The Polynon is a ground-breaking concept that seeks to unify the world's knowledge in a single geometric representation. By combining the language of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and other sciences and arts, this representation can be used to describe collective knowledge. In doing so, we can draw connections between disparate fields of study, fostering innovative and creative solutions to complex problems. This concept can potentially revolutionize how we think, feel, and interact with the world.
Can a geometric framework of cognition be disruptive in science and technology? What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a model in today's world?
The development of the Polynon framework is founded on the belief that fundamental changes are possible in our society. Within the structure of a society, there are disciplines and dimensions that, over time, have become distanced from the world of cognitive practice. The Polynons encourage discussions around new directions of science, driven by the use of a new type of architectural and conceptual framework of cognition. By introducing the new ways cognitive science can be linked to the latest cognitive technologies and getting feedback from different fields, the Polynons can show that disruptors can help explore new realms of knowledge and new ways of experience.
Our approach to creating a new framework for cognition is guided by the belief that improving technology must push the boundaries of thinking. THE IMPACT OF DISRUPTION ON COGNITIVE SCIENCE
Until the 20th century, science existed in two domains, the subject matter (facts and laws) and the process of discovery. Both were observable and largely independent of one another. The classical science of the 17th and 18th centuries, starting with the scientific revolution, provided an ideal framework for how science operates today: the process of inquiry and discovery leads to both foundational theories, whose principles and fundamental structures can be defined and refined, and the generalizations from such theories that are acted upon by other researchers (which is what was traditionally considered discovery). The foundational theories provide an outline of the areas to be studied and the reasoning behind the data observations, which can then be applied to determine underlying structures in the new knowledge and their dynamical consequences to form new and improved theories and new findings. The resulting improvements in the most fundamental foundational theories lead to a change in discovering and adopting new theories.
The classical rationality framework cannot explain the cognitive mechanisms related to decision-making and cognition in all fields of knowledge and intelligence. If we start from pre-existing knowledge structures, can pre-existing knowledge structures be disrupted and changed through transformations in their geometric structure?
Let us look at the change in cognitive systems through the framework of pre-existing knowledge structures and pre-existing information. We can see that there will be an increase in the ability to find patterns and structures in the data.
The disruption of pre-existing knowledge structures can be changed by new designs and computational frameworks that build on pre-existing models and theories, leading to new ways of thinking about the world and knowledge structures.
There is a particular risk with disruptive models for knowledge as they can temporarily destroy existing structures, systems, and intellectual infrastructure. They can stimulate new processes and technologies and become a new benchmark in all scientific fields. A new model of scientific understanding can lead to a new information culture, new fields, and new ways of interacting with and thinking about complex systems.
Can a model be defined to be disruptive if it increases scientific knowledge? Does it disrupt scientific norms by introducing a new, more robust, contextual, and, thus, principled way of developing models? The answer to this question can be given by adopting the definition that distinguishes disruptive processes as those that disrupt the physical or social framework of the system. By considering scientific and technological phenomena, the leading example of disrupting scientific knowledge is known as cognitive disruption.
The Polynon framework is a knowledge framework describing the geometric and topological properties of specific models. It gives a glimpse into the model's inner workings and how, through these interactions, new ways of producing and interpreting data can be built and interpreted. The Polynon framework makes it possible to model any process where an understanding is generated through a few parameters that exist in the system. In other words, it represents all processes, regardless of where they occur, where the data is gathered, and by which method it is data collected.
The Polynon is a powerful tool that doesn't just capture the knowledge from the various disciplines and serves as a descriptive representation of that knowledge. By unifying so much data into a single geometric shape, we create a powerful tool that gives us a greater understanding of the world around us. The Polynon represents the sum of all knowledge from the various disciplines. By uniting the five senses to our brain, we can create a visualization that allows the true nature of the world around us to be seen and gives us a powerful tool to improve our knowledge of how the world works. By combining all of the information from all sources, the Polynon collects the first-order knowledge, which is the retained knowledge. By having a single visualization with such high-level insight, the combined wisdom of the users enables them to see the true nature of the world around them.
How can a geometric framework be a disruptive force? The answer to this question comes down to three factors. The first factor is cognitive, which I define as the ability to capture, analyze and reproduce things in your cognitive field of view. The second factor is the aggregation of all fields of study, from physics, engineering, computer science, engineering, cognitive science, cognitive psychology, and sociology. The third is a set of new behaviors, actions, and experiences. These changes, in which the cognitive frameworks become more and more accurate and reliable, lead to new abilities and behaviors in cognitive fields, which are facilitated and accelerated by disruptive technologies.
We can make meaningful changes by pulling psychology and cognitive science into the frame of disruption. The Polynons have the potential to bring about many new technologies based on physical and cognitive principles. Some of these new technologies will challenge traditional methodologies. For instance, theories and models based on geometry can explain previously existing phenomena in new, more correct, and correctable ways.
More specifically, cognitive scientists can model behaviors, complex systems, and the rules and mechanisms that create these behaviors, and create new cognitive algorithms, machine-learning models, and theories.
By understanding how knowledge is encoded and retained in the brain and, in the end, how one can change behavior based on sensory inputs, cognitive scientists create new networks, theories, and cognitive constructs that can analyze complex systems and processes to create more cognitive models, allowing for new kinds of experiences and cognitive potential.
USE CASE PROPOSAL
Metaverse, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality enabling technologies will be implemented broadly in the next decade. Every object, every place, and person will have the capacity to receive, generate, transmit, and store data in the Metaverse.
Understanding the Metaverse is about understanding the implications of a decentralized life and transforming these implications into a design opportunity, which means asking questions.
We believe the Metaverse is a browser for Metaspaces – markets where a new form of tokenized commerce will occur. The presence of people in a Metaspace is more than a virtual presence; it is a communication presence expressed by the nature of the data people bring to the space.
Within the Metaverse, identity and information are inseparable. Everything is the metadata it is made of and looks like the metadata it represents. The question then becomes, what geometry can best represent this metadata in the Metaverse?
We propose the Polynon as the holder and representation of data and the knowledge it contains into a single geometric shape. We propose the Polynon as the means to capture knowledge from various disciplines, unifying it into a single descriptive representation. Furthermore, we propose that every shape constructing a Polynon is a Smart Contract and a Token to be consumed.
Creativity is often thought of as an action that disrupts the environment. Creating is disrupting. By focusing on new ways of looking and thinking about things, cognitive science and psychology would change the world of technology.
 The Polynon as a geometric framework for cognition was created and developed by Tib Roibu.
 Scientific discovery is the process or product of successful scientific inquiry. Objects of discovery can be things, events, processes, causes, and properties, as well as theories and hypotheses and their features (their explanatory power, for example). Most philosophical discussions of scientific discoveries focus on the generation of new hypotheses that fit or explain given data sets or allow for the derivation of testable consequences. Philosophical discussions of scientific discovery have been intricate and complex because the term "discovery" has been used in many different ways, both to refer to the outcome and to the procedure of inquiry. In the narrowest sense, the term "discovery" refers to the purported "eureka moment" of having a new insight. In the broadest sense, "discovery" is a synonym for "successful scientific endeavor" tout court.
Intention articulation and manifestation in creating artifacts of incidental beauty are entirely different in terms of experience than the experience of producing art or design in traditional ways. In the traditional physical understanding of creating an art piece, one starts with an image in mind, something in the imagination, and tries to transpose it on a canvas or stone. Same thing in design, when one is searching for a form that is sensed and arrived at through sketching and manifesting the form in a three-dimensional model.
This is entirely different when using a text prompt image generation artificial intelligence bot. With a text prompt, the intention is to create something of a specific nature, for example, a "radical-centric design example." The radical-centric design example can have many forms and many manifestations, which means that one has to articulate what kind of manifestation one is looking for, so a few details are added to the descriptors, indicative of the mood, the geometry, the colour palette, the structure and texture of the forms to be developed and so on. Once this intention of obtaining a "radical centric design violin" is given to the text prompt, the AI returns something always beyond imagination. In normal art production, the artist understands what the manifestation might be based on the skill of interpreting their articulation of ideas and intention. Still, with AI, the result is beyond imagination and something extraordinary, which creates not only a moment of profound beauty and contemplation but a moment of surprise and a moment of sacredness that cannot be encountered in any other way.
There is a sacredness of the experience at play here because of the element of surprise in discovering incidental beauty. Incidental beauty is born in articulating the AI bot's prompt to create a contemplative object. In this new context of partnership with technology in the creation of meaningful artifacts, if one cannot articulate something, it cannot be manifested. The more and deeper one can articulate, the more meaningful the outcome is. The intention is the key to meaningful creation.
With this ability to articulate art and design, the intention is, of course, to expand the excellence of the outcome produced and because of the opportunities given to artists and designers to create works that may be far beyond what they would ever have thought of in the context of traditional art forms. This is the realm of sacredness and beauty beyond imagination, and in this sacred realm, the concept of original artwork or design can only come from the depth of the intent and the poetry of the articulation.
As more humans learn to utilize these tools and collaborate with AI, the boundaries of meaningful experience in art and design and life and the realm of imagination can grow beyond anything we could imagine today. Art is the radical human impulse to transform and transcend what is. And Artificial Intelligence is the tool that opens us up to new dimensions of transformation beyond imagination.
Intention, Articulation, and Manifestation: Art and the Sense of Sacredness
Art is an experiential journey, and Contemplative Portals and Objects in Metaspace have a Purpose, Attributes, and Forms. Metaspace is designed to generate spaces that allow for sustained reflection. A broad range of colors and patterns remind us that design is meant to be distinct and of a moderate scale, creating an effect of contemplation. At the center of the portal is an entryway that invites one to enter the space through a profoundly contemplative and inwardly reflective place.
Contemplative Objects in Metaspace: Purpose, Attributes, and Forms Surreal objects flutter by as the dark interior of Metaspace unfolds like a dream. Rows of alien plastics wrapped in white silk sit like giant cocoons in darkened rooms filled with sculptures of green algae sitting on plastic beds. Complete with vibrating air curtains and dim light settings, Metaspace feels alien but safe. A place beyond the imagination, inviting to wonder and exploration, something imaginary where hidden gems dwell. Looking at those surreal objects and stepping into this new world is transcendence beyond imagination. It feels as if you have sampled heaven. Beautiful corridors of dreamers' muses now stretch out into the darkness as contours of soft, soothing blue and white light turn the mind to sparkling rainbows in the dust and imagination of those who walk down this visionary path, exploring beautiful alcoves. Surreal things have a profound meaning beyond words or concepts of form.
Metaspace was designed to evoke profound wonder and contemplation and to generate spaces that allow for sustained reflection. It is to inspire the imagination with stunning imagery that echoes beyond imagination. At the center of the portal is an entryway that invites one to enter the space through a profoundly contemplative and inwardly reflective place.
Beyond the rational world, Metaspace contemplates, thus inspiring visions of the best and better.The Metaspace is intended to contemplate wondrous beauty and unexpected encounters with unimaginable buts strangely familiar shapes (such as the musical objects shown here). In our deliberate age, it may be the only art space dedicated to the contemplation of pure beauty, providing just that: time and space for contemplating all surrounding manifestations.
In Metaspace, surreal elements and design come together to form objects in which each form explores a different aspect of Metaspace's alien beauty and intricate core. Where the interior appears purged and illuminated with a quiet, reflective feeling, it is visually relaxing and mesmerizing to encounter the exterior of Metaspace, which gives the illusion of entering the interior.
