Mobile money transformative for emerging economies

February 23rd, 2013

vQxdw8WwRqo7qvcyQa3LsD5Ao1_500Most people on the planet do not have access to a bank account. Banking is very poorly developed in all African countries compared to the industrialised world. There are significant challenges to getting banking services working in Africa, ranging from the high costs of opening an account to very limited bank branches and services and remarkably bureaucratic requirements to verify identity – on a continent where identity documents are not always available. For them, cash can be a very serious issue. Imagine being poor in Africa, earning a dollar a day – 40% of Egyptians earn less than 2 dollars per day, and Egypt is one of the more affluent African countries.

Excerpt from chapter 5 : economic, organisational and societal transformation through mobile communications

(Read more)


The desire for a moral economy

February 22nd, 2013
manity shifts gear when it demands fundamental change to its real world circumstances

Humanity shifts gear when it demands fundamental change to its real world circumstances

When people feel powerless, their style of reaction takes us back to a different age and a different time in which visceral protest can become the norm. These reactions are representative of, I would argue, a desire for a moral economy, something that Amartya Sen describes in his work The Idea of Justice. Or social justice, as Sen asks, ‘is justice an ideal, forever beyond our grasp, or something that may actually guide our practical decisions and enhance our lives?’ Which also connects to Manual Castells work on Communication Power, where he argues that we live in the midst of a revolution in communication technologies that affects the way in which people feel, think, and behave. The media he says has become the space where power duals are played out. Because I believe all social revolutions are enabled by communication technologies and social revolutions are ignited by concentrations of unaccountable power. But more than that many people are awakening to the fact that what has been sold as aspiration towards material wealth and the only signifier of success is out of their reach – period.

Extract from No Straight Lines (Read more)

co-creation, competition, innovation

February 21st, 2013

An aspect of open collaboration literacy which may seem counter intuitive is that of competition. Competitions can attract people passionate about solving real world problems; these need to be open access attracting a true divergence of knowledge, and have a fine pedigree. The Longitude Prize was an act of Parliament (the Longitude Act) of the United Kingdom passed in July 1714 during the reign of Queen Anne. It established the Board of Longitude and offered a monetary reward for anyone who could find a simple and practical method for the precise determination of a ship’s longitude. Today, competitions provide the ability to shift risk as they have always done, and generate wider interest through networked communication technologies. But why do we compete? We compete not for money per se, but more often we respond to the call of a higher order purpose and something we are passionate about which when tapped is a deep human motivation – we seek transformation.

From No Straight Lines (Read more)

What’s next for business?

February 21st, 2013

We have created instagr.ama 1 day session and shorter briefings for companies and organisations that are interested in exploring what next might look like for them.

You are short on time, curious, exploring new possibilities about What Next for Business looks like and how you might get there. You know you have to do something – but what? You want to dip your toe into something that demonstrates new possibilities and ways of: working, innovating, organising and creating value that is relevant to the world we live in today. The Induction Days and Briefings will show and inspire you how to be:

  1. more resilient
  2. more relevant personally and collectively
  3. more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable
  4. more economically vibrant and creative

What you will learn:

  1. About new tools, processes and language
  2. How others have used those to solve complex multi-dimensional organisational problems
  3. To be inspired to explore innovative strategies and operational approaches to business

More info here Induction Days and Briefings


Transforming financial systems

February 21st, 2013

Time for an upgrade










Without our financial systems evolving we are stuck in a really tough place.

So we need to define a new system that does the following:

  • Supporting a financial transaction tax, being implemented in many countries.
  • Protecting the commons and public infrastructure from privatization.
  • Building a new financial system that includes:
  • Restoring a public banking system.
  • Directing investments to undercapitalized communities through Community Development Financial Institutions and microfinance.
  • Creating the enabling conditions to support local living economies.
  • Investing democratically through crowdfunding.
  • Continuing to involve mainstream financial institutions which demonstrably share our goals, values and ethics.
  • Restoring democracy and our collective capacity to regulate, tax and invest in public priorities by limiting money in politics, amending “corporate personhood” and the “money is speech” doctrines, and promoting public financing of elections.

Extract from No Straight Lines (Read more)


Switching on the Human-OS has a political dimension

February 21st, 2013

Introduction: In Necessity Hath no Law, the obsertvation was made that when people feel powerless, their style of reaction takes us back to a different age and a different time. Visceral protest. These reactions are representative of, I would argue, a desire to reclaim a moral economy, something that Amartya Sen describes in his work The Idea of Justice. Or social justice, as Sen asks, ‘is justice an ideal, forever beyond our grasp, or something that may actually guide our practical decisions and enhance our lives?

