This is the fourth of a series on the role of hybrids in innovation. This is where I put the ideas of the previous posts to work using the principle of ‘combinatorial innovation’ to look for fertile soil for cross-breeds between my work in educational development and other areas.
Translation and Contextualisation
In a way, this whole post is about these two things. Can you take information – ideas, tools and resources – and make them useful and accessible in a new place? Where do you have the local knowledge – local to place, or a set of people, or a field of activity – that is needed so that things from another place can be useful to others?
The worldwide web is possible because of a shared, consensual, non-propriety and completely open agreement about how to mark up text for display in your computer’s web browser (HTML).
Could an open standard help people and products to work together in your industry? Could you be the one to start writing and popularising it?
I wonder if education in Indonesia could benefit from a set of open standards:
- For desirable outcomes for education as a whole
- For standards and competencies at different stages of children (and adults’) development in different subjects (e.g. literacy, mathematics) that could allow ‘interoperability’ between educational resources made by different groups
- For what makes a good lesson, curriculum, or resource (e.g. suggested standards to guide writers of children’s books)
- For how to design the above
- For how to train teachers to use the above
I’ve got lots of questions about how far consensus can go on these things, but I think there’s a lot of potential.
- The Cathedral and the Bazaar – a key essay on the open source movement
- I’ve written more about this (and open source, below) in the article “Reading the Present, Writing the Future” – see page 6.
More than 85% of the world’s smartphones run on the Android operating system. Android is a version of Linux, a free operating system that is developed by a community of volunteers and professionals across the world. Being open source means that not only is the software free to use, but the source code – the bits of computer program used to make Android – are available to all to study, edit and upgrade. Volunteers gain so much from the system, that when they improve a piece of the software (often to solve a problem that they face), they’re happy to feed the improvements back into it, creating more value for everyone in the process.
Can you ‘open source’ all or part of what you do, creating value for everyone in the process?
Perhaps this should have been first on the list. What do cheaper computing, cheaper data and storage, cheaper video, cheaper sensors of all sorts – mean to you? What would it mean if they became free – because relatively, they are becoming so.
What do you need to know, what skills do you need to develop, so you can make the most of these, and make them useful to others?
What’s getting faster, cheaper, easier to use? For example…
- Physically transporting goods from one place to another in a world of driverless cars and maybe, drones
- Electronic products
What can you do online – maybe even automatically – that previously had to be done in person?
In a world where we can do so many things online, what are the things that really are better when we’re together in person? Why are they better in person, and how can we make them better still?
Of course AI. I know almost nothing about it, but finding the people a level or two above me is high on the list. It might not be for you, but make sure that you know that for a fact.
A lot of these things come down to information being more abundant, and more accessible than ever before. Is there value in looking deeply at how your field hangs together, and how it intersects with other fields, and clarifying things – for you and everyone else?
This is fun – this video with Peter Morville is a decent place to start.
Tools and Howtos
Can you make and share tools to help other people do what you do? Can you teach people how to use them?
It goes without saying that Kevin Kelly, Tim O’Reilly – and everyone mentioned in my earlier WTF post are the major sources of these ideas.