Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘education methods/programs’ Category

Re-designing: opportunity to reframe problems and solution
Excellent read
Note: I consider this article as an extended version of how Human Factors engineers and practitioners must approach problems and experiments, and focusing on the health, safety and ease of use of any product or service.

The wider determinants of health developed by Public Health England show that in fact, things like someone’s education, their job, who their friends are, how they get on with family, and where they live can actually determine how long they will live – even if they’re using the same doctor as someone living down the road but who is likely to live 10 years longer.

In the last two decades, design has been demonstrating a refreshing approach to addressing such complex problems. This is because design provides the opportunity to re-frame problems and solutions.

It explores ways of doing things that haven’t been tried before, to address problems that haven’t been well understood before.

But in this age of complexity and multiple dependencies, problems are constantly and rapidly changing too, and so must solutions. We need to move away from the romantic notion that a solution – whether it’s a service, product or policy – needs to go through a one-off and well-polished design process, beyond which it will continue to be relevant forevermore.

Reality is very different.

So we’re making the case here that as designers, we have a mission to build the capabilities of non-designers who work within the organisations that are transforming our future.

This means they are equipped with the problem-solving mindset to constantly interrogate, improve and innovate as realities quickly evolve, and things that worked yesterday soon become obsolete.

Urgency for prevention and early intervention: There is a sense of urgency to pre-empt problems before they happen in order to save time, resource and often even lives.

The recent NHS Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) demonstrate this urgency. With an ever-increasing population, public services are at breaking point. (It has already broken down)

But since two-thirds of deaths among those under 75 are a result of preventable illness, there is a growing recognition that keeping as many people as possible healthy is the most sustainable investment.

This is where a lot of the STP plans are focusing their energy. Because design offers a lens into the future and a provocation for possible realities, it provides those committed to prevention and early intervention with the ability to understand future problems and to design solutions that can forestall them.

Systemic complexity: We can no longer think of products, services and policies outside of the systems they exist within and interact with.

For example, we worked with the Healthy London Partnership on a deep dive to understand the root causes of childhood obesity and to try out new ways of addressing this chronic challenge.

Our insight revealed that a one-pronged approach will never do.

We need to create positive and synchronised triggers at different points in the system: we need behavioural nudges that change the habits of individuals, we need social movements that influence and inspire whole communities, we need levers that transform physical obesogenic environments, and we also need legislation and regulation such as the Sugary Drink Tax to reduce temptation.

Design invites diverse people across the system to confront problems collaboratively, by creating solutions that leverage the collective power of everyone’s experience, expertise, resource and authority.

Ongoing transformation: In a time of austerity, we just can’t afford to keep slowly chipping away at the problem through little tweaks and tricks in the hope that it will one day disappear. We need to completely and continuously re-imagine how things might work better.

When working with a national charity, we realised that funding for children’s centres was at risk, and that they were struggling to reach diverse families. This meant we needed to completely transform the service, into one where children’s centres can go (literally ‘in a box’) into the homes of those who most need them, for a ninth of the cost and nine times the reach.

A design approach to problem-solving offered staff the opportunity to experiment with transformational ideas at a small and safe scale, fail quickly, learn fast and build confidence in the direction of travel.

What capabilities

Organisations need to develop a number of problem-solving capabilities to future-proof their solutions. In a recent Touchpoint article, my colleagues Jocelyn Bailey and Cat Drew argue that these capabilities are presumably less about skill and more about mindset and culture. Armed with the right mindset, organisations can then develop (and even invent) the unique skills, methods and tools to solve all types of diverse problems. This mindset is characterised by:

Deep human understandingthe approach invites curiosity and determination to explore what lies beneath people’s actions, decisions and perceptions.

Reframing challengesthe insight revealed through deep human understanding can help reframe the challenge to get to the bottom of the hidden root causes, rather than the visible symptoms.

Working with othersa design approach to problem-solving is humble. We admit that we don’t know it all, and we invite others who have experienced the problem in different ways or who are experts in related issues across the system, to come on board and shape the journey.

Learning by doingthe only way to test innovation is to give it a go. Design is a process of solving problems through doing, learning, improving and scaling. Starting small and imperfect can mitigate the risks of failure, and with every iterative cycle and every improved version, more investment and scale can be justified.

image: https://www.uscreates.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/uscreates_prototyping-1024×683.jpg

There are various ways that organisations can build the problem-solving capabilities of their workforce. Last year, I wrote an article with Joyce Yee in the Service Design Impact Report that reviewed different design capability models that the public sector draws on. There is not a one-size-fits-all model, and each presents its own benefits:

Structured trainingthis varies from one-day workshops to bootcamps. These are best for beginners who would like a taster of the mindset to assess whether it provides potential for the nature of their organisation’s challenges.

Experiential learningin other words, learning on the job. Often this takes the form of design experts facilitating a series of problem-solving sprints within an organisation, based on a real challenge. Staff are invited to shadow the process, reflect on learning, and experience the benefits first-hand.

Coachingthis model is suited for more experienced organisations who have potentially benefited from structured training and/or experiential learning. They would be keen to lead the problem-solving process themselves, with the support of a design coach for strategic guidance, alignment, and constructive provocation.

Internal disruption: a popular example of this is the lab model, where an organisation invests in an innovation team embedded within, with a role to create and grow a movement and a culture that embraces a design mindset to problem-solving.

In today’s complex and rapidly evolving world, organisations need to start thinking differently about how they are future-proofing what they do and how they do it. They need to invest in people, not solutions. By better equipping their people with a problem-solving mindset, they are creating the enablers for ongoing improvement, innovation and future relevance.

 

Joanna is Design Director at Uscreates. She is a social designer, author, speaker and lecturer with over 15 years of practical experience in the UK, the Middle East and the United States. She leads on the development and delivery of service design, user centred innovation, design research, business modelling, communication and digital design projects.

Joanna has worked with over 50 public and third sector organisations – including Nesta, The Healthy London Partnership, the Health Foundation and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust – to help them better understand and address their challenges.

She has expertise across a broad range of social challenges including health and wellbeing, social integration, social action, employment, education and social enterprise. Joanna has a Ph.D. in design for social integration in design for social integration and is an RSA fellow. She is an associate lecturer at the University of the Arts London, Kingston University and Ravensbourne University.

