Tag Archives: technology

Outsourcing NASA could be, you know, dangerous

Astronaut Memorial Foundation's Space Mirror

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Useful recommendations for NASA:

An aerospace panel is warning NASA that relying on private companies to send astronauts into space would raise serious safety issues.

The federal watchdog Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel said that outsourcing would be “unwise and probably not cost-effective” because private space companies are not yet technically advanced enough to safely put astronauts into orbit, The Wall Street Journal reported.

When has it ever raised safety issues before?

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On the relationship between orgs and crowdsourcing

The model shows institutions and market as a p...

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Good post at Warren Ng’s blog:

Corporations exist for a reason. That reason most likely is attributed to the power of many, yet corporations break down when executives make bad decisions and the remainder of the company suffers. Promotions and bonuses are put on hold or worse jobs are lost. Seems that corporations haven’t figured out how to utilize the man power effectively.

My reply:

You’re making some important points here (and adding some much-needed balance to the breathless claims that crowdsourcing will replace the corporation). The reason for traditional organizations to exist is largely based in Coase’s theory of the firm: the transaction costs of using a market are minimized or eliminated when performed internally by a firm. Crowdsourcing shifts some of those activities out of the firm by providing lower transaction costs than the firm, something difficult or impossible prior to social media technology.

Savvy entrepreneurs in the crowdsourcing space are beginning at the point of determining which organizational processes lend themselves to being performed outside of the firm, whether they are viewing their value proposition that broadly or not (incidentally, outsourcing and offshoring were both precursors in the attempt to seek lower transaction costs). There are some processes that will probably always stay within the firm–primarily those administrative activities that cause a firm to cohere. This is currently exemplified by the tendency of most new commercially-focused crowdsourcing ventures to form a company first, then sell the results to another company. At present it is more efficient for a company to seek funding, hire staff, and build platforms within a traditional company structure. That may not always be the case.

It’s interesting to contemplate the evolution of organizational forms as technology enables new arrangements. It challenges a great many of our assumptions. That said, I should probably leave it there lest this comment become a post of its own.

Too late.

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Networked innovation requires a shift in thinking


Unfortunately, by seeking the rare brilliance of a limited few instead of the statistically likely success of the connected many, the “lone genius” worldview has limited our ability to make meaningful progress in everything from technology, to organizations, to education, and all the way to society. We’ve done very little to systematically develop technology to support the innovation process. Overall, we are still in the “horseless carriage” days of living in a truly networked world. We can do better, but how do we begin to engage this new way of being? We believe a path to the future can be found by paying conscious attention to evidence of what works in the world today, and by asking the following questions as we work:

  • What are some of the enabling collaborative tools available today?
  • What lessons can be learned from organizations doing networked innovation?
  • How do things get done in a networked world?

Sounds about right to me.  I suspect we are at the edge of something meaningful and fun.

[Image via rachel-levy.com]

BoingBoing: DHS reads minds


DHS is buying mind-reading machines that can tell you’re a terrorist by examining the terrorist-thought-center of your brain. People with failing brains will be sent for corrective surgery.

Hypothetically–and only hypothetically–would I set off such a device simply by thinking evil thoughts about the guy who cut the queue at Schipol?