What a real Network looks like – Thanks Valdis Krebs

What does a real network look like? If we know then we can see if the networks we seek to design and grow are real. Here is how Valdis Krebs sees them and he is for me the Gold Standard.

I think when the history books are written that one of  the Galileo’s of our time – a person who used scientific tools to see a new reality that changes our paradigm – will be Valdis Krebs. While commentators such as myself speculate, Valdis proves the theory with evidence.

This is what the new organization looks like:

online_community

Here Valdis uses a real community – (OCL) – on the outside a loose group of “lurkers”. In the Green group – groups of loosely connected sub groups – In the Centre – the Core – a densely connected group that acts like a Sun. It has both mass that acts as a social gravity attracting inwards. It also acts as the sun in that this group also shines energy out that reaches to the far edges of the outer group.

online_community_core

Here is Valdis’ view of the core or as I call it the “Sun”.

Here is another view of what the “Sun” can do – it is an adoption force. Once the Sun is powerful enough, it can shift the paradigm. This may be how people get a disease like flu, adopt a new fashion. Or adopt social media and then a new view of how the world really works – that we are not part of a machine but part of an interconnected universe!

tipchasm-harold-jarche-392

So the implications are clear for me anyway.

Adopting Social Media has nothing to do with the tools. After all the tools are cheap and easy to use. It is all about rewiring the habits and the mindset of people.

If you wish to have your organization adopt this new mindset and hence also its tool kit of social media. You are going to have to create a “Sun” – a densely connected but small group that are committed to the bigger idea that is the energy behind the Sun.

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The numbers required for the core are modest. A core of 8 will get you an inner ring of 4,000. A core of 34 will get you an inner ring of 1,300,000. 89 will get you 62,000,000.

The leverage that is possible is incredible when compared to the traditional organization. This is where the costs fall away and the impact goes up.

I will talk more about this and offer you a number of real examples.

But here is the key insight. The Big idea cannot be about the internal needs of the organization. It can’t be about your sales, your profits etc. It cannot be about YOU. For the Sun to access the full energy of people and to spread out to the edge, it must be about US. It must be about the larger group that includes everyone who will be in the community.

More later.

The new world will have hierarchies and will not be open – For that is Nature’s design

Many say that they hope that the new world will have no hierarchy. This is just as much a fantasy as the positional hierarchies in traditional organizations are. A hope based on nothing. Many say that new systems will be “Open” meaning that all can access them. This too is a fantasy. In nature all systems have boundaries that are defended vigorously.

Many profess that they hope we will find algorithms to filter the best stuff from the web but miss the fact that unless we trust the source, content is just noise. No filter works like human filters and quite small groups can cover a lot of ground. You won’t miss much with a group of 33 or max at 144. For the real filter is in our own heads and can only be pierced by a trusted source.

Here is a post of mine on FF that explains this. 

What is value? Usually it is something that is scarce. What is scarce today? Certainly not content which is why all the attempts to make content pay are doomed. Content has never been more plentiful. In fact we are approaching the point where content is all but infinite.

The Value point then becomes finding content that means some thing to each of us. So Search is a Holy Grail here. And it is very valuable. But can we rely only on algorithms?  I do not think so.

This week two people that I respect and trust a lot Craig Newmark and Jeremiah Owyang have put their own stakes in the ground saying that ironically it will be a screen of named people in our social orbit that will be the final layer of screening for meaning. That our impersonal transactional world will return to a personal world where reputation is key. There is enough convergence to call it now I think.

What you are about to see is how the world will be organized in the future. It’s official now!

This is the new Org Chart.

fibnumbers

The Inner Circle is your Trusted Space – moving out from this is a gradient of Trust and Intimacy – These rings have numeric boundaries. The Inner Circle is limited to 8. The next ring for you is 34. The outer ring is of course 144. If you look up to the diagram above the “Donut”, you will see the Fibonacci Curve. There you will see that these numbers are the boundaries of the curve – this is how nature organizes all complex systems. The Dunbar number is 144. (Not 150 by the way) We know that 8 is the ideal team size. We know that 34 is the ideal large team.

To the left I have added the “Permaflower” – this is the organizing model for Permaculture. I think that this may be the model that we use to organize the Natural Organization.

