Archive for the ‘The environment’ Category

Spoke regarding grassroots innovation

November 23, 2009

On November 18, 2009, I led a discussion entitled “Grassroots Innovation: One Pebble Creates a Ripple.”  The event was one in the EMC Leadership & Innovation Speaker Series, which meets at EMC in Silicon Valley.

I presented a “recipe” for grassroots innovation (and other endeavors), based on a Direct Outcomes thinking tool. I discussed two histories, one (the creating of the Palos Verdes Estates Shoreline Preserve) in which I provided a pebble and one (Pacific Gas and Electric’s early to mid 1980s company-wide innovation program known as the Office Technology Project) in which I had various roles regarding “ripples” and “creating new pebbles.”

Audience-suggested discussion involved topics including …

  • LUC – The law of unintended consequences.
  • Converting problems into opportunities.
  • Moral responsibility.
  • Timing, regarding pursuing innovations.
  • What constitutes an “innovation?”
  • Is the term “innovation” overused?
  • Are people “saturated” with too many ideas?

I note that there is a blog noting “10 Principles of Pebbles” –

I appreciate the contributions of the committee the organized this event.  It developed the “pebble and ripples” title for the event.  Sheryl Chamberlain (of EMC) hosted the meeting and helped involve the audience.  Mike Alvarado provided suggestions for setting expectations.

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Interviewed for TV TBI’s Tony Mirenda and Ben Petty

November 8, 2009

On November 5, 2009, Frank Jewett and I interviewed for Issues Today two leaders of TBI Construction and Construction Management – Tony Mirenda and Ben Petty.  Discussion included the state of commercial construction today, trends in green building, and aspects of TBI’s philosophy and service.  I particularly enjoyed a presentation (including images) regarding the project that build the Portola Valley (California) Town Center (about which I have written previous blogs).  The program should be on-line soon for a few months via CreaTV San Jose.

(Added on December 11, 2011:  The program is on-line at this page.

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Co-produced video “From Outrage to Outcomes – Let’s produce pivotal progress!”

August 28, 2009

On August 27, 2009, LectureMaker posted a video featuring my presenting From Outrage to Outcomes: “Let’s produce pivotal progress!”.

There is much that society, businesses, and individuals need and want to achieve.

I hope many people will learn from, use, benefit from, and teach the presentation’s recipe for producing pivotal progress.  The presentation indicates needs for new progress (in education, healthcare, transportation, and politics and governance; throughout society; and specific to individuals), discusses why progress seems so hard to achieve now, provides the recipe, illustrates uses of the recipe, encourages people to act, and notes means for obtaining help.

From Outrage to Outcomes - "Let's produce pivotal progress!"

From Outrage to Outcomes - "Let's produce pivotal progress!"

I will be happy to help foster communities that form to take positive action.

Also, perhaps people will consider sponsoring follow-on videos regarding specific challenges, opportunities, and means to improve how society and individuals try to achieve results.

Ron Fredericks (of LectureMaker) added considerable value by making suggestions about the presentation’s content and my delivery of that content, by adding effects to the video, by tuning the technical quality of the images and sounds, and providing a web-presence home for the video and related comments.  I recommend people contact him to explore producing high-quality videos.

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Attended ribbon-cutting for Portola Valley Town Center

September 22, 2008

On September 14, 2008, Helen Buckholtz and I attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Portola Valley Town Center.  The center includes city offices, a library, a building with meeting rooms, and athletic and park facilities.  Speakers noted that …

·         The project may achieve LEED platinum status.

·         Of the $20 million budget, $17 million was donated by citizens of Portola Valley, a California town of 4,500 people.

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Attended Goldman Environmental Prize ceremony

April 18, 2008

On April 14, 2008, I attended the Goldman Environmental Prize ceremony in San Francisco.  The stories of grassroots activism and accomplishment were inspiring.  Award-recipient Ignace Schops (of Belgium) made, during his acceptance remarks, the comment:   “Martin Luther King never inspired others with ‘I have a nightmare.’  He started with ‘I have a dream.’”

At a subsequent reception in San Francisco’s City Hall, I met each recipient, said hello to Richard Goldman and his sons Doug and John, and shook hands with Mayors Frank Jordan and Gavin Newsom.

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Interviewed for TV an “Awakening Social Responsibility” contributing author

January 7, 2008


On January 4, Frank Jewett and I interviewed Almaz Negash, a contributing author of “Awakening Social Responsibility: A Call to Action,” for an Issues Today TV program.

The book provides a “guidebook for global citizens who are interested in creating socially responsible programs … [beginning] within their own companies.”  During the program, Almaz provided examples of and advice for companies’ acting to make lasting social, economic, and environment impact.  For example, we discussed the roles of executive leadership and sponsorship and of grassroots initiative.

I recommend this book – both for its content and as a contrast to Robert Reich’s “Supercapitalism.”  (See my blog Recommend Robert Reich’s book Supercapitalism.)  One provider of “Awakening …” is

The primary authors of “Awakening …” are Rossella Derickson and Krista Henley, who have been guests on Issues Today.  Mitchell Levy, CEO of the publisher,, also has appeared on the show.  Almaz Negash is Managing Director, Women’s Initiative Silicon Valley, which assists high-potential low-income women who dream of business ownership.  It was a pleasure to help her discuss corporate social responsibility.

