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MSNBC Provides Welcoming Community Center for DNC Visitors

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n_hardball_1obama_croppedI was fortunate to visit the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte on Wednesday, September 5.  This was a great experience, thanks largely to the cool community center provided by MSNBC.   The city was very well-prepared in terms of security and logistics.  However, for those of us without credentials, there really was no public welcome center or place to get an orientation.  Fortunately, MSNBC was ready, willing and able to serve as a community center for the thousands of convention delegates and international media, as well as for plain-old citizens like me.

MSNBC’s efforts paid off very well.  Read here about how and why their ratings rocked during the DNC (and will continue to grow.)  You will also learn about the positive experiences they provided daily for thousands of people in Charlotte, as well as millions of viewers around the world.  Their nearly constant coverage and the overall MSNBC experience have clearly cemented their position (in many minds) as the world leader in all form of news – not just progressive politics.   It was also the one place for thousands to turn on Thursday night after the big speeches were moved indoors (see right.)

Click Below for a Behind-the-Scenes look at the MSNBC Experience and their Coverage of the DNC.

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Steve Jobs would not have Succeeded without Supportive Counterculture

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newsweek-went-throwback-as-wellWith the death of Steve Jobs we have lost one of our most brilliant minds and successful entrepreneurs.  Many tributes are being written about his impacts on the computer and communication industries.  To really appreciate the genuine genius of Steve Jobs, we need to understand the cultural climate in which he grew up.  He was a self-identified “child of the sixties counterculture” who attributes much of his success to the Silicon Valley and San Francisco communities in which he spent his early years (same time and place where the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and others started.)  This article explores the nature and extent of the counterculture’s influence over the development of the computer in general, and on Apple computers in particular.  This type of insight is vital if we ever hope to find “the next Steve Jobs.”

This article collects most of what has been written about Steve Jobs’ early life.  Particular attention is paid to how extensively Steve and other computer pioneers were greatly influenced by the values and vision of the hippie counterculture.  Steve came of age in the epicenter of this social movement.  He clearly embraced the hippies’ practices and philosophy.  Many of the tributes included here show how his business behavior was shaped by his distrust of authority and willingness to expand his mind in many directions.  To provide further context, I include a seminal article written by Stewart Brand in 1995 called “We Owe it all to the Hippies.”  I also collect detailed reviews of an important book called “What the Dormouse Said.”  This article also includes a letter sent to Steve Jobs from Albert Hofman (discoverer and proponent of LSD).  Steve Jobs acknowledged the importance of this psychedelic compound in shaping his own life and career.   It is entirely possible that we will never see “another Steve Jobs” unless another form of “hip counterculture” is allowed to flourish.  Given the conservative and corporate nature of modern American society, that is very unlikely.  Click Below to Learn More:

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Madison Remains Recognized Leader in Social Innovation

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This article evaluates what makes certain communities like Madison, Wisconsin more likely than others to become socially innovation and ecologically sustainable. People who live in such places also tend to be happier, hipper, and healthier than the average.  Bottom line is that Madison has developed in sustainable and socially innovative ways.  This articles also highlights the important roles played by the liberal politics and progressive culture that has made Madison famous.
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Center for Community Creativity – Proposal for Interdisciplinary Innovation

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Research by Richard Florida and others demonstrates that communities vary tremendously in terms of their support for creative people and their pursuits.   Over the past few years I have developed plans for a Center for Community Creativity (CCC) that would address the need communities have to become more authentically creative.   More creative communities attract and support more innovative and socially responsible companies.  The CCC should be housed at a major research university.  This article summarizes my proposal for a Center for Community Creativity.   Click below to learn more:

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New Orleans Rises Up from Deluge and Despair to Become a Model of Social Innovation

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We recently marked the Five-year anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.  In the aftermath of  this disaster, entrepreneurs and capital have moved quickly into New Orleans – like flowers or dragon flies after a rain. During the past five years, New Orleans has become a hot-house for both business and  social innovation. Nonprofits, universities, and governments are working with businesses to address serious social problems – particularly lack of housing, lousy schools,  and income inequality.
Click to learn about New Orleans Entrepreneurial Culture

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College Towns Create Ideal Lifelong, Learning Laboratories for Developing and Testing Social Innovation

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Social innovation tends to flourish in communities that are creative, tolerant, and highly educated. In particular, research shows that communities that are home to major universities as a dominant presence are more likely than others to exhibit these characteristics.  Such “College Towns” are also much more likely to create and adopt innovations that are environmentally sustainable and socially acceptable.
Read about college towns by clicking below.

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White House 0ffice of Social Innovation Launches New Grant Program

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Under the Obama administration, the United States government has finally recognized the importance of social innovation as a policy and programmatic objective.   First Lady, Michelle Obama, has taken a particularly strong and visible role as the catalyst and champion for a new White House Office on Social Innovation.  This Office has just announced the recipients of a first round of grants from the new Social Innovation Fund.   Click below to learn more about this important initiative.

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