Read more at https://www.uscreates.com/capability-training/#rtyugoxJFYpkkelH.9

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Plausibly, Arabic is one of the dialects of the Levant language (Near-East region of Syria, Lebanon and Palestine)

No, Lebanese is not a “dialect” of Arabic

Nassim Nicholas Taleb Follow 

It would be an anachronism to assert that Italian is a dialect of Catalan, but safe to say that Italian comes from Latin. But when it comes to Lebanese (more generally NorthWestern Levantine region), the “politically correct” Arabist-think-tank view is that is is derived from Arabic (Lebanese “dialect” of Arabic) to accommodate sensitivities

 Even linguists find arguments to violate the arrow of time to serve the interest of pan Arabism.

In situations where there are similarities between a word used in Lebanese and Arabic, they insist it comes from Arabic not from a common root.

(Most Lebanese are confused by diglossia as one is not supposed to write in the spoken language). Unlike Indo-European languages, Semitic languages have a criss-cross of roots and considerable areal diffusion to assert clean descendancy.

The points are

1) Lebanese (more generally NorthWestern Levantine, neo-Canaanite) is a standalone Semitic dialect (or language) that descends from other languages, including Arabic (which itself was influenced by these predecessors) but has not inherited from it as much as marketed (broken plurals but not its rich verb forms).

2) Its grammar, as we will see below, remains largely non ArabicMany words that are in both Leb and Arabic but not common in Aramaic happen to be in North-Phoenician (Ugaritic). Unlike genetics that has rigorous mathematical formulations and clear-cut flows (haplogroups show direct, vertical, rather than lateral transmission), linguistic categories are fuzzy and, for Semitic languages, monstrously non rigorous.

3) I took a list of the most frequent statistically used words (by Zipf law, > 80% of vocabulary) and looked for words that exist in both Leb and Akkadian, Ugaritic (North Phoenician), and show that very few exist in Arabic but not other Semitic roots (Lamine Souag did the same with a poem by Said Akl, without statistical methodology), hence could have only come from Arabic.

The anachronism shown. The Phyla and Waves Models of Classification by Semiticists is not very scientific. Note that areal diffusion makes transmission arrows very fuzzy.

4) The “Arabization” mission promoted by the American University in Beirut in the 1860s (starting with the translation of the Bible) seems to infect the most low IQ Westerners of the think tank/ State department Arabist types, not locals — most people who disagree with the point and support the orthodoxy don’t speak either Leb or Aramaic, or fail in basic reasoning (many Syriac scholars I’ve spoken to agree with the point)

5) The latin alphabet (actually Phoenician) lends itself better to Lebanese, with such accents as é — but that’s another note.

6) From a scientific standpoint, linguistic claims that Lebanese is a dialect of Arabic (or some conveniently abstract construct called Proto-Arabic) are:

a) totally unrigorous handwaving believed from sheer repetition,

b) fitness to few rules made on the fly (and subject of over-fitting: you pick the rules that makes a language be part of the group you like),

c) with claims of mutual intelligibility between Leb and Arabic (or Proto-Arabic); all of these presented without any attempt to meet minimal standards of scientific evidence.

What do people call “Arabic”?

In a skit an ISIS man goes to a Christian Lebanese village, Zghorta, and shouts in Classical Arabic (“raise your hands!” “ارفع يديك”) to a Zghorta villager, who answers him “speak to me in Arabic!” (7ki ma3é 3arabé).

Likewise, in Saudi Arabia, I once heard a Lebanese fellow asking the hotel manager: “don’t you have Arabic food?” (meaning East Med/Lebanese) as all they had was… Arabic food (Saudi preparations of rice etc.)

The White Mountain (Mount Lebanon) from my window in Amioun

The very etymology of “Arabic” has confused people, since it may mean “Westerner”, that is, non Arab (and homonym with 3araba which might be another root). Speak to me in Arabic may mean “speak to me intelligibly” (3arabé mshabra7) — since 3araab means grammatical and intelligible — and people got confused about what language they were speaking.

Anachronism

The Lebanese have been saying “bét” for at least 3200 years, now they say “bét” but it suddenly said to be from a “dialect” of Arabic. It is foolish to think that a population will speak a language, say Aramaic, then suddenly, tabula rasa, switch to another one for the same words.

Many people who are fluent and Levantine and classical Arabic fail to realize that the distance between the two is greater than between many languages deemed distinct, such as French and Romanian… Slavic “languages” such as Ukranian and Polish are much, much closer to one another than Levantine and Arabic.

Same with Scandinavian and Germanic languages. But there is a bias in believing that whenever a word exists in both Levantine and Arabic, that it is of Arabic origin, never Aramaic or Canaanite-largely because of the typical lack of familiarity with Levantine languages.

So Mar7aba is deemed to be Arabic when it is in fact just Aramaic.

(The IYIs are slowly and reluctantly accepting the Aramaic influence on the Arabic holy book). Also note that if Northern Arabians share vocabulary with Lebs, it is because of Aramaic rather than the reverse.

(If the Lebanese know Arabic, it is from education system and Television, not from speaking it).

Levantine uses the French é sound (the diacritical rboso) where Arabic has an “i” (kasra) or long i. (batyté, Ghassén, etc.) (Zré2 is arabized as Zurayq at the American University of Beirut. Someone should tell them.)

The Lebanese army march (one-two-three) is in Syriac “7ad, Tr(n)en, Tlete, Arb3a” (not Wa7ad, Etnen, …).

Mim-noon: mim in Arabic (beytohom) become noun in Aramaic and North Levantine (beyton, beytkon). Even Ibrahim becomes Brohin.

Ma: The classifiers claim that of Semitic languages, a marker of Arabic is the negative “ma” for “la/o” in Canaanite.

1) “Ma” is a negation in Indo-European languages, so it came to the area to affect all languages,

2) “ma” is found in Bibilical Heb. (Kings, 12:16).

Verb-Subject Agreement: The grammatical stucture of Leb is somewhat similar to Aramaic. For instance, we use the plural form for a verb before a plural subject; in Arabic the verb is singular.

SVO Arabic has necessarily an VSO structure: Verb-Subject-Object (zahaba el waladu ila il bayt vs lwalad ra7 3al bét), Lebanese not necessarily so (varies).

Roots and distanceUsing the Arabic innovation of a non Arabic root (2rdh for 2rtz) should not allow one to classify the term for scientific (informational) and cultural purposes as “derived from” Arabic, even if it makes sense from a linguistic standpoint in a refined toolkit.

So if someone has been saying lb for years (for heart) for a few thousand years, then added an aleph (2a) to make it ‘lb (2lb, 2alb), is is to be treated the same as someone saying corre or schmorglub for heart, now saying ‘lb? It is not the same distance!

This is what linguists fail to get about their classification heuristics. Minor adaptations such as “al” for “ha” or “han” should not be a basis for calling a change of language.

