Monday, September 26, 2005

General System, Ad-hoc Educ. is a part

It's obvious to me now, that ad-hoc education is just a project (but one of the most serious) in a more general system of open collaborative activities. And ad-hoc education could be a starting project to run the general system.Another elaboration: the open projects register (where such projects, alike, are listed) must be separated and independent from the engine that supports collaboration. The reason is that someone wants to list a project and has more appropriate tools to support it. Or a group tries to do something using the engine and does not mind making it public (at least till a moment).

FT on Openess and Collaboration

Financial Times issued (September 20 2005) its first special report in a new Digital Business series. Very enthusiastic content! (for some time it will be in free access). There are wonderful articles with examples I was waiting for - of what kind of activity can host the system I'm trying to describe.

Some quotations:

1. “How open source gave power to the people” By Richard Waters:

The sedentary art of software development and the extreme sports of kitesurfing, sailplaning and canyoning would appear to have little in common.
However, both are examples of a new force that could eventually affect a far broader range of companies and industries: the power of users to shape how products are developed.
In the internet age, it seems, the next big idea to change your industry may come from an unexpected direction.
As related by Eric von Hippell (Democratizing Innovation. Eric von Hippell, The MIT Press), professor of management and innovation at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, followers of extreme sports have become expert at adapting and refining the equipment they use. Sometimes, the way these informal communities work can look very similar to the way open source software developers create their elaborate products.

Kitesurfers, for instance – who stand on surf boards holding kites which whisk them over breaking waves, producing acrobatic leaps and twists – have taken to using sophisticated computer modelling software to design the most efficient kites. They then share their ideas over the internet, refining their concepts before sending them to a manufacturer.
Sophisticated tools that let individuals take part in the process of creation, the internet as a means to draw together communities of like-minded people, a willingness to share ideas for the common good – these are the basic ingredients of a new approach to innovation.

End of quotation 1.

2. “The march of the web-enabled amateurs” by Lawrence Lessig:

“There are tens of thousands of projects built through the collaboration of millions around the world – blogs, free software, newsgroups helping people do everything from knitting to using Microsoft products – and the phenomenon is just starting. Open collaboration was once just a dream. The net has made it a reality”.

On wikis:
“Grand collaborative projects carried out by volunteers have been made possible by ‘wikis’...
In 2001, a former Chicago futures trader, Jimmy Wales, started a similar “open source” project. In a request posted on the world wide web, Mr Wales asked for volunteers to help write a web-based encyclopedia.
Using “wiki” software, in which anyone can add to, or change, what anyone else had written, people from across the world started “writing” what would be called “Wikipedia.”
Thousands soon joined the project. Four years later, there are more than 2.3m articles within Wikipedia, about one-third of which are in English and the rest in more than 100 other languages”.

Not on wikis
“Nasa has recruited “clickworkers” to map craters on Mars, and soon, asteroids, after finding the work of volunteers was better – and much cheaper – than the work of paid professionals”.

Friday, September 23, 2005

AIESEC seminar

Yesterday I was at a seminar organized by Petersburg’s AIESEC. The things were set in the following manner. Real people from real business (and often top management) meet students and tell really important things. Various cases are proposed for students to solve. IMHO the main message of the event: “Don't relay on University – do that is interesting and keep eyes open to what is going on around”.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Open Project Documentation

В статье профессора Шалыто «Ещё раз об открытой проектной документации» в PCWeek/RE #11, 2005. Нашел строчку: «упор в нем [движении за открытую проектную документацию] делается не на документацию программ, а на документацию проектов их создания», по которой получается, что идея открытой проектной документации (Foundation for Open Project Documentation) вполне вписывается в общий ход мыслей об ad-hoc education. И в контексте ad-hoc education идея, по моему мнению, не имеет столь спорного характера (см. дискуссию на, как при применении ко всей софтверной индустрии в целом.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

E-Bay Analogy

E-Bay is an example of how a single web platform (in cooperation with post services and e-money) can systematize and bring to a completely new level an activity that has been exist ages before. I mean selling & buying used things (and some other stuff - what is really important). So there is a chance a unified education-focused web-based system can do something that is the same to E-Bay effect.

