News/Opinion

Introducing @thruflo (a.k.a James Arthur) by Nick Ierodiaconou

00 have the pleasure of announcing an addition to the team - Thruflo, a.k.a. James Arthur will be joining us as our new lead developer. James is a self-described geek generalist, developer, and entrepreneur. More about James, from the man himself, below...

So what’s interesting about me joining 00? Well, what’s interesting is not me. It’s 00 and, more particularly, what 00 can do with a geek on board.

@thruflo's GitHub profile

In this day and age, a young man can’t escape his sins.

The best description of 00 I’ve heard comes from Scott Cain at the Long Run Venture. In the kick off meeting for the Hub Launchpad project, his description was “Rogue Architects”. 00 started designing buildings and now they build, what?

Alice Fung

Alice Fung: when architects go rogue.

Platforms is the short answer. There’s so shortage of craft skills or content. You just have to look at people like Joni and Lynton — world class designers and photographers on the side — or at projects like SOAR and WikiHouse to see that. However, what sets 00 apart is a long term strategic approach to building social infrastructure.

OpenDesk designs

OpenDesk: Joni’s sideline as a product designer.

 As an aside, this is my favourite take on the 00 name. It’s not that the house always wins, or the umpteen other interpretations, it’s a reflection that, at the heart of the practice, there is no IP. Ownership has been dissolved in order to build assets that everybody benefits from because nobody owns.

Skipping back to the last time I was gainfully employed, at Large Blue, I designed and developed websites, web architecture and campaigns — doing my best to understand and communicate how to use the web effectively. The first advice I would give was pretty self evident: to design for the medium.

Large Blue website

OpenIDEO: one of the platforms we built at Large Blue.

If you look at projects like the Open Institute, the OSLO movement, WikiHouse, etc, these are about building movements around open ways of designing, organising and doing business. And, as anyone who’s ever watched Seth Godin knows, building movements is what the web is best at.

FabHub

FabHub — one of the platforms I’m building with 00.

 So, whilst I’m working hard, with Nick, Ian and others, on specific web platforms like OpenDesk and FabHub, what I really hope that, with the weird way my head is wired, I can help these rogue architects harness the web just a little bit more.

Social Spaces and Zero Zero are coming together by Nick Ierodiaconou

00 and social spaces are combining - having worked together for many years we have decided the time is right for us to fully come together.

We have been working on social and civic systemic challenges over the course of the last few years and have collectively built a body of knowledge on how we understand, seed, and develop the civic and social economy ... from the Community Lover’s Guide, The Compendium for the Civic Economy, Civic Crowd, Handmade, Hub Westminster, Hublaunchpad, Library Lab, The Work Shop, The Common Room, Wikihouse.cc, Opendesk.cc etc.

The work has explored and tested the conditions, techniques & platforms needed for supporting civic change. We want to accelerate and deepen our impact by translating and validating what we have been learning into whole-systems re-design - that accomplishes tangible change for real people. We know that creating the conditions for emergent civic change needs our collective capabilities and ambition.

In the coming months, along with the developing change laboratories with our partners, we will be starting the Civic Systems Lab, which will be a knowledge building and learning platform. This platform will be focused on sharing effective system re-design methods and processes - that involve citizens, enterprise and government working strategically together - in ways that will be open and accessible for people leading civic change everywhere.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our collaborators over recent years and are sure that all our friends will be as delighted with this news as we are.

Alastair, Alice, Anna, Bethany, David, Debbie, Indy, James, Jean, Joni, Joost, Laura, Lynton, Nick, Olivia, Ottilie, Sarah, and Tessy.

The Culture Show by Nick Ierodiaconou

Architecture critic and writer Tom Dyckhoff presents this week's Culture Show, looking at architectural solutions to affordable housing in this time of crisis. The episode features Alastair Parvin from 00 and Beatrice Gailee, friend and collaborator of 00.

Alastair Parvin speaks to Tom Dykoff at the Olympic park about collective building in Britain, putting user-led design at the heart of the solution. More on this topic in 00:/'s publication: A Right to Build.

As the weather gets wetter and the risk of flooding increases, Beatrice Galilee travels to the Netherlands to find out how the Dutch have tackled the problem. In Amsterdam she visits a community built entirely on water and meets the architects who are planning to build similar homes in the UK.

Also in this episode, Tom Dyckhoff visits Berlin, where architects and social media communities have been working together to reduce building cost by cutting out the middle men when designing new neighbourhoods. Would this co-build model work as well in Britain as it has in Germany and Finland?

