Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Willfully Practicing Ignorance


Monday, February 27, 2017 will be a day I remember for a long time.  The truth is I remember most days but Monday was special.  In partnership with my team at M·CAM and growing number of the leadership at CNBC, my Innovation Alpha-based CNBC IQ100 powered by M·CAM U.S. equities index was celebrated with two articles and three on-air segments.  And with good reason.  The CNBC IQ100 powered by M·CAM has done something that hasn’t been seen since 1954.  It grew over 40% in a 12-month period.  Far exceeding the “Trump-rally” of the S&P, NASDAQ, and Dow Jones Industrials, our Innovation Alpha method continues to demonstrate the unique insight that M·CAM provides the market and shows that by measuring the quality of corporate innovation, far greater investment returns are accessible in the equity markets.  That’s good news, right?

Well, not so fast.  It was 1999 – nearly 20 years ago – when I first demonstrated the algorithm that powers our current market methodology.  By 2000, Inc., Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal had published articles about our methodology.  The U.S. Senate Banking, Finance, Government Oversight and House Judiciary and Commerce Committees had all heard that there was a way to reliably measure innovation in American industry.  By April of 2001, our methodology had been demonstrated around the world in the EC21 Conference in Europe to the State Council of China.  The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) spent weeks in our offices in Charlottesville and in meetings in Connecticut to embrace the rationale of our methodology in accounting standards now promulgated around the world.  But on February 27, 2017 my index out-performance is a result of one thing: willful ignorance.

I’m puzzled over the monotony of my last several decades of experience.  As evidenced by the CNBC IQ100 and its celebration on Monday, making qualitative measurements of corporate innovation and its use affords reliable market visibility on value.  Where researchers like Dr. Hall, Dr. Shapiro, Dr. Lemley and countless other economists tried to understand innovation through quantitative lenses, M·CAM always held that the intent – not the artefact – of the innovation impulse was relevant in understanding innovation.  And intent can be proactive and constructive or can be reactive and destructive with respect to value.  Rather than adopting a predatory instinct to exploit this insight exclusively for our commercial advantage, M·CAM maintained over 1/3 of its corporate activities in Innovation Literacy – the explicit sharing of our capabilities with others.  Periodically it’s been welcome – primarily in countries seeking to build their economic capabilities.  Frequently it’s been rejected or ignored by G-20 countries bent on profligate spending on defense, infrastructure, energy, health-care, and telecommunications.  That’s right, when the public’s money is being spent – reliable, qualitative assessment of innovation is unwelcome.  That feels wrong, doesn’t it?  Shouldn’t public procurement concern itself with the quality of the technology it procures?

Not so fast.  The problem governments have with reliable, qualitative assessments of innovation is that it makes occult patronage far less viable.  If best quality or best service was the mandate, precision matters.  But when officials in government directly benefit from influence afforded by incumbent multi-national companies while in office and land in cushy Government Relations roles in those same corporations upon their departure from Public “Service”, pointing out material misrepresentations is unwelcome.  And this is as prevalent in Australia and the U.S. as it is in Papua New Guinea and Somalia.  Over the next 10 years, Australia’s government choices will cost its citizens an avoidable loss of over $50 billion.  In Papua New Guinea, reckless financing of oil and mineral projects will lead the country into functional insolvency despite its vast wealth of resources.  In the U.S., President Trump’s commitment to defense and infrastructure will lead to an annual loss of over $750 billion in inefficient spending.  The EU will pour billions of euros into “innovation” funding programs which have already been demonstrated to merely re-distribute money – not create industries or wealth.  These governments all know it… and continue the status quo.

How did we get here?  The answer is quite simple: surrogacy.  When ordinary citizens acclimate to the notion that “someone else” needs to take care of them, the ceding of individual accountability and discernment supplies the power leakage that accumulates in bureaucracies.  This power overwhelms the public service intentions of officials who realize that they are the gate-keepers of the public treasury.  And patronage (in the best of cases) and graft and corruption (in the most common cases) are born.  But remember, corruption is a derivative not of bad individual actors.  Rather it is the consequence of mass abdication of personal accountability and responsibility.  When We The People acknowledge that WE are responsible for our own actions and our destinies, than our interest in remaining engaged and informed goes up.  When we surrogate our well-being to anonymous public sector agencies, we fuel the abuse that besets us.

Over the coming weeks, Inverted Alchemy is going to take on a new form.  You, the readers of this blog, are going to help select the themes you would like to learn more about.  I’m going to listen and respond.  Since 2008, I’ve tried to point out what I think matters.  Now it’s your turn.  And together, maybe we can begin reclaiming a bit of our accountability and in so doing Create a More Perfect Union.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Working Class Illusions...Australia Style


Over the past few months, I’ve been exposed to the Australian Technical and Further Education (TAFE) system.  In a class-based, caste-inspired social engineering experiment, Australia took Adam Smith’s division of labor principle to the extreme insuring that the erudite universities preserve their fraternity of elitism and broad irrelevance (Australia ranks last on the OECD’s measure of industrial engagement with universities – behind Mexico!) while the “working class” are afforded sufficient skills to serve as grist for the industrial mill.  In 1946, Sir Eric Ashby callously observed:

“Here is the criterion for determining what subject or parts of a subject should be taught at a university. If the subject lends itself to disinterested thinking; if generalisation can be extracted from it; if it can be advanced by research; if in brief, it breeds ideas in the mind, then the subject is appropriate for a university. If, on the other hand, the subject borrows all its principles from an older study (as journalism does from literature, or salesmanship from psychology, or massage from anatomy and physiology) and does not lead to generalisation, then the subject is not a proper one for a university. Let it be taught somewhere by all means. It is important that there should be opportunities for training in it. But it is a technique, not an exercise for maintaining intellectual health; and the place for technique is a technical college.”

“If it breeds ideas in the mind”!  As though a plumber may not be as likely to encounter a notion of genius as an ivory tower ensconced academic!  Really?  And the Committee on Australian Universities in 1957 warned of the risk of any technical institution daring to venture into the realm of the Academy as they would present a risk to the “urgent national need” for skilled and semi-skilled labor.   In 1899, the State of Victoria was the home of the first inquiry of the Fink Commission (named for Theodore Fink) which sought to improve the quality of the mechanical and technical training efforts of the 19th century.  In what was to overhaul both primary and secondary education (as well as reify the divide between university and vocational tertiary education), the turn of the century brought with it the “development” imperative to insure that sufficient tradesmen were available to meet the requirements of the industrial and mining mandates of the country.  In short, with the exception of the University elite, education is a means to a “gainful” employment for the industrial, social, or economic mandate determined by…, well, no one is really quite sure.  At no point is the individual considered relevant in setting the purpose for their industry – they are just expected to rent their labor to whatever industry the establishment deems relevant.

