Thursday, September 28, 2006

Two more Information Design links...

A case study noted by one of this week's Tuesdays@FUTURE attendees. Go here.

And another website noted by Mari Hulick for additional information about visualization: here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Information Design: A new field perfecting the visualization of dense, complex information

Forum Leader: Mari Hulick, Associate Professor, Chair, Department of Communication Design Cleveland Institute of Art

Definition of Information Design - how is this practiced?

Mari is originally from NY and used information design around mapping and mapping ideas - systems where people could share information and with the web being so complex how do you management information.

Ben Fry at MIT - Working on Opti project - way of tracking information. One computer going from one type of internet setup to a similar type of internet setup in one day. Huge amount of information. Genome Valence. Human genone - Visually display DNA in visual. Go to website and see visuals. Valance maps information. Processing a way to convey complex visuals more simplistically. Looks at visuals from the standpoint and quality of information rathern than quantity.

Inform - critical part of design - what does it mean to be informed. What are we using? Traditional - newspapers. NY Times has taken traditional way and brought to Web.

1950s most literate period in world history.

Question of ethics - what kind of info are we getting and what is impact? One of biggest issues is knowledge - what does it mean to know (inform to information to knowledge) andimparting that knowledge - wisdom. Is there a linear progression. The power to inform is massive - but does this mean we hve the power to know and what is the wisdom behind this.

Building a global mind. E.O. Wilson upcoming book about "Impact of World Poverty on Ecology".

Statistics based on best estimates. Looking at world population GDP (gross domestic product - wealth) concentrated in Asia (South Central) & North America. In some areas, economic ability to make money dies off (Australia). Looking at population North American and East Asia producing wealth. Africa diminshes. Looking at gross national income & dividing by popoulation, US, Canada and Mexico dominates the world. If you take Mexico out of the mix, North America would get bigger. Looking at subcontients, if you divide by population by individual income, North America drops down and Australia and Western Europe jumps up. Lots of money in America but looking at population, quality of life goes down in NA and goes up in Western & Northern Europe, East Asia. Because there is so much information we need to sift through it all to get meaning and understanding. (Fry does it through visuals and they are visually wonderful but how do people get meaning out of them.

Wealth is concentrated in very few areas in comparison to the world. When you look at population and wealth, NA growing and South Africa is shrinking. South America GNP doing okay but still a great amount of poverty. At one time, Africa was growing cocoa for a particular company but no biodiversity and product died out. Has a huge poverty population. Individiuals are suffering in this country (poverty) but it is not as bad in Western Europe.

Communication and intercommunication. Information Design: Thought process for research - conception, purpose, intention, create, plan, project (some examples).

NY Times: History of hurricane Katrina online. Shows all players and what they did on each day. Showed satellite images - shows different pieces of information; see what is being proposed. Shows everything you need to know about hurricane. Design is figuring what to convey - information through facts and showing visually.

Studying design information could help with economic decisions. Example: McDonnough sold Ford on redesigning one of its plants to green building and they saved money because of it. McDonnough's book "Cradle to Cradle" is about green artchictecure & creating things that are reusable. Cradle to cradle means a product is born, use it until it is not relevant anymore, take it apart & reuse it and it is born again.
Most look at Cradle to Grave - product is born, useit and then it dies.

First person to speak about information design is Edward Tufte (Edward His book is: "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information". He realized the value of design about complexity. Started self publishing and get it produced the way he wanted it. "Envisioning Information" - another book. Superb dislays of high-dimensional complex data. Information disign is also experience design. How a book is made, what letter forms to use, color, how it holds up, the smell of the paper, etc. We remember things that are immersive. We remember things that hit our senses. Visibility of book design - so many text books are so hard to read.

Mari thinks all communication is information design.

Interesting websites:
Tag cloud: list of tags where size reflects popularity - information design firm that develops visual maps & stories to make complex business issues easier to understand. - will tell you statistics and history of your name. - Clear a path to truthful communication

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Dialogue & Innovation: Carnegie Mellon School of Design hosts Ben Fry 2006-2007

Innovation and idea creation is accelerated by exposing new thinking through dialogue. This year Information Designer Ben Fry is the Nierenberg Chair of Design at the Design School at Carnegie Mellon. Read here.Theodore D. Nierenberg, a founder of Dansk International Designs, realized that the presence of innovators like Ben will accelerate new idea creation wherever they work by the conversations they participate in.

