Thursday, June 27, 2013

CPBB Hangs Out with Peter Diamandis - PBB as a Resource Liberating Tool

Last week, CPBB enjoyed the opportunity of a lifetime, “hanging out” (in the Google+ sense) with Peter Diamandis, author of "Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think," CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, and co-founder of Singularity University. Peter orchestrated the session in order to talk more about his book and it’s implications.

On it’s surface, Abundance is a documentary of sorts, uncovering radical forces at play in the world from technophilanthropy to the “DIY Innovator” and social entrepreneurs working to solve global challenges. On a deeper level, Abundance is about seeing the world differently – it’s a mindset, and a tool for opening up possibilities.

The Lesson of Aluminum

Peter’s signature story is about aluminum – yep, tin foil! At one point in our world history, aluminum was more precious than gold or silver. Pliny the Elder had a man decapitated simply for possessing it. Napolean III would only bring out the aluminum serving utensils for his most worthy guests (saving gold and silver for those who didn’t rate as highly). And it wasn’t until the discovery of electrolysis (the process of liberating aluminum from it’s natural state, so that we can use it as metal), that this resource that makes up 8.3 percent of the earth’s crust would turn into the cheap, useful but unremarkable, throw-away product it is today.

Scarcity, says Diamandis, is just as much a way of seeing the world, as is abundance. Until electrolysis, aluminum was a scarce resource, only because we couldn’t get to it. In terms of our current global challenges of energy scarcity, the sun bathes the earth in 5,000 times the solar energy than we use in a year. Is water scarce? Maybe not, when we see the blue planet for what it is – 70 percent water, with 97.3 percent of that water made “scarce” by salt. Scarcity is a reality, only until a new break-through, or technology comes along to turn scarcity into abundance.

The question then becomes this: if what we view as scarce today, could actually be in abundance if we had the right tools to liberate the resources we so desperately seek, how much better off could we make our communities?

From Scarcity to Abundance: The Future is Better than We Think

Over the course of series of blog posts, we at the Center for Priority Based Budgeting are going to explore Abundance and it’s lessons. And we are going to bring to light the power of Priority Based Budgeting as a tool for liberating the resources we so desperately seek to achieve results and improve our communities. PBB is nothing short of a technology to unearth resources seemingly as inaccessible as aluminum appears in it’s claylike bauxite state in nature, seemingly as inaccessible as drinking water is from the oceans of a planet drenched in salt-water, seemingly as inaccessible as energy resources in a world of solar abundance.
In the first blog post, we’re going to explore Diamandis’ concept of resource re-allocation, the power of shared services, and the idea that local government can be a partner in the pursuit of results in their communities but need not be the sole service provider. We’ll explore the stunning story of the City of Fort Collins, Colorado’s role as one partner among many in successful business incubator, tackling the challenges of economic development. And we’ll bring to light the stories of companies like SAFEbuilt who are opening up immense possibilities for local governments to drive down the costs for services while achieving better results with their services, and still looking after the well-being of their employees.

In the second blog post, we’ll explore Diamandis’ realization of the power of incentives, incentive competitions as a force, and the idea that if incentives are placed in such a way, local governments can unleash creativity and innovation while simultaneously driving significant efficiency throughout their organizations in the use of resources. We’ll explore the story of internal service funds in Jefferson County, Colorado and how the structuring of a controlled “free market” environment unearthed immediate and lasting efficiency opportunities as departments were given the incentive to look for alternative ways to meet their needs.

In the third blog post, we’ll conclude with Diamandis’ idea of the DIY Innovator and Social
Entrepreneurs and how objectives that were once the sole domain and purview of huge corporations and federal and state level governments are now attainable by groups with far less resources – including local businesses and small local governments. We’ll look at initiatives like Code for America and Open Town Hall and how start-ups and innovators are tackling huge problems of data and civic engagement, and what the future of government may look like!

To paraphrase Peter Diamandis, “when seen through the lens of [Priority Based Budgeting] technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible.” We’re excited to bring you these stories.

Furthermore, come to D.C. July 9th and 10th for the Summit of Leading Practices and hear these stories first-hand from the leaders of these local governments themselves. As Diamandis believes, and we do too, the Future is indeed better than we think

To learn more about Local Government Innovation and Priority Based Budgeting from CPBB and the nation's leading local government practitioners, be sure to attend the upcoming... 

Center for Priority Based Budgeting 2013 Annual Conference


"A Summit of Leading Practices"

July 9 & 10, 2013  Arlington, Virginia   Hilton Crystal City Hotel




Brought to you by the Center for Priority Based Budgeting (CPBB) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), in partnership with the Alliance for Innovation (AFI).


The 2013 "Summit of Leading Practices" is the ONLY conference where ICMA's Leading Practices for Local Government Management come together under one roof. 

The 2013 CPBB "Summit of Leading Practices" Annual Conference is strongly supported by 
Quartile 1 sponsor SAFEbuilt, Quartile 2 sponsor ClearPoint, Supporting Sponsor Beehive Industries and Exhibitors OpenGov and Revelstone Labs. Thank you sponsors!

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