How Best Can People Pool Knowledge To Develop Solutions to Global Challenges?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
January 23, 2010
Network Cable

Secretary Clinton spoke on the importance of freedom of expression and the free flow of information on the Internet. The Secretary said, "We need to work toward a world in which access to networks and information brings people closer together and expands the definition of the global community. Given the magnitude of the challenges we're facing, we need people around the world to pool their knowledge and creativity to help rebuild the global economy, to protect our environment, to defeat violent extremism, and build a future in which every human being can live up to and realize his or her God-given potential."How best can people around the world pool knowledge to develop solutions to global challenges?

Comments

Comments

Armstrong
|
United Kingdom
January 23, 2010

Armstrong in the United Kingdom writes:

Hope this ties in with "help rebuild the global economy". As I sit here from the other side of the pond. I do marvel at the spectacle of observing through the media..Question: Why do you have so many geriatrics in all layers of government? Don't you think it is time to start weeding out the "stuck in the mud" types and start encouraging fresh blood into the veins of government. After all, how can we all move forward with fresh ideas (workable) when there is a dotage on nearly every pew, who does not seem the want for change or even listen to any ideas for change. Don't they want to retire?

I don't think of you as a geriatric, but I am sure you feel like one sometimes with the hussle and bussle of the work you do. Noticed the President is going slightly gray. Anyway, I just thought I would share my observation from across the pond. After all, this is the time to magnify freedom of speech.

Well, it is nearly February..that is a strange month, but it can be a positive month if we all unite to kick start the global economy.

mandy
|
China
January 23, 2010

Mandy in China writes:

With the helps from internet, We can get whatever we want,it makes us keep thinking what are good for people in the earth. We must responsible for our future generation.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
January 23, 2010

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Population control does not necessitate simply lowering birth rates where overpopulated; but, using human resources more effectively.

Would it not be more beneficial to use people productively and more resource valued than simply pumping money in a wasted effort to change and restructure the multitude of problems faced by many nations? If we get the people organized to develope, they develop a sense of developement, which will lead to a constructive government and citizen base.

A skilled and even unskilled workforce which has an end to its efforts seems the most underutilized solution for many problems worldwide, even in Haiti right now. I honestly believe that there are too many vested interest and replication of functions which try to aid that ultimitely create the very problems which they are trying to resolve.

Knowledge is plentiful, application is too diversified...

We must understand that a Capitalist system cannot be in place in the productive manner it should be with continued instability any longer. While division was a tool of the past, the landscape has changed considerably and we have lost the very foundation that democracy has been built upon. Freedom without opportunity, even here in America, has no true value except in words. Our wonderful system was predicated on the People first, not last.

R
|
Texas, USA
January 25, 2010

R. in Texas writes:

I submit ideas to http://whatidchange.com, and vote for the world-changing ideas I think are the best.

Andrew B.
|
Florida, USA
January 23, 2010

Andrew B. in Florida writes:

My opinion on the matter is this, if the so called “oppressive governments” of the world actually knew what was going on with the people, they could spend more time doing something about by solving real problems and keeping the peace, hence serving the people and maintaining their power, instead of sitting around speculating on who or what is going to push them out of power. Secretary Clinton is correct on this issue on so many levels, you just can’t imagine how profound and bold this is. The reality being, problems that have plaque this planet for centuries may actually get resolves and government may actually serve its actual purpose.

Harvey C.
|
Kentucky, USA
January 25, 2010

Harvey C. in Kentucky writes:

I have a wonderful "Comprehensive Economic Planning" tool that can be used at the local, reagional level to develop governments.
If intrested email me and I will share it with you.

I try to post from time to time in the Discussion board to help with projects. I sure would like a "real job" with the State Department. You can email me for that as well...
Thanks,
Harvey C.

Lucy
|
Georgia
January 25, 2010

Lucy in Georgia writes:

1. ALWAYS Supporting freedom of information
2. Making information available globally through an “open and free model”
3. Bringing information to all but specifically to women mainly in places where they are highly discriminated against.

Normita
|
California, USA
January 25, 2010

Normita in California writes:

Freedom of expression helps the world to achieve mutual understanding, expand knowledge and build friendships between people. Internet, though not perfect, has allowed us to make this a smaller and better world; it has to be allowed to grow without intervention.