Tuesdays@FUTURE offer a place for strategic conversation. Open Source Economic Development process leverages a disciplined approach to what we call "strategic doing" - moving ideas quickly to action. This simple process is anchored in four basic questions: "Where are we going?" (Set a clear vision with understandable metrics), "Who's on the bus?" (explore & connect interests), "Who can contribute what?" (align resources), "What's next?" (focus on practical next steps).

The goal in establishing the Nierenberg Chair of Design is to enhance the vitality of the School of Design for students and faculty by encouraging dialogue on important issues of the field, the exploration of contemporary forms of design practice, and promoting research that will affect future practice and understanding.

Ben explains: “For the type of work that I do, one of the most common questions that I get is: how do I do this? And where can I find other people that can do this type of work? Addressing the first part is a personal goal, that I'm always trying to learn how to explain it better. If I'm successful in that, then I'll have a better answer to the second part because there will be more students exposed to this kind of thinking.”

What would this look like in NEO?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

In addition to reading Edward Tufte's book on the subject (click here), take a look at this interesting interactive visualization of zip codes in the United States on Ben Fry's site here.

More on Edward Tufte - Icon of Information Design

Advances in industry and innovation require leaders thinking in new and different ways.

Edward Tufte is one who has spent a lifetime thinking deeply about new ways to communicate through new forms of visualization. Tufte goes beyond the visual presentation of concepts, demanding that content drive the visual intent. Wikipedia offers a good overview of Tuft's work here.

Tufte's work is important in such fields as information design and visual literacy, which deal with the visual communication of information. He coined the term "chartjunk" to refer to useless, non-informative, or information-obscuring elements of information displays such as Power Point presentations. Tufte says these reduce thinking to bullet points of information and attributes the Challenger disaster to information miscommunicated through such a presentation. See the WIRED article here and Tufte's detailed essay on the disaster here.

The City of Boston's has asked Tufte to take a new look at visualizing the mapping of the Boston Airport to lower incursions. Visit the link here.

Tufte has written extensively on various subjects relating to information, visualization and design. Check out his book page here.

More on Info Design

This Travel-Time Map, is a new way of visualizing travel time to and away from destinations. Visit the Flickr page here.

Working in a networked world demands moving quickly and spotting opportunities faster. One of the ways we can do this is to learn about emerging techniques to access information.

Visit the blog of Paul Nixon, a 29 year old graphic/web designer for the University of Arizona in Tucson Arizona, who thinks Info Graphics is cool. Click on NiXLOG.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

FUTURE Social Network Map June 2006

(Click on the image above for more detail.)
Regional economies grow organically and just like growth cycles in nature, mature through birth, growth and death curves. Economists call these curves, "S" curves.

The Northeast Ohio region needs to move out of the past industrial "S" curve and into the next innovation "S" curve quickly. A lack of speed and failure to recognize value in non-tangibles is why Cleveland, the former hub of Northeast Ohio industry, is rated the poorest in the country. Speed is everything.

The good news is there are many entrepreneurs in NEO building what we call "next generation clusters". Next generation clusters are the new footholds for the next "S" curve.

I-Open civic forums focus on early stage thinking for these non-tangible next generation clusters. This is what nascent innovation looks like; presenting as forum topics, aggregating interest and accelerating shared group learning. Next Generation Entrepreneurs contribute by leading forums and participating in fast moving conversations. This is a new process of civic engagement that takes ideas to action (we call this "strategic doing") by leveraging the practices and tools for Open Source Economic Development developed by I-Open.

Next generation clusters can be identified, mapped and measured. Examples of clusters are gaming, digital media, software development, design. The social network map above offers a snapshot of early stage next generation cluster activity.

Forums support and cultivate transparent environments for information exchange, essential to enable individuals and teams to realize new opportunities sooner and faster. This is how business development occurs in flat, open networked economies.

Mapping growth or isolation in social connectivity is a standard metric for building innovation economy infrastructure. We will be mapping again soon.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


4:30 to 5:00 Networking

NEO Game Initiative
Strategic Technology Allliance (STA)
Green building/Real Estate development
Case Engineering School/Network development
Kent State University - School of Arts - Prof. of Fashion
Game developers

Is where gaming is happening between Case and the gaming culture. David Grampa and TYPEFRAG is a good example. David Moss met Michael DeAloia who in turn, several weeks later, connected David and David. David Grampa's Initiative is now an incubated company at FUTURE.

