by Balthas

„Amorphous action communities for commons-based peer production“ – some thoughts on networking in the future

November 1, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn by Balthas

seibold_future of global networking for international cooperationYesterday, I tried to put the future of „global networking for international cooperation“ in one slide –  looking five to ten years ahead. My first problem was to find a name for the future. I ended up with „Amorphous action communities for open innovation and [commons-based] peer production (globally connected, innovating locally)“.

Then, I outlined some of intermediate steps in networking such as „Open networks of trust“ and „Communities of Practice“, which we are already seeing popping up. My final guess was on some of the driving forces, that will lead us from today’s networks all the way to the „amorphous action communities“.

So here’s the picture, with the steps and the driving forces:

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by Balthas

‘GIZ global connect’ publishes compilation on ‘Global Knowledge Sharing’ through ICTs & quotes me

September 14, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, News on publications by Balthas

GIZ online journal Global Connect just published an article on Global Knowledge Sharing, which quotes me quite a bit. So I reproduce here some lines, the entire piece is online here.

“… The example of Wikipedia gives us a taste of how we will likely generate our knowledge in the future: Radically different from the last 500 years, with an entirely new form of global networking and cooperation in areas such as culture, education, technology and business. The Internet plays a central role in this new form of knowledge generation. Anyone with access to the Internet, and who has language skills, can join the discussion on specific issues, plan, swap ideas and get together with like-minded people. It does not matter what social status, gender, age or ethnic background someone has, nor does their academic rank play any part. What matters is the input, and whether or not it holds up to the critical inspection of others and, in the end, works.

Such “open model” global knowledge partnerships hold tremendous opportunities for development cooperation. How global knowledge sharing over the Internet is already being used for sustainable development is something that Balthas Seibold knows. He is project manager of the group “Global Knowledge Sharing & Alumni” at GIZ and, in recent years, has been dealing with the topic of “Open Knowledge Sharing through Open Innovation”. Seibold cites the example of GIZ in the field of renewable energies: “On the GIZ developed online platform energypedia.info energy experts from Rwanda were able to re-create a gas tank for biogas production that was originally developed in Bolivia.

For more on how ICTs and the Internet can be drivers of open knowledge co-operation and a global knowledge commons , please check the following compilation of articles by GIZ Global Connect, which provides concrete examples and models such as energypedia and ict@innovation. The reporting was just released in three languages:

– English: Global Knowledge Sharing – “The Wisdom of Crowds”
– Spanish: La cooperación global en conocimientos como “la sabiduría de muchos”
– German: Globale Wissenskooperationen als „Die Weisheit der Vielen”

One word on ‘GIZ global connect’. This service addresses participants, alumni and partners of GIZ capacity development programmes. The website provides the GIZ community with information on alumni events, follow-up seminars, news, expert chats, network features, and a large community function enabling peer-to-peer networking though social networking tools. To join the community, check the registration info.

Full Article on GIZ Global Connect.

by Balthas

Tackling global problems by pooling knowledge – highlights of the first international conference on the knowledge commons

September 14, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn by Balthas

Source: A. Diez Herrero | Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 siehe http://www.flickr.com/photos/21572939@N03/2090542246/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Source: A. Diez Herrero | Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 siehe http://www.flickr.com/photos/21572939@N03/2090542246/sizes/m/in/photostream/

What do the problems of climate change, global access to affordable medicine and software, food security, and crop availability for poor farmers have in common?

In all of these fields, more and more people are looking at how a collective building and owning of key knowledge can help solve protracted global problems. A global core of these people just met in a tiny Belgium university town at the at the „First International Thematic Conference on the Knowledge commons“. (for more on the term, see wikipedias Knowlegde commons entry”).

It is quite tough for me to sum up such an endeavor. I will still try and do so by picking some issues related to my own main interests, mainly „global knowledge cooperation“ and „harnessing the knowledge commons for open innovation“. I will complement that with a totally non-exhaustive and personal „list of quick links“ on how to save the climate, solve the food crisis, fight pandemics and increase food security with commons approaches.

