About Our Connected Future, 4: Policy Transition from Entities to RELATIONS Between Entities

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 10.40.09

Princeton professor Ann-Marie Slaughter, former director of policy planning at the US State Department, applies network theory to international relations in the post-cold war world. Her important book “The Chess-Board & The Web – Strategies of Connection in a Networked World”  about that has been published March 21, 2017 by Yale University Press. And after pre-ordering it reached me June 30. To explain the importance of this book (which at last gives an up-to-date view to non geeks on the issues I follow) I will quote what editor of NL quality newspaper NRC and nrc.nl Wouter van Noort wrote about this book: , see https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2017/06/30/internet-verandert-de-essentie-van-veiligheid-11374271-a1565151 “Internet vraagt om nieuwe verdediging” (paper version).

================ In the Dutch language (NL)==Quote of Wouter van Noort==

Een maatschappij die zo afhankelijk is van netwerken vereist een andere manier van denken over veiligheid en stabiliteit dan de analoge samenleving. „De wereld is geen schaakbord meer”, argumenteert de Amerikaanse politicologe Anne-Marie Slaughter in haar boek The Chessboard and the Web (2017). Traditioneel waren volgens haar internationale conflicten vergelijkbaar met een schaakbord, met netjes afgebakende zwart-witte vlakjes. „Daarop konden staatsmannen hun machtspolitiek en grootse strategieën uitspelen”, schrijft ze. Het verloop van de strijd was enigszins voorspelbaar, de spelers grotendeels bekend.

Niet meer. De vlakjes van het schaakbord zijn vervaagd, oude spelers krijgen concurrentie van een bonte verzameling hackers, activisten, criminelen en andere nieuwkomers.

Essentiële vragen blijven onbeantwoord. Wie zit er achter deze hack? Hoe voorkom je deze ontwrichting? Hoe vergeld je zoiets? Het ordelijke schaakbord is veranderd in een real time, chaotisch en complex wereldwijd netwerk waarin elke actie een onverwachte reactie teweegbrengt.

De oude benadering van veiligheid vertrouwde op muren, wachttorens, landsgrenzen en firewalls. Die blijken continu zo lek als een mandje.

Slaughter roept beleidsmakers op tot een „network mindset”. Zij moeten zich veel meer verdiepen in de unieke wiskundige eigenschappen van netwerken in plaats van te vertrouwen op hun analoge intuïtie. Ze ziet meer in de logica van internet dan in de logica van het schaakbord: eerder denken in verbindingen dan in afbakeningen. Decentraal georganiseerd in plaats van centraal.

Dat zijn zeer abstracte gedachten. Hoe de concrete digitale verdediging van landen, bedrijven en haventerminals eruit moet zien, is nog lang niet helder. Maar dát er iets drastisch moet veranderen in het netwerktijdperk, wordt met elke grote cyberaanval duidelijker.

================= end of NL quote====== start of partial translation======

Slaughter call on policy makers to acquire a “Network Mindset”. They must study the unique mathematical characteristics and functions of network ((dynamics)) more in depht, instead of relying on their analog intuition. She has more confidence in the logic of internet than in the logic of the chessboard: thinking more in terms of CONNECTIONS than in terms of demarcations/boundaries. De-centrally organized instead of centrally.


Those are very abstract thoughts. What the practical digital defense of countries, companies and habor-terminals should look like is still far from clear. But that something ((mindset)) should be changed in a drastic way in THE NETWORK AGE becomes more clear with every cyberattack.

=============== end of quote translation============================

This book is based on Ann-Marie’s “Henry L. Stimson Lectures” in November 2015:


II https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGj8dQJHZjs

III https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhUwP87cqGQ

Synopsis of this book:

From a renowned foreign-policy expert, a new paradigm for strategy in the twenty-first century

In 1961, Thomas Schelling’s The Strategy of Conflict used game theory to radically reenvision the U.S.-Soviet relationship and establish the basis of international relations for the rest of the Cold War. Now, Anne-Marie Slaughter—one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers from 2009 to 2012, and the first woman to serve as director of the State Department Office of Policy Planning—applies network theory to develop a new set of strategies for the post-Cold War world. While chessboard-style competitive relationships still exist—U.S.-Iranian relations, for example—many other situations demand that we look not at individual entities but at their links to one another.*) We must learn to understand, shape, and build on those connections.
Concise and accessible, based on real-world situations, on a lucid understanding of network science, and on a clear taxonomy of strategies, this will be a go-to resource for anyone looking for a new way to think about strategy in politics or business.