In 2003:
TypeFrag - is a licensed service

David Grampa is leading a second new initiative customizing the audio experience in gaming

With a $400.00 investment, the team innovated a better way of providing server service. Pricewaterhouse Coopers has predicted that by 2012 there will be over 80.2 subscribers.

Targets: more reliabe, easier to use, higher quality sound and better features.
Gamers want better things they can be using as they are gaming. The New Initiative is integrating better tools in the interface. Next steps will develop a product website and a community/social website for customers.

Demo of the New Initiative talking off site with two partners in Connecticut. They are developing the Beta site. We are comparing voice quality using Ventril (a competitor)...the competitor service is less defined.

Updates on the social site: with profiles of gamers, user information and contact/profile information. This will provide the ability to (geographically) locate other players.

Hope to have a satble version out by 2007. To target game developers so that they can integrate voice into the games and produce revenue...other bits and pieces of IP will be available for licensing (available OS for non-profits) . Will be branded as the leading voice provider.

Hope to creat a young tech community and get them interested in gaming in NEO for the future. Lure talent first and then anchor with employment and business development.

Question: How are you going to pull talent from Ventrilo? The New Initiative is connecting with sports providers - as gaming is now viewed as a sport.

The New Initiative has an exclusive with EU compnay supplier of headsets. The New Initiative will have an embedded offer with every headset purchase.

Q: What about Skype? Skype is a cllient to client; the New Initiative is Client to Server

The New Initiative will provide a searchable database of users. Q: Will you host tournaments? No. Will probably sponsor.

Q: What attracts D Grampa to FUTURE? Good rent; access to artists, Case game capabilities; artists at FUTURE.

Q: Aren't there many other opportunities in education? The New Initiative will offer a GPL license for access to different components to non profit organizations. This has been picked up by the Army but the New Initiative turned it down due to reliability issues.

Plan to use the FUTURE environment to release the Beta version. Will be hiring 2 full time and 2 part time developers to work toward a release in 2007.

Events: The Northeast Ohio Game Initiative Network: Meets the 3rd Tuesday of the Month: 5PM. Go here for more information. Contact Dan Carl at:

Friday, September 15, 2006

It's Been Done Before: Grading Economic Development Investments in Gambling

Here is a note from Ed Morrison - providing another perspective on how our Northeast Ohio leadership is choosing to invest in economic development. Read and learn.

My experience on gambling in Louisiana fuels my opposition to this option for Cuyahoga County. I worked on three major projects involving casinos. I started out neutral, but came to see that the downside risks are considerable and not balanced by the promised gains.

I am not alone.

The Baton Rouge Advocate editorial from today...


Our Views: Don’t waste time on gambling lure

Opinion page staff
Published: Sep 14, 2006

Louisiana officials frittered away the 1990s by focusing on expansion of various forms of gambling as a cure for Louisiana’s economic woes.

Alas, gambling has not delivered the promised pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and Louisiana continues to lag much of the country in economic development.

Louisiana would be much better off today if we had spent the past decade paying attention to more fundamental reforms to grow business, such as investing in education, reforming our tax laws, streamlining state government and dramatically tightening our ethics code.

Now, in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which produced perhaps the most profound crisis this state has ever faced, we are in danger of repeating the errors of the past by indulging yet another protracted debate over promoting even more gambling in Louisiana.

It is a distraction this beleaguered state cannot afford. Yet the prospect of another push to expand gambling was raised at a recent closed-door meeting among riverboat casino officials, legislators, regulators and bureaucrats.

The meeting, which was not open to the public, was held in a conference room in Attorney General Charles Foti’s office. Foti, who did not stay after making opening remarks, said the meeting was aimed at starting a dialogue.

The presence of the public might have inhibited a free and frank discussion, he said.

Among the issues on the table, as best as we can gather from some of those who attended, was the presumed need for more generous tax policies for Louisiana casinos, as well as the possibility of allowing riverboat casinos to relocate on land.

Gambling promoters have suggested that such changes are necessary to make Louisiana’s gambling industry more competitive with the casinos in Mississippi.

