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

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 29, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

You missed a very important part of that mission statement Flavius...

"DipNote is the official blog of the U.S. Department of State —a place to share stories, discuss experiences, and inspire new ideas on the important foreign policy issues of the day."

Now I can understand why someone's personal account of doing their job @ state could not be construed as a statement of official policy or anything discussed in public be taken as "official" communication from the dept. itself, and that the employee that blogs a post here is speaking in his personal capacity in sharing knowledge and ideas, even to the extent of explaining US policy, it still is a personal interpretation, even by senior officials.

It allows them to speak their mind without reflection on the Dept of State as a whole, in the sense that an open forum is a pretty informal meeting place to begin with, has to be in order to bounce ideas off each other.

But I have yet to see someone from the public try to give some kind of "legal notice" ....and vice versa I take it that this would not be the place to submit a resignation letter..(chuckle) if you worked for State.

But what bothered me was "or comment" in context with this, and thus left I think an aspect of free speech twisting in the wind...and should be striken from said policy and that's my official opinion on the matter.

Now I might write a letter and that could be considered a more formal meathod of communication, traditional if one might call it that, but what's written here is no less tangible in aspect and I've had plenty of "official communication" via email with various government officials , elected and otherwise, included among various agencies over the years.

When this blog first started, and a comment was not published for some reason, I'd get this email from the staff with an explanation...I would certainly take that to be "official notice" of some sort...

But maybe things have changed during the site makeover that just took place, because this policy is news to me and I've been here since just about day-1 this blog came into existance.

So as the blog itself represents a tool to pool knowlege and resources, an ongoig social experiment in interactive government...it is only proper to put the basis for such discussion on the firm footing of mutual understanding of how this comment policy supports the mission statement.

And as yet, I figure folks are probably still thinking about whether the wording makes any sense.

Take all the time you want I say, just get it right.

Susan in Florida has it right, Flavius.

"Never before have we been asked for our thoughts and opinions. This blog is proof that our ideas count."

I'm of the opinion that when one submits solution along with complaint it's generally better recieved as such, giving the recipient the choice to focus on the solution or the nature of the complaint.

And if there is no official comment to be had, I don't suppose we'll arrive at official solutions.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 29, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Flavius,

Here's some reading material...since you wanted some tangible proof apparently.

blogs.state.gov/index.php/archive/entry/in_response_to_question_of_the_week

Herin you'll find the chief instigator of this blog describe what this blog is all about, as well as giving one a fair idea of it's potential.

---

blogs.state.gov/index.php/archive/entry/cambodias_war_era_debt

U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Joseph A. Mussomeli writes

@ Eric in New Mexico -- Eric, I just saw your entry, and I wanted to thank you for the well thought out suggestion you made. With the current world food crisis, your idea is an intriguing one to add to the mix. Although I can't predict what the final resolution will be -- whether it be full repayment by Cambodia or a form of debt-for-assistance like an education fund -- you have certainly given everyone something new to think about.

Posted on Mon May 05, 2008

---

blogs.state.gov/index.php/entries/pacific_partnership_vessels/

It has always been my experience that more change can result from a single question asked of the right people at the right moment, than all the op-ed's ever written, or speeches given.

When a post is created and published on this official blog from a citizen's comment which posed the question that became topic of the post, is that because no one officially listened? Or no one officially commented, nor was that an official post in response to an official idea?

Now I would hope the staff here will understand the quandry I'm seeking to resolve, by illuminating how effective this blog has the potential to be, if only this medium is taken seriously by the public as a portal to creating a more effective government.

And that starts with us posting things that make too much sense to ignore, officially.

OysterCracker
|
California, USA
January 29, 2010

Oyster Cracker in California writes:

The State Dept. shouldn't be so elitist as most good ideas that they have used have come from the Hoi Polloi, such as fish farms, agricutural intiatives etc. If you speak of equality, it should include a true global perspective of the world's problems which the State Dept. can always use and exploit to their advantage. Not all of us come from Ivy League colleges or had wealthy parents but interestingly enough, our ideas make the world run. The State Dept. could actually learn something of value if they listen and want to effectively implement their policies.