The once-maligned traditional terrace is making a comeback. Oliver Wainwright charts the history of this most British of builds as contemporary architects reinterpret the two-up, two-down to meet the demands of affordable social housing and offer an alternative to high-rise living. Finally, in this time of austerity, Charlie Luxton asks if it is possible to build a house for £20,000.

Watch the episode on BBC iPlayer here.

Text about episode from The Culture Show.

- DS

Beyond feasibility: the road less travelled by Nick Ierodiaconou

In a recent article in the Guardian entitled 'Why pretend we know everything? It's time to embrace uncertainty' Suzanne Moore hit the nail on the head with a truth that few of us are willing to publicly acknowledge: that our professional lives are as much concerned with navigating ambiguity as with flexing the muscles of our specialist expertise.

Moore identified an unwavering belief in certainty as a highly valuable attribute, and conversely, uncertainty as the realm of the weak, poor, or faithless. Who really knows, she writes, whether Cameron's refusal to sign the EU treaty is a good thing or not – yet experts are lining up to tell us it's the best or worst thing ever to have happened.

This cultural attitude favouring certainty as an indicator of professional competence and expertise makes itself felt well beyond political and economic spheres. It shapes the tone and context in which professionals operate – in particular, the nature of relationships, including productive dialogue, they are able to engage in with clients.

I recently acted as consultant to a third sector organisation in East London seeking to re-fashion its purpose and identity in line with the changing culture and demographics of the area it has served since the Victorian era. Like most charities, it was operating in an environment of limited financial resources, and faced with impending funding cuts from public sector streams, was experiencing a genuine need to re-examine its offer and operations. They commissioned a team from 00:/ to research and write a feasibility study focusing particularly on ways in which the organisation could become more financially sustainable in the future.

We went about seeking to pair their vision statement with tangible objectives, working with the board of Trustees to map out the priorities and aspirations of the organization. It became clear early on, however, that in their minds, this was a task best left to others. In short, we were being asked to conduct a feasibility study without the organization itself being able to define the ‘what’ of the feasibility in question – the tangible features of its vision, and operation that were to motor this financial recovery and beyond.

This can’t be an isolated case. One year ago, employment within the voluntary sector had fallen 9% from 2011 levels and by one estimate, cuts passed on by councils saw organisations lose up to 43.4% of their income. This year, employment figures are up - albeit on a part-time basis: more people working in temporary or insecure employment. In increasingly lean times – where both finance and time-resource are felt more accutely, the capacity of organisations, particularly those in governing positions, to navigate an emerging field of creative resourcing, procuring, commissioning and collaboration, is being tested. Ironically, it is precisely in such a climate that experimental approaches are needed, yet the same one in which (understandably) self-preservation, and related risk aversion, runs high.

Unfortunately, in some cases (and not necessarily through any fault of their own) the cultures of many organisations have matured within the confines of inherited bureaucratic procedures. Shaped by the demands of statutory funding applications, health and safety, risk, and outcomes assessments, they have developed an over-reliance on tried and trusted formats, and on certainty as a fundamental organising principle. But in times of uncertainty, this has bred a kind of organisational paralysis. In this case, we were grappling with a paradox: an unwillingness – or indeed inability – on the part of our clients to venture beyond the 'feasibility study formula’ – a process emphasising the research, analysis and regurgitation of previously known (and often needs-based) statistics pertaining to demographics, employment and economic exclusion statistics coupled with the expectation of a magical resolution at the end. Framing expectations and outcomes within this format, such ‘evidence’ represents trustworthiness and legitimacy for the client, but lacks the dynamism and courage necessary to implementing step-change.

This is not a blame game: the problem is as much perpetuated by a hesitance on the part of ‘experts’ to step outside what is expected of them, as it is by Trustees who stubbornly adhere to the safe boundaries of what they already know.

We’re faced with the necessity of approaching projects more openly and honestly – by accepting that, de-facto, projects often unfold in a process of open-ended experimentation. Several projects are already illustrating how embracing this open-ended process might be beneficial: Willesden Green’s Library Lab in Brent, London; the Super Hero Supply Store in Brooklyn New York; the open call of officials in Deventer, Netherlands, to local residents for ideas, occupation and alternative uses in an industrial harbour all demonstrate how cross-sectoral working and experimentation is evolving and providing fertile ground for growing new social networks and resources around visionary ideas.

