Awakening Freedom’s Allies: Thoughts on Egypt, Youth Bulges and Economic Growth

Category: NGOs & Government
Published on Jan 28, 2011

As one watches the events unfold in Cairo, it’s impossible not to feel sympathy for the Egyptian citizens who want, more than anything, to share the values of freedom and openness, but must risk life and limb to do so. For me, freedom is the most important human aspiration. No one should be denied the right to determine their own destiny, to be free of oppression or to enjoy bedrock liberties like the right to […]

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A regulatory system that learns and improves

Category: Business & Economics | NGOs & Government
Published on Jan 20, 2011

In my previous post I discussed why the Obama administration is right to make renewing America’s regulatory system a priority. We already have a situation where citizens armed with information are drawing attention to many important fissures in the global economy that threaten to undermine global peace and stability, issues such as climate change, food security, water scarcity, and corruption. They are increasingly willing and able to contribute to solving these issues, and they are […]

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Could Wikileaks Set Back Open Government?

Category: NGOs & Government
Published on Nov 29, 2010

In the wake of yet another massive disclosure of compromising US government secrets, it’s worth reflecting on whether Wikileaks is helping or in fact undermining the transparency movement in the United States and abroad. To conclude that Wikileaks’ unapologetic disclosures are undermining transparency is admittedly a counter-intuitive. After all, the self-proclaimed “intelligence service of the people” has, in just a few short years, released more than a million confidential documents, from highly classified military secrets […]

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Getting out the vote – there’s an app for that

Category: NGOs & Government
Published on Oct 31, 2010

Last week I had a conversation with the Toronto Star about a Facebook app being used by California Democrats to mobilize supporters in the run-up to this week’s mid-term elections. The app, called Friend Out the Vote, is designed to sift through a user’s friends list, match it with friends’ party registrations and affiliations and voting histories, and develop a list of people who vote Democrat but don’t vote regularly. I talked about why Facebook apps alone […]

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From wikinomics to the Tea Party, revisited

Category: NGOs & Government
Published on Oct 10, 2010

The WSJ had a nice piece on Macrowikinomics last week (pdf here). My only complaint is that Crovitz put the usual WSJ spin on our work on the future of government by arguing for “less government” rather than “better government.” Here’s a clip from Crovitz’s article: The rate of technological change is exhilarating for some and nerve-racking for others, but it should be most terrifying to the political class. The disconnect between the frenetic pace […]

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Internet = democracy in China. Not really according to Chatham House

Category: NGOs & Government
Published on Sep 14, 2010

Conventional wisdom suggests that as China grows richer it will also become more liberal, following essentially the same path of development as today’s advanced democracies. The Internet is supposed to accelerate this process by equipping pro-democracy activists with the tools to find information, inform others and self-organize like never before. Unfortunately, the evidence doesn’t always stack up. On the contrary, China’s phenomenal growth has arguably emboldened its communist leaders. Over time they have grown increasingly […]

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Climate activists spoofed on Twitter

Category: Environment & Sustainability | NGOs & Government
Published on Aug 25, 2010

For years I’ve been a fan of the Yes Men and the outrageous impersonation stunts they have deployed to (in their words) publicly humiliate leaders and big corporations who put profits ahead of everything else. In October last year, for example, they staged a hoax press conference, claiming to represent the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and pretending to announce that the business lobby group was dropping its aggressive opposition to the climate change legislation working […]

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Wikinomics and the Era of Openness: European Innovation at the Crossroads

Category: Business & Economics | Environment & Sustainability | Health, Science & Education | NGOs & Government
Published on Mar 10, 2010

For the past couple of months I have been working with the wonderful folks at the Lisbon Council in Brussels to prepare a report that examines the economic challenges facing Europe — and the innovative solutions that many entrepreneurs, businesses, governments and citizens are devising to succeed in networked world. The report was launched last week in Brussels at an event that also featured Europe’s new innovation commissioner, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. You can see video highlights […]

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Change.org features global problem-solving podcast

Category: Environment & Sustainability | NGOs & Government
Published on Feb 22, 2010

Change.org has a little write up of my conversation with Dave Witzel and Jerry Michalski earlier today. The post on Change.org does a decent job of capturing the main thesis, but the conversation itself covered more ground, including some reflections on the changing roles of business, government and individual citizens in addressing environmental problems and a discussion about how social innovations that reach across borders and cultures will challenge traditional conceptions of democracy. The recording […]

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Sarkozy to Davos: This is a crisis of globalization

Category: Business & Economics | NGOs & Government
Published on Jan 28, 2010

French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, gave the opening address to Davos yesterday. His message: this is not just a global financial crisis; it is a crisis of globalization. My overall assessment of his talk: A good job diagnosing the problems with today’s economy, but Sarkozy offers little in the way of novel or innovative solutions. Not surprisingly, he was very critical of bankers and financial power brokers who have rigged the system to extract maximum profits for […]

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