The interior is richly illuminated with a warm orange glow that provides a contemplative space for reflection. The interior seems to allow a purely contemplative response to any extreme condition or stimulus. It is meant to be an ample space where the gaze takes its course between the internal and the external until there is contemplation upon the expanse of space. Consequently, an internal spatiality seems entirely different from what a rectangular design space would produce.
Surreal ComplexitiesareIntegral Shapes in Metaspace The central vertical space that stretches upward and outward at a right angle to the front façade expresses the structure and boundaries of the interior while forming a complex spatial interplay with its surroundings. The relative symmetry and centricity of the component forms createsmany interesting organic shapes that display an exceptional quality of elegance and subtle complexity.
The deeper interior space, defined with geometric elevations and rectangles, shapes an interior that follows a purely geometric way of thinking. It is a radically different experience, and the design of Metaspace allows you to contemplate those exciting and joyful forms built with the tradition of stunning geometrical complexity. If we look through the structure of the interiors, we see many different dimensions that produce a heightened beauty and absolute pleasure in contemplating. These spaces are created with basic geometric shapes that blend in intuitive and atmospheric forms to give us a sense of being lost in a novel and almost other-worldly space.
2018-2019 – ONGOING WHY BEHAVIOUR PLATFORMS WORK ASBUSINESS PLATFORMS?
This research project is organized around the hypothesis that behavior platforms – any real or virtual place where people gather around the same social and/or innovation object - are an ideal experience and monetization tool and as such, they are ultimately Business Platforms.
Platforms are organized around PURPOSE and not product. The real product is the individual. Platforms are not about technology but about purpose. Platforms are about places to behave. They are also about the creation of a standard experience and the acquisition of behaviors on the platform (Amazon, Lemonade, Pinterest,) which results in Social Marketing Intelligence leading to potentially lower cost per relevant audience(CPA) but more so in a granular definition of value for each user. The definition of marketing as "the creation and delivery of a standard of living to society "(Paul Mazur) and through this lens business platforms perform as the pinnacle of marketing.
An example of such large behaviour platform which, while technologically agnostic, has succeeded in deepening its relationships with users through the use of all technology at all times is RELIGION. Religion is the ultimate platform. It contains: Purpose, The Source, Actors, Incentives, Daily Ritual Activities. The ultimate experience. Platforms are behaviour extensions and thus, are tools for the extension of the human experience. How does the FLIRT method of acquisition and retention of users on a platform apply to religion? Strategic Focus:the world is a creation of a superior power. One should be at all times in awe of this power and seek to be in its grace at all times by performing specific rituals and behaving within specific norms. Strategic Language: We worship this power in words and deeds. Tactical Incentives:If we worship we will be protected and our life will be overseen by the power. Tactical Rules: The ten commandments - a directive for a life prescribed. Tactical Tools: The cross as symbol, the cathedral, the book.
2019-2020 DYNAMIC FUTURE-PROOFING Integrating disruption in everyday business
This book aims to prepare executives for the ambiguous challenge of creating and supporting a culture of innovativeness, within the framework of a value creating enterprise, in times of profound and dynamic technological and behavioural disruption. The executive team's ability to focus on developing inspiring exploration and discovery opportunities within teams, as well as increasing the value of their own imagination and creativity. The content will detail how to architect and construct the means for New Value by incorporating emerging disruptions and their behavioral attributes. Techniques that identify significant strategic shifts at their early stages, as well as the tools needed to assess the potential of these strategic shifts in technology and behaviour as possible monetization markets are also disclosed and detailed. The book further explores how foresight informs strategic decision-making and aligns the desires of people with the potential of technology, into new business models and how to integrate disruption in everyday business by restoring the equilibrium between core competencies and new value creation.
The value of a dynamic future-proofing strategy lies in bridging the gap between business competence and the creation of new value. This book explores the attributes and new behavioral imperatives of disruptive technologies, and the shape and urgency of the strategic transformation required to prosper in this emerging context.
2018-2019 THE RICHLY IMAGINED (AUGMENTED) FUTURE
The future of human life needs a new story, one that is not conditioned by opposites, a future that is not connected to the past but only by the possibilities that are seeded in the present. We are currently conditioned to conceptual frameworks that seem immutable, concepts such as 'the market economy'. 'money', 'income' and 'work' to name just a few. We are also conditioned to the language of the market economy and language can at times be a barrier to transformative evolution. The assumption that 'income'- or some form of revenue- is a precondition for being or belonging in society gives rise to any number of secondary frameworks which construct sets of relationships between humans, relationships that have in effect no connection to the meaning of life itself. We have allowed at times the tools we have created to lead us into techniques which we no longer question, resulting in systems of living that are further and further distancing humans from their purpose and meaning.
This project explores the possibility for a new story in which human life is not conditioned by opposites –work as the opposite of leisure for example- but is the result of designed attributes. But what if there was no labor to measure work by? What if there was no work to measure and define play by? This state of surrendering to the purity of an unnamed moment is not something humans are comfortable with or capable of doing. And herein lies our incapacity to imagine a future in which the present plays no role. This is why we still need to name things: we still can't express the idea of life without work and without payments for work rendered- we take refuge in the concoction of 'basic income', maintaining the concept of 'income' in the framework of a society where all labor is automated, and humans do not engage in what was previously considered the creation of value.
The New Story is that of a society in which humans will have no mechanical role in the creation of GDP - a metric that will become useless over the course of time, along with many other metrics concerned with measuring the quantity of our goods and services and not the quality of our life's moments. When designing a new story is critical to understand that we cannot design it on an old framework, but we need to define a new framework that reinterprets human desires and reformulates the themes, perspectives and possibilities of what human life might be in the age of automation and augmentation.
We need new consumption models that recognize that work is not inherently part of human life; humans do not need work to express their humanity. Machines need work. Machines are made for the purpose of work. We are so conditioned to think that the purpose of life is to work that we forgot what the purpose of work was in the first place: 'We work to have leisure, on which happiness depends' (Aristotle) (the leisure Aristotle has in mind is productive activity enjoyed for its own sake, while work is done for something else).
The advances in technology and behavior that took place over the past 25 years represent in effect the re-symbolization of what life could be when technology becomes embedded in everyday life. This recent past has demonstrated the power of our capacities to embrace transformation.
New models for human life in the industrialized world start from here, with new generative questions and with revisiting our fundamental frameworks while redefining new foundations of free education, free information, free health care, equality of information, equality of network access, empowered participation in all decisions.
We are now at the brink of a new destination that will create new pathways for human action and a new consciousness. Embracing the future means not looking backwards and not assuming that anything from the present condition – our current tools, shells, networks and settlements - will necessarily be part of the future. There is little connection between the world today and the world's 20 years ago. Not even countries are called the same way, some countries, as they were 20 years ago. Borders have changed; mentalities have changed, and generations have changed. We keep referring to ourselves as being rooted in some ideology, communism, capitalism, market economy, and this is a mistake because what where rooted in is our humanity, our roots as human beings.
The Richly Imagined Future is not a destination, but a mind-set conducive to frameworks for existence, frameworks that will change in the course of time, subject to the number and type of participants and subject to the emerging ecosystem of the techno sphere. The Richly Imagined Future is not a concept, but the place where concepts come into being. A life attitude, a decision that one's life – and by extension the life of organizations or other human groups – can be designed on a values-based framework, permanently evolving in purpose and meaning.
This means designing life and organizations at the level of the possibility that surrounds us, and not at the level of our inherited capability. This book imagines possible and probable futures with the aim of constructing images of possibility which are attractive and have compelling power leading to the future of human life in a world that we purposefully assume and meaningfully define.
2016-2017 TRANSFORMING ORGANIZATIONS FOR THE SUBSCRIPTION ECONOMY
The emerging present is a fast-changing context for incumbent organizations, especially in market segments where online behavior is replacing physical proximity, and users engage with digital platforms for the acquisition of products and services. These are platforms that allow users to behave, to leave a mark, and to participate in the community of others, which are the values people now seek.
In this reality transactions take place on behavior platforms, some of which are for entertainment – Twitch, YouTube - and some which are service and retail platforms - Amazon, AliExpress, eBay - allowing users to conduct remote transactions online. The potential of this behavior, its true possibility is the delivery of everything as a subscription service. This leads us into the Subscription Service Economy, possibly the most significant disruption the economic system has experienced in the last 200 years. In this new context, increasing numbers of incumbent organizations in a variety of industries will be challenged to the core of their imagination.
For these organizations the challenge is not simply about change, but about transformation. While Change affects the condition of something in relation with a previous condition, Transformation operates at the strategic level and affects the nature of something, the very structure and working mechanisms of an activity, as well as its relationship to everything around. Transformation affects the interaction and thus user behavior. By distinction, change operates at the tactical level, affecting the condition of something often in relation with the surrounding environment, as an alteration of thequantity or as in an increase or decrease of something. And this is where change meets transformation, as any change in the physical state of an object transforms our interaction with it; technological change transforms the experience.
This research project explores some ideas about what could be possible if we transform the present. The narrative is organized around what is actual and what is potential; what is the probable future that we can arrive at through change, and what is the possible future that we can build through transformation. When engaging in transformation the following strategic question develops: if you were designing your organization today, how would you design it? In other words, how would you go about it starting from scratch?
Starting from scratch is the ability to create the future from the ingredients of the present alone. With this, we create fresh new roots, not encumbered by the pre- existing structures of our current social constructs, organizations and habits.
The portfolio of companies owned by Google Ventures (as of this writing) is an insightful real-life model of an organization comfortable with the concept of creating the future from the NOW. Uber, Nest, Medium, Editas, FlatIron, Impossible, Slack and Airware are just a few examples of a new way of thinking, bold, courageous and risk embracing. The very essence of the word "enterprise", which is a bold and courageous undertaking.
There is a great deal of creative freedom when starting from scratch, as it means drawing a clean line and imagining everything as it should be, and not as an improvement of what is. This means designing organizations at the level of the possibility that surrounds us, and not at the level of our inherited capability. We are not fixing the old; we are maximizing the possibility of the present.
2014-2016 DIMENSIONS OF VALUE
This research project investigates new dimensions of value present in transactions that do not involve traditional value exchanges involving accepted national currencies. Such transactions are the norm in the behaviour platform economy created by massive participation in social media as well as online tools – Facebook, Snap Chat, YouTube and Google being just a few quick examples.
The project further investigates the return of the Mono Consumer and the demise of the Poly consumer – mono consumerism is best exemplified by the Apple Watch – and the relevance of the findings for the world design of mass consumption and global brands. This study aims to redefine the relationship between People and Things and between Markets and Money, through a few radical proposals for the redesign of the current financial systems practiced in industrial economies.
2013-2015 FULL SPECTRUM ENTERTAINMENT AND ENGAGEMENT: CYBER STREAMING
"Is that a TV screen in your pocket?" A paraphrasing of Mae West's famous line serves well to define the new context for content creation: mobile content delivery and engagement. In this context, the Internet is just the means for streaming content; what is new here is the mobility part. Mobility, location proximity and full accessibility on any number of possible screens, makes mobile content delivery a unique new opportunity as well as a unique new user experience. Add to this the convergence of a few technologies – Snap, Magic Leap, Near Field Communication and The Internet of Things – and I see an explosion of location specific experiences - destination streams - in the very near future, with content that will invite the participation of all senses, and will engage the user in multiple layers of experience.
I have termed this new experience Full Spectrum Entertainment, an experience that has multiple compelling attributes and multiple dimensions of engagement: Intellectual engagement, Physical engagement (audio, video, motion, purpose, action, duration, risk), Emotional Engagement, Spiritual engagement, Social Engagement, a Temporal dimension (time and space) and a Transformative Dimension.
