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The Alaska Native Innovations Incubator

Contact: Frank Odasz, Lone Eagle Consulting
Email: frank (at) lone-eagles.com

Jump to the project now in progress through April 2015:  
Your invitation to participate:    http://aisdk12.org/innovationincubator/open-invitation/

A Social Entrepreneurship Proposal by the Annette Island School District
and the Metlakatla Indian Community

Background: Alaskan Solutions for America’s Broadband Usage Challenge:
            Julius Genochowski, former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman, is quoted as saying, “Broadband democratizes opportunity for all Americans to participate in the $8 trillion dollar global Internet economy.”  And, related to the need for all Americans to adopt broadband; “We’ll make it or break it at the local level.”  But, Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) funded only 3.5 per cent of $4.2 billion for adoption innovations, and currently there is no scalable social innovation to motivate and inform those who could benefit most. There are many federal initiatives seeking to provide connectivity to low-income citizens who need a motivational engagement strategy; ConnectEd, Lifeline, Linkup, Erate, and others. The funding for all the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) State Broadband Initiatives did not fund many activities at the local level, with the exception of Alaska’s Digitizing Alaska Pilot Project.

The biggest potential impacts of broadband are the opportunities for generating mass income-producing innovations for the 1:2 Americans who are low income and/or in poverty. The first step is getting them excited by showing them what's already working for others like them. Then, engaging them directly in creating and sharing something amazing, that they've been able to create themselves in less than an hour. There is huge latent human potential, even without the faster broadband speeds, that could be implemented in the short term to raise awareness and expectations for what regular people can now truly learn to do, for themselves and others.

It is a fact that mobile devices outsell personal computers 4:1, and that everything digital is getting more powerful, easier-to-use, more interconnected, integrated, personal, and essential to common tasks like smart shopping, mobile commerce, family health, and socioeconomic sustainability. Social innovation via social media can help us all overcome the technofear in our world of accelerating change through participation in a friendly trusted mutual support network capable of keeping us all current on our best solutions for meeting our essential needs.

The huge opportunity is that mining raw human potential is now possible via new digital delivery methods of appropriate education, and peer support, which can now be delivered en masse at minimal cost; Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Khan Academy, and other distance and mobile learning models, have opened the door for even greater, scalable, social innovations.

Frank Odasz, president of Lone Eagle Consulting, offers 29 years experience teaching educators and citizens online, and extensive resources, available online without restriction. Since providing the first Internet workshops for educators, students, and communities for 11 villages on the Yukon in 1998, Alaska Native specific online courses, grant templates, and more, have been generated and shared by Lone Eagle Consulting.

The goal of this proposal is to show what individuals and communities can learn to do sustainably, for themselves, creating social enterprises to create sustainable families, communities, and cultures.

As a unique model for all 250+ remote Alaska Native villages, this proposal will create a sustainable local innovations incubator, and a statewide online entrepreneurship training center, for remote Alaska Native entrepreneurs of all ages. As a first model for a local support network, citizens will learn-to-earn by participating in short “Create and Share” hands-on workshops, creating online resources of value to the community as mentoring those who need personal help. By celebrating regularly updated Alaska Native entrepreneurship success stories, and a training innovations “best practices” clearinghouse, citizens will identify their actionable entrepreneurial opportunities in service to the local village, and potentially to serve all Alaska Native villages.


The Annette Island School District (AISD) is a unique organization with a long record of stimulating innovation in education. To appreciate the unique character of AISD, one must understand just how unique Annette Island is, as the home of the Metlakatla Indian Community; Tsimshian Alaskan Natives, and as a one-of-a-kind sovereign Native Island Nation. AISD (501c3 status) is fiscally responsible with an annual budget of over $7 million dollars; fiscal audit documentation is available on request.

The Target Demographics Our Project Will Serve Directly:
          This project will directly impact the Metlakatla Indian Community, population 1,452, which is primarily Tsimshian; Alaska Native, but will be visible online to all 250+ Alaska Native villages; consisting of 11 tribes and languages; with a combined population of 250,000, half remote, half urban, and to all Native American and Hawaiian Native communities, est. 2 million.