About the author:

Anne-Marie Slaughter is President and CEO of New America, former Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department, and former Dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Her previous books include A New World Order and Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family, named one of the best books of 2015 by the Washington Post, the Economist, and NPR. She lives in Princeton, NJ.
*) In my humble opinion the crux of her geopolitical vision marks a transition from: focussing at Nodes/Centres/area’s  to: looking at Links/Relation/flows. Please be aware that these are and always have been each others DUAL. Like light & dark, fire & water. As described in Genesis and many other religious core texts.
jaap van till, TheConnectivist


Posted in 1Planet Mindset, Collaboration, Communities, cooperation, Darwin 3.0, Future of Internet, Geo-Politics, Geopolitics, Internet Freedom, Ligare Liberum, Megaregions, Network Dynamics, Network Science, P2P Commons, Uncategorized, Wealth creation | 3 Comments

About Our Connected Future, 3: Patterns of Complexity of World Society

  1. One of the necessary big transformations towards the future is the change of view & policies from:
  • [studying fragmented issues/ symptoms that might be correlated/ connected] to:
  • [finding patterns (repeated and causated) in the WHOLE interconnected complex organic grown system/ life form].

The former approach is still done by corporations and national governments who are panicked by their awareness of loosing grip and facing unsuccessful control of parts of the population that is emancipated enough to think for themselves. Often the governing actions and policies backfire or even result in the opposite of what they intended to achieve. And when the policy makers DO perceive that the issues are much more complex than they thought (as Trump’s team found when they studied the health care system) and linked to a huge amount of other issues, governments corporate managers try to escape into simplifying their world views (models) understandable for the public [close their mind to critique, media comments and scientific advice]. The next step is even more lethal. They start to Simplify Reality [by isolation (cutting links/ various ways of “cleansing”, which means putting people in prison or even killing them] to make model and their part of the world fit,  and confirm the views of the leaders and their established ruling class. This approach unfortunately results in killing, armed conficts and bombing each other: destruction and suffering.

2. An example of an approach that DOES take complexity into account and finds patterns that shows ways to take actions on a large scale and scope is the following research done by professor Bar-Yam of MIT and NECSI – New England Complex Systems Institute.

a. Press version (June 17, 2017) of Bar-Yams lecture (see b. and c.)


===================reblog of the MotherBoard article=====

The ‘Complex Systems Theorist’ Who Predicted the Arab Spring
Using big data and new number-crunching strategies, math can be used to predict global crises.

          By JASON KOEBLER 

In early 2011, a few days before Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in the middle of a busy street, Yaneer Bar-Yam sent his research to the US government.

Bar-Yam’s message was simple: If drastic measures weren’t immediately taken to lower skyrocketing global food prices, widespread violence would occur. Bouazizi’s act set off food riots and are widely seen as the beginning of the Arab Spring.

Bar-Yam is a theoretical physicist turned “complex systems theorist.” He’s the president of the New England Complex Systems Institute, a group that tries to explain why the world works the way it does. He says that using a mix of big data, machine learning, and mathematics derived from the science of phase transitions, his team is able to identify the tipping points of a wide variety of global crises.

Violence and riots occur at the peaks of the food price index. Image: VICE

His team pulls from census and survey data, official government numbers from around the world, social media posts, and a host of other data sets in an attempt to explain the world around us. Our new video series, The Math That Explains the World, will feature Bar-Yam’s work on the Arab Spring, governance, ethnic violence around the world, and inequality.

The key, he says, is determining what isn’t important.

