Monday, December 31, 2007

Some thoughts on a new year ....

First of all, let me thank all of you who have made the Long Island Idea Factory site a success beyond anything I'd imagined it could be. We're off to a good start but we have a lot more work to do if any of these ideas are to become a reality.

Secondly, we're entering into an important year as we pick a new President. We'll hear a lot of talk about leadership, legacy and change.

To me, leadership is about ideas and how to work collaboratively to implement those ideas. Leadership is not about "idol worship." Idol worship only makes the population lazy in that we expect our "leaders" to do most of the work for us and, surprise, surprise, we are almost always disappointed in the results.

One of the overriding hopes for our One Long Island series of projects is that we create an environment wherein our leaders play a part in the progress of Long Island, but are not expected to shoulder the whole load. That is an unfair and impracticable burden to place upon anyone in a "representative democracy" and leads to a cycle of disappointment and stagnation.

We all have an important part to play. The key is to play the part at the right time and "in tune." If we can achieve a different and more creative dynamic here on Long Island with all its organizational diversity, there is no reason why our ideas can not be exported to other regions. As we've stated previously, Long Island has some of the best talent on the planet. We just need the tools and mindset to achieve great things.

Legacy is an overused and sometimes embarrassing word. I mean, other than family and close friends, who really cares about an individual legacy? Even then, they look at who you are and how you conduct your life rather than what you've "accomplished."

You live in the moment, plan for the future, continually seek knowledge and do the best job you know how. Metaphorically speaking, to have a pigeon use your statue as a lavatory 100 years from now is sort of irrelevant to the process of making a better life for your fellow Long Islanders. Do good work and move on.

If what you've done has helped in some way, great. That's really all you should expect out of it. Concern about individual legacy often times leads to poor decision-making based upon personal expediency rather than the long term common good.

The dust bin of history is littered with those who thought they would be immortal.

Change comes from good ideas, good organization and collaboration. It is easy to work with someone when you agree with them. It is obviously more difficult to work together when you disagree.

I always make it a point to try to find a way to build bridges with whomever I meet. Believe me, sometimes it would be much easier not to try!

But in the interest of being honest with myself and putting my words into practice, it is essential to make the effort.

So, I hope everyone out there has a happy and healthy New Year. I look forward to continuing the progress we've started and more importantly I look forward to meeting new people with new ideas who want to work collaboratively for a better Long Island and a better America.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Long Island Meta-Advocacy Council: Part One

What if Long Island could speak with one voice on the important issues of the day and on the issues that will shape our future?

How powerful would that be?

More in Part Two.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Long Island Best Practices WIKI: Part One

As an outgrowth of the One Long Island project, We may envision a "Long Island Best Practices WIKI" which will allow collaboration between and amongst the different disciplines on Long Island.

Who has the best ideas (or partial ideas) in education? Government? Non-profits?

What works? What doesn't?

It may even allow us, over time, to create a realistic One Long Island "business plan."

We know there is a lot of good work going on out there but unfortunately it seems only the negative gets highlighted. There is a big difference between opinion and criticism, no matter how well informed, and creative thinking, hard work and collaboration.

Here is a national study from 1997 which might serve as one part of an overall structure.

New York State might want to look at this type of program as well.

More in Part Two.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Another way to use Lydia/TextMap ...

We posted previously about how we believe the Lydia/TextMap project at Stony Brook would improve New York State's Project Sunlight.

Now imagine a way to access all Long Island Information (although it is really applicable to any size region) and to assess through sophisticated analysis the veracity and accuracy of the information?

For example, is what we're being told more likely or less likely to be accurate based upon all the relevant available data and additionally, based upon all the relationships and secondary and tertiary sources related to this data?

Holy cow Batman, I think we're on to something!

Again the trick is to get access to all the relevant data (government, libraries, newspapers, internet etc...) in a flexible yet secure manner that will allow us to do predetermined and ad hoc queries (and metaqueries).

More on this later.

