Deflationary economies yield free-product ecologies

Peter Jones Media Ecology, Social Innovation, Strategic Innovation

As someone who gets paid to do foresight research, I have a brief response to the Fast Company article How To Thrive In The Free-Product Economy. They state as a “law:” If a product on the market can be monetized by any means other than directly selling it, a comparable version of that product will eventually be offered for free. The problem here is the word “monetized.”  And the word “eventually,” which is a long time. But let’s piece apart the dynamics and see why this is the case. Prices continuing to drop in the face of new entrants in a market is not a given. Competitive dynamics are different based on positioning, market share, strategy.  In the 1980’s prices went up as new entrants competed on features. Televisions did not get cheaper, and consumer commodities such as video rental and CDs raised prices  over the decade, even with cheaper production technology. It was an inflationary time, and it was not all bad. Inflationary periods employ a larger proportion of the population, people buy things, demand rises,suppliers have pricing power. …

Is Online Civil Participation Sufficient to the Institutional Crisis?

Peter Jones Civil media, Social Innovation, Transformation Design

My last post left off with “We have experience and world-class methods that reliably achieve consensus in social systems to organize stakeholder commitment. The next missing step then is the courage and ambition to reach through the benign neglect, the cynical stalling, the aligned interests in current economies, and to help stakeholders move forward on a chosen strategic path that best reaches our societal, human, and developmental visions.” Financier, socialist former punker, and Bond-style playboy Matthieu Pigasse comes forward with as much in his new book, Révolutions.  He relates a European view of the need for democratic action to re-envision institutions, if not civilization. We are living through a turning point, in great confusion. Nothing of what seemed obvious yesterday is evident today. Nor are there any signs to tell us what future certainties will be. The great points of reference — the Nation, the State, Morality — seem to have disappeared. The great hopes of tomorrow remain invisible. He shares with the Occupy movement the urgency of engaging citizens in the public sphere to re-envision his culture and nation …

What’s Your Occupation?

Peter Jones Human Values, Media Ecology, Social Innovation

We have been working with Occupy Toronto for a few weeks now, and have even ramped up the engagement since the camp came down mid-week. Grad students and even president Sara Diamond from OCAD University have been involved , along with the Design Exchange, with two major community events located (ironically enough) in the deco-era original Toronto Stock Exchange. The goals of these sessions have been to evolve a common framing and voice for (meaning “with”) the diffuse and diverse core members of the movement. What we seem to be missing are the connections between similar events in other Occupy communities. Pay attention to the shift of medium here – Occupy is an emerging and embodied social medium for civil change. It is not like the Arab Spring or other social media narratives. This is embodied (situated in place) and broadcasted (livecast) and not tweeted and FB’d to organize. People are working things out F2F – not online – its a classic McLuhan media transformation in the making.

Social systems design for complex services : A workshop

Peter Jones Design research, Dialogic Design, Service Design, Social Innovation, Strategic Foresight

What are the deep drivers of your problem system? Social systems design for complex services I’m holding a workshop this week on dialogic design at Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Their unique program in Systems-Oriented Design has a  lot in common with OCADU Strategic Foresight and Innovation. A workshop on dialogic design for complex systems and social systems methodologies. There is an urgent need to wisely address complex social issues effectively and democratically. There is a social and educational need to improve design methods for social and systemic innovation. There are underlying systemic forces that all social, business and policy innovation will deal with in a given horizon. We can develop sound understanding of these forces in scenarios and as interdependent problem systems through dialogic design practices. Systemic design methods provide capacity to mixed stakeholder groups and organizations for navigating complexity and identifying challenges with the highest leverage in a social system. The methodological value of social systems design process is in identifying common drivers and influences underlying an interconnected problematique in complex systems (ecological and climate changes, economic …