The transformation from linear TV to Mobile Internet TV is not a technical or tactical challenge, but a strategic challenge. For content creators the strategic challenge is understanding that Mobile Internet TV is not just another distribution platform. It is a new behavior space, a personal mode of action. This calls for new distinctive competencies and for a reframing of the challenge as the strategic domain of cyber streaming: think beyond the conversion of traditional content onto mobile platforms, to the ultimate destination where the Internet resides, which is Cyberspace. Cyberspace is the territory where the future of entertainment is being shaped.
2013-2015 LINK SPACE: NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION (NFC) AS A STRATEGIC OPPORTUNITY
This project surveys the changing context for marketing and communication, and explores a few questions that will help organizations identify and validate ideas, transforming them into platforms for engagement and participation, or what I have termed in my work, "a new behavior space". Near Field Communications – NFC – is precisely that: a new behaviour space, a space where new interactions can take place; the opportunity that results here is that any new interaction carries within it the potential for monetization. I propose that corporations can expand their revenue extraction potential by designing new experiences in the behaviour space of NFC.
The challenges of this new context are not technical or tactical; this is strategic challenge, a challenge to our innovative capacities, and to our desire to transform possibility into reality. If technology is a medium into the possibilities of any experience, what experiences do we want to make possible now?
Four critical contexts frame the opportunity of the new behaviour space: 1. People's actions and engagement in life or commercial activities expressed as data, will become a new form of currency. 2. Location based structured data will become the marketing communication media of choice. 3. Any company with an audience will is in the granular broadcast business, as a curator and broker of the experience of place. 4. Every company establishing an NFC Link with a user is now in the Media business.
NFC IS A TEMPORARY LINK SPACE
This temporary Link will allow for a number of new possible transactions to take place, transactions which represent a new set of rich opportunities for interested third parties, either in proximity to the retailer or connected via trust to the user. An NFC tag can now connect the participant in a transaction with relevant, related, and associated products, services, and experiences. And this represents a new revenue extraction platform for anyone initiating NFC transactional links.
What is LINK SPACE? The amount of memory space available on an intelligent tag can be broken up into many categories beyond payment data, logistical data or product information. Linkspace is data space on an NFC tag dedicated to containing a link, that once activated, would connect a smart device, appliance, or environment with specific content and experiences via the internet. Features and benefits include appliances and devices capable of reading and searching intelligently through links on tags, then connecting content based on the user's profile and preference. This opportunity suggests a number of Strategic Questions:
1. What do organizations have to do now to become leaders in the monetization of NFC LinkSpace? 2. How can organizations transform every transaction into a collateral user experience opportunity?
2012-2014 THE IDEOLOGY OF BUSINESS
This project studies the difference and relative advantages, of organizations that use a business ideology for the motivation of both employees and customers. Through current practice as well as historical surveys, the study will compare the merits of methodology (execution and tactics) versus ideology (strategy and vision) in the development and financial sustainability of global organizations.
First, let me qualify what I call a business: it is the organized capability of crating and distributing media for the manifestation of behavior. In other words, a business brings a medium to a motivation. Once the medium meets motivation, we have manifest behavior. Manifest behaviour – people using products or services – is what a business monetizes.
The media can be soap, a shaver, a book, an automobile, an insurance scheme, etc. it will not get monetized unless it fits the motivation of the people to whom it was addressed (the demographic) and only when the people are engaged in using it – buying the product or service. There is no such thing as a "product that makes money"; there are only products that PEOPLE USE.
This opens two needed capabilities for a business; the first is upstream, creating and manufacturing the products and services people what to engage with. The second is downstream: marketing, distributing and selling these products or services. By the nature of the activities involved, the upstream and downstream capabilities are quite different in scope, inputs and outputs. The downstream calls for methodology – what do we have to do and how? - while the upstream call for ideology - why and for whom are we doing this?
Advocating an ideology as opposed to a methodology involves the risk of asking people to think about the difference between the two. One is a tool, the other is a way of being, behaving and influencing the world. An attitude. A mindset. As business offers are now about engagement and participation with people (users), business activities are nothing but the elegance – the relationship esthetic- of the engagement, its form and depth.
2011 - ONGOING SUSTAINABILITY AND THE CONDITION OF BEING HUMAN
The project expands on the chapter submission in the Handbook of Design for Sustainability. S. Walker and J. Girard (Eds.), Chapter 27. Oxford Press: Berg. 2013. The intention is to formulate a thinking framework for the design and development of products and systems, frameworks that are radical in their acceptance of the compelling motivation in human behaviour as the basis of human economic exchanges and thus the economic system.
Sustaining human life on Earth is too complex a task to embark on, before understanding what 'being human' is in the first place. Culture in all its forms is not a sustainable human activity in the ecological perspective, yet humans without these forms of knowledge and culture transmission are not sustainable as a species. In the discourse about sustainable practices, I find a moral dissonance between the condition of being human and the modes of creation and consumption that are proposed by advocates of sustainability.This is a dissonance between Meaning and the Means we create as humans. Short of purposefully changing the context and meaning of what it means to be human, the rhetoric against current forms of consumption is challenging the nature of being human. We must include in any approach that seeks to change our means of being human, a reasoned and balanced understanding of the meaning of humanity.
The project explores the drive humans have towards becoming more than they are, which is the drive to be human, the drive to leave a mark, and the drive to participate. It is only when we are ready to examine our desires and motives for creating, by design, the tools that surround us and the ecosystems that support them that we will be ready to engage with sincerity in the sustainable enterprise of life on planet Earth.
This is not a critique of current sustainability practice, but a new starting point for both academics and practitioners. A starting point that addresses the moral dissonance between Meaning and the Means we create as humans.
2010 – 2012 MASSIVE PLAY AND THE ECONOMICS OF PLAY VALUE
Massive Play explores play as a social and cultural instrument over the centuries. The principal view is that play is not for children, but for humans as grownups. Play is not for children: this may sound like an extreme proposition, but consider two streams of evidence: the behavioural (motivation) and the physical. Motivation is critical in human behaviour – humans are goal-orientated beings – and behaviorally, play is a conscious activity. Grownups KNOW they are at play. Children do not know. For the grownup, play is conscious – grownups ELECT to play - while for the child, play is just a manifestation of being. Some have argued that children learn through play; if anything results from play, then it is not play, as having a purpose and an expected productive result will deny the nature of play itself. According to Huizinga (Homo Ludens, 1938) play is unproductive. Play has no other purpose but itself. (Roger Caillois, Man Play and Games, 1961). On the physical evidence side we have the Classic toys – the oldest forms of toys found to be cup and ball type skill games, Kendama in Japan, Ballero in Mexico, Perinola in Venezuela, Bilboquet in France – are not playable by children with any proficiency. Numerous illustrations and early photographs show that the players of these devices were well grown adults… These "toys" were developed and maintained in use by adults. Games are not for children either. The study will show that some games meant for children are practice for future games played by the grownups.
Play operates outside the constraints of real life. No one really "needs" an iPod, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page. I argue that these are spiritual activities, respites from everyday life, very much like play. Adults play in secrecy, being more comfortable to calling the activity by another name (business, stock market, golf). We will review the role of play in the shaping of culture and society, by looking at the societal value of massive play events, what sustains them and their economic impact.
The overriding economic argument of this study is that products and services that succeed and are economically sustainable (they are profitable, desired, used and create vast economic benefits) are rooted in play behaviour, providing experiences which are Fund, Challenging, Rewarding, Absorbing, Non-Frustrating and have Repeat Play Value, all of which are play behaviour characteristics. iPad, iPhone, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google are all Play Platforms. And they succeed precisely because they never hide this fact.
The study demonstrated that Play has been essential in the development of civilization, around behaviours that are made manifest by objects which transcend their original nature of "toys" or "gadgets" and become tools for everyday life. Incorporating play behaviors in products and services defines the experience as compelling, and also defines the process of design and development as an experience design process, rather than a traditional industrial design process.
2010-2012 EXPLORING THE ECOMONIC AND SOCIAL IMPACT OF FREQUENCY ENERGY
An international technology corporation offered (at the time of this project) quantum signature solutions (frequencies) targeting two liquids (Water, and Fuel). These are manifested as frequencies that serve a particular economic purpose. For example, "making hard water appear like soft water", serving the purpose of reduced scaling with corresponding reduction in maintenance costs. Ayus proprietary technology is both transformative and disruptive. Its ability to effect change in liquids at the molecular level without the need for external energy, alters the fundamental energy relationship that has formed the basis of our modern society since the advent of the industrial revolution. As such, it represents a first foray into an economy based on new, non-energy dependent principles. This will both transform society and disrupt existing economic structures. As we are at the beginning of this transformation the path ahead is ambiguous. In effect, we don't know what we don't know as it relates to how to maximize its economic return.
Given this context, the purpose of the research activity was: 1. To identify, potential economic gains associated with new frequency signature liquids and potential for these targets in both Business to Consumer and Business-to-Business frequency applications.
2. To develop intellectual property around each frequency with corresponding revenue models.
2010 – 2012 THE FUTURE OF GAMES, GAMING AND GAMBLING (G3) IN THE MOBILE SOCIETY
Culture cannot survive without gaming entertainment. It is one of the oldest forms of entertainment. While form of stake entertainment have changed and will change over time, the fundamentals will not change: we seek comfort in the hope for the possibility of a better life; we seek to be touched by destiny. This study aimed to uncover the challenges and opportunities for G3 in a society characterized by the mobility of personas and data.
2008-2009 THE ECONOMY OF DESIRE: SOURCES OF INNOVATION AND THE MONETIZATION OF BEHAVIOR
We define the desire economy as the economy of the post industrialized world, where goods and services are no longer driven by needs (if that was the case at all) but by the human desire to become, to achieve, to exist at a different level.
We argue that current best innovation practices and business models are driven by desire – not in the hedonistic sense, but in the higher motivational theory sense of the "desires to know and to understand". The desire to become better - education, literacy, tools, systems, services – all provisions for the achievement of this higher goal.
Further, we defined the current ethos of innovation by comparison with the past 200 years as well as the historic record prior to industrialization, to prove our theory that the human innovation ethos – and its subsequent economic development – is a sequence that starts with a competitive motivation and is found today to be pre-competitive; not based on fear but on the desire to exist and achieve. We will explore – in order to contrast - COMPETITIVE INNOVATION – innovation bound by FEAR, REACTING TO THE PRESENT AND FINDING A PLACE IN IT.
We also looked at the associated innovation funnels, benchmarks, and corporate strategies. We will show that at various stages of development, our innovation ethos (and business strategies, execution, etc) was driven by our human condition at the time, namely, competitive survival, being the weaker species. In that condition we innovate ways to defend ourselves, to run from the other animals, to compete in their world. We will contrast that state with today's ethos for PRE-COMPETITIVE INNOVATION – bound by DESIRE, WANT, SHAPING THE FUTURE, DEFINE YOUR ROLE IN IT.
How can individuals and organizations cope with the challenges of our time? By deepening their understanding of human motivations and reframing them as what they truly are: desires, wants and visions of a better self.
2007-2008 PLAYFUL MINDS, THE FUTURE OF WORK AND THE END OF TASK TO LIFE AVATARS
This project studied the triggers for the emergence of latent play behaviour in adults and proposes a link between new technology as well as the associated applications and services they create, as first and foremost triggers for the emergence of latent play behaviour. This is due to the motivational aspect of the task and the goals which generate the behaviour: each new technology is approached first as "a toy" by the adult therefore in a state of suspension from defined time frames, tasks and structures.
Calling it "play" or "work" does not change the very nature of the activity which is that of the playful and free exploration of the possibilities of the new device, service or application. This is described as play in the sense of the current adult understanding of a behavior that brings no immediate monetary gain.
