Monday, November 30, 2009

CCK09 - Aprendizaje en redes

Acabo de comenzar un curso abierto en linea llamado Connectivism & Connective Knowledge 2009.  Es acerca de las nueva teorias de aprendizaje basadas en redes.  Estoy un poco atrasado ya que este curso tiene mas de diez semanas de comenzado, pero esta es una de las maravillas del aprendizaje en linea; se rompen las barreras de tiempo para aprender.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Planificación de Ciudades de Manera Colaborativa

Uno de los mayores retos que enfrentan las estrategias de colaboración virtual es crear exitosamente el puente desde el mundo cibernetico hacia el mundo concreto.  En otras palabras, como impactar nuestro entorno físico mediante trabajo realizado colaborativamente en el ciberespacio.  Poco a poco ese puente esta siendo edificado por creadores y colaboradores en múltiples disciplinas.  Uno de estos creadores es el Dr. Mark Elliot, fundador de Collabforge.  Elliot ha sido el arquitecto intelectual de Future Melbourne, un plan de uso de la ciudad de Melbourne, Australia que ha utilizando estrategias de colaboracion ciudadanas basadas en wikis.  Mas alla de limitar la participacion ciudadana a cerca del proyecto a simplemente expresar sus opiniones en vistas publicas y "town hall meetings", como tradicionalmente se hace, Future Melbourne fue creado completamente por colaboracion ciudadana.  Cientos de organizaciones e individuos colaboraron el la redaccion del plan que servira de mapa para la vision de futuro de la ciudad.  A continuacion un video de la presentacion del proyecto por parte del Dr. Elliot. Recomiendo aumenten el video a pantalla completa para apreciar el video.  

Creative Commons - Cultura Compartida

¿Que significa ser humano si no tenemos una cultura compartida? ¿Que significado tiene una cultura compartida si no la puedes compartir?

Monday, November 23, 2009

La Sociedad Global Colectivista

De vez en cuando encuentro un artículo en la web que catalogo como un ramillete de semillas.  Estos son artículos que sirven de plataformas para expresar múltiples ideas, distinciones, conexiones, en fin, un punto de partida para otras reflexiones.  Este es uno de esos artículos.  La revista Wired siempre esta a la vanguardia de la cultura techie y con este lo comprueban.

Estimo muy importante hacer una aclaración; este NO es un articulo de política. Es una demostración de la cultura de colaboración y de trabajo compartido que esta ocurriendo, a pesar de las filosofías políticas y económicas.  Si tienes problemas con la palabra "Socialismo", reemplázala con algún sinónimo que te permita liberar tu mente para el aprendizaje.

Otra aclaración es que intente traducir este artículo pero realmente contiene conceptos y palabras difíciles de traducir.  Por esto pido comprensión.

Por ultimo, tan rico como es el contenido del artículo, lo es la discusión de los lectores de este.  Puedes encontrar sus respuestas al final del articulo original en

The New Socialism: Global Collectivist Society is Coming Online
By Kevin Kelly

Bill Gates once derided open source advocates with the worst epithet a capitalist can muster. These folks, he said, were a "new modern-day sort of communists," a malevolent force bent on destroying the monopolistic incentive that helps support the American dream. Gates was wrong: Open source zealots are more likely to be libertarians than commie pinkos. Yet there is some truth to his allegation. The frantic global rush to connect everyone to everyone, all the time, is quietly giving rise to a revised version of socialism.

Communal aspects of digital culture run deep and wide. Wikipedia is just one remarkable example of an emerging collectivism—and not just Wikipedia but wikiness at large. Ward Cunningham, who invented the first collaborative Web page in 1994, tracks nearly 150 wiki engines today, each powering myriad sites. Wetpaint, launched just three years ago, hosts more than 1 million communal efforts. Widespread adoption of the share-friendly Creative Commons alternative copyright license and the rise of ubiquitous file-sharing are two more steps in this shift. Mushrooming collaborative sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, the Hype Machine, and Twine have added weight to this great upheaval. Nearly every day another startup proudly heralds a new way to harness community action. These developments suggest a steady move toward a sort of socialism uniquely tuned for a networked world.

We're not talking about your grandfather's socialism. In fact, there is a long list of past movements this new socialism is not. It is not class warfare. It is not anti-American; indeed, digital socialism may be the newest American innovation. While old-school socialism was an arm of the state, digital socialism is socialism without the state. This new brand of socialism currently operates in the realm of culture and economics, rather than government—for now.

The type of communism with which Gates hoped to tar the creators of Linux was born in an era of enforced borders, centralized communications, and top-heavy industrial processes. Those constraints gave rise to a type of collective ownership that replaced the brilliant chaos of a free market with scientific five-year plans devised by an all-powerful politburo. This political operating system failed, to put it mildly. However, unlike those older strains of red-flag socialism, the new socialism runs over a borderless Internet, through a tightly integrated global economy. It is designed to heighten individual autonomy and thwart centralization. It is decentralization extreme.

Instead of gathering on collective farms, we gather in collective worlds. Instead of state factories, we have desktop factories connected to virtual co-ops. Instead of sharing drill bits, picks, and shovels, we share apps, scripts, and APIs. Instead of faceless politburos, we have faceless meritocracies, where the only thing that matters is getting things done. Instead of national production, we have peer production. Instead of government rations and subsidies, we have a bounty of free goods.

I recognize that the word socialism is bound to make many readers twitch. It carries tremendous cultural baggage, as do the related terms communal, communitarian, and collective. I use socialism because technically it is the best word to indicate a range of technologies that rely for their power on social interactions. Broadly, collective action is what Web sites and Net-connected apps generate when they harness input from the global audience. Of course, there's rhetorical danger in lumping so many types of organization under such an inflammatory heading. But there are no unsoiled terms available, so we might as well redeem this one.

When masses of people who own the means of production work toward a common goal and share their products in common, when they contribute labor without wages and enjoy the fruits free of charge, it's not unreasonable to call that socialism.

In the late '90s, activist, provocateur, and aging hippy John Barlow began calling this drift, somewhat tongue in cheek, "dot-communism." He defined it as a "workforce composed entirely of free agents," a decentralized gift or barter economy where there is no property and where technological architecture defines the political space. He was right on the virtual money. But there is one way in which socialism is the wrong word for what is happening: It is not an ideology. It demands no rigid creed. Rather, it is a spectrum of attitudes, techniques, and tools that promote collaboration, sharing, aggregation, coordination, ad hocracy, and a host of other newly enabled types of social cooperation. It is a design frontier and a particularly fertile space for innovation.

In his 2008 book, Here Comes Everybody, media theorist Clay Shirky suggests a useful hierarchy for sorting through these new social arrangements. Groups of people start off simply sharing and then progress to cooperation, collaboration, and finally collectivism. At each step, the amount of coordination increases. A survey of the online landscape reveals ample evidence of this phenomenon.


The online masses have an incredible willingness to share. The number of personal photos posted on Facebook and MySpace is astronomical, but it's a safe bet that the overwhelming majority of photos taken with a digital camera are shared in some fashion. Then there are status updates, map locations, half-thoughts posted online. Add to this the 6 billion videos served by YouTube each month in the US alone and the millions of fan-created stories deposited on fanfic sites. The list of sharing organizations is almost endless: Yelp for reviews, Loopt for locations, Delicious for bookmarks.

Sharing is the mildest form of socialism, but it serves as the foundation for higher levels of communal engagement.