It is no different for Hebrew where Ashkenazis use a Germanic pronunciation for gutturals, which doesn’t make them speak a variety German. Linguistic classifications are a mess!

Colinearity doesn’t allow strong categorization: Traditional linguistics categorizes languages as independent variables, failing to take into account co-linearity, i.e., if Y= a_1 X_1+a_2 X_2 + \eta (noise), the effect will show loading in a_1 or a_2, not both.

So if Levantine resembles Arabic, and Arabic resembles Aramaic, and Aramaic resembles Canaanite/Phoenician/Hebrew, and to make things worse, Arabic also resembles Canaanite, the tendency is to believe that Levantine comes from one (the a_1 with the highest load) not another.

Accordingly, simplified linguistics fail with Semitic languages because of confounding, much more consequential with Semitic tongues than Indo-European ones. In English we know that what comes from Latin has no co-linearity with Northern European sources, except for remote roots.

So if someone claims: Leb is a dialect of (Arabic/Aramaic/Zorgluz…) it is a weaker statement than Italian is a dialect of Latin. We should say: Leb is a dialect of Semitic.

The only remedy is to do, as in genetics, PCAs (orthogonal variables that are abstract) hence show that Levantine in x% from Arabic, y% from Phoenician, etc. (or, more rigorously, Semitic languages represented as dots on a 2–3D map). This is not done by Semiticists and I consider the linguistic critiques to this piece invalid and highly unscientific (not even at the level to be wrong).

Areal Influence: If there is a continuum of dialects through the area, from the Levant to the fertile crescent, it can be due to areal features rather than genetic ones. In other words, lateral influences rather than vertical ones.

Verbs forms: Arabic has 15 forms; Levantine and Aramaic have the same 4–6 forms (depending on regions).

The definite article: the “Al” in Arabic doesn’t exist as a prefix in Aramaic (it is suffixed), but does in Phoenician as ha 2a, and proto-Canaanite as hal and “l”. And it is not clear that old Lebanese distinguishes between lunar and solar, as Arabic does.

So it looks after deeper investigation that in fact except for broken plurals, and a few other words, what resembles Arabic is what is in both Aramaic and Arabic, or in both Arabic and Canaanite. (Note that broken plurals represent very little of a vocabulary, again, by Zipf’s law).

The Phyla and Waves Model used by Semiticists is not very convincing: we are not dealing with the clarity of genetics; “evidence” is not stochastically elaborated.

Ana bi-Amioun is Levantine for “I am in Amioun”. In Aramaic-Syriac (most versions) it would be “Ana bi-Amioun”. In Arabic “Innani fi-Amioun” (sometimes, but rarely, “bi”). Same with words that have hamze, i.e. Mayy in Levantine is water (as in Aramaic), Ma2 in Arabicetc. But the “y” in Arabic can become olafYaduhu in Arabic is ido (Yad->Iyd) in both Syriac and Levantine.

Cannanite and Phenician shift: In Northern Lebanon, “Allah” becomes “Alloh”, “Taleb” is pronounced “Toleb”, even the y becomes “oy” (lésh in Beirut, loish in Bsharré. My first name is prounounced “Nsoym”). But unlike Eastern Aramaic where Sarah is “Saro” while for us it is “Sora”. (Incidentally, Toleb is present in Ugaritic/Phoenician).

The 3ayn shift: An argument (Louag) is that the dhad in Canaanite became a 3ayn (Eretz in Hebrew became Ar3a in Aramaic), not in Leb hence we got it from the Arabs. There was a shift that stayed in Aramaic and Levantine use the Arabic dhad that does not have the shift (which is believed to imply that we did not get these words from Aramaic).

But note that Arabs did not pronounce the dhad as modified tzadeh ( which shows that past pronounciations were not necessarily as current). Note that in North Leb people may conflate ar3a with al3a, for ardh, as in Amioun. It may have come from Arabic, but odds are it did not, as we will see next.

Strong a “2”: Lebanese has an emphatic silent “a”, known as “Basta” accent (“shu b22ello?”) but also in other parts for other words “ya 22alla” in Amioun (Oh Allah). (I’ve heard it sometimes in Syriac when they say “22aloho”).

Roger Maklouf’s idea is that that the Arabic strong “ص”, “ض”, “ط” etc. are just consonants followed by emphatic 2a: “t22aleb”, “d22arab”, “shu s22ar?”. Hence, in the presence of the 22a, which does not exist in Arabic, we don’t need these letters. Roger surmises that if we don’t have them, it is because Phoenician letters didn’t have them; we just never used them (by Brownian bridge: neither then nor now). This explains the absence of 3ayin switch into Lebanese.

Write in Lebanese!

Regardless of its origin, there is no point insisting on degrading the spoken language.

It remains that that Arabic sounds so foreign (especially to people who didn’t study in it), which explains why people send notes in French or English, not Lebanese. (data point: I sold 97% of my books in French and English in Lebanon, 3% in Arabic. I don’t know any Leb my generation and younger who reads Arabic except for legal docs. I have never received a letter/email in Arabic from another Lebanese.)

More examples:
“Zammar 3a l’kou3” Levantine (Horned at the curve)
“Zammar 3a kou3” Aramaic
“Inshud 3al mun3atif” Arabic

For A***le:
“Bu5sh tizo” Levantine
“Bu5sh tizo” Aramaic
“Thaqb iliatihi” Arabic (or mu2a55ara)

Grammar

ARABIC vs LEVANTINE( Beirut, Amioun)

1s Ana Ana, ana
2ms Anta inta, int
2fs Anti inte, int
3ms Huwa huwwe, hu
3fs Hiya hiyye, hi
2d Antuma into, ont
3md Huma hinne, hinn
3fd huma hinne, hinn
1p Na7nu ne7na, ne7no
2mp Antum into
2fp Antunna into
3mp Hum hinne, hinn
3fp Hunna hinne, hinn

ARABIC vs LEVANTINE
(long a, 2) long eh
1s 2akl 3am bekol [3am means “in the process of “ in Syriac] (food I’m eating)
2ms ta2kol 3am btekol
2fs ta2kulina 3am tekle
3ms yakulu 3am yekol
3fs takul 3am tekol
2d ta2kulani 3am bteklo
3md yakulani 3am byeklo
3fd na2kul 3amnekol
1p takuluna 3amteklo
2mp takuluna 3amteklo
2fp takulna 3am teklo
3mp yakuluna 3ambyeklo
3fp yakulna 3ambyeklo

ARABIC vs Amioun vs Beirut

Akaltu Kilt Akalt
Akalta Kilt Akalt
Akalti Kilte Akalte
Akala Akol Akal
Akalat Aklet Akalet
Akaltuma kelto Akalto
Akalat eklo Akalo
Akalata Aklo Akalo
Akalna kelna Akalna
Akaltum Kelto Akalto
Akaltunna Kelto Akalto
Akaltu eklo Akalto
Akalna eklo Akalo

Note the difference: mim in Arabic (beytohom) become noun in Aramaic and North Levantine (beyton, beytkon). Even Ibrahim becomes Brohin.