Here is how Craig opens his piece:

People use social networking tools to figure out who they can trust and rely on for decision making. By the end of this decade, power and influence will shift largely to those people with the best reputations and trust networks, from people with money and nominal power. That is, peer networks will confer legitimacy on people emerging from the grassroots.

This shift is already happening, gradually creating a new power and influence equilibrium with new checks and balances. It will seem dramatic when its tipping point occurs, even though we’re living through it now.

Everyone gets a chance to participate in large or small ways, giving a voice to what we once called “the silent majority.”

Here is how Jeremiah describes it:

jorings

Here is how a Permagarden is layed out:

permagarden

Here we see the idea of a gradient in the hierarchy more clearly. Inside the network are of course sub networks. In Permagardening, these are called Guilds. They are reinforcing groups of diverse species. Toby Hemenway is the source of these lovely garden images.

permaguild

Talking about guilds here is how Chris Allen has shown us how Guilds form in WOW.

teambuilding blocks

In this slide you can also see the leverage that the Fibonacci Sequence can give you. Imagine your 8 inside the Trusted Space. Imagine that you have 4 good friends in the next circle who have 4 friends who have 4 friends and then 4 more – that is 4,096 people. A group of 34 with 4 friends gets you 1.3 million. 144 gets you 429 million.

A small group can have huge social leverage. Enough I think to do anything.

Why Corporations will fail before Networks – They canot innovate or adapt

There is an underlying math part of the model that forces a traditional organization to fail – here it is

Are corporations more like animals or more like cities? They want to be like cities, with ever increasing productivity as they grow and potentially unbounded lifespans. Unfortunately, West et al.’s research on 22,000 companies shows that as they increase in size from 100 to 1,000,000 employees, their net income and assets (and 23 other metrics) per person increase only at a 4/5 ratio. Like animals and cities they do grow more efficient with size, but unlike cities, their innovation cannot keep pace as their systems gradually decay, requiring ever more costly repair until a fluctuation sinks them. Like animals, companies are sublinear and doomed to die.

The issue is that using a machine model – is that friction builds as well as cost as the corporation scales. The costs rise with revenue. So in the mature part of the cycle, you cannot innovate – you can only manage the numbers/ratios. For example, 10 years ago, Shell set up Shell Renewables. Shell was going to become a leader in non oil energy. Makes sense right? The top people know about Peak Oil better than most and wanted to find a place in the next energy sector. What ruined this experiment was its success. Being a very large organization, Shell did new projects at scale. With two of the largest new Wind Farms online – the CFO and the CEO saw the trap – saw why they had to retreat back into OIL ONLY. Shell had to make the numbers even if by doing so meant that Shell could not position itself to be a leader in New Energy.

Wind farms that do well have an ROI of about 8% they are a utility – like owning a bond. But the Oil business has embedded costs that are linked to the returns on OIL that are much higher than wind. So if Shell did a lot more of these mega wind projects, the ROI of Shell would be reduced and Shell would have an earnings problem. The more wind farms they installed, the more their earnings would drop but their costs could not. They were trapped!

This dooms Shell and all mature companies. We saw that is Big Steel when smaller local mini mills ate into the lower ROI parts of the business until there was nothing left? We see this now with media.

The costs of a press or a studio – are so great that all the majors can do is to defend their existing platform. The New York Times can only hide behind the paywall for a period of time. The studios can only hold off web distribution of video for so long. But their battle to keep the status quo is not stupid – they are stuck with the costs. It is the model of how we do business that is the problem. For in the mature phase, the CEO has to make the ratios and the costs are embedded. In the final phase all the CEO can do is to milk the system.

For all true innovation HAS to start with a modest revenue line. So if you have a large enterprise with high revenues you have also high costs. So a web based news alternative CANNOT earn the revenue that you need to run the Times. So you cannot go there. But of course a new competitor – Huffington? Can and will and in the end will take enough revenue off your top line to kill you.

So are corporations doomed? Well with a sample of 22,000 West makes a good case that the current model does doom you, if you are traditionally organized. So what then is the way out?

West makes the case that Cities live much much much longer. The core of why is the core idea for corporations to study and apply.

“It’s hard to kill a city,” West began, “but easy to kill a company.” The mean life of companies is 10 years. Cities routinely survive even nuclear bombs. And “cities are the crucible of civilization.” They are the major source of innovation and wealth creation. Currently they are growing exponentially. “Every week from now until 2050, one million new people are being added to our cities.”