For example, through the internet, Facebook and other communications technology developed and grew. They provide us with the ability to search and find friends and colleagues we have lost touch, to reach out, to share knowledge, reach common ground and expand our horizon. Businesses continue to thrive from the speed of information delivered to their suppliers and customers from moment to moment. In my opinion, internet control will take us back from what we have accomplished.

I commend Secretary Clinton for standing up to protect the progress and benefits from this far-reaching technological progress.

Jonathan S.
|
China
January 25, 2010

Jonathan S. in Hong Kong writes:

The problem isn't knowledge so much as cooperation. Knowledge about best practices, true information about issues or cultures, etc. is easier than ever to come by now.

But how do we structure the discussion of global problems so that it's participatory, cross-cultural, enlightening, and tends to converge to some sort of agreement that is seen as legitimate? How do we filter the good ideas to the top, and deal fairly with the spoilers, ideologues, and trolls?

Although access is certainly a challenge, in my mind it's the process that needs developing. Wikipedia is an example of a successful collaborative global knowledge system. How do we produce a successful collaborative global decision-making system?

- Jonathan

Nancy M.
|
Kuwait
January 25, 2010

Nancy M. in Kuwait writes:

Education, if improved in the developing countries then we can see a great change in the whole world, terrorism will be less, money will be spend in other categories other than fighting against terrorism and there will be improve in many other fields

Lee
|
California, USA
January 25, 2010

Lee in California writes:

Along the lines of the saying, "think globally, act locally," check out how DoD, USG and NGOs are all coordinating their efforts in Haiti. Example: An underutilized, non-damaged hospital in Haiti put up its info and availability on the site and now 250 patients have been transferred there by US helicopters. ** Also see how http://www.nationallabday.org/, the National Lab Day site, is helping implement Pres. Obama's vision of teachers, engineers, scientists helping other teachers develop science and technology curricula and visits for their students. Teachers post kinds of science modules they would like to use to get responses from technical experts and other teachers. ** Both examples mobilize the power of an expert mob who don't know each other to help solve common problems.

Margarita Q.
|
California, USA
January 25, 2010

Margarita Q. in California writes:

My colleagues and I at the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab (http://captology.stanford.edu) have been working on this very problem.

Our first step in this direction is http://ideas4haiti.org

Ideas4Haiti's tagline: A platform that lets you donate something more than money; knowledge. A @manorlabs and @peacedot Innovation.

Our vision is to create a combination of bottoms up innovation + challenge prize + persuasive technology because many of the big global problems can't be solved top down, or with technology alone. The big problems will be solved from lots of experimentation, trial and error and through behavior change.

PeaceDot is a Persuasive Technology Lab initiative
Manor Labs is our municipal PeaceDot partner that is focused on open governance and open innovation.

http://peace.stanford.edu
http://manorlabs.org

Lee
|
California, USA
January 25, 2010

Lee in California writes:

An example of a "knowledge exchange" to deal with common global challenges is zunia.org. Zunia was launched by the World Bank's Development Gateway. It is a space for professional learning and knowledge-sharing among development practitioners worldwide.

Users can access and post news, events, best practices and publications that are searchable online and receive e-mail alerts on topics of their interest. Main areas include Governance, Economy, Sectors, Environment, Education, Health, Society, Culture, Science & Tech.

I read the section on Poverty and every day I receive a "push" email that goes to registered members with interest in this area. It has new postings related to the theme, and I go to the site to search when I am looking for ideas from a particular country region.

Lee
|
California, USA
January 25, 2010

Lee in California writes:

Wiki systems have an enormous potential power for collaboration among people around the world. People can participate in the writing and editing of themes related to global problems of interest to them. And this is already happening. Take for example the English-language wikepedia.org: there are 42,300 pages that refer to "economic" and "development". The wiki need not be organized as an encyclopedia but can serve as a peer collaborative environment for contribution and perfecting ideas.

Here's a specific example about how "pick-up teams" are already working on global challenges with tech tools for social collaboration:

Asst Sec for WHA Arturo Valenzuela tweeted a story by AP reporter Frank Bajak about how hundreds of tech volunteers spurred to action by Haiti's killer quake are adding a new dimension to disaster relief, developing new tools and services for first responders and the public in an unprecedented effort. It is inspiring

Lee
|
California, USA
January 25, 2010

Lee in California writes:

This site and the Question of the Week potentially can be a nice aggregating tool to find new ideas about world problems -- but it needs to have a MASS following. It could be posted by well-subscribed contributors to Twitter and the like, in various languages, if it is to become better known, something like what the US embassy press and cultural sections are already doing with Twitter at many posts.