I am fundamentally concerned with the absence of a meaningful critique of the theoretical underpinnings of the Adam Smith and Marxian argument which merely recites the dogma of labor vs. elite.  From the fourth century BC forward, the notion of division of labor has been rooted in the meeting of sufficiency at a caloric level (consumption to combustion / extinction).  Ibn Khaldun would be appropriately referenced in his work Muqaddimah in which he discussed the communal requirement for division of labor.  Arguing that division of labor allows for the needs of a community to be met more efficiently if tasks are divided than if individuals have sole responsibility for all necessities, Khaldun anticipated the rise of the industrial model in the 14th century.  Focusing on Smith and Marx orthodoxy (not to mention Alexis de Tocqueville, Immanuel Kant and others) leads to the reification of the linear notion of production as a means to consumption and extinction without addressing the underlying moral constructs surrounding:

  • A.     Replenishment of matter and energy rather than the extractive / extinction utility;
  • B.     Consideration of who sets the priority for what is manufactured and to what end;
  • C.      Purposeful despotism when labor is allocated against priorities set by hierarchy into which choice labor allocation has no correlation to real or perceived need; and,
  • D.     Notions of equivalence to those things that do not serve a consensus “need” but rather are seen as standards of “development” or artifacts of “status”.

When one is building a ship or a road, technical precision is the difference between fit-for-service and structural failure.  When one is dressing a wound, changing a bed-pan, welding a steel frame, designing a house – some standard of care is essential.  And I’ve been engrossed in reading what is required to meet the technical education standards for these and hundreds of other careers.  At the same time, I’ve been examining the University end of town.  The profligate elitism that permeates the dichotomy between tertiary education in Australia borders on the comical.  I’ve made the very recent mistake of reading doctoral dissertations from several of Australia’s leading universities and what I find amazing is the degree to which they are largely over-weight literature review and underweight substantive contribution to advancing the state-of-the-art.  Ironically, Australian universities measure their academic relevance in large part on the number of times their work is cited paying no attention to whether their work is being celebrated or impugned.  All publicity is good – apparently. 

In short, neither end of the social engineering experiment is serving the public good or global relevance.  But the failure is one that transcends the current social discourse.  The root concern is that there is no clear vision – no organizing principle – around which the industry of education can rally.  Complacency fueled by the illusion of over two decades of economic growth without a recession has led to a generation of politicians and civil servants who merely recite their mantras about jobs, innovation, and growth, without a single clue as to what any of these mean in a global market context.  Australia will be spending over $120 billion dollars on defense over the budgeted future without a clear doctrine justifying what it’s actually defending and against whom these defenses are aligned.  Australia will be building infrastructure for growth but cannot articulate what purpose this growth will serve.  And nowhere in the dialogue is any recognition that Australia – a net consumer of other people’s ideas, services, and programs – could invert that dynamic and become the world’s leader in the unleashing of innovation from across the globe. 

What does this mean?  First we must examine the core capabilities of the fully functioning education ecosystem.  As the abject failure of pundits and analysts have shown in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, if you measure consensus assumptions, your conclusions are entirely wrong.  In 2006 and 2007, I correctly described the conditions and the timing of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008[1].  Was I forecasting an outcome using predictive analytics?  No.  I was merely observing irrefutable documented behaviour in an occult industry and critiquing the system level convergence that was certain.  From mass pandemics (the Asian bird flu) to resource shocks to social paroxysm (the Egyptian multi-coups), the “trained” and the “expert” are left agape when linear regression behaviour is punctuated by disequilibrium events.  Regrettably, education’s obsession with the scientific method have taught regression but have assiduously ignored its dominant fallacy – that we know the variables that matter and we recognize that which is significant.  Elementary statistics teach us that interrogatory inquiry presupposes:

  • 1.      Known variables;
  • 2.      Known scale in which these variables operate;
  • 3.      And Measurement Error.
Interestingly, the same discipline teaches us the error of untested assumptions about normalcy, kurtosis, skewness, and orthogonality.  However, the modern education system and the scientific method upon which it is built fails to account for these in every instance diminishing the efficacy of social and technical interventions.  We are not as much facing a 4th Industrial Revolution[2] as we are a Scientific Renaissance.

And while the exceptional “successes” of modernity – from Bill Gates to Mohammed Yunnus to Eleanor Ostrom – have changed the scale, scope and impact of incumbent modes of human interaction, they have not fundamentally ushered in new modes of thinking, examining and engaging a world in a regenerative and productive way.  At the margins, Hunter Lovins and others have pointed to an opaque future in which biomimicry opens new design and engineering consideration.  This is an important harbinger of humanity’s future.  But for global citizenship to be possible with as many at 10 billion inhabitants (or more) on the Earth, integral isomorphism will be required.

What is Integral Isomorphism?  Ironically, it’s quite simple.  It’s the way the world and the cosmos works.  From intergalactic conductive matter, to light and magnetism, to photosynthesis to mitochondrial respiration within our cells, observable principles are evident in unconstrained fractals and these principles underpin the animating impulses of relativity, thermodynamics and quantum mechanics.  Unconcerned with linear duality, integral isomorphism engages persistent, generative, infinitely orthogonal dynamics of activation, transmission and perpetuation where systems are regenerative at every level.  In other words, to be a productive citizen in the 21st century, a person has to expand their sensory ability, entertain divergent contextual perspectives, synthesize and integrate multiple perspectives and narratives with tolerance, see the costs and benefits of all actions to all actors within the ecosystem, select appropriate tools to form reproducible experiences, and optimally engage rather than consume the environment in which we live. 

For education to be relevant in the 21st century, it must be emancipated from the linear industrial construct of creating rent-based industrial employment and social pacification and liberated to enable citizens to productively engage in valuable pursuits at the individual and collective level.  This is not an indictment of industry – it is the recognition that as industry is already in the throes of transformation, so too must education transform. 


.[1] Martin, David E. “Social Contingent Liabilities and Synthetic Derivative Options” EUPACO-2, Brussels.  15, May 2007.
[2] Schwab, Klaus.  The Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Alternate Facts: I’m RIGHT…right?


Just a quick observation:  I’m deeply intrigued at the number of people who occupied Wall Street, protested the secrecy which shrouded the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, and railed against Guantanamo who are now longing for the murderous call-it-terror-so-you-can-drone-execute-it regime of President Obama.  Giving him the aspirational Nobel Peace prize only to see the expansion of citizen surveillance, contracted murder by remote control, and other horrific acts of treachery hardly validates those who now lament the transparent inhumanity of the Trump Administration.  The America that Trump promised to “Make Great” is an America that is illiterate, Evangelical, and “believes” as their primary source of moral confidence.  When the Prince of Peace is white, white-robed, wearing the 70s hippy length hair or nailed to a cross – it’s no surprise that his sycophants will celebrate the denial of human rights to brown-skinned immigrants from Palestine who were trained in Egyptian schools!  Tragically, if you get this last line as a joke, you’re admitting a literacy that most of the Trump electorate will find too complex to grasp.

