Session 7

* Paul Graham is a guy who tries to hone in on innovations of the subconscious. Graham has come up with empirical innovations for startups, all of which likely seem “frighteningly ambitious” to someone who is programmed by modern, moreover western, society. Graham has also generated pointers for others (us!) to come up with their own start ups.

According to Graham, most who could conjure up any sort of “valid” or “substantiated” reason as to why he is worth listening to probably do not understand him entirely. However, these start ups are often just what society wants. Perhaps the reason most individuals deem start ups as “crazy” , “absurd” , “impossible” or the like is due to a fear of what could be: a world for the better. Alas,  perhaps scariest of all , more than ambition, is solving large problems, and seeing what the world would be like in the context in which the problem is taken care of.

** As I perused through Graham’s article, I was able to better understand his theory by being conscious of my own thought process and responses to his ideas. While I agree with 95% of his ideas, I would still think “that is impossible” or at least “frighteningly ambitious” in regards to every one of his proposals. Subsequently, I came up with a linty of reasons as to why it is so close to impossible. I think my behavior illustrates Graham’s tactic: to get people listening to the dialogue within their own heads, and how quick we are to dismiss an idea as impossible without even considering the possibility. However, the “obstacles” which are used to substantiate the impossible as such do not need to have a negative connotation necessarily. Conversely, they can be viewed through a positive lens and as the tools to make the impossible possible.
When I first encountered Graham’s start up group which would incoorporate the next Stevejobs, I thought, that will never happen because of reasons x , y, and z.  However, my reasoning in conjunction with Grahams helped me understand that is possible, so much so that I can imagine it.
**** my idea: obliterating paper currency
this idea is inline with PG’s startups as it  is, first and foremost , frighteningly ambitious (if I do say so!). Secondly, a different currency in almost every country is a concept many people are “over” nowadays. The headache of changing currency back and forth and often losing money in the process, the euro to dollar, dollar to euro to yen to blah blah blah is a waste of time, and money for citizens of the world driving them further apart from a figurative as well as a monetary standpoint.
Moreover, as our world becomes exponentially globalized, a “global currency” could  potentially work. While this in and of itself is a frighteningly ambitious startup idea (from a more public,  economic and political angle) , it is not what I have in mind. Rather, a world where an arbitrary piece of metal or paper does not dictate the value or worth of objects. Instead, each individual is capable of determining his or her own worth, and therefore , his or her purchasing power.
Admittedly, this sort of world seems a little more  dystopic than utopic as I write about it. There would have to be some sort of governing force; I say, for starters, this could be social capital, The social information infrastructure could work as this instrument that governs this sort of social capital.

as you can see from the link above, a plausible feature scenario is one where RIFD chips implanted in humans and connected to our bank accounts allow us to buy stuff without needing to carry around credit cards. What if these same RIFD tags were scanned but measured something else as opposed to bank accounts. Not unlike the ongoing diagnosis, the RIFD tag could read ongoing karma. People would always know their karma  and levels of consciousness.  If it is too low, they cannot purchase things they need, and need to find ways to elevate their vibrations and their karma.

Perhaps this idea seems impractical, but , instead of being stressed about making money, individuals would constantly be motivated to be happier, healthier and have better relationships and make the world profit for the better. Making contributions to technology and innovation, education, sustainability, health the environment,  supporting native land rights, and all sorts of other ideas we have discussed so far in this class can increase karma for the individuals that do so, but also for society as a whole, so there is also a collective karma. This RIFD karma chip would hopefully become so ingrained into peoples’ lives that it would become second nature after a while.

“things” would become less important and ideas and innovation would become more crucial, widening the pervasive complexity of the SII.

Section 6 : Grand Challenges

1. Today, we as citizens of the world face copious grand challenges The fundamental question , then , is which of these challenges is at the root of all other challenges? That is to say, if this single challenge were to be deciphered, the other challenges could start to be solved too. I believe there are actually several root – challenges that are linked to massive, global inequality. The most substantial grand challenge that faces the world in 2012, in my opinion, is that the achievement gap.

The achievement gap is the pronounced inequality in regards to education that students in the United States and elsewhere are experiencing. Most students in the U.S. don’t get the same opportunity to realize their fullest potential solely due to their zip code and/or family’s economic status. Consequently, potential geniuses, artists, leaders and innovators never get to share their knowledge with the world, the privileged few succeed, and the cycle repeats itself. The United States, which is often touted as “the best country” in the world, definitely is not in regards to education. Moreover, so many other countries have the same problem the U.S. does. However, if the United States could follow the educative model that Sweden and other European countries do, then start to spread it elsewhere, the world could change for the better.