Jesús N.
|
Mexico
January 25, 2010

Jesús T. N. in Mexico writes:

Felicidades a la Sra. Clinton y al Presidente Obama por el impulso que están dando a la difusión de las ideas, las experiencias y las inquietudes en todo el mundo, para lograr una visión global cada día más amplia, así como una mayor participación en la búsqueda de soluciones globales a los problemas económicos por los que actualmente pasamos
Resulta de la mayor importancia para todos los países y de manera muy particular para México, que en los EEUU se aprueben las reformas financieras de "sentido común" que el Presidente Obama propone, porqué representarían un avance enorme hacia la construcción de las necesarias reformas financieras globales y de la implementación de un nuevo orden económico mundial que proteja a los consumidores, fomente la libre competencia y estimule la creación de empleos en todos los países, principalmente en los países en desarrollo, pues no debemos permitir que, en el futuro, se vuelvan a presentar crisis económicas a causa de la irresponsabilidad de los grandes banqueros, de los poderosos consorcios globales y de gobiernos corruptos que anteponen sus intereses a los superiores intereses generales del desarrollo social global

Ron
|
New York, USA
January 25, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

World Wide Waziristan?

With all this connectivity......

You would think we would have Bin Laden By Now?

Michael T.
|
Florida, USA
January 27, 2010

Michael T. in Florida writes:

The past two weeks has shown that the ordinary citizen, given the tools, is able to assist both individually and collectively toward a common goal to help each other in times of dire circumstance. This is a defining moment in history for information technolgy/social media.

Eva A.
|
Germany
January 27, 2010

Eva A. in Germany writes:

Visioning Need for Emergency Registration of Disaster Victims in Haiti

While I believe the Haitian government itself needs to track victims in need since the earthquake catastrophe, they need all the help in the world to be able to do it swiftly and simply. That means building a web site database coordinating data all the victims being helped in the hospitals, orphanages, camps, reunification centers, etc. between all major organizations helping. I have ideas but looking for the right people to share them with - primarily Haitian officials and Haitian Americans helping who can understand English.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
January 26, 2010

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Use Haiti as an example. It is an opportunity as well as a sad problem.

Right now the people should be working and organized in stages. The reason the military seems so successful in these situations should be noted: they are organized. Control stems from Organization.

Move toward resource development predicated on needs. People will need to eat; they have plenty of good land to farm. People need to be housed. They have land which can be developed by homesteading. Combine the two.

Farming areas should have been chosen as the people will need to eat. Why should such a country even have to import or depend on any products which can be grown well there?

There is no realistic reason they cannot homestead in Haiti instead of having the people of a proposed democracy live UNDER the Wealthy of other countries citizens who buy their land at exuberant prices.

Energy: Why not start on alternative energy on the island as an example? They lack neither for wind nor sun.

Develop necessary resources with the people in mind first, not golf courses. Dependency on an economic upper class or outside aid is not democracy; especially, when that class comes from the outside. This is what weakens Democratic Governments to begin with. Kind of like some lobbies in DC. Not all, but when collectively they work for profit against the betterment of the People, the very Constitution and laws developed for them to profit has been violated.

While Russia may not be the prime example of democratic development, there is much to be learned from Putin’s Methods. Everything the man did was for development on a Nationalistic basis. Not Socialistic, but for the overall betterment of Russia as a Nation. If he is so wrong, why is Russia where they are and America where it is economically?

Take the best Organizational methods which lead to development which were the control elements, then apply technology….

It is sad when it's not the people; but, the Leadership of a Nation which ruins productive development is it not? Be it in non-negotiation, compromise, graft, corruption, using political lines...it is not Science or Technology which has inhibited Mankind; but, poor leadership, misuse of Science and Technologies and false Philosophies.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 27, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Maybe it's relevant and maybe not, but I have a question for folks regarding the following as to how this policy can be in any way conducive to pooling knowledge, sharing ideas, and debating solutions...with the Dept of State.

"Communications made through the blog’s e-mail and messaging system will in no way constitute a legal or official notice or comment to the U.S. Department of State or any official or employee of the U.S. Department of State for any purpose."
- Blog Comment Policy

Now I'm no legal expert, but let's for the moment pretend logic prevails in disclaimer...(chuckle)...anything posted here is "off the record"???

