Friday, August 22, 2008

Trust: Part II

"I propose that the Internet is the truest sense of the modern-day city. There are dense populations, a social infrastructure, complex architecture, rules, and culture. I will suggest that there is transportation as well as residences. Drawing mainly on the ideas of Jane Jacobs I will present the Internet as a modern day city that is governed under what I define as "Democratic Anarchy."Emily's paper addresses an issue I've been pondering lately: The extent to which an Internet community such as Second Life is a city. Another way to put it is to ask to what extent are such communities substitutes or complements to real face-to-face communities? I use Jane Jacobs's work as the analytical foundation, of course, which is why her concepts are so prominent in Emily's discussion."

"Instead of chasing non-Long Island planning and economic development consultants, the planning board should consider keeping the economic impact here on Long Island by integrating into its plans the economic and planning expertise available at each county, most Long Island towns, the Long Island Association, Dowling College and Stony Brook University. Recommendations will emerge that the planning board can discuss, at a cost the region can afford."

"An alliance like this makes sense for Long Island. The range of interest groups already agrees that we need more affordable housing. We should get leaders from these groups together in a room, and tell them to come out when they have a concrete plan to build it.

Sure, there will be disagreements. But the power, breadth and common interest of the group would make it difficult for individuals to scuttle good proposals on the basis of narrow interests. And, as in Boston, once the unified group presented its plan, there would be no stopping it.

Many talented and well-placed people would join such an effort, if only we could get it started. That will take leaders, and importantly, leaders from the business community. A couple of individuals, determined to replace hand-wringing with action, is all it would take to get the ball rolling. Who will step up?"

Here we have three elements (of many we have been discussing on this site) which, at first, may seem not to have a lot in common.

Virtual cities? Aren't those just games?

Integrated planning? How do you accomplish that?

Common agreement on a big issue? How to get started implementing these big ideas?

OK, so as we've previously explored current web technology (2.0 and emerging 3.0) makes it reasonably easy to communicate. Among many questions we might ask are, what information do we communicate? How is it relevant? How has it been vetted? Is it dynamic or static information? How do we avoid this "democratic anarchy" explore above?

OK smart guy, if its so easy to communicate, why don't we just communicate get more done here on Long Island. Ah ha very true, but first you must be willing to communicate and have the means and opportunity to communicate.

This is actually what we've been advocating with our "One Long Island" series of proposals (and actually back to the Oyster Bay 2000 days of 1992-93).

So we have the technology to communicate effectively, there is certainly enough capital on Long Island to create/expand the "virtual infrastructure," we have plenty of smart people with great ideas here on Long Island ... sooooooooo .. what's missing?

In a word, trust.

We simply do not trust the that information we receive is complete or has been vetted and analyzed completely (whether it has or not), we do not believe we (the general public) is adequately informed or that our opinions even when heard even matter, we are generally suspicious of government and large organizations ... in short in the maze and daze of daily living we do not have the time to focus on the "larger issues" of the day in a way that will allow us to trust that the correct actions are being undertaken.

So what to do?

Well you could try to just ram things through a la Robert Moses. It won't work, but you could try.

You could try to convince everyone that you have thought of every possible angle and contingency and that your conclusions are bullet proof. It won't work, but you could try.

First we must establish trust, and more importantly a methodology to ensure that this trust is verifiable.

More in Part III.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Meta-leadership: Part V

"Transactional leaders use conventional reward and punishment to gain compliance from their followers."

"Transforming leadership... occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality. Their purposes, which might have started out as separate but related, as in the case of transactional leadership, become fused. Power bases are linked not as counterweights but as mutual support for common purpose. Various names are used for such leadership, some of them derisory: elevating, mobilizing, inspiring, exalting, uplifting, preaching, exhorting, evangelizing. The relationship can be moralistic, of course. But transforming leadership ultimately becomes moral in that it raises the level of human conduct and ethical aspiration of both leader and led, and thus it has a transforming effect on both."

The definition for "transforming leadership" can also be a definition, at least in part, for "meta-leadership."

Although I am not a huge fan of the whole "need for leadership issue" since it almost always leads to those designated as leaders accumulating and hence almost never willingly relinquishing power (thank god for George Washington), thus leading to the "cycle of stagnation" we've talked about earlier, there is a "tradition" that needs and expects some sort of leadership model.

