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Strategies for a discontinuous future.












Thursday, August 19, 2004
 


Social Innovation

Bookmobiles in India:

"...The Million Book Project, a joint venture between India, China, the Carnegie Mellon University and Kahle's Internet Archive is an offshoot of this new technology. The project is further linked to Kahle's e-books -- 17 million of them. The christening of the project took its cue from Kahle's unassuming legend painted on his vans, "1,000,000 Books Inside (soon)". The project is set to digitise one million public domain books and make them available in scanned format for anybody for free by next year."

How cool is this? Incredibly cool. Social innovation is going to be an incredibly potent force. We can think of this as recapitalizing a stock of social capital.

The only problem is in countries with little social capital - ie Saudi etc. They can't achieve this kind of social innovation - because there is no capital stock to draw down. This highlights one of the coming problems with social innovation: increasing returns.

The trick, I think, is to seed social capital in the first place. But doing that is a very, very, very tough job - measure it by roughly counting how many states have failed in the last 50 years versus how many have succeeded. The rough ratio is about 10:1.

-- umair // 1:33 AM //


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