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Added Value Through Inter-Sectorial Collaboration

Some updates take time… Its been a while since I last posted on my blog, as I’ve immersed myself in the task of creating an administrative structure and operational processes for started out last year as a concept of how to engage digital citizens of the world in a concerted effort (World Engine) to resolve wicked problems in our societies has gotten closer to reality.

Just a few days ago, I started forwarding traffic from to the Amazon Web Services stack that is serving up our instance of the drupal Commons social network environment (which is why I’ve been living under a rock for the past 6 months). My associates in Puerto Rico continue to develop fund-raising strategies and we’ve opened a few significant relationships on the Island to provide us a forum by which to hold social nights, workshops and periodic student competitions that leverage inter-sectorial collaborations.

After talking about inter-sectorial collaborations for the past year, we recently got our chance to participate in one when USGBC’s U.S. Caribbean Chapter asked us to provide a project management framework and leadership resources to guide the efforts of teams from USGBC, 3M, Avanzatorio, laKomuna, and three college groups (from Universidad Politecnica, Universidad Metropolitana and Universidad del Turabo) participating in a student innovation and collaboration competition to produce digital media solutions to be presented via multi-touch screens at USGBC U.S. Caribbean Chapter’s sustainable habitats (Green Market) installation at Interphex 2013 (October 10 and 11) in San Juan.

I detail below, if ever so briefly, what is an inter-sectorial collaboration, and the positive outcomes that can result from such an effort.

On November 8th, the U.S. Caribbean Chapter of the United States Green Building Council will recognize a student team for the innovative concepts the students produced using multi-touch display and mobile applications technologies during the recent USGBC Green Market installation at Interphex 2013 expo in San Juan.

The students teams accepting the challenge to design and deploy means to organize digital content into an immersive multi-touch exhibit interaction within a tight six (6) week timeline were composed by: Javier Perez Mendez and Raul Colon Scarano of the Universidad del Turabo, mentored by Sandra R. Pedraza;  Johan De Jesus Montanez, Jose Corretjer Gomez and Alfredo Andino Ruiz of the Universidad Metropolitana, mentored by Alexander Casañas; and, Pedro Melendez, Bryan Gonzalez and Emmanuel F. Mundo of the Universidad Politecnica, mentored by Cesar Cabrera. Aside from the multi-touch exhibit, student teams had the option of focusing on the development of the prototype for a USGBC Green Market member directory mobile application.

The competition was envisioned as, both, a chance to allow students to leverage emerging display technologies, while also participating in a ground-breaking inter-sectorial collaboration that crossed organizational as well as geographic boundaries. To succeed in such short time, all agency and individual goals first had to be surrendered or reconciled into a set of collective desired outcomes that would inform the focus of individual talents.

Over the course of six (6) weeks, the student’s efforts were aided locally by their faculty mentors while the scope of the project was defined by Peggy Van Kirk of USGBC and Carmen Corujo of 3M, and coordinated by Antonio Gonzalez-Walker of Avanzatorio (Evolving Systems) and Mario Sanchez of laKomuna (Social Change)–with significant assistance by Daniel Carrion of 3M and Alejandro Troche of laKomuna. Gonzalez-Walker managed the direction of the physical installation (habitat) implementation, while Sanchez coordinated the efforts of students in the implementation of multi-touch and mobile technical solutions that allowed expo participants to immerse themselves in the metadata of exhibitors and products displayed throughout the habitat installation. Interphex visitors were to be able to explore digital collections detailing the products that had been organized in the various habitat “rooms” (display areas) of the installation.

Teams selected the development track of their choice and agreed to work collaboratively throughout the engagement, which relied on open sharing of prototyping findings in virtual collaboration spaces such as Vision from Mindjet (, which was used to document and track weekly team assignments. The teams from the Universidad Politecnica and Universidad del Turabo focused on developing multi-touch content interactions, while the team from the Universidad Metropolitana developed a mobile member directory prototype.

Participants exchanged information through weekly conference calls on status (Mondays), and engaged in group design sessions (Fridays) at the 3M lab. The students and project leads of the installation from USGBC Caribbean, 3M, Avanzatorio, laKomuna relied heavily on L3 Communications, Google Hangouts and WebEx conferencing technologies throughout the project to prioritize weekly deliverables and review prototypes and testing observations, using a prototype-build-test feature development approach.

Early prototypes were submitted to unit tests weekly at 3M’s multi-touch lab space, allowing for an iterative design-build process. Teams participated in animated design and planning sessions, afterwards. All of these checkpoints and engagements progressed fluidly under severe time constraints thanks to an early agreement in the cycle on the expectations for each group of stakeholders, informed by their ability to focus on a particular value-add position based on their organizational talents.

IN the end, the teams not only resolved opportunities to display digital media in different modes, both multi-touch and mobile; but, they gained valuable experiences in the power of collaborations to accelerate solutions in short production time cycles.  They also opened up new career opportunities, benefitting from the exposure this project gave them to LEED building and infrastructure redevelopment concepts, which are not domains into which computing science students are typically pulled into.

The most significant outcome of this production by USGBC U.S. Caribbean Chapter, however, in my view, is in generating a spark of interest in the local software developer community to leverage adaptive interactive technologies to produce engaging experiences, those that not only manage to promote sustainable emerging products but resolve in an enjoyable experience likely to generate curiosity in others on the importance of balanced resources management.

Inter-sectorial collaborations can be quite trying at times in the process, but there is no doubt of the multiplying positive effect that these engagements can generate; and, I can only hope to be a part of many many more such experiences in the future. Congratulations to all participants in this endeavor for pulling off what at times was described as “impossible”!!

New Futures Summer Youth Group @I Workshop

Tomorrow marks the start of #nfSYG-@I, finding me diving straight into youth digital literacy programs. How do you build an agile program to introduce the next generation to information sharing resources, to build collective intelligence awareness at an early age?

This semi-structured set of discussions in association with is an ongoing experiment on how to empower youth to utilize digital devices. The program is centered on the concept of information as knowledge, and how sharing adds to the value of personal contributions. The main goal is to get the group to appreciate how their individual interests form community networks of actionable information; and, perhaps plant a seed of interest in careers in information management and interaction design. Along the way, they will be provided a narrative of the evolution and present landscape of information sharing and collaboration tools, from which they can derive ideas and methods to produce media and suggest new interaction design features.

Enough said! Let’s get to it… The program plan can be seen in the public New Futures Summer Youth Group @I Workshop Google calendar. Presently, the main question: who are you, and what do you want to do with an information interaction device?

SeaTac United Moves To The Next Level

SeaTac United achieved several operational milestones today. I could not be more thankful for the support our program for youth development is receiving!

We had 3 new families join our community on the field. Two participating families requested additions of their younger ones to our Sprouts program. And, I got at least three requests on our plan for games in the Fall program.

Kit Ledbetter from SeaTac Parks and Recreation stopped by to visit; and, his observations of the program indicated we’re on a solid growth path. The only thing I could do today was to walk the field, and join in. And, take in the smiles from the kids as they took on one more drill from the Coerver coaches!

We now can proudly take a moment to celebrate having exceeded our Spring program upper boundary! Our Coerver coaches have responded to our needs time and again; and, we’re looking to grow our associate coach ranks on the field on Mondays. As we conduct our Summer Street Games program, we’re looking to induct associate coaches to observe Monday training and help out with Thursday game days. Send a note to if you’d like to join our community development programs.

Been a great day to befit the celebrations of the Eurocopa champions! Viva La Roja! SeaTac IS United!!