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by Balthas

Why open innovation helps to scale up development impact – Great new article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review

September 6, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn by Balthas

Steel Wool Sparks on the Beach

Now that is sparkling (innovation?) – Picture by: Evan Photo Extremist, licenced under CC BY-ND 2.0, source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thevlue/5813641070/sizes/z/in/photostream/

The Stanford Social Innovation Review just published an article on “Open Innovation: A Muse for Scaling” – Good chances, that this paper will become my personal “favorite article of 2012”. Why?

Well, the paper manages to explain in just two pages and in plain words, why open innovation has the potential to drastically increase the impact of development interventions. It is very prone to scale. As they sum it up: “Open innovation enables community participation, distributed accountability, and knowledge creation—all behaviors that provide the groundwork for scale”.

So let us all work on getting the five tips right in our own work, which are:
Tip 1: Turn beneficiaries into co-creators
Tip 2: Move from enterprise to ecosystem
Tip 3: Master the art of gifting
Tip 4: Spark entrepreneurship inside and outside your organization
Tip 5: Allow for mutability

Very relevant stuff indeed for development cooperation and international cooperation. For more info (on two pages), check Open Innovation: A Muse for Scaling or here on the Alumniportal: APD-copy of Open Innovation: A Muse for Scaling [This is a link to content within the Alumniportal Germany (register or login first to access the link)]. Cheers, Balthas

P.S. Thanks and Kudos to Jeremy de Beer who pointed me to the article.

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Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany (www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/). Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

by Balthas

Owning your social online network – the technology is getting there – are we as well?

September 4, 2012 in Freedom to innovate by Balthas

Copyright: makr.io

Copyright: makr.io

The makers of the open source social media platform “diaspora” have just launched another tool to get “ownership” back to the users of social media. See below for more info on makr.io . I get the feeling, that the technology is getting there  (give them some more months). However, I am not so sure that we as users of social online networks and as strategists on social media are putting such concepts as “ownership” at the centre of our strategy … Let me know, what you think.

And check the news on “Makr.io” by the the Diaspora Team (Maxwell, Daniel, Rosanna and Kayla): “Makr.io was born, and we launched last week!  We wanted to spend some time on a unique problem we discovered while working on Diaspora* the past couple of years—the value of ownership.  Existing social networks do not encourage their users to feel like they have the power to MAKE things on the internet. Rather they are just “capturing” the ephemeral social actions that define social networks today.  With Makr, we are making creativity accessible to everyone, in the hopes it enables people to realize that what you post and create online is **worth** owning.  The idea is simple:  make a new post with words and photos, and then any other user can ‘remix’ your post, creating an endless collective conversation that can be inspiring or hilarious.  We put a lot of ourselves in Makr, and the result is something fun, silly, and collaborative, but also rooted in the same values as Diaspora* that we have championed since day one.  You can read more about our Makr mission here.

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Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany (www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/). Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

by Balthas

The future of economies and business – what’s in it for partner countries and networking among partners & alumni?

August 22, 2012 in Freedom to innovate by Balthas

 

Copyright: GIZ (I think/hope, if not let me know ...)

Copyright: GIZ (I think/hope, if not let me know …)

Today, I am reporting to you from a GIZ topical conference, where we discussed „the future of economies and business“. We had here lot’s of experts and numerous programmes on sustainable private sector development and economic policy of GIZ from over 30 countries.

Here’s my personal summary of the event for you in four headlines:

1)    Economic crisis in Europe – but don’t you worry in Africa, Asia and Latin America
The experts tell us that we are in trouble in Europe. But: according to them this issue will not affect the economies of developing countries and transition countries.
My comment: let’s hope they are right this time 🙂

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by Balthas

Interview on Ethiopian blogging: “Blogging puts Ethiopian life on the Internet – and opens rooms for debates”

May 5, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business by Balthas

Markos interviewed by Balthas Seibold  / Picture: Balthas Seibold, Licence: see this website's license

Markos interviewed by Balthas Seibold / Picture: Balthas Seibold, Licence: see this website’s license

[Please note: This blog post is a preview of the interview to be published soon on the Alumniportal Deutschland (APD) – subject to further editing].

Last week saw ‘re:publica 2012’ in Berlin, Germany’s largerst conference on blogging, social online networking and internet community. This years edition went global and put Africa on the map of social media. One of the speakers from the continent was Markos Lemma, an Ethiopian blogger, GIZ alumnus and innovation project coordinator for GIZ’s labour-market education programme in Ethiopia (former ecbp).