The research questions for this project were: What is the capability required for transforming play pattern and play behaviour in adults into Societal Wealth? How does latent imagination and play potential in adults influence he shift from work to play can contribute to a much more productive society?
This project blends the current cultural and societal landscape – inclusive of technology, social factors and future trends with scenarios that reveal new opportunities for the manifestation and triggering of play behaviour in adults.
2007 PRE-COMPETITIVE INNOVATION AND THE DEMAND SIDE OF STRATEGIC INNOVATION
We define as a crisis in Innovation the lack of purpose most innovation stems from: often confused with research, innovation lacks meaning as most processes are about the advancement of a particular technology and then mitigation of that advantage while lacking the necessary consequence in people's lives. This translates in innovations lacking commercial application as they lacked the vision of benefit from the get go. Vision is the demand side innovation creating meaning for technology and vision, at the national, personal or organizational level is motivated in personal and national ethos, culture, habit, desire and knowledge. To this lack of ethos, we have substituted processes that encourage mitigative innovation are rooted in the need to have metrics for everything, so effort outputs could be measured against input. We argue that this goes contrary to the ambiguous nature of breakthrough innovation, a place of exploration in which big questions are asked, strategic desires are expresses while the "how" is not known as the output o the process is primarily concerned with the "what".
What is known is the desired state at the end of a process that can be best described as pre-competitive innovation. We propose that Pre-Competitive Innovation starts with Innovation Questions – a reframing of the strategic desire - "put a Man on the Moon" - rather than Innovation Problems.
2006 FROM NETWORK TO NET-WORTH: VALUE AND LATENT SOCIAL CAPITAL IN DATASPACE NETWORKS With Matthew Jones Michele Perras and Richard Thomas
In the next decade enabling technologies will become ubiquitous and every object, place and person will be capable of receiving, generating, transmitting and storing data. This is DataSpace, exponentially increasing the density of networks as objects and spaces become actors within this new type of social network, the DataSpace Network, and it reveals new forms of social capital. As social objects and social places, these new actors bring with them new sets of relationships; the key to converting this network into net-worth will be the recognition that relationships are based on reciprocity, and reciprocity creates value.
We argue that the new forms of social capital revealed will retrieve latent behaviours of reciprocity, exponentially increasing the value of the network and therefore creating greater social capital. This potential for reciprocity between people, places and objects will be transformed into net worth once the taxonomy and ontology of DataSpace is undertaken as a strategic business activity, one that is mandatory in the creation of value which is at the core of the monetization opportunity of any social network.
2005 PROPOSALS FOR A THEORY OF SIGNALS IN EMERGENT BEHAVIOUR
We propose an alternative to classic "weak signal" methodologies (developed by Igor Ansoff) by postulating that signals are not at the periphery of present day reality. Signals are in our midst. The fact that signals are not perceived in the Task Environment of the receiver is due to the sender and the receiver not sharing the same behaviour range. The Task Environment is a set of perceptual and cognitive constructs which dynamically frame our experience and expectation, changing and shifting with the integration of new or newly perceived signals. These signals surround us, and are neutral in meaning, value and intensity until we assign it to them. However, the Task Environment is only able to infer meaning upon these signals through the analysis of content, context, and history, and the versatility to synthesize this information. Thus, the Problem Space is created, in alliance with the Task Environment, as a place where the reconstruction of meaning is ordered by rational behaviour through the use of Operators and methods.
Because we are taught to make the signals make sense with efficiency and reason, the Operators seek out and identify recognizable or familiar signals at the expense of unknown or strange signals. We may dismiss these strange signals because of our reticence or inability to redefine the process of expectation, to imagine their possibility.
This inability to see beyond the boundaries of rationality is the Imagination Gap. The Beal Theory of Signals further proposes the creation of a new space, the Free Play Space, enabling individuals to amplify the scope of their vision by creating a space where possibility can exist. In Free Play Space every disruption, innovation or emerging behaviour is revealed to contain from its inception four types of emerging signals: Precise, Undeniable, Intuitive and Sensed. The capability to map these signals in the earliest stages accelerates the maximization of possibilities leading to opportunities in business, culture and society.
2005 THE IMAGINATION GAP
The gap between current intellectual and technical capability and current possibility – for an individual or a group - is what we are defining as the Imagination Gap According to Lev Vygotsky, the inability to see beyond the Imagination Gap is called the Zone of Proximal Development, which is the gap between what an individual can accomplish independently and what they can accomplish with the assistance of a More Knowledgeable Other. Within the Free Play Space, the methods of strategic creativity are the More Knowledgeable Other, enabling individuals to amplify the scope of their vision. Through the use of scenarios as a platform for the Trickster to perform upon, where perspectives shift from one location to another and behaviour sets are modified, signals acquire new and unexplored meaning.
2005 ASYMMETRIC STRATEGY: TAKING THE GAME OUT OF GAMING
This paper studies the strategic advantages that can be created in outcome-based interactions between organizations in the same market space and the best strategy that determines what actions organizations should take to secure the best outcome for themselves. We propose that a symmetric condition exists every time organizations are actively pursuing a desired outcome at the same moment in time while an asymmetric condition can be created by purposefully opting out of participation.
Taking the game out of gaming is a metaphor inspired by the game of poker where we can observe the same interaction between players as can be observed in the given market space. The work of Thomas Shelling (The Strategy of Conflict 1980) makes the case that if one of two parties in a relationship can choose between two courses of action and the other party has three options, there are 2 x 3 = 6 possible outcomes. Applied to the poker as a market metaphor this translates into the possibility of one player opting out on purpose – thus not actively pursuing a desired outcome – and creating an asymmetric advantage.
By not participating in the game the non-player/participant has a higher percentage chance of not being eliminated and eventually winning the game. The voluntary opting out eliminates "rational" choice deliberations between the number of potential courses of action.
2004 THE STRATEGIC INNOVATION CIRCLE: A METHOD FOR BREAKTHROUGH INNOVATION
Both a methodology and a group dynamic used in the discovery, interpretation and acceleration of emerging signals into strategic experience concepts. Analyzed according to McLuhan's LOM (Laws of Media) Strategic Circles enhance/ maximize the opportunity of emerging signals; they obsolesce traditional formal and informal innovation groups and organizations that fail to focus on emergence; they retrieve the start-up spirit in a mature organization; they flip into the next emerging signal. The Strategic Innovation Circle contains the following nodes of action: Basic research, emerging signals, powerful questions, points of departure, scenario building , service and product disclosure, pre-competitive business models and post signal maps and new learning.
2006 FROM NETWORK TO NET-WORTH: VALUE AND LATENT SOCIAL CAPITAL IN DATASPACE NETWORKS
With contributions from DUALITY: Matthew Jones; TRUST: Michele Perras; ENABLED TRACES: Richard Thomas; REMIX: Mathew Lincez
In the next decade enabling technologies will be implemented in a broad spectrum and every object, every place and every person will have the capacity to receive, generate, transmit and store data. This is DataSpace. The presence of People in a DataSpace is more than a physical presence, it is a communication presence expressed by the nature of the data they bring to the space. Thus, a DataSpace Social Network is formed.
With this expansion, the density of participants increases exponentially and new forms of social capital are revealed. By expanding the notion of social networks to include DataSpace networks, we place in the network actors previously not engaged, namely objects and spaces enabled to store, transmit and receive data. As social objects and social places, these new actors bring with them new sets of relationships; the key to converting this network into net-worth will be the recognition that relationships contain reciprocity, and reciprocity creates value.
We argue that DataSpace Networks and their density will reveal new forms of social capital; these new forms will retrieve latent behaviours of reciprocity, exponentially increasing the value of the network, therefore creating greater social capital. The reciprocity now possible between people-place-object will be transformed into net-worth once the taxonomy and ontology of DataSpace is undertaken as a strategic business activity; we see this as a mandatory step in the creation of value which is at the core of the monetization opportunities of any social network.
ESSENTIAL THEMES 1. DATASPACE ECOLOGY AS FIELD OF OPPORTUNITY DataSpace: A place in which every person, object and space is both a link and a holder of information. DataSpace is the emerging system of intangible environments created by the proliferation of smart tags and other context-aware technologies. In a DataSpace, people are the carriers of place to the spaces they enter. Upon entering a DataSpace, a person transforms that space through the chain of links they provide. This transformation is not unidirectional; the space will in turn leave its mark on the person, thus touching all subsequent spaces that person will enter.
DataSpace topologies are generated by the very flow of the people who travel through them. They will shape and be shaped by human experience. Once enabled to do so, people will reveal their needs and wants through their very interactions and behaviours. In an emerging world of omnipresent data, the role of technology will shift radically; technology will become an essential element of the ecosystem, determining its very nature. When places and objects are data enabled they take meaning from people. When meaning is enabled it becomes benefit. In the Enabled Landscape, every different combination of people, devices and places will create a wealth of unique social capital possibilities. Every setting and every interaction will determine a one of a kind ecosystem of opportunity. Presence is proximity and data transfer is potential.
The essential study is not one of forcing opportunity but of simply observing the opportunities enabled by the DataSpace. The crucial question: Upon entering a DataSpace, how do people transform the space itself through the links they provoke?
A PRACTICAL DEFINITION : DataSpace is any perimeter containing communication and data enabled devices, fixtures or structures. A prerequisite for DataSpace is that it contains a minimum of one of the following tactical agents: Enabled Objects Enabled Spaces A third tactical agent of DataSpace is Enabled People, which can be defined as users in possession of a device that enables them to retrieve or transmit data to the objects or spaces in their proximity, as well as to objects and spaces outside the immediate proximity (through a carrier). The proximity of any two enabled entities creates Enabled Data. Enabled Data is a descriptive term for data that has been filtered through personal criteria and has been transformed in Information of benefit to a user.
The data contained by Enabled People, Spaces or Objects is Information of a defined nature, which combined, becomes Knowledge. Once Knowledge is acted upon it becomes Wisdom, or what we refer to as Enabled Data Use. Enabled Data Use is the management and collection of all transaction or location data that can further result in a user benefit. The tactical agents of DataSpace are the Enabled Actors of a DataSpace Network.
DATA TRANSFER DataSpace expands the scope of transferable data to an unprecedented magnitude. Due to the scale of this data, the obvious question is how and when does this data become information - how do we make sense of it? Every time that data is collected it must be organized for expression and transmission. The transfer conditions should not simply measure access to data; they must also reflect purpose, context and method of request.
2. SOCIAL CAPITAL Social capital refers to those stocks of social trust, norms and networks that people can draw upon to solve common problems. Social capital is the structure of relationships, the mutual trust between actors and participation in associations. We argue that new social capital is formed by expanding the notion of social networks to include actors previously not engaged, namely objects and spaces enabled to store, transmit and receive data.
3. REMIX CULTURE AS SOCIAL CAPITAL Remix culture represents a new creative and cultural awareness. Remix has, and will always be, a constant process weaving itself throughout all cultures and society. All at once, remix is both meaningful action and critical response to the environment. Today, remix culture represents a fundamental shift in human behaviour, signaling an undeniable transition from old to new models of learning, consumption, creation, production and distribution. This inspiring transition has for the most part been enabled by the digital information era within which culture is free, fast flowing, mutable, and perhaps most importantly, self-aware.
Remix is response. Remix is all at once a process, an action and a result. Remix represents also a desire and a realization that one is not satisfied with the experience at hand. Remix reflects a knowledge, insight and awareness of the future compatibility and latent potential hidden within two or more independent elements. Remix is a conscious action taken to improve upon the moment or experience at hand, of what has become boring predictable or over familiar.
