Thursday, February 28, 2008

Long Island "Green" Business Accelerator

I've been reading with great interest all the new focus on "green" energy and its possible positive impact on the Long Island economy.

"The Green Guide" and "Long Island's Next Big Thing" among others are great additions to the cause and are doing splendid work in highlighting the issues and attempting to take a comprehensive approach to energy production on Long Island.

I would suggest all involved consider a Long Island "Green" Business Accelerator model along the lines of the Port of Technology in Philadelphia and other business "accelerator" models we've discussed in previous posts over the past year. Here is another example of an "alternative energy accelerator" in Michigan.

I've had some very preliminary talks with some folks out at Stony Brook (a natural location given their new alternative energy center) and other folks in the industry who feel the idea has merit and some potential.

Of course there may be multiple "accelerators" so long as they work collaboratively (this is the meta acceleration we spoke about previously) and for a common purpose. There should also be "cross pollination" of ideas and business among and between accelerators engaged in green energy and accelerators and incubators engaged in different but potentially mutually helpful work.

Depending on governmental resources to launch this initiative into high gear is, perhaps, dooming it to at best mediocrity. Again, it must be a "dynamic" process, not the stagnant "static" process which has formed so much of our current policy.

We need all the resources at our disposal to create a "green" Long Island.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Long Island Best Practices WIKI: Part 2

We've been reading quite a bit of local news recently on how government operates on Long Island and in New York State generally. This is separate and apart from the "meta-issues" involved in the presidential campaign.

Some advocate getting "mad as hell."

It has been my humble experience that getting "mad" does not cause fundamental change. It only makes things worse.

It's easy to be against something. It is much harder to be for something.

So how do we lower the temperature and at the same time inform and engage the public and governmental entities of all types in a substantive dialogue?

Many of the One Long Island proposals are designed to do just that.

But how about we make an attempt at defining some standards of performance for the types of services we currently have and wish to have in the future, then see who is providing those services in the most effective manner. Then use those ideas as a base line for developing our future service structure(s).

Compare "apples to apples" and be honest with yourself and the public.

"Cherry picking" (enough fruit metaphors) issues and pitting one group against another will not solve anything to any one's satisfaction.

No dogma. Take a fresh look at everything. Collaborate and engage the public.

Then we can make some rational and potentially difficult choices together.

More in Part 3.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Avoiding the Suppression of Progress: Part II

Did you ever notice that the same voices are heard repeatedly?

When we say the same voices, we are primarily speaking about "institutional voices" with a built in large readership or large numbers of viewers or organizational members, not letters or comments to the editor. We are not even talking about the occasional op-ed or the blogosphere. Institutional voices control the flow of information and, as importantly, the frequency with which the information is printed or broadcast.

Whether in the regional newspapers, the local newspapers, major organizations, government, the local cable editorials, guest panelists, guest columnists what have you, we seem to hear the same or similar voices heard almost exclusively.

Why does this happen?

Well certainly, if you have a point of view and you are in control of how information and opinions are released, you are certainly within your rights to proceed in any legal manner you wish. Additionally, most media and large organizations have a financial interest (and maybe a philosophical interest) in "staying alive."

But does this really help achieve progress on Long Island (or elsewhere for that matter)?

To believe it helps achieve progress, you would have to believe in the almost absolute certainty of your opinion, the information you are dispensing and the method(s) you used to arrive at your conclusions.

I believe the suppression of information and access to "institutional media" and other major information outlets prevents long term sustainable progress because it is essentially a violation of the public trust. It contributes to the "cycle of stagnation" by insuring only certain opinions and information is given "legitimate status" based upon potentially limited methodologies.

Without the public trust, long term progress (however defined) is virtually impossible.

This is why we have proposed the Meta-Portal and Citizen Media Network ideas among many others, as part of the One Long Island project. Open communication is vital in building the public trust and creating long term, sustainable progress.

Certainly events like this one are helpful as a part of the process. But, as we stated previously, isn't it really a perpetuation of the old "static" way of doing things?

New thinking needs a new "support system." One Long Island is potentially part of that solution.