As the world grows increasingly complex, society becomes more interdependent and thus harder to explain the specific inputs that are causing a certain output. But with more data and more number-crunching capabilities, Bar-Yam’s institute has been able to narrow down the causes of crises in many cases. Surprisingly, the flashpoints of major crises can usually be traced to a few specific policies.

“There are many different things that people might think would cause food prices to increase, but it turns out by looking at them we can eliminate most of them,” Bar-Yam said. “For example, we can eliminate the possibility that changing diet in China caused rising food prices. Or that currency exchange rates caused rising food prices. Instead, it turns out that there are only two things that are important.”

According to Bar-Yam’s research, American policies on ethanol—which means a huge amount of US corn is used to power cars rather than food—and commodity market deregulation in the late 1990s were the major cause of skyrocketing food prices.

“Our ethanol policy by itself has lead to, by now, a doubling of global food prices. The deregulation of the markets leads to peaks that lie on top of a gradual increase that’s due to the ethanol policy,” he said. “The peaks are the triggers of the food riots and the Arab Spring, but the underlying increase plays an important part as well.”

============ end of re-blogged article in Motherboard==================

b. Segment of the lecture, October 20 2015, about cause and huge Conflicts effects of Food-Ethanol conversion and speculation/storage of food supplies (commodities).

c. The Youtube Full Version of the Lecture

d. And Bar-Yam’s warning article in New Scientist in 2011:


3. I recommend you see the whole video because he also gives advice (or at least sets the stage for discussion about barriers between “authonomic”*) ethnic/religious groups in order to avoid violent & armed conflicts. 

I will add the highlights of the lecture later in this blog.

(a) As outlined by the professor there occured a CASCADE of Parallel WORLD SYSTEM CRISES, each with its own avalance chain reaction:

–Lifting of the (federal policy) limits imposed after the 1930’s crash on Corn (Commodity) speculation  –> (federal policy) decision to convert up to 50% of American corn into Ethanol for combustion engines in cars & trucks instead of human consumption –> riots and revolutions in Northern African countries —>the 2008 financial crisis. The crash in US house prices in 2007 was followed by a stock market crash, then a puzzling peak in the price of commodities such as wheat and metals.–> conflicts in Lybia and Syria —> Terrorism and mass migration (refugee crisis, see in sheet down right corner) to Europe.

Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 15.27.53

(b) The French, Russian, Cuban and Chinese Revolutions also had roots in food shortages and hunger riots, remember !??

4. So in hindsight many of these huge crises and crashes where not the cause but the effects of silly decisions elsewhere. It shows that we can no longer afford nationalism, but should implement new types of “federal = worldwide” collective intelligence & governace PLUS decentralised local authority.  I do have to warn you though that Complexity Studies have only recently been started and noticed. The field is in its early phases of development and possibly not flawless and should be persued much more widely all over the world. It is urgent that such academic projects should be funded urgently since our shared future depends on it !!

5. See also my blog about the crash of the financial system in 2008: https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/the-financial-system-is-unstable/

*) “authonomic” is relatively light : deciding together about schooling system & cirriculum, language(s) of formal documents, etc.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

Posted in cascade, chain reaction, Complexity, Financial Crisis, Migration, refugee crisis, Terrorism, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

About Our Connected Future. 2: “Connecting People to Prosperity in the Exponential Age”

Amin Toufani

This a must-read re-blog from Singularity Hub http://ift.tt/2rvj6Vw

It was also reposted by the P2PFoundation blog and the Collective Intelligence blog.

I consider it as one of the most clear update on the way ahead we together face. It liks together a number of issues I blogged about on this page.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist


Connecting People to Prosperity in the Exponential Age

“Our assumptions about how economies function no longer seem to hold true entirely because of exponential technology.”

This claim came from entrepreneur and Singularity University faculty member, Amin Toufani, during his talk at Singularity University’s Exponential Finance Summit in New York last week.

In what he calls exponential economics or “exonomics”, Toufani breaks the tech-driven changes happening in the modern economy into seven pillars: people, property, production, price, power, policy, and prosperity.

Toufani pointed out that exonomics’ ultimate goal is to connect people and prosperity, and he shared his thoughts on how to do so.