One would think that the members of the public, who would be most affected by changes in Louisiana’s gambling policies, would have a seat at the table when gambling interests and those who regulate them meet to discuss the industry’s future.

We’re puzzled by Foti’s role in fostering the closed-door meeting. While the attorney general has some statutory authority regarding gambling, questions about the location, size and tax arrangements for casinos are policy matters decided by the governor and the Legislature.

This is the second prominent example of the attorney general involving himself in matters that aren’t the natural purview of his office. Foti has also involved himself in investigating the possible euthanasia of New Orleans hospital patients after Hurricane Katrina — a probe more properly handled by local police.

For real leadership on the issue of gambling, citizens should look first and foremost to Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who has repeatedly said that she will not approve any legislation that would expand gambling. Nobody from the governor’s office attended the closed-door meeting at Foti’s office.

Blanco’s deputy press secretary, Marie Centani, said that the meeting “was in Foti’s arena” and that the governor would not answer any other questions about the state of the gambling industry.

The governor’s reticence does not suggest strong leadership. The absence of such leadership creates a vacuum that others will attempt to fill — including, oddly enough, the attorney general.

In the wake of last year’s storms, many have said that Louisiana should honor the tragedy of the hurricanes by rebuilding even better than before.

We do not believe Louisiana can fulfill the promise of that vision by hanging its star yet again on legalized gambling.

9/12 Forum Notes: Ripon

Tuesdays @ FUTURE 9/12/06

In attendance: Dennis Coughlin, David Moss, Diann Mistelske, David Grampa, Tom Nosek, Brad Kleinman, Councilman Joe Cimperman, Jessica Cavoletta, Troy Richards, Knut Hybinette, Kevin Cronin, Jim ?, Steve Simmons, Dan Carl, Hyunsoo Byun

5:03 Dennis Coughlin Introduces I-Open, talks about open-source

David Moss talks about agenda for next couple weeks. It will focus on gaming. FUTURE’s first Incubator winner, Game Communications, LLC is a gaming business. Owner, David Grampa will be talking next week. Dan Carl still going after Third Frontier money but needs to match $1 million. How can we help?

David gives summary of upcoming show at FUTURE, Startup Ink, opening October 13th from 6-9 pm. Show will be the first in a twice-a-year series focusing on businesses that are successful Cleveland startups. Participants in this exhibition include Alternative Press, Derek Hess, Jak Prints, GoMedia, Factory 13, Voodoo Monkey Tattoo, 252 Tattoo and Gen X Tattoos. Spring’s Startup Ink exhibition will focus on high-end design firms and botiques.

Councilman Cimperman talks about the Arts Initiative, now assigned Issue 18. If it passes, arts & culture organizations in Ohio will receive $20-22 million per year for the next 10 years. National arts money was not allotted to Ohio, so this money is crucial. There is now funded opposition by the smoking companies campaigning against this issue. More arts organizations in Ohio are in the red—now at 64, several years ago it was only 20. Money would not only benefit organizations, but could also go to individuals. This is not only money for the orchestra and dance companies, which is the myth, but also for visual arts. This is about sustainability of our arts & culture. It is proven that the arts help students learn better. The Cleveland School of the Arts graduates over 90% of it’s students and shows 100% writing and reading proficiency.

How can you help? Volunteer on Monday, September 18th at noon at the Beck Center!

October 18th will be Cuyahoga Arts & Culture day.

Knut & Troy talk about their game, Ripon. Idea formed out of series of drawings Troy created—influenced by hometown of Ripon, Wisconsin. Exploration of violence. Game took 7 months to complete. Graphics hand-drawn and then imported and digitized, giving the game a very unique look. This is the anti-game—makes us question the violence of video games. You can only play once. When your character dies, the game is over and you get a DVD of your “life.” Knut and Troy received a grant from Ingenuity and were able to exhibit this past summer. Currently looking for more funding to perfect the game. Ripon is more an art piece than a game.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Digital Airport Initiative

The Digital Airport Initiative is a regionally-based business collaboration, supported by advertising revenues, presenting regionally-based content and providing a sizable revenue return to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Congratulations to the team lead by Barbara Siss Oney on demonstrating how regional economic development should now be done: through collaboration and "strategic doing": Set a clear vision with understandable metrics ("Where are we going?"), connect interests ("Who's on the bus?"), align resources ("Who can contribute what?"), focus on practical next steps ("What's next?").