More in Part III.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A brief intermission ...

Sorry about the lack of posts recently.

I'm actually engaged in attempting to put some of the "One Long Island" theories into practice.

I should have a few updates soon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Acceleration, not incubation ...

Turning the former Navy property in Bethpage into a "jobs incubator" is potentially a very good idea, although the "incubator" concept should really be an "accelerator" concept as we have described in previous posts linked to all other Long Island Accelerators (meta acceleration).

Again we have an example of a good idea which could be made even better if it linked to "similar" projects and concepts being planned or underway on Long Island.We should first look for links on Long Island and "consolidate" concepts and programs where it makes sense to do so.

I understand there is an inherent competitiveness and need for autonomy between jurisdictions, but "regional planning" and "consolidation" does not only refer to land use issues and organizations.

Maybe regional planning is a somewhat outdated term. Perhaps it should be a "shared regional philosophy" instead.

A "Long Island Philosophy."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Creating Dynamic Commissions:Part One

We have posted many times previously about the creation of commissions that in turn create "static" reports not connected to any other report or body of knowledge on the same or related subject.

Here now is a new one. I have no doubt the parade of commissions will continue since we seem to be in love with the concept. We'll assume for the moment that the findings of the commission have not been "preordained" and that this commission (or any commission for that matter) is being convened to take an impartial, objective look at the issue(s) rather than being convened to certify an end result that an individual or individuals wish to effectuate.

It isn't as though creating commissions and issuing reports or findings is a bad thing. Quite the contrary, it can be of enormous value if done properly.

But think of what a commission is composed of. Usually it is composed of highly educated and/or experienced folks who are well thought of in their "community." They are busy people who nevertheless have consented to serve on a commission because they believe they can be helpful.

But their time is limited. As intelligent as they are, their knowledge and experience is limited. Their access to information is limited by the very nature of how information is organized in New York and elsewhere at present.

They will get the job done and issue a professional report. But it will be yet another "static" report and therefore limited in usefulness and subject to attack by dissenters. Maybe it will have an effect maybe not. At best it will solve only part of the issue.

"Dynamic Commissions" utilize the "dynamic, collaborative concepts" we've talked about on this site ad nauseum.

In Part Two we'll take a shot at constructing a "how to" manual for creating a dynamic commission.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Avoiding the Suppression of Progress: Part One

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." James Madison

Who are the gatekeepers of information and opinion? Media? Government? Large organizations of varying stripes?

Who prevents us or assists us in ensuring that diverse opinions, ideas and information are integrated into the "common dialogue" so that all realistic avenues of progress are debated, analyzed and enacted?

What I find fascinating about the current presidential contests is the continued focus of our fellow citizens on "looking for a leader" who will somehow have the answer to all our questions. No one individual, no matter how bright, can solve all our issues.

At best they can only find people smarter than they are with a broader and more diverse scope of knowledge, give them the tools to work collaboratively with the citizenry to solve problems. One's judgment and ability to formulate collaborative solutions which integrate a wide cross section of the citizenry is, to me, more important than some vague reference to leadership.

In short, what are your ideas and how specifically are going to implement them? We don't expect perfection. We will allow you to change your positions without demagoging the issue. The vast majority of people just want a sincere effort, an honest answer and an opportunity to be heard.

Of course tell us the truth. But, more importantly tell us how you arrived at what you believe the truth to be. It may not always be the best politics. It may not even be winning politics. But it is good for the overall health of the public discourse.

Most people are reasonable, hard working citizens. Most people are tolerant of opposing views. Most people will participate if given the opportunity and believe that their voice, even if it doesn't carry the day, will be heard.

Bottom up generally works better than top down. Smaller more diverse groups working collaboratively are generally better than a monolithic entity dictating policy.

None of this works however without the active participation of you and me.

So who can suppress progress here on Long Island and elsewhere?

With the free flow of information and the tools to empower the public, no one.

Who has the ultimate responsibility to solve problems? We do.

I don't see how there can be a "silent majority" or a silent anything in the future. Maybe even the very near future.

Enough sermonizing.

More in Part Two.