Cities are much more open as systems and networks. They are much closer to being alive than corporations that rely too much on command and control.

As I write this I am thinking of how WordPress works. At the core of WordPress is a for profit organization – but also one of the tasks of Automattic is to ensure the health of an ecosystem that is the larger WordPress ecology in which thousands of independent developers who do not work for Automattic make a living. I think of Wikipedia. At the core of Wikipedia is a set of rules about how Wikpedia has to work and how people in Wikipedia have to behave. Surrounding this core is a cadre of “White Blood Cells” AKA editors – that ensure that this DNA is kept healthy. I see no way now that Wikipedia will not be here in 50 years.

Why my confidence?

If you look at WordPress and Wikipedia you will see the key. In a network that really is a network – like WordPress and Wikipedia – the costs go up in a shallow linear curve while the outcomes rise exponentially. The margin grows so that any bump in revenue along the way – which is of course natural for nothing in Nature runs on any form of straight line – does not take down the organization. But in a traditional organization, the costs rise in direct concert with the revenue and outcomes. This means that once the business approaches maturity, the leadership have to force the numbers, meaning that in the mature phase, the only real focus are the numbers themselves. Not the underlying purpose of the business. The focus becomes defence and self referential. The organization is now doomed. Doomed to suffer a bump in the market or to a new competitor. Look at the case of RIM.  Can RIM come back?

This site has been a place where many of us have tried to see the future for business. We could all agree that more Command and Control would not help. We could all agree that more Social Media used to open up the organization would help.  But what we are seeing now is that for an enterprise to thrive over time – it must become alive! Only a true network can enable this to take place. The few true networks that we can see now, give us a working model of the new enterprise.

Stuart Baker and I are working on what this might be and in the fall we will be posting our ideas.

Our proposition is this. In the 1800’s most business was small, local and unique. The great shift in the 20th century was to consolidate into the enterprise as we know it. This was how to create wealth then. All who stayed back in the small, local and unique died. The efficient machine had to be the model you used. Now we enter a new phase. For the limits of the efficient machine have been reached. The new winners will be those that can adopt the model of the real network.

We all know about how to organize the machine. How to organize the network is all new and mainly unknown. That then is the challenge and the opportunity. Good luck to all of us.

Riots – Social Media the problem or a help?

Part of the reaction of politicians to SM and the riots is of course that they don’t get it all! Interesting that the police do

Joe mentioned this week that the use of Social Media still have not taken off in small business.

But we also learned this week that the use of social media and texting is at the core of how the riots in the UK are being organized. The best rioter’s tool – The Blackberry which is encrypted.

Since then, the BBMs regarding Duggan’s death and the ensuring riots have gone viral. The Guardian was shown one message by a recipient which read, “Everyone in Edmonton, Enfield, Wood Green, everyone in north London, link up at Enfield train station at 4pm.” It detailed what items to being–including hammers–for the demonstrations.

The advantage users have with BBM is that the news continues to circulate, but is covert enough that it is difficult to trace. BBMs are encrypted and hacking this network would be incredibly difficult, so protestors are able to stay a step ahead of authorities.

RIM UK has stated that it will help Scotland Yard in any way it can, so the BBM may only have so long to live as a tool for rioters. But most of them are of the young, mobile-minded, tech-savvy generation, and there are a variety of tools at their disposal.

The Police and the community are learning also in real time how to help each other – by also using social media. Citizens are using Twitter and Facebook to help the police have better intelligence and the police are learning this week how best to respond and to monitor.

Here is a Google map that is being run to track incidents

The Police are setting up a Flickr site to help citizens help the police identify rioters

The Guardian has a map that shows incidents all over the UK

The only chance that citizens and the police have to get ahead of this to to get ahead of it – they have to use the same tools better and faster.

I make no ethical comments – this is what it is and there is no going back

This is the reality of our world today – it is rushing to a network state. So if you don’t know how to use this well – you are at extreme risk. You just don’t know what is going on and the pace of your interaction with the world will be too slow. It does not matter how small you are – you will be too slow to know.

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Arab Spring – the networks over throwing the hierarchs who have failed their people – Business next?