2. If this challenge of giving everyone an equal shot at education were achieved, the world would change instrumentally.  Basically, the general public would be more educated and hence more powerful. A core stakeholder could be the United States government. If policy makers allocate more funds into not only k-12 education but also college and post graduate education, the United States could really be “the best country” in the world, which , less face it, it is no longer. As mentioned earlier, I think the optimal educative model to mirror would be that of Sweden. Not only are students given the same opportunity in k-12 (or whatever the equivalent is) but they are given free college, free “study abroad” and are given stipends for apartments.  If the United States gave its citizens this opportunity, more people would be global and educated. Perhaps, then, the citizens would be regarded through a better light on the world stage.  Perhaps we would be a less warring country. Perhaps, more viable leaders would emerge on the political stage to help the world for the better.

Another sector that could change alongside this change is that of the online classroom . Because education is more pervasive, the SII would be too. Our country could have an identity, or a culture of knowledge and freedom to educate whomever.  Finally, because more thinkers would exist in the United States think tank and innovation centers could be more prevalent. Then, things would fall into place in regards to other grand challenges like the energy crisis and health care: there would be more people to figure it out.

3, 4) One challenge the United States might encounter is, first and foremost, a lack of funding. We are a country of borrowing and living in debt. Getting the ball rolling would be really tough. Policy makers could use the internet to spread the word about free education. They could use celebrities and intellectuals with twitter accounts to support the cause. Another issue, however, is bipartisanship. If leaders on both sides could agree to this cause and get their lobbyists to support them, that would be optimal.

The online classroom which is becoming more pervasive might encounter some road bums as well, and kind- of act as a double edged sward. Say, for instance, that the online classroom is government subsidized and allows a wealth of citizens who otherwise wouldn’t be able to go to school to get a SII style education. Maybe, then, more traditional universities would feel like they are missing out on students as more start to navigate towards virtual world education even if it is not as necessary to their lifestyle. One day, real world universities could be obsolete. UH Manoa, UC U of Iowa, and everywhere else would be online. Students could miss out. There would have to be rules implemented , or quotas, for an equal number of online to real world students.

Think tanks might run into challenges from an organizational standpoint. How to formulate and create new think tanks, and implement their ideas, would be a long process. These think tanks would be critical because they would be the end product of the new educated public. A cool way to overcome this issue would be to have a virtual world, social information infrastructure style think tank. For example, a linked in- facebook- esque think tank that would relate to whatever that persons interests and specialities were. This could be open – source. Members would have to have certain credentials to join. Another cool aspect of this is no “managers and meetings” would be necessary, if someone has a thought or idea, they can just share it immediately. There would have to be some sort of guarantee that they idea could be taken seriously and/or implemented, however.

Overall, the United- States becoming more educated is extremely crucial. Millions of minds are falling behind. And those of us who are not necessarily missing out on school are still missing out , because we are not being exposed to the wealth of diverse ideas we could be.

——– Google AdWords Search Results  ————-

term : “local” 

Global Monthly : 165,000 [low]

Local Monthly: 22,200 [low]


“local jobs”

GM: 27,100 [high]

LM: 14,800 [high]


“local deals” 

GM: 4,400 [high]

LM: 2,900 [high]


” local classifieds “

GM: 5,400 [high]

LM: 2,400 [high]

term : “macrobiotic”

Global Monthly : 6,600 [low]

Local Monthly: 3,600 [low]


” macrobiotic diet cancer ”

GM: 260 [high]

LM: 210  [high]


“macrobiotic cooking school” 

GM: 320 [high]

LM: 170  [high]

* only two high results given for “macrobiotic”


next term : “vegan” 

Global Monthly: 165,000 [low]

Local monthly 7,400 [low]


“vegan shoes” 

GM: 49,500 [high]

LM: 27,100 [high]

“vegan food online” 

GM: 1,900 [high]

LM: 1,000 [high]

” vegan clothing “

GM: 1,900

LM: 1,300

the results show that, the more specific the query, the better. Moreover, the high results were considered to be “high” not due to number of searches, but due to the fact that over 50% of the global searches derived from a local search engine. This is a lucrative factor for businesses trying to market online. If they can see that lots of people in Hawaii , relatively speaking, search for certain items, it is a great way to narrow down marketing tactics.