In this interview first published on the Alumniportal Deutschland, Markos gives us his reasons to be a  blogger in Ethiopia, reports on the latest developments of the blogging scene in his country and tells why he is betting on social media to tackle protracted development challenges in his country. He also gives us his vision for knowledge sharing within German international corporation programmes. Markos is blogging both on the Internet and on the Alumniportal Deutschland (APD).

APD: When did you write your first blog and why ?

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by Balthas

Made in my backyard – by and for the world. third day of re:publica is starting

May 4, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Asia by Balthas

 

Illustration of low cost prosthesis 1. Copyright, Author: Waag Society/Arne Kuilman 2012, licensed under a cc licence: Naamsvermelding 3.0 Nederland (CC BY 3.0 NL). Source: http://waag.org/en/project/low-cost-prosthesis

Illustration of low cost prosthesis 1. Copyright, Author: Waag Society/Arne Kuilman 2012, licensed under a cc licence: Naamsvermelding 3.0 Nederland (CC BY 3.0 NL). Source: http://waag.org/en/project/low-cost-prosthesis

Bas van Abel, head of the design lab at waag society, Netherlands had a great session where he spoke about empowering people and fixing our economy by moving to open peer-to-peer production communities. He gave examples of concrete work with miners in Congo, and prosthesis-makers in Indonesia.

Bas starts with a quote from Oscar Wild: “People know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” He then gets to the argument, that social values are interlinked with economical values: Baas asks us to look at building a relational system, with the core needs of openness and transparency. “We need transparent products, where we know how they were made, and if they were made under fair conditions.”

This may mean to roll back some economic beliefs like division of labour and ‘the invisible hand of a self-regulating markets’. Baas gives the example of mineral extraction in Eastern Congo for cell phone raw materials. See e.g. the documentary ‘blood in the mobile‘.

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by Balthas

The non-experts are the real experts – open innovation talk at re:publica

May 2, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn by Balthas

From DIY to 'Who hacks whom'? Author: Berishafjolla. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Virus.jpg

From DIY to ‘Who hacks whom’? Author: Berishafjolla. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Virus.jpg

So re:publica 2012 has started today. Not only with a call for freedom by Harvards Eben Moglen, but also with an interesting talk on ‘open innovation and the contribution of non-experts’ by Beth Kolko.

Here’s my summary of it: For Beth, non-experts have the skills to innovate, but lack the recognition and credentials by institutions. They are outsiders, but that also makes them great rule-breakers: think of them as both innovators and challengers of institutional experts: They form communities of disruptive technology, as they think outside the box. Plus, they are willing to embrace a re-mix approach, that is truely ‘open innovation’. Examples include hackers, builders, DIY-activists, functional engineers

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by Balthas

India, the (knowledge) commons and a plan for the future of democracy

April 25, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Asia by Balthas

copyright: wikipedia, licensed under a creative commons share alike license, see www.wikipedia.org

An example of a self-goverened commons: Wikipedia. Copyright: wikipedia, licensed under a creative commons share alike license, see www.wikipedia.org

It is rare these days to see high-level government thinkers talk about the commons. Here is one: Arun Maira of Indias Planning Commission makes the point that commons-based models are important tools to plan for the future of democracy worldwide.

Here is the summary: “The world is full of complex problems, but humanity’s main organizational tools — governments and markets — leave much to be desired. Arun Maira, a member of India’s Planning Commission and previously the chairman of Boston Consulting Group in India, points to a third way.”

Statue of Gandhij in  Baroda, now called Vadodara, India / Picture by Brian Glanz / Licenced under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) / Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brianglanz/2767070246/

Statue of Gandhij in Baroda, now called Vadodara, Ghandi, in my view, was one of the inventors of the “commons” for a common good.  / Picture by Brian Glanz / Licenced under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) / Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brianglanz/2767070246/

I like his focus on “Four L’s” — localization, lateralization, learning and listening, and of course his praise of Ostrom. My only criticism is, that the piece is not dwelling enough on the issue of “knowledge as a commons”, but that may be the next topic of the Indian planning commission …

And here’s the full piece.