When individuals work together toward a large-scale goal, it produces results that emerge at the group level. Not only have amateurs shared more than 3 billion photos on Flickr, but they have tagged them with categories, labels, and keywords. Others in the community cull the pictures into sets. The popularity of Creative Commons licensing means that communally, if not outright communistically, your picture is my picture. Anyone can use a photo, just as a communard might use the community wheelbarrow. I don't have to shoot yet another photo of the Eiffel Tower, since the community can provide a better one than I can take myself.

Thousands of aggregator sites employ the same social dynamic for threefold benefit. First, the technology aids users directly, letting them tag, bookmark, rank, and archive for their own use. Second, other users benefit from an individual's tags, bookmarks, and so on. And this, in turn, often creates additional value that can come only from the group as a whole. For instance, tagged snapshots of the same scene from different angles can be assembled into a stunning 3-D rendering of the location. (Check out Microsoft's Photosynth.) In a curious way, this proposition exceeds the socialist promise of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" because it betters what you contribute and delivers more than you need.

Community aggregators can unleash astonishing power. Sites like Digg and Reddit, which let users vote on the Web links they display most prominently, can steer public conversation as much as newspapers or TV networks. (Full disclosure: Reddit is owned by Wired's parent company, Condé Nast.) Serious contributors to these sites put in far more energy than they could ever get in return, but they keep contributing in part because of the cultural power these instruments wield. A contributor's influence extends way beyond a lone vote, and the community's collective influence can be far out of proportion to the number of contributors. That is the whole point of social institutions—the sum outperforms the parts. Traditional socialism aimed to ramp up this dynamic via the state. Now, decoupled from government and hooked into the global digital matrix, this elusive force operates at a larger scale than ever before.


Organized collaboration can produce results beyond the achievements of ad hoc cooperation. Just look at any of hundreds of open source software projects, such as the Apache Web server. In these endeavors, finely tuned communal tools generate high-quality products from the coordinated work of thousands or tens of thousands of members. In contrast to casual cooperation, collaboration on large, complex projects tends to bring the participants only indirect benefits, since each member of the group interacts with only a small part of the end product. An enthusiast may spend months writing code for a subroutine when the program's full utility is several years away. In fact, the work-reward ratio is so out of kilter from a free-market perspective—the workers do immense amounts of high-market-value work without being paid—that these collaborative efforts make no sense within capitalism.

Adding to the economic dissonance, we've become accustomed to enjoying the products of these collaborations free of charge. Instead of money, the peer producers who create the stuff gain credit, status, reputation, enjoyment, satisfaction, and experience. Not only is the product free, it can be copied freely and used as the basis for new products. Alternative schemes for managing intellectual property, including Creative Commons and the GNU licenses, were invented to ensure these "frees."

Of course, there's nothing particularly socialistic about collaboration per se. But the tools of online collaboration support a communal style of production that shuns capitalistic investors and keeps ownership in the hands of the workers, and to some extent those of the consuming masses.


While cooperation can write an encyclopedia, no one is held responsible if the community fails to reach consensus, and lack of agreement doesn't endanger the enterprise as a whole. The aim of a collective, however, is to engineer a system where self-directed peers take responsibility for critical processes and where difficult decisions, such as sorting out priorities, are decided by all participants. Throughout history, hundreds of small-scale collectivist groups have tried this operating system. The results have not been encouraging, even setting aside Jim Jones and the Manson family.

Indeed, a close examination of the governing kernel of, say, Wikipedia, Linux, or OpenOffice shows that these efforts are further from the collectivist ideal than appears from the outside. While millions of writers contribute to Wikipedia, a smaller number of editors (around 1,500) are responsible for the majority of the editing. Ditto for collectives that write code. A vast army of contributions is managed by a much smaller group of coordinators. As Mitch Kapor, founding chair of the Mozilla open source code factory, observed, "Inside every working anarchy, there's an old-boy network."

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some types of collectives benefit from hierarchy while others are hurt by it. Platforms like the Internet and Facebook, or democracy—which are intended to serve as a substrate for producing goods and delivering services—benefit from being as nonhierarchical as possible, minimizing barriers to entry and distributing rights and responsibilities equally. When powerful actors appear, the entire fabric suffers. On the other hand, organizations built to create products often need strong leaders and hierarchies arranged around time scales: One level focuses on hourly needs, another on the next five years.

In the past, constructing an organization that exploited hierarchy yet maximized collectivism was nearly impossible. Now digital networking provides the necessary infrastructure. The Net empowers product-focused organizations to function collectively while keeping the hierarchy from fully taking over. The organization behind MySQL, an open source database, is not romantically nonhierarchical, but it is far more collectivist than Oracle. Likewise, Wikipedia is not a bastion of equality, but it is vastly more collectivist than the Encyclopædia Britannica. The elite core we find at the heart of online collectives is actually a sign that stateless socialism can work on a grand scale.

Most people in the West, including myself, were indoctrinated with the notion that extending the power of individuals necessarily diminishes the power of the state, and vice versa. In practice, though, most polities socialize some resources and individualize others. Most free-market economies have socialized education, and even extremely socialized societies allow some private property.

Rather than viewing technological socialism as one side of a zero-sum trade-off between free-market individualism and centralized authority, it can be seen as a cultural OS that elevates both the individual and the group at once. The largely unarticulated but intuitively understood goal of communitarian technology is this: to maximize both individual autonomy and the power of people working together. Thus, digital socialism can be viewed as a third way that renders irrelevant the old debates.

The notion of a third way is echoed by Yochai Benkler, author of The Wealth of Networks, who has probably thought more than anyone else about the politics of networks. "I see the emergence of social production and peer production as an alternative to both state-based and market-based closed, proprietary systems," he says, noting that these activities "can enhance creativity, productivity, and freedom." The new OS is neither the classic communism of centralized planning without private property nor the undiluted chaos of a free market. Instead, it is an emerging design space in which decentralized public coordination can solve problems and create things that neither pure communism nor pure capitalism can.

Hybrid systems that blend market and nonmarket mechanisms are not new. For decades, researchers have studied the decentralized, socialized production methods of northern Italian and Basque industrial co-ops, in which employees are owners, selecting management and limiting profit distribution, independent of state control. But only since the arrival of low-cost, instantaneous, ubiquitous collaboration has it been possible to migrate the core of those ideas into diverse new realms, like writing enterprise software or reference books.

The dream is to scale up this third way beyond local experiments. How large? Ohloh, a company that tracks the open source industry, lists roughly 250,000 people working on an amazing 275,000 projects. That's almost the size of General Motors' workforce. That is an awful lot of people working for free, even if they're not full-time. Imagine if all the employees of GM weren't paid yet continued to produce automobiles!

So far, the biggest efforts are open source projects, and the largest of them, such as Apache, manage several hundred contributors—about the size of a village. One study estimates that 60,000 man-years of work have poured into last year's release of Fedora Linux 9, so we have proof that self-assembly and the dynamics of sharing can govern a project on the scale of a decentralized town or village.

Of course, the total census of participants in online collective work is far greater. YouTube claims some 350 million monthly visitors. Nearly 10 million registered users have contributed to Wikipedia, 160,000 of whom are designated active. More than 35 million folks have posted and tagged more than 3 billion photos and videos on Flickr. Yahoo hosts 7.8 million groups focused on every possible subject. Google has 3.9 million.

