The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on December 12, 2010

  • Interesting list… The ten in brief (click through for full description/ discussion): 1) Economic Turmoil; 2) Green Power; 3) The Senior Market; 4) Discount Retail; 5) Local Business; 6) Education; 7) Parental Outsourcing; 8 ) Health and Wellness; 9) Texas [huh? Texaplex cities: Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin: Youth Magnet cities]; 10) Affordable Alcohol; and 10 1/2) Pets.

    tags: trends trendwatch economy entrepreneur_magazine

  • Must-read article about heroin, Afghanistan, war, and Canada…
    “Opium is the problem in Afghanistan. A corrupt narco-elite runs the country,” [Amir Attaran] said.

    Attaran is a University of Ottawa law professor and development expert who has studied Afghanistan’s drug trade.

    He said both sides in the country’s war have an interest in perpetuating the conflict because of their involvement with opium. “You cannot grow opium and traffic it on a large scale in peacetime. You need a fog of war,” he said.

    “If you want to understand the conflict in Afghanistan, you have to understand this is a gang war.”

    Attaran’s solution: Legalize Afghan opium and sell it for medical uses, joining countries such as India and Turkey that grow legal opium crops for the pharmaceutical market.

    The result, he thinks, would be to turn warlords into regular businessmen and reduce the country’s violence and corruption. “I don’t really see an alternative that would succeed,” Attaran said.

    tags: afghanistan heroin drugs war addiction canada times_colonist

  • Excellent developments – blow some of the energy our way (to Victoria Canada) please…
    Pahlka thinks she can change what it means to work at city hall. “Right now, if you’re a talented developer or designer, government is what you go into if you can’t get a better job,” she says. (…)

    If the geeks do take over city hall, the result may be something like what’s happening in the tiny town of Manor, Texas. (…)

    “Manor has triggered a movement of municipal innovation,” says Margarita Quihuis, a researcher at Stanford University, who worked with Haisler to cocreate Manor Labs. “It’s changing the way citizens and government behave toward each other, from the adversarial atmosphere of a typical city-council meeting to the kind of friendly constructive brainstorming that might go on at a design firm like Ideo. We launched this with essentially no money. We’re not talking about a New York City that has millions of dollars. If we can do it in Manor, that means 90% of America could do it as well.” (…)

    “One of my criticisms of gov 2.0 thus far is that there tend to be a lot of transit apps — Where’s My Bus,” says Nigel Jacob of Boston’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, a city-hall incubator for tech initiatives. “Those are good things, but we have a huge demographic of our city for whom their major challenge is getting access to high-quality food, or getting their kids into school. It’s not so much that the developer community doesn’t want to tackle hard issues, they just don’t know about them.” Entrepreneurs, he points out, are understandably used to solving problems for people like themselves, the largely upper-middle-class and educated. That’s why Jacob’s office is working to connect citizens who need help to the laptops of developers who can fix their problems, both online and through face-to-face meetings.

    tags: gov2.0 fast_company city_halls local_government

  • Part of a series on “The $300 House,” this piece is by Seth Godin, addressing the problem of marketing to the world’s poor. Don’t scoff – Godin’s piece is a real eye-opener. If we agree that innovation (and innovative approaches & thinking) is (are) critical in solving poverty, then we have to realize that it’s those in poverty who have to be convinced to *adopt* innovation. Godin shows why this is difficult, and offers suggestions for overcoming the problem. Excerpt:
    If you’re a tenth-generation subsistence farmer, your point of view, about risk, about life, is different from someone working in an R&D lab in Palo Alto. The Moral Economy of the Peasant makes this argument clearly: Imagine standing in water up to your chin. The only thing you’re prepared to focus on is whether or not the water is going to rise four more inches. Your penchant for risk is close to zero. One mistake and the game is over.

    As a result, it’s extremely difficult to sell innovation to this consumer. The line around the block to get into the Apple store for a gadget is an insane concept in this community. A promise from a marketer is meaningless, because the marketer isn’t part of the town, the marketer will move away, the marketer is, of course, a liar.

    Let me add one more easily overlooked point: Western-style consumers have been taught from birth the power of the package. We see the new Nano or the new Porsche or the new convertible note on a venture deal and we can easily do the math: [new thing] + [me] = [happier]. We’ve been taught that an object can make our lives better, that a purchase can make us happier, that the color of the Tiffany’s box or the ringing of a phone might/will bring us joy.

    That’s just not true for someone who hasn’t bought a new kind consumer good in a year or two or three or maybe ever. As a result, stores in the developing world tend to be stocked with the classic, the tried and true, because people buy refills of previous purchases, not the new. You can’t simply put something new in front of a person

    tags: seth_godin harvard_business $300_house poverty innovation marketing tribes

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin December 17, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Hi just done a patent search,but can’t see The $300 House has applied for a patent, do you know anything about that?


Yule December 17, 2010 at 10:15 pm

No, sorry – just what was in that article.

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