The goal is to inspire through example all indigenous communities worldwide; 150+ million. The recent examples of viral social media rapid growth, not the least of which is one billion people joining Facebook within 5 years, presents very real opportunities for very large numbers of people to benefit directly, in the short term, from this project.

Building on a Successful “Digitizing Alaska” Pilot Project
    September 2011, the first traditional potlatch in decades was held, with over 500 attendees, and was broadcast statewide by KACN TV. As a direct result, a Virtual Potlatch concept paper resulted in the funding and implementation of the NTIA/State Broadband Initiative demonstration project "Digitizing Alaska." Multiple successful “proof of concept” models have laid the groundwork for broader next steps. 

In the spring of 2013, The Association of Alaska School Boards, with the help of Connect Alaska and Frank Odasz, president of Lone Eagle Consulting, launched the “Digitizing Alaska: Broadband Strategies” pilot project to research the current level of digital innovation, and identify related future opportunities for innovation, in remote villages.

Published article summarizing the Digitizing Alaska project; Sept. 2013

Most recent published articles, Dec. 2014
The Challenge for Mass Innovation:

This effort showcased online - for all to see - what’s possible when good people take action to raise the GPA (Good People Acting) of the entire community; Numerous short videos, an iBook multimedia manual, Native language e-books, community ecommerce websites, and more, have already been created; http://lone-eagles.com/digitizing-metlakatla.htm


A Digital Entrepreneurship “Train-the-Trainers” program will be created and delivered both online as a model for all Alaska Native villages. The online training will be presented in an open format accessible to all interested learners (MOOC).

AISD educators will have the opportunity for digital online activities, as well as online recertification courses. Ongoing updates via social media will create a forum for keeping everyone conveniently up-to-date as new Alaskan innovations emerge. While the training will provide the tools and awareness for what’s possible, the real challenge will be what the villages, and the citizens, choose to do with the opportunities for innovation.  Public measures of progress and participation will provide social recognition for those who contribute their time to the discovery process for new options for their village. The outcome of this one-year project will be the village’s own technology story, as told by locals from multiple perspectives.

Reframe the opportunities for local replication of the Metlakatla Digitizing Alaska workshops in other Alaska Native villages, in a step-by-step online format, with examples of both the training innovations, and the citizen-created online content outcomes. This is a specifically bottom-up engagement approach that will address all generation’s opportunities, from primary grades to Elders.

Gather and share new online resources related to broadband empowerment for digital entrepreneurship, education, public safety, and sustainability for families, communities, and cultures of Alaska. Rather than presenting an overwhelming number of general resources, AISD will focus on presenting the best, relevant hands-on experiences and fast-track solutions for getting started.

Create new short online lessons on digital entrepreneurship, digital storytelling, and how everyone can be both learner and teacher, both consumer and producer.

Video mini-lessons will be created, to be accessible via mobile devices as well as traditional Internet, showcasing how Alaskans are learning to benefit from the Internet, mobile devices, and creating and sharing rich media of all types.

Teaching online mentorship for those eager to learn, and teach, digital entrepreneurship best practices.

Visual examples of the local Egov portal concept, and teaching resources for how anyone can conduct a local webraising, and other motivating "Create and Share" community events will be the primary project outcomes. All Alaska Native villages will be invited to utilize the self-directed free online training videos, tutorials and lessons.

Project outcomes will address in detail the ideal local dynamics for sustainable innovation incubators with an eye toward future funding and implementation. A key goal is to report on citizen-generated innovations and sustainable local initiatives made possible by the simplicity and direct creative participation, encouraged by AISD’s staff and educators. This project represents a format for local participatory action-research with direct input by learners of all ages.

Timeline for Implementation: June 1, 2014 – May 1, 2015

END Funded Proposal   Note: Funding was reduced to allow one day a week, online only innovations, for 11 months, with no travel or local stipends.

Here are additional opportunities for innovation from the longer original Innovations Incubator grant proposal might be of interest:

Create a Model Alaskan Native Local Action Plan

The most effective way to implement rural innovation diffusion is to create the first Alaskan Native Digital Village Success Story; showing by example what’s possible.