Digitally literate and capable, re-mixers work, play and learn with completely different values, expectations and relationships with and towards culture and content. Remix culture is empowered to organize around, respond to, locate and subvert established patterns and systems. And Remix is best positioned to generate net worth through a dynamic network, by identifying the emerging capabilities of the elements within a DataSpace system as a source to be sampled, articulated and transformed.
As a social platform, Remix is a constructive learning space where the fundamentals of the current era are mastered in defense and promotion of its own culture, knowledge and value systems. The Remixer's imagination is able to identify and exploit the potential within a sample or a source by leveraging its meaning and message into a new context or genre. The imaginative use and re-use of a sample within a new composition can therefore raise the value of the node. A sliver or niche that can be used to inspire or retrieve a new perspective, highlight and expose a situation or characteristic, make relevant something again, reinforce a deeper or broader message, is of great implicit value. The social capital created will leverage not only its strength but also the potential for its legacy. In the new enabled landscape people, places and things will at all times be the source, sample or loop in somebody else's mix. NETWORK becomes NET-WORTH.
4. TRUST AND RECIPROCITY IN SOCIAL NETWORKS Reciprocity is a learned and rational response to an action. The actor is responding to friendly or hostile actions even if no material gains can be expected. It is an appropriate response to beneficial or harmful acts. The value is in the response. The golden rule: treat others as you want them to treat you. How can the Enabled Object and the Enabled Space help me do that?
TRUST In order to establish benefit and value in social networks, we must enable and leverage trust behaviours in all actors. Trust occurs when an actor has goals and beliefs, intentions and purpose, and requires action to make those manifest.
A complex mental state towards relevance and meaning, trust is crucial in the development of social capital in networks. Without trust, we have difficulty accomplishing goals, building relationships, generating a cohesive understanding of our surroundings and maintaining our value within a network. As a reciprocal social response, trust defines that we respond to our perceptions of others' behaviours, their motivations, the context of the situation and its social norms, in the hope that they will respond in kind, in a dynamic, continually evolving through new information, interactions, experiences and perceptions.
Trust elicits trust. A mutual trust relationship can diffuse through reputation and repetition to other people. This relationship can then be communicated to others and enhance social capital. Amazon's collaborative filter recommendation system is a mirror: what did others like me buy?
5. MORE ACTORS MORE TRUST In the course of human relationships, we trust because we need to feel that the group will protect our propagation. A trusted environment is one in which we feel safe to act in. In this, objects and places perform only the role of conduits: they trust or not trust FOR OURSELVES and because of OURSELVES. Collaborative filters are trusted because they are about OURSELVES. They reveal what people "just like me" have purchased as well. However, trust is not an end in itself.
Enabled Actors in networks create trust by the size of the collaborative filter they form. The creation of trust is one of the first layers of social capital created by the network. The DataSpace Network represents a Trusted Collective Filter.
6. NEW NETWORKS = NEW VALUE CREATION DataSpace Networks and their density will reveal new forms of social capital; these new forms will retrieve latent behaviours of reciprocity, exponentially increasing the value of the network, therefore creating greater social capital. This reciprocity will be transformed into net-worth once the taxonomy and ontology of DataSpace is undertaken as a strategic business activity; we see this as a mandatory step in the creation of value which is at the core of the monetization opportunities of any social network.
While there is a rush to enable and monetize technologies before creating value by giving it meaning, we propose that the creation of value as social capital is the principal benefit that can be commoditized in order to be monetized.
Monetization We propose a dynamic relationship of reciprocity: there is a relationship between Enabled Actors in a DataSpace, relationship in which each actor has access to the Social Capital (SOCCAP) of the other actor and has the ability to leverage its network to the fullest at a given time. Each actor in turn feeds off of the moment taking advantage of the potential links of the other actors and depositing SOCCAP credits proportionate to the value each actor's response adds to the network. Simply, one is rewarded in response to how deeply they can unfold what actor can be. A monetary transaction happens at the intersection between these two interdependent dynamically unfolding identities. One may make or lose money depending on how relevant each one is to each other at a specific moment.
7. INFORMATION AS CAPITAL VALUE People find value only in the objects, spaces and ideas that allow them to propagate their organization. Only "What has Value to ME" is Value! It is about me in Direct, Indirect and Shared ways. Technology is "about me" in the sense of how does this tool help me propagate who I am? At the core, the primary motivation expressed by propagation of organization is shared by all creatures as well as by our forms of social organization.
Propagation of Organization. Ecologies are composed of various organisms that continually interact with one another, developing relationships and responses to other each other and their environment. They collaborate and compete, adapting their physiological, technical and cognitive behaviours to propagate their organization, perpetuating the survival and success of those behaviours.
Humans propagate their organization in exactly the same way as individuals as well as groups. We adapt and tailor our behaviours to enable the continuation of our technologies, knowledge, and culture. We seed every encounter with a collaborative and competitive reciprocity, motivated by the intrinsic desire to propagate ourselves. The social value occurs when these behaviours are produced, reproduced and transformed throughout, as the imprint disperses.
As creatures, we always lived in an Information Age. Each of our generations had its own Age; It is our perpetual state of biological being. From passing on information as DNA, to following directions to find food, it is and always was about information. Our images are about information. Our transmitted knowledge as culture is about information. Animals are all about information as well. Where is the Sun, and I will turn toward it? Where is the flock going and I will go with it? We are seeking to transmit the information than has to do with US, with how we survive and how we propagate. Everything else is either a diversion or a tool that helps us transmit or retrieve information about ourselves. Any ontology of DataSpace needs to understand and connect with these basics.
PROPAGATION OF ORGANIZATION = PROPAGATION OF INFORMATION The SELF is the CENTRE. The SELF is the viewpoint from which we create a Perspective of the World. This is why what we want to propagate is OUR information. This explains blogging, mySpace, as well as youtube videos. They are the means by which we fulfill our hunger to inform others about ourselves.
Social Networks are about how OUR INFORMATION relates to others in a given group. Value in information is always related to the Self. The information that has value is only the information that teaches, speaks, refers to the self or to the ones the self is protecting or cares about. Social Networks are not ends in themselves but conduits for the larger purpose of Self Expression in the service of propagation. 8. THE VALUE IN OBJECTS Objects have specific value to individuals for specific reasons and they have potential general value to groups – or the network for different reasons. A set of keys has value only to the owner of the locks the keys open. – or to anyone that knows which key opens which lock and it is interested in the contents.
The same set of keys on a key ring has an assigned value deriving from the key ring, which can be of a design or markings that can be desired by someone other than the owner of the locks. Consequently, the social capital that the keys on a key ring brings to a network is the keys + the key ring, multiplied by the number of individuals for which the ring has value. The ring increases the capital. What is more interesting, the capital is for all practical purposes immaterial- the design of the ring does not perform any practical function. Extrapolating this to other person/artifact situations will result in defining the value opportunities in person/object/place networks.
Any Enabled Actor should detect context and up its value by adding new content of value to the network of which it is temporarily a part of. In a network of 6 -12 year olds the Enabled Object will add Winnie the Pooh features which are of value to the group, while in a network of golfers it will display the latest golf scores from the US Open.
Value and its Role in Taxonomy/Ontology Definitions You cannot define a space by what architectural features you see; you need to know what people do there. The social value of a space resides in what we do there, what transforms it in "place". Same can be said about objects; their value resides in who is using it and for what purpose. The value of networked objects is exponential with network size and composition. Objects will know the capabilities of other objects like them. How does social capital value in a network changes when we introduce Enabled Objects in that network? Traditionally, objects allow individuals to make manifest their value thus contributing to increasing the social capital of the network. The object also allows for an individual to self-actualize his potential.
Objects mean something somewhere, but may not have the same meaning anywhere else. Objects have meaning in some way or another – they have intrinsic potential value. As these "topologies" are mental constructs then they can be challenged and shaped. In DataSpace, Enabled Objects and Enabled Spaces can be shifted around like letters in an alphabet, remixed to create new stories, and structures with new opportunities, to do anything. CONTEXT IS THE VALUE VARIABLE What is the difference between us and our objects? Our objects are us as they serve to propagate us, as they serve to enhance us, as they serve to augment the Self. We look at people, place object as distinct when in effect they are one: People are actualized through object and place. We exist and produce through objects and places. Objects do not exist without People. Nor do Places exist without what makes them meaningful – and that is People.
If we bring place to space then WE ARE PLACE. Being European does not mean living in Europe. It means that Europe lives in You. We are object and We are Place. We actualize through both. Beethoven includes the piano, Gretzky includes skate, puck, ice and stick. He is actualized through objects and places – he is made not a human being but Gretzky. Consequently, introducing objects that allow Gretzky to manifest his Gretzky-ness in a network increases the value of that network by the amount we value Gretzky's skills with a stick on ice. Other individuals need less to be actualized; Carlos Santana needs just a guitar. Objects introduced in a network allow people to participate with what they know as well as with WHAT THEY CAN DO with the object. With traditional objects, the social capital of the network depends on physical proximity of the participants. With Enabled Objects, a DataSpace Network is created in which physical proximity is not necessary. Value resides in what the Enabled Objects know, in what Enabled People can do with that knowledge as well as in the value the Enabled Object brings as an avatar of other objects.
We are proposing that Enabled Objects can become the avatars of ANY object; then Enabled Objects bring to the DataSpace Network a value which is exponential to the Objects they are the Avatars of. Every object can perform as every other object at any given moment of need. The value resides in the use of it as what it is not. Shifting value. Objects will have complementary avatars – to do what they cannot. Everything is Everything Else that makes sense.
VALUE IN ENABLED TRACES Aside from the physical "codification" of objects and spaces, human beings leave traces of ourselves in our wake. We construct through our behaviours a digital shadow; we can see the beginnings of this in "the paper trail" or now, bit trails of surveillance cameras, credit cards and cell phone use, computer use. In this emerging ecology these ethereal Traces are the currency, they are what is spliced and recombined, traded and circulated, the social capital of which the value is variably dependent on context.
Behavioural traces, emotional traces, cognitive traces, social traces. The value of these traces will be determined by their relevance to the moment, how critically they are to the moment, how "helpful they are in that context. Everyplace is my place because every object is the object I need right now. DataSpace and the networks it will render, will let us create value by doing what comes naturally, just being.
ENABLED OBJECTS AND ENABLED SPACES AS TRACES DataSpace is primed to become the substrate of our propagation, an active entity of our communal chorus of political and economic, social and cultural activity. DataSpace is not about the objects, or spaces themselves, but about their new capacity as socio-cultural barometers. In this sense, objects and spaces will be active participants in the co- production of meaning. The living room, the café, are all mental constructs, object topographies are a platform for a prescribed framework of experience, each with unique culturally formed behavioural expectations. These are social networks of objects and spaces. Within DataSpace, new links between "unrelated" objects or spaces could be forged through the social capital they can offer to outside social circles.
Objects and spaces and the built environment, are rich with associations; they are the residues of behaviours, which are socially formed. They are the product of communal ideas and energy so much so that we can see and feel them. They are the first "traces". They are contextual triggers.
9. VALUE AT THE MEETING OF OBJECT AND CONTEXT DataSpace represents a world in which the physical and the digital are linked not through dedicated and stationary nodes, but through every person, place and object. As digital platforms become distributed and connected, the experiences that they enable become increasingly significant. The expansion of isolated digital platforms toward a connected virtual ecology will obsolesce the term "virtual experience".
In this evolving notion of place, purpose and identity, all aspects of life can occur simultaneously in physical and digital space. The tension of this duality will change the way we perceive and define our environments, our communities, our tools and ourselves.