I grew up in a world of RIGHT.  There was a RIGHT way to think, act, live, engage in the world.  And RIGHT was curiously defined by the selective application of Biblical literalism… almost.  Never mind that the Bible itself was codified by the same church that declared modern-day Evangelicals heretics and burned them at the stake, drowned them in rivers, and subjected them to being drawn and quartered.  But “divine inspiration” – the same justification that fuels all modern fear-based inhumanity – somehow makes this group of white men sitting in the Mediterranean breezes RIGHT.  I could be told the “truth” at church on Sunday about imaginary rules made up by a zealot but would be punished for lying about what I saw or imagined.  RIGHT had to be enforced through violence, separation, and isolation. 

To say I didn’t fit in is the understatement.  I was advised against living the way I chose to live.  I was warned about the evils of associating with the WRONG people.  And off I went and did it anyway.  And against the backdrop of RIGHT, I’ve just crossed a WRONG chasm of my religious upbringing from which there’s no return.  I’ve spent the last year formalizing my several year estrangement and separation from my wife of nearly 30 years – a process now finally, mercifully completed.  Ironically, I am doing the “RIGHT” thing by doing the “WRONG” thing rightly!  Countless women have surrounded the woman I loved and have encouraged her to “stand up for herself” and not tolerate my behavior.  Ironically, none of these women – nor any but a few men – saw the life I gave in service to a person who I chose to love and protect.  What’s RIGHT is their indignation.  And now her friends have the facts they need to be RIGHT!  I’m the man that “left”.  That’s all her lawyer and her friends need to know despite her reported vain efforts to explain that they may not be integrating all the facts.  Whether it’s the perversion of divorce or the building of a wall on the Mexico border – the certitude that comes with RIGHT encourages the mindless acquiescence to a consensus of fear, pain, and separation.  No dialogue required – we “know” what is RIGHT.

Being RIGHT always comes at a cost.  By definition RIGHT dictates a duality in which someone or something “else” is “wrong”.  RIGHT is incapable of surviving on its own as it takes energy to maintain the vigilance around those who would challenge or the evidence that would contradict.  Not surprisingly, RIGHT invites conflict with others who hold their alternative views of RIGHT.  I’ve been intrigued at how many narratives of all-powerful divinities apparently need ardent zealots to keep their worship obsessions sated and their egos inflated enough to stay at their helium-induced remoteness.  And RIGHT conveniently obviates the need for that inefficiency called thoughtful conversation and dialogue.  RIGHT also extinguishes the impulse to gratitude.  Because with RIGHT comes its evil step-child, EXPECTATION.  When the “right thing to do” becomes the “expected thing”, callous neglect for humanity is just around the corner.

Donald Trump’s exercise of Executive Order is precisely what adherents to RIGHT desire.  It’s far easier to have dictatorial paternalism than to engage in the messiness of thoughtful inquiry.  However, like so many sociopaths before, Donald Trump is playing his hand too fast.  Because mobs of the RIGHT can get down-right vicious when they stop being pandered to by their overlord.  “Hail Messiah” can become “Crucify” in about 3 days, I think.  Abortion and immigration in one week?  Seriously!  This should have been a first 100-days gig – not a first week.   Because before long, President Trump is going to have to start doing things that are WRONG.  When is an ex-wife or girlfriend going to do the tell-all (maybe even including a salacious abortion story)?  Does anyone actually believe that a paid non-disparagement is anything other than the opening bid for a publisher?  And when he does, the knives that will be sharpened on his hate-filled friction may very well turn against him.  The half-life of RIGHT is only as long as it satiates the ravenous appetite for hatred, fear, and a sense of disempowered victimization.  But like every other parasite, RIGHT will consume its host and by the time the host knows it’s been had, it moves on leaving an empty shell behind. 

What does the notion of RIGHT have to do with the economy?  Well, the answer is quite simple.  Economies are built on the exchange of value and, at its core, or modern sense of economic value relies on “a willing buyer and willing seller being informed of all the facts.”  Now, to be certain, no one reading this blog has been fully informed.  We know, for example, if you are reading this on an Apple device (computer or iPhone) that the metals contained in your product may be sourced from areas of active genocide as Apple continues to enjoy the dubious commitment not to sign pledges to source metals ethically.  And frankly, if you are among my Apple-using friends, you probably don’t give a shit about that!  You can be informed and, even with the information, you don’t care that a 12-year-old is packing an AK-47 and learning to rape and maim so that you can have longer battery life and faster video!  You can watch Oliver Stone’s Snowden and be indifferent that Google and Facebook are overtly and covertly used by the CIA and countless clandestine organizations to map and target you as a potential threat as long as you get “free wi-fi” at Starbucks.  In the interest of saving a buck, you’re willing to shop at Walmart paying no heed to the carnage it has done to local community businesses.  And frankly, informing yourself would actually take effort, time, and discernment.  After all, how do you know what is RIGHT?  Am I right?

Let me propose an alternative narrative.  I’ve spent my life traveling the world connecting people who didn’t have the means or the opportunity to connect.  From the steppes of Mongolia to leprosy communities in Nepal, from volcanic ridges in Papua New Guinea to sweltering monsoons in India, from laboratories in Moscow to Presidential palaces in Iran, I’ve been able to carry perspective around the world and from that weave an elastic, resilient network of humanity.  Vodka bottles became greenhouses, torpedo tubes became essential oil distillation chambers, nuclear technologies were transformed into medical diagnostics not because it was the RIGHT thing to do.  It was the suitable thing to do in a fully informed context.  That fully-informed context could only be accessed by genuinely loving and respecting the divergence perspectives that make life interesting. 

What I found on that journey is that in every instance where my life has made an impact – it’s never been because I was RIGHT.  It’s because I was there and in fellowship with others who were also there.  Whether its Trump and his wall or a divorce lawyer and her defense of a woman against me – I’m equally un-phased.  Both survive when they’re fed fear.  Both thrive on “alternate facts”.  And neither can evidence a better world rendered by their actions.  Thankfully, I have been privileged to see the fruit borne of a different approach.  One that presumes that eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is just eating fruit!  Talking snakes and fiery sword-wielding angels are merely distractors to see if we’ll fall for the binary illusion.  Trees are just trees.  Gardens include weeds.  And being naked doesn’t mean that anyone has to be ashamed.  When you start your cosmology with an imposed lie of separation being RIGHT is the only solace you can hope for.  But it’s an itchy fig leaf and it makes your bits scratchy.  I’ll choose life’s alternate facts.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

In Memoriam: Homage to Martin Luther King, Jr.