Session 5: Collaboration and Coordination

In my academic experience, teamwork has been a proverbial crapshoot. Some group assignments have provided me with new ways in which to understand the assignment I likely would have been incapable of on my own and hence, deeper understanding of the assignment. While other group assignments have been catastrophic and left me feeling like I left the project with less cerebral powers and integrity than when I started. While group work may seem counterintuitive in the online world, it is anything but. Rather, group work and internet are like yin and yang…..
1) In his Session 2 post on how ideas emerge and flow, Hikoko ( )discusses cloud computing and compares the innovation to magic weapons/ superpowers. However, these superpowers are becoming less and less “super”, but are still quite powerful. They are pervasive and are now within everyones grasp, and in the future will be even easier to realize. . In a team setting, every player might have his or her own “power” that they can share and contribute to the group. With cloud computing, a group cloud will be even more dynamic and complex.

2) The Team Building workshop presents a wealth of valid ideas. Almost all of which are useful in an online context. Given that we will be working in small groups for the GOMC,  the three ideas that will optimize group interaction are:

a. Fostering a high level of communication by first making sure that all group members are comfortable with each other. This can include online and virtual interaction, beginnign with  “ice breaking” which can take place online through social messaging tools (i.e., skype, facebook chat) and/or in the real world. Sometimes , meeting in the real world helps to clarify the groups main goals, but is not always necessary.
b. Allocate group members to carry out specific functions which will allow them to exude their potential to the fullest in this project. Subsequently, DWYSWD . When group members are preforming roles they want to preform and do not feel forced into, this will increase productivity and consequently, collaboration.
c. maintaining an extremely high level of group integrity by respecting all group members opinions. Everyone should feel comfortable to express ideas in this innovative and interdisciplinary environment. Even if another group member’s opinion sounds absurd, trying to understand where the group member is coming from as long as we stay focus on the challenge at hand. This element is key, becuase, if someone feels uncomfortable and is shut down for sharing an idea, no matter how wild it is, that same person may have a great idea he or she does not bring to the table next time, and the whole group misses out in not getting to see the idea flourish.
3) Fried’s talk resonated with me. I felt annoyed that so many people put up with “working” in under the allusion that their working. It was existential and I like that. Anywho, Fried distinguishes between voluntary and involuntary distractions in his TedTalk. I feel this is a crucial distinction, the later of which can severely impede upon productivity. A distraction which you kind of like , (such as going for a walk) is not as vile as the annoying manager who is making you do something you dread. Fried stresses that innovation and creativtiy are born from strokes of genius but are let flourished only when the individual has time to truly concentrate.  The involuntary distractions according to Fried, are arbitrary managers and their “toxic , terrible, poisonous” meetings that are the highest form of distraction and are a disguise for functionality. Therefore, one realistic approach is the “No Talk Thursdays” However, I’d  try for “No Talk Tuesdays” for alliteration purposes. Fried suggests trying this once a week. I think after offices which are willing to take this for a test drive decide they like it, No Talk Tuesdays should be a part of every afternoon.
During Wujec’s talk, he discusses his research and findings in the Marshmallow Challenge. The idea of ego in the collaboration process is discussed.  I agree with the message (which I think?) Wujec alluded to which was that oftentimes, the self can be an infringement on the calloboration profess. For example, just because a someone has an aura of authority ( a manager) she can get something done for the group and be a control freak.

4) When I really need to get work done, be it a big paper, work on my research project, ICS 491 blog, or whatever, finding my “get work done zen” is crucial.  As Jason Fried articulated in his Ted Talk , it is more so the mindset and the vibes that work in harmony as opposed to a specific location. That said, I do draw a line oftentimes. I can’t get work done on planes / trains/ cars or any fast moving object . While I do have several spots that work for me like a coffee shop or a room in my house, these localities don’t always work either. It’s all about biorhythms and being in “get work done zen” mode. If I am not in this mode, I am just not as productive.
Moreover, certain elements impede upon this process. the three big distractions I tend to experience are (not necessarily in this order) :
-context switching
-others around me who are distracting  (this includes ) bad vibes/ auras / energies
In my experience, my environment either prevents or enables the aforementioned issues from taking place. For example, I could walk into one of the coffee shops I frequent and find that it is quiet, others around me are not stressed, nor are they chatty. This academic atmosphere does not feed on any residual stress I might have and I am able to get work done without vacillating from my leisurely web queries to my actual work. However, I could walk into the library or my usual coffee spot the next night and find that others around me are chatty, giving off weird energy that clashes with mine (stress related), or whatever. This makes it difficult for me to concentrate. I also love to chat with people, so I will put work off. When it is work that I have to do for a class I feel less passionate about than another, I am also less likely to concentrate. This is when my context switching mode comes into play. I will surf the interweb for any type of voluntary distraction. Finally, when I get back to my horrid work load, i am less motivated and less concentrated than before.