Collaborative Spheres of Influence: Part One

We've previously posted about organizational autonomy on Long Island (and elsewhere) and the apparent affinity most people have for smaller groups over which they feel they have some influence.

One way to change this is through consolidation, mandated by law or otherwise.

As stated previously, another way to effectuate change is to create an environment where organizations may maintain their autonomy but have the tools to work collaboratively.

The above diagram shows the "organic" nature of the later, wherein the collaborative participants literally come together to "breathe in" or otherwise "absorb" the "nutrients" from other similar or preferably diverse organizations then return to their "spheres" energized with new ideas and methods for improving their performance. This is a continuous process necessary for the health of the entire "organism" (Long Island).

More in part Two.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

How to make the sun shine brighter ...

Project Sunlight is an interesting and potentially helpful new site started by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo designed to "promote your right to know and to monitor governmental decision-making."

One suggestion. The Attorney General may want to connect with the University of Stony Brook's LYDIA/TextMap program as a way to help the public "connect the dots" in a more robust manner.

Additionally, and as we have previously stated, all Long Island/New York State technology should be designed to be "interconnected" via secure open standards. Perhaps Project Sunshine is already designed in this manner. They probably should add, among other improvements, XML and cross-platform alert capability as well at some point.

Our "One Long Island" project will certainly incorporate LYDIA/TextMap technology into our "universe of ideas and applications."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Another energy idea ...

A friend of mine directed me to this site recently. Personal wind power (no jokes please).

One is apparently installed at the Stony Brook Southampton Campus. It would be interesting to see how effective it is.

How about we put these right down the spine of the LIE? On existing water towers and smoke stacks? On light poles? On all compatible public property? How effective would it be?

Add that to the SunEdison concept and other "complete solarization" ideas and the Plasma Converter projects we spoke about earlier and where does that get us?

What if all the garbage/solid waste companies and municipalities on Long Island got together and built one Plasma Converter in Nassau and one in Suffolk? How much energy would it create? How many landfills could be reclaimed? How much less gas would be used? What about (you fill in the question) ...

How about energy from the ocean ? How about an earth battery ?

How many cost effective megawatts can we really generate from alternative sources if we put our minds to it? When you give the public accurate data about the cost benefit analysis and impact on the environment, then they can make rational choices about aesthetics and other issues.

The point is, unless you ask "out of the box" questions, maybe even seemingly "crazy," creative questions and then do the analysis, you never really know what is possible.

What is known is that we will have to make major changes to the way we create and consume energy on Long Island if we are to have energy that is remotely affordable.

Alternative energy, another good candidate for our "One Long Island" metadata analysis concept.

"Dare to be Different."

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A couple of quick points ...

First, we are assembling a good team of highly competent diverse folks for the implementation phase of the "One Long Island" series of projects. If you are interested in participating please contact me.

Second, I won't publish comments on this blog without knowing who is making the comment and having a way to respond to them. I invite criticism and alternative views, just not anonymous criticism and alternative views.

There are plenty of other sites for that and they do serve a purpose by letting folks vent and to opine without any repercussions. Its part of the "rich tapestry of life" as they say. These sites generally don't hurt and some good ideas sometimes rise through the fog, but if you're not willing to stand behind your convictions, in the end, what have you really accomplished?

"One Long Island" is all about collaboration. Collaboration is at the very least however, a two way street between folks trying to work through and solve difficult issues.

"One Long Island" is also, among other things, about building bridges between issues, individuals and organizations. It is not about one single issue. It is not about the promotion of one view or organization over another. There would be no point to the project if it was.

Are all the ideas here winners? Of course not. But I hope it helps in some way to encourage others to have the courage of their convictions and to publicly express your advocacy in a positive, collaborative way.

Long Island needs teamwork, not individual heroes. No one person or organization has all the answers. With the "One Long Island" project we are trying to assemble a "critical mass" of folks who wish to collaborate in a positive way on Long Island.

If we are successful things will change for the better, and will change for the better pretty quickly.