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Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany (www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/). Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

by Balthas

World Bank announces … Open Access Policy (ok, and a new president as well :-)

April 17, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source IT business by Balthas

Copyright World Bank, source: http://crinfo.worldbank.org/wbcrinfo/sites/wbcrinfo/files/OKR_300px.png

Copyright World Bank, source: http://crinfo.worldbank.org/wbcrinfo/sites/wbcrinfo/files/OKR_300px.png

In the coming days, everyone will talk about the new president of the world bank. I think that the recently announced move of the world bank to an “Open Access Policy for Research and Knowledge” and its launch of an “Open Knowledge Repository” will be more significant over time.

According to a press release, the bank will implement a new Open Access policy for its research outputs and knowledge products, effective July 1, 2012. “The new policy builds on recent efforts to increase access to information at the World Bank and to make its research as widely available as possible. As the first phase of this policy, the Bank launched today a new Open Knowledge Repository and adopted a set of Creative Commons copyright licenses.”

Good move.

BTW: I am quite encouraged to see, that the WB is using the same licence, which we have been implemented in all of our it@inwent capacity building programmes (Update: Link now goes to the site archived by the Internet Archive – last version of 2012)., for instance for the guide “Free your IT Business in Africa“.

BTW 2: For all German readers, there is a good post on the new world bank policy on open heise.

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Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany (www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/). Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

by Balthas

Homegrown advancements drive Africa’s tech revolution: TV show on Africa’s (open) innovation drive

March 23, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa by Balthas

Just found an interesting TV show on “African Innovation” aired by Al Jazeera three days ago.  They make several points e.g: ” Across Africa, developers and programmers are coming up with new technologies from mobile banking to mapping software and medical tablets to cloud storage. Now the continent is increasingly relying on its own homegrown innovations.”

In the show, Eric Osiakwan, director of the African Internet Service Providers Association, and Juliana Rotich (@afromusing), co-founder and executive director of Ushahidi provide their insights on many issues around African innovation. Check e.g. Minute 34:10 for good points on “informal open innovation”, “Open Spaces as second university”, Open Source as a driving force for Africa and more.

Heres the show: http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/african-innovations-0022111

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Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany (www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/). Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

by Balthas

ITU promotes Linux Certification in Arab countries – links to Africa’s ict@innovation

March 13, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business by Balthas

The Linux penguin - by Nemo, licensed under a Public Domain CC0 license, source: http://pixabay.com/de/tux-pinguin-linux-symbol-zeichnung-36838/

The Linux penguin – by Nemo, licensed under a Public Domain CC0 license, source: http://pixabay.com/de/tux-pinguin-linux-symbol-zeichnung-36838/

Last week, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)  announced a new LPI certification and training project throughout the 22 countries in the League of Arab States.

This is certainly good news for ICT capacity building in general and even more interesting for the community of ict@innovation, which has been building training capacities around Linux Administration in Africa since 4 years. It looks like there is a lot to share between the pan-African community of 200+ Linux Admin trainers of ict@innovation and the new Linux training partnership in the Arab world. According to the Linux Professional Institute (LPI), which is partnering with ITU in the Arab region, the new programme aims at establishing 132 Linux “Train the trainer” centers on all three levels of Linux professional Institute Certification.

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by Balthas

German Government funds German-African research partnerships to build ICT study courses in Africa – BMBF releases call for proposals with a funding of up to €150,000 per course and year

March 8, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn by Balthas

What the call is about: The German Government via its Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) released a call to fund research partnerships between German Research institutions and partners in Subsaharan Africa. One of the main goals is to build  African ICT study courses and to fund exploratory measures / pilot measures in  “Applied information and communication technologies (ICT)”  via German-African research partnerships.

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by Balthas

New online courses on GNU/Linux skills by the Free Technology Academy

March 2, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source IT business by Balthas

Logo of FTA, copyleft 2007: FTA, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution share alike license, source: http://freeknowledge.eu/FTA

Logo of FTA, copyleft 2007: FTA, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution share alike license, source: http://freeknowledge.eu/FTA

Just got news about this years courses by the Free Technology Academy, which is a partner of http://www.ict-innovation.fossfa.net. See the following announcement: The Free Technology Academy expects to run two course modules for users and systems administrators who want to get started with GNU/Linux systems. Skills in this area are increasingly demanded and hard to find for employers [1], making these topics very interesting for any IT professional.

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