Ah the irony of western politicians supporting the Arab spring and social media and THEN not seeing the link to their own problems? Oh the irony of big business still keeping a firm hand on their communist central planning systems! It will change…

Don’t you feel something big in the air? The Wirearchy amplified events in the Arab world this spring and many regimes have fallen. Do you think the rest of the rulers feel safer now or more vulnerable?

In the last 2 weeks, the establishment in the UK has been rocked. Again the amplification and openness of the Wirearchy has prevented the old system from being able to contain the firestorm. It is also early days, but it is not just the Murdochs who have been shaken but the entire establishment. Do you think that this will blow over and all in the UK will go back to normal?

In the US our political system is log-jammed at a time when it has to cope with all sorts of real problems – do you think that we will avoid a crisis here at home?

Are you ready as a individual or a CEO to cope with what is unfolding?

This global meltdown and systemic failure of our system is I think the real context for social media and its tools and your adoption of them. The Wirearchy is the only way to survive. The Hierarchy is the sure way to die.

Many have thought that they could adjust slowly to the Wirearchy.

It was great to see how they are slowly being adopted in the enterprise. It is now common knowledge that we have to be more human in our work and how our work must do something that offers real value to all not just to a few owners.

Many know that we should go here. But maybe not just yet – so much risk in changing right?

Bu now all the risk is in not being there. The system has tipped and total turbulence is here.

Chaos is our new normal. Will the Euro continue and what will happen if there is a default? How will America get though its own financial and fiscal crisis? What will this mean to the election. What new weather event will affect us and the global system? Will the millions of underemployed, unemployed sit quiet?

And in this context a new kind of competitor that has been forced into being by the evolutionary pressures of this time.

An entirely new economy, based on the small tribal networks, will emerge very quickly out of the desperation of the people who have no alternative. They need no capital. They don’t need what you needed. They can get the best people. They can go from an idea on napkin to your doom in 5 years.

All organizations who rely on concentration will be too slow to keep up as the pace of change accelerates.

If you as a person cannot find your way through this and if you the CEO of a large organization cannot be agile enough, these waves will take you down.

So it is now “Change or Die”.

As bad as “Not getting” Social Media – getting it WRONG! – All those SM Gurus!

I want to throw up when I hear all these Gurus talking about using SM to be all about ME! I think that most still see it in terms of the old system which is all about who can shout the loudest! Here is a picture of what we have to see to “see” it for real – the new reality that is.

Of course everybody gets 2.0 now don’t they. After all even the Oscars were designed for Social Media. Large organizations are piling in.

But is this true? Certainly everyone is on board with the tools now. God I recall Jevon and I talking to CIBC 6 years ago and they thought we were Martians. Now everyone is on Facebook!

But how many people “get” what is underpinning these tools? Not many and I have little hope for many too.

Why?

Because underneath all the hype, most of us see the world the same way as before. We see what we see with our eyes. Just like most people saw the world 500 years ago. Then, if you used your eyes, the world seemed flat. This perception allowed to you to do a lot of useful things. You also saw that the sun came up every morning and circled the Earth. This did not ruin your day and was also a useful observation. That is of course unless you wanted to sail a long distance. Or calculate a trajectory or build a complex building or in fact do almost anything that we take for granted in the modern world. Imagine Watt explaining the steam engine to the Vatican? Imagine trying to build a suspension bridge? Imagine anyone doing chemistry – see where I am going.

But we are not so stupid today are we? We don’t rely only on our eyes to tell us about reality?

kurakinnew view

Well here is your test. Can you see that all these things are in fact a fractal scaling of the same thing?

Can you see that what appears on the surface to your eyes as being unique, different and discrete are in reality the same and that all co-evolve and affect each other? Do you see them therefore as all obeying the same rules, the rules of networks? Can you see how with this perspective everything becomes actually quite simple to understand? All we need to know is how nature governs networks.

Or do you see them all as Objects that are are different – that interact only directly as objects do? That are therefore so complex that we can only know tiny bits of them. So medicine and science are all about the bits and the direct interactions. That we inhabit a Newtonian world where the geometry of nature’s interactions do not apply?

For is this not the prevailing paradigm?

This is why people seek to have masses of followers – this is a Newtonian idea about mass and gravity. It has nothing to do with co-evolution and true influence.

