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… Rather, this building, at 1205 Manhattan Avenue, has been sliced and diced into several dozen small factories, each with a niche clientele. One forges exhibits out of wood and metal for the city’s museums. Another makes props and models for advertisers of products like Absolut Vodka to use in their magazine photo spreads. A third restores stained-glass masterpieces for museums like the Cloisters.

This is the face of manufacturing in 2012 Brooklyn…

But in a shift that has been both celebrated and parodied, Brooklyn is increasingly retaining some of its remaining industrial spaces for small-scale, small-batch manufacturing…

“We think this is the future of urban manufacturing,” said Brian T. Coleman, chief executive of Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, a nonprofit group that has bought four weathered industrial buildings and converted them into lofts for small factories housing 110 businesses with 500 employees.

“There is a highly skilled work force making products for local consumption,” he said …

Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president, said Brooklyn “is going back to the future.”

“What is emerging is the artisanal approach rather than the mass production for millions of items of something,” he said.

Para mil londinenses ha sido suficiente pagar una cuota anual de 25 libras y comprometerse a cuatro horas de trabajo al mes para convertise en dueños de su propio supermercado sostenible. De momento no se puede decir que el proyecto es rentable pero sí posible. Mientras espera obtener los beneficios que garanticen su existencia, la cooperativa The People´s Supermarket demuestra que el poder de la gente supera todas las trabas que dinero y política han puesto en su camino.

En El cliente es el dueño en The People’s Supermarket, en Yorokobu.

Ernest J. Wilson III. How to Make a Region Innovative. strategy+business, issue 66 Spring 2012.

To foster economic growth, innovation clusters need to draw on the power of an interrelated “quad” of sectors: public, private, civil, and academic.

… The value of community and serendipity is what’s driving the wild-fire emergence of hybrid workspaces in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville. In places like Artisan’s Asylum, experimentation and entrepreneurship intersect, engineers work next to artists and their collaborations fuel creativity …

Entrepreneurs who aren’t lucky enough to catch the eye of a venture capital firm on their own can compete for MassChallenge’s annual one-million-dollar prize. The money is just a nominal motivator; the real rewards are the networking opportunities and office resources allocated to some 125 startups selected to share a 27,000-square-foot floor, donated by developer Joe Fallon, in a Fan Pier high-rise. Started in 2010 by business school graduates John Harthorne and Akhil Nigam, MassChallenge’s hodgepodge of startups gets mentors from partner organizations and rare access to top investors. The office is a beehive of activity, where finalists work alongside peers with projects in a range of high-growth industries. They have use of legal advice, office cubes and a whiteboard so massive it’s being certified by Guinness World Records. Collaborations range from a biotech developing treatments for blindness to a company that delivers artisanal wines to customers’ homes. And for motivation, the entrepreneurs just need to look out their floor-to-ceiling windows on the waterfront to imagine themselves as masters of the universe.

Academia, too, is seeing a new generation of workspaces, like the Harvard i-lab (Hi for short) in the Allston building that was formerly home to WGBH. Director Gordon Jones describes the i-lab, which opened last November, as a startup, an experiment in bringing together students and resources from schools across the university. Harvard students have access to the center’s classes and its experts, but retain rights to their own intellectual property. The center also hosts workshops like “Startup Secrets: Company Formation,” taught by venture capitalist Michael Skok, with some of the seats reserved for the public. A circular open-floor plan, exposed ceiling and IdeaPainted surfaces sprinkled with inspirational quotes evoke the dorm rooms and hacker spaces that might lure the next Mark Zuckerberg, and maybe even keep him from dropping out this time. 

“Part of what this is about,” Jones says, “even in the building design, is high modularity. It’s intentionally unfinished. This is about all of us building this place together.” Instead of an office, Jones sits in an approachable, small cubicle. The intermixing of people who wouldn’t have met in a traditional classroom pays off. For example, a biology graduate’s thoughts on natural selection influenced a business school student’s theories on company performance …

Whereas Cambridge’s coworking spaces, both academic and industry, tend to be tech-oriented, Somerville’s workspaces are more community-driven. “It’s not about making millions of dollars,” Graney says. She started the Design Annex, a 1,400-foot center housed in Union Square’s former police station, so that designers of all stripes, who would normally work out of their home, would have 24/7 access to a place free from domestic interruptions. Since the Annex is part of a global network, members, for the price of a monthly gym membership, can use workspaces or conference rooms to conduct meetings anywhere in the world.


While Annexers tend to be designers already established in their careers, another building houses a panoply of fledgling businesses. Located in a 4,400-square-foot warehouse set back from the street, Fringe comprises 20 people and 16 companies—ranging from cult brewery Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project to a roof-garden business, Recover Green Roofs. There are coworking days when Fringe opens its brightly colored conference room to people looking for a place to work, and even provides them with free coffee. Businesses pay for space per square foot, and they can partition and decorate their offices to any taste. Custom-bike builders have a utilitarian shop next to a space shared by a video producer and studio photographer, which is overseen by a salvaged piece of Shepard Fairey street art depicting Andre the Giant. Every business is deliberately different, as meticulously curated as if it were part of an art exhibition …

Think the annual arts fest in the Nevada desert is nothing more than a week-long bacchanal? Think again. It’s a a master class in how to create awesomeness.

It’s easy to dismiss Burning Man as nothing more than a bizarre hippie love-fest that takes place deep in the Nevada desert every year the week before Labor Day. But doing so misses the fact that it’s an amazingly successful enterprise—and, as such, has a thing or two to teach about how to inspire creative people and create a great product.