So where does this leave us? The bottom line is that comfort with uncertainty should be in-built into projects from the outset, even celebrated. Instead of looking to feasibility studies as a tried and tested template for defining future pathways, we need to be open to testing, experimentation and action-led feasibility with local residents as legitimate and effective means of achieving outcomes that better resonate with local contexts.

-OT

Future Practice: Conversations on the Edge of Architecture by Nick Ierodiaconou

Future Practice: Conversations from the Edge of Architectureis a new book by Rory Hyde exploring emergent roles for architects in the 21st century.

Future Practice features a conversation with Indy Johar from 00:/, amongst the likes of Bruce Mau; Reinier de Graaf & Laura Baird, AMO; Mel Dodd, muf_aus; Wouter Vanstiphout, Crimson; Camila Bustamante; Steve Ashton, ARM; Matt Webb, BERG; Bryan Boyer, Helsinki Design Lab - and a host of others.

An except from Rory Hyde's conversation with Indy Johar:

RH: One of the other themes I'm really interested in your work is your approach to economy. I found a quote where you say: ‘it’s time for architects to start reading the financial papers’. [3] You seem to take it much more seriously than many architects or other people in this space. Economics is a territory that’s normally relegated to the developer or clients, we don’t seem to worry about the money except how much the building costs. How do we reclaim this territory? Is it about getting involved with business models, business plans, thinking about how this thing might make money?

IJ: It's all the same act. The idea that we can disassociate one aspect from another aspect is an illusion. It’s an illusion of a seventeenth century Enlightenment model, where we figured out that we could deal with the world in vitro, you could take architecture and isolate it, you could take the business model and isolate it, you could isolate different components, and say ‘hey, if we isolate it, we can deal with it in effective ways.’ That is an Enlightenment model of how you organise the world. Now, what is becoming apparent in the world we're living in, is that in vitro modelling of the world isn't able to cope with the complexity, i.e. the externalities all those models were generating. So carbon is just an externality of a model which doesn't take account of certain things. It’s an in vitro business model. That’s the more fundamental problem, that I think we’ve reached the end of this siloed idea of building stuff. That’s the systemic issue.

We are talking about building ecosystems where there are no hard divisions between the built environment, the value model, between the impacts it has, between how it absorbs carbon, what materials it uses – it’s about seeding an organism, and I don’t think you can make such hard distinctions between things. I always use the term ‘design venturing’; I think great entrepreneurs seem to be pretty good designers frankly, they tend to have a very good eye for those things, because they use the same skills. So I think it’s about this method of how you build systems, the ‘architecture of systems’, as opposed to the ‘architecture of brick buildings’. That shift is one of the big things we are seeing, because this in vitro modelling doesn’t work.

...

RH: It’s probably useful to talk about your Compendium for the Civic Economy now, as it seems to be the perfect manifesto of that idea of the spatial and economic ecosystem. What is the Civic Economy, and do architects have a role to play in it?

IJ: In a sort of high level sense the Civic Economy is an idea about how technology and a deep democratization of process is liberating a new way for people to organize themselves locally, and to actually create institutions and organizations which are fundamentally focused on a civic purpose. They can be for-profit, not-for-profit, it doesn't really matter. It's a new citizen method of organizing micro acts which can create a virtuous social, environmental and economic cycle. So whether it’s the 68 FabLabs all around the world, The Hub, or Community Kitchens, all these projects in the book are about the synthesis of social capital and investment capital to create a performative impact.

Now, the role of architects is huge, but it’s about place-making as opposed to the design of a physical product. Hosting and creating those flows and networks, seeding them, and allowing them to iterate, is what the 21st century architect will be doing, which is hugely significant. This is acutely democratic in terms of influence and power – there is going to be no single leadership, but democratic leadership. So I think the role of the architect is hugely significant, I just think it’s a new type of architect. And I think this is part of a longitudinal trend, this democratisation of capital, democratisation of power, democratisation of leadership, and this post-management world is opening up all sorts of new challenges.

Read more about Future Practice here.

And if you'd like to order a copy, go here.

- DS

Smart Cities, Smart Citizens, and Smart “Professionals” too? by Nick Ierodiaconou

On Friday, February 22, 2013, David Saxby, director of 00, participated in the "Smart Cities" debate organised by EDGE.

On Friday, I participated in one of the most engaging debates that I have witnessed so far on the theme of  “Smart Cities”. Organised by EDGE, and supported by the Italian  & Danish Embassies in London, and hosted by Buro Happold, the assembled group of circa 80 people managed to quickly move the debate beyond techno-utopias/dystopias of Big Brother type surveillance under-pinned by ubiquitous sensors and data. Yes, such an Orwellian possibility exists, but allowing the definition of Smart to be hi-jacked by corporate interests looking to monetise this domain, would be to capitulate at the first obstacle.