This is why it’s still ALL ABOUT ME! So long as I am OK it’s OK!

This is why medicine makes no sense and each week a new contradictory idea is floated. This is why science is lost in minutiae. This is why our organizations are so toxic. We have designed them to be Newtonian but we are fractal co-evolving networks. This why our mass education system is such a mess. This is why even how we fight our wars means that we have to lose them. This is why we think that there is a conflict between the planet and our economy.

We have been captured by a simple and wrong idea of us all being objects that bounce off each other like tennis balls whereas we are really magnetized iron filings.

No amount of Facebook Strategies will help you if you don’t get this.

The world is not flat and you and I are not an object.

If you want  to know more about this new paradigm of reality – I have the great honor to introduce you to the work of Alexei Kurakin – a genius – a Galileo of our time.

Sometimes I lose it with people who will not see – Adoption

Many people just cannot let go of their old perception – and sometimes I lose it. 

Most organizations know that the web is important today – even the most dinosauric. But for most, the web is an up and coming “channel” and most still don’t have a clue about social media – they do it because they have to and they do it without much understanding about how it works and how different it is from their old “Normal”.

The final arrival of the Beatles on the web – mainly as we see boosted by social media – shows the new reality. That the web amplified by good use of social media is now the primary way of connecting what you have to the public.

Billboard magazine reports that The Beatles sold more than two million individual songs worldwide and in excess of 450,000 albums in its first week on Apple’s iTunes Music Store. (The Beatles’ catalog was added to iTunes on November 16th.)

According to Experian Hitwise, it was social media — not search — that drove a lot of the online interest and, more importantly, the online traffic surrounding The Beatles addition to iTunes. Consider this stat: On November 16, the first day Beatles songs were available on iTunes, 26% of UK traffic to Apple.com came from social media, about double the amount that came from search.

This nail in the coffin of old marketing is what NPR discovered. When I worked for NPR back in 2005 – attracting a younger audience was thought to be vital. But at the time this meant that somehow the content should be changed. But what they found was that if you changed the medium for connection to Social Media – the young came – they loved the content – they just will not access it in the old way.

In a survey of more than 10,000 respondents, NPR found that its Twitter followers are younger, more connected to the social web, and more likely to access content through digital platforms such as NPR’s website, podcasts, mobile apps and more.

NPR has more than one Twitter account; its survey found that most respondents followed between two and five NPR accounts, including topical account, show-specific accounts and on-air staff accounts.

The data on age is hardly surprising. The median age of an NPR Twitter follower is 35 — around 15 years younger than the average NPR radio listener. This lines up with data we recently found about other traditional news media; the average Facebook user reading and “liking” content on a news website is two decades younger than the average print newspaper subscriber.

Isn’t this what has happened to the Beatles? Good content is good. If you have a product or a service or cintent that is good and is not available on the web via social media – you are punishing your business.

So what does this mean? The jury is no longer out. If you are not using the web and social media well – you are no longer cautious but stupid. You are refusing to see the world as it is. Now I know why you won’t move. Because this is all new and you are not any good at it. It’s like me taking up skiing in my forties. What had held me back was how awkward and stupid I would look and feel. But you know – no one cared about how awkward I was and learning to ski then allowed me to spend 10 winters with my kids having a hell of a time. I am 60. I started blogging back in 2002. I was utterly pathetic at it. But over time, I got ok. You can be too.

The real question is do you want your TV station, store, business to survive? It’s still not too late but it is getting close.

Who can help you? Well there are a lot of shysters out there. “Self proclaimed” Social Media Experts who have been involved for a year or so. So here are a few questions to ask to ensure that you are getting someone who can help for real:

  • Tell us about who you have worked for in the past that you have helped make the shift in mindset? They must have been able to help another make this shift in POV
  • Tell us who your friends and network are? The shysters know shysters, the real folks know others who know their stuff and their network is as valuable as anything that they know.
  • Show us what you have written that moves the cheese! Shysters pound on about Facebook etc, the real deal is part of a larger deeper conversation about what all of this means.
  • Show us how knowing what you do has helped you in your own life? Most Shysters still live in the 1.0 world themselves. The real deal don’t – living this life has changed them radically – they have been made different by this and you will know this when you compare the 2 types. PS relentless self promotion is a give away!