In The Life and Death of Democracy, John Keane points out that when democracy takes hold of people’s lives, it gives them a glimpse of the contingency of things. They are, he says: ‘injected with the feeling that the world can be other than it is – that situations can be countered, outcomes altered, people’s lives changed through individual and collective action.’ Do people feel this today? Democracy, says Keane, ‘thrives on humility and a shared sense of equality among citizens needs to be visceral’.

Excerpt from No Straight Lines (Read more)

Achuar community ancient knowledge and modern tech

February 21st, 2013

Gregor MacLennan works for Amazonwatch an organisation that campaigns for the rights and lives of indigenous tribes living in the Amazon rainforest in Peru.

MacLennan explains that huge tracts of the Amazon have been sold to international companies for mineral extraction. Those companies come and extract the minerals but they leave a lot behind: pollution on an unprecedented scale, deforestation, the undoable disruption of the communities that live there. The mining companies literally tear up and destroy the habitat in which the indigenous people live. Rather than wishing to protect the indigenous people of the Amazon, MacLennan says the government in Lima perceives them more as an irritant, so is quite content to let the destruction of its own people continue, as long as the world doesn’t know.

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Designing and co-creating the best possible future for the NHS

April 4th, 2012

Designing and co-creating the best possible future for the NHS

The bitter public battle now being fought over the future of the NHS looks set to continue. Its future shape uncertain, and the mounting resistance that is so visceral is based upon fear, uncertainty and crucially a genuine lack of trust in those that claim to be guiding us to the best possible future the NHS.

The Lancet in January 2011 agreed that the current system stifles innovation and that although vast sums have been invested in the NHS we have not seen the benefit delivered as valuable frontline services. So we need transformation.

But the question is how do we get to that best possible future? How do we create a more sustainable NHS? Here are a couple of thoughts.

Participatory healthcare for chronic disease

Patients Know Best is a platform, that enables patients and clinicians to engage in individual and collective diagnostic practice, that allows for patient sovereignty and patient empowerment (where patient data sits at the very epicenter) and for clinicians to provide more accurate and dynamic healthcare assessment and advice. Patients can interact in full confidence with the clinical team online, uploading information about their medical history, patients can also read and interact with other clinical information inputs. This means patients are empowered, they are engaged in the process. Appointments can be made online within 24 hours – everyone has full access to all relevant data, which has proven significant benefits for everyone involved. Clinicians now have the right information with the right time to consult, reflect and properly advise. They can discuss with their patients and decide together next best steps.

In this process everyone learns with deep knowledge translating into meaningful action. The insight is that patients know a great deal, they are curators of their personal histories, and all to a lesser or greater degree possess uncommon combinations of common conditions in unique personal circumstances. Clinicians can them combine that unique knowledge with their own knowledge blending together unique and relevant programmes for chronic disease care.

Founder of Patients Know Best Mohammad Al-Ubaydli says it is not only significantly cheaper but a greater degree of comprehensive accuracy is achieved in one to two orders of magnitude.


Participatory leadership in healthcare

Nova Scotia was facing significant challenges in how it was going to evolve its healthcare system. In 2006 the Government asked Nova Scotia’s public health practitioners, to ‘articulate and be guided by a collective vision for the public health system.’ This is a complex challenge, and how does one go about articulating a collective vision?

Large-scale organisational change of the healthcare system that is happening in Nova Scotia, is being enabled through a process described as ‘Participatory Leadership’, whereby it is the participation of the people that are the true actors (nurses, clinicians, patients, etc.) within that healthcare system that are being hosted (guided) into co-designing, and co-creating how they are going to find the answers to their difficult and challenging issues.

In December 2008, a group of practitioners and partners in public health from across the province took on this challenge. They initiated a search to find a process that would bring people together to seek new solutions for the common good. They also knew the process would have to take into account the complexity of public health. And they also felt that any attempt to address the current challenges of public health demands the collective intelligence of all stakeholders. They sought a process that would launch Nova Scotia into a new beginning, an approach that would foster leadership and innovation.

The real insight was that the answer to such a complex problem lay in the minds of the many, that the way forward was held collectively in all the stakeholders that worked in the current system – not in the PowerPoint charts of highly paid specialist management consultants.


The benefits of participatory learning and leadership in healthcare

Patients Know Best and Nova Scotia are stories that are real world – they are serious and they represent two simple ways in which a best possible future for our healthcare service could be delivered, that can cost effectively meet the needs of many millions of people.