OysterCracker
|
California, USA
February 1, 2010

OysterCracker in California writes:

Emperor Flavius,
Is that how the State Department refers to the hoi polloi citizenry as the "foggy bottom"? Your name befits your ignorance!

Gillian
|
United Kingdom
February 1, 2010

Gillian in United Kingdom writes:

Great. I love a challenge!

Let's see if we get everyone on the internet collaborating to effect the production of low cost eco-villages to help the world's poor.

The designs are available for FREE download: the-alternative.org.uk

Blog: brillsville.livejournal.com/

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
January 29, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

All I've ever said is that the primary purpose of this blog is to reach directly to the public without the filter of the media, which is all they say themselves. Primary purpose, not the only purpose. Without that purpose, there wouldn't be a Dipnote. It wouldn't justify the expense. This is a POLITICAL TOOL.

I'd also like to remind everyone that this was set up in Secretary Rice's State Department. Hillary did not come up with this idea. With all the hosannas raised up to Mrs. Clinton on this blog, I wonder sometimes...

Be that as it may, I think the Secretary is doing the best job of anyone in the Cabinet right now, including the man at the top.

I did not intend my comments to raise such a ruckus. I guess that's just my nature. Please accept my apologies and if you've got another glass of that kool aid, I sure would appreciate some. ;)

What a brave new world we live in.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 29, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Oyster,

They should feel special working for us, most take it as a distinct privilage in fact.

Trust in one's government shouldn't involve the illusion that it knows all, sees all, end all, be all... to be sure to err is human and complacency a risk in dangerous times.

That is not elitist mentality, just an aspect of the human condition when it collides with beaurocracy.

Oyster C.
|
California, USA
January 29, 2010

Oyster Cracker in California writes:

If the State Department wants to improve and pool global knowledge to find effective solutions they could first improve viewership of their website by linking it to bigger websites such as the BBC. If they could field a question a la 'Have Your Say' they would get some very interesting responses. No one really visits this site because it seems closed, unapproachable to most people. The State Department needs some young computer geek to get them hooked up to the world wide web and to the 21st century if they are truly serious in generating and exploiting new ideas.

OysterCracker
|
California, USA
January 30, 2010

Oyster Cracker in California writes:

Emperor Flavius and Eric

How would you pool our collective knowledge to help Haiti?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 30, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

"Please accept my apologies and if you've got another glass of that kool aid, I sure would appreciate some. ;)"

Accepted, and you can make it yourself Flavius, just delete the word "can't" from your internal dialoge.

...helps in anticipating miracles.

Come to think of it, that's generally how things get done most of the time anyway.

Ron
|
New York, USA
February 1, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

WWW.$$$.Govs.......

USG State should take the lead on using the web to track, trace and capture illicit billons and other global assets stolen. Seize the monies and repatriate them for
global goods ( MDG's)....the money is out there, the technology can find it....all we need is the shared political will to get it done. If we do not met this challenge, we will
surely lose the CyberWars ahead.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 31, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Oyster,

I think folks pretty well know what to do, it's pooling and utilizing available resource in a more efficiant manner of delivery in the short term critical hours that lives have the most chance of being saved that is where the "bottle-neck" lies, as well as getting walking wounded treated before infection kills them needlessly.

http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/multilateral_efforts#Comments

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
January 31, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Re; The notion of Dipnote being a "Political Tool";

To quote the Secretary, “On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does. We stand for a single Internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas.”

As a tool to unlock human potential this blog goes far beyond the mere political in nature, and to try and label it such is to place unworthy limitations on your own expectations of it.

I'm not just saying this to Flavius, but I'm probably preaching to the choir in reminding the folks that created and run this site that we have no physical limits as to what may actually result from this social experiment as the years go by.

