IC Week 9 (Jan 7-11)

One of the great things about being involved with the Imagination Catalyst in its current phase (I’ve been describing it as “in beta”) is that we have the space to prototype processes. The prototype I’ve been working on this week is about the way in which we’ll be communicating with our network of advisors. Specifically, what systems do we implement to ensure that our advisors have up-to-date information about IC-incubated projects, in order for IC participants to best benefit from the experience of our advisors and their networks.

Presently, the IC is operating at a fraction of its ultimate capacity. So as we develop these kinds of processes, our focus is on scalability: a system that’s slightly inefficient now might be completely impractical once the IC is running at full scale.

The current version of this particular prototype involves: a template, a writer (me), a meeting, Google Docs, a distribution policy, a streamlined approvals process, and an informal contract regarding content updates. In all likelihood, several of these components will change over the next 6 months. But each of those changes will be made mindfully, and the resulting process will be one that integrates fluidly into both the management of the IC, and the work of the individual participants.

Besides working on this advisor-communication process, this week I had update meetings with Mandad, Mark and Stephanie, as well as a meeting with Monica and Sunil about some of the industry relationships that Sunil has been developing.

On Friday I attended a presentation at OCAD by IBM about their data-oriented research tools. I appreciated the software demos — because some of these applications aren’t easily available — and I would’ve liked even more. My overall impression is that IBM’s tools are mature and respected, but probably no more advanced than others’ offerings. Their RAVE visualization library has some interesting features, but isn’t close to competing with, for example, d3.js (which is, of course, Javascript-specific).

During the week I also met with Satsuko from Social Innovation Generation, had a followup meeting with the City about visualizing the policy cycle, and I registered for the Harvard XDesign conference (thanks for the heads-up, Mike Lovas!).

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