Since it first began 25 years ago, Burning Man has grown larger every year (if you ignore the slight dip in recession-scarred 2009). It’s grown so much that this year, for the first time ever, the organization had to cut off ticket sales early, for fear of finally hitting the 50,000-person limit authorized by its federal land-use permit. And those tickets aren’t cheap either—they now cost an average of $300 a pop.

Granted, Burning Man’s overall intention is not to create a “product,” per se. (Not one for trite labels, it calls itself an “experiment in community.”) But its growth numbers—in terms of customers and revenue—are ones any business could envy. So how does Burning Man do it?

reverse innovation, very simply, is any innovation likely to be adopted first in the developing world. Increasingly we see companies developing products in countries like China and India and then distribute them globally.

Organizing Principles

- Reverse innovation requires a decentralized, local-market focus

- Most if not all the people and resources dedicated to reverse innovation efforts must be based and managed in the local market

- Local Growth Teams (LGTs) must have P&L responsibility (this is a key hurdle for American multinationals)

- LGTs must have the decision-making authority to choose which products to develop, how to make, sell, and service them

- LGTs must have the right (and support) to draw from the companies global resources

- Once tested and proven locally, products developed using reverse innovation must be taken global which may involve pioneering radically new applications, establishing lower price points, and even cannibalizing higher-margin products.

- Reverse innovations can be, but are not always, disruptive innovations

Political Ecuador: Considering the Tijuana-San Diego border as a point of departure, the Political Equator traces an imaginary line along the US–Mexico border and extends it directly across a world atlas, forming a corridor of global conflict between the 30 and 36 degrees North Parallel. Along this imaginary border encircling the globe lie some of the world’s most contested thresholds.

OCCUPY WALL STREET is not only a mass protest movement intended to draw attention to economic injustice and political corruption. It seeks to embody and thereby to demonstrate the feasibility of certain ideals of participatory democracy. This is, to my mind, what makes OWS so interesting, and so unlike a tea-party protest. OWS is not simply a group of like-minded people gathered together to make a point with a show of collective force, though it is that. The difference is that it has developed into an ongoing micro-society with a micro-government that directly exemplifies a principled alternative to the prevailing American order. The complaint that OWS has failed to produce a coherent list of demands seems to me to miss much of the point of the encampment in Zuccotti Park. The demand is a society more like the little one OWS protestors have mocked up in the park. The mode of governance is the message …

There is a great deal wrong with American governance, and not only within government. I think that the concentrated management and diffuse ownership of public corporations has left a relatively small numbers of corporate managers with insufficiently checked control over trillions of other people’s property. And I think that the relatively unchecked power of government to make or break fortunes has made it more or less inevitable that corporations would in time end up writing their own regulations to their own advantage. Occupy Wall Street is a great boon to the extent that it helps draw attention and build effective opposition to the unjust mechanisms of upward redistribution and to the many flaws in our political economy responsible for the disproportionate influence of the wealthy and powerful over the rules that profoundly affect us all. However, insofar as OWS is meant to persuade Americans to adopt a wholly different and better way to live with one another, it is bound to fail. Even if consensus-based, leaderless participatory democracy could work on a grand scale, Americans aren’t interested. And face it: sooner or later, Brookfield Properties is going to get it’s park back. So for those deeply committed to realising a lasting community governed by the ideals of OWS, let me recommend a seastead.

How do you take the enormous amount of critical information gathered every day by city agencies and make it actually useful to citizens? On the City of New York’s DataMine web site, just looking through the list of datasets generated by the Department of Transportation alone is enough to give you a headache. Enter the annual NYC Big Apps competition – a call to software developers who can mine this data and find ingenious ways to put it at the fingertips, or keyboard clicks, of the average New Yorker. This April, winners received a total of $20,000 in cash, the wide exposure their work deserves, investment meetings with BMW, and a chance to talk to Mayor Bloomberg about their ideas…

A major new independent report to the UK Prime Minister on his country’s intellectual property laws is out. Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth could hardly make its position clearer: the UK has lost its way when it comes to copyright policy.

We urge Government to ensure that in future, policy on Intellectual Property issues is constructed on the basis of evidence, rather than weight of lobbying…

On copyright issues, lobbying on behalf of rights owners has been more persuasive to Ministers than economic impact assessments…

Much of the data needed to develop empirical evidence on copyright and designs is privately held. It enters the public domain chiefly in the form of 'evidence' supporting the arguments of lobbyists (‘lobbynomics’) rather than as independently verified research conclusions…

Estimates of the scale of illegal digital downloads in the UK ranges between 13 per cent and 65 per cent in two studies published last year. A detailed survey of UK and international data finds that very little of it is supported by transparent research criteria. Meanwhile sales and profitability levels in most creative business sectors appear to be holding up reasonably well. We conclude that many creative businesses are experiencing turbulence from digital copyright infringement, but that at the level of the whole economy, measurable impacts are not as stark as is sometimes suggested.

The Project On Student Debt estimates that the average college senior in 2009 graduated with $24,000 in outstanding loans. Last August, student loans surpassed credit cards as the nation’s single largest source of debt, edging ever closer to $1 trillion. Yet for all the moralizing about American consumer debt by both parties, no one dares call higher education a bad investment. The nearly axiomatic good of a university degree in American society has allowed a higher education bubble to expand to the point of bursting +…

What kind of incentives motivate lenders to continue awarding six-figure sums to teenagers facing both the worst youth unemployment rate in decades and an increasingly competitive global workforce? …