Archives For participation economy


A recent article on the freelance workplace refers to an Intuit study that predicts 40% of the workforce will be freelance by 2020. To many, this is an exciting idea where talented and creative individuals get to leverage their skills free from the tyranny of the “boss.” To others, it is a scary proposition where individuals work crazy long hours with none of the traditional perks and protections of employment. What interests me is: How might we be intentional about the design of a freelance life such that we get more of the former and less of the latter?

What are the tools that we need to manage freelance careers? What are the new behaviors amongst individuals and corporations that might make freelancing sustainable? How might our social structures and education systems have to change to accommodate this shift in work style?

I would love to come back to this topic from time to time. What are the questions we should really be asking? Where might we look for insights and inspiration?

How have you designed your freelance life?

(Posted also on my LinkedIn Thought Leader blog)

How might we improve the way citizens and governments interact?

This is the question posed by the current Knight News Challenge, a media innovation contest open to participants anywhere in the world. Winners receive a share of $5 million in funding from the Knight Foundation and feedback from a collaborative network of peers.

IDEO has customized the software platform that runs to help the Knight Foundation transform the way they run their news challenges and issue grants. Join the challenge and submit your ideas here.

What’s your favorite media innovation today?

(Posted also on my LinkedIn Thought Leader blog)

openideo 580px

If courage is an accumulation of small steps, one way to nurture your design courage is to join OpenIDEO—a digital innovation community composed of 42,000+ creative thinkers around the globe engaged in solving real-world challenges for social and environmental impact. Each challenge offers a fun, collaborative, inspiring way to do good and reclaim your creative confidence. Over the coming weeks, I’ll talk more about specific OpenIDEO challenges.

Since 2010, OpenIDEO has hosted 16+ design challenges sponsored by companies, nonprofit organizations, universities, and governments. Community members can contribute in a variety of ways, from inspirational observations to snippets of code. Members themselves take the winning ideas forward. Anything added to OpenIDEO is available for remix and reuse.

One example of what the OpenIDEO community can do is the new Amnesty International “Panic Button” app, which recently launched in Kenya. Inspired by human rights workers, detainee experiences, and social movements around the world, the Panic Button app began as an OpenIDEO community response to the question: How can technology help people working to uphold human rights in the face of unlawful detention?

The concept was then brought to life by coders and makers in less than a year. You can learn more about this design’s journey here and here.

Check it out—and then check out one of OpenIDEO’s current challenges: How might we inspire and enable communities to take more initiative in making their local environments better?

There’s also a new OpenIDEO University Toolkit available for download; learn more here.

(posted also on my LinkedIn Thought Leader blog)

“We’re Spent”

July 19, 2011 — 2 Comments


Some of you may remember me writing about ideas around the participation economy back in Spring 2009. One of those articles was entitled “The Post Consumption Economy” . There hasn’t been a whole lot of debate in the mainstream media about whether we have been solving the wrong problem by trying to revive the consumer economy but David Leonhardt argues in his New York Times article ” We’re Spent” that we may have no choice but to look for a different answer.

Steal this idea

October 31, 2010 — 9 Comments

steal this idea

The first two OpenIDEO challenges have recently been completed and now the trick is spreading the best ideas with the goal to have some be implemented. The results of the the educational tools challenge, sponsored by Grey Matters Capital, have been presented at the Enterprising Schools Symposium in Hyderabad. They have also been collated in a catalog that you can download for free. Any idea in the catalog is free to be used in any way by educational entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide. If you work in education then go check out the ideas to see if you can use any of them.

Similarly the Jamie Oliver challenge results have been published in a downloadable book. This time Jamie plans to work on some of his favorite ideas but again everything is available to inspire others innovators.

My question is, what beyond publishing winning concepts can be done to increase the impact of these challenges?