Some advice about process:

  • There is no formula/cookie cutter – it is not about using Facebook next week – it is about changing your own mindset. So start with lots of conversation about what is going on and where you can start – you cannot know where you will end up right now – don’t try and go there.
  • Our mindset is changed not by will but by new habits – try a few smallish experiments and label them as such – look at at others who have done well and see how this may give you a start – Have a look here at how Boingo have used listening or look here about how Kotex have used a deep question. These are powerful places to start to help you be different for in the 1.0 world we don’t listen, we shout. In the 1.0 world we don’t ask tough questions, we live instead in a clean, fun, smooth fantasy world where periods are the best part of the month.
  • Hire one or two great young folks. Andy Carvin - just one person has done more for NPR than an army of consultants. Same with Baochi at Boingo who enjoys the confidence of the CEO.
  • Persevere!!! This is really really hard to execute – the tools are simple – it is the shift in mindset that is so painful. I have found that as much as I and others know the direction the day to day part of the journey is stressful. Think of Christopher Columbus on his first voyage. He “knew” that there would be land if he sailed long enough west. But his crew did not. They also had to deal with storms etc, When they arrived, it was land but not the Indies – the destination was different. People got upset. When you do this – all of the trials of Columbus will come your way – Doubt, fear mutiny, disappointment – the lot. But there is no going back – you just have to push through.
  • Last point – anyone who tells you that this is easy and they can show you a step by step formula is a Shyster

So stand up for our species. Be a Sapiens and not a Sap and good luck to you.

Education – a battleground – Like Media will be won when we can choose

I have no faith that the existing education system can change – no more than the existing media system. In the end it will fall over from its own weight and poor outcomes. But as with media, the new Ed system is visible and will gain strength and will make the old irrelevant.

After many years of thinking and talking, here Sir Ken I think nails the problem and gets the direction for the right new path correct. Helped a lot by the guys at RSA.

So what can we do with this insight?

My experience in public radio and TV – which also is at a crossroads from one culture to another – is that we must not underestimate the power of the entrenched culture. Most people inside pub radio/TV and in education are so invested in the old that they can only fight an alternative.  This is not because they are bad or stupid – it is because they are human and their identity is the system as it is. So to change it means that they have no place. So they cannot go to the new.

If you long for a better education system – you are also worried about how to breakthrough all these barriers. You don’t know how to change the system. I think that we can look at what is happening in media and find a way.

So where is the change happening in media that we might use to help us in education. As I write them I can see how these factors apply to education – can’t you?

  • The long term effects of the poor economy is pressing the system
    • The school system is under huge funding pressure too
    • In higher ed – the degree also costs too much now and drives loans that canot be repaid
    • Kids will seek out new ways – they have to
    • In the next 10 years the pressure to find a new way for the money will become unbearable – thus creating the same kind of context for change that we see in media
  • There are organizations like Craigslist that are killing the economics of the old and forcing economic pressure – the old way leads to economic starvation and sets a context for change
    • There are new online schools such as the Khan Academy that offer kids a wonderful alternative to school
    • Great Schools like MIT have put a lot of superlative content online
    • Kids are voting with their feet – better content will be available online for next to free as with Craigslist and personals that will ad to the economic pressure
  • The web has a bunch of new tools such as Twitter, YouTube, Netflix, iTunes, Apple TV etc that are empowering new sources and new ways of finding, producing and using content
    • Same for Ed – iTunes, YouTube are already there
    • Why take Math with Miss Jones when you can get the world’s best math teachers on your time at your pace?
    • Parents will buy into this too
  • There are entirely new organizations – Huffington Post, Daily Beast, Politico – Greenfield that go through no transition but start with the new model – they are forcing competitive pressure
  • There are a few old leaders who get it and have enough critical mass inside to go for it now – The Guardian in the UK and NPR – they are forcing change on their system
    • Athabaska and Phoenix come to mind in higher ed – they are moving to the mainstream
    • Soon there will be Grade Schools that have the same features
  • There are  few local small organizations that have the leadership to go for it too and are making enough progress to show the rest – KETC is the one I know the best.

So what to do?

Don’t think about changing the whole system!!!!! It’s too big and powerful.

Instead take advantage of these powerful forces.