Vocabulary

(using the list from Bennett. The orthography is not fully standardized. Lameen Souag has been nitpicking my list based on g->j, s<-> sh, k->kh, etc. pronounciations, which, again, don’t make it part of a language group.

For we say Yesou3 for Yeshou3 (Jesus) which comes from Aramaic (Arabic is 3issa), Juwwa from Aramaic bgaw, etc. The “j” can be easily Persian. It would be classifying Mod. Hebrew as Germanic because w->v, 7->ch, p->ph.)

Can we talk about TED? We need to…

Note: A must read article.

I submit that astrophysics run on the model of American Idol is a recipe for civilization disaster

In our culture, talking about the future is sometimes a polite way of saying things about the present that would otherwise be rude or risky.

But have you ever wondered why so little of the future promised in TED talks actually happens? So much potential and enthusiasm, and so little actual change.

Are the ideas wrong? Or is the idea about what ideas can do all by themselves wrong?

TED talks in Edinburgh : Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton speaks during TED Global 2011, in Edinburgh. Photograph: James Duncan Davidson/TED

I write about entanglements of technology and culture, how technologies enable the making of certain worlds, and at the same time how culture structures how those technologies will evolve, this way or that.

It’s where philosophy and design intersect.

So the conceptualization of possibilities is something that I take very seriously. That’s why I, and many people, think it’s way past time to take a step back and ask some serious questions about the intellectual viability of things like TED.

So my TED talk is not about my work or my new book – the usual spiel – but about TED itself, what it is and why it doesn’t work.

The first reason is over-simplification.

To be clear, I think that having smart people who do very smart things explain what they doing in a way that everyone can understand is a good thing. But TED goes way beyond that.

Let me tell you a story. I was at a presentation that a friend, an astrophysicist, gave to a potential donor. I thought the presentation was lucid and compelling (and I’m a professor of visual arts here at UC San Diego so at the end of the day, I know really nothing about astrophysics).

After the talk the sponsor said to him, “you know what, I’m gonna pass because I just don’t feel inspired …you should be more like Malcolm Gladwell.”

At this point I kind of lost it. Can you imagine?   Think about it: an actual scientist who produces actual knowledge should be more like a journalist who recycles fake insights!

This is beyond popularization. This is taking something with value and substance and coring it out so that it can be swallowed without chewing. This is not the solution to our most frightening problems – rather this is one of our most frightening problems.

So I ask the question: does TED epitomize a situation where if a scientist’s work (or an artist’s or philosopher’s or activist’s or whoever) is told that their work is not worthy of support, because the public doesn’t feel good listening to them?  

I submit that astrophysics run on the model of American Idol is a recipe for civilization disaster

What is TED?

So what is TED exactly?   Perhaps it’s the proposition that if we talk about world-changing ideas enough, then the world will change.

But this is not true, and that’s the second problem.   TED of course stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and I’ll talk a bit about all three. I Think TED actually stands for: middlebrow megachurch infotainment.

The key rhetorical device for TED talks is a combination of epiphany and personal testimony (an “epiphimony” if you like ) through which the speaker shares a personal journey of insight and realisation, its triumphs and tribulations.

What is it that the TED audience hopes to get from this?

A vicarious insight, a fleeting moment of wonder, an inkling that maybe it’s all going to work out after all? A spiritual buzz?

I’m sorry but this fails to meet the challenges that we are supposedly here to confront. These are complicated and difficult and are not given to tidy just-so solutions. They don’t care about anyone’s experience of optimism.

Given the stakes, making our best and brightest waste their time – and the audience’s time – dancing like infomercial hosts is too high a price. It is cynical.

Also, it just doesn’t work.

Recently there was a bit of a dust up when TEDGobal sent out a note to TEDx organisers asking them not to book speakers whose work spans the paranormal, the conspiratorial, new age “quantum neuroenergy”, etc: what is called woo.

Instead of these placebos, TEDx should instead curate talks that are imaginative but grounded in reality.

In fairness, they took some heat, so their gesture should be acknowledged. A lot of people take TED very seriously, and might lend credence to specious ideas if stamped with TED credentials. “No” to placebo science and medicine.

But … the corollaries of placebo science and placebo medicine are placebo politics and placebo innovation.

On this point, TED has a long way to go.   Perhaps the pinnacle of placebo politics and innovation was featured at TEDx San Diego in 2011.

You’re familiar I assume with Kony2012, the social media campaign to stop war crimes in central Africa? So what happened here?

Evangelical surfer bro goes to help kids in Africa. He makes a campy video explaining genocide to the cast of Glee. The world finds his public epiphany to be shallow to the point of self-delusion. The complex geopolitics of central Africa are left undisturbed. Kony’s still there. The end.

You see, when inspiration becomes manipulation, inspiration becomes obfuscation. If you are not cynical you should be skeptical. You should be as skeptical of placebo politics as you are placebo medicine.

T and Technology

T – E – D. I’ll go through them each quickly.

First technology. We hear that not only is change accelerating but that the pace of change is accelerating as well. While this is true of computational carrying-capacity at a planetary level, at the same time – and in fact the two are connected – we are also in a moment of cultural de-acceleration.

We invest our energy in futuristic information technologies, including our cars, but drive them home to kitsch architecture copied from the 18th century. The future on offer is one in which everything changes, so long as everything stays the same. We’ll have Google Glass, but still also business casual.

This timidity is our path to the future? No, this is incredibly conservative, and there is no reason to think that more gigaflops will inoculate us.

Because, if a problem is in fact endemic to a system, then the exponential effects of Moore’s law also serve to amplify what’s broken.

It is more computation along the wrong curve, and I don’t think it is necessarily a triumph of reason.

Part of my work explores deep techno-cultural shifts, from post-humanism to the post-anthropocene, but TED’s version has too much faith in technology, and not nearly enough commitment to technology.

It is placebo techno-radicalism, toying with risk so as to reaffirm the comfortable.

So our machines get smarter and we get stupider. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Both can be much more intelligent. Another futurism is possible.