This activity demonstrates new civic habits for Northeast Ohio: balancing open participation with leadership direction.

Regions that figure out how to "link and leverage" in this way gain a major competitive advantage: speed. They will learn faster, spot opportunities faster, align resources faster, and act faster.

Check out the NEW Digital Airport Video here. Learn more about the Digital Airport Initiative here.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

CONNECT: News on San Diego's technology and life science's industry

CONNECT is a model for us to follow in Northeast Ohio.

It is a good example of many activities purposefully connecting to many interests at once. The result is the development of networking (activity) around systems of open innovation. In Open Source Economic Development these are called "open economic networks."

Sign on here.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Canadian Research Network: Innovation and Intellectual Property

Check out the latest reports and announcements about innovation, intellectual property and related policy from the Ontario Network on the Regional Innovation System/University of Toronto.

here and here.

* Ontario Focusses on Cutting-Edge Technology in $46M Program


* Information and Intellectual Property: The Global Challenge
* The Emerging Knowledge Governance Approach: Challenges and Characteristics
* Industry R&D Location: The Role of Accessibility to University R&D and Institutions of Higher Learning

* New Jersey's New Economy Growth Challenges
* The Influence of Geographic Clusters and Knowledge Spillovers on the Product Innovation Activities of New Ventures

* Measuring Informal Innovation: From Non-R&D to Online Knowledge Production

Jen Nelles
PhD Candidate, political science
University of Toronto
Editor, OREDI newsletter
Research Associate, ISRN
1 Devonshire Place
Toronto ON M5S 3K7 Canada
(416) 995-8593

The Case for Openness and Investing in the Long Term

Our partner, Prof. Traore from the Kent State University School of Fashion, contributed this perspective on intellectual property at last week's Tuesdays@FUTURE forum led by Steve Cencula. Prof. Traore sent his remarks for us to read in his own words, below....

Intellectual property (IP) is a global as well as a local concern. In particular, private and educational institutions, across the world are struggling with the concepts and strategies of protecting their IP with the hope to recover their investments while making a profit.

However, a plethora of novel ideas stay more often engulfed under the shelves of back offices with a zero contribution to knowledge creation and to the betterment of human life. IP has different meanings for different institutions or people.

Understandably so, it has been a colossal wedge between the proponents of it pseudo-radical protection on one hand, and in the other hand, the champions of an open source constructs that will enable free or quasi free uses of the IP in an effort to accelerate economic growth in our fast-paced globalized environment. While IP protection for profit-making to motivate research, creativity and innovation is legitimate, the sharing and dissemination of knowledge to all users display nobility and humanism with a potentially more potent impact on the global growth and local prosperity.

Well, powerful lessons can be gained from scores of traditional doctors or healers acting in the nodes of social networks in valleys and mountains of Africa. Many times, they seem to give away their ancestral secrets that may annihilate a headache creating a cohort of human billboards carrying their good names across constellation of villages. This is word-of-mouth marketing in practice and branding at its best. The reasoning for the rest of mortals is, if they can cure this ailment, they certainly can problem solve any discomfort including the not-so-minute cases, which cures or IP, so to speak, are jealously guarded in secrecy. Because of that belief in addition to their built reputation, people experiencing disruption in their natural health management system will come to them for help with the promise of giving a larger compensation. Sometimes, it is just in kindness and good faith that the IP is given away. The recipients of the gift, after satisfaction, will come back and give to the masters whatever they believe is an adequate compensation for their know-how, IP, or savoir faire. And more often the compensations do surpass all expectations. Perhaps, our masters have just stolen from nature by observing the natural delay between planting and harvesting. We have a choice and we can opt for openness and invest for the long term.

The IP holders, instead of letting the IP collect just dust in drawers or actively searching for short term profit could embrace this simple principle or adapting it to their own circumstances guided by an open source philosophy. Not all the healers participate in the dissemination of the knowledge for the betterment of their village communities. By the same token not all institutions will or should join the movement. It is hoped thus that by opening the drawers and making IP available, open source behavior will be the pivotal key to bring about exponential economic growth and accelerated expansion of wealth in the new complex experience economy.