“One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change.  Every society has its protectors of the status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions.  But today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and face the challenge of change.  The large house in which we live demands that we transform this world-wide neighborhood into a world-wide brotherhood.  Together we must learn to live as brothers or together we will be forced to perish as fools.” 

“We must work passionately and indefatigably to bridge the gulf between our scientific progress and our moral progress.  One of the great problems of mankind is that we suffer from a poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance.  The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually.” 

“Every man lives in two realms, the internal and the external.  The internal is that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals, and religion.  The external is that of complex devices, techniques, mechanisms and instrumentalities by means by which we live.  Our problem today is that we have allowed the internal to become lost in the external.  We have allowed the means by which we live to outdistance the ends for which we live.”

-        Martin Luther King, Jr.  Where Do We Go From Here:  Chaos or Community, pg. 172-173. 1967.

Social responsibility – today’s sterilized proxy for morality – has become a euphemism for the celebration of not doing what shouldn’t have been done in the first place.  In a world defined by Kellogg School of Management’s Alfred Rappaport and GE’s Jack Welch’s perversion of “shareholder value” – the notion that enterprise should seek to maximize the distribution of wealth from effort to the rentier of capital – it’s no surprise that exceptional behavior is to acquiesce to the notion that enterprise may not harm at the margins and be thus acknowledged as “responsible”.  Gone is a standard that presumes that, at its core, human endeavor could be built with an exoenergetic-moral structure in which accretive human value is the core mandate for endeavors and that premium non nocere (Do No Harm) is the standard rather than the marginal exception. 

Together with my colleagues Bob Kendall, Charles Way, Lee Evans, Pam Cole, Colleen Martin, Aditya Bindra, and Hayden Luse, my inaugural efforts to form America’s first large cap Diversity Fund have been quite informative.  We’ve encountered numerous groups who trade on diversity as a moniker for inclusion.  I was intrigued when I read the criteria for Thomson Reuters’ Diversity & Inclusion Index.  Diversity & Inclusion scores favor companies with: a) fewer discrimination, harassment, wage or other published controversies; b) diverse employment meaning percentage of women employed and gender and ethnic board diversity; c) existence of policies for inclusion of flexible working hours and environments for persons with family, health or disability needs; and, d) inclusive training programs.  All 24 variables are laudable and basic.  But at no point does the D&I Index achieve a value accretive social outcome to advance humanity.  It simply states that companies would be well served to recognize humans as humans (tragically necessary, but not value accretive).  Now, the great news is that the Thomson Reuter’s D&I Index has modeled performance indicating the top 100 companies that score highly on their rating also out-perform their large cap broad market index.  In short, being human outperforms operating in callous disregard for humans.

And this is an important step forward.  I applaud Thomson for using their platform to promote humanity.  On September 29, 2016 I wrote a post Racism in America – Let JusticeRoll Down.  In it I discussed our formation of an investment fund that would carry forward our long-standing work around getting serious about racial dissonance in America.  What we’re seeking to do with our PB Diversity product is to invest in companies that are building Diversity owned and managed businesses.  And as our fund manager itself is also diversity owned and managed (women and minorities across the organization), we are living the same values we promote. 

We’re taking a step beyond the notion that the absence of bad behavior is a cause for celebration or accolade.  Our commitment is to invest in companies who source at least 10% of their supply chain from minority owned companies.  This acknowledges that value – to have its direct impact on the social challenges we face – must flow beyond discretionary employment and must include flowing capital to businesses which in turn employ diverse people and serve traditionally economically disadvantaged communities.  In short, we want the purpose for which we live to be more important than the means which we accumulate.


As we mark the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his notion that humanity needs to find a way to end the scourge of corporate sanctioned racism, it’s worth noting that U.S. Obama Administration’s EXIM Bank supported Exxon-Mobil LNG project in Papua New Guinea’s death toll rose again this week.  The Melanesian landowner’s issue – the non-payment of royalties due them by Exxon.  And while millions on social media “stood” with Standing Rock, there’s no Facebook campaign, no sit-ins, no public conversation about these deaths of real people.  For what reason?  Because they’re too far away to count and they’re invisible.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Ibi et cor vestrum erit


What is whispered in the ear shall be proclaimed from the rooftops. 

I watched a J.P. Sears’ New Year’s Resolutions video and loved his line, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is resilience.”  Insanity?  Resilience?  Is JP’s comedy more or less funny than the dubious suggestion that Einstein originated the colloquial definition of insanity which appears to be actually sourced from a 1980 Narcotics Anonymous pamphlet?  And isn’t it ironic that the persistence of the attribution or hearsay has made Einstein out to the be the originator of something that he may never have uttered or thought?  Particularly when it’s the definition of the one thing he probably would have examined through the lens of relativity and concluded that doing the same thing over and over again would, in some entanglement way, lead to a dimensional alteration whose effect may unleash untold mystery!  But I digress… or do I?

For my entire memory, I have been trapped in a puzzle around three Gospel references. 

Luke 12:48(b):  From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Luke 19:26:  I tell you that everyone who has will be given more; but the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

Matthew 25:29:  For whoever has will be given more and they will have an abundance.  Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

If one were to examine the middle warp thread around which DNA wove my first chromosome, somewhere etched in that thread is the certainty that I’ve been entrusted with much and, as a result, my life’s purpose is to do more.  Somewhere an abundant Source imbued my life with access and evidence of plenty and my purpose is to spread the bountiful fruit of that certainty to all those with whom I have contact or influence.  Not a day of my life since Upland California in 1974, sitting at my little desk in Tim and my bedroom overlooking the bougainvillea blooming in the backyard, has passed without this puzzle animating my mind and my actions.  “I’ve been entrusted with much and therefor much more will be asked.”  How much is “much more”?  Well, simple: you’ve got another day so there’s more more to do!

I’ve been surrounded by people who have reinforced and celebrated my relentless pursuit of stewardship.  I have inspired thousands, I’ve improved the lives of millions, I’ve lived to see the global effects of my life.  Family, friends, colleagues, strangers – the world is a better place because of my sense of stewardship and I’m a better man because of it!  And it’s so deeply engrained into my life that I have built countless relationships where my expansion of what I’ve had entrusted to me is expected.  “That’s just what David does,” goes the justification behind the callous consumption of abundance. 