If we can think it, we can probably get it done if we want to badly enough...and that would be a healthy attitude to lead off with.

Otherwise, why bother to solicit ideas in the first place?

OysterCracker
|
California, USA
January 31, 2010

Oyster Cracker in California writes:

Okay here's one idea. In regards to Haiti or the next major disaster that deals with the flow of emergency information. It would be great to see numerous, gigantic, blow up information screens that people could text or call to that would immediately give details about survivors and the missing. I wrote to Bill Gates about this idea but got a very lukewarm response. The gigantic screens positioned about the city would act as a focal point to aid supply and information. Other smaller traffic like devices could be placed at stategic traffic nodes about field hospitals and hospitals, whether they're filled to capacity or not and the alternative hospital to take the survivors to. One big criticism is signage and information. In the event of a disaster people need immediate information to save lives, setting up a system like is cheap and low maintenance and could help save more lives. What are your ideas?

OysterCracker
|
California, USA
January 31, 2010

Oyster Cracker in California writes:

Here's another idea,

As there aren't enough tents to house everyone in Haiti in the short term, I wrote to President Obama and suggested that they get 1000,s of used heavy duty sewing machines and have the Haitians churn out tents. This could be the beginning of a cottage disaster products industry. Take existing ideas in disaster relief like house in a box,school in a box etc. modify the idea using less expensive materials and voila Haiti becomes the biggest producer of disaster related products in the world. You could do the same for green industry products once Haiti better recovers. Some of the money generated could be used to help orphanages or child welfare programs that teach about quality child care.

If you get an industry that knows the best practices of child care, life for aHaiti's beautiful children will quickly improve.

brielle j.
|
New York, USA
February 1, 2010

Brielle J. in New York writes:

The gigantic screens positioned about the city would act as a focal point to aid supply and information. Other smaller traffic like devices could be placed at stategic traffic nodes about field hospitals and hospitals, whether they're filled to capacity or not and the alternative hospital to take the survivors to.

Tim S.
|
Ukraine
February 1, 2010

Tim S. in Ukraine writes:

Hi. Just noticed that the headline and question toward the bottom of the blog need to be changed. It currently reads: "How Best Can People Pool Knowledge To Develop Solutions to Global Challenges?" You should simply get rid of the word "best." Good luck. Tim

OysterCracker
|
California, USA
February 2, 2010

OysterCracker in California writes:

I'm really shocked and appalled at the 'holier than though' attitude of the participants on this blog. How could America raise such elitist idiots? What they really mean is that they do believe in the "Foggy bottom" and this website is just for the chosen few. Glad I figured it out soon enough.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 2, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Oyster, I don't know what prompted your complaint, but you asked a fair question and I thought it deserved an answer. May not be the one you were looking for though...(chuckle).

Look, they say "Washington is a place where good ideas go to die.", if there's an exception to that urban myth, it's evident here.

Welcome aboard.

To be completely accurate in my opinion, if Pat Robertson were posting comment on this blog then I would probably have written proof by now that your claims are well founded, but you'd still have to ask him that question, not me...(chuckle).

The notion that members of our government are separate from us is an illusion held by both the government and the citizen to mutual detriment and lasting dysfunctionality and loss of trust.

This then is simply a means to address that problem, and used wisely it may serve that purpose.

Again though, this all depends on what we citizens make of it, and by making too much sense to ignore, officially.

If Bob Gates' words can be taken on faith that "Washington is the only place where you can wallk down the street and see folks holding their own hand." then I suppose what you have are a bunch of separatists, by definition of attitude towards dialogue with their peers.

I take the Bill Mauldin approach, "When you see a stuffed shirt, poke it. When it's really stuffed, punch it."

It's especially effective on illusions of grandure.

I'm not Bill Gates with millions to throw at a problem if I want to solve it, so needing all the help I can get to put an idea in motion, I appreciate the opportunity to solicit that help from the highest office.

But it's someone else's decision to implement or not, and a citizen can only suggest a course of action.