Mmmm, well that's usually the realm of the mysterious "senior official"...from my recollection...but whatever...Who am I to presume.

Seems to me this here blog is "The official Blog" of the US dept of State...a public agency beholden to the laws that govern such institutions and as such is now part of State's official public outreach through policy and congressional approval...and thus being approved by the people as an official meathod of communication it strikes me as totally illogical to tell us the public that anything we post here will not be considered "official" communication to our government, when in fact promoting solutions is a two way street...and I don't like roadblocks to getting there from here.

Lot of good folks with good thoughts and good will out there posting it here, but if nobody's officially listening ( and by implication responding and interacting with those that take the time to try and make some sort of official difference by posting our thoughts here), than all this effort is never going to ammount to a hill of beens on a public diplomacy level...or on a practical level either.

So either this comment policy is poorly worded or I'm wasting my breath.

Gotta call it like I see it, 'cause it don't leave a whole lot of room for misinterpretation, sorry to say it appears that plausable deniability is still the status quo.

I invite a proper explanation of said policy by those that created it, as well as my peers among the masses so inclined to opine on its worth.

I'm trying to bust a certain urban myth that opinion matters not to those it should.

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
January 27, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

This blog has never been about anything other than PR. If you want to have input at State, the best way to do that (short of getting elected) is to go to SAIC or Georgetown, take the exam, apply for a job at State and get hired there. Various other positions in academia/thinktanks/media will also get you access. Money will always get you access (think businessmen willing to invest overseas where we need a strong American economic presence). But to think that making random blog posts to the State Department website might actually get one NOTICED, well, you know what Mr. Barnum said...

Thus, the ever whimsical nature of my posts!

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
January 27, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

I meant to write SAIS (the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins), not SAIC. Mea culpa.

Patrick
|
Maryland, USA
January 28, 2010

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Hi, My Special Friend, She Knows Who She Is :)
LOL...Hillary...

"Your Doing A Pretty Good Job" and you guys
too. I like Dipnote ....:)

On the subject ,we need to take it slowly,
Baby steps are better than a leap.
Or i'v heard ...:)

Susan C.
|
Florida, USA
January 28, 2010

Susan C. in Florida writes:

To pool knowledge one must listen to the everyday men/women who are experiencing the very things that you are talking about. Global warming, economic "problems", job loses, lack of good educational opportunities... the list goes on and on. It has been too long since we, the public, have been considered or listened to. Stop talking, start to REALLY listen, and ask us to help you. As Americans we have "stepped up" many times to face and deal with many challenges. We can do it again if given some concrete help and some direction from you all in our government. PLEASE, stop the us against them mentality. We are weary of it "out here". Regardless of party, democrat, republican, or independent, please start listening and working for the very individuals who sent you to Washington,D.C.. It would be greatly appreciated.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 28, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Well good Flavius, there's book learning and then there's experience that offers perhaps the most complete education of all... simply because it's only when you screw-up enough times that you actually get it right for once, and so the theories from books are often modified by the instigator or circumstance to create/adapt a working program to fit the times...some call that progress, I tend to call it process...

...Of getting people to think, for all the good it might do. Against all odds perhaps...

Thus it isn't about getting noticed, but about noticing the human condition.

Ergo urban mythology.

Folks like myself that arn't available for world-wide service, nor perky, bright eyed college grads on a carreer track, nor family members of FSO's are plumb out of luck huh?

I beg to differ.

I'm actually a little perplexed by the policy since I've had the pleasure of interacting with folks that run desks and embassies and they don't seem to mind if I get them to think once in awhile...been thanked for it occasion.

A well informed citizen is the better half of the public/private partnership in my opinion and it may well be shared by certain public officials, that job 1 is getting this government to be all that it can be, and less dysfunctional...one might think of it as a long-term social experiment...rather than an ego trip...

Maybe it's got something to do with "...,ask what you can give to your country.", and anticipating miracles.

If my fellow citizens consider me crazy to try...I'm already glad I did.

And thanks for what I'm sure you wrote as a well meaning dose of reality, but we all serve in the same capacity that in bringing food for thought to the table in an open public forum it is "officially" a pot-luck/stone soup incident...and my government should be good enough to blog with such policy's intent, bold as this may sound...are the employees of which free to speak their mind?

