Global Best Practices for ICT Capacity-building

Activities for Rural Communities


Online at and
as a WORD doc at


A Paper presented for APECTEL37 March 23, 2008

By Frank Odasz, Lone Eagle Consulting






"How industry can help achieve APEC Leaders' goal of creating trust and confidence in an always-on, universal broadband environment?“

Industry Futures Roundtable (23 October, 2007)



About the Author: Frank Odasz, as Lone Eagle Consulting, specializes in rural, remote, and indigenous Internet learning. Frank is a global citizen, working via DSL wireless from a remote ranch house in Montana, USA, demonstrating how one person can provide instructional resources to make a positive impact, worldwide. Frank came online in 1983 to conduct action research initiatives to identify the best ways good people can support one another online. Frank has been teaching educators online since 1988. Frank’s professional role is that of teacher of teachers of teachers. A published history of over 20 years of grassroots ICT innovations is at Resume and biographies at  Lone Eagle resources Contact: Frank Odasz, Lone Eagle Consulting, 2200 Rebich Lane, Dillon, Montana 59725
Email:    PH/Fax: 406 683-6270


Social Engineering:
Implementing Meaningful Rural ICT Capacity Building Metrics


Executive Summary:
In 1867, when the first transatlantic telegraph line was completed evangelical sermons were given on the historic importance of humankind being now capable of keeping each other up to the “same instant of progress.” Such visions are not new. In 1910, promoting the new technology called the “telephone,” the statement was made “with each new user the power of the network becomes even more powerful.” The potential of everyone using ICTs to contribute to the benefit of all has been considered the most common sense application, without question.

In 2008, the volume of innovation focused on ICT’s is growing exponentially, and an increasing volume of these innovations is coming from the bottom up, from those who were previously without the education and tools, and are now enabled with fingertip access to the world’s knowledge base and growing collaborative opportunities. New strategies are needed to broadly disseminate the best of these innovations as they occur, and on an ongoing basis as the evolution of technologies and best practices continues to accelerate.

The reality of most rural needs is that they are highly specific, and a computer with fast Internet is not necessarily the solution for a farmer in Jamaica who needs better prices for his cabbages. A wireless handheld unit linking him to a local agricultural cooperative would be a specific solution.

While the technology can theoretically link anyone, anywhere, anytime to the best expertise in the world, in practice global ICTs for rural development are often discussed at the satellite level of generalities and grand visions instead of being anchored in the on-the-ground realities. Such ground-truthing requires getting close to the specifics of each local situation, and the solutions often do not require vast bandwidth as much as narrowcasting specific solutions for very specific situations.  I.E. “Value Bandwidth” VS “Volume Bandwidth”

Case Study: Big Skies and Lone Eagles
In 1988, the Big Sky Telegraph (BST) connected 100 one-room schools with dial-up modems to connect “online” to store and forward electronic bulletin board systems both locally and remotely, to allow the sharing of K-8 lesson plans. $18/hour long distance charges at a transmission speeds of 2400 baud meant the “value-bandwidth” had to be carefully measured against the high costs. Classroom-ready lesson plans and social support from peers were judged most appropriate in this instance. Rural schools are generally the hubs of social activity in rural communities and from the beginning BST had the goal of growing rural community learning networks.  (Articles at )

Because the Big Sky Telegraph was one of the first rural educational online projects, and one of the first demonstrations of open knowledge sharing and free online lessons for microcomputer telecommunications, the biggest impact was sharing the vision internationally that rural educators could empower one another by getting online and sharing resources and goodwill. While some educators would not allow their lesson plans to be shared, and others returned the modems declining to participate, many completed the online course and received the embroidered patch and diploma as certified Big Sky Telegraphers. Looking back, they were indeed the early adapters leading the way that others might follow. The lesson plans became the first formal lesson plans collection on the U.S. Department of Education website, posted seven years after the BST project began.

It was the stories that were told, such as 7th graders in rural schools receiving online courses in Chaos Theory advanced mathematics direct from MIT, in the pre-web years, that had the broadest impact on the imaginations of others for what was becoming possible by “getting online.” This was an example of “low-cost, high imagination” using the most appropriate technology for that time. The technologies have continued to change, but not the theme of “real benefits for real people.” The Big Sky Telegraph Story:

In 2008, a gigabyte of storage for multimedia resources costs $1US and can be economically transported and updated as needed to serve specific educational needs. The following report addresses a terabyte server model which is similar in concept to the BST store and forward “Low Cost – High Imagination” model, but profoundly more powerful – designed for Alaskan Native villages.

Keeping Up to the Same Instant of Progress
While distributing cellphones in Bangladesh allowed 30,000 persons to earn $500/month for reselling service locally, as soon as others get cellphones this business model disappears and a next step replacement model is needed. In a world of accelerating change the ongoing nature of access to education and specific expertise to generate very local solutions on an ongoing basis “keeping to the same instant of progress” is needed.

Socio-economic capacity-building using ICT’s requires direct engagement of the majority of citizens in rural communities. The authenticity of widespread participation requires “Outcