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Hawai’i’s Shared Futures By Vision Foresight Strategy

Busy day plotting strategy

Good (early) morning, folks!  Today’s going to be another busy day, but while yesterday was chock full of more tasks than you could shake a fist at, today is full of meetings in which we’ll be helping to map out some high scale strategies.  We’re meeting with a couple of different groups today to discuss some new project ideas, and one of them deals with what I’ve taken to calling the “garage video” industry.  We’ll actually be looking at establishing an ecosystem of companies to develop a wider array of businesses and jobs within a couple of key industry sectors.  It’s yet early in the planning, but we’re all pretty excited.  In conjunction with this, we’ll be seeing if we can get our hands on some reliable and explanatory data on the current local economy and the array of business development policies that exist today.  We might ultimately be mapping out a high scale “strategy”; really articulating what is probably a disjointed collection of programs and policies.

Later today we’ll be entering into another session of our Energy Working Group that came out of last year’s Summit.  Today’s session ought to be fairly productive with some decisions on near-term deliverables.  The purpose of the group is to promote a clean energy future for Hawai’i, and we are at the point of articulating a clear and simple strategy for this year and linking that to some success objectives.  For anyone interested check out SummitNet.

Think about tomorrow.

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Filed under: Business, Economics, Energy, Summit

Managing web-based media

Aloha kakahiaka.  Today looks like it will be a fairly quiet day (fingers crossed).  Yesterday was eventful and valuable, and today should allow me at least to get some good thinking and writing done.  Busy is actually fun, but people actually need uninterrupted stretches of time to do really good research and writing, so I’m looking forward to today.

I just installed and will be trying out ScribeFire for Firefox, which allows users to post to their blogs from their browser without having to open up their blog homepage.  Just another step in the never-ending quest to manage and control information collection and dissemination.

And for those interested in energy futures, here’s a bit from Tech Review on using independent agents in an adaptive system to manage energy use.

And, we may be shortly adding something to our SummitNet site for the Hawai’i Futures Summit to collect ideas from people on topics and content for the 2009 Summit.

Filed under: Energy, Summit

Friday’s accomplishment challenge

Happy Friday, everyone.  While today was originally supposed to be a relatively quiet day and good for writing and productivity, it looks like we’re going to be a little more challenged in getting things done.  We’ve got some meetings now this morning, and so this afternoon looks to be a race across some strategy documentation for one of the nonprofits, some basic decisions on the civic media project, and tying down some questions with our Energy Working Group and future clients.

In the meantime, we still are working on completing the Hawai’i Futures Index and the original Energy Narrative.  These should be out soon, and I know some of you will find them very interesting.  And we have gotten the nonprofit future project officially rolling, so work on that has now begun.  Yeah!

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Civic Media, Energy, Nonprofit, scenarios

Looking for education

We’re prepping right now for an upcoming session on the future of education, and we’re pretty excited about the potential for provocative conversation and frank discussion of how to make positive change. A bit of research, a bit of briefing notes, and we’re looking for any really good sites people know about that have (serious) prescriptions for both improving as well as overhauling the education systems in the US. If you’ve got any to suggest, please let us know and we’ll happily check them out.

Tomorrow we’ll also be stopping in for some of the HCEI workgroup meetings, something that, if we can follow through on, could open up Hawai’i’s potential futures tremendously. It’s of course related to the energy working group on community engagement that emerged out of this past year’s Summit, the next meeting for which is on February 25. Good folks with serious hope for change. If you’re interested in learning more, sign on to SummitNet and we’ll start getting you connected.

Oh, and we’ll also be meeting on some other potential ‘future-of-Hawaii’ sessions for later this year, so if anyone has any suggestions as to what kind of work would be most inspiring to people, please let us know.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Change, Education, Energy, Hawai'i, Summit

4-Day Work Week Mistake?

In recent months cities and states across the country have been debating and experimenting with the four day work week.  It has even hit the federal scene, with congressmen calling for a four day week in DC.  And in almost every case the driving concern has been the reduction of car fuel savings and energy costs for the employer.  And of course Hawaii is half-way through it’s state experiment and responses seem positive.  But will this response to a ‘crisis’ set in motion more difficult strategic challenges in the years ahead?