If you are a learner – Explore the new world of resources – do not feel trapped in school as it is or feel that you have to wait – enough change is here for you to take full advantage now

If you are a parent – see the whole picture for you child – help line them up into that is now available that is more fitted to them and at a cost you can all afford. Vote with your feet.

If you are a school board - Learn how to make the shift from the old to the new – Do a KETC – pick a school with the right leadership and try the new in ONE place – learn from this – use this test bed to expose others to the new from their peers.

If you are a teacher – Learn how to be the new – participate in the new world – be a citizen teacher – offer content or coaching – learn how to be an entrepreneurial teacher who can hang up their shingle on the web or locally. Be the math coach or the history coach in your place or globally!

If you are a social entrepreneur - Build the new a place together so that you are the convener of the a place where kids can be together and yet be part of the a larger universe of resources that fits them!

It’s coming folks – the forces in play are too great to stop it. BUT you have to be a player now if you want to benefit.

After the jump – the end of text books – Bill Gates and my own view of the university that I would like to see

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Expand your audience by dumbing down or expanding your platform – NPR

The Holy Grail in Pub Media was to get a younger audience. For most this meant finding a way to alter the content mix – the CBC has done this with the result of losing its traditional audience and not gaining the young – who DON’T watch TV or listen to a radio!!!!! NPR is winning this by expanding the platform to include who the young want to get their media.

One of the Holy Grails of the Public Radio system when I worked there back in 2005/6 was to attract a younger audience. At the time – even though the context of my involvement was the web – the CW on the solution was to add more younger programming – Hence Bryant Park. Of course this failed as what station manager was going to give up the BlockBuster Morning Edition to have an alternative that the mainstream would not like. The CBC has gone full on to find a younger audience by changing the POV of its programs. I wonder how they are doing? They have largely driven me away.

But the guys at NPR are smart and they learn. They went full on into the use of Social Media. New data out shows that their drive into social media – Twitter in particular – has given them what they wanted a new and younger and larger “audience” that have been attracted to NPR’s programming – not because of a content shift but because they made it easier for a younger audience to connect to content on their terms! The secret was in the flexibility of the new connection NOT the content.

In a survey of more than 10,000 respondents, NPR found that its Twitter followers are younger, more connected to the social web, and more likely to access content through digital platforms such as NPR’s website, podcasts, mobile apps and more.

NPR has more than one Twitter account; its survey found that most respondents followed between two and five NPR accounts, including topical account, show-specific accounts and on-air staff accounts.

The data on age is hardly surprising. The median age of an NPR Twitter follower is 35 — around 15 years younger than the average NPR radio listener. This lines up with data we recently found about other traditional news media; the average Facebook user reading and “liking” content on a news website is two decades younger than the average print newspaper subscriber.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the future of news media lies in successful integration of social media to get the attention (and click-throughs) of a younger generation — a generation whose news needs are vastly different than those of the generations that preceded it.(My emphasis)

Of NPR’s Twitter followers, the majority (67%) still do listen to NPR on the radio. But the other ways they access NPR’s content are indicative of a growing trend:

Of survey respondents, 59% said they use NPR.org, 39% listen to NPR’s podcasts, around half use an NPR mobile app and 28% say they access NPR via Facebook. All told, 77% of NPR’s Twitter followers said they get all or most of their news online.

And Twitter followers are more likely to expect breaking news, too, likely because of the real-time nature of the medium.

At KETC we found the same thing when we ran out project to help people find a safer more trustworthy route to help in the Mortgage Crisis. KETC helped many people who never watch our programming and who never will. They got connected to KETC because they found what they needed on the web. It was how we connected that was the key.

When NPR hosted the New Realities Project back in 2006/6 – the intent was to imagine our value in 2009 and beyond. We did this. Most saw that one of the things we had to do was to do a Burger King and offer our content up “Your Way”

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The guys even wrote a song – but while some – mainly at NPR really got this – of course as we know today about adoption – most did not and have not and still hope that all of this will go away.

Want a larger and more committed “audience” – let them find you “Their Way” – Integrate the web into what you do fully.

So what then is the leadership story for making the change from machine to network?

I wrote this with a client in mind – sadly he stayed in the valley and left the new alone – it’s hard! Many cannot leave the old even though they know they have to.