Flavius
|
Virginia, USA
February 2, 2010

Flavius in Virginia writes:

Oyster:

I have suggested that we offer Commonwealth status to the Republic of Haiti, if they're willing. And then after that, statehood.

I then said that someone must have put something in my drink to make me suggest that. Maybe it was Eric.

My suggestion was perhaps the most revolutionary and outside the box of any posted on this site. I know the reasons why we "can't" do it. I reject those reasons. It is the best solution for Haiti, if the Haitians would go along with it. And, more importantly, if Americans would go along with it.

Eric, it is not that I have to eliminate the word "cant" from my internal dialogue. This has nothing to do with MY internal dialogue. It is merely my assessment of the internal dialogue of others.

I have spent over forty years here in the DC area. My father worked for the government. I have worked for the government. I could tell you about people at the Department of State and the government in general whose entire internal dialogue consists only of the word "can't." The culture at State may be changing for the better. It may change back.

I am not suggesting that because there is parochialism and stupidity and avarice in government that ALL government is parochial, stupid and avaricious. There are many people in government who do this for all the right reasons.

There are also people who DON'T. As I said, I speak from long experience.

I am truly sorry that everyone has found such fault with my statements. I have never said that this website is for "the chosen few." Neither has Eric.

Our difference relates to what this website's first purpose is. My initial posting was in reaction to Eric's complaint that...

"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."

So, Eric doesn't like roadblocks to promoting solutions, and he is asking the State Department to explain why there are roadblocks. They never have, at least in the comments section.

My first posting was simply to state that this blog isn't really a "two way street" at all. Which is what Eric was saying to begin with. Then, Eric jumps on me for saying that it ISN'T a two way street.

I could call this Stockholm syndrome, but that would be unfair of me. Eric, your argument is with the DEPARTMENT OF STATE, not with FLAVIUS.

I could have handled this exchange more diplomatically, which is why we're all probably better off without me at State (which was my father's fervent wish for me btw, full disclosure: my father worked for Education).

Those are my last five hundred or so words on the subject.

Eric. If you haven't taken the exam, you ought to. My health won't permit a career overseas. But you are one of the top two or three posters on this blog (imho) along with Zharkov (and where did he go?), and you might have a real shot at it. And you do seem to love it so.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 3, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

(chuckle) The reason I thought it illogical Flavius is because I already had evidence to the contrary nature of it..

And I offered you proof that if nothing else it is so illogical that the policy isn't enforce-able as written.

No beef with State, as I said it was perplexing me and I questioned it.

Simply because this blog has always been officially a two-way street.

Apparently....

We've all had our experiences.

The last time I took the test there were 15,000 applicants for some 400 postions.

I'm glad you think I have a shot against such long odds, but that won't change the medical basis for my not being available for world-wide service at this point.

That could change, but I don't have an extra 30 grand lying around to get the work done.

Now if you know a good think tank willing to pay me to think, I'm all ears.

That is unless the USG considers my presence here a "national asset" worth preservation and funding and offers me work as an analyst having already proved my worth...officially.

God knows the CIA won't ever tell me I'm "making it up" again the next time I drop a golden egg in their lap, that's for certain.

In this life, you win some and you lose some. I try not to hold attachment to ideas.

Saving lives is another matter.

In the battle of ideas, I place my faith in tangible results that I can reach out and touch, not in the process of getting there from here.

That's the way it has to be to become effective.

Roadblocks to that are mearly a nuisance, and most of them are illusory. If you treat them as such, they go by-by.

And sometimes they apologize.

(no reference to you)

All this said, I've enjoyed our conversation...a good give and take...

I don't know that we've solved anything, but if in the reading we've got folks to thinking, then all we can say is we've done our jobs as citizens, despite any flack we may take for it.

Or give each other...(chuckle).

