The Internet doesn’t need your ‘great idea’ /@TheNextWeb

“Great ideas. That is what we are all after isn’t it? That one spark that leads to an empire, money and power? Well, I’ve got news for you. Ideas are yesterdays news. Passé. Done. Last century…. The difference between a nice idea and a very successful idea has always been execution, timing and a large dose of luck….

thrived more because of their long-term vision and attention to details and less because they had his single, cool and innovative, idea. Twitter wasn’t just a good idea either. In fact, most people at the time agreed it wasn’t much of an idea at all.

“I spoke to one of the early investors recently who told me ‘nobody saw it coming. We invested in Evan Williams because we believed in him as an entrepreneur and he only needed a small sum of money. But we all hoped he would quickly transform his service into something entirely different’. What Twitter did have was a working prototype, that people liked to use. And that is really all you need.”

Snuggly the Security Bear /@MarkFiore

“Hi there, I’m Snuggly the Security Bear…. We’re going to make the Internet wiretap friendly because we want you to be sunggly and safer… just like they do in Saudi Arabia and Dubai…. Besides, how do we know who to watch, unless we watch all of you?”

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Colleges build hubs to track social-media buzz /@chronicle

“Bates College has gone beyond Twitter by aggregating all of its social-media platforms on a single Web page. Its Bates Social site features links to athletics blogs and those by professors, as well as Facebook and LinkedIn groups for alumni, and lists of Twitter accounts from students and clubs. It also allows members of the college community to subscribe to an RSS feed of various Bates-related blogs and add their own social-media content into the mix. Designed during a larger restructuring of the college Web site, Bates Social ‘was developed to provide a tool for both internal use and visitors seeking to connect with Bates people or learn about the college,’ said Bates spokesman Doug Hubley in an e-mail.

“Bryan Alexander, senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, said the Bates site is a simple way for colleges and universities to corral information from social media. ‘So many great technology ideas seem totally obvious when you see them in action,’ Mr. Alexander said. ‘It’s a very basic, simple idea, but those are often the ones that change the world.'”

American #creativity is declining /@newsweek

“Creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward…. It is the scores of younger children in America—from kindergarten through sixth grade—for whom the decline is ‘most serious’….

“Highly creative adults tended to grow up in families embodying opposites. Parents encouraged uniqueness, yet provided stability. They were highly responsive to kids’ needs, yet challenged kids to develop skills…. In the space between anxiety and boredom was where creativity flourished.

“Preschool children, on average, ask their parents about 100 questions a day. Why, why, why—sometimes parents just wish it’d stop. Tragically, it does stop. By middle school they’ve pretty much stopped asking. It’s no coincidence that this same time is when student motivation and engagement plummet…

“When faculty of a major Chinese university asked Plucker to identify trends in American education, he described our focus on standardized curriculum, rote memorization, and nationalized testing. “After my answer was translated, they just started laughing out loud,” says . “They said, ‘You’re racing toward our old model. But we’re racing toward your model, as fast as we can.’

“Researchers say creativity should be taken out of the art room and put into homeroom…. Creativity isn’t about freedom from concrete facts. Rather, fact-finding and deep research are vital stages in the creative process.

“Creativity requires constant shifting, blender pulses of both divergent thinking and convergent thinking, to combine new information with old and forgotten ideas… The attention system must radically reverse gears, going from defocused attention to extremely focused attention. In a flash, the brain pulls together these disparate shreds of thought and binds them into a new single idea that enters consciousness. This is the “aha!” moment of insight, often followed by a spark of pleasure as the brain recognizes the novelty of what it’s come up with.

“The lore of pop psychology is that creativity occurs on the right side of the brain. But we now know that if you tried to be creative using only the right side of your brain, it’d be like living with ideas perpetually at the tip of your tongue.”

How to grow a collaborative learning community by Josh Little

“Imagine your workplace as an award-winning garden — a place where you nurture knowledge and success. A place where people grow and learn from one another by sharing best practices. A place where training content expands and improves through crowdsourcing. A place that’s self-sustaining, dynamic, and always fresh….

“In the world of traditional hierarchy, people hoard knowledge and shun openness. The world is going open source, but that doesn’t mean every organization’s culture is open-sourced. New ideas and systems need nurturing. Growing a healthy learning community is a lot like growing a healthy garden.”

The movement for open government software

“Code for America was founded to help the brightest minds of the Web 2.0 generation transform city governments. Cities are under greater pressure than ever, struggling with budget cuts and outdated technology. What if, instead of cutting services or raising taxes, cities could leverage the power of the web to become more efficient, transparent, and participatory?”

“Information is the currency of democracy, yet in our Information Age, the average citizen is deeply disconnected from civic life. Governments spend tens of billions each year on information management, but much of that data is locked away in proprietary systems. Newspapers once fed civic engagement, but mainstream journalism is crumbling. And cities sharing the same challenges — from education to transportation — are stuck finding solutions on their own, often the aid of peer and citizen expertise.

“OpenPlans is a non-profit technology organization focused on civic engagement and open government. We use journalism and open source software to turn data into accessible, useful information. This work engages the average person in shaping their community.”

“As public sector budgets continue to shrink across the country, a consortium of public and non-profit organizations today launched a new effort to reduce government IT costs. Civic Commons is a new public-private partnership that will help governments share software they have developed, eliminating countless duplicative software development efforts and accelerating the spread of innovation across the country.”

Stunning video of the 2nd largest aquarium in the world

Shot at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan. The main tank called the ‘Kuroshio Sea’ holds 7,500-cubic meters (1,981,290 gallons) of water and features the world’s second largest acrylic glass panel, measuring 8.2 meters by 22.5 meters with a thickness of 60 centimeters. Whale sharks and manta rays are kept amongst many other fish species in the main tank.

Urban-rural divide no more via @Richard_Florida

“There’s a new ‘creative class’ in town. Or, more accurately, out of town. Increasingly, young entrepreneurs, activists, and small-business owners are trying to make lives that blend the wildness of the city with the wellness of the country….

“Even city evangelists … recognize that the future of cities depends, in part, on their capacity to incorporate some of the best qualities of rural spaces into planning efforts. As part of the CEOs for Cities’ U.S. initiative, they are inviting people to imagine a new American Dream that has five ambitions, including: ‘We will all have access to beauty and nature every day’

“The era of juxtaposed city slickers and country bumpkins is eroding, and in its place, the possibility to be both wired and well, networked and natural, is taking shape. The great Wendell Berry wrote, “You can best serve civilization by being against what usually passes for it.” We have long accepted that we must choose between the excitement of the city or the beauty of the country, but as Berry urges, we are beginning to reject the deadening dichotomy altogether.

Excerpts from The American Prospect

Are marketing images damaging your brand?

“On the Web, traditional marketing images are increasingly being seen as useless annoyances by customers. They undermine the credibility of the brand….

“(‘This looks like an ad. I’m not here to buy anything; I’m here to get something done.’) but also poisoned the drawing power of words at or below their level on our home page (‘This looks like fluff, so nothing beside or below it could possibly be serious. I’m looking for serious content.’)….

“If these stock photography marketing cliché images are actually damaging to a brand’s reputation, why do we keep using them”

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