“Technology is empowering all of us, and people seem to be doing what companies used to do and companies seem to be doing what governments used to do,” Toufani said.

The democratizing effect of information technology is enabling small teams to have an outsized impact. He showed a graph of collaboration app Slack’s user growth, and it’s practically a vertical line. A few years old, Slack reaches millions of users, many of whom pay for the service, and was recently valued upwards of $9 billion.

The kicker? Slack was created by a team of 12 software developers. And it’s far from the only such example.

But what about people who aren’t creating apps?

Toufani also noted how the internet is fueling what he calls nano-economics. This is the gig economy, where freelancers find work through platforms and take gigs for payment of $5 or less.

“The smallest unit of work has shrunk,” he said. “And this is great. It means more people can behave entrepreneurially and be exposed to the upside and also the downside of the market.”

But there’s a challenge. Net productivity has risen steadily over the last 40 years, while hourly compensations have stayed mostly flat. This gap is reflected by the Gini Coefficient, which measures inequality—the US figure went from 37.7 in 1986 to 41.1 in 2013.

“So, are we headed towards exponential inequality? Potentially. This is something we need to pay attention to,” Toufani said. “We need to think about how economies function, how businesses function, and what our individual strategies should be.”


Technology is changing the dynamics of ownership for everything from cars to homes to everyday goods by giving people more choice—and we’re mostly choosing not to own as many things. On-demand ride services like Lyft make it easier to not own a car. The sharing economy means you can rent someone else’s room, office, farm equipment, or supercomputer (among other things) for as long as you need it.

Toufani predicted that when driverless cars become widespread, they’ll have an impact on real estate prices too. “People won’t mind living five or ten minutes further away, because their time spent in the car will be productive. They can read. They can rest. They can watch that movie. Then the supply of viable real estate goes up. Demand is the same, and we could see downward pressure on price,” he said.

Or maybe they won’t opt to go into work at all, but instead attend meetings in virtual reality—virtual worlds themselves offer entirely new “digital” things to own.

“In summary: Ownership seems to be going down, virtualization is on the rise, decentralization is on the rise, asset value seems to be compressing, and production cost seems to be going down,” Toufani said.


Amazon is the world’s largest retailer, and they don’t have any inventory. Airbnb is the largest hospitality company, and they own zero hotels. And money no longer seems to be the core asset for banking—solid infrastructure for the flow of money is becoming more important.

When thinking about production, Toufani urges business owners to ask themselves, “What are the things we hold to be core to our business that, in light of exponential change, might no longer be as necessary or even relevant?”

Production costs are going down, and the common denominator across various platforms is that they’re enabling people and companies to share things, services and time they have in excess and that they’re not utilizing.


Pretty much since the beginning of business, the intersection of supply and demand have determined price. “Not anymore,” Toufani said. “The marginal cost of supply and the cost of creating one more unit of product or service has gone down, some would argue all the way to zero. You can price discriminate, and the entire area under the supply curve is beginning to be serviceable.”

This means companies should dynamically price their products or services. Direct auctions and reverse auctions (where you start at a high price point and tick the price down, or start at a low price point and tick the price up) are two common methods of dynamic pricing, and they help keep the market at the right price point for each purchase.


Toufani noted that many of the companies that have entered the S&P 500 since 2002 are platforms rather than traditional product or service businesses. To move from traditional business to a platform model, he said, “You need to think about the lives of your competitors and find ways to make their lives easier.”

While you may forego the profitability of your product or service by doing so, you establish yourself as a de facto standard on a given platform and enjoy more market power over the long-term as a result.

That’s why companies like Google and Tesla have taken intellectual property they spent millions of dollars developing and released it to the public—for free. No one can argue that either of these companies lack market power.


When a product that increases GDP (by creating more demand for itself) and a product that disrupts an entire supply chain (by replacing it with something more efficient) are in competition, which product will policymakers usually support?

The one that will increase GDP, of course, because it will help the economy grow.