Re appropriating the much appropriated term, which Wikipedia helpfully defines as unlocking the “social and intellectual capital” of our cities, seems an essential first step in this task. Understanding smart cities as an opportunity for us to radically transform the “intelligence” that we as citizens and society at large can utilize to progress towards the ultimate goals that underpin aspirations such as the ubiquitous sustainability e.g. social justice, human knowledge, biodiversity, resource efficacy, etc.

Sensors, data, computing, are essential underpinnings of this greater “awareness” and create new abilities for micro-coordination in our actions - although I note we already have over 9 billion of the worlds most advanced sensors already distributed across the surface of our planet, and developed speech over 40,000 years ago (I wander whether the first thing uttered was a fear that someone could now report on your behaviour?) . That said, rather than the narrow technological potentials of the Smart City in , it is its ability to change our values and behaviours that seems most profound e.g. if we are can be aware of the provenance of everything we consumer, no longer we will be able to claim ignorance of socially or environmentally unjust acts; will new platforms provide us with new forms of (mediated) trust to share and cooperate in radically new ways.  The potential in this respect seems even more enormous, and relevant to today’s challenges than a fridge that tells me when to buy milk.

However, after a day of genuinely thought provoking  presentations and intense discussion – all anchored to a programmatic reality (there was a high proportion of engineers in the room) , the inevitable question of what shall we do arise. Compared to the genuine energy of early sessions, a relative silence fell over the room; a telling silence.

In the past two decades it seems that intelligent professionals, and I use this term uncritically, have become accustomed to expecting leadership to come from outside; to wait to be asked and to act as consultants to those who initiate or lead. We have become a source of answers, on a pay as you go basis. We have not needed to ask deep questions, make the fundamental propositions, or take the real risk of attempting something radically new.

As Wikipedia helpfully pointed out, Smart Cities are about unlocking our “social and intellectual  capital”. Perhaps that starts by considering how we are selves are doing things.

- DSX

Trading Spaces: Radical New Collaborations for Local Economies by Nick Ierodiaconou

00's been collaborating on a number of projects with Social Spaces - The Library Lab, Trade School, The Common Room, and most recently, In Store for Sidcup.

Tessy Britton from Social Spaces reflects on these collaborations of mixing commercial high street retail and social outcomes, and how they can create radical new local economies...

From the Social Spaces blog:

We’ve been working on the Trading Spaces concept for about a year. It's exciting to be sharing a year's worth of thinking about innovative ways of increasing collaborative activity on high streets that doesn't rely on local residents to be simply consumers --> but partners, makers and social investors as well.

It's an integration strategy that challenges the idea that commercial local retail businesses and social projects should continue to seek sustainability separately, but instead aims to find points of mutual benefit, engineering a creative form of ‘radical collaboration’.

From this perspective both business and innovative social projects view each other as mutually dependent rather than mutually exclusive or competitive. The primary proposition to businesses is that by giving priority to increasing the social aspects of their business, they will be transforming their relationships with customers and developing a genuine partnership for sustaining the economic and social infrastructue of their local community...

Read the rest here.

-DS

House or Home? by Nick Ierodiaconou

A piece on A Right to Build was published in the February 2013 edition of the RIBA Journal.

The UK has a housing crisis. It is not just a short-term supply shortage in the aftermath of the recession, it is also a deep, long-term crisis of poor quality, un-affordability, un-sociability and un-sustainability. How was it that even at the peak of its boom-time prosperity, Britain was building the second smallest homes in Europe? Why is it that only one in four households would even consider buying a new-build home, and that fewer and fewer of us can afford to anyway?

Read the full piece here.

- DS

"We have a last mile crisis" by Nick Ierodiaconou

From the HUB Westminster blog, an opinion piece written by Co-Founder of HUB Westminster and Director of 00:/, Indy Johar.

During the last year I have had the privilege to travel far and wide – talking to some of the great change makers from across the world. I have met well educated and articulate people seeking to reinvent the social economy  through new platforms for giving, sharing, contributing and trading – covering all sorts of markets – clothing, food, energy markets – corporate structures and financial systems. All of which very impressive, and yet I have left many of these amazing conversations unsatisfied, with an empty feeling that was until recently undefined and certainly not understood by me.