Going 2.0 as Lee Bryant says is not about hanging shiny new objects on your old form. It is in truth that hardest of all things to do – changing who we are. As Euan says – it is the hard work of giving up our institutional form and re-becoming human again. So how do you make these changes to the inside of ourselves and our organizations?

I have been forced to reflect on this as one of my projects comes to the very edge of success. Here is the story I told the CEO today.

You are a chief. Your tribe lives in a valley. Over tall mountains is a much larger valley that has a huge lake – larger than Lake Ontario. It is like a vast sea. But you have never been there. You have never seen a lake. You have never fished in a lake or seen a boat. This new valley is beyond what you have ever experienced and so beyond what you can imagine. For your valley is savannah. It is plain full of herd animals and game of all types. It is lush and there are many plants that you use as well. Your tribe has been there a long time hunting and gathering. You are good at this. The Tribe has organized to do this work well.

But over the last few years, there has been a shift in weather. The savannah is drying out – the drought is getting worse. The game is getting scarce. The plants are dying too. Your success over the last 100 years means that you have many mouths to fill too.

So you have heard stories about the lake on the other side of the mountains from traders who go everywhere. So you send out a small reconnaissance party over the mountain to explore this new land. A new land where the skills to get food and the processes are very different. For remember none of you have ever seen a lake, a boat, a weir, a net. None of you have built houses in such surroundings. You don’t know what a pier is. You have no idea what weather can do on a lake. All you know are stories. Stories that might be fables.

The small party does quite well and returns home to tell you what happened. Now the lake and all that is needed to live by a lake is more real to you. At least people that you trust – your own tribesmen have seen it. But you are not going to up sticks and take all your people there just on the evidence of one trip. The risk is too big. You don’t know if enough of your people could adapt. And anyway, maybe the drought will end soon.

The drought gets worse. Now you send a larger party for a longer time. You tell them to really test this new life. Their mission to to see if a move to the new place is feasible. They set up a base camp in the new valley and build some boats and make nets. After much trial and error, they start to learn how to do well in the very new place. They spend a whole year there. They make a of of mistakes. Some die. But they can now see what has to be done. They are not good at any of it but they know the basics. They return home. Everyone is both fascinated and fearful. For if it is possible to live in this new valley, then it will be possible to leave our ancestral home. Everyone hopes that they don’t have to do that. Who wants to give up all they know? Maybe the drought will end.

But the drought gets worse. It is clear that this is a trend. It is clear that if the Tribe does not leave the valley, that in 5 years all will die. So now you send a lead party back over the pass into the new valley. Their job is to set up a new home for the tribe. They are not coming home. They are the beach head.

But as the new team settle in the new valley, they go home all the time in their minds. For the only home they really know is the old valley. Even though the new is feeding them. Even though they are gradually getting the new skills. They long for what they know. They are torn. They are in the new valley but they still are organized as if they were back in the old.

Still part of the tribe is left in the old valley. This left behind part of the tribe feel bad too. They know that they have been left behind. They know that the future is in the next valley. Both sides feel separated. One from the old, the other from the new. But this separation had to stand until the Chief knew that his people could make it in the new.

You could not wait however until he was completely sure because you could feel that the disconnect between the two groups was starting to threaten the whole tribe. So you moved the rest of the tribe over the pass into the new place as well. Because they were in a new place that needed new skills and new ways of working, you also had to realign who did what and for whom. You had to ensure that the tribe was organized to live in the new way. Fortunately because of the tension of the separation, most were relieved to have their doubts settled and quickly settled down to the new. Also because they all knew that they could not go back, that longing for “home” faded. After a while the new home became “Home” for all.

As I told this story, I started to see what had in fact happened. I had missed it all even myself. What we had done only became clear today.

The institutional world is dying. But it is the only world we know. Our place in it is home. We cannot just jump to the new. We have to explore it.  This exploration needs to be organized as history tells us successful explorations are conducted – using larger and longer staying expeditions. At some point some people have to stay in the new world.

Even then history tells us that we at first long for the old. We even organize based on the old even when we live in the new. This tension is debilitating.

This is the story of America itself. Many expeditions lead in the end to the early colonies. The War of Independence is the re-org. This then opens up the west and the new culture and millions cross the sea for the dream.

Yes the tools are important, but it is the change in world view that is the key.

Soon I will have the data to prove this.

What do you think? Where are you on this journey?