These numbers still fall short of a nation. They may not even cross the threshold of mainstream (although if YouTube isn't mainstream, what is?). But clearly the population that lives with socialized media is significant. The number of people who make things for free, share things for free, use things for free, belong to collective software farms, work on projects that require communal decisions, or experience the benefits of decentralized socialism has reached millions and counting. Revolutions have grown out of much smaller numbers.

On the face of it, one might expect a lot of political posturing from folks who are constructing an alternative to capitalism and corporatism. But the coders, hackers, and programmers who design sharing tools don't think of themselves as revolutionaries. No new political party is being organized in conference rooms—at least, not in the US. (In Sweden, the Pirate Party formed on a platform of file-sharing. It won a paltry 0.63 percent of votes in the 2006 national election.)

Indeed, the leaders of the new socialism are extremely pragmatic. A survey of 2,784 open source developers explored their motivations. The most common was "to learn and develop new skills." That's practical. One academic put it this way (paraphrasing): The major reason for working on free stuff is to improve my own damn software. Basically, overt politics is not practical enough.

But the rest of us may not be politically immune to the rising tide of sharing, cooperation, collaboration, and collectivism. For the first time in years, the s-word is being uttered by TV pundits and in national newsmagazines as a force in US politics. Obviously, the trend toward nationalizing hunks of industry, instituting national health care, and jump-starting job creation with tax money isn't wholly due to techno-socialism. But the last election demonstrated the power of a decentralized, webified base with digital collaboration at its core. The more we benefit from such collaboration, the more open we become to socialist institutions in government. The coercive, soul-smashing system of North Korea is dead; the future is a hybrid that takes cues from both Wikipedia and the moderate socialism of Sweden.

How close to a noncapitalistic, open source, peer-production society can this movement take us? Every time that question has been asked, the answer has been: closer than we thought. Consider craigslist. Just classified ads, right? But the site amplified the handy community swap board to reach a regional audience, enhanced it with pictures and real-time updates, and suddenly became a national treasure. Operating without state funding or control, connecting citizens directly to citizens, this mostly free marketplace achieves social good at an efficiency that would stagger any government or traditional corporation. Sure, it undermines the business model of newspapers, but at the same time it makes an indisputable case that the sharing model is a viable alternative to both profit-seeking corporations and tax-supported civic institutions.

Who would have believed that poor farmers could secure $100 loans from perfect strangers on the other side of the planet—and pay them back? That is what Kiva does with peer-to-peer lending. Every public health care expert declared confidently that sharing was fine for photos, but no one would share their medical records. But PatientsLikeMe, where patients pool results of treatments to better their own care, prove that collective action can trump both doctors and privacy scares. The increasingly common habit of sharing what you're thinking (Twitter), what you're reading (StumbleUpon), your finances (Wesabe), your everything (the Web) is becoming a foundation of our culture. Doing it while collaboratively building encyclopedias, news agencies, video archives, and software in groups that span continents, with people you don't know and whose class is irrelevant—that makes political socialism seem like the logical next step.

A similar thing happened with free markets over the past century. Every day, someone asked: What can't markets do? We took a long list of problems that seemed to require rational planning or paternal government and instead applied marketplace logic. In most cases, the market solution worked significantly better. Much of the prosperity in recent decades was gained by unleashing market forces on social problems.

Now we're trying the same trick with collaborative social technology, applying digital socialism to a growing list of wishes—and occasionally to problems that the free market couldn't solve—to see if it works. So far, the results have been startling. At nearly every turn, the power of sharing, cooperation, collaboration, openness, free pricing, and transparency has proven to be more practical than we capitalists thought possible. Each time we try it, we find that the power of the new socialism is bigger than we imagined.

We underestimate the power of our tools to reshape our minds. Did we really believe we could collaboratively build and inhabit virtual worlds all day, every day, and not have it affect our perspective? The force of online socialism is growing. Its dynamic is spreading beyond electrons—perhaps into elections.

OpenCourseWare: Aprendizaje Universal Colaborativo

La revolución colaborativa es real y llego para quedarse.  Una muestra adicional de esto son los avances de la colaboración y el conocimiento compartido que se estan llevando a cabo en las instituciones académicas del mundo.  El OpenCourseWare Consortium es una colaboración de instituciones de educación superior con más de 200 asociados y organizaciones de todo el mundo mediante la creación de un cuerpo amplio y profundo de los contenidos educativos abiertos utilizando un modelo compartido. El formato utilizado es el de OpenCourseWare que es una publicación digital gratuita y abierta de materiales educativos de alta calidad, organizados como cursos.  La misión del OpenCourseWare Consortium es promover la educación y la autonomía de las personas en todo el mundo a través de OpenCourseWare.  Los Objetivos del Consorcio son (1) ampliar el alcance y el impacto de OpenCourseWare, fomentando la adopción y adaptación de materiales educativos abiertos en todo el mundo,(2) fomentar el desarrollo de proyectos de OpenCourseWare adicionales, y (3) garantizar la sustentabilidad a largo plazo de los proyectos de OpenCourseWare mediante la identificación de formas de mejorar la eficacia y reducir costes. 

Un vistazo al contenido de los cursos en las diferentes universidades y veras que en la inmensa mayoría, las universidades aun no han hecho el salto total a abrir sus currículos al mundo (pero es un buen paso).  En gran parte solo comparten una selección de cursos introductorios, o una porción del material de los cursos.  Dicho esto, sigue siendo un gran avance y un movimiento imparable hacia la masificación de las ideas.   Actualmente existen decenas de miles de cursos online gratuitos. Me impresiono muchísimo la gran diversidad de universidades representadas.  Solo necesitas una herramienta de traducción como la de Google o FireFox y ya eres parte de la experiencia educativa mundial.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Colaboracion des-organizada

Quiero compartir un vídeo, que quizás para algunos parezca información básica sobre colaboración (si es así, mis felicitaciones, estas sumergido en la actualidad) y quizás para otros sea una nueva perspectiva para posibilidades y oportunidades.  Se trata de las ideas de Clay Shirky.  Desde el comienzo del siglo, Clay ha sido propulsor del enorme potencial colaborativo provisto por los avances en tecnología, en especial el Internet y las redes sociales. La revista WIRED lo describe como "una de las pocas personas con la pretensión de justificar el apodo digerati. Se ha convertido en una voz profética constantemente en las redes, software social, y los efectos de la tecnología en la sociedad".

Yo había visto este vídeo hace varios años atrás, así como leído su libro Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.  Sus ideas me han ayudado muchísimo (junto a las de otros precursores y teóricos los cuales presentare en una proxima ocasion) a entender los nuevos paradigmas y modelos mentales que darán forma al futuro de la colaboración y la cooperación humana.  El clip es extremadamente explicativo, rico en conceptos y distinciones profundas fundamentales para entender como crear espacios colaborativos en nuestros equipos y comunidades.  Por ultimo, cuando vean este vídeo, tengan en mente que fue filmado en el año 2005.  En este mundo de proliferación acelerado de ideas, 4 años es el equivalente a décadas, para aquellos que nacimos antes del 1980.