THE OBJECT IS CONTENT AND CONTENT IS CAPITAL These mobile physical elements will possess digital traces and traits which will allow them to be searched, filtered, and aggregated; and they will have the ability to contain, retrieve, receive and transmit data. Their intelligence and presence will create new languages and opportunities within the built environment, modes which can be articulated and shaped by what is close and what is capable. These new languages will not only create new relationship models between objects, spaces and people, through shared history and experience, but ultimately, they will strengthen the relationships between people.
10. ACTORS IN CONTEXT CREATE NEW CONTENT We create and participate in dynamic social ecologies, unique and shared networks of knowledge, culture and economy that inform our experiences and shape our existence, giving purpose to our lives. In the current social climate, these ecologies are developing in astonishing and unforeseen ways, adapting, collaborating and competing with each other to ensure that their relevance and legacy will survive. Like any living system, our social ecologies continually expend and exchange energy to propagate their organization, leveraging their social capital, their available resources and relationships, to benefit and strengthen their relationships and overall dynamic. However, until very recently, people were the only participants in a network with the ability to express and alter their current or desired intent; the spaces and objects around us were unable to autonomously collaborate or adapt to new circumstances or contexts. But the paradigm has shifted: objects and spaces are in the process of adapting, collaborating and leveraging themselves to ensure their own survival and contribute to the overall health of the network.
What can we do to negotiate these emerging dialogues, when the objects and spaces cease being they and instead become we, when all creatures become creators?
11. NEW CAPABILITIES: WHAT ELSE CAN I BE? The capability to recognize, articulate and transform the purpose and scope of our experience, to provide maximum benefit to all participants, is not to be found within new technological applications or interfaces, but within the latent human behaviours they retrieve, and how those behaviours are leveraged to strengthen and affect the system at hand. In DataSpace all objects could be empowered with the ability to transmit not only their location and capability, but also their composition. Since these signals are remotely retrievable the constituent elements could be located, sorted and efficiently repurposed from anywhere. In this context, the existence of a material in any form will generate and answer the implicit question "where else could I be?" – or more accurately "what other place could I make for you right now?"
Conclusion Technology itself does not create behaviours in individuals, groups or organizations; rather the behaviours are latent within them until the technologies and the contextual circumstances co-create the opportunity for it to manifest. It requires both the bicycle and the Tour de France to retrieve a Lance Armstrong; the tool must mesh with the network for a champion to emerge. Ultimately, the manifest behaviour (the social capital) will propagate itself -be leveraged- only when the affordances of both the behaviour and the network inform a mutual and evolving dialogue.
In the context of a DataSpace, where the elements have a shifting and adaptive agency, how can we anticipate, map and influence future opportunities in content and experience? It is becoming more apparent that the traditional methods we use to analyze and maximize the value of the network's complexity, pattern and potential are no longer appropriate or accurate: a new lens is required. Strategic foresight is this lens, the capability required to empower and nurture possibility from multiple perspectives. Strategic foresight concentrates our attention on emergent macro- and micro systems as a means of retrieving behavioural latencies. It unifies the how with the what, the "means" with the "meaning" in the organized exploration of what could be.
In order to enable and retrieve behaviours, leverage core capabilities and exploit DataSpace opportunities, network participants can adapt, sample and modify content - a rendering and response that takes advantage of imaginative potentialities made possible within a content rich DataSpace. The degree to which the elements of DataSpace have been integrated into the social experience, and the opportunities they provide, is the measure of their benefit. This benefit is directly proportional to the actual and potential quantity and quality of nodes within the DataSpace network, and the intrinsic social capital of all actors.
2005-2006 THE CASE AND OPPORTUNITY FOR STRATEGIC FORESIGHT
The material in this paper is based on the work and ideas developed by the author at the Beal Centre of Strategic Creativity at the Ontario College of Art and Design and members of the Centre including Joshua Brasse, Michelle DesGroseilliers, Matthew Jones, Mathew Lincez, Michele Perras, Kelly Seagram and Ricky Thomas.
Strategic Foresight seeks to discover the signals that create the patterns of emergence. Emergent behaviour patterns start with very simple acts that get multiplied on a collective scale. One person in a crowd, using his or her cell phone screen as a torch, at the latest U2 concert. And then five thousand cell phone screens, all moving in unison. This is a simple example of a causal effect based on direct feedback. Could the behaviour of the first person doing this be predicted? Could the behaviour of the crowd be predicted?
The answers are no and no or yes and yes, according to how imaginative and playful one wants to be. If we see the cell phone as just another cordless telephone, then the first answer is no. But if we recognize the cell phone as a communication device and if we understand communication as expressing ideas and feelings via multiple means of transmission, than the answer is yes. Understanding the nature of humans and the basic human needs for expression, expansion, community and exchange makes it rather easy to predict the pattern of possible interactions between the crowd at a concert in their use of cell phones as a torches. A BIT OF HISTORY On March 10, 1876, in Boston, Massachusetts, Alexander Graham Bell working with Thomas Watson invented the telephone. The device was a crude looking object containing a wooden stand, a funnel, a cup of acid, and some copper wire. This is what the first telephone did not have: a numeric keypad, caller id and call waiting information, full-duplex speakerphone, call waiting display, voice announced caller identification, mailboxes for general and private use with customized greetings, conference transfer 200-name and number call log, built-in hands-free speakerphone , backlit display, busy station indicators, memory keys. And one more thing: there was no system ready and capable of supporting it. Was this telephone a "weak signal"? ARCHETYPE RETRIEVAL Telephone comes from Greek: tele, which means from afar and phone which means sound made by voice. So any device that reproduces sounds made by voice over a distance is a telephone. And what is the question for which the telephone is the answer? To answer this question we need to look at both the precursors of the device we now call a telephone, as well as at the behaviours that created them. In this investigation one will soon realize that the history of the telephone is as old as human civilization itself: human beings have always wanted to communicate from great distances. The precursors that have allowed this behaviour to become manifest were light signals, smoke signals, drums, flag signals, carrier birds and various semaphores. These were not about voice but about communication. Specifically, communicating messages about us, our status, where we are now and the quality of our existence in this place. It is important to note while retrieving the precursor and behaviour archetype of communication from afar, that the first "telephone" – the first transmission of condition over a distance - was a visual signal.
Now think of the most frequently asked question in a telephone communication over the past 75 years – "Can you hear me?" Two words are key to uncovering the deep behaviour archetype of the telephone: one is the word hear, a verb, the other is the word me, a pronoun. The verb is a reflection of the phase of technological development in which the transmission took place. For all purposes, the technology is transitory and hear was soon to be replaced with see. The verb(s) represents the technology of the moment.
The how and not the what and why. More often than not, companies dedicate a large amount of innovation effort aimed at adding value to the how. This is a tactical innovation; it protects the how against competitors.
The pronoun is more revealing: me.It refers to me. It is about me. It is about my personality and the things I wish to communicate to you, over distance at this moment and from this place. Give me more technology and I will use more verbs as I will want you to hear ME, see ME, smell ME, feel ME…I want, need, desire all the technology that will empower me, that will expand my capability and allow me to actualize all I want to express of my emotions, of myself, to you. To communicate my condition to you, where ever you may be. In other words the what and the deeper why. This is the field of Strategic Innovation, where value is created and pre competitive positions are established. So, What is the question for which the telephone was the answer? How do I express myself to you wherever you may be? And in this effort of expressing all of myself, I will use any technology that you, the telephone, the current technology, make available to me. I will use a photo camera, I will use video, I will use sounds, smells, motions, vibrations, flashing lights, ANYTHING that technology can and will invent and enable me to actualize "me" expressing myself to "you" more completely.
From this, we gain the insight that allows us to forecast the future of what we now call a cell phone: the future of the cell phone is its past enhanced and actualized by current technology. Or, in a more generic definition: The future of an artifact is a measure of its capability to create the experience most conducive to emerge our latent behaviour, and the desires that shape who we are in our best representation. Unfolding the future is not about technology signals; it is about signals in us.
THE CAPABILITY TO EXPLORE POSSIBILITY In a January 23, 2006 speech at the Ford Motor Company Business Review, Bill Ford, Chairman and CEO, Ford Motor Company, stated the needed change in the company's stale business model: "We're going to figure out what people want before they even know it – and then we're going to give it to them." Ford's statement is the opportunity and case for strategic creativity. Individuals and organizations expert at identifying latent behaviours and the shape of the technology experience that will allow them to emerge, will become indispensable to organizations in the next decade. Strategic Creativity is this new capability, bridging the gap between humanities, business, science, technology and the social sciences. Strategic foresight explores the significant possibilities at the intersection of new technology and emergent latent behaviour. The exploration of possibility requires imagination as a prerequisite for strategic change and innovation.
IMAGINATION AS A SPACE OF POSSIBILITY On October 12, 1492, at dawn, a fleet of three ships - the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María – had first sighting of land since leaving Spain, two months earlier. The place was close to San Salvador, in the Bahamas. The people that greeted Columbus called it Guanahan. They were the Taíno, an indigenous culture who lived peacefully as farmers and fisherman. They traveled in dugout canoes, trading with other islands and sharing a common language while sustaining sensitive and respectful relationships with their environment. They were led by the Cacique, the chief, and advised by the Bohique, the village shaman.
When Columbus and his men landed, the Taino greeted them with gifts of food and drink. They had never before seen white men, fully clothed with beards, and carrying all the fanfare of the Spanish Conquistadors. Accounts of the meeting emphasize the curiosity of both parties to learn about the other, although their agendas (especially that of the Spanish) may be questionable. However, after some time, the Taino and the Spanish found a way to communicate, and proceeded to ask questions about each culture.
One unexplained detail bothered the Taino about the Spanish... "How did you get here?" they asked. "Well, we got here on these three big boats that you can see over there", replied the Spanish. "What boats? We can see no boats!"
Puzzling? Not necessarily. While the Taino were not blind, they had never encountered such enormous boats, and had no way to understand what one of that size meant. They could look at it for hours and still not be able to see it. The Bohique of that village -the trickster - looked at their puzzled faces and said, "Close your eyes, and I will describe the boats to you". The Trickster was creating a space in their imagination for the possibility of a boat that big. The trickster was acting as a medium into the unseen possibilities, asking them to see with their mind first and with their eyes second. He knew that imagination creates meaning; one cannot see what one cannot imagine.
MEANING AND METHOD Meaning is what humans create to construct a sense of reality- we are meaning making machines. We constantly try to make sense of our life by forming schemas about our experiences, actively constructing a context for identity that varies from person to person. These individual perceptions are what we base our values, goals, and aspirations on, and, in turn, those drive our behaviour and preferences. In short, the way we create meaning defines who we are and the choices we make.
But how does something become meaningful? How does it become attached and integrated? We can make meaning by looking at how something connects to the world around us, and by how something connects to each of us. More than anything, for something to be meaningful that connection has to be immediately relevant, what will this mean for my life and me? How does this "new thing" fit, change or enhance the ecology of my life and that of my behaviour?
THE DYNAMIC SYSTEM ECOLOGY OF BEHAVIOUR A system is a set of imposed constraints on a set of variables. The word "constraints" can be misleading in this context and often seen as a negative. It is a summary of what we may call parameters, boundaries, rules of conduct, controls or operators. Typical system representations are the places and situations we encounter everyday at work, at leisure, at home.