Toufani calls this the growth fallacy. “Most of our policy makers are tunnel-visioned on GDP as the best measure of the economic well-being of a society,” he said. But destroying an entire supply chain isn’t a bad thing, because it will be replaced with a superior version of itself.

Disruptive technologies by definition do just that—disrupt. We need to find policy models that encourage disruption rather than treating it negatively.

“I met three prime ministers last year and I can tell you, none of them are ready for this world and the implications for our societies,” he said.


Toufani concluded by telling the audience that 10,000 years of economic history come down to one thing: adding certainty to an uncertain world. He said, “There’s no better measure of certainty in our lives than this: for the first time in human history, extreme poverty levels have fallen below 20 percent.”

People around the world are being lifted out of poverty, and though it’s happening “a little too slow for my taste,” he said, it’s an encouraging and directionally correct trend—and it’s accelerating.

The organizations that will continue to create prosperity and help this trend will have the following characteristics: they’ll manage fewer people but more information, opt to be platforms instead of ofering specific products and services, and will have less stability but still manage to generate more revenue and higher impact.

“The truth is,” Toufani said, “I’m very optimistic about this future. But there’s one area that I worry about, and that is a crisis of imagination. The biggest risk is not thinking big enough.”

Vanessa is associate editor of Singularity Hub. She’s interested in renewable energy, health, the developing world, and countless other topics. When she’s not reading or writing you can usually find her outdoors, in water, or on a plane.
================== end of re-blog ==========
Posted in 1Planet Mindset, blockchain, btwieners, Collaboration, Commons Transition, Communities, cooperation, Disruptive Innovation, Emancipation, Empowerment, Exonomics, Exponential growth, Generation Change, Growing food, innovation, Kantelaars, Maker Movement, Network Effect, New Power, P2P Collective Intelligence, P2P Commons, P2P Power, Platform cooperativism, ReBuild, Regionalism, Second Uprising, social innovation, Synthecracy, TransTribalCollaboration, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

About Our Connected Future 1 : Cisco’s new positioning

US ICT companies

(European and Chinese ICT companies are not included)

Dear all, I have taken the liberty to repost an excellent article in The Economist. You know they live on an island slowly sliding away. But this is very impressive journalism 🙂 about the whole ICT industry and our DIGITAL FUTURE.

Here you can download the PDF of the Article ===>   Cisco adapts to the rise of cloud computing


WHEN John Chambers ran Cisco, the world’s biggest maker of networking gear, his hyperactivity nearly matched that of the high-speed switches and routers that made the firm’s fortune. He pushed Cisco into dozens of new businesses, from settop boxes to virtual health care. He travelled the world preaching the virtues of connectivity. In interviews it was hard to get a word in edgeways. Conversations invariably ended on a restless question: “What should we do differently?” Chuck Robbins, who succeeded Mr Chambers in July 2015, has two decades of experience selling Cisco gear and seems more comfortable talking about its core business than about diversifications. He avoids the limelight and comes across as almost shy. But he, too, is aware of the need to keep moving. “Networking is getting complex. We need intuitive networks that are secure and can learn and adapt.” Different times require different bosses. Mr Chambers led Cisco to the top during the dotcom boom; in the early 2000s it became the world’s most valuable firm (see chart).

Mr Robbins’s task is to keep it relevant as more and more computing moves into the cloud, which entails the provision of all kinds of services over the internet. On June 20th the firm announced a collection of new products which show how it is adapting: Cisco will focus on software and services, particularly the sort that automate the management of data networks. Cisco is best known for its switches and routers (the former are the central building blocks of networks, the latter connect them with each other).

Although it embraced the internet’s open standards, Cisco came to dominate data networking for telecoms firms and other enterprises. Its boxes work well with each other and they can be centrally managed. Most firms’ network engineers know how to use Cisco’s boxes.

Although its market share has declined in recent years, the firm still sells more than half of all new switches and routers, which together generate more than half of its annual revenue of about $50bn.