For outside these amazing meetings, as I recently witnessed in San Francisco their is a growing reality of homelessness and unemployment viscerally visible while the remnants of capitals from the last boom perish in a waft of smoke and hopelessness. Depression, crime and disenfranchisement increasingly prevail in the every day lives of the people. It is these problems that will not be vanquished by the elaborated speeches & civic technology of educated men.

Don’t get me wrong, we need to build these new platforms and civic markets and they are essential in rebuilding a radically democratic economy. What worries me is that unfortunately, we have destroyed the last mile in the chain to enable for this new social wealth created by the platform economy to be distributed in every last corner of our developed world...

Continue reading here.

 

-DS

The Rise of the Civic Corner Shop by Nick Ierodiaconou

00s Timothy Ahresnbach reflects on 'the slow but sure rise of the civic corner shop' in the latest edition of New Start Magazine.

Whether rural or urban, the examples above show us it is possible not only to maintain, but also expand the quality of service provisions in our neighbourhoods through ingenious combinations of mixed-mode investment and creative reutilisation of community assets.

What, then, can be done in order to foster the growth of such civic ventures?

Simply showing that these initiatives are indeed viable alternatives to the Big Four would seem a good start. Community shops require high degrees of community buy-in, and in order to encourage this we need to convince residents that such initiatives are indeed worth investing in.

Read the full article here.

00 New Radicals by Nick Ierodiaconou

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/35947032[/vimeo]  

This video, a quick round of talking heads, was created in an afternoon as an entry to the 'Britain's New Radicals' project in the Observer, supported by NESTA. After we'd made it, Indy was invited to be a judge, so the video was never used. It was, nonetheless, quite an unexpected moment of forced reflection – on what we're doing, and why we're doing it.

- AP

No big deal... just the Prime Minister! by Nick Ierodiaconou

No big deal... it's just the Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron announcing his new bill on co-operatives at 00:/'s social co-working space, Hub Westminster.

Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron outlined his ideas about "moral capitalism" in a speech on the economy. He touched on greater transparency in pay and bonuses and suggested measures to make it easier for businesses to become co-operatives. The speech came as the City of London Corporation won its High Court bid to evict anti-capitalist protesters from outside St Paul's Cathedral.

See a video of the speech recorded by The Guardian, here.

An official transcript of the PM"s speech on "Start up Britain" from Number 10,here.

And, coverage of the PM's speech on "Moral Capitalism" from the Huffington post, here.

-DS

Wikihouse at Emerging Group by Nick Ierodiaconou

Thanks to Chris and the Alma-nac guys for inviting 00:/ down to speak at Emerging Group for a second time. An interesting night of short presentations was enjoyed around the theme of mistakes - as a positive, fundamental and incredibly productive part of designing: Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

I spoke about theWikiHouse and the potential that we see this open platform having as a facilitator for ‘versioning’ diverse design ideas – beyond the house -  where we hope to see crowd-sourced critique and mass collaboration help to resolve design challenges, question and solve ‘mistakes’ and couple an atomised design community with the possibility of truly local fabrication – bringing about the idea of the corner-shop factory; the local Fab Lab.

It was great to see recent work from We Made That (and commiserate on both missing out on a recent project), hear about a fantastic construction in the Nevada desert by Warmbaby (nice name) and to meet some folks doing amazing things with new 3D scanning technology.

- JS

3 Nations: Emerging Architects Event to encourage collaboration across borders by Nick Ierodiaconou

A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist. - R. Buckminster Fuller

Come drop by Buro Happold (London) today and have a chat with Lynton Pepper, David Saxby, and Joost Beunderman from 00:/ about how they are young, emerging, and doing loads of interesting projects.

Buro Happold, London

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands have organised an event to promote young architects from three different nations, Scotland, the Netherlands and England in cooperation with Buro Happold.

The aim of the conference is to inspire the participants, to encourage collaboration across borders, and to advise the participants of the routes to international projects and the support that is available. This day is aimed at emerging architectural practices, with ten practices attending from England, Scotland and the Netherlands.

-DS

We Made That by Nick Ierodiaconou

We're very pleased to be featured in We Made That's latest publication, "The Unlimited Edition, Issue 3: Proposition". Joost Beunderman from 00:/ speaks on "Fertile Ground for a Civic Economy"...

"It seems so long ago now; that famous dictum of Rahm Emanuel, the then-chief-of-staff of then-recently-elected president Obama, that one should "never let a serious crisis go to waste". Almost three years later, some would say that across the world, many opportunities have been wasted.