The remedies I have been using lately are stretching and exercising always before I go, staying hydrated, and happy. This makes me feel zen and healthy. If a study spot is bad, I don’t stick to it and I look for some place else.

5) I have worked with teams online twice before. The first experience was one where we worked well together. We met up , chatted about the class, how summer was going and therefore broke the ice. Subsequently, we concentrated on the task and were more comfortable in specifying who was going to do what, did those tasks, and met later to discuss further. I am afraid my team could fail if no one is motivated to communicate. This is unhealthy because when someone has a question but is afraid or does not feel like discussing it, the lack of work throws off the whole group. Also , when this type of situation comes up during a face to face meeting, it is easy to cut the person some slack. However, online, it is easier to demonize whoever didnt do their work. I think that the best scenario is to have mandatory chatting sessions with my group to make sure we are all sure about who will do what, and when, and we all feel comfortable.

By this point in the course, you are getting to know me pretty well. So, let’s start to cross the abyss.  I am twenty – one years old , and I signed up for recently, so as to pay homage to the social information infrastructure which of which I am inextricably linked….

1) In signing up for match, I was engaging in a social search because I was using the internet to answer my lingering question of whether or not I could find  profound human connection() (or in internet words, a “match”) via an online dating site.  Prior to virtually signing up for match, I had been bombarded with an array of media, on t.v. and elsewhere, concerning match (i.e. statistics that 25% of relationships now happen on match etc.). None of these messages allured me to the site. However, my housemate who is significantly older than me , but very beautiful and lovely is on match and keeps telling me there is a whole new realm of connections on which I could be missing out if I never sign up.

This dialogue, in conjunction with her slew of real- world dating sprees was the first step in my consideration/ thought process regarding the social search engine. Secondly, I had to get over the self – judgement. What will my real world acquaintances think of me if I sign up for match? (Whatever. ) Subsequently, I had to go to the actual site ( and create a profile, which required a very low-level of self- contemplative work.  I could then refine my search requirements by adding to my profile the criteria I look for in a guy. Next, I could search for individuals who could be my “match” and live in the same area as me (or elsewhere if I wanted). I did this browsing by putting particular terms in a search bar or enterting terms in fields.  There were no other people in the room while I was doing this and I found the whole process boring which is why I have not been very active on my match account. I could also see myself performing the social search differently if certain friends were with me and could influence my opinion. The information I have uncovered thus far is that there are not any guys I am interested in on match, and that my theory is correct: once I sign up for match, I’ll be more interested in the real world than before.

2) In regards to the canonical search model, I believe the left field, or the purpose/ external based prompt was what finally caused me to give into my lingering my internal curiosities and engage in the social search.  I needed a sort of external validation that my internal curiosities were just (my housemate who loves match). After signing up for match,  I preformed a quasi- informational search using foraging and sensmaking tequniques like Evans and Chi discuss.  I first started foraging: looking for guys in certain patches: certain aesthetic, certain age, certain interests,  certain localities. As Evans and Chi postulated, I had to attune my foraging to the results I was coming up with. There were lots of nice looking guys, obviously, but all the action stopped there. Most gave me a weird vibe and/ or had banal profiles, monosyllabic vocabulary on their profiles, or had other information written that turned me off immediately. Or, I found I had to many criteria and had to perform a different search with just one or two criteria. I  used my intuition to see if anyone interested me and I was easily bored and disappointed.

Afterwords, I would say I navigated more towards the “do nothing “ end – product in regards to online social searches. I  predicted the act of signing up for match alone would be enough, and it was, so I have been really absent on my profile and have not engaged in any social searches in over a week. Moreover, I don’t plan on getting back on anytime soon, but I am glad I finally gave it a shot! The internet is a completely new realm like my house-mate said.