Barring uttering the classified, I would hope they excercise their will to do so...as frequently as possible, in town hall or in private, network on this blog and other media not as a PR stunt, but if nothing else simply to be keeping up with us "jones'" out in the real world and to the cubicled, office bound civil servant, we the public are a source of fresh ideas, generally having way too much time on our hands to think about things...

I believe you should invite your friends at the think tanks to come put their Phd's on the line...

We can put political probability theory to test. And see if we can achieve critical mass.

Could be fun..a circus you say?...and who knows,...who reads these things anyway?...(chuckle).

Susan C.
|
Florida, USA
January 28, 2010

Susan C. in Florida writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico -- Well said. Never before have we been asked for our thoughts and opinions. This blog is proof that our ideas count. We can not expect that every thought/idea will be considered, after all we are not policy makers. However, I have read thoughtful responses to our comments and questions that have been posted on DipNote, from the people of the State Department. I am impressed that there are individuals reading our comments, and who knows, some of our "very good" ideas may be passed along to the right people. I am ever hopeful, and like Eric in NM, I will continue to try.

OysterCracker
|
California, USA
January 29, 2010

OysterCracker in California writes:

One extremely underutilized talent are students. Students are always yearning to show the world their talents. If you opened a competition or just had an online project something like HDTV Blog cabin among architects, urban, transportation planners to add on-going ideas for the reconstruction of Haiti and allow people worldwide to present plans, make recommendations etc. you could get a very good, well planned solution. The web site could get ideas from a broad swathe of the public like nurses,teachers, plumbers etc. Also Haitian students should have a say or part to play in the design of their new city. People like to make their mark on the world. Seeing a new city emerge from Haiti's rubble would be very satisfying to every participant. Having the world participate is very inspiring. Once and general direction agreed upon. Communities should be built and advertized to the world. This is the power of humanity. We just need to tap into it.

OysterCracker
|
California, USA
January 29, 2010

OysterCracker in California writes:

P.S. After Haiti and numerous other disasters we should be better prepared through pre-planning for the next coming disaster rather than scrambling around like a chicken with its head cut off.
It would be nice if every country had 50,00 gas powered concrete saws, stretchers , field hospitals, water bladders, tents and provisions, heavy lifting equipment prestored that could be delivered anywhere on the globe and delivered within 2-3 hours after a major disaster. Also, we need systems in place to secure children and take care of the elderly. Personally, I feel we need a disaster relief corps that is mandatory. Everyone should be able to dress wounds and do their best to stabilize patients and organize themselves like the army in the event of a disaster. If systems were in place to evacuate women and children from the affected area and they had tents, supplies and temporary schools and childcare available when they arrive it would greatly reduce stress and the burden people feel and end some of the initial chaos. Men can stay to rescue people and remove the rubble. In a disaster things have to occur like clockwork so there is no guessing. The plan is laid out and people know what their role is.

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
January 29, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

Eric and Susan. May I direct you to the mission statement of this blog?

"The mission of the U.S. Department of State is to create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community.

Through its websites and other online resources, the Department offers broad public access to a wide range of information. Blogs.state.gov offers the public an alternative source to mainstream media for U.S. foreign policy information. This blog offers the opportunity for participants to discuss important foreign policy issues with senior Department officials."

I think the key sentence here is the one that refers to this blog as an "alternative source to mainstream media for U.S. foreign policy information." If that isn't PR, please tell me what it is? I could call it "spin," you know, which might be less nice but more accurate.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that an idea here might be picked up and run with by our friends in Foggy Bottom. It is unlikely, however, because we don't know the whole story behind every crisis. Few of us have an understanding of how things work on the ground. There are political realities which, no matter how inconvienient and stupid, must be considered. I submit that few to none of us in the hoi polloi have an understanding of and/or access to this important information.

Most of us mean well and that's all to the good. Moreover, this blog is a way for people to become interested in and discuss foreign policy. There aren't very many of us and there need to be more.

I would appreciate more feedback from people at State, however. Most of the time the bloggers post but do not respond to comments. There are very few high level responses to comments if any (I make that statement anecdotally. I cannot read everything on this blog). That's hardly unusual nor is it "wrong." These people are BUSY.

So go on and keep making suggestions. There's nothing wrong with that. And maybe, just maybe, you might come up with an idea that is new and fresh and, by golly, might just work. I'm all for that. Keep on pushing!

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