Complete 2008 Roundup

I wrote 80 articles in 2008, and this post contains an annotated list of links to all of them.  Ribbonfarm.com still doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up. Here is a picture of how my focus has shifted, drifted and meandered since I started in July 2007 (here’s the 2007 omnibus review). Red arrows point to the blog’s ‘soul’ at various points. Yellow ‘scope’ wedges show the changing ADD levels. [Read more…]

Serious Games for Serious Business

This is a guest post by Marigo Raftapoulus

Gaming technology, interactive media, digital entertainment and knowledge industries are converging to create new forms of learning. Learning 2.0, in the form of ‘serious games,’ allows people to learn new skills and experiment with different strategies in ‘safe-fail’ environments. Serious games build in safe-fail experimentation based on the premise that through failure we learn more about the problem that we want to solve through adaptive learning. In contrast, ‘fail-safe’ environments tend to stifle experimentation and innovation through an ensuing ‘fear of failure’ culture that tends to develop in such environments.

So what does a serious game look like? Check out this demo for a game designed to train emergency response paramedics in case of a terrorist attack (warning! Scenes are bloody).

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The Corporate College and Other Election 3.0 Ideas

I rarely react to the news on ribbonfarm, since I prefer to focus on relatively long-term stuff. But tomorrow’s election is historic in too many ways to not comment on.  This is definitely an Election 2.0; everything from the public user-generated (and Tina Fey generated) construction of Sarah Palin’s persona, to Obama’s use of mobile phones, says that something fundamental is changing in the age-old social technology of the election. So much so, that the structural revolutions are almost overshadowing the cultural ones (a black candidate and two prominent women in the race). But 2008 is the beginning of a long-term period of evolution in the infrastructure of participatory governance, not an end point. In search of some new thoughts on elections, I came up with the following set of (possibly hare-brained) ideas on how elections can, and should, change, from the Election 2.0 model of today, to the Election 3.0 model of the future.

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My First Book, A Board Game and ‘Cloudworker’ on the NYT

It’s been a busy week here at ribbonfarm, and it’s ending with a bang. Two news items — my first book project, and a board game — that should interest you, if you’ve been following the evolution of the site. Both were mentioned today in a piece about ribbonfarm by Marci Alboher, in the NY Times Shifting Careers blog. Marci also mentioned my concept of cloudworker, which still needs your votes to displace ‘telecommuter’ in the Plantronics contest. Please go vote for ‘cloudworker’ (once a day until Nov 7), but first read about my book and board game projects.

And to NY Times readers coming to ribbonfarm.com for the first time, welcome! Since Marci writes about work-life issues, I assume that theme interests you. So check out my work-life category, which has plenty of juicy articles on the topic. I hope you like what you read, and decide to subscribe to my RSS feed.

Let’s start with the book.

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Vote for ‘Cloudworker’ Among Plantronics Contest Finalists!

Dear readers:

For the first time, I am asking a specific favor of you. My contribution, ‘cloudworker’, to the Plantronics contest to invent a new term for ‘telecommuter’ has made it to the top 10 finalists list from over 500 entries. The winner will be chosen by popular vote at: www.plantronics.com/telewho

You can vote once a day between Oct 30 and Nov 7. I honestly do think ‘cloudworker’ is the best of the lot.

My request, please bookmark the link above and vote as many of the days over the next week as you can, and please email your contacts/post this to facebook etc. to get me some word-of-mouth votes

Here is some boilerplate text you can use in your emails/re-blogs/Facebook profiles etc.

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Towards a Philosophy of Destruction

Somewhere in the back of our minds, we know that creation and growth must be accompanied by destruction and decline. We pay lip service to this essential dichotomy, or attempt to avoid it altogether, by using false-synthesis weasel words like renewal. I too have been guilty of this, as in this romanticized treatment of creative destruction (though I think that was a fine piece overall). Though I define innovation as “creative destruction” in the sense of Schumpeter, most of the time I spend thinking about this subject is devoted to creativity and growth. The reasons for this asymmetry are not hard to find. Destruction is often associated (and conflated) with evil. More troubling — it is often associated with pain, even if there is no evil intent involved. Finally, destruction — let’s loosely define it as any entropy-increasing process — is also more likely to happen naturally. It therefore requires less deliberate attention, and is easier to deny and ignore. Still, the subject of destruction does deserve, say, at least 1/5 the attention that creation commands. A thoughtful philosophy of destruction is essential to a rich life, at the very least because each of us must grapple with his/her own mortality. So here is a quick introduction to non-evil destruction, within the context of business and innovation. Before we begin, lodge this prototypical example of creative destruction, the game of Jenga, in your mind:

Jenga (Wikimedia Commons)

Jenga (Wikimedia Commons)

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Happy First Birthday, Ribbonfarm

Recently I took my usual mile-long walk to my neighborhood Starbucks, in suburban Rochester, something I often do when I need a physical rhythm to help tame runaway thoughts. I sat on the patio, sipping my drink, watching the sun set behind Bill Gray’s restaurant. Cars and Harley Davidsons (upstate New York is biker country) occasionally rumbled by. At some point, the scene quietly turned magical and surreal. The buzz of the other coffee drinkers’ conversations faded. The sunset acquired a sudden stillness. I took a picture with my cellphone.

Hard Road

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The Three-Leaps-of-Faith Rule

ABDs agonize far too much about finishing, and not enough about finishing right. A successful Ph.D. experience, as opposed to a merely completed one, is one that leaves you with self-assurance, confidence in your own abilities, and full of the creativity and energy required to go after more ambitious pursuits. A completed but unsuccessful Ph.D. experience, on the other hand, can leave you cynical, broken, and effectively ruined for further research work. Many, of course, acquire “successful” mindsets via postdoctoral experiences, but you should aim to get it right the first time.
I have a magic formula for a successful Ph.D. Through the course of your doctoral work, you must make at least 3 significant leap-of-faith decisions, that turn out to be right. Here is a picture of what a leap of faith looks like:

Leap of faith

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Roundup: March 21 – June 16

Here is a quick review of the 27 articles I posted between March 21 and June 16. I have given up trying to be regular, let alone frequent, with these roundups. And to think, when I started this blog about a year ago, I thought I’d be doing weekly roundups. Ha ha. So expect these roundups when you see them (at least until I can afford to hire a regular editor, or somebody volunteers)!

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Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

Probably the best thing about Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies is its cover, by Stephani Finks (I hope I linked to the right profile on Facebook). The contents aren’t too shabby either — the book officially bumps Naked Conversations from the top position in the Marketing 2.0 category in my mildly-famous World 2.0 canon post. As you know if you are a regular, I am a sucker for a good metaphor, and when it is accompanied by visual imagery that gets it just right, and clearly conveys the high concept at hand, it’s a you had me at hello situation. Let’s deconstruct the ‘hello’ for a minute, before diving into the review.

Why does this cover work so beautifully for a book about tapping into social media?

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