3) Horowitz and Kamvar created Aardvark as a hybrid model so as to alleviate the paradigm shift from village to library. Hence, the primary technical challenge regarding Aardvark is routing the user’s query to the appropriate individual within the same networkd to answer the question,  as opposed to the right document. Therefore, the problem is a complex one as it is both social as well as technical.

As Horowitz and Kamvar state: the goal is not to create a social network, therefore, users can access their existing Facebook and LinkdIn sites  and synch them with their Aarvark. The fact that the user has access to a pre-existing  network is one of the pros of the site. Not only will users feel more comfortable using the site intially, but they will have a larger range of information at hand . Another plus is that Aardvark users are allocated into groups which are the same as  their “real world affilations”. This real world/ virtual world connection in regards to groups on and offline models the bridge Aardvark is trying to make in regards to social infromation researching. The list of pluses goes on and on in regards to Aardvark,such as the fact that the Aardvark team’s reasearch proves that questions in general get answered quickly, and are relatively high quality.

One of the downsides of Aardvark could be how it asks users to provide three topics which they feel in which they have “expertise”. Some may be too modest to list their expertise, others may feel they have expertise when they really don’t

Another downside is how Aardvark “automatically extracts” information from users’ status updates. Some users, may have extremely absurd or tangental information on their profile which is completeley unrelated to any sort of social search query they could contribute their expertise towards.

One aspect that can be viewed as a downside or an upside is the fact that Aardvark uses social networks to extract the response base. This could be severely limiting better answers that are outside that person’s network. However, there are probably an even larger amount of untrustworthy answers which are automatically being filtered out. However, the postive elements of Aardvark far outweigh the negative which is why Google purchased Aardvark for a huge chunk of change, and then it was shit down.  I think Google might have purchased Aardvark in a manipulative and malicious manner… kind of as an investment in themselves. By owning Aardvark, they can do whatever they want with it, including killing it so as to prevent people from resorting back to the “village” paradigm , which many might feel more comfortable with. Aardvark reminds me a lot of Google +.

Session 3

Why are people on the web?

No longer the antiquated search engine of yesteryear, the web is a powerful and multifaceted resource on which almost anyone can see their query answered instantaneously, and then some: In answering our questions, the web  formulates our communities and identities. The Google Online Marketing Challenge provides an opportunity for students to further their identities as advertisers, and businesses worldwide  to expand their virtual selves.

For the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC), I plan to work with Kokua Market Cooperative.  Kokua is “the only natural foods co-op in Hawaii”.  Founded by a group of Honolulu residents in 1970, Kokua market is unique in that it is governed by the community members, specifically, the co-op “owners” who have helped to create it. Much like the internet, kokua has started to create an identity of more than just a co-op market. Kokua is a place to enjoy a sense of Honolulu community, independence, and health and is a sect unto itself in regards to local businesses.

While Kokua’s online audience could be virtually anyone interested in co-ops or island produce, the primary audience on the web is Honolulu community members.

This includes, but is not limited to the owners and local- farmers who supply kokua with a substantial portion of their merchandise.  Moreover, in regards to general clientele base, almost everyone on Oahu could be incorporated. This is given the fact that the co-op sells food, heath, and beauty items for everyone from across the dietary spectrum and they do not limit their clientele base solely to vegetarians, raw vegans, marcobiotic dieters et. al. Kokua is one of the only grocery stores in Hawaii which is almost all-organic,  substantially local, and offers an enormous bulk section and a gourmet deli with macrobiotic and vegetarian selections.

Therefore, Kokua should cater their website first and foremost to their customers. Kokua already has a website and a facebook page- which is excellent!   However, there are several non textual dimensions, as mentioned by Reijo Savolainen and Jarkko Kari in their  article on “User-defined relevance criteria in web searching” which would be rather auspicious to Kokua’s business and take Kokua’s already well-established website to the next level.

The first dimension Kokua might wish to optimize on their site is that of novelty. There is a “history” page, but no “about us” page. While the “about us” information is insinuated throughout the site, and/ or could be inferred by most users, a well-defined about us page would be useful in promulgating Kokua’s identity of 2012 vis à vis their founding history , and give users an idea of why they want to shop their now, not just support a local landmark.

The second dimension on which Kokua could improve their page is the dimension of clarity, specifically on the home page. When users arrive to the home page, there is a lot of action going on: videos to watch, news blogs to read, social media to subscribe to. For visitors who are relatively tech savvy, this may not be entirely problematic to navigate through. However, for some visitors, this could be stimulus overload. Subsequently, as clarity is not optimally established, the dimension of time-contraints is not in balance either.  Methods Kokua could use to alleviate these issues is by moving some of the social media to the social media tab, and moving the news on the front to a “news” tab , or keeping the news exclusive to a news letter subscription.