In this 49th year of my life as I was completing my year-end gratitude arc and reflecting on the passing circumnavigation of the Sun, I found myself seduced into doing what I’ve done every other year.  My practice is to recount gratitude for all the people and experiences of the year past and acknowledge each of their contributions to my life.  This practice – unlike the fleeting New Year’s Resolutions so many attempt only to disappoint themselves and others a few weeks into January – primes the pump for my coming year to realize that I’m only in my life because of the kindness and goodness of others.  The breath of life is lubricated by the well-spring of gratitude!  But this year, I sat with Kim in the persistence of illusions I’ve come to see as hallmarks of my best attributes.  From our first real conversation in Antarctica to last night, she was ready to break another lens through which I see my illusions.  She asked me to explain, for one who defines his life by gratitude, how it is that I’m so upset when I don’t experience gratitude in and from others?  And her question – along her signature relentless persistence in keeping me in the question until I really considered it – made me re-read the parables from which my lifelong puzzles are derived. 

They all have to do with a master who is leaving for a far-away country for an indeterminant period of time and said master allocating resources to the care of others.  Some of the stewards evidence their awareness of the master by seeking to grow and expand his wealth while others, nominating their fear for his perceived harshness, merely take what is given and do nothing but preserve it for his return.  The master has abundance.  He distributes that abundance to his stewards and gives them entirely free rein to do with his wealth what they wish.  Ironically, the ones who receive 5 talents and 2 talents and return 10 and 4, respectively, do not explain why they did what they did.  They knew their master and simply did what they knew he did.  They knew that he took abundance and made it more bountiful.  They did what they knew from watching him.  And their knowing required no explanation or justification.  Their knowing was evidenced in their performance.  It’s the one who says he apparently knew the master who clearly evidences neither a knowledge of, nor a love towards the master (Luke 19:21-ff:  “I was afraid of you, because I knew that you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’). 
Surrounding these parables are wonderful attestations of abundance. ‘Consider the lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin but I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was dressed as fine as these.’  ‘Do not worry for the future’.  In short – there’s always enough to go around.  Enough for everyone!  So back to Kim’s wise question: what is it about the absence of gratitude that fuels so much anguish in me?  And then I hit me!  It’s expectation!  Expectation, like hope, faith, and all other sugar coated justifications for surrogated accountability and abundant engagement creates an excuse to rely on the illusory artifacts – the illusion of master, the illusion of money, the illusion of commitment, the illusion of connection – rather than seeing the mastery of stewarded abundance.  After all, the master in the parables himself is also a steward.  But his stewardship is the capability to create opportunities for others to evidence their prowess with resources.  He didn’t give them talents or bags of gold.  He created an opportunity for them to test their own manifesting capacity.  That’s what made him a master!  It wasn’t about the artifacts.  It wasn’t about the appearance of knowledge or capability.  It was about the recognition that to him who has been entrusted with much, teaching others to access their trustworthiness is the greatest wealth to share.
And this year, while I am grateful to dozens of people who enlivened my life and allowed 2016 to end with a benediction of abundance – Bob, Erik, Ned, Colleen, Katie, Dex, Stu, Zach, Pam, David, Ben, Steve, Charles, Lee, Chris, Hayden, Aditya, Theresa, Lawrence, Richard, Laurent, Christine, Robert, Bernadette, Sarah, Lorraine, Amanda, Peter, Jan, Joe, Rob, Jo, Tammy, Bill, Frances, Mark, Greg, and countless others – I am particularly grateful to Kim.  She asked the question that attends these parables.  “Are you experiencing the master’s happiness?”  “Who is caring for YOUR heart in all of the things that you do?”  When others focused on the effect of my living, she saw the cost of gratitude unacknowledged.  And rather than make up for it, accommodate it, or wish things were different, she took the 5 talents and made them 10!  And that’s the greatest treasure of all!


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Saying So Doesn’t Make It True

A Reflection on the Samsung v. Apple Supreme Court Decision 

At the end of the Second World War, the United States government took, among other concessions, the patents and the inventors of Germany to build its chemical, infrastructure, and technological industries that had been bested by the Third Reich.  From dyes to magnetic tape to rockets, the German reparations catalyzed a period of transformational growth that built the likes of Silicon Valley and metropolitan Boston and Federal labs and Beltway Bandits that speckle the I-95, I-66 and I-64 corridors. 

I’ve been deeply saddened in my experience in Australia where I’ve seen hundreds of millions of dollars poured into “research” and “innovation” which is universally redundant to technologies and initiatives the world over.  One of the most tragic comedies is the frequently lauded claim of Australia’s invention of WiFi.  Sad that CSIRO and the Australian government don’t take the time to read their own patent which states that, “…wireless LANs are known, however, hitherto they have been substantially restricted to low data transmission rates.  One wireless LAN which is commercially available is that sold by Motorola under the trade name ALTAIR.”  Australia didn’t invent WiFi, they improved upon the inventions of many others.  But that’s not the story that governments want to tell taxpayers.  Both at the State and Commonwealth level, now billions of dollars are committed to a pretense of innovation for economic development which assumes that somehow basic research will be the country’s answer to decreased commodity exports.  And rather than doing what they’ve done occasionally quite well – adapting innovations for more applicable and relevant deployment – the monotonous drumbeat of “invention” and “innovation” clamor on. 

It was particularly interesting this morning when I read the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Samsung damages award sought by Apple.  In an unanimous decision, the Court overturned the $399 million jury verdict against Samsung for alleged infringement of Apple’s patents.  The patents in question were on “inventions” like a rectangle with rounded edges, an interactive screen that responds to finger movements and other life-changing smartphone features allegedly “invented” by the companies.  Ironically, the Court stipulated that neither Apple nor Samsung had adequately defined what the “relevant article of manufacture” was that was the basis for the alleged damage.

With over 88 million patents worldwide to date and with that number growing by close to a million disclosures globally each year, we’ve lost the plot.  We wouldn’t know an invention if it bit us in the face.  Public dollars are being thrown at academia and industry each year to come up with solutions which are already out there to be deployed or repurposed. 

Now there will be those who say, “But Dave, that’s just your opinion.  I’ve paid a patent attorney a lot of money to protect my invention and they’ve said I can get a patent.”  Yes, and a lap-dancer in a night club will tell you that she loves you for the right price.  Saying so doesn’t make it true.

There’s another way to go.  When Elinor Ostrom won the Nobel Prize for her work on the Commons in 2009, she could not have imagined the import of her work far beyond the notion of public goods and public rights.  Ever since the 18th century, patent disclosures have secured for their applicants certain market rights and restrictions.  But, the public – who was supposed to benefit from the advance of the Arts and Sciences – has gotten more expensive products and has subsidized industry and higher education unwittingly.  However, now with over 92% of the world’s intellectual property unprotected in most of the world (patents have to be filed in the countries where inventors want market protections, otherwise no market right is enforceable in the others), the ability for countries to research, integrate and commercialize the expensive IP of others is at hand and most of the world is still not using this innovation commons.  That’s right, what happened in the generic drug industry in the mid-20th century is now possible with every industry. 

