On The Web, Green Change, Architectures of Participation and Rain-making

One of the reason we chose the name Greenmonk Associates is that this blog is about the associated community. With no community there will be no Greenmonk. Community drives serendipity.

Example1: This morning I got into the office and found an interesting link on my Monkchips blog – as part of a comment on a completely different topic. I followed it and came to Thomas Bjelkeman, one of the leaders behind GreenOcean, a “non-profit organisation which provides education and information about sustainable energy, food and water production based around our oceans.” First post I see there refers to Mark Charmer, one of my Greenmonk partners in crime, and his great post Why Open Source marketing changes everything. The post mentions the Netherlands Water Partnership and the Unesco-IHE Institute for Water Education. These are the organisations we’re working with on the SMART Water project for India. Then the penny finally drops. Thomas is the guy Mark profiled yesterday.

A Swedish entrepreneur and technology visionary, he has worked doggedly to build a series of ventures that tackle the world’s most important problem – access to water.

While studying environmental sciences at Stockholm University, he cut his teeth helping Brit Charlie Paton build the profile of Seawater Greenhouses. The ingenious desalination system, which allows you to grow commercial-scale crops (or power air conditioning) in arid coastal regions using just sunshine and seawater, has bagged lots of awards and now just needs some enlightened punters to get on and build some big commercial projects.”

Which is where Mark comes in, with funding to try and help Thomas build a networked, rather than top down systems, opportunity. They are going to coalesce opportunities, becoming rainmakers for clean water funding.

“The problem, of course, is that many of the ‘systems’ people might build could easily, like a decade of corporate intranets before them, lie unused and unwanted. The point of an open development process is that a concept will constantly adapt to the needs and opportunities of its market – of the communities that use them. There are several communities that will matter for this and other open source projects. Crucially, how do you create something relevant and empowering for the communities themselves? Second is the ability to galvanise the NGO / development community – read hierarchy. And how do you build a base of support among the stakeholders, including NGOs, corporations and national, regional and local governments? Also how do you involve software experts who can make sure the system evolves as it needs to”

Mark and I will both be in SF next week and hopefully make some progress.

Example 2. This morning CleverClogs contacted me via instant message. After we talked about a couple of things I showed her Greenmonk. She immediately suggested some resource and people to reach out to:

Information World Review is looking into Cleantech.

Meanwhile Al Tepper compiled these resources.

Photograph of a waterdrop courtesy of Kevin Pelletier who prefers me to link here.