What makes Kokua so delicious is the good food and the sense of community one feels in the store. There are already several videos on the site featuring this sentiment, however,  this could be intensified by cultivating  of affectiveness.  As Savolainen and Kari describe it, “the extent to which…information or source of information provide the user with pleasure, enjoyment or entertainment” . More pictures of food, recipes, videos and interviews about people enjoying the store and buying local, as well as blog posts community members enjoying their ability to make the choice to buy local, organic and healthy food and support the community would be very affective. This could be allocated to the about us page, or the social media page as previously mentioned.

The final non textual dimension on which kokua could obtain more users is that of language. Honolulu is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic captial of the globe. Many inidividuals who shop at the store do not speak English as their mother tongue. Japanese, Chinese, French, Spanish, Ilokano options on the top right hand corner would exacerbate the sense of community and welcome shoppers already feel inside the store.

In regards to textual dimensions there are an array of textual search queries which the GOMC could bring to the site like bulk, macrobiotic , “community owned”, “all- natural” , “aryuvedic” , “special diets”, “vegan”, “raw- vegan”, “vegetarian”, “natural beaty products”, just to name a few.

Session 2

       1)This session’s readings reinforced my personal goals as of late: being more present, and in tune with my consciousness… What does this have to do with this session’s readings and, moreover, the social information infrastructure? Or, why should you care? Relieving the “filter” our brains are frequently programmed to utilize will open us to all kinds of novel ideas and innovations we perhaps never realized or thought possible. Thus our capacity to hone in on the inner – innovator that is within each and every one of us, as discussed by Phil Agre, as well as being aware of the complexities of the innovation environment, as discussed by  Barbara Wejnert will flourish and work in conjunction with each other.

The three separate articles written by Wejnert, Agre, and Hong, respectively, are similar in that they discuss the multifaceted nature of innovation. Innovation is not an anomaly that pops out of the next Albert Einstein’s super-sized brain, is seamlessly well- received by all “normal people” and changes the world for the good. Rather, innovation is dependent on a plethora of social, technological, and cultural variables , as well as the innovators themselves. This innate contingency of innovation is solely exacerbated by the the world we live in now where the only constant is change.


I have a confession to make. I have been getting drunk lately. On what, you ask? No, not on tequila. Not on grenache. Not on alcohol at all; rather I have been indulging something much more protean and potent: green kool- aid. Which I must admit I have never literally drunk, but figuratively: sustainability and all things “green” are coursing through my veins, down into my liver and everywhere else.  I refuse to detox.

Anywho, last semester, I worked on a project called the Kukui Cup (linked above).The Kukui Cup is a neophyte endeavor on the UH Campus as it is a dorm – energy conservation competition. I had the opportunity to work with an interdisciplinary group of individuals from across the academic spectrum. Several of my colleagues installed energy meters on every- other floor of the Hale Aloha residence halls. Participants (e.g. Hale Aloha residents) could then read in real time how much energy they were using via the Kukui Cup website. Gamification design techniques were implemented into the website as the students could use scoreboards to compare themselves against others living in the dorms.  Students could watch videos pertaining to energy in Hawaii to augment their energy conaissance as well as their points towards wining the Kukui Cup, Prizes were given out as incentives . The  kukui cup created a paradigm shift in my life: that I, an esoteric French & Communications double major can have a sustainability related job. Actually, sustainability is a very interdisciplinary field and wants as much innovation as possible. Having thinkers from a few fields is not enough for such a lucrative area that is and will change the world for the better.

In her article, Wejnert discusses the crucial role environmental context plays in diffusion. She identifies four subgroups, “…(a) geographic settings, (b) societal culture, (c) political conditions, and (d ) globalization and uni- formity:  In working on the Kukui cup, I noted how geographical location in particular plays a high role in diffusion innovation and adaptation., especially in Hawaii. The isolated archipelago uses more energy from fossil fuels (90%, eww!) than any other state in the country. But, Hawaii also has more access to clean energy than any state in the country . Willingness to accept any implement some of this renewable and clean energy resources (i.e. wave, geothermal and wind) are impeded by local vs. global cultural, politics and societal change. For example, wind farms are great, but many residents don’t like them because they don’t make the aina look so pretty. However, if we don’t use clean energy, we wont have any aina to speak of several hundred years from now.  Also , because education in Hawaii is lacking on multiple levels, not just in public school system but about energy in general, most people don’t even know how crucial sustainability is.