Joan
|
United States
February 2, 2010

Joan in U.S.A. writes:

I think a series of web meetings on each category should be initiated by major corporations and universities with specific goals in mind. The groups would then compete for a prize which would be awarded to all members of the winning group in each category. The projects would be judged by "experts" who are qualified to determine the feasibility of each successful project. A panel of professionals would monitor the progress to ensure all ideas are being heard. It would need to be run similar to a Science Fair, just bigger. Something to think about.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 3, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Flavius,

I suppose you feel I've been unfair to you by the sound of your post.

And since no one has officially taken up my invitation to explain the policy I had question of I figure you think that proves your point that this blog is not a two way street.

Well I'm not one to put State in a position to be damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Since the policy seems to contradict the stated intent of this blog.

I never called it a roadblock, I just said I don't like them in the way in general terms...and by way of having proof that none really existed to begin with I had fair reason to attain the perspective of noting the policy's illogical nature.

Be that as it may, an invitation is just that, and I'm not insisting on an explanation.

Like I said I think they are probably still thinking about it....having been witness to this entertaining conversation, and having published our thoughts on the matter.

There's another reason this blog may exist that hasn't even been explored yet and that's it's entertainment value to all those hard working busy civil servants and FSO's in far flung places chomping on policy's bit while trying to do their jobs effectively.

It may be that I just expressed their sentiments on logic's behalf without being aware of it.

We're a lot alike which is why we get along so well...(chuckle).

I'm not the most diplomatic sort, and I wouldn't pass the meds for world-wide service either.

I took the test several times knowing I had about as much chance of getting hired on as I would winning the powerball lotto.

So my chances of making a difference from the inside is about as good as me having millions to throw at as problem.

That is, slim to none at all. But I'm glad you think I actually might have a shot at it.

Under the circumstances I can only try and make sense of it all from where I sit, with all the time I need to figure things out, and no deadlines or commitments to bind me in process, save for love of humanity.

I find unlimited motivation in that.

And the blog allows me to express that, for all the good it might achieve.

OysterCracker
|
California, USA
February 3, 2010

OysterCracker in California writes:

Apology accepted but how would statehood help Haiti when they're already so wary of foreign intervention? The U.S. and Haitians could profit by their mutual relationship without statehood. One of the biggest exchanges could be education. Sharing curriculum, partnering schools. Allowing Haitians easy access to American schools at 16 or 17. This would ensure a well qualified work force to rebuild and sustain Haiti's viability. I would also make forestry, planting projects mandatory service for all children so that Haiti's forests can be replanted qickly. Imagine an army of 7-17 year olds. They'll get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Karen H.
|
Oregon, USA
February 3, 2010

Karen H. in Oregon writes:

Through the creation of an international government based on fair and equitable practices.

I have been working to introduce a plan for an international government based on two proven concepts: the US Constitution and the cooperation of nature.

Under this plan, each nation would be treated the same way the states are treated within the United States, and making up each of the departments, experts in their fields from all over the world. The departments would function as advisors to the proposes international government, and be sovereign and autonomous. This would take politics out of the issues, and enable issues to be resolved.

With shared research, there would be no redundant efforts, and solutions would be culturally acceptible to all people. There would be no resistance to any plan, because there would be peer review.

Janette W.
|
Louisiana, USA
February 5, 2010

Janette W. W. in Louisiana writes:

I think that at some point in very near future that we should not give the Hataians a fish but teach them how to fish. They have a good natural resource base. They need education on everything from monetization of their resources to human rights. I would gladly educate them on their chickens being that it is a major consumer staple. I have a site that teaches a person the proper care of chickens. It is at buildachickencoopeasy.com

Patrick
|
Maryland, USA
February 6, 2010

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Hi, People of the DipNote Web Site & :)

The Snow is Coming, The Snow is Coming, not the British. hehe...:)

I think there should be information on DipNote about weather warnings for travelers. In areas that are about to get bad weather or have bad weather,and have travelers post in on conditions where they are.

This could be helpful to people who are thinking of traveling to different countries too.

Anyways, be safe out there if your traveling, or planing on driving.

See Ya...Department People :)

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