The meta-leadership model (or transformational model) at least offers the hope of creating a "dynamic environment" that will allow us to engage in clear thinking based on real time data and analysis and collaborative organization building. Meta-leadership might also be further defined as the "absence of static leadership and organization."

This dynamism is necessary in a world with diminishing resources, a larger population, greater competition among and between geographic regions as well as a whole host of criteria that will define our immediate and long term future.

Meta-leadership can and should allow for the dynamic interaction of small, medium and larger groups and organizations. It does not demand (transactional leadership) a certain way of doing things.

Therefore, leadership is based upon need and ability in real time (or virtual real time) not just upon someone being designated as a leader.

More in Part Six.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Static planning vs dynamic planning ...

"The Town of Huntington is about to release Comprehensive Plan Update: Horizons 2020, a draft version of what will become a roadmap for future development in the town that includes Huntington Station, East Northport and Dix Hills.

The town will put copies of the plan in libraries throughout Huntington, as well as Huntington Town Hall at 100 Main Street. It will also be posted on the town’s Web site."

Good to see some long range planning going on and the Town Huntington is to be commended for the effort.

But like previous planning efforts on Long Island (and elsewhere) we still have not bridged the gap from "static planning" into "dynamic planning (as previously discussed on this site)."

Wouldn't it be productive to have this plan (and other "local" plans across Long Island) be part of a Long Island dynamic meta-plan and as generally available meta-data?

Furthermore, shouldn't the information gathered in the Huntington model be available island- wide for study and possible use in other jurisdictions?

Won't situations change over time? Wouldn't it be helpful to update and analyze all or part of what you are doing in virtual real time, rather than have to start the process from scratch each time?

As we've stated previously, if governmental entities (like the Town of Huntington) , individuals, and organizations had access to easy to use, available analytic tools, methodologies, data structures etc., when one entity creates good work, it links to the "greater entity" (Long Island) so that all may benefit.

More to come ...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Modular Long Island: Part II

Last year around this time we started talking about a "modular Long Island" concept.

In point of fact, all of the One Long Island series of ideas is "modular" in that each idea can stand on its own or easily "integrate" with other elements of One Long Island (or already existing compatible ideas, organizations, systems etc.).

A large problem on Long Island as elsewhere, and one that we've talked about ad infinitum, is the seeming inability to link similar ideas, organizations and programs and further, the seeming inability to understand (or to recognize) the impact of one or multiple actions on the immediate and long term status of Long Island.

Ah ha, you might say, it is impossible to think of everything at once.

Under current conditions, difficult yes, impossible no.

The fact is, we must learn to think differently and on multiple levels simultaneously if we are to create substantive, positive and sustainable change.

Some look at the many levels of government on Long Island as the main culprit in our apparent dysfunction. Certainly this has something to do with it. But the organization of government is merely an outgrowth of how we wish to govern ourselves and more narrowly, to "control" our geographic area and immediate environment.

If we look beyond government, you pick the discipline, not for profit, information/data services, environmental, education etc, we will see the same level of "diversity."

Some see this "diversity" governmental or otherwise as a bad thing. I say it doesn't really matter if there are systems in place to foster simple and effective collaboration. People, no matter who they are or who they are affiliated with, must come to the table willingly and must trust that the process and the information they receive (and provide) is accurate, fair and reasonable for there to be long term sustainable change.

Government and other types of organizations will only achieve their optimally effective size and structure through the type of collaborative and "dynamic" interaction we've advocated over the past year (actually since 1993 with Oyster Bay 2000).

Its almost as if we must break organizations and their respective missions down to their component parts and reassemble them in new, more dynamic and flexible shapes.

This type of thinking enhances opportunity for those currently on "the outside looking in" and additionally, actually assists those who may initially lose some clout and influence they enjoyed under the old regime(s) in having more, if a different type of, influence and opportunity as Long Island creates a greater and more expansive, dynamic environment.

It won't happen overnight, but it will not happen at all unless we try a different approach. This is some of the thinking behind the Long Island Meta-Planning, Meta-Data, Meta-Think Tank etc, etc, etc concepts.

More in Part III.