Thursday, August 14, 2008

Once you have a light bulb, you need an industry to distribute it.

I've been participating in a Social Edge forum this week and one of the introductory articles was from the Harvard Review, titled Design Thinking.

In this article the author wrote about how "Thomas Edison created the electric lightbulb and then wrapped an entire industry around it." He wrote, "Edison’s genius lay in his ability to conceive of a fully developed marketplace, not simply a discrete device. He was able to envision how people would want to use what he made, and he engineered toward that insight."

I have used this example in the past (read here) to illustrate how the Tutor/Mentor Connection was created to provide a full range of supports needed by our Cabrini Connections program, so that we could have a greater impact on our 7th grade students reaching jobs and careers by age 25.

In order to build support for a single small program in Chicago, we've had to envision an industry that would support similar programs in every poverty neighborhood of the world.

In order for this vision to be successful, my role is a catalyst. Others need to become the owners and leaders. This concept of decentralized organization supported by a platform of knowledge and collaboration is illustrated in a book titled The Spider and the Starfish. I urge you to read it.

I encourage you to view the concept maps and other articles we've created to illustrate this vision, and to invite our peers, and potential supporters, to incorporate these ideas into their own thinking.

By the way...

I hope you notice the new format for this blog. Instead of archiving articles by month, I've archived them by topic. Thus, if you want to review articles related to violence, or No Child Left Behind (NCLB), click on the tag, and you can scroll through past articles on this topic.

If you're forming a learning group, these articles can provide a valuable resource for helping your group become a leader in building this Edison-like infrastructure. I hope you'll use it, and contribute to it with your own articles.

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