...We recognised that this new type of social and civic impact ventures can be found across the economy - and that understanding the behaviours of their protagonists can help us create the fertile ground for a wholly different type of economic development story."

The Unlimited Edition is a super-local newspaper focused purely on this strand of London. The intention is to record and explore the familiar, and to celebrate and speculate on the possibilities that lie in its future.

As part of the 'High Street 2012' initiative, We Made That were commissioned to produce a series of speculative newspapers. This unique run has been published over the late summer months of 2011.

- DS

00 commended by 2011 RIBA President's Awards for Research by Nick Ierodiaconou

00 was commended by 2011 RIBA President's Awards for Research for their project Compendium for the Civic Economy. The judges said:

'A topical source of inspiration and information for organisations and individuals embarking on collaborative community regeneration and place-shaping projects, this work is highly original and may be the first book of this kind written by an architectural practice.'

Congratulations to the 00 team that spearheaded this project: Timothy Ahrensbach, Joost Beunderman, Alice Fung, Joni Steiner & Indy Johar!

Read the full text for the Compendium for the Civic Economy here.

DS

David Saxby's RIBA Diary by Nick Ierodiaconou

riba_davidjournal
riba_davidjournal

"More self-interestedly, we sense that the formality of both architectural education and general practice risks marginalising the profession in an increasingly fluid world that is demanding new answers.  While the Arb-enshrined logic of consumer protection is understandable, real  innovation between disciplines requires a blurring of boundaries, roles and skills sets. Large and urgent issues face society and we need to pool everyone’s talents, based on merit not qualifications. Perhaps Arb and the RIBA should focus on this inclusive public good agenda"

00's David Saxby is a regular columnist to the RIBA journal, read his latest diary entry here.

DS

00 Highly Commended by the WAN 21 for 21 Awards by Nick Ierodiaconou

Architecture 00 have been Highly Commended in the WAN 21 for 21 Awards, an award aimed to highlight designers who could be the leading lights of architectural thinking in the 21st century. While many of the architects recognised were exceptionally talented designers working within a field one might expect architects to work in (in particular the design buildings), 00:/ were recognised in particular as belonging to a branch of architects who are pushing the boundaries of design beyond just buildings themselves towards a more open-ended practice. We think that’s a pretty good way of putting it. The project which featured in the awards was Scale Free Schools, (view the pagehere and the project videos here) a project exploring a radically different approach to providing secondary school infrastructure in the 21st century. Check out the WAN news release here.

Lets teach our kids to be entrepreneurs instead of lawyers… by Nick Ierodiaconou

  [iframe width="360" height="225" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/dCar_sFfEf4"]

Inspiring talk from Cameron Herold at TEDxEdmonton on the need to encourage kids to be entrepreneurs. Its witty with stories from his own childhood in the skills he picked up in the everyday – from collecting unused coathangers from neighbours to sell on to the drycleaners to recognising a demand market in the form of 70 year old pensioners playing bridge and selling them sodas. Aside from the amusing anecdotes – the key issues here are that our educations systems and societal expectations are all geared towards pushing kids into fitting into box a, b or c. Those that don’t fit are viewed as wrong, troublesome or in need of help. And the result is a society that is simplistic in its approach to innovation and work. If you don’t fit in a certain way in a few professions you sit outside of mainstream economics and highlighted as an issue or problem to be solved (centrally) using the resources that are being gathered by an increasingly fewer number, or perhaps artificially sustained through the public purse in a seperate accounting column that does not deal with the systemic issues, or create the space to recognise that there is an issue in the first place.  I’d recommend pairing up this video with this article from the Economist “In search of serendipity” a review of ” The Power of Pull” by John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison, which describes  theose connector people in business that make things happen. The article describes how the book presents a case for a different approach to business – that the platform technologies of today ie the internet, – challenge the top down approach to business that is perhaps still the standard in business schools. These are skills with nuances that cannot be translated solely into textbooks. As described in the article, “the “power of pull”, a term the authors define as “the ability to draw out people and resources as needed to address opportunities and challenges.” They propose a three-pronged pulling strategy. First, approach the right people (they call this “access”). Second, get the right people to approach you (attraction). Finally, use these relationships to do things better and faster (achievement).” Is our education system or even societal structures able to identify, understand and nurture these qualities as part of the story of enterprise and innovation?

Time to rethink the way we educate the next generation to be more prepared by reunderstanding how we value skills.

AF