By the way (a bit off-topic) E-Bay is a wonderful example of how consumerist society spurs re-use culture.

And Marketing...

An article in The St. Petersburg Times by Sveta Skibinsky (September 13, 2005) confirms (IMHO) my suggestions that marketing sphere also could benefit using ad-hoc education system.

Here are some (or more precisely a lot of) excerpts from the mentioned ‘Practical Marketing About to Start with “You!” ‘:

The gap between theory and working reality has serious repercussions, not least in marketing — a field in which up to date knowledge of social trends and concepts is vital to achieving success…

“After graduation, marketing majors have very little understanding of what the actual profession entails, even if they have had internships in the field and done various case studies in college,” said Natalia Lantzevich, an education programs specialist at Competenz consultancy…

“The poor student has to have some sort of ‘playing field’ to go from test-books to practice. Problem based learning systems are the answer to that,” [Polina Petrushina, marketing and development director at Trust Management, a strategy consulting company] said…

Problem based learning (PBL) programs are those that allow students to participate in active educational methods, such as projects, case-solving and business games, said Competenz’s Lantzevich…

However, experts say using case studies and project methods during the course of education is not enough to prepare students for the real world. “The shortcomings of such practices within a university course are that there is little communication between the actual company and the students, the results of the project give no feasible benefits to the companies and there is no feedback from practicing professionals,” said Philip Guzenyuk, who is one of the founders of a marketing professionals association Brand People…

To work out a way to organizing a program that would include that student-company interaction, in June this year Brand People conducted a business game among marketing professionals, which focused on developing a PBL program fit for the city.
“About 25 marketing and human resources experts from leading St. Petersburg and Moscow companies participated in the game, and the result was a proposal to create a project-based business-school called “You!” purely for marketing students,” Guzenyuk said.
In the program, students from the city’s top universities will conduct market research, develop advertising campaigns, and brainstorm new business development ideas for program’s partner-companies. The process is to be supervised by representatives of those companies, business-coaches and university professors, who would grade the input of each student and help the students find suitable employment in the future, Guzenyuk said.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

PCWeek/RE: 3 new software development centers crash labor market in Petersburg

Блог начинает приобретать черты некоего собрания констатаций о том, как в ИТ-индустрии уже сейчас очень не хватает людей, так что сей пост постараюсь сделать если не последним, то одним из последних в этом жанре.
Цитирую заметки о ROSS-2005 (Russian Outsourcing Software Summit) Эдуарда Пройдакова в PСWeek/Re #23, 2005:
“… Тех немногих, кого выпускают вузы, нужно доучивать. Уже сейчас надвигается следующая беда — через пять лет не будет и преподавателей… Примеры отдельных локальных решений этой проблемы не меняют общую картину. (Компания МЕRА, например, создала свой учебный центр — Нижегородский институт информационных технологий, работающий с вузами региона.) О чём говорить, когда появление в Санкт-Петербурге трёх центров разработки, открытых западными компаниями и занявших всего 800 человек, сломало рынок программистов в пятимиллионном городе! О какой конкуренции с Индией, имеющей уже 450 технопарков, или с Китаем можно сейчас вести речь? ”

Friday, September 09, 2005

CNews: IT in Russia, lack of brain resources

CNews отметился статьей о нехватке ИТ-кадров в своем бумажном издании под заголовком «ИТ в России: неурожай умов» (на сайте можно посмотреть краткую версию).

Цитирую вводную к статье:
"Для обеспечения инновационного прорыва в сфере разработки и аутсорсинга ПО в России в ближайшее время намечено строительство четырех ИТ-технопарков с государственным участием. Но уже сегодня компании испытывают кадровый голод, а завтра им не хватит программистов не только для прорыва, но и для поддержания роста на уровне последних лет."