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Spoke regarding clarity of purpose, for a Lions club

December 22, 2007

On December 11, 2007, I spoke regarding “Think Well. Do Great. – Revitalizing America, Business, and Oneself” for the West San Jose – Campbell Lions Club. [1]

I noted the value of choosing a clear purpose or focus. Doing so helps people to evaluate possible future scenarios. Not doing so leads potentially to confusion.

For example, contrast “reversing depletion of high-atmosphere ozone near Antarctica” with “combatting global warming.”

Regarding the “ozone hole,” I recounted working during the 1970s at the Lawrence Livermore (National) Laboratory, on the same floor as two people who had key roles regarding such ozone. Depletion was measurable, observed, and known to be increasing. People could debate impacts of further depletion and of a potentially restored ozone layer. The two people at Livermore had a computer model through which people estimated the effects of (the refrigerant) freon and other human-made chemicals that deplete ozone. Mankind took action – for example, by banning production of freon.

In contrast, people debated for some time whether “global warming” was real.

Perhaps a better formulation of “global warming” or “climate change” focuses on “concentrations, in the atmosphere, of ‘greenhouse gases’.” People estimate, for example, that the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are now perhaps 50% greater than they were 400 years ago. By focusing first on measurable quantities, people can – in parallel with behavior regarding the “ozone hole” – estimate and debate consequences and benefits of various courses of action.

I conjectured that sub-optimal ‘issue formulation’ – “global warming,” not “greenhouse gas concentrations” – may have led to a loss of one or two decades in addressing a potentially serious problem.

I discussed other seemingly ‘good’ ‘opportunity statements’ that led to timely success and seemingly ‘bad’ ‘problem statements’ that seem to contribute toward dither. Examples of recent sub-optimal foci include …

  • “Provide prescription drug benefits” – Perhaps comprehensive thinking about governmental and others’ roles in American healthcare would be better and “wellness” would be yet better.

  • “Improve education” – Perhaps such could start with more emphasis on “what do people need to learn?”

I would like to thank Art Low for inviting me to speak with this Lions Club.


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Congratulated Santa Clara University Solar Decathlon team members

November 10, 2007

On November 9, 2007, I had an opportunity to congratulate James Bickford and Yasemin Kimyacioglu, members of the Santa Clara University Solar Decathlon team that won third prize in an international competition sponsored by the United States Department of Energy. (See two previous “Santa Clara University” blogs for more information about the project and team, including the appearance of 6 team members on Issues Today, a television program I co-host.)

I learned that the team placed second in the category of “communication” and that the team implemented my suggestion to have a video display in the house so that visitors could learn more about the endeavor.

I had also suggested that the team consider emphasizing its use of “local content.” Evidently, it did such orally when conducting tours.

Again, I would like to thank Gloria Guenther and the Venture Capital ~ Private Equity Roundtable for the opportunities they created so that I could be involved regarding this endeavor.

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Recommend Robert Reich’s book Supercapitalism

November 7, 2007

I recommend people read “Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life” by Robert Reich. [1]

In particular, the book provides useful perspective regarding …

  • The extent to which corporations emphasize agendas other than ‘serve shareholders by being adequately profitable by providing customers low-cost products and services.’

  • The extent to which ‘interests other than corporations’ have influence in matters of public policy.

In both cases, a reader can be left with a conclusion of ‘not that much’ or ‘not as much as might be desirable.’

While primarily covering aspects of the evolution of capitalism and of the current situation, the book offers some concepts for potential change. For example, …

  • People need to think more clearly.

  • Some complexity (such as linking health insurance to employment and employers) should be undone.

I hope that people will think clearly about and address challenges the book suggests. Results could include.

  • People become more satisfied with life, based on some true progress.

  • People engage in practical politics and public policy that both ‘make a difference’ and fill in for activity that is, at best, being treated as low priority.

  • Democracy becomes reinvigorated.

I would like to thank Robert Reich and Michael Nacht for providing me a copy of this book. Michael presented copies of “Supercapitalism” and of David Kirp’s “The Sandbox Investment: The Preschool Movement and Kids-First Politics” [2] on October 18 to members of the Board of Advisors for the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. [3]

I would also like to thank Michael Nacht for inviting me to be a founding member of that Board of Advisors. Years ago, I suggested that faculty members might want to write more op-ed pieces. Such has occurred. At the recent meeting, I made suggestions to students who lead the producing of the magazine “PolicyMatters.” [4]





May 1, 2008

Thomas J. Buckholtz, Robert Reich, James Lerager, Mary Harper

Thomas J. Buckholtz, Robert Reich, James Lerager, Mary Harper

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Attended book signing by Barry Minkin

October 3, 2007


     On September 28, 2007, I attended a presentation and book signing featuring futurist and author Barry Minkin and his new book Ten Great Lies (that) Threaten Western Civilization.  The event was held in a Borders book store in San Jose, California.

     This book makes numerous thought-provoking points, although it may not be for the feint-hearted or the faint-hearted.

     The book improved on an early partial draft that I saw.  For example, based (as best I know) on my suggestion, Barry added an epilogue.  Thus, the published book discusses some of Barry’s thoughts about not only “what’s wrong” but also “what readers might want to do about what’s wrong.”  Perhaps the book now features two distinctly different interpretations of “lie,” namely … [1]

  1. “1. an intentionally false statement … 2. imposture; false belief.”

  2. the way or direction or position in which a thing exists or is situated; the position [of a golf ball when about to be struck].


[1] These interpretations respectively quote and paraphrase definitions found in The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, Eighth Edition.


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