Stepping ahead or dreaming forward?

This is cowdung. It might just be converted into what makes your morning commute possible. But wait, who still commutes in the age of broadband enabled telecommuters? The latter is obviously more sexier to think about than dung but can we bank on it?

Guys like Richard Branson and Vinod Khosla are now making the PR rounds with initiatives focused on making biofuel production efficient enough to replace fossil fuels. So what about the people who are dreaming up hydrogen fuel cell cars that run on good old H2O? Why aren’t those guys getting the same play?

The reason is more obvious to self made entrepreneurs than academics and innovative thinkers. While revolutionaries dream of disruptive ways of changing the world, evolutionary businesspeople like Branson and Khosla realize that change is rarely an overnight shift.

Change is incremental and there’s are economic proofs needed at every step before the actual shift happens. Don’t believe me, just think of all the things we now think of as “major shifts”. The Internet, automobiles, the printing press seem like revolutions, but just think of how they were adopted into mainstream popularity. Remember dialing up to send an email? My point exactly!

Incremental innovation doesn’t mean that we stop dreaming. In the case of green transportation, we shouldn’t stop questioning whether “cars” are the real answer. It seems to me that better designed cities are far more efficient than efficient cars leading to more paved roads to disrupt already dying ecosystems!

Global change much like personal change needs positive feedback to stick. Change needs both dreams and positive (market) feedback at each step to make a difference. For those of us with goals of creating positive change in the world, its a lesson well worth remembering no matter what the current path smells like.

Are we solving the right problem?

Oftentimes as an objective observer, I notice things that just don’t add up. I was reading an article lately where a parent was concerned about their child being too short for his age and asked the columnist if HGH (human grow hormone) treatments might help bioengineer his child’s normalcy?

For him to come to the conclusion that height is the problem and thus seek a solution to remedy that, seems to parallel a lot of other problems we try to solve in the world. In the respective legacies of Prince, Napoleon, Socrates and numerous other “short” giants, it may be obvious that this parent’s POV is a little distorted, but what if the child was your business, and “too short” was your current strategic diagnosis?

Take network TV for instance. It’s interesting to see otherwise working TV shows that glam up with beautiful cast members because another show with the same is a few ratings ahead. Even though the viewers can spot the “jump the shark” attempts before inevitable show cancellation time and again. The same is true of the acquisition frenzy around social networking spaces like the recent MySpace buy, even though having users in a network is no indicator of either loyalty or a real revenue model.

So why do we chase the wrong problems to solve time and again? Sometimes the strategically savvy know better but play the short term game long enough to take the money and run, but usually we just don’t want to see it. Much like the father in the example I started this post with, we are overly preoccupied with the present context rather than see the cause and effect from an broader, more objective viewpoint. I guess that’s probably why guys like me keep working...maybe the obvious just isn’t.

Building Efficiency From The Planet Up...

Design | e2 | Rethinking Buildings

The Green Apple

Design | e2 "The Green Apple" Autodesk is doing a great job of exposing innovative ideas for sustainability with this new series. Very cool.

Red 2 Green

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China Red to Green - Must See!

Flat Fee High Notes

More from MediaFuturist Gerd Leonhard on Flat Fee Music

The Future of Digital Music?

Thinking on music that translates to other mediascapes...

Mickey Marx?

Would post Internet civilization reinterpret these ideas as something beyond the social experiment gone wrong as we've known it? Ideas?

Can Capitalism Lead Positive Change?

Profit moves least until we find a better alternative to the current capitalism model? The business perspective of global warming above (Worth the 10 mins to watch, BTW) shows some obvious paths to profitability but does it really show sustainable progress?

Scaring people into going green definitely has short term gains, especially when the threat is more than old school marketing hype! What happens though when the proposed progress either slows the threat or profitability slows the progress? Mass marketing is going the way of individualized communication, is global capitalism to follow? The Internet has disrupted the communication paradigm, will nanotech and biotech do the same for business?

Maybe its idealist or utopian thinking, but to realistically conceive that people can produce more with less infrastructure costs is really not that far off. Will scaring people "green" still stick then?

Channels by Moi?

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Some of us will enjoy watching this more than others. Those that share my particular sense of humor will bust a gut just like I did! But will it make it to local TV? Probably not. What's most interesting about this is not this content or all the videos I've been posting lately on my blog, but the bigger idea this type of content sharing represents. I believe this is the beginning of individuals aggregating content which competes for airtime with national broadcasters. Now do you see the need for monetizing and advertising relevance I keep yapping about? When guys like me collect and share quality content (that's HD/fullscreen on any display), how does NBC pay their bills? Something to think about...meanwhile, happy Friday, and enjoy this clip!

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