Owning the mightiest platform in networking, says Pierre Ferragu of Sanford C. Bernstein, a research firm, provides a defence against competitors, such as China’s Huawei and Arista Networks, based in California. It also makes Cisco less vulnerable to a problem bedevilling some makers of computing and storage gear, such as Dell, EMC or HPE: “commoditisation”, meaning they are losing pricing power.

But Cisco’s franchise is facing two threats. First, the more computing is done in thecloud, the less firms have to buy their own gear, including networking equipment.

Instead of paying for an “end-to-end network” from Cisco, big cloud operators such as Amazon and Microsoft prefer gear that precisely fits their requirements. This is why Cisco’s cloud sales have disappointed, while more specialised vendors such as Arista have made inroads. The second threat is that software is increasingly important to how networks are run: that makes it easier for rivals to sidestep or overtake Cisco’s products.

Under Mr Robbins, Cisco has responded in several ways. It is offering tailor-made products to the big cloud providers. It has beefed up its software and services business and, to ensure more stable revenues, is making more of its productsavailable as a subscription. Earlier this year the firm bought AppDynamics, which makes software to monitor the performance of corporate applications, and Viptela, whose programs manage networks, for $3.7bn and $610m respectively. Subscriptions and other recurring income now make up a tenth of Cisco’s revenues from products.

Cisco’s bet is that computing will never be fully centralised in vast data centres (ie clouds), but will live on many systems, big and small, says Rohit Mehra of IDC, a research firm. Cisco thinks that trends such as an explosion in the number of connected devices, also known as the “internet of things”, will almost certainly add to complexity, not reduce it.

The products introduced this week are designed for this kind of environment. They include software which lets engineers control hundreds of thousands of devices, programs to define who or what is allowed to access a network and services to detect malware in encrypted traffic. For the first time, Cisco will sell new switches that come with subscriptions which unlock these sorts of extra capabilities.

Developers will get more tools to write applications for Cisco’s platform. Being the firm that makes ever more complex networks safe and “intuitive”, to quote Mr Robbins’s new catchphrase, seems a sensible goal. It is already one of the biggest vendors of cyber-security products. It has enough money to pursue its ambitions: more than $70bn in cash.

But computing could yet become much more centralised, leaving less space for Cisco to knit things together. Big cloud providers will also try to get into the business of managing and automating networks. And Cisco has a mixed record of implementing its strategy. However well it does, Cisco is unlikely to achieve a goal set by Mr Chambers back in 2013: to become the world’s “number-one player” in corporate-information technology. The more realistic Mr Robbins is unlikely to articulate such an ambition—he would probably be happy if Cisco remained among the top five.

<<This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition of The Economist under the headline “Flicking the switch”; dated June 22, 2017>>


I recommend you subscribe to The Economist.

And watch Ciena,   OpenFog Computing and Juniper too.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist


Posted in Routers, Security, Switches, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Innovative Nazava Waterfilters can Improve Lives of Millions


Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 12.22.17

Their website is on https://www.nazava.com/en/about?4

Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 12.57.42


Safedrinking water, for everyone, everywhere

PT Holland For Water provides the best affordable and safest household water filters in Indonesia under the brand name Nazava Water Filters. We enable lower income households to filter their well or tap water without the need to boil or using electricity, hence reducing human diseases, household costs and green house gas emissions.

Nazava Water Filters is a social enterprise based in Bandung, and Banda Aceh Indonesia. Since its start at the end of 2009 Nazava Water Filters has provided more than 160,000 people with access to safe drinking water through 60 resellers in over 53 cities in Indonesia.



Everyone everywhere should have access to safe and affordable drinking water.

It is our mission to be Indonesian’s premier water filter company of safe and affordable water filters. We focus on marketing the best available water filters for the lowest possible price, especially targeting the bottom of the pyramid.


Simple and appropriate technology

The core product of Nazava is the Tulip water filter. Using this filter, households can filter their own tap, well river or rain water. The Tulip filter is used in 11 different water filter housings. The replacement filter only costs $8,- US (Retail). The costs of the water filter housings vary from $10 US to 45 USD (including the filter). All products come with an Indonesian user manual with clear and simple pictures, an indicator to replace the water filter and a one year warrantee card.

