What Would Harry Do? And What Would Herbert and Hubert Let Him Get Away With?

I’m looking into a move about the start-up scene and in doing so ran into an “innovation network” that a former Ecologic Institute researcher works with called “What Would Harry Do?” The conceit of the network is a smart one: unleash your inner “Harry,” your inner five year old who “ate too much playdough” and has been producing “fun ideas and useful stuff” since. And they’ve got a cool collection of projects that have come out of releasing “human-centered” and “design thinking.”

But some of us had a fair bit of angst and Weltschmerz from the beginning. I don’t remember what it was like to be five years old but I have no memory of any uninhibited and pure time before rationality and responsibility [1]. So we may do our best to “get” and play with the conceit, but we keep the five year old under supervision. We’re adults, we may appreciate and even envy the five year old’s spontaneity, maybe get access to a “younger” side of ourselves by observing him or her,  but we still know best. Continue reading

To Say What I am Trying to Say

“Truth to Nature” – An true drawing leaves out imperfections, an early view of objectivity according to Dr. Daston

I have two dreadful lines of thought with which I will bore poor captive souls. The first, and newest, is agent based modeling, which I discovered a little over a year ago, but which follows from work I began in grad school and which continued through my time at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and at Ecologic Institute, that is the need for improved methods in social science.

I’ve written about agent based modeling and done a couple presentations at Ecologic Institute and have made it the core method of my Humboldt work. The second line has been more evasive, however, even though I have been thinking about it far longer. As a specific project over two and a half years, but it dates back at the very least to my early days in D.C., and maybe even back to my undergraduate years. Continue reading