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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday 28 February 2013

IR4: Here There Be Dragons

The Internet is a bit like Sid Meier's Civilization - a digital world mapped on top of the physical one with new realms to explore and other cultures to encounter.  There will be conflicts, competition and the e-equivalents of Guns, Germs and Steel.

But that won't be the whole story. 
This age of digital exploration will be both led and funded by a broader swath of individuals and groups than led the great Age of Exploration.  People's passions aren't just for conquest or products - there's a desire for meaningful contribution, as well. 

These explorers aren't just men seeking glory and fortune - they are people of varied gender and a multiplicity of backgrounds that are only possible in our increasingly blended world.  We just don't call them explorers anymore - today, they're called Social Entrepreneurs.
Their patrons aren't only governments bent on territories to conquest, financiers looking for new resources to exploit or churches looking for converts.  There are NGOs, Angel Investors and Conscious Capitalists who care more about leaving behind a positive legacy than what they can take for themselves.
In the Knowledge Economy, it's ideas we look to harness - not just the intellectual property that's out there right now and ripe for the picking, but the ideas that lie in the heads of innovators that can be extracted through incentive rather than force.  As we revisit the shrunken cultures of minorities devastated by Western expansion, we can look to the resources we missed when we focused on tree, wood, gold and labour - culture, myth, world views. 
There still be dragons in the blank spaces on our digital map - this time, they're not dangers to be feared, but opportunities to be harnessed.


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