And, for the current industrial titans rife with their stockpiles of faux invention, another opportunity has been created.  Patents serve as an indicator of corporate intent.  Maybe where you’re planning to go.  Maybe where you know you’re going to hit competition.  No matter what the rationale, these documents are a signal of market intent and that very signal drives our equity funds and our recently launched CNBC IQ100 Index powered by M·CAM.  In the last quarter of 2016, our Innovation Index has outperformed the S&P and NASDAQ by as much as 300%!  Ironically, some of our best trading data comes from seeing the fallacious claims of Apple and Samsung months and years ahead of time and investing accordingly.

It’s time to end the illusion of “creation” once and for all.  We don’t make things ex nihilo.  We’re trained and enculturated to adapt things for new contexts or efficiencies.  And as a result, it’s time that the public investment shifts from “invention” illusions to Applied Innovation.  This transition has already transformed the pharmaceutical industry and is now poised to change the face of business around the world.  President-elect Trump’s recent pronouncements regarding the termination of TPP has just accelerated that transformation and it’s time for the world to ride the wave of innovation literacy.  The Supreme Court just confirmed that that’s a good idea (does that make it true????  Nah!)


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Teaching Innovation, Analytics, and Critical Thinking: A Concept Statement


Dr. David E. Martin 
Chairman M·CAM
Managing Partner, Purple Bridge Mangement
Head of Innovation & Transformation, Melbourne Polytechnic
Executive Director, Centre of Applied Innovation at Melbourne Polytechnic
CEO & Chairman, eSurface
Batten Fellow, Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia

On a blustery afternoon at Oyantatambu in Peru, a group of us stood next to the massive stones cut with inconceivable precision marveling at the megaliths left by civilizations past.  “How did they do it?” was the refrain echoing through each mind as we looked upon the complex geometry that stood before us.  A dutiful guide, certified by the Peruvian antiquities authorities, explained the Occidental method involving llama tendons and sand.  Most of the group nodded their head with a mix of incredulity and awe and moved on.  I stepped around one particular stone that, on its face, was rough cut.  On the back side of the stone was a partial cut.  It was highly irregular – clearly not the product of a drawn cord or saw.  In fact, upon closer inspection, it appeared that the grooves were melted in a pattern consistent with the crystalline structure of the stone.  There was no way that the cut I observed could have possibly been the work of a linear slicing mechanism.  If I had to guess, my immediate thought was that it was cut with light or heat.  A laser, possibly?

What’s the point of this story?  Our current education and social systems are oriented around explaining perspective, not critiquing it.  We “know” that the Inca didn’t have the tools we use to manipulate the world so we impose linear historicism on their experience assuming some lesser state.  While the prima facie evidence points to capacities to manipulate matter and energy in unimaginable ways, our narratives rely on modernity to be “more advanced” than some previous condition.  When the evidence through observed phenomenon clearly point to an alternative hypothesis, we come up with llama tendons.   We don’t teach the synthesis of observation and multi-factoral data.  We don’t teach for nonlinearity.  We don’t teach for complexity.  Our deductive processes have become increasingly reductive and, in so doing, we stifle our capacity to adapt and integrate transformative impulses.  We need to engage critical thinking with radical new modalities.

Occidental education has been thus labeled for its aspirational social quality.  From the earliest form of enculturation – the use of language to encipher and decipher social communication – the role of education has been largely focused on the establishment and maintenance of conformity and consensus.  Approved narratives, methods, and inquiries achieve their status based on their utility to efficiently produce surrogate dependency and indentured utility.  The former arising from the reification of “authoritative paradigms” and the latter celebrated as the employable, governable masses.  Punctuated throughout human history are a few radical inflections where, through cultural memetic collisions or through existential threat at scale (most typically war or conquest), the didactic mandate has been subjected to near paroxysmal alteration.  One can consider the Yongle Empire in China and its massive cultural navies that are thought to have played a role in the Renaissance in Europe; the Silk Road which intermingled Asian, Persian and Mediterranean cultures; the intrusive colonial impulse of the Industrial economy pitting immigrants against native cultures across the globe.  More recently, the modern academy was heavily influenced by Germanic institutions of industrial servitude.  Society offers the cognitive power of its youth and, in exchange, receives industrious citizens.  Scholarship often turns on the degree to which social memes are re-narrated with greater precision or conviction.  Regression – the hubris of sets of knowns operating at deterministic scales with the passing acknowledgement of Standard Error or Deviation – is the exclusive agency of sanctioned inquiry.

Digital or multi-variate serial regression produces marginal and incremental adaptations.  At best, we strive to remove unexplained variance from our powers of observation building ever greater confidence in our metrics and their application.  And while we train our mathematicians and statisticians in the assumptions underpinning our regression obsession, we quickly dismiss these as “unattainable” or “untestable” ideals and blithely proceed in the misapplication of our models.  In short, we avoid critical inquiry at all costs and then lament the “unexplained”, the “Black Swan”, the “unexpected”.  We reduce the creative and the innovative to the subtle alteration at the margins and pay no attention to possibility that radical alternative dimensions of inquiry exist outside the “expert” models of our times.  Genuine invention, innovation, and creativity are sacrificed to the inertia of consensus.  We shun non-linear dynamism in favor of linear, progressive historicism. 

How would we contemplate a different educational system in which Innovation and Critical Thinking underpinned the essential experience of the participant?  What attributes of the existing institution would remain and what would require radical transformation or transmutation?  What core technologies – both social and physical – would support this transformative model?  In the pages that follow, I am setting forth a proposal for M·CAM’s (and my) contribution to the School of Innovation, Analytics, and Critical Thinking.

Learning Re-contextualized

The capacity to engage in life-long constructive adaptation is inadequate in today’s educational paradigms.  From the post-World War II obsession with STEM competencies, scholarship has been bifurcated into two equally ineffective tracks.  Economic and social reinforcement for “research” is held to be the pinnacle of professional achievement at the modern academy.  Teaching and relevant application is subservient to research.  While many seek to emulate models of research and education practiced in the U.S. and German educational systems, limited explicit critique is given to these approaches.  The competencies demanded of the academy reinforce the centrality of research assumed to be relevant based on the capacity to have such research funded.  The mechanisms for such funding – largely peer-reviewed grant applications or corporate engagements – dictate the narrow fields of inquiry.  The alliance between State and Corporate patronage insures that only that which is aligned to a fundable objective advances.  If you are a researcher, your job is to advance the linear disciplinary track of consensus dogma.  If you’re a teacher, your job is to produce vocationally competent participants in the labor force.  In neither instance does the academy critique the context in which extant activities – both social nor technical – are operating and challenge context or student in a meaningful inquiry. 

