Jean Lievens: What is a BitCoin?

Design, Economics/True Cost, P2P / Panarchy
Jean Lievens
Jean Lievens

What is Bitcoin?

To answer this question, we need to clarify specifically what is being asked.  Almost everywhere you look when searching for the answer to this question, you won't find the answer to what a Bitcoin is, but rather what it does, or otherwise how bitcoins work in conjunction with one another as a system.  What most people are asking however when first introduced to Bitcoin, is really what Bitcoin is at its most granular level.  Most often, it is this step of the explanation that is missed resulting in a stumpling block to understand how bitcoins work together as a system.  So what is a bitcoin?  The answer to this question is that, at its most basic fundamental level, an individual bitcoin is simply a computer record.  You can think of a bitcoin as a computer file such as a word document, an email, or a photo image.  What makes a bitcoin file special, and makes it different from any other files that you might have on your computer, is that once a bitcoin file is created, the original record can always identified within the bitcoin user community.

So why does everywhere else I look say that Bitcoin is a new kind of money?

When you generally attempt to find the answer to what bitcoin is, you often find answers such as “Bitcoin is a decentralized Crypto-currency”, “It's a peer-to-peer virtual money”, or “It's a open-source revolutionary digital comodity.”  Rather than identifying what an individual bitcoin is however, such answers are describing how bitcoins are used.  These descriptions are not describing what an individual bitcoin is, but rather how the bitcoin network or system is used to create a digital currency.  Of course, the purpose for the creation of bitcoins was, in fact, to create such a monetary system, however to properly understand Bitcoin as a system, it is necessary to first understand what bitcoin is at it's most basic level.

Learn more.

John Robb: Community Supported Everything

John Robb
John Robb

Community Supported Everything!

By John Robb

How do you build resilient infrastructure in the 21st Century?

One good answer:  make it opt-in. It's already happening.

Farmers are doing it with CSA programs.  Businesses and artists are doing it with Kickstarter.

We're finding that once you cut out the middleman (Wall Street and Big Box Retail) and connect with customers directly, we end up with much more choice, innovation, quality, and success (the people doing the innovating/making actually get paid, an event that is actually quite rare in this economic system).

Here's a smart spin on this concept that may work.

This little fashion company called Gustin got its start on Kickstarter.  Gustin is now using this customer/community supported approach to sell everything.

Here's how it works.

  • They design something.
  • They ask the community if they want to fund it.
  • If a sufficient number of people buy into it, they make it.

Continue reading “John Robb: Community Supported Everything”

Jean Lievens: Sharing is Caring

Crowd-Sourcing, Design, Economics/True Cost
Jean Lievens
Jean Lievens

Sharing is Caring

The S(e)oul of Asia aims to become a ‘Sharing City’. Forbes Magazine refers to it as an ‘unstoppable force’, replications of AirBnB or TaskRabbit pop ups as mushrooms and 2013 is named as the year of the Sharing Economy – Seoul bandwagons the trend and sets out the be the ‘Sharing City’.

South Korea is a key country when observing the rising trends in social innovation and social entrepreneurship in East- and South East Asia. The passing of the Social Enterprise Act in 2007 and the election of Park Won-Soon for Seoul mayor in 2011 are only two amongst other milestones that have indicated the embracement of social entrepreneurship as guideline in addressing the societal issues arisen in the wake of the financial crisis in 1997.

Park Won-Soon is the founder of South Korea’s first social enterprise The Beautiful Store and a think-tank known as The Hope Institute (the South Korean SIX Asia partner) and now a strong supporter of the initiative to establish Seoul as a ‘Sharing City’

Read full article.

John Robb: Natural Swimming Pool That Works

John Robb
John Robb

A Natural Swimming Pool That Works for You

By John Robb

>When I was a pilot, I spent years surveying the built environment from above.

One thing that amazed me is how many people own swimming pools.  In some areas of the country, it seems that nearly everyone has a pool (in some cases, the pool is almost as big as the footprint of the home itself).

But things have changed.  We don't have the luxury of allocating that much space to a sterile, unproductive pool of water that requires constant attention and financial support?
>We need to put that space to work.

But are there any other options?  Is it possible to build a pool that does more than just support our playtime?

I believe there is.   It's called a natural pool.


The natural pool, doesn't fight nature tooth and nail.  It embraces it in a very tangible way.

Instead of engaging in chemical warfare, the natural pool uses an ecosystem of plants to cleanse and filter your swimming water.  To do this, designers create a wetland in a shallow and distinct area of a pool to act as a biological filter.

Continue reading “John Robb: Natural Swimming Pool That Works”

Jean Lievens: Prototyping and infrastructuring in design for social innovation

Jean Lievens
Jean Lievens

Prototyping and infrastructuring in design for social innovation

During the past five years design has been recognised as a powerful innovation driver. Design methods and tools have also been applied in new fields. One of them is social innovation, which is aimed at developing new ideas and solutions in response to social needs. While different initiatives have demonstrated how design can be a powerful approach in social innovation, especially when it comes to systemic thinking, prototyping and visualising, some concerns have been raised regarding the limitations of applying design in this field. Through a specific case, this paper will discuss and suggest some approaches and concepts related to design for social innovation. Coming from a participatory design tradition, we focus on the idea of infrastructuring as a way to approach social innovation that differs from project-based design. The activities that are carried out are aimed at building long-term relationships with stakeholders in order to create networks from which design opportunities can emerge. We also discuss the role of prototyping as a way to explore opportunities but we also highlight dilemmas.

Abstract, preprint, and video (2.:14).

Testimony: White Paper for DCI John Negoponte on Leveraging OSINT to Enhance CIA/IC Mission Success

Data, Design, Innovation, Knowledge, Software, Sources (Info/Intel)
Robert David Steele
Robert David Steele

ROBERT STEELE: A large company paid me to write this in 2004, ostensibly as a white paper to be delivered to then newly-appointed DNI John Negoponte. In fairness to that company, even if they were honest on this point and not just buying my playbook, the prime contract they won with the Open Source Center (OSC) then being managed by Doug Naquin was designed to fail — OSE has never understood OSINT as HUMINT, and is further handicapped by the CIA's Clandestine Service forbidding them from engaging Subject Matter Experts (SME) outside their narrow online surfing and translation lanes. Together with my white paper faxed to then DCI John Deutch, and my memorandum to Vice President Joe Biden, this remains one of my most useful documents for actually creating a national Open Source Agency.

DOC (43 Pages): White Paper Draft 5.5 dtd 7 Sanitized

Full Text with Graphics Below the Fold

Continue reading “Testimony: White Paper for DCI John Negoponte on Leveraging OSINT to Enhance CIA/IC Mission Success”