Our strategy is to work closely with the Metlakatla Indian community, as an intentionally innovative village - using digital tools to adapt to a changing economy and environment with emphasis on long-term sustainability.
New Mirror Metrics” will showcase the expression of Alaskan Native Values by providing public online social recognition for those contributing to the community. We’ll post public progress regularly celebrating the number of active participants, the number of mentors and new skills shared, the number of new websites, the locally generated innovations, and more.

We’ll model a self-assessment initiative for individuals and communities, whereby individuals and the community, lead by parents and youth, document their local skills and talents, both digital and cultural, their current websites, both cultural and entrepreneurial, and will identify who is interested in sharing what they know with others, and/or in learning specific new skills.

1.     Launching a MOOC as an Open Education Resource. The project launch will be a Massively Open Online (short) Course to announce the project goals, and provide free access to the methods and training resources, inviting other villages (without funding) to participate. Multiple social media feeds will allow monitoring daily progress by anyone, anywhere, and will be a key incentive for participation and creativity locally, and regionally.

2.     Provide Short 1 Hour “Create and Share” Awareness Events, including hands-on workshops, focusing on creating online celebrations of local culture. A key social innovation will be to include publicly visible social recognition for those who gave their time to help others gain digital skills. Emphasis would be on an initial community self-assessment, with ongoing celebration of online public measures of progress.

3.     Create Online Self-directed Educational Activities for Parents to Engage Online with Their Children on a daily basis to provide an educationally supportive environment in the home. An emphasis would be on "Growing an entrepreneurial culture across all generations."

4.     Create Intergenerational Activities Where Elders and Youth Can Learn Together About culturally appropriate broadband applications with emphasis on digital storytelling activities that result in preserving elders wisdom and stories via rich media for all future generations. We’ll reunite the generations by having youth identify how elders can benefit from health apps, online telecare, online shopping, and how to overcome elders isolation, loneliness, and depression by reconnecting with distant family members via Skype and social media. 

5.     Create an Online Clearinghouse of "Show-Me" Video Examples of outstanding broadband innovations and applications from individuals, other villages, and global sources, to raise awareness in all Native communities as to how they might consider leveraging their available digital communications opportunities. Free online short lessons will quickly show how anyone can learn to teach others online, easily; Everyone both learner and teacher, consumer and producer, all the time.

6.     We’ll Seed Local Digital Entrepreneurial Businesses to deliver digital skills training and expertise locally, offering advanced entrepreneurship training to volunteers who agree to create free websites and online videos to serve local needs, to be used as product examples for their future online services offered to native villages both within, and beyond, Alaska. The media creation community contributions that volunteers post online will be dedicated, in potlatch fashion, to honor individuals who have lived by Alaskan Native values. These innovations will build robust Eportfolio online resumes to support for-profit “instructional entrepreneurship” social enterprises.

7.     Create the Means for Ongoing Sharing of Local Innovations Between Villages as a functional “community of communities” sharing innovations, resources, and mentors - in recognition of the benefits of a mutual support network; the power of all of us, as has been the Native Tradition for millennia.

The Original "Digitizing Alaska" pilot project:  Feb-April 2013

Spring 2013, the first three workshops were held in Metlakatla, resulting in half a dozen short videos, a published article, three national broadband conference presentations, and several blog postings for top level Federal agencies.
All this simply sets the stage for this next year's activities.....as Metlakatla's own technology story evolves to help all Alaska Native villages understand their opportunities to use "broadband" to create sustainable villages and cultures.

To: Alaskan Rural Broadband Advocates

From: Frank Odasz, Rural Telecommunications Congress
           Lone Eagle Consulting

RE: Presenting the Digitizing Alaska NTIA/SBI Pilot Project:

Details on the uniquely scalable Digitizing Alaska project follows:

This article describes the Digitizing Alaska project:
http://lone-eagles.com/digitizing-alaska.pdf and it is now online at http://bbcmag.epubxp.com/i/281446 in Broadband Communities Magazine (www.bbcmag.com ) - This article is likely to create interest in what innovations are possible, or at least are worth testing via additional pilot projects.

