Christine Geith

Sharing inspiration for bringing ideas to life!

Think Possible: SoLoMo Inspiration for eXtension

What does 2020 make possible for the Cooperative Extension system’s digital strategy called eXtension? Last week in DC, I had the privilege of kicking off a strategic “e-nnovation session” for the eXtension strategy team. It was expertly facilitated by Teresa Hogue, Jeff Miller and Gae Broadwater of the Cascade Center for Community Governance. In my talk, I contrasted the state of the web when eXtension was first conceived a decade ago  with what’s around the corner in 2020. I believe the tools are finally here to super-power local extension agents. The social, local and mobile (SoLoMo) web is the key that unlocks the influence of people embedded in community to accelerate positive change. Here are my slides and presentation notes.

Slide 2: Around the time eXtension was launched, this is where things were: social media was being invented, Google was mostly a search engine, most of our phones still had keyboards and Wikipedia was demonstrating the value of “open” and the “crowd.” Content was King.

Slide 3: Ten years later, by next year: Face Book is a nation with over 1/7 of the world’s population using it each month (note – they just purchased Europe’s fastest-growing social messaging platform WhatsAPP); Google is now an operating system; mobile phones are customizable wireless devices; Wikipedia has far outstripped any traditional encyclopedia in quantity AND in quality; and the App Store, which didn’t exist in 2005, has 1 Trillion Downloads (note, the average download is 50 cents). Social, local and mobile – and their “big data” – are king.

Slide 4: And what’s around the corner? In 2020 Face Book is a messaging utility in the way we think of mobile utilities today; Google is the new computer – and it is available anytime, anywhere on any device; and these devices are no longer just our phones, laptops and tablets – in 2020 everything is connected to the web from toothbrushes to our home security systems; the Web as Computer, connected to all sorts of devices, is powered in part by over ten million apps; and Wikipedia is now an open culture advocacy service enabling communities in the far corners of the globe to share their indigenous knowledge in their native language. In 2020, smart connectivity is king.

Slide 5: Here’s what the world looks like in 2020: 8 billion people

Slide 6: 6 billion smart phones – not the text-only variety, but decent-bandwidth smart phones

Slide 7: 212 billion connected things: these are devices attached to people, places and things.

Slide 8: The result: By 2020 we live in a world where about ¾ of the population is connected to each other, to places, and to things in those places…a world where we connect using videos, photos, audio and text messages from any device at any time; where the things we carry and the places we live in, including our cars, are connected to each other…a world that enables new ways of making meaning out of the data from all of this smart ways of making sense out of ourselves and our communities…and new ways of solving problems.

Slide 9: There are 3 key impacts of 2020 for Cooperative Extension and eXtension. The first impact: all of this connectivity and all of these devices in the global web, finally bring us home. Now I have things that help me with my daily life – finding a place to eat across the street, getting a coupon while I’m in the store; getting kudos from friends while I run my 5th mile – these are here right now – and it will be even more so in 2020. Think what’s possible with local.

Slide 10: Here are two examples of what “here and now and local” looks like.

Slide 11: The 2nd impact of 2020 is the power of open. Open used to be the default. Until about 10 years ago, if you wanted to protect your rights to a work so that you could sell it for example, you had to mark it with copyright and register it at the copyright office. All rights reserved copyright was the exception, not the rule. That’s no longer the case. Starting about a decade ago, everything is copyrighted by default, and if you want to share it and have people use it and build on your work, you have to signal that is the case.

Slide 12: One standard way of signaling that you want people to use your work – to redistribute it, to translate it, to make derivative works – is to use a Creative Commons license. What this means is that whenever you create something, like a briefing paper, you have to pause and make a choice about how you want it used, then you have to signal that choice with a license and use file formats and distribution channels that enable your choice. This choice is important, because if you want your work to be easily used by others, to create new knowledge and to create new businesses, you have to share it through a channel where it will be found and used in this way.

Slide 13: A model for open is our own federal government. Obama and the U.S. Chief Technology Officer are doing this with government data.

Slide 14: Here are 4 examples of what Open looks like . Health is ahead of agriculture on this, and you can see what I mean by going to Health Datapalooza. Look at the Health Data Consortium that leads this effort through public/private partnership. The consortium is now headed by the former founder and CEO of Innocentive, the first platform to enable organizations to commission innovations through prizes and challenges, instead of using RFP’s to hire the most likely solution builders.

Slide 15: The third impact of 2020 is Action. The world in 2020 is full of opportunities for individuals and communities to actually do something using the smart-connected world: movements like Arab Spring, and individual actions that add up to something significant.

Slide 16: Here are two examples of action. Kick Starter recently reached the $1 Billion dollar mark for raising funds.

Slide 17: So the three impacts of 2020 for eXtension are to think local, think open and think action.

Slide 18: So, what’s missing from all of this smart connectivity? People. We know that technical innovation is only as good as the social innovation that enables it. The bottom line is that 2020 can super-power Cooperative Extension. Its in-person network of 50 thousand extension specialists is more valuable than ever. Think smart connectivity of people, places and things; think local, open and action; think 50 thousand people with strong relationships in their local communities making positive change. Think what’s possible: a unique national, even global, network of change-makers, of social innovators, powered by what’s here in 2020.

Slide 19: Content was king in 2005. Extending research-based knowledge is only a start. 2020 enables the full mission of cooperative extension: changing lives. With ¾ of the population smartly connected to each other, to places and to things…and with “boots on the ground” in the Cooperative Extension network, improving the lives of every American by helping them make informed choices is within reach.

Thank you!

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This entry was posted on March 12, 2014 by in Innovation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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