Esfuerzo + Amabilidad = Transformación

Hace unas semanas conversaba con uno de mis mentores y apreciado amigo Ulises Pabón acerca de nuevos conceptos en el campo de la innovación y la trasformación radical.  El, conociendo mi interés por el campo de la educación, me hizo referencia a un libro que estaba leyendo titulado Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America del reportero Jay Mathews del Washignton Post.  En este, Mathews describe como dos maestros, Mike Feinberg y Dave Levin, lograron elevar el nivel de ejecución académico de miles de jóvenes de escuelas urbanas de Houston TX bajo la iniciativa KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program).  Al presente, KIPP es una red de 82 escuelas públicas a través de 19 estados de la nación, impactando sobre 20,000 estudiantes.  Lo más interesante de este ejemplo de éxito, es que la consigna que sirvió de base valorativa para Feinberf y Levin fue "Work Hard, Be Nice" Literalmente estos dos profesores asumieron responsabilidad absoluta de lo único que tenían en su control; Su esfuerzo y la manera de relacionarse con los demás.  Con estas dos tareas han logrado transformar su entorno.  Que sirva de ejemplo a todos los que pensamos que desde nuestra posición no tenemos poder para crear cambios radicales.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Espejos: Una historia casi universal

El cronista y escritor latinoamericano Eduardo Galeano comparte sus anotaciones de su libro Espejos: Una historia casi universal, en la Biblioteca Pública de la ciudad de Los Ángeles.  Una version de la hsitoria que relata la gran aventura de la existencia humana.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Por Asociación

¿Que tal si te digo que conozco a alguien a quien deberías conocer?  Pues esa es la idea que By/Association plantea.  By/Association es un servicio privado de presentaciones.  Individuos son elegidos por su creatividad excepcional, visiones de mundo y redes sociales multi-disciplinarias.  Luego estos son introducidos los unos a los otros creando conversaciones que impactan su crecimiento y que transforma el mundo que los rodea.

Me capta la atención las reglas de interacción que propone By/Association:

1. No egos.
2. Valora cada conexión.
3. Muestra curiosidad y pasión.
4. Diviértete. Reírse es muy bueno.
5. Asistir a los encuentros establecidos.

Aquí les presento varias ideas de trasfondo sobre el servicio.


“Innovation is an emergent phenomenon that happens when a person or organization fosters interaction between different kinds of people and disparate forms of knowledge.” —Murray Gell-Mann

By/Association seeks to reinvent the traditional notion of “networking” by enabling substantive interactions and long-term relationships.

By/Association is for people who want to make their lives, ideas, and networks richer by meeting other remarkable people. It’s not about getting help with your current need or project. It’s about connecting to people that make you better — to inspire more action, better ideas, and new ways of seeing the world.

The impact you have in your life is shaped by the people you meet. We simply seek to accelerate that process in a powerful, meaningful way.

Connection Theory

Every introduction made through By/Association is intended to foster meaningful long-term growth for our members. The community is organized on a system of “currencies” derived from the concept of “new wealth.” The process is human-driven by our Connectors, who craft introductions from sets of shared and complementary “currencies.” We continually refine ongoing connections through feedback from our members.

Some of what inspires us:

1.New ‘wealth’ - Traditionally, wealth has been based on money, family name, education, etc. But this definition of wealth is exclusionary, and even destructive. We believe that as we move into a conceptual age, the valued currencies around ‘new wealth’ should be based on creativity, innovation, and social benefit.

2.Social Origins of Good Ideas - Ronald S. Burt of University of Chicago explains that “people who live in the intersection of social worlds are at higher risk of having good ideas.” In other words, the more people you know who aren’t just like you, the better chance you have of thinking and behaving differently.

3.The Straddle - Technology should exist as a means to facilitate and enhance real-world interactions, and should not be treated as an end in itself. We believe in networking that is actually social.

4.Better Filters - Communication is now more efficient than at any other point in human history, but forces us to accept irrelevant interactions. Quality still trumps quantity. The movement towards an increasingly fleeting and fragmented world must be balanced by smart filters. And we believe these filters should be ‘human’ in nature.

5.Littlewood’s Law - According to Cambridge University professor J.E. Littlewood, mathematically, individuals can expect a miracle (an exceptional event of special significance) to happen to them at the rate of about one per month. We would like to guarantee those odds for you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

¿Sabias que?

Curas colaborativas

¿Alguna vez haz padecido de una condición de salud y luego de una larga búsqueda tu medico y tu han encontrado el tratamiento correcto para alivarte? O padeces de alguna enfermedad a la cual no encuentras cura?  Pues no estas solo.  Los amigos de CureTogether han creado un espacio colaborativo que ayuda a personas rastrear y comparar data de salud, para entender mejor sus cuerpos, tomar decisiones informadas a cerca de su tratamiento y a la vez contribuir con las investigaciones globales.

Alexandra Carmichael y Daniel Reda lanzaron CureTogether en Julio del 2008 para ayudar a seres conocidos que padecian de dolor cronico. Comenzando con 3 condiciones, el programa de expandio rapidamente a 391 condiciones de salud a peticion de miles de pacientes que han solicitado que sus condiciones sean añadidas a los estudios.  Actualmente hay 4,695 personas activamente colaborando en la busqueda de curas.  Es un esfuerzo de unificar experiencias.  CureTogether creen que en estas expereincia colectivas contienen respuestas que le serviran a millones de personas para sobrepasar sus barreras de salud  Esta iniciativa ha sido reconocida por el Mayo Clinic y otorgada el premio iSpot para ideas que transformaran la manera en la que hacemos salud.  Dato curiosos, CureTogether es financiado por sus fundadores, inversiones caritativas y no auspicia ni recibe ingresos de esfuerzos promocionales.  Un ejemplo creativo e innovador que utiliza la colaboracion como eje central.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

La Teoría de la Diversión

"Life is like a piano... what you get out of it depends on how you play it."

A veces crear cambio en el comportamiento de las demás personas es más simple de lo que pensamos. El equipo creativo de Volkswagen ha creado una campaña dirigida a transformar el comportamiento humano para bien en cualquier escenario.  Le han llamado The Fun Theory.  Incluso han creado un a competencia llamada el "Fun Theory Award" en la que otorgaran 2,500 Euros para buscar métodos divertidos que promuevan cambio en el comportamiento.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Open Video - Colaboración en medios visuales

Realmente estamos viviendo momentos excitantes en cuanto a colaboración y cooperación se refiere. Aquí otro ejemplo de los esfuerzos para acortar barreras a la comunicación y al intercambio de ideas y formas de expresión de la comunidad.  Me refiero al Open Video Alliance, un consorcio de precursores de los formatos colaborativos como lo son el Information Society Project de Yale Law School, Kaltura, Miro Community, Participatory Culture Foundation, iCommons, Red Hat y Mozilla entre otros.   En la coalición se encuentran representadas universidades, organizaciones civiles, empresas e individuos.  Es curioso ver que el gran ausente en este tipo de trabajo colaborativo es el sector gubernamental.  Más adelante analizaremos esa ausencia.

Por ahora, les presento el vídeo de promoción del primer evento celebrado del 19 al 21 de junio de 2009 en NYU Law School.  ¿Y que es esto de Open Video? Pues observe, ¡en 12 lenguajes!

El poder de las metáforas Pt.2

Continuando con el tema de metáforas, a continuación un vídeo del Prof. George Lakoff que de manera simple explica la relación entre enmarcar ideas, las metáforas y nuestro cerebro.  El vídeo sirve antesala a un artículo que presenta los conceptos de las "metaforas primarias" y la teoria de la "mente encarnada" o "embodied mind".