Safe drinking water

The filtered water is safe to drink and fulfils the WHO standards. The Tulip Filter has been successfully used during the cholera outbreaks in Haiti and Zimbabwe. Test reports of more than 29 laboratories can be checked on our website, please click here 

 Cost,- and life saving

The costs of obtaining safe drinking water are high. Boiling water in rural areas and refilling gallons in urban areas remain the most popular options to get safe drinking water. The Nazava Water Filters are ten times cheaper than buying water and five times cheaper than boiling water. Besides, per year 6 out of every  1000 children in Indonesia below five die of water born diseases such as diareah. Boiling water on wood causes enormous amounts of carbon emissions. Nazava water filters help in fighting diarrhoea and, when used as an alternative to boiling water they are an effective tool against global warming. We have an agreement with Impact Carbon to obtain carbon credits for our water filter sales.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

Posted in Holland Heroes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Never a Dull Moment

Net Neutrality

Yes I admit it, I am a Twitter trans-bubble addict. If you are curious, unlikely & unexpected things flow by constantly.

After hours and hours of reading Tweets I start to look a bit like this:


PS. I love girls with FOCUS.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Makes Cities Bloom and Prosper?: Connected and Cooperating People

flap boek

This is the title of chapter 8 that I wrote in a book*) about “Smart Cities”, see picture.

============part of chapter=====

What Makes Cities Bloom and Prosper?: Connected & Cooperating People

Jaap van Till

Prof Emeritus Network Architecture and Digital Infrastructures, Tildro Research, Rhenen, The Netherlands


People are amazed at the complexity and size of anthills in Africa, but what they do not realize that these are built not by leadership or architectural instructions, but by emergent behaviour from hundreds of thousands of face-to-face interactions between ants and subsequent massive numbers of small actions, by groups of ants with different functions. From these they together build ventilation channels, humidity control, storage rooms, escape tunnels, carry food, etc etc. These face-to-face interactions are done by smelling each other with only eight different smell codes. In the present cities of the world most tasks are done by also face-to-face in real life (IRL) meetings of people, but our small and big human-hills are much influenced by tele- (on a distance) communication also. By watching TV broadcasts, by talking on the telephones together, by looking and interacting from their PC’s, smartphones or Laptops connected to fast Internet. These hundreds of millions of parallel messages and interactions daily have a massive effect on what cities look like and how they evolve.

In this chapter we present a number of ways these interactions influence and exert power on the cities. From e-mail and telephone to more complicated collaboration tools that are carrying information, knowledge and practical knowhow to get things done, to wisdom and conscious shared visions. It is not the ICT technology only, but what individuals and groups of people do together with those power tools that matter.

Keywords: Smart Cities, Social Networks, Connectivity, Collaboration, Network Effects, Synergy, Synthetic Apertures, Collective Intelligence, Corridoria, network effects, telescope metaphor, value creation, chains of city regions, global brain, weavelets, commons, synthecracy.

8.1 Introduction

An interesting example of a very successful, recently constructed, mega-city is Dubai, an important hub in international airline flights. In a promotional video about this city, Parag Khanna, famous map-maker of international infrastructures [1], tells what is so good about the resilience and strategy of Dubai’s architects [2]. But the question remains after you see this film: what is the MOTOR of that city? Therefore, one of the research questions of this book chapter is “How can we make small and big cities bloom? What drives prosperity there?

Many scholars have published answers to these questions. For instance Richard Florida derived guidelines for American cities who noticed that some cities where successful in attracting talented young people who started new businesses. He published the three T’s related to 3 magnets: Technology, Talent, and Tolerance; which do interact and mix to produce a kind of ‘chimney effect’ of growth. Cities that do not create these conditions can be shown in the statistics to decline fast. The movers and kickers leave those towns. Other more recent influential work is in the books and lectures of Jeremy Rifkin [3]. His main advice for prosperity and attractiveness of city area’s is to construct and improve the three vital infrastructures for (mega-poli) city-area’s: Energy distribution infrastructure, ICT& communication digital flows infrastructure, physical goods and persons & goods transport infrastructure for logistics. For these infrastructures in order to operate & maintain there must be in place: a Communications Internet, an Energy Internet and a Transportation Internet!!!