E and economics

A better ‘E’ in TED would stand for economics, and the need for, yes imagining and designing, different systems of valuation, exchange, accounting of transaction externalities, financing of coordinated planning, etc.

Because states plus markets, states versus markets, these are insufficient models, and our conversation is stuck in Cold War gear.

Worse is when economics is debated like metaphysics, as if the reality of a system is merely a bad example of the ideal.

Communism in theory is an egalitarian utopia.

Actually existing communism meant ecological devastation, government spying, crappy cars and gulags.

Capitalism in theory is rocket ships, nanomedicine, and Bono saving Africa.

Actually existing capitalism means Walmart jobs, McMansions, people living in the sewers under Las Vegas, Ryan Seacrest … plus – ecological devastation, government spying, crappy public transportation and for-profit prisons.

Our options for change range from basically what we have plus a little more Hayek, to what we have plus a little more Keynes. Why?

The most recent centuries have seen extraordinary accomplishments in improving quality of life.

The paradox is that the system we have now –whatever you want to call it – is in the short term what makes the amazing new technologies possible, but in the long run it is also what suppresses their full flowering. Another economic architecture is prerequisite.

D and design

Instead of our designers prototyping the same “change agent for good” projects over and over again, and then wondering why they don’t get implemented at scale, perhaps we should resolve that design is not some magic answer. Design matters a lot, but for very different reasons. It’s easy to get enthusiastic about design because, like talking about the future, it is more polite than referring to white elephants in the room.

Such as…

Phones, drones and genomes, that’s what we do here in San Diego and La Jolla. In addition to the other insanely great things these technologies do, they are the basis of NSA spying, flying robots killing people, and the wholesale privatisation of biological life itself. That’s also what we do.

The potential for these technologies are both wonderful and horrifying at the same time, and to make them serve good futures, design as “innovation” just isn’t a strong enough idea by itself.

We need to talk more about design as “immunization,” actively preventing certain potential “innovations” that we do not want from happening.

And so…

As for one simple take away … I don’t have one simple take away, one magic idea. That’s kind of the point. I will say that if and when the key problems facing our species were to be solved, then perhaps many of us in this room would be out of work (and perhaps in jail).

But it’s not as though there is a shortage of topics for serious discussion. We need a deeper conversation about the difference between digital cosmopolitanism and cloud feudalism (and toward that, a queer history of computer science and Alan Turing’s birthday as holiday!)

I would like new maps of the world, ones not based on settler colonialism, legacy genomes and bronze age myths, but instead on something more … scalable.

TED today is not that.

Problems are not “puzzles” to be solved. That metaphor assumes that all the necessary pieces are already on the table, they just need to be rearranged and reprogrammed. It’s not true.

“Innovation” defined as moving the pieces around and adding more processing power is not some Big Idea that will disrupt a broken status quo: that precisely is the broken status quo.

One TED speaker said recently, “If you remove this boundary … the only boundary left is our imagination”. Wrong.   If we really want transformation, we have to slog through the hard stuff (history, economics, philosophy, art, ambiguities, contradictions).

Bracketing it off to the side to focus just on technology, or just on innovation, actually prevents transformation.

Instead of dumbing-down the future, we need to raise the level of general understanding to the level of complexity of the systems in which we are embedded and which are embedded in us.

This is not about “personal stories of inspiration”, it’s about the difficult and uncertain work of demystification and re-conceptualisation: the hard stuff that really changes how we think. More Copernicus, less Tony Robbins.

At a societal level, the bottom line is if we invest in things that make us feel good but which don’t work, and don’t invest in things that don’t make us feel good but which may solve problems, then our fate is that it will just get harder to feel good about not solving problems.

In this case the placebo is worse than ineffective, it’s harmful. It diverts your interest, enthusiasm and outrage until it’s absorbed into this black hole of affectation.

Keep calm and carry on “innovating” … is that the real message of TED? To me that’s not inspirational, it’s cynical.   In the US the rightwing has certain media channels that allow it to bracket reality … other constituencies have TED.

• This article first appeared on Benjamin Bratton’s website and is republished with permission. It is the text of a talk given at TEDx San Diego