While Wejnert’s article makes leader /innovator- ship seem  like rocket science that is contingent on so many variables it might not ever happen unless it is serendipitous or random. Agre, does not necessarily argue against Wejnert’s hypothesis. Quite frankly, Agre makes innovation seem so much easier than she does even with his linty of methodology for becoming a leader/ innovator.  I think this is because his process is less theoretical and more scientific , or “recipe” esque, like building a really complex but awesome cake. Unlike Wejnert, Agre does not nearly as much focus on the enviromenent in which the innovation is being implemented. Rather, the innovator (s) are the key players. Basically, if you want to make it happen, you can make it happen, which is awesome.


While the readings gave a very comprehensive discussion of innovation, The ted talk (linked above) given by Bjarke Ingels pointed out an aspect I find that makes innovation studies even more interesting. Ingels is a “sustainable architect” hailing  from Copenhagen Denmark, the epicenter of energy innovation. Ingels describes sustainability, not as a burden as many people view it today, but rather as a “design challenge”.  I feel that innovation and leadership , like sustainability, is oftentimes viewed as a burden. Simply viewing it through a perspective of a challenge that we are lucky to have , will turn us all into super- hero innovators and designers. Optimism is the key to success.


Disruptive innovation is an idea founded by Clayton Christensen. Basically, it abruptly and entirely changes any given field and changes the way things are done in that field till perpetuity. The prime example is the horse and buggy to the Ford Model T, where 1000x imporvement in innovation was whitnessed. This type of innovation , at the time, is usually not preformed for the masses or for peoples needs, but can be completely revolutionary. However, as was the case with Ford and many other innovations, they oftentimes become mainstream . This is an example of how not taking certain environmental, societal, factors, etc. into consideration and focusing first and foremost on the innovation can be beneficial

2c) One issue not discussed in either article is games or competition. This seemed to work out well in the Kukui Cup. I recently attended the Behavior Energy Climate Change Conference (BECC) in Washington D.C. and discovered that the competition can play a crucial role in innovation diffusion . This is not exclusive to “kids” and gamers. From new friends I made at the conference, I learned that across the country, Many people who live in neighborhoods were challenged to reduce their kilowatt hours on their energy bills just for the purpose of beating their neighbor, and it worked . Similarly were the case of office energy saving competitions. Humans are competitive. I think innovations can be created, implemented, and carried out through competitive means. This is all through the phenomenon of gamification.

3)Hong does allude to games in his blog. Hong primarily discusses the extent do which “the ability to create a product that fits into people’s lives” is important in diffusion innovation. He specifically talks about video games such as Xbox. We are so deeply connected to games like xbox, and now, games on our smart phones, iPads and computers. The more people play games, the more innovations appear and the more they show up in our day to day lives. Usually, these games are not knowledge based,but gamification can be used to make an impact.

Session 1

What is the Social Information Infrastructure ?

I am going to be straight – up with everyone.  In starting my first assignment, I surmised it could be to my benefit to run a quick, but shameless, google search of “social information infrastructure”.  Needless to say, much to my chagrin but not much to my surprise, no digestible definition popped up. My disgruntled feelings soon shifted to those of empowerment when I realized: we have the capability to define this term and this phenomenon, which is pretty cool if I do say so.

1) From the outside ear, “social information infrastructure” might sound like a phrase that is used by academics to sound smart, fill a void, be used in lieu of “uh” or “um”, but does not mean anything. At least that what I thought before I signed up for this course. However, after diving into this first session, I stand corrected.

The social information infrastructure, as I have come to understand it from Bowker et. al. and Erickson is a new information infrastructure zeitgeist, of which we are at the dawn. Iconoclastic compared to all preceding forms of infrastructure, this ever- widening gyre of information is a “visible” (Bowker et. al.) infrastructure that, as Erickson points out, is not just digital system based, but is also centered on distribution through multidisciplinary channels such as information computer sciences, communications sciences, and other forms of human- based interaction like blogging. This “new way of knowing” as Bowker et. al. refer to the social information infrastructure , is consequently a phenomenon that shapes communication methods and technology, but is also shaped by communication methods and technology. Consequently, as Erickson notes, since the social information infrastructure is more dynamic and multifaceted, it is more interactive and visceral, more part of our day- to- day lives, and therefore enables a higher level of connectivity and interaction.

