“Reforming” the US Healthcare “system”

Peter Jones Wu Wei

First off, its not a system, and we should reclaim our correct use of the word. It is a system in the way officials like to call the incarceration process the “justice system.” System dignifies this mess as if it were an assembly of planned processes directed toward beneficial outcomes. And the way we toss around the word reform suggests there was a form to re. Messes like this require a primary act of intentional design. Intentional systemic design starts with framing (and reframing) the concern people have that will be the target of design. And today, we have a good one. Dr. Andrew Weil reframes the entire healthcare reform “debate” happening in the political arena. By identifying a systemic root cause (a diagnosis) of one of the largest-scale concerns ever to be embraced in politics and society, Dr. Weil has cut through the bullshit and redefined the conceptual frame. “But what’s missing, tragically, is a diagnosis of the real, far more fundamental problem, which is that what’s even worse than its stratospheric cost is the fact that American health …

What is the contribution of Design in a national economy?

Peter Jones Dialogic Design, Innovation, Wu Wei

OCAD’s president Sara Diamond advocates for a Canadian national design strategy in the Globe and Mail. Design is essential to Canada’s science and technology strategy, which underlines the needs of markets in the developing and developed world for new inventions that make use of new and sustainable materials, medical technologies, ICT, digital media, and biotechnology. In realizing this strategy, Ottawa should take a page from Microsoft, which describes the knowledge set of the 21st century as “STEM-D” – science, technology, engineering, medicine and design. Insights about our needs for online home care; data visualizations that lead to breakthrough understandings of cancer cells, the human genome and bioinformatics data; energy-efficient solutions in environmental and sustainable design that have an impact on the shape of our cities; and new green and clean technologies out of repurposed automobile manufacturing processes – designers produce all of this and more. What would a Canadian design strategy look like? I’m not favorable toward a US design strategy, such as that being promoted by US designers as the U.S. National Design Policy Initiative.  Where funding of sciences, …

Toronto 2.0 – Becoming a wired participatory polity

Peter Jones Wu Wei

Today’s Globe & Mail reports on ChangeCamp. What is ChangeCamp? It is the application of ‘the long tail’ to public policy. It is a long-held and false assumption that ordinary citizens don’t care about public policy. The statement isn’t, of itself, false. Many, many, many people truly don’t care that much. They want to live their lives focusing on other things – pursuing other hobbies or interests. But there are many of us who do care: Public-policy geeks, fans, followers, advocates, etc… We are everywhere, we’ve just been hidden in a long tail that saw the marketplace and capacity for developing and delivering public policy restricted to a few large institutions. We’re in the midst of the kind of change we have been seeking and organizing for years. Society appears ready to recognize the vision of activists, citizens, new media folks, and democracy philosophers. But now in our own terms of engagement. ChangeCamp is about identifying our own “user needs” for government and for creating openings and listening for our participation to matter. What happens here may happen anywhere, but …

Who gets to define Citizen Participation?

Peter Jones Wu Wei

A week ago 200 people in Toronto started a movement called ChangeCamp, a rapid-response unconference of tech, design, and policy/government people who engaged the question: How do we re-imagine government and citizenship in the age of participation? I drove up from Dayton the day before ChangeCamp and showed up at 9:00 ready to go. We do not often create these types of opportunities for engagement in the US. We mostly work through issue groups, or local citizen activist groups. With the monstrous problems in the US over the last 8 years, we have been fighting for peace, justice, human rights, civil rights, and fair elections (I’m from Ohio and have seen my share of unfair up close). And we have celebrated the Obama era with hope, expectancy, and mostly relief. But ChangeCamp was in my new hometown of Toronto, and I was delighted to be a supporter and to lead a session (I co-led Citizen Participation in Policy Making with Karen Smith). Peter Kafka reported Obama’s office of Citizen Participation was positioned under its New Media group, a tech-media group. …