The astonishingly deep effect of primary metaphors in our lives (excerpt)

By Jody Radzik

In 1980, cognitive linguist George Lakoff and philosopher Mark Johnson described the notion of the embodied metaphor in their landmark book, Metaphors We Live By, mapping out the brain’s amazing exaptation of its motor functions into the fundamental units of human cognition. In 1999, they wrote another landmark book, Philosophy In The Flesh, in which they further describe the “embodied mind,” the veritable (and largely cross-cultural) syntax and grammar of human reason, and use the notion to incisively critique a good cross-section of Western philosophy. Now, in 2009, these ideas are beginning to surface in more mainstream media, including a recent article written by Drake Bennett in the Boston Globe.

Metaphors aren’t just how we talk and write, they’re how we think. At some level, we actually do seem to understand temperament as a form of temperature, and we expect people’s personalities to behave accordingly. What’s more, without our body’s instinctive sense for temperature--or position, texture, size, shape, or weight--abstract concepts like kindness and power, difficulty and purpose, and intimacy and importance would simply not make any sense to us. Metaphors like this “don’t invite us to see the world in new and different ways,” says Daniel Casasanto, a cognitive scientist and researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands. “They enable us to understand the world at all.”

An embodied metaphor, or primary metaphor, is a mental reflection of an action or condition of the physical body. For instance, you “engage” “in” a “heated” conversation with your coworker, until you “cut” him “off,” or “short.” In “essence”, there is no “way” to “avoid” “using” an embodied metaphor “in” “communicating” a notion. All human cognition “rests” “on” them like an ocean “on” its seafloor. (That was an example of a descriptive metaphor.)  Now, these ideas are beginning to bear fruit in experimental psychology, and the implications of what is being discovered have the potential to reach into almost every aspect of human social life. To whit, very simple physical manipulations can have profound effects on our subsequent cognition.

El poder de las metáforas Pt.1

Cuando escucho la palabra metáfora, inmediatamente me viene a la mente una gema de película llamada "Il Postino" del año 1994.  En éste film italiano, un cartero humilde de una pequeña aldea costanera de Italia descubre el concepto de la metáfora con la ayuda del maestro Pablo Neruda y armado de metáforas sale a la conquista de su amada.

Pero las metáforas no solo nos embriagan de amor, sino que, según hallazgos científicos recientes, son la manera por la cual aprendemos, razonamos y hacemos sentido del mundo que nos rodea. El campo de "Experiential Learning" y de "Outdoor Education" ha sido pionero en el uso de las metáforas como herramienta para presentar y facilitar experiencias de aprendizaje y para reflexionar y transferir estos nuevos conocimientos para crear cambios duraderos en las vidas de los participantes.  Autores como Michael Gass, han descrito a profundidad el poder de la metafora la experiencia vivida. 

A continuación un articulo que detalla varios de estos experimentos y las implicaciones que estos resultados tienen en nuestro comportamiento.

Thinking literally - The surprising ways that metaphors shape your world.

By Drake Bennett - Boston Globe

WHEN WE SAY someone is a warm person, we do not mean that they are running a fever. When we describe an issue as weighty, we have not actually used a scale to determine this. And when we say a piece of news is hard to swallow, no one assumes we have tried unsuccessfully to eat it.

These phrases are metaphorical--they use concrete objects and qualities to describe abstractions like kindness or importance or difficulty--and we use them and their like so often that we hardly notice them. For most people, metaphor, like simile or synecdoche, is a term inflicted upon them in high school English class: “all the world’s a stage,” “a house divided against itself cannot stand,” Gatsby’s fellow dreamers are “boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” Metaphors are literary creations--good ones help us see the world anew, in fresh and interesting ways, the rest are simply cliches: a test is a piece of cake, a completed task is a load off one’s back, a momentary difficulty is a speed bump.

But whether they’re being deployed by poets, politicians, football coaches, or realtors, metaphors are primarily thought of as tools for talking and writing--out of inspiration or out of laziness, we distill emotions and thoughts into the language of the tangible world. We use metaphors to make sense to one another.

Now, however, a new group of people has started to take an intense interest in metaphors: psychologists. Drawing on philosophy and linguistics, cognitive scientists have begun to see the basic metaphors that we use all the time not just as turns of phrase, but as keys to the structure of thought. By taking these everyday metaphors as literally as possible, psychologists are upending traditional ideas of how we learn, reason, and make sense of the world around us. The result has been a torrent of research testing the links between metaphors and their physical roots, with many of the papers reading as if they were commissioned by Amelia Bedelia, the implacably literal-minded children’s book hero. Researchers have sought to determine whether the temperature of an object in someone’s hands determines how “warm” or “cold” he considers a person he meets, whether the heft of a held object affects how “weighty” people consider topics they are presented with, or whether people think of the powerful as physically more elevated than the less powerful.

What they have found is that, in fact, we do. Metaphors aren’t just how we talk and write, they’re how we think. At some level, we actually do seem to understand temperament as a form of temperature, and we expect people’s personalities to behave accordingly. What’s more, without our body’s instinctive sense for temperature--or position, texture, size, shape, or weight--abstract concepts like kindness and power, difficulty and purpose, and intimacy and importance would simply not make any sense to us. Deep down, we are all Amelia Bedelia.

Metaphors like this “don’t invite us to see the world in new and different ways,” says Daniel Casasanto, a cognitive scientist and researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands. “They enable us to understand the world at all.”

Our instinctive, literal-minded metaphorizing can make us vulnerable to what seem like simple tweaks to our physical environment, with ramifications for everything from how we build polling booths to how we sell cereal. And at a broader level it reveals just how much the human body, in all its particularity, shapes the mind, suggesting that much of what we think of as abstract reasoning is in fact a sometimes awkward piggybacking onto the mental tools we have developed to govern our body’s interactions with its physical environment. Put another way, metaphors reveal the extent to which we think with our bodies.

“The abstract way we think is really grounded in the concrete, bodily world much more than we thought,” says John Bargh, a psychology professor at Yale and leading researcher in this realm.

Philosophers have long wondered about the connection between metaphor and thought, in ways that occasionally presaged current-day research. Friedrich Nietzsche scornfully described human understanding as nothing more than a web of expedient metaphors, stitched together from our shallow impressions of the world. In their ignorance, he charged, people mistake these familiar metaphors, deadened from overuse, for truths. “We believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers,” he wrote, “and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things--metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities.”

Like Nietzsche, George Lakoff, a professor of linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, and Mark Johnson, a philosophy professor at the University of Oregon, see human thought as metaphor-driven. But, in the two greatly influential books they have co-written on the topic, “Metaphors We Live By” in 1980 and “Philosophy in the Flesh” in 1999, Lakoff and Johnson focus on the deadest of dead metaphors, the ones that don’t even rise to the level of cliche. They call them “primary metaphors,” and they group them into categories like “affection is warmth,” “important is big,” “difficulties are burdens,” “similarity is closeness,” “purposes are destinations,” and even “categories are containers.”

Rather than so much clutter standing in the way of true understanding, to Lakoff and Johnson these metaphors are markers of the roots of thought itself. Lakoff and Johnson’s larger argument is that abstract thought would be meaningless without bodily experience. And primary metaphors, in their ubiquity (in English and other languages) and their physicality, are some of their most powerful evidence for this.

“What we’ve discovered in the last 30 years is--surprise, surprise--people think with their brains,” says Lakoff. “And their brains are part of their bodies.”

Inspired by this argument, psychologists have begun to make their way, experiment by experiment, through the catalog of primary metaphors, altering one side of the metaphorical equation to see how it changes the other.