A smart energy grid cannot operate without a smart digital network. Same applies for logistics. That can only function without a vast grid of computer and human communications.

I will focus in this chapter not on the vital conditions, but on what people DO TOGETHER in cities based on those infrastructures and why that, as a motor, can create value and wealth.

8.2 Human Networking

It should be clear that the activity of “networking” is very much empowered, supported and speeded up in recent decades by Internet-Email and Social Media use. What are less visible are the informal networks of people who help each other or refer them to others who maybe can solve the stated problem.

There is always (1) a formal network of decision makers with authority and power who delegate tasks in hierarchies and to which you have to report and (2) a second network of specialists who have knowledge on a certain, usually very narrow but deep, subject and its solutions to problems.

Problem is that these much respected specialists do not refer to each other because they consider themselves as the centre of the universe and often do not think other people know anything relevant. Fortunately there is also (3) a third network present in every organization, otherwise the organization would not have existed anymore. It is the network of “carriers”/gatekeepers. They keep decision makers and specialists in balance by carrying issues forward, often by transferring questions to somebody somewhere that they think knows everything about a solution, and if not transfer it to somebody else, etcetera.

Scientists are very good at this, which can usually solve anything insides or outsides the organisation within six or seven steps. There are a number of rules & ethics, elucidated in my published lecture [4] for this very important social “networking” which can take place on eMail, in corridors, at lunch, in coffeehouses or pubs. These carriers/transfer agents test each other out to know if they can be trusted to solve problems. So there is a lot more behind this than shaking hands at parties and exchanging business cards. You must have done work together and shown your abilities to be included in one of the many “networks” in a city. Otherwise you will be bypassed.

Interestingly there is another level of social networking which is less well known but even more important not only for the functioning of cities but for the stability of society. In 1973 the sociologist M. Granovetter noticed that graduates from universities got more successful jobs from referrals & recommendations by distant acquaintances (weak links) than from their own family members (strong links). These ‘weak links’ are in fact very strong and effective, that is why I have given them another name “Btwieners”, see [4].

Key is that they are respected in more than one tribe, like the traveller Gandalf the Gray in Tolkien’s books, welcome wherever he arrived. This rare breed of super-networker I call Btwiener who is able to interconnect people in different tribes/families to work together in teams based on their respective shown different abilities/skills/crafts allowing to contributing whatever their background is. The super-networker activates their ability to learn very fast from their colleagues. Such open teams learn from their clients and from the environment they work in and improve and innovate so fast that others can copy but not overtake them. I call that ‘trans tribal collaboration’.

Prof. Peter Csermely studied [5] these interconnecting people and found that a vast variety of networks, varying from proteins, people, brain repair cells to eco-systems also use weak interactions to function and solve damages. These mobile units stabilize the whole system. And only a few of them are around. You will not find them on any formal organization chart though.

Social networks on Internet support & speed up very much the activities of ‘networking’ as well as the ‘Btwiening’. I recommend that cities identify and support these Btwieners because although they most often do their work voluntary, the effect of what they do is most often underestimated. They are a make or break asset

==========end, part of chapter 8==========

The full text of my chapter can be downloaded here ==>  08_Chapter_08

The basic message of my chapter is that Human networks of unique/different cooperating people connected will drive prosperity in the new societies worldwide.

  • Therefore I launched my new slogan: : “CONNECTING DiFFERENCES Multiplies DHARMA”

*) The book was recently (June 10, 2017) published by River Publishers  and is called ” Breakthroughs in Smart City Implementation” and it can be purchased from them or ordered from Amazon.com or amazon.co.uk  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Breakthroughs-Smart-City-Implementation-Ligthart/dp/8799923726/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1497347670&sr=1-1

PS. During the recent Conasense Workshop in Amsterdam I briefly presented my chapter + some general observations, to the other authors and EurAsian scholars with the following powerpoint sheets ===>  Human Networks JvT CONASENSE

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

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