Kid: Count the angles and say the number out loud.
The numbers used in ancient Syria 0, 1,2,3… were designed to count the number of the angles they form. Zero has No angle. The Islamic civilization adopted, especially after the invasion of the Mogul Hulago and then the Ottoman Empire.
Although the Babylonian counting was based on 6, a good system for many activities, the Syrian counting was based on 10 for scientific usage, thousands of years prior to the adoption of the west to this base.
لمن لا يعلم هذه هي ارقامنا السوريه وتعتمد على عدد الزوايا  كل رقم يحمل عدد الزوايا التي يتألف منها..
الأرقام السورية هي إحدى مآثر الأمة السورية , و التي تدل على أن السوريين و منذ القدم لهم منحى عملي في الحياة فلم تكن الغيبيات تشغلهم كثيراً عن العمل و التفوق في الحياة أهمية الأرقام :
تعود أهمية الأرقام إلى دلالتها فكان لاختراعها أهمية كبيرة في تطور العلوم النظرية و التطبيقية ،حيث تشكل أساس علم الرياضيات و الفلك و الهندسة و الفيزياء و الكيمياء ….
الأرقام تاريخياً : نجد ان الإنسان على مرالعصور استخدم طرقاً كثيرة للعد ،
فابتدأ بأصابع اليدين و الحصى و الصدفثم استخدم الأرقام التصويرية كما نجدها عند إنسان الكهف ، و الأرقام الرمزية و الأرقام الهيروغليفية و الأرقام الألفبائية .
و لكن أرقى أنواع الأرقام التي توصل إليها الإنسان هي
أرقام رومانية :I II III IV V VI VII IIX IX أرقام سورية 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 أرقام هندية: و لم يقبل حاسبي الخاص إظهارها وهي الأرقام المستخدمة في المدارس السورية و الدوائر الرسمية .
و إن ما يجمع الأرقام الهندية و الأرقام السورية هو اعتمادهما على نظام التعداد العشري في بناء الأعداد الأرقام السورية و تطورها : أولسوري وضع مخططاً للأرقام مرتكزاً على أساس الزوايا هو راهب سرياني من دير ” قنسرين ” على ضفاف الفرات اسمه : “ سفيروس ” و كان يدرس الرياضيات والفلسفة ،
ثم تلاه راهب آخر من نفس الدير هو ” مر داس ” سنة ( 663م .) حيث جعل لكل رقم رمزاً ذا صفة علمية مستنداً إلى قاعدة رياضية فيتحقيقه و ذلك باستخدام الزوايا الحادة و القائمة كأساس لبناء الرقم حيثاعتبر عدد الزوايا الحادة و القائمة هي علامة تقييمه ،
فنجد في العدد واحد (1) زاوية حادة واحدة و في العدد ( 2) زاويتان و هكذا يكون الرقم صفر ( 0 ) بدون زوايا .
هذا من حيث الترميز ، ولكن الأهم من ذلك هو اعتماد نظام التعداد العشري الذي يمكن من بناءالأعداد الأكبر في مجموعات أخرى هي الآحاد و العشرات و المئات —- الخ وهكذا إلى المالانهاية .
و يعتبر ذلك تطوراً هائلاً تحرزه الأرقام السوريةعلى سابقتها حيث قدمت حلاً لمشكلة كتابة الأرقام ذات القيمة المرتفعة ،بينما لم يستطع الرومان حل تلك الإشكالية لأنهم اعتمدوا على كتابة الأعداد على شكل رموز حيث أنهم أعطوا لكل عدد رمز  أرقام رومانية: M – D – C – X – V – IV – III – II – I أرقام سورية : 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 10 – 100 – 500 – 1000 و كان لاختراع الصفر أهمية كبيرة حيث تم تحديد الرقم الذي بانتهائه يبدأالواحد و بذلك فتح المجال لابتكار الأرقام السالبة .
و الأرقام العشرية هيعشرة بالفعل إلا أنها تبدأ بالصفر و تنتهي بالتسعة ( 9 ) و ليس بالعشرة كما يظن البعض . و لغايات فنية تتعلق بحسن الخط أصبحت الأرقام السورية كما نعهدها اليوم بعد أن كسرت زواياها و أصبحت منحنيات .
استعملت الأرقام السورية بشكل قريب إلى شكلها الحالي في مدرستي : ” نصيبين “و” الرها “و استمرت حتى نهاية القرن الثامن ،
و كذلك استعملهاالخوارزمي( 770 – 850 م . ) في كتابه ” حساب الجبر و المقابلة ” و في علم اللوغاريتم ، و كذلك استخدمها :أبو الوفا ( عالم في الرياضيات )في القرن التاسع الميلادي أما من الذين حسنوا الأرقام السورية فنذكر العالم الفلكي الأندلسي نور الدين أبو اسحق الطبرجي 1133 – 1204م. الذي وضع كتاب الهيئة فعالج فيه صورة الأجرام السماوية .
انتقال الأرقام السورية إلى العالم :وصلت الأرقام السورية إلى أوروبا من خلال عدة طرق أهمها :بعد احتلال بيزنطة لحلب961 م . حيث صادرت محتويات و وثائق قصر سيف الدولة الحمداني و الذي كانت جميع مدوناته الحسابية بالأرقام السورية .
و كذلك الأمر من خلال دخول الفاطميين إلى صقلية عام 983 م . و بذلك انتقلت إلى أوروباو من خلال الأندلس وصلت إلى أوروبا الغربية ، كذلك عن طريق الصليبيين الذين دخلوا سورية الطبيعية عام 1190 م. و في الكتابات الغربية نجد أن الأرقام السورية معرفة باسم الأرقام العربية : أ – ففي معجم
لاروس LAROUSE الفرنس يعرف هذه الأرقام بأنها عربية و أنها أصبحت معروفة في فرنسا منذ القرن العاشر الميلادي .ب – و في كتاب ” الرياضيات قيد الصنع ” لصاحبه ” هوغبن “ LANCELOT HOGBEN يقول :” لا ريب أن المسلمين هم الذين نقلوا إلى الغرب حوالي 1100 م . الأرقام التي
يستخدمها الأوروبيون اليوم و كانت جامعاتهم في اسبانيا تعتبر منارة للعلم ” .ج – جاء في كتاب LE CHIFFRE لصاحبه PEIGNOT ADAMOFT يقول : ” إن الصفر يدل في اللغة العربية على الفراغ و قد زعم بعضهم أن ليسبين لفظتي الصفر و الشيفر إلا فرق يسير في الصوت إلى أن يقول : و منالغريب حقاً أن يجعل بعض علماء الغرب من فكرة الفراغ و لفظتها شيفر اسماًيطلقونه على العقود كلها ” . بالإضافة إلى ذلك نجد أن الأوروبيون أخذوا معالأرقام السورية طريقة استخدام السوريين للعمليات الحسابية الأربعة : ( + ، – ، × ، ÷)
أي من اليمين إلى اليسار و لكنهم يقرأون النتيجة حسب لغتهم .
كيف جاءت الأرقام الهندية إلى البلاد السورية :كان أول وصول للأرقم الهندية إلى البلاد السورية على يد العالم الفلكي الهندي ” كانكا ” ( 773 م .) ، حيث وصل بغداد عاصمة العلم و المعرفة في العالم في ذلك الزمان . و أول من استعمل الأرقام الهندية الجديدة هو الخوارزمي الذي قسم الأرقام إلى نوعين : هندي ، و غباري ( سوري ) .
و نشأ تضارباً في أسبقية نشوء الأرقام من قبل الهنود أم من قبل السوريين لأن الاختراع كان قد تم في فترة زمنية واحدة. و لأسبابٍ دينية و جغرافية غزت الأرقام الهنديةسورية الطبيعية عبر بلاد فارس و عن طريق احتلال ” هولاكو ” لبغداد و إقامةدولة المغول ، فأدى ذلك إلى تثبيت الأرقام الهندية ، ثم جاء الأتراك العثمانيون و زادوا في تثبيتها .
ما هي مزايا الأرقام السورية و ما هي أهمية استعمالها : إن الأرقام السورية لا تقبل التزوير بسهولة في الوثائق المكتوبة دون أن يظهرالخلل على شكل الرقم ، أما في الأرقام الهندية فيمكن تحويل الصفر( . ) إلىأي رقم ، و كذلك الرقم( واحد) يمكن تزويره إلى ثلاثة و ستة و سبعة وثمانية و تسعة . و في الرومانية هنالك سهولة في التزوير ، فالواحد(I)يمكن تزويره إلى II أو VI أو III . و بنفس الوقت نجد أن الأرقام السورية هي السائدة في العالم و في لغة العلم
.وقد تنبه أنطون سعادة باعث النهضة السورية القومية الاجتماعية إلى حقيقةهذه الأرقام و هويتها القومية فأقر استخدامها لأنها من خلق و إبداع الفكرالسوري العظيم و لميزاتها المذكورة أعلاه .
و قد جاء في رأي الأمانة العامة للمنظمة العربية للمواصفات و المقاييس بتاريخ 25 \ 5 \ 1982 من الأجدى اتباع سياسة تهدف إلى استخدام الأرقام العربية 0 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 —– ، حيثما أمكن لتحل محل الأرقام الهندية و بشكل خاص في المجالاتالعلمية و التعليمية ، بينما يمكن الإبقاء على استخدام الأرقام الهندية فيمجالات خاصة كما بقيت الأرقام الرومانية في أوروبا ) *
و إذا كان العالم كله يعترف بماقدمته الأمة السورية له من مبادئ الأرقام و يتخذها و يستعملها فيتوجب علينا نحن أحفاد من أوجدوها أن نعمل بها حفاظاً على تراثنا الفكري الذيبلغ من القيمة و الأهمية مكانة أهلته ليصبح عالمياً ، حيث كل إبداع ذو قيمة يتأنسن لتحيا سوريا
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Inspiring Young Inventors? Not investors, please…