Over the past two decades, M·CAM has pioneered a global initiative called Innovation Literacy.  Within this program, we have three sub-components.  The first is called Heritable Innovation Trust (HIT).  The HIT program was developed to allow students to have immersive, non-interrogatory experiences of living in Communities of Persistence (more conventionally called “Indigenous” or “Aboriginal”).  Living as members of these communities, engaging in their entire social fabric, students were required to live without questions.  “Where is the bathroom?”  “What time is dinner?”  “How do you catch the fish?”  All of these inquiries were explicitly forbidden in favor of allowing the communities’ practices entirely “teach” alternative modes of activity.  Observation and documentation – much like the Natural Philosophy disciplined observation of 150 years ago – are the only technologies introduced into the students’ experiences.  And these engaged only in moments of private reflection.  By teaching non-interrogatory engagement, pre-conditioned assumptions are set aside (that hygiene = bathroom; that time = meals; that humans sit atop natural systems; etc.) and alternative narratives are apprehended.  HIT serves as the foundation of our Innovation Literacy program.  It has been adapted to corporate internships, public policy apprenticeships and the like.  The key outcome of HIT is the power of Contextual Intelligence and Observational Adaptation.

The second Program is Global Innovation Commons (GIC).  GIC is the repository of over $2 trillion of funded research resulting in patents or publications covering fundamental human requirements of food & nutrition; infectious and tropical disease treatment; petroleum alternative energy; and, potable water management.  These patents and publications come from M·CAM’s unique global archive of innovation – the world’s largest – including patents and publications from over 168 countries from the 1700’s to the present.  This archive of human ingenuity serves as a fertile catalyst for relevant systems engineering training.  From practical engineering skills of replication of technologies across the centuries to synthesis training (putting together inter-disciplinary solutions to new contexts), the GIC provides the applied curricular basis for teaching fundamental STEM principles all done in immediate application and relevance.  Examining notions of efficiency, stability, reliability and utility as key learning objectives, with GIC, over 250,000 individuals, institutions and enterprises have repurposed human ingenuity for current commercial and social use.  This also radically alters the illusion that the future of the world is digital and data.  The analogue needs of humanity are brought back into centrality and you’re more likely to see a new water filter as you are to see an iPhone app.

Finally, the third component is Strategic Innovation (SI).  SI is the organization of over 88 million patent-protected expressions of human ingenuity on a platform called M·CAM DOORS®.  This system is built on the backbone of linguistic genomics – a dynamic intelligent machine learning system that uses genetic algorithms to surface explicit and tacit linkages between concepts and interventions.  Realizing that all systems are inter-disciplinary, SI affords instant heterogeneous contextualization of every human undertaking and archives the same across over two centuries.  Rather than imagining disciplines as ever more constricting specialization, SI explicitly shows network and node effects of interconnectedness well beyond conventional “interdisciplinary” constructs.

These three pillars of our Innovation Literacy program seek to achieve several core objectives:

1.       Explicit Contextual Intelligence – rather than training people in digital question / answer linear processing, Innovation Literacy provides immediate applicability of contextual intelligence.  By understanding responses to varying impulses towards ingenuity, relevant learning skills can be apprehended.
2.       Non-interrogatory Observation – critical thinking skills are inaccessible if “thinking” presupposes all “known” conditions and ontologies.  Immersive learning contexts engaged without pre-supposition teach powers of observation and synthesis.  Most of all they train the mind to adapt as an intelligent system in which all senses are explicitly conscripted.
3.       Network Activation – by seeing the omnipresence of ingenuity, the myth of the individual is set aside in favor of the intelligence of the network.  When one sees that a variety of interventions have been manifest by a heterogeneous set of “innovators”, the myth of unique and individuation is deconstructed in favor of collaborative models of synthetic application.

Integrative Assessment

For decades, we have used the technology of Integral Accounting as a means to explicitly measure the “all-in” consequence of human activities.  Rather than measuring the relevance of scholarship and research through the myopia of the “funded”, we adopt an approach that explicitly acknowledges all forms of value exchange.  What follows is an excerpt from the Integral Accounting practice document.

For the past two millennia, many of our consensus human systems have reified Dominion and Control as the basis for understanding our ecosystem.  In his 1776 opus, An Inquiry into the Nature and the Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith buttressed the 1,000 year-old Christian rites embodied within the Doge of Serenissima’s Marriage of the Sea in which all nature – including human beings – are “resources” over which structures of power must exert dominion.  In the Bible account of Creation, the story records the stated hierarchy: “Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that crawls upon the earth.”[1]  From these seemingly innocent threads, manacles of indenture have been woven (and worn) and are now strangling our umbilical to life.  Rather than bathing in the cosmic ocean of abundance, we have built systems that manage scarcity (time, resources, order, control, and money) while allowing our power to be transferred to surrogates who construct and maintain their position by the manufacture and perpetuation of fear.  The very word “livelihood” implies that without participation in the prostitution of human energy and effort, life itself would be impaired or impossible.

We can observe the unsustainable essence of domination and its agent of reinforcement, denomination.  We observe the frequent incapacitation of effort that is stymied by inadequacy projected on our impulses.  We would act but for lack of resources or access thereto.  We would adapt but for communal support or inspiration.  We would engage if we only knew how.  We would endeavor if we had the funding.  We would strive if we had the right tools.  We would passionately live if we felt better.  Is there an isomorphic system that would unleash our unfettered humanity in persistent, generative action?  May it be the case that we merely lack a coherent framework in which we can perceive, discern, and engage the abundance in which we’re enveloped and through which we could fully manifest our incarnate potential?  Integral Accounting and our experience in its application suggests that demonstrable, empirical, reproducible regeneration of the human condition is accessible, completely.

The Process:

In our experience, we often begin the process of Integral Accounting with a discussion of light and magnetism.  The Sun, the literal and precise metaphor for persistent, generative, energy and light is understood to be a massive nuclear reactor in which matter is converted into energy which is emitted for the sustenance of all the observable world.  This discussion provides a vital metaphor for our final process which we call “Fusion” inspired by our Sun, nuclear fusion and the work of Charles-Augustin de Coulomb[2].  To unleash a fusion reaction, charged particles in the context of a magnetic field are afforded the capacity to ‘overcome’ their individual charges – the natural forces that keep them in opposition.

To demonstrate the sentience derived from Source, we hold a bar magnet over iron filings.  Gradually, the bar magnet is lowered towards the iron filings until the first filings appear to animate, subtly standing on their ends moving towards the magnet.  Slowly, the magnet is then held at that altitude and passed over the filings to demonstrate that different filings respond variously to the positive and negative poles of the bar magnet.  This demonstration opens a dialogue into non-dual sentience.  Each particle, discerning the field elects to respond or not to the moving charge passing above it.  Then the magnet is lowered a bit closer to the iron filings demonstrating that each filing, at its own discernment, elects to attach to one or the other pole without judgment or symmetric bias. The shape of the filings’ attachment are described by the observers to open the discourse around charges serving an agnostic, sentient role in visibly discerning magnetic fields[3].

