this was based on a mis-interpretted premise, it's certainly an interesting question. It was originally posed in response to a women-only industrial complex proposed in Saudi Arabia to deal with the hostile work environment women often endure. I don't think avoiding the problem fixes it, nor would I want to homogenize my own life that way, but it would very likely have a very different kind of culture and climate were it to be done on a community level. Just found the question both provocative and kind of interesting. -- Sue.
This sounds like a very innovative way of offsetting costs, especially at a time when the economy is so fragile. An educated workforce leads to a stronger economy, and yet it continues to be so chronically underfunded.
I continue to be inspired by Windsor's leadership in the solar energy field, and hope more of our community services will be able to benefit from this new revenue stream. Makes me proud to live in Windsor!
SOURCE: The Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) is hoping to increase its revenue by feeding into the Ontario Solar Grid by installing solar panels on at least 35 school roofs.
What an inspiring young woman! Would be great to take her lead locally. Terrific way of putting a community garden to work.
Anyone else in Windsor want to help me with this next spring?
I lost my mum to breast cancer and remember the incredibly volunteers that used to come around during her radiation and chemotherapy and bring her tea and homemade cookies, and how much that little gift lifted her. Would love to follow in their footsteps in honour of my mum, but bringing baskets like those that Katie assembles. What a wonderful way to help.
Thanks so much to Ethan Zohn for passing this along.
SOURCE: A community-minded teen is inspired by a cancer survivor and commits to helping meet the nutritional needs of others battling disease.
The "Music and Memory" project has a profound effect on elderly patients suffering dementia and a loss of identity. The change in Henry around 4 minutes into this video in is an astonishing example of how a simple iPod does what countless other resources cannot.
One of the very first jobs I had as a teenager was working as a student nurses' aid in the chonic care wing of a nursing home. It was heart-wrenching to watch people disappear inside themselves, and how it devastated their families. I wish we had had resources like those offered through the Music and Memory project:
I don't know if anything like this is being done here in Windsor, but I'm going to get in touch with our Alzheimer Society
and the local nursing homes to find out. If not, this will be another of the expeditions I invite people to join me on locally to make it happen.
For more on how Music and Memory helps elderly residents and facility patients, to find a local facility, or to volunteer or to donate iPods, please visit www.MusicandMemory.org
Music & Memory on Facebook:
Alive Inside Documentary on Facebook:
Really enjoying discovering the "Abundant Community" resources, and especially connect with the wisdom of this article. Since moving almost a year ago I've become hyper-aware of my disconnection from people, and thinking a lot about how different it was when I was growing up. My family was part of an incredible neighbourhood that behaved more like an extended family, doing many of the things outlined in this article. I live in a tougher area now, and let fear drive too many of my decisions regarding connectedness. While I want/need to respect safety, it shouldn't be at the cost of community. A year later I only know a couple of people around me, and even those ones not very well. Time to get brave and find my way back to something that shaped so much of who I am as a person. -- Sue.
Hey, Windsor! Anyone want to help me do a little digging on how to bring playground equipment for kids with special needs to our community?
I'm going to be launching a project next week to kick off a few community expeditions, and this will definitely be one of them. Thanks Linda Eggleston Nowakowski for sharing this, and Cynthia Gentry for pointing out the additional challenge of making sure the playgrounds themselves are accessible.
A follow-up note from Cynthia:
Sue, here's a link to a company that has done significant work in accessibility issues and inclusive play.