An “experimental learning workshop” where kids engage in an essential but increasingly rare activity: they make stuff.

 posted this November 25, 2013 on Mind/Shift

How Do We Inspire Young Inventors?

In New Haven, Connecticut, where I live with my husband and two sons, we are lucky to have nearby the Eli Whitney Museum.

This place is the opposite of a please don’t touch repository of fine art. It’s an “experimental learning workshop” where kids engage in an essential but increasingly rare activity: they make stuff.

Looking around my living room, I can see lots of the stuff made there by my older son: a model ship that can move around in water (in solid ice is more relevant for those trapped in the Arctic) with the aid of a battery-powered motor he put together; a “camera obscura” that can project a real-world scene onto a wall in a darkened room; a wooden pinball game he designed himself. (You can view an archive of Eli Whitney Museum projects here.)

The people who run Eli Whitney call these hands-on projects “experiments.” As they put it:

“Experiments are a way of learning things. They require self-guided trial and error, active exploration, and testing by all the senses.

Experiments begin with important questions, questions that make you think or that inspire you to create.”

This process of exploring, testing and finding out is vital to children’s intellectual and psychological development—but opportunities to engage in it are fewer than they once were.

Frank Keil, a Yale University psychologist who is in his early 60′s said: “My friends and I grew up playing around in the garage, fixing our cars. Today kids are sealed in a silicon bubble. They don’t know how anything works.”

“We scour the country looking for young builders and inventors. They’re getting harder and harder to find.”

Many others have noticed this phenomenon.

Engineering professors report that students now enter college without the kind of hands-on expertise they once unfailingly possessed.

Kim Vandiver, dean for undergraduate research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said:

“We scour the country looking for young builders and inventors. They’re getting harder and harder to find.” MIT now offers classes and extracurricular activities devoted to taking things apart and putting them together, an effort to teach students the skills their fathers and grandfathers learned curbside on weekend afternoons.

Why should this matter?

Some would argue that the digital age has rendered such technical know-how obsolete.

Our omnipresent devices work the way we want them to (well, most of the time), with no skill required beyond pushing a button. What’s to be gained by knowing how they work?

Actually, a lot.

Research in the science of learning shows that hands-on building projects help young people conceptualize ideas and understand issues in greater depth.

In an experiment described in the International Journal of Engineering Education in 2009, for example, one group of eighth-graders was taught about water resources in the traditional way: classroom lectures, handouts and worksheets.

Meanwhile, a group of their classmates explored the same subject by designing and constructing a water purification device. The students in the second group learned the material better: they knew more about the importance of clean drinking water and how it is produced, and they engaged in deeper and more complex thinking in response to open-ended questions on water resources and water quality.

If we want more young people to choose a profession in one of the group of crucial fields known as STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—we ought to start cultivating these interests and skills early.

But the way to do so may not be the kind of highly structured and directed instruction that we usually associate with these subjects. Instead, some educators have begun taking seriously an activity often dismissed as a waste of time: tinkering.

Tinkering is the polar opposite of the test-driven, results-oriented approach of No Child Left Behind: it involves a loose process of trying things out, seeing what happens, reflecting and evaluating, and trying again.

“Tinkering is the way that real science happens, in all its messy glory,” says Sylvia Martinez, co-author of the new book Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom.

Martinez is one of the leaders of the “makers’ movement,” a nationwide effort to help kids discover the value of getting their hands dirty and their minds engaged.

The next generation of scientists—and artists, and inventors, and entrepreneurs—may depend on it.

Note: Read my articles in category Human Factors Engineering on Teaching methods https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2008/10/26/teaching-methods/

Did you Grew Up in Catholic School? Is that a refresher for your memory…?

20 Signs You Grew Up in Catholic School

There is a blog post floating around Facebook these days called 20 Signs You Grew Up A Church Kid.

After 12-years of Catholic school I didn’t understand most of them.  Apparently growing up in Catholic school is just not the same as growing up a church kid. They had fun Jesus learning with Mr.Psalty, and we had just plain old nun-ification.

With the help of three of my lovely former-plaid skirted friends, I came up with my own!

Let’s get this party started. Are you ready? Cause just like your first two hour mass, it’s going to be a loooong ride.

ASH WEDNESDAY

1. You at one point compared who got the “better” ash mark on their head from Ash Wednesday. Really they all looked like splotchy finger prints, but it kept you busy at recesses comparing noggins.

colored socks

2. You feel like a rebel when you wear colored socks. Oh yeah, now that you are out, no regulation white ankle or crew socks for you! Blue! Pink! Black! The world is your stage when it comes to sock color because you know how to party.

Peace be with you

3. When someone says “peace be with you” you say “also with you” without thinking. It’s true. The years of training sunk in, and there is no letting go.

The moment a boy walks into an all-girls school...mine?mine?mine?

4. While you tell everyone that going to an all-girls school helped you focus on school and made you more intelligent, you secretly know it also made you more desperate and socially awkward. It’s sad, and pretty embarrassing, but true.

Oh there's boys! I have to give a crap what I look like!

5. You secretly miss having your clothes picked out for you 5 out of 7 days in the week. Life was easier when you were forced to wear a uniform…unless you wear a uniform for your job…then you are probably thinking  “when is my free dress day???”

Class of kids

6.  You still remember the names of 30 kids you spent 8 years with…their parents, and siblings too.  Aaaah, elementary school. Sure a couple kids came and went, but you got to know this core group well. You battled teachers, started puberty, and all sat through mass every Tuesday together. These are ties no graduation can break.

kid playing with a ball

7. You still feel like you need say your prayer before a meal really, really fast, so you can get to recess faster. Because saying the words like you had a espresso, redbull and some crack all at the same time counts as a “real prayer” when you are starving and need that pudding cup…right?