The idea of the work week has been under criticism for some time; it is, after all, an arbitrary construct.  For most of human history, most people engaged in the work of living pretty much every day.  Long before there were farms or agriculture, humans had an amount of socialization and ‘leisure’ time that many of us would envy.  It’s partly to the Judeo-Christian worldview that we see the week as having days that should be without work (and thus, if we have to make our numbers, we’re supposed to cram them into our ‘work’ days).  And it’s to the mechanization and drive for cost-reduction created by the industrial revolution and mass production that we owe the time card and the concept that your hour has a certain dollar value.

But an interesting new book by cognitive scientist John Medina, Brain Rules, points out a host of provocative new findings about how the human brain works and how our modern approaches to education and work often run counter to the most effective lifestyles for our delicate and wondrous brains.  Did you know that 10% of people truly think and work best early in the day, being very early to bed and early to rise?  Or that 20% of people are truly better late at night and seldom get to bed before 3 am?  A full 30% of our citizens are literally not wired to do well in the standard 9 – 5 routine, yet we have in recent decades required everyone to confirm, with measurable losses in mental abilities, focus, and productivity.

We’re not designed, mentally or physically to sit at a desk for 8 hours, much less 10, yet that is the kind of routine with which we’re experimenting.  It is certainly too early to judge the long-term effects of extending the work day, and the ‘solution’ is really intended to address energy costs.  But once we open up this issue, it’s an opportunity for us to consider broader or additional changes in the construct of the work week.  For instance, in the short term, with our current dependence on fossil fuels to generate the energy we use to get to and from work and to light up the work place, reducing the number of days while lengthening them seems prudent.  But in the longer-term, as renewable and alternative sources of energy come online, the energy issues change, and we will want to keep in mind alternatives that increase overall happiness and productivity in even more fundamental ways.

If anyone has any good sources on scientific studies of alternative work schedules, we would love to hear about them.

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Filed under: Biology, Business, Economics, Energy, Hawai'i, Transportation

Wind Turbines

Scan: There’s been recent chatter about new wind power technology under development: wind turbines that use maglev in place of traditional mechanics and ball bearings. The new turbines are purported to be much more efficient, due to the dramatic improvement in output and increase in longevity with much lower maintenance costs (over traditional wind power towers). The Maglev Wind Turbine is under development in Arizona in the US and facilities for production are reportedly also under development in China.

maglev2.jpg

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Filed under: Built Environment, Climate Change, Energy, Technology

Creating Biofuels

Scan:
Biotechnology companies are turning to the field of synthetic biology to engineer microorganisms that produce and excrete hydrocarbons for fuels.  The hydrocarbon fuels are of course better aligned with existing technology and would require less energy to produce than current alternatives such as ethanol.  See the recent Technology Review article for more on these developments.

Related:

  •  A Better Biofuel: another Tech Review article that looks at some of the developments in synthetic biology to create biofuels.
  • Energy and Environment Best Practice Report: a report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors that “illustrates what cities nationwide have done and continue to do to address the challenges associated with the interface of energy scarcity and environmental concerns.”
  • Annual Energy Outlook 2007: The annual report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, with projections to 2030.

Filed under: Energy, Technology

Gas Prices and Policy

Scan:
A recent BusinessWeek article takes a quick look the issue of high gas prices (the photo for the article shows a pump in San Francisco with 87 octane going for $4.339) and identifies the various prominent stakeholders and lobbyists for legislation and also lays out the most common policy proposal and what impacts they might have.

Related:

Filed under: Climate Change, Energy

Hawai’i: the Reboot

2 days. 200 innovators. A new future for Hawai'i.


The Hawai'i Futures Summit 2009 October 16 and 17, 2009


SummitNet

Vision Foresight Strategy

We work with organizations to anticipate strategic change and to craft the strategies that will shape their desired futures.


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