Block by Block is a three-year partnership to support the UN-Habitat’s Sustainable Urban Development Network. The aim is to upgrade 300 public spaces by 2016. The new program grew from a project called Mina Kvarter (My Blocks) that was a collaboration between Mojang and the Swedish Building Services, with similar aims to involve the public in reconstructing neighborhoods.
Why does Minecraft, which also are spreading in schools in Sweden, succeed in getting the attention of people looking for collaboration, simulation and visualization when companies running virtual worlds like Project Entropia or Second Life does not succeed. I think the answer lies in the fact that a tool which bypass the focus on technology and quickly become an invisible tool, an extension to ones mind or limb, have a huge advantage of engaging people. We have seen a similar effect with the explosive adoption rates of the iPhone and the iPad.
The trick of becoming valuable and at the same time invisible, or ubiquituous, seems to be a shortcut to cross Geoffrey Moore’s chasm (Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers ). But why doesn’t more innovators or companies succeed in this? I think in short it has something to do with that our instinctive social behavior. We seem to have a strong tendency to see simpler solutions to be less advanced and less valuable than more complicated or complex ones. This works against simpler solutions and towards increasing complexity. It is basically the same tendency that Joseph Tainter refers to when he talks about how societies collapse due to increased complexity (The Collapse of Complex Societies (New Studies in Archaeology) ), which in turn leads to decreasing ability to change and adopt to a changing environment.
This might be one of the greatest challenges to our species. And unless we are able to play down the urge to constantly increase complexity, we are doomed to build societies and companies that crash due to complexity-induced inabilities to adopt.
P A Martin Börjesson
To be able to see the future emerge we have to throw a wide net to catch the weak signals. In this tumble I collect things I find valuable for my work as scenario planner, strategist and futurist - for more info about me go to www.futuramb.se.
Ask me about my posts