View This Summary Video:   8 minutes - Strongly Recommended
The Alaskan Native Tradition of Creative Adaptation.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agdh9-SK8Ck&feature=youtu.be
From the NTIA/SBI Digitizing Alaska Pilot Project, Spring 2013 

Digitizing Alaska; NTIA State Broadband Initiative Research Pilot Project
Feb-April 2013, Lone Eagle Consulting provided unique digital literacy workshops for two NTIA State Broadband Initiatives, one in Alaskan Native Villages, and the other in rural and urban North Carolina.
I.E. 40 flights from the Bering Sea to the Atlantic, and back again, twice, plus presenting at the National Broadband Communities conference in Dallas. A few short videos from the Digitizing Alaska research project might be compelling to watch; http://lone-eagles.com/digitizing-metlakatla.htm  and http://youtube.com/fodasz

Three Recent DC Blog Posts on Digitizing Alaska’s Innovations:

Anne Neville, National SBI Mapping Director, presented in Alaska last week, and here are three blogs in DC where she tells the story;

National Telecommunications Information Agency Blog; Digitizing Alaska

Federal Department of Commerce Digitizing Alaska Post

Whitehouse Blog: Digitizing Alaska posting

Published in November: Seniors Caring for Seniors via Telecare:

The Silver Tsunami article http://lone-eagles.com/silver-tsunami.pdf was inspired by Montana Gov. Bullock’s Telemedicine legislation,
and the Graying of Montana Webinar hosted by MSU and OneMontana.org

Montana is the fourth fastest aging state in the union, the U.S. is the 6th fastest aging country in the world.

Frank Odasz, Lone Eagle Consulting; 29 Years Innovating Online from Dillon, Montana

Frank Odasz is on the board of the Rural Telecommunications Congress, and is president of Lone Eagle Consulting, which has specialized in rural, remote and indigenous Internet learning since 1997. Frank has offered workshops on rural ecommerce and telework strategies funded by USDA, USDOL, Alaska Department of Labor, NTIA/SBI and Connect Alaska. Lone Eagle’s grassroots adventures range from delivering Internet workshops to 11 Alaska Native villages in 1998 to presenting rural broadband training best practices for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC International Conferences). Recent online courses include teaching digital entrepreneurship as 21st-century workforce readiness. http://lone-eagles.com/guides.htm A longer Bio, and photo is at http://www.bbcmag.com/2014s/14bio/Odasz-frank13.php
and http://lone-eagles.com/articles/frank.htm   Past Native village and rural grant templates; http://lone-eagles.com/rural-grant-templates.htm

Federal and International Whitepapers from Lone Eagle Consulting

Initial formal advice to BTOP Leadership:
America’s Historic Challenge to Fund Mass Innovation
*without the risks of political backlash due to lack of documented results

For the FCC Chairman:
Strategies for Measurable Mass American Innovation
Advice to the 21 Economies of APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation)
Social Engineering:
Implementing Meaningful Rural ICT Capacity Building Metrics

APEC/TEL 2008 Report:
As a U.S Delegate at the request of NTIA, Lone Eagle Consulting presented twice
for APEC conferences in Calgary, Canada, 2006, and Toyko, Japan, 2008,
on Global Indigenous and Rural Broadband Training best practices.

Seminar on Using ICT for Rural Community Capacity Building
Final Report on Rural Broadband adoption recommendations from APEC countries.
This includes recommendations from Lone Eagle Consulting.

Advice to Indigenous communities worldwide:

Realizing Cultural and Community Sustainability through
Internet Innovations in Alaska Native Villages
Presented at an Australian Indigenous Conference.

First meeting of the ICT indigenous commission of the Americas:
I cofacilitated this International Telecommunications Union event in
Antigua Guatemala, 2007 http://lone-eagles.com/guatemala.htm

A dozen broadband toolkits, collected for the Rural Telecom Congress

Dozens of Native resource web pages searchable internally at
http://lone-eagles.com/  See also http://lone-eagles.com/smart.htm for archived articles.