Bargh at Yale, along with Lawrence Williams, now at the University of Colorado, did studies in which subjects were casually asked to hold a cup of either iced or hot coffee, not knowing it was part of the study, then a few minutes later asked to rate the personality of a person who was described to them. The hot coffee group, it turned out, consistently described a warmer person--rating them as happier, more generous, more sociable, good-natured, and more caring--than the iced coffee group. The effect seems to run the other way, too: In a paper published last year, Chen-Bo Zhong and Geoffrey J. Leonardelli of the University of Toronto found that people asked to recall a time when they were ostracized gave lower estimates of room temperature than those who recalled a social inclusion experience.

In a paper in the current issue of Psychological Science, researchers in the Netherlands and Portugal describe a series of studies in which subjects were given clipboards on which to fill out questionnaires--in one study subjects were asked to estimate the value of several foreign currencies, in another they were asked to rate the city of Amsterdam and its mayor. The clipboards, however, were two different weights, and the subjects who took the questionnaire on the heavier clipboards tended to ascribe more metaphorical weight to the questions they were asked--they not only judged the foreign currencies to be more valuable, they gave more careful, considered answers to the questions they were asked.

Similar results have proliferated in recent years. One of the authors of the weight paper, Thomas Schubert, has also done work suggesting that the fact that we associate power and elevation (“your highness,” “friends in high places”) means we actually unconsciously look upward when we think about power. Bargh and Josh Ackerman at MIT’s Sloan School of Business, in work that has yet to be published, have done studies in which subjects, after handling sandpaper-covered puzzle pieces, were less likely to describe a social situation as having gone smoothly. Casasanto has done work in which people who were told to move marbles from a lower tray up to a higher one while recounting a story told happier stories than people moving them down.

Several studies have explored the metaphorical connection between cleanliness and moral purity. In one, subjects who were asked to recall an unethical act, then given the choice between a pencil and an antiseptic wipe, were far more likely to choose the cleansing wipe than people who had been asked to recall an ethical act. In a follow-up study, subjects who recalled an unethical act acted less guilty after washing their hands. The researchers dubbed it the “Macbeth effect,” after the guilt-ridden, compulsive hand washing of Lady Macbeth.

To the extent that metaphors reveal how we think, they also suggest ways that physical manipulation might be used to shape our thought. In essence, that is what much metaphor research entails. And while psychologists have thus far been primarily interested in using such manipulations simply to tease out an observable effect, there’s no reason that they couldn’t be put to other uses as well, by marketers, architects, teachers, parents, and litigators, among others.

A few psychologists have begun to ponder applications. Ackerman, for example, is looking at the impact of perceptions of hardness on our sense of difficulty. The study is ongoing, but he says he is finding that something as simple as sitting on a hard chair makes people think of a task as harder. If those results hold up, he suggests, it might make sense for future treaty negotiators to take a closer look at everything from the desks to the upholstery of the places where they meet. Nils Jostmann, the lead author of the weight study, suggests that pollsters might want to take his findings to heart: heavier clipboards and heavier pens for issues that they want considered answers for, lighter ones for questions that they want gut reactions on.

How much of an effect these tweaks might have in a real-world setting, researchers emphasize, remains to be seen. Still, it probably couldn’t hurt to try a few in your own life. When inviting a new friend over, suggest a cup of hot tea rather than a cold beer. Keep a supply of soft, smooth objects on hand at work--polished pebbles, maybe, or a silk handkerchief--in case things start to feel too daunting. And if you feel a sudden pang of guilt about some long-ago transgression, try taking a shower.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

La prueba de tres

Un día en la antigua Grecia (469-399 BC), un joven filósofo se acerco a su colega Sócrates y le dijo, "¿Sócrates, sabes lo que he escuchado de uno de tus estudiantes?"

El maestro le respondió, "Detente un momento.  Antes que me cuentes, me gustaría realizar una simple prueba.  Se llama la prueba de tres."

"¿La prueba de tres?" pregunto el joven.

"Eso es correcto" continuó Sócrates. "Antes que hables de mi estudiante vamos a examinar lo que vas a decir.  La primera prueba es Verdad. "¿Estas seguro que lo que vienes a decir es absolutamente cierto?".

"No", respondió el joven. "En efecto, lo acabo de escuchar."

"Muy bien." dijo Sócrates. "No sabes con certeza si esta información es cierta o falsa. Ahora hagamos una segunda prueba, la prueba de la Bondad. ¿Lo que me vas a decir sobre mi estudiante es algo bueno?"

El joven, un poco abochornado, se encogió de hombros, como si dijera que no.

Sócrates continuo, "Aun puedes pasar el examen, ya que falta la ultima prueba, la de Utilidad. ¿Lo que me vas a decir sobre mi estudiante es de utilidad para mi?"

"No, realmente no." dijo el joven filosofo.

"Entonces" concluyo Sócrates, "si lo que me vas a decir no es ni cierto, ni bueno, ni siquiera útil, ¿para qué me lo vas a decir?

El joven reflexionando y con un nuevo sentido de vergüenza se mantuvo callado y se alejo.

La próxima vez que alguien venga a donde ti para decir algo acerca de un compañero o colega juega el papel de Sócrates.  Si por el contrario, sientes la necesidad de compartir algo de un compañero con otra persona pregúntate a ti mismo estas tres preguntas. Quizás lo que te van a decir o lo que vas a decir no valga la pena comunicar.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Una filosofía más ambale y gentil sobre el éxito

Una de las ideas más es estudiadas en la psicología de apoderamiento es el concepto del éxito y como los seres humanos definen sus creencias para alcanzarlo. Pero rara vez encontramos un filósofo que nos haga cuestionar las premisas sobre las cuales construimos las estrategias para alcanzar el éxito. Alain De Botton es escritor, filósofo y observador del entorno social.  Ha escrito varios libros acerca el amor, viajes, arquitectura y literatura.  Su estilo de escritura basado en ensayos ha sido descrita como "filosofía del todos los días".  En este vídeo describe elocuentemente la necesidad de un acercamiento más, sensible, amable y gentil hacia el éxito. 

Como los otros monos nos perciben

Los monos...un video para estimular un cambio en nuestra propia percepción. 

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Estrategias Colaborativas para Manejar y Superar la Crisis

En el día de hoy 25 de septiembre de 2009, 16,970 personas, muchas de las cuales son mujeres, madres jóvenes y jefes de familia, han sido notificadas de que serán despedidas de su empleo en el servicio público. Las razones para los despidos, los ahorros que generaran al erario público y la emisión de jucio reprochable o en apoyo son temas de discusión con argumentos y debates de parte y parte. Lo que si es claro es que se ha tomado la decisión y que solo el tiempo demostrara el resultado de esta. A estos hay que añadirle los cientos de miles de empleos en la empresa privada que se han eliminado en los pasados meses debido a la crisis económica mundial y los que se eliminaran a raíz de esta decisión y tenemos una situación realmente sin precedente en la historia de nuestra sociedad.

Hace varios meses que los medios de comunicación locales han provisto numerosas sugerencias para afrontar la situación de crisis y desempleo. Es casi una nota diaria, ya sea en radio, televisión o prensa escrita y cibernética, en todo momento hay algún psicólogo, motivador, economista o comediante dando sus consejos y dino-cápsulas de como salir adelante en estos tiempos.