Bible

8. You were shocked after you graduated to find out there were other translations of the Bible than the New American Version. NIV! ESV! IHSYESYGGLSO! Okay, that last one isn’t a translation that I know of but there are so many options out there! If you decided to stay or go back to the Christian life after graduation you were probably met with some confusion when you went to the Christian book store and was met with the aisles of different translations.

Authors note: This originally cited (wrongly) the King James translation, which isn’t approved by the Catholic church.  I have since had some coffee, woke up a bit, and changed it. 

kids dressed up as lambs

(A special shout out the Mountain Mama Teaching blog for this photo!)

9. You’ve been dressed up like an angel, a sheep, and a shepherd at least once (but probably three) times as a child. Don’t lie. Your mother has photos.

kids singing

10. …and you had to sing. A LOT. On top of the school pageants and usual fair, you had the special church events that they used your class singing off key like some secret choir reserve force when the old ladies got sick. It was probably just a plot to actually get your parents to mass every once and a while.

pew

11. When at any non-catholic church or the train station, your right knee automatically buckles anytime you enter a pew, and you have to stop yourself from kneeling. Again, it’s true.

Jesus holding a candy bar

12. You know how to fundraise and sell stuff like a boss. Whether you went to one of the “rich kids” Catholic schools or the “very much not rich kids” schools, either way they had you out pimping cookie dough, magazine subscriptions, wrapping paper, and coupon books every year. That pizza party just became less worth the trouble as time went on.

sign of the cross

13. Your non-Catholic friends think doing the sign of the cross is some complicated secret handshake and keep asking you to show them how to do it over and over. It really is a secret sign that makes you get the good wafers at communion. Ya know, the ones that don’t taste like cardboard.

Ghost sitting in church pew

14.  There was always some rumor about a dead saint body part, haunted room, or scary secret tradition (saying Bloody Mary into a mirror) at your church…that you totally bought. Admit it. You believed!

Teen dance in the 60's

15. You know what “leave room for the Holy Spirit means.” One foot apart with only arms touching is the only way to slow dance and keep Jesus happy.

drawing of kid confessing to a priest

16. You totally made up a sin during your first confession with a priest because you were in the first grade and didn’t understand what the heck was going on.  Your friend even said adultery, because it sounded cooler than cheating or thinking bad thoughts against your parents, and no one was smart-assy enough yet to just say murder.

sleeping-300x225

17. You dreaded stations of the cross day. It was long, you had to sit in a hard pew, and most of the time you couldn’t see action or hear the person speaking. So you just sat there. For all eternity.

Nuns holding guns

18.  You have strong feelings about nuns. ‘Nuff said.

May crowning

19. You are still bitter that you were not picked to play Mary during May Crowning or Jesus in the Last Supper. Only the coolest kids, and teachers favorites got those roles. Not little old you. It’s still hurtful to talk about.

Catholic school is like combat, unless you've been there. You don't know.

20. You talk more (aka are more traumatized) about your elementary school experience than anyone else who went to public school. It’s an experience that forever changed you. There was good, there was bad, there was just odd…but in the end you survived.

***Note: Each photo is a link to the original source of the photo***

Some other posts you may be interested in:

I don’t ask why– “Many people express to me that they do not understand why God would give my child cancer or not heal him in some miracle fashion. Others try to comfort me by telling me that even though we don’t know why, God is good, and He has a plan. But here is the thing…I don’t ask why.”

5 Blogs you should be reading (other than mine) – “I love a good blog. They can be funny, informative, intelligent, inspiring, and a way to make new friends. …  I wanted to share. Because sharing is caring…unless it’s herpes.”

So homemaking is a thing (with gifs)– “We all have skills… some people have more than others. Mine are sarcasm, jumping into too many projects, and annoying my husband. But home making really is a skill. It can be developed (what I am working on) or come naturally, but it is something that takes work, and maybe even a little practice.”

Don’t forget: I’d love to chat with you on Facebook and get submissions for my guest post series!

Six tips for your last-minute application to the European Social Innovation Competition

Monday, 3 April 2017

Life happens. Deadines can sneak up on you. It’s understandable. So if you’ve yet to submit your application for the European Social Innovation Competition, you’ll be relieved to hear you are not alone.

The 2016 competition received 84% of applications in the final week, so there is still plenty of time for you to send us your ideas.

This year, the competition is looking for social innovations to ‘reboot’ equality through fresh approaches to digital inclusion, the collaborative economy and skills development, with the top three ideas awarded €50,000 prizes.

We’re looking for inspiring ideas from people all across Europe who believe in making the most of skills and technologies to close the gap in our society and compete in a changing economy.

We want innovators to create business models giving everyone an equal chance to seize the opportunities brought by technological change – like last year’s finalists, Capital Digital, who train 15-20 year old migrants and asylum seekers in technical and pedagogical skills to teach coding and programming to their 9-12 year old peers in the poorest neighbourhoods of Brussels.

Or like one of our speakers at this year’s launch event in Athens, Fairmondo, a cooperatively-owned marketplace that promotes fair goods and services and responsible consumption.

Innovators, procrastinators, ‘I’ll do it later’-ers: I have some good news for you…

  1. The application form is only seven questions. That’s it. Seven questions stand between you and a chance to win €50,000.
  2. The form is a maximum of 1000 words. It really is a very straightforward application. Make sure you leave some time to fill in your contact information and answer the evaluation questions.
  3. You only need to have an idea. All ideas are welcome, and if they are not mature yet, we’ll help you reach the stage of prototyping and implementation. Twenty-three out of last year’s 30 semi-finalists had been working on their idea for less than a year when they entered the competition. The support we provide throughout the competition, such as the three-day mentoring academy in Madrid, will help you bring your idea to life or support the development of an existing project.
  4. You can apply in your own language, as long as it’s one of the 24 official languages of the European Union.
  5. Individuals, groups and organisations can apply. It doesn’t matter what your legal structure is. You don’t need to form a team or find partners. You just need a good idea for rebooting equality in Europe. One of last year’s winners, Project Virtuous Triangle, were undergraduate students whose project was only an idea when they entered the competition.
  6. The competition is open to participants from European Union Member States and Horizon 2020 participantsResidents from 44 countries are eligible to apply (and yes, that still includes the UK).

It’s not too late to submit your entry, but make sure your application form is complete and submitted through the online platform by 12 noon Brussels time (that’s 11 am GMT) on Friday 7 April.

If you have any questions, please consult the FAQs or drop us a line on info@socialinnovationprize.eu.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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