The office, the workplace, the classroom and the baseball field are a few examples of such systems. Each one contains variables, and the rules that make them work in a way that is for the common good of all involved in the system. In the workplace, the variables are the space, the furniture, the equipment present and used, and the people using it. The constraints or rules of behaviour between variables are contained by both the physical relationship between furniture, technology and the space as well as the set relationships between the people inhabiting the space. Within the office environment we engage in actions that are seen as common for the time, place and objective to be satisfied. These actions set our behaviour range.
On the baseball field, the behaviour range is a different one and it is determined by the constraints of the rules of the game, inclusive of both the type of equipment used by the players as well as the manner in which the game is played. The variables are the players, the time of day, the temperature and the general conditions including field conditions. In the sport of high jumping, some of the variables are the jumper, the height of the bar, the landing pit contents, the time of day, the lighting conditions, the style the jumper chooses to perform in order to clear the bar, and the gallery. The constraints are the maximum distance; the jumper can run before the jump; the distance between the bar and the landing pit; and the minimum distance he must clear for a successful jump.
In cognitive behaviour, any of the systems described above are referred to as the "Task Environment": the environment that dictates and controls the task we are engaged in while in it. The combination of variables and constraints in this task environment defines our behaviour range in that specific environment. Everything within the range is seen as common. Everything outside the range of what we have defined as "normal" according to social norms in the Task Environment is considered as deviant.
The dynamic system ecology of behaviour is a system of continual change and adaptation in which each new variable entering the system – each new technology, each new individual- appends its own constraints, which in turn modify and expand the existing constraints of the variables already present in the system.
This dynamic enhances the common behaviour mode characteristics – what we have taken as the norm up to the point of the entry of a new variable - through new sets of dispositions and expectations, which become new constraints to be satisfied. By satisfying the combination of new and old constraints, we are engaged in movement leading to growth and the manifestation of new human potential.
THE COMMON MANIFEST BEHAVIOUR MODE The actions and tasks we perform and we can observe everyday in a given task environment are referred to as the common manifest behaviour mode. In this mode the manifest variables satisfy the constraints defined by the given system as common. Common in this context refers to the manner of conducting yourself towards other people and other variables present in the given environment within the normative constraints defined as "common" or "for the common good". (Belonging to or participated in by a community as a whole; public; for the common good; common to or shared by two or more parties)
In the common manifest behaviour mode, any NEW variable introduced into the system - such as a new technology, or a new piece of furniture, or a new employee – is subjected to the same constraints (same rules, benchmarks, questions) as all the OLD variables present in the system. The new variable should provide the answer to the question "what is the problem for which the new variable is a solution?" How does this change, help or impede what I have always done.
FRAMES OF INQUIRY In the common behaviour mode we pursue inquiry to uncover meaning by looking at the capability of a new variable - a new innovation, a new piece of equipment, etc - to be a solution to a defined or yet undefined problem. The capacity of a solution to be relevant to perceived problems in the common behaviour mode is the measure by which the variable is assigned value and meaning.
Rubber foam was the new variable introduced in the high jump drop pit box to replace sand, wood shavings and air filled bladders. Thousands of high jumpers and their coaches treated foam as if it was sand or any of the old materials used in the pit to absorb the impact of the fall. They applied to foam the same constraints as they applied to everything else; in effect, foam was seen as being the same solution to the problem of landing softly in the pit. In this Problem / Solution space we do not assign new meaning and new constraints to new variables but we make them work better. For years after the introduction of foam rubber in the landing pit the standard high jumping technique called the straddle remained virtually unchallenged. Until Dick Fosbury. For Fosbury the foam was a trigger towards the mastery of a new way to jump: the Fosbury Flop.
Fosbury perfected a style that has the jumper approach the bar with his back to it, doing a modified scissor-kick and going over the bar backwards and horizontal to the ground. A soft landing on the jumpers back requires plenty of cushioning. And the foam provides just that. Fosbury took creative advantage of the characteristics of foam rubber by exploiting the knowledge that the new variable brought about a new set of constraints. Constraint is seen here as a property of allowable use: as such, it is in fact an opportunity.
In the Common Manifest Behaviour Mode – such as the behaviour that characterizes the straddle style high jump - we use creativity to improve our condition. In this mode, creativity results in tactical innovation But we must first recognize the different nature of a new variable. The Fosbury Flop is a proven tactical innovation: it exposes a minimum of the body to the bar at any one time. It takes advantage of the body's symmetry because both arms and both legs are doing the same thing, at the same time in a straight line. In this technique the jumper can run harder towards the bar, decelerating less and achieve more power from the ground.
THE FULL BEHAVIOUR MODE The full behaviour mode is the mode that includes the variables of both manifest as well as latent behaviour subjected to a new set of constraints specific to a moment in time. The principle here is that a new artifact - idea, environment, object or technology - reveals the latent behaviour of its users. The artifact reveals the master. The foam – as the new variable in the landing pit- revealed the full mastery of Dick Fosbury's technique. By combining the constraints of the old variables with the constraints of the new variable, Fosbury entered into a full behaviour mode, the mode in which he allowed himself to be revealed and enhanced by a new technology, a mode in which he could attempt self-actualization. He understood that the landing on foam WAS PART of the high jump. In this mode Fosbury's creativity resulted in a strategic innovation.
Technology artifacts are not only an extension of our human capability, but also a means by which we discover the new limits of our capacity. What we are capable of and the manner in which we are capable. This is consistent with Carl Roger's "self concept" and the humanistic view of psychology. According to Rogers (1951, 1959) the most basic striving of an individual is toward the maintenance, enhancement, and actualization of the self. For thousands of high jumpers active at the competitive level in Fosbury's time, the foam was seen only as a means to maintain something they were already doing. To Fosbury, the foam represented the possibility of enhancing his performance toward self-actualization: the best he could become.
"The problem with something revolutionary like that was that most of the elite athletes had invested so much time in their technique and movements that they didn't want to give it up, so they stuck with what they knew," Fosbury said. It took a full decade before the flop began to dominate the sport.
Ideas, events and many other new variables in our environment can also be triggers that allow our latent behaviours to emerge. We engage in a full behaviour mode every time we see a movie or we read a fiction story. Both movies and stories are expert at constructing triggers for emerging latent behaviour – be that fear, love, hate, desire for revenge, etc. Both serve as operating platforms that connect common manifest behaviour with latent behaviour.
SIGNALS AND THE BEHAVIOUR MODES The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes. Goethe.
The "weak signal" methodology was developed by Igor Ansoff in order to improve strategic planning management practices and make organizations attentive to "weak-signals". Weak signals discovery, monitoring and interpretation are vital capabilities to business strategy, futures research, communication research, research on international security and international politics and more. According to Ansoff, "weak signals" are often inexact and difficult to observe or understand. "When a threat/opportunity first appears on the horizon, we must be prepared for very vague information, which will progressively develop and improve with time".
Ansoff defined five stages of a "weak signal": 1) the sense of threat/opportunity, 2) the source of threat/opportunity is known, 3) the shape of threat/opportunity is concrete, 4) the response strategies are understood and 5) the outcome of response is forecast-able.
The five stages assume that the signal is more often than not a change in technology, a disruption, and an event outside ourselves. Current weak signal definitions see the individual as a receiver, as a spectator to the change that is about to take place. The earlier the interaction between the receiver and the signal takes place, the more involved individuals and organizations are in shaping their own future. This view does not recognize that the signal could manifest itself in the behaviour of the people themselves and that the emergence of a latent behaviour is in effect a signal.
Others have suggested that weak signals usually come from the periphery, as half-hidden ideas or trends. In other words the burden is on the signal: it is the signal that is weak and not the organization unable to detect it. This view discounts the fact that the foam rubber pads were introduced in the high jump pit in front of everybody. The foam was in plain sight. And so was the flop. The weakness was that of individuals and not of the signal itself.
THE BEAL THEORY OF SIGNALS We believe that signals are not at the periphery of present day reality. Signals are in our midst. The weakness of individuals and organizations in recognizing the meaning and the potential of signals – be they in emerging technologies or emergent behaviour - comes from the limits of their rational boundaries as dictated by the Task Environments in which individuals and organizations operate. The Task Environment defines the set of perceptual and cognitive constructs that dynamically frame our experience and expectation, changing and shifting with the integration of new or newly perceived signals. The weakness comes from treating signals as novelties with potentially little impact on the present. These signals surround us, and until we assign meaning, value and intensity to them, they are neutral. As if they do not exist. However, in the Task Environment we only able to infer meaning to these signals through the analysis of content, context, and history, and the versatility to synthesize this information.
Thus the Problem Space is created – the space in which every variable must be a solution to an identified or yet unidentified problem, but a solution it must be. If a new variable does not present a solution, then it has no meaning in that particular Task Environment. The first Taino setting his eyes on the Pinta would have had a hard time finding the problem for which such a large boat was a solution. In the Taino space, and in the Taino common manifest behaviour mode, such a large vessel was not only a practical impossibility for them, but did not present a solution to any of the problems the Taino could define. Therefore the boat became invisible. And without meaning.
Because we are traditionally taught to make signals make sense with efficiency and reason, we seek out and identify recognizable or familiar signals at the expense of unknown or strange signals. We may dismiss these strange signals because of our reticence or inability to redefine the process of expectation, to imagine their possibility. This inability to see beyond the boundaries of rationality is the Imagination Gap – a gap between current intellectual and technical capability and current possibility for an individual or a group.
The Beal Theory of Signals proposes the creation of a new space, the Temporary Play Space, enabling individuals to amplify the scope of their vision by creating a platform where possibility can exist and can be explored. And since the eye cannot see what the mind does not understand; a new space must be created in the mind, a space that allows for the possibility of a gigantic boat. That space is in one's imagination.
This is the creation of a new platform allowing for a full behaviour mode, a platform in which common manifest behaviour can be connected with released latent behaviour.
This is the creation of the capability to see the boat.
In Temporary Play Space every disruption, innovation or emerging behaviour – every signal - is revealed to contain from its inception four folds: Precise, Undeniable, Intuitive and Sensed.
FOUR FOLDED SIGNALS In "Scenarios, Strategies and the Strategy Process" Kees van der Heijden recounts a passage from the movie "Lawrence of Arabia". It is a scene in which Lawrence and his guide are taking a rest at a well during a trip through the desert. They are thirsty, tired and very hot when they barely see a small, almost imperceptible speck on the horizon. As they sit around, the speck grows, moving toward them, coming closer and closer. This is a story about a sensed signal about to become precise. One can intuitively distinguish a form – it is a rider on a camel – and in time, both Lawrence and his companion can undeniably declare that this is a man, with a gun, on a camel. As van der Heijden puts it "They wait. They watch. They wait. Two guys standing there, not knowing what to do about an approaching unknown." It is not long before the "signal" becomes precise for Lawrence's companion; while attempting to retrieve his revolver, he is shot dead by the approaching rider.
According to van der Heijden this story "illustrates some of the weaknesses of the 'predict and control' approach to decision making and suggests why scenario thinking may help. Having identified an approaching speck on the horizon the decision maker tries to work out what it might be. In the film the two people work hard at it. Various hypotheses are explored. On the other hand nothing much is done in terms of response while they are trying to find the right answer. They assume they need to know what the future will bring before they can work out what needs to be done. " Would an animal have done nothing? Unlikely. An animal would have been in motion, in action, from the first sighting of the speck on the horizon. And what if the travelers were not Lawrence of Arabia and his guide resting at a well in the desert, but Sony and Vivendi International? And what if the speck was the iPod? Or Nokia and Motorola were at the water well and Skype was the blurry speck on the horizon?