Estoy seguro que estas personas hacen sus sugerencias de manera sincera y con la mejor intención. Pero hay algo en común en el listado de estrategias de éxito que los expertos declaman; Todas son soluciones individuales, como si viviéramos en una jungla y el darwinismo social fuese la única regla de sobre vivencia. Todas se basan en las teorías neo-existencialistas de auto-ayuda, a lo Paulo Coelho, poniendo la totalidad de la responsabilidad (tu escogiste trabajar en el gobierno) y el esfuerzo en el individuo (eres el autor exclusivo de tu propio destino). Como si el haber escogido mi vocación de educador, trabajador social o salubrista haya sido mi error. O peor aun, como todos tenemos el potencial de llegar a ser mega exitosos, si no logras salir de esto es por que eres un fracaso. La realidad es que este reto es sistémico y mucho más complejo. Una receta de comida para el éxito o una sopa de pollo para la depresión no serán suficiente.

Inclusive hay soluciones que profundizan los problemas. Una de las alternativas más recomendadas es establecer su propia empresa. Suena muy alentador, pero (sin entrar en las probabilidades y estadísticas de fracasos en pequeños negocios a los 12 meses de fundación) el libre mercado es uno de competitividad voraz y frió. Por definición habrá perdedores. Es ponerse a competir el uno contra el otro hasta que queden unos pocos sobrevivientes.

Hacen falta propuestas de soluciones colectivas, comunitarias y colaborativas para sobrepasar esta crisis y poder emerger exitosos, más fuertes y hacia un mejor futuro.

Yo no soy guru de auto-ayuda, ni aspiro a serlo. Pero he estado pensando en cosas diferentes, en comunión, que se nutren de la necesidad de interdependencia de las personas. Aquí unas ideas.

1. Buscar alternativas comunitarias a los problemas - Digamos que hay un problema de que muchas madres no podrán costear el cuido de sus bebes e infantes. Pues quizás, la comunidad se puede encargar del cuido de los menores, asignando unas personas para esta tarea, bajando los costos de cuido y proveyendo ingresos a miembros de la comunidad. Si el gasto en alimentos es muy alto, quizás se pueda hacer compras de comida por barrio, calle o comunidad y que se logren reducir los costos de los alimentos al comprar al por mayor. O mejor aun, identificar agricultores, ganaderos, y productores locales que estén dispuestos a vender sus productos a bajos precios a "canastas comunitarias" de alimentación.

2. Conglomerarse en comunidades de intereses comunes - Dicen en el campo que todo río caudaloso fue primero muchas gotas. Nuestra sociedad se ha alejado de ver el valor de estar organizados y unidos. Los pocos ejemplos de esto se han desvirtuado en organizaciones inútiles y centradas en personalismos e intereses individuales sobre los colectivos. Aun así, creo que es buen momento para tener razones claras y tangibles para estar organizados y plantear estrategias colectivas basadas en necesidades comunes. Sí, hay que salir de la casa. Sí, hay que reunirse y conversar, dialogar, conspirar, expresar, manifestar y retar. Retar posturas, visiones y creencias. Retar colectivamente el modo de hacer país, ya que lo que estamos viviendo es resultado de este modo.

3. Lanzarse a empresas con modelos cooperativos y de sociedades - Se trata de ensanchar nuestra idea de como alcanzar el progreso. Sobrepasar el modelo individualista de "él" empresario, visionario, exitoso y talentoso. Movernos de la auto-gestión a la gestión-colectiva. Llegar a la profunda creencia que juntos lograremos más. Estuve leyendo que en el Departamento de Educación habrá sobre 1,000 secretarias y oficinistas desplazadas. Cada una de esas trabajadoras podría ir a competir por los pocos puestos secretariales existentes en la Isla. Pero si se organizaran en una cooperativa, una sociedad comercial o alguna otra estructura legal podrían ofrecer sus servicios en conglomerado a empresas y agencias gubernamentales estadounidenses que enfrentan el gran reto de integrar una población hispana en rápido crecimiento. De igual forma, todos los empleados de mantenimiento, planta física y demás trabajos diestros podrían crear una empresa PPT de servicios de construcción liviana y remodelación (que le digo por experiencia escasean los trabajadores responsables y honestos en esta industria). En fin, revisar el banco de talento no solo personal, pero colectivo y construir sobre nuestras fortalezas.

Estoy seguro que las ideas y oportunidades de actuar colectivamente ante esta crisis abundan y van mucho más allá de mi imaginación. Tengo que confesar, que aunque llevo la mayor parte de mi vida explorando maneras de unificar esfuerzos y fomentar la colaboración entre individuos, sigo siendo producto de este modo de país y por consecuencia tengo limitaciones estructurales de formación que me impiden ver más soluciones en este momento. Aun así, creo pertinente explorar soluciones en países vecinos y otros no tan cercanos que han pasado por situaciones similares o más severas y de manera colaborativa, compartir con estos estrategias comunitarias a las crisis.

A los cerca de 17,000 trabajadores mi más genuino y honesto respeto, aprecio y solidaridad. Les invito a explorar conmigo soluciones comunitarias y sepan que no importa lo solitario que parezca el camino, existen oportunidades para colaborar.

Karel A. Hilversum M.Ed.

El autor es científico social, educador y facilitador de procesos de integración y colaboración de grupos y equipos en organizaciones, corporaciones y grupos comunitarios.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

El rey del Hip Hop invierte en Liderazgo

Russell Simmons es mogul del Hip Hop, empresario afro-americano, escritor, creador de conversaciones culturales, y filántropo.  Uno de sus proyectos es la creacion del African Leadership Academy.  Fundada en septiembre de 2008, el ALA une a jóvenes talentosos de 16 a 19 años de 54 naciones africanas en un programa innovador de 2 años de duración.  El programa aspira a preparar y edificar a estos jóvenes en los futuros lideres del continente.  A continuación una transcripción de una entrada hecha por Simmons en su portal Global Grind - El Mundo de acuerdo al Hip Hop (me encanta esta presunción de perspectiva!)

Scratching the Surface in South Africa
Russell Simmons

A few years ago, I founded the Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.) ( to raise support of education initiatives in African nations where diamonds are a natural resource. Most people that know about D.E.F. think of the Simmons Jewelry Co's Green Bracelet, the symbol of our cause worn by many celebrities, athletes, and a few politicians. That's great, and every time I see someone wearing it I am happy to know it's out there getting seen and making a difference.

But sometimes even I forget how important the cause is since there are so many needs in the world, not to mention in Africa. D.E.F. is supporting two programs - CIDA City Campus and African Leadership Academy - both based in Johannesburg, South Africa. CIDA is the first virtually free business college in South Africa with almost 1000 students from very difficult circumstances and most coming from extreme poverty. African Leadership Academy is based in South Africa, but has set its sights on transforming the continent by helping talented and driven students from throughout Africa get the top education that will help them fulfill the promise of their God-given talents by getting a world-class education.