They are cost effective because ‘we’, become part of the process, we have co-created it. We begin to build a shared narrative around the people’s NHS. This is entirely different to the ideology and language of markets and privatization.

They are also demonstrative of the agile organization. Agility is related to what Otto Scharmer describes as an evolved geometry that devolves power from hierarchies to evolving networks of relationships, these are organizational models in which people, patients, physicians, clinicians, support services connect with each other in more meaningful ways in which they are all part of the process. So we move from the language of economies of scale to human centered ecologies of scale.

Explicitly, the thing that joins the dots is that Patients Know Best and Nova Scotia are both designed around the needs of humanity. Participatory learning and leadership are both constructed from the understanding that seeking change for the common good calls for involvement, collective intelligence and co-creation to discover and illuminate new solutions and wise actions.

John Berger wrote, ‘what we see is shaped by what we know’, and what we make is shaped by the language we have available to describe a new reality. If that language is lacking or deficient then so will be the outcome. And that is why Andrew Lansley’s Bill is in such disarray, as his framework for reformation is not based upon the language and literacy of social innovation, participatory cultures and leadership, it is based upon a language that has ultimately done so much damage to us.

What is missing is a literacy that defines a new form of leadership relevant to today’s world: the capacity to collectively shape and create our best possible future, and to release us from the cul-de-sac of our ‘industrial free markets are best’ view.

This is extracted from the book No Straight Lines: making sense of our non-linear world

Open Access book available via (this link)

Paperback and Kindle versions via (this link)







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Design and manufacturing in a non-linear world

February 11th, 2012

A story about how we design and manufacture in a non-linear world, using agile software development, modular design, and rapid prototyping, the WikiSpeed car development team, developing a 100 MGP car for the Automotive X-Prize, has achieved an extraordinary compression of development time.

My argument is that better much better does not necessarily cost the earth.

Its is about a new literacy and logic in how we make stuff. This is a key part of the No Straight Lines Story.

Some interesting key points highlighted over at the p2p Foundation

  1. Designed and manufactured a 4-passenger street-legal car that gets 100 mpg
  2. The car was constructed using off-the-shelf parts
  3. The car is entirely modular in design
  4. They innovated a new process for carbon-fiber body construction that costs 1/360th the traditional process
  5. You can pre-order cars now for less than $29,000
  6. This is not just a one-off prototype. Currently they are manufacturing one car per week (yes, that’s the

    low volume manufacturing retail price). They are targeting a future price of under $20,000.

  7. With no capital investment
  8. Though accept donations
  9. Everything is done through volunteers








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6 challenges for organisations in a non-linear world

January 18th, 2012

We have arrived at the edge of the adaptive range of our industrial world. At the edge, because that world, our world is being overwhelmed by a trilemma of social, organisational and economic complexity. We are in transit from a linear world to a non-linear one. Non-linear because it is for all of us socially, organisationally and economically ambiguous, confusing and worrying. Consequently we are faced with an increasingly pressing and urgent problem, WHAT COMES NEXT? And also we are therefore presented with a design challenge: HOW do we create better societies, more able organisations and, more vibrant and equitable economies relevant to the world we live in today? No Straight Lines presents a new logic/literacy and inspiring plea for a more human centric world that describes an entirely new way for true social, economic and organisational innovation to happen.

In NO Straight Lines: I argue that we now have the possibility to truly transform our world, to be more resilient, to be more relevant to us both personally and collectively, socially cohesive, sustainable, economically vibrant and humane, through the tools, capabilities, language and processes at our fingertips.

The key to unlocking this opportunity, so we can design for transformation is through understanding the interlocking concepts of the six key principles of No Straight Lines, which our research shows are the 6 more info

big challenges that organisations have to navigate to thrive in a non-linear world.

These are:

[1] How do organisations of all creeds deal with a more complex and increasingly ambiguous world?

[2] How do those organisations push through from living in an ambiguous world to one in which they can begin to design for adaptation?

[3] How do organisations learn to design for a more open world – which will be necessary for survival?

[4] How do organisations learn to design for a more participatory world?

[5] How do organisations develop a methodology for craftsmanship at a personal and more organisational level?

[6] How do organisations prepare for and design for transformation?
The six key principles of No Straight Lines, these are:

[1] Ambiguity [2] Adaptiveness [3] Participatory cultures and tools [4] Openness [5] Craftsmanship [6] Epic (designing for transformation).

What our research shows us that whether executed digitally or in our analogue world or indeed blended together – those organisations that have addressed these issues with conviction are the ones that have moved from being stuck in a world of concussive ambiguity.


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