Van der Heijden's example points to the imperative of having the "capability to see the boat". To see, make meaning and understand the implication. And most important: to be provoked to action from the first trace of a signal. As used in strategic foresight, action research is a flexible process that allows the knowledge it discovers to change the parameters of the inquiry itself, and to pursue that which it discovers. This is a process of change and of understanding the nature of the change; informed change in turn informs change. Action informs understanding. And understanding unfolds the signal.
UNFOLDING SIGNALS In the case of the Taino, this capability would have revealed that behind the precise signal of the boat - its physical presence – one will find it undeniable that the boat contains people; it would have been easy then to intuitively understand that there are, somewhere beyond the horizon, more boats like this one and more people and finally, one could sense that both the people and their boats must come from someplace, a place where they make boats this big and a place that has even more people, probably lots of houses and definitely more boats.
The apparition of the Pinta was a trigger event. It signaled the boat and everything that came with it. In the precise fold the signal is exact, accurate and detailed; it gives the receiver all the data that becomes the needed information to reveal another signal fold: that which is undeniable. That which is real, cannot be ignored or refused, and is of potentially high impact. Experience and context transforms the information into knowledge, and unfolds the intuitive: something is there, it is likely to change, and I have witnessed this before. I need to make a decision. Drawing on knowledge and experience, insight and common sense, I use wisdom, to sense the possibility that the signal brings about. Insights allow for the awareness of that possibility; I can now draw a full picture of the events about to become history.
The capability to map these signal folds in the earliest stages of the apparition of a signal accelerates the understanding of the possibilities resident in the signal, and allows for the appropriate course of action to be chosen. An appropriate course of action will maximize the opportunity – or minimize the threat - for both individuals and society. The ecology of behaviour creates or inhibits the opportunity for latent behaviour. The Ecology of the Temporary Play Space creates opportunity; the Ecology of Common Manifest Behaviour suppresses it.
The Temporary Play Space is a construct that allows for the emergence of latent behaviour faster because new technology is generally encountered in Play Space – in toys, in story telling, in newsprint and books. Our first exposure with technology is by means of the toys we played with as children. In the recent past the electric train, the electric car, the flying discus, the electric boat; today all forms of play on digital consoles. This "wow" moment of the encounter with a new variable is a moment removed from everyday life and from common manifest behaviour. We believe that Emergent Technology and Emergent Behaviour are best understood when explored in the Temporary Play Space.
THE TEMPORARY PLAY SPACE AS PLATFORM FOR POSSIBILITY The Temporary Play Space is the operating platform where, in the form of Future Scenarios, we can simulate new environments in which common manifest behaviour is connected with latent behaviour. The Future Scenario suspends the rules of the common behaviour mode creating instead a new set of variables from both manifest and latent behaviour. By combining objects and environments we are familiar with – and to whom we have assigned value and meaning – with objects, technologies, ideas and environments we have never encountered before – the future scenario creates a full behaviour mode with its own individual constraints.
The Future Scenario becomes the fuel of the Temporary Play Space, where imagination can accelerate an ecology of possible meaning without the hindrances and limitations of rational behaviour found in the Problem Space. The Space provides a venue to learn imagination and incorporate its meaning and implication into cognitive behaviour. The premise of the narrative – the future scenario's point of departure – establishes a new set of dispositions and expectations that allow for the emergence of latent behaviour. Future scenarios are not about what technology will do in the future; they are about what we want to do and will be able to do in the future. They are people centered.
By dissolving the rational boundaries of the Problem Space and conventional education, the Temporary Play Space is a platform limited instead only by imagination. A future scenario is a story about people and how they interact with daily life, chores, and objects. It describes interactions with technologies, products and services that do not yet exist. A future scenario describes possibility.
CHARACTERISTICS OF TEMPORARY PLAY SPACE The Temporary Play Space is a construct that combines the attributes of a compelling experience with the characteristics of play behaviour. The innovation strategy firm Doblin, under the leadership of Larry Keeley, has described (1997) Compelling experience dimensions as having three stages, two transitions and six attributes. The stages are Attraction, Engagement and Extension with Entry and Exit as transitions. The attributes of these stages are Defined, Fresh, Immersive, Accessible, Significant and Transformative.
The space has a distinguishable entry point – a point of departure. The point of departure is attractive and engages the imagination. Take the question "Would you like to be invisible for a certain period of time every day? If the answer is yes, then you have entered the space. A follow-up question might be "How would you use your invisibility?" – this insures that you are now engaged. The attributes of the story – future scenario - need to be definable. One should be able to explain the intent of the narrative with minimum effort to others. This implies a level of emotional and intellectual accessibility. Once emotionally involved in the story, one is immersed and will continue to be so for as long as the experience is significant and presents a continual challenge, but a challenge that can be mastered. Mastery is the reward. (There are clues around, and the mystery can be solved.)
As a compelling experience, the temporary play space uses these dimensions while adding the characteristics of play behaviour. A Free Engagement: by which the entry in the story space is not obligatory; Separate: by which the story space is circumscribed within limits of space and time, defined and fixed in advance; Uncertain: by which no course can be entirely predictable, leaving room for surprise, wonder and discovery; Unproductive: by which the aim is not to create with that space any goods or any formal elements of wealth; Governed by rules: by which the space suspends ordinary laws and establishes new legislation, which alone counts; and Never a Task: by which there are no tasks to be accomplished and benchmarks to be measured against.
FRAMES OF INQUIRY AND BEHAVIOUR MODES In the full behaviour mode we pursue inquiry to uncover meaning through the capability of a new variable to define the question for which the variable represents the answer. The hypothesis here is that answers have generating – even if sometimes undefined - questions. The ability of a disruption – a new variable - to define a generating question is the measure by which the variable has value and meaning within the Full Behaviour Mode of Inquiry.
Imagine you have just witnessed the landing of a UFO and a huge flying saucer is sitting right in front of your eyes, heat still rising from the hidden engines. What do you see? What is the meaning of this object? You cannot measure it according to old benchmarks – it is not just another form of transportation, it does not present a solution to any of your practical everyday problems. In our task environment the landing of the UFO brings a new variable with, potentially, many new sets of constraints. You are now in a full behaviour mode and the frame of inquiry that will reveal meaning by unfolding the precise signal is "What is the question for which the variable is the answer?
So, What is the question for which the UFO is the answer?
While in the problem/solution frame of inquiry we can find a number of solutions suitable to solving a given problem, in the question/ answer frame there is only one question for which the UFO is the answer. "Is there life on other planets?"
ONLY ONE RIGHT QUESTION A quick exercise in the Question/Answer frame: take a coin and place it on a table. Show the coin to a friend and then cover it with a book. Ask your friend the following "what is the question for which the coin is the answer? "What's behind this book?
This frame of inquiry results not only in the unfolding of a signal, but also in revealing the meaning and archetypal purpose of an existing human artifact – seen here as any construct of purpose to human behaviour represented by an idea, a space or an object.
Imagine you have to design a new task light. You want to make a statement; you want to define a new classic. In any methodology you chose you would have to start with a question –providing you are not interested in redesigning something that already exists. You will chose a question that will help you get a deeper understanding of what a light is, and hopefully, a new insight that will make your light not only "different" but also meaningful to users. You want them to have a "wow" moment when they see it, but also the "aha" moment when they experience it.
The frame of inquiry you choose will be critical to the end result as well as to the process you choose to get there. In the common behaviour mode we pursue inquiry to uncover the deeper meaning of things through the capacity of the variable to be a solution to a defined problem. In this example the task light we are presently trying to design. This frame of inquiry leads you to ask a question very much like this one:
"What is the problem for which the task light (a lamp) is the solution?"
In the full behaviour mode described earlier, we pursue inquiry to uncover meaning through the capacity of a new variable (the flying saucer) to define the question for which it represents the answer. The hypothesis here is that answers have generating yet undefined questions. And so, "What is the question for which the task light is the answer? Let us look now at where the two frames of inquiry will lead when it comes to the example of developing a new task light.
We have conducted experiments with this question with over two hundred designers, product developers and "think outside the box" practitioners. With very little variation, the process unfolded as follows:
Q. "What is the problem for which the task light is the solution?" A. "Darkness"
So where does one go from here? How do we improve the task light in a meaningful way, if all we know is that it is a solution to "darkness"? We need to ask another question – actually, a series of questions.
Q. "Why is darkness a problem?" A. "Because I want to be productive after it gets dark." Q. "Why do you need to be productive after dark?" A. "Because I need to finish this project by the end of the week."
We are now three questions into this process and by all appearances, no closer to the insight that may provoke a moment of inspiration leading to the "classic task light" we are seeking. It is important to note that the sequence in which the questions are asked will greatly influence the direction of the inquiry and the end result. So it is likely that different individuals in different circumstances will arrive at different questions and answers. Some may consider this variability as a sign of individuality and some will see it as a sign of creativity, a capability that we should encourage. But are any of these answers bringing us closer to the meaning we are seeking? Are we now ready to design this new classic?
So what are the opportunities offered by the inquiry "What is the question for which the task light is the answer?
ANOTHER ARCHETYPE RETRIEVAL This is no different that the question asked earlier about the UFO. There is a question that reveals the meaning of the task light; as it was the case with the boat and the telephone, the task light comes from 'somewhere' and it leads "somewhere". We propose that this frame of inquiry results in the discovery of the archetypal purpose of the artifact, its deeper meaning.
So where does the task light come from? As we have done in the example of the telephone, we need to look at the predecessors of the task light, at the archetypes that have helped us achieve our purpose – what ever that purpose might have been - in the absence of daylight. We need to engage in a retrieval journey that will unfold in a very predictable, bias free, research based fashion: What is the predecessor of the task light?
You would have ascertained correctly that it was the lantern. What was the predecessor of the lantern? The candle. And that of the candle? In a very short time you will come up – intuitively or through a quick search- with the torch. So now we have something relevant to ask, something that contains at the core of the query the archetype, the model and the most meaningful representation for all that followed. And so: "What is the question for which the torch is the answer?
THE MAMMOTH OUTSIDE THE CAVE We jump back in time 180,000 years. You are, by now, a "Homo Sapiens", part of a group, taking shelter in a cave. You have barricaded the entrance to the cave, terrified by the mammoth parked outside. Soon, you will run out of food. And going out is not an option. Something needs to be done; you need to find something to eat "inside" this cave. But it is a dark and frightening place that you have never ventured into. And you may ask yourself "how can I explore this cave and find something we can eat?" You poke a stick into the firebox, your group's most precious holding. The stick caches on fire, throwing enormous shadows on the walls of the cave. You can "see" the walls. You can see beyond the darkness in front of you just a few moments before. And you have just invented the torch. And the task light.
How can I explore? Did you ever wonder why the Statue of Liberty holds a torch in her hand? And what is the meaning of that torch? And did you know that most university insignias have a torch as one of their central elements? The torch is the symbol for enlightenment and knowledge. The pursuit of a wondrous journey.
"What is the question for which the task light is the answer?" How can I explore, how can I enlighten myself? How can I journey from being to becoming? You are now ready for strategic innovation and ready to develop a new classic.
THE KEY OPPORTUNITY The opportunity for strategic foresight is in recognizing the different nature of the inquiry that we undertake in different modes of behaviour, and the inherent capacity of one frame of inquiry to generate strategic outcomes.
1. In the common manifest behaviour mode we use creativity to improve our condition. This is the Problem/Solution space. In this space any new variable must be a solution to an identified problem – and creatively, we use the variable to improve the efficiency of our daily tasks with the result creating a Tactical Innovation.
2. In the full behaviour mode we use imagination to transform our world by actualizing our capabilities. This is the Question/Answer space; in this space new variables allow us to imagine and discover new capabilities that reveal latent behaviours and new needs. In the full behaviour mode Imagination results in Strategic Innovation.
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