Plain and simple, both of these programs are about access to resources. I promise you - you will be hard pressed to find young people who are as focused, determined, and grateful for opportunity as the students of CIDA and ALA. They deserve to be able to get an education and chase their dreams with a chance of catching them. Read this important report from the NY Times which gives us some insight into the challenges and opportunities for South African youth. Reminds me we are just scratching the surface.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Mapas Mentales y 'Brainstorming" en Equipo

Los mapas mentales son un tremendo recurso para organizar y tener presentes todos los conocimientos y eventos necesarios para el desempeño diario.  Es una excelente herramienta para la planificacion, colaboracion, plasmar nuevas relaciones de conocimiento o crear una imagen de conceptos y relaciones complejas.  Hace muchos años que llevo utilizandolos como herramienta primordial personal y profesional ya que mi estilo preferido de interpretar el mundo es el visual.  Recientemente me tope (gracias a mi gran amigo Victor) con esta nueva technologia llamada XMind que permite de manera facil crear mapas mentales de una calidad impresionante.  Quizas lo mas importante e innovador de XMind y lo que lo distingue de otros programas similares es la integracion de conceptos de Web 2.0 como "community sharing", su plataforma open source de acceso gratuito y la capacidad de compartir mapas con otros mediante blogs y otras plataformas.  A continuacion un video explicativo del programa.  Espero que esta herramienmta nos sirva para integrarnos y acercarnos mas.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Google Wave - Una nueva conversacion en colaboracion virtual

Los genios de Google nuevamente han salido de la manada y han creado una herramienta de comunicacion y colaboracion llamada Google Wave.  Integra un sin numero de herramientas existentes como la  idea de chat, e-mail, documentos compatrtidos y  los han llevado a conversaciones "real time" integradas.  Adicional estan lanzandolo codigo abierto para que el mundo lo pueda utilizar, transformar y modificar, exponiendolo al increible potencial de la comunidad.  El video es del lanzamiento de la aplicacion.  Tiene una duracion aproximada de hora y media,  pero garantizo que les va a  estimular la imaginacion radicalmente, especialmente el traductor "real time" de 40 lenguajes!!!  Ya no hay barreras de comunicacion entre culturas!!!!!  Definitivamente el trabajo en equuipo y la colaboracion ha alcanzado un nuevo nivel.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Liderazgo en momentos de crisis

A 8 años del acto terrorista, quisiera compartir una lectura simple que resume las actuaciones de un líder en el momento de crisis.

Adicional a esto, creo que una buena manera de recordar es escuchar las diversas perspectivas de ese momento de varios escritores y estudiosos del tema de liderazgo grabadas justo diís luego del 11 de septiembre de 2001.  El listado incluye impresiones de Ken Blanchard, Marshall Goldsmith, Tom Peters, Stephen Covey y otros.  Visiten

9/11 Leadership Lessons
Jeff Janssen, Janssen Sports Leadership Center


On September 11, 2001 we witnessed both the destructive power of evil leadership and the resilient power of heroic leadership by FDNY, NYPD, and countless others.

One figure who stands tall as an example of effective leadership during the crisis is former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani.

Regardless of your current political leanings, Guiliani's leadership during the 9/11 tragedy is something leaders from all walks of life can learn from.

In his book titled Leadership, Giuliani writes, "It is in times of crisis that good leaders emerge."
Giuliani demonstrated that during times of crisis, leaders must do four critical things: be highly visible, composed, vocal, and resilient.


Giuliani writes, "While mayor, I made it my policy to see with my own eyes the scene of every crisis so I could evaluate it firsthand."

During a crisis, leaders must be out front rather than running or hiding from the ordeal. They must go to the scene of disaster and stand front and center - to accurately assess the situation as well as show their concern, while also demonstrating confidence that the group will persevere.

Business author Tom Peters writes of Guiliani's courage to be visible: Rudy "showed up" - when it really mattered, on 9/11. As one wag put it, he went from being a lameduck, philandering husband to being Time magazine's "Man of the Year" in 111 days. How? Not through any "strategy," well-thought-out or otherwise. But by showing his face. By standing as the embodiment of Manhattan's Indomitable Spirit.

As a leader, be sure you don't retreat when faced with a crisis. Rather than hide from the chaos and confusion, be sure to step in to sort things out and find a solution.

Again, political preferences aside, the importance of being visible during a crisis can also be learned from George W. Bush's presidency. Like Giuliani, Americans rallied around President Bush when he went to Ground Zero and grabbed a bullhorn amid the rubble to reassure the nation.

Contrast that with President Bush's lack of a timely response to Hurricane Katrina. Bush was noticeably absent during the first few days of the crisis and his poll numbers took a big hit.

Bottom Line: Step up during a crisis to survey the scene and be there for your people.


Guiliani writes: "Leaders have to control their emotions under pressure. Much of your ability to get people to do what they have to do is going to depend on what they perceive when they look at you and listen to you. They need to see someone who is stronger than they are, but human, too."

No matter how difficult things may seem, you must maintain your poise under pressure. People will be looking to your face as well as tuning into the tone of your voice to determine whether they should panic or remain calm; to give in or maintain hope.

As Duke men's basketball coach reminds us in his book Leading with the Heart, "A leader must show the face his team needs to see."

Bottom Line: Be sure to show your team that you are calm and in control, even though you may not exactly feel that way at the time. Your calm demeanor will go a long way toward helping your team think clearly and react appropriately during the crisis.


Giuliani writes, "I had to communicate with the public, to do whatever I could to calm people down and contribute to a orderly and safe evacuation [of lower Manhattan.]"

In addition to being visible and composed, leaders must step up in an effort to calm people down and communicate with them.

Bottom Line: You must speak up and take charge of what people are thinking and feeling at the time. You must reassure them and give them a simple yet specific plan that will get people through the crisis. Outline important action steps that they can take immediately to help themselves and the team.


As difficult as the crisis can seem, remind people that there is hope.
Giuliani writes: "I am an optimist by nature. I think things will get better, that the good people of America and New York City will overcome any challenge thrown our way. So in the face of this overwhelming disaster, standing amid sixteen acres of smoldering ruins, I felt a mixture of disbelief and confidence... that Americans would rise to this challenge."

While your athletic challenges pale in comparison to 9/11, they can still discourage, distract, and debilitate those on your team.

Bottom Line: Give your team a sense of hope. Let them know that they have the ability to make it through the crisis.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Crecimiento Post-Traumatico

Post-Traumatic Gowth

Tony Robbins July 14, 2009

We have all heard of post-traumatic stress syndrome. We have studied how human beings deal with and react to extreme stressors they encounter in their lives: war, attack, financial ruin, illness, death. There are thousands of tragedies and crises that can produce extreme stress in human beings. But very few people have actually studied how people respond to stress in a positive way. There is something called post-traumatic growth. You can have amazing personal growth come out of extremely stressful situations. And that's what I talk to people about. When you face extreme stress you have a couple of options. One positive option is to face that stress, do something and try to deal with that problem in your life. Reappraise your life. Decide that you "have to look at life differently." It's the proactive approach.

Three benefits of extreme stress:

You Discover what you are made of. You come to realize that you are stronger than you ever dreamed. Your sense of what you are capable of shifts and becomes an "inmune system" that allows you to face other challenges in your future more easily.

It deepens all of your relationships. You get to find out who your real friends are. The depth and the appreciation of those friendships is extraordinary. When you experience an extreme stressor and you aren't able to give everyone everything they want, your fair weather friends disapear. Remember, what truly make people most happy is their internal emotional and social relationships.

Changes your consciousness. When things are going well we keep expecting things to keep going well. It puts a different perspective on your life. You value the little things in life more.

People who face extreme stress, instead of hiding from it, can experience benefits. We are all stronger than we think we are. Winter doesn't last forever and what follows is a beautiful springtime. If you remember that, you can go to work and focus on what you can do to change your life, change your perspective, rather than denying it or living in fear.