2) I venture to say I am not alone when I admit that a large percentage of my academic career has  been lost in transit, vacillating from my textbook or from whichever novel I am reading in class to my macbook as my primary resource to look up whatever supplemental info I need to study. The days of yesteryear where students camped out in the library study and use dictionaries and encyclopedias have nearly evaporated thanks to online systems. While I find the sombre nature of the library conducive to studying, my number one tool to get things done nowadays is my macbook air. However, the amount of time I spend going from old- fashioned reading books that are not on computers can actually impede upon the learning process.

Erickson is curing this epidemic through his open source textbook idea.No longer is there a chasm between textbooks and the internet, in which students lose lots of important study time. Now,with Erickson these  infrastructures have converged. This not only saves learners time, but augments learning capacity as we are now in a new period of time where many individuals are more literate online.

I personally read the article and then watched the videos in Erickson’s article. I definitely feel it added to my learning experience. Moreover, it provided something directly related to what I read that I might otherwise not have found had I done the reading separately out of a textbook and then gone online to try and find videos that were related, which might not be directly related but only semi- related . Rather, all the information was cohesive.


(Iftt= if this, then that) . Just spend two seconds on this site (after registering, which might take you another two seconds… so , ok, let’s say spend four seconds! ) and you’ll see how useful it is, especially for those of you who are not tech savvy like me…which is maybe like one other person. Admittedly, I am venturing a guess in assuming that most of you have not seen this site.  My friend who is an ICS major at Cornell shared this with me just yesterday, and he seemed stoked about it. Basically, it as a newsfeed mecca all thanks to other people. After signing up, you can host a plethora of channels on this site, such as WordPress, facebook, instagram, youtube, twitter, amazon kindle, email and so many more! What is also cool and useful is that this is done via “channels”. You can also search for anything under the sun , all thanks to the actions of others as well, like if anyone posts a feed on a certain topic, be ICS class, surf on Maui, a picture of Hana, or roquefort cheese you can find it on this site. Therefore, it is a very dynamic resource.

To discover this, I had to engage in a series of social, cultural and technical practices. I was skyping with my friend (a technical , but also a social and now a pop- cultural practice for friends who live far away from each other). I engaged in yet another social practice by asking him a question because I know my tech- knowledge is inferior to his, and I could perhaps gain information from him. Trusting his advice was a social but also technological and cultural practice. The technological culture I am a part of enabled me to trust his advice.  Subsequently, I had to engage in another technological practice, an internet query, to find this site. Next, I had to engage in a semi- social and technological practice: signing up the site. I am not sure if people could have necessarily done anything to prevent me from finding this information. The fact that this site is not advertised or promoted as a useful online resource, be it on facebook, email, or by my professors could by considered a way I have up until now been prevented from receiving this information.

I find that it connects directly to the Erickson readying in that iftt is also a dynamic online resource where anyone online can “one stop shop” . Whereas Erickson’s tool is more academic based, iftt is academic as well as social media based.

4) Buhlert’s article made me reconsider the extent to which I take others seriously on the internet. I have taken online classes through UH before, and I find that my opinions on the information of others is often dictated by whether or not I know that person in the “real world”. For example,  in online classes I have taken in the past where we have been assigned to post information and opinions online, I have noticed my  tendency to read posts which individuals I personally know in “real life” have written. This can go hand-in- hand with Buhlert’s internet cat law of popularity: oftentimes, what makes an item on the internet popular is something other than its content, be it the author, the a catchy title that pertains to pop culture, or whatever.

Contrastingly, an example of actions of others online which might debunk Buhlert’s Bacon cat law is that of online dating. While it is  dependent on the actions of othersOnline Dating is less “obscure” as Buhlert puts it. Profiles and blogs potential matches create dictate heavily on whether or not they become a match. Rarely might one become a match just from a photo or a catchy title like they could from the internet.

In contemplating the extent to which I find information through the actions of others “useful” I have to stop and reconsider the word “useful”. I consider myself to be a relatively compassionate and sensitive human being. When someone provides me with information, I may not find it a valuable resource for academia, work, or my current research endeavors. That said, it is interesting and useful in life in general because it allows me to further  understand people from a wider lens. I ask myself, why does this person think this information is at all important? What was this human’s motive for putting this information out there? This in and of itself is useful.