We use this demonstration to open a simple, wonderment-filled space for the beginning of the Integral Accounting Audit.

To begin the process, we recommend introducing the six dimensions of value [Commodity; Custom & Culture; Knowledge; Money; Technology; Well-being] using the written summaries that are available on-line.  They are summarized as:

http://www.m-cam.com/sites/www.m-cam.com/files/images/commodity_0.pngCommodity – elements present in communities which, through cultivation, production, or value-add, can be used to generate means of social or commercial engagement. Some examples of Commodities are potential energy, food, water and raw materials.

http://www.m-cam.com/sites/www.m-cam.com/files/images/custom_culture_0.pngCustom & Culture - practices and expressions of individual or community held values and traditions which create a context for social interactions. Some examples of Custom and Culture are expressions of social values, gatherings, interactions, art, music, and ceremonies.

http://www.m-cam.com/sites/www.m-cam.com/files/images/knowledge_0.pngKnowledge - information and experiential awareness which can be transmitted through language, art, or other expressions. Some examples of knowledge are the transfer of information and the expansion of understanding through literacy, marketing, negotiation and stories.

http://www.m-cam.com/sites/www.m-cam.com/files/images/money_0.pngMoney - a mode of transmitting and recognizing value exchange using physical or virtual surrogates including currency, systems of credit and barter and engaging any artifact constituting a consensus of recognized value exchange which, itself, is devoid of the value it represents. Some examples of money are currency, trade credits, debt, equity, futures, bonds, and contracts.

http://www.m-cam.com/sites/www.m-cam.com/files/images/technology_0.pngTechnology - artifacts or schemes by which value-added experiences and production can be effectuated including any action, process, thing, or utility which allows for the manifestation of spatially and temporally defined tangible or intangible artifacts or event. Some examples of technology are appliances, tools, logistics, processing, communications, power, and infrastructure.

http://www.m-cam.com/sites/www.m-cam.com/files/images/well-being_0.pngWell Being - the capacity for any person or ecosystem to function at their optimal level where conditions are suitable for a person to be at liberty to fully engage in any activity or social enterprise entirely of their choosing as and when they so choose. Some examples of well-being are health, sanctuary, medicine, inalienable rights, equitable and gainful engagement, fellowship, and fun.

To begin the auditing process, we find it helpful to provide each participant six sheets of paper, one representing each of the six value attributes.  These become a helpful visual cue for the first organization of abundance impulses.

1.       Integral Accounting Audit:  Identifying Abundance sounds like it should be simple.  For most people, life has made this process subject to considerable filtering.  For the purpose of the Integral Accounting Audit, we encourage people to reflect on everything that they have in their field that exists in abundance.  Abundance is neutral.  A person may have a lot of money and friends, and, in the same instance have a lot of fear and sense of isolation.  All of these “abundances” are explicitly welcome.

Abundance is recorded in writing and is best manifest in an individual, reflective process.  Each thing, attribute, sense, or experience that comes to mind is written on the colored sheet of paper intuitively linked to the value dimension instantly recognized.  It is important not to over think this first classification.  If you think that ‘love’ or ‘computers’ are instantly recognized as ‘Well Being’ and ‘Technology’, respectively, follow the impulse.  The key thing is to write down everything.

Upon completion of the first attempt, stop and reflect on two common errors.  We tend to associate Abundance with ‘Good’ and Scarcity with ‘Bad’.  This binary classification is prone to fallacy.  Free from this judgment duality, invite a reconsideration of the audit to assess whether there are attributes or things that exist in life that are not on the page.  Put them on too.

2.       Polarizing the Optics:  The colors of the Integral Accounting system are intentional.  Each color assists in reflecting wavelengths of energy historically and esoterically associated with the elemental energy represented in each value.  Once filled with identified Abundance, each colored sheet is arranged in the order of the wheel: Yellow, Blue, Purple, Green, Grey, and Red.  Beginning with the Commodity (Yellow) list, each item assigned to that classification is now recast in each of the other dimensions.  A matrix is formed in which each Abundance is described as each other value unit.   In Figure 1 (below) you can see a simple example of the optical matrix which affords the ability to reflect on the energy of each Abundance and its capacity to manifest in other dimensions of value.  It is essential to stay unattached and non-judgmental in this phase too.  Nothing is ‘Good’, ‘Bad’, or any other attribute.  The invitation is to simply see Abundance diffracted through multiple perspectives.  Having done the full diffraction, you return to the first order classifier and offer gratitude for the pathway it illumined.

One can readily see that for maximum value, this experience is engaged over an extended period of time and thoughtful reflection. 

Figure 1.  Audit with Optical Polarization


Custom & Culture


Assembly point
Record of weather
Photosynthesis respirator
Aesthetic beauty

Corporate relations


Statistical modelling


Access to Credit




Meditation Koi pond

3.       Polarizing the Charges:  Once the matrix is fully populated, we move to the second type of polarization – polarizing the magnetic charges.  This is where we engage intuitive judgment in impulsive expression.  A positive (+) or negative (-) sign is placed next to each Abundance in each classification to create the ‘bar magnet’ field which allows choice and action to emerge.  This process begins to inform the perceived net energetic impact of each Abundance.  By allowing each charge to manifest without deep reflection, the intuitive and reflexive senses inform the audit without attempting to force social projections upon the process.

It is informative to spend some time considering any value dimensions in which excessive charges (either + or - ) manifest and allow the observation to open up consideration as to the roots of that hyperpolarization. 

4.       Activation:  Using the fully polarized (optical and magnetic) and charged field, you now have a map of First Order Action.  This First Order Action is the single dimension, abundance, or impulse when, if invited to change its ‘charge’ (positive to negative or vice versa), can unleash persistent, generative action.  Like the iron filing dancing into connection with the bar magnet, allow the field created by the audit (the iron filings) to respond to the field (your magnetism or the magnetism formed in collaboration with others) to unleash sentient action. 

Several graduate schools have now elected to adopt some or all of the Integral Accounting framework into their core curriculum as it addresses both the needs to increase the social responsibility of the academic pursuit as well as create context for applied STEM awareness.  Using the 6-D model of ecosystem engagement, students are given explicit tools to engage their endeavors holistically. 

[1] Genesis 1:26
[2] Coulomb (1785) "Premier mémoire sur l’électricité et le magnétisme," Histoire de l’Académie Royale des Sciences, pages 569-577
[3] A video of the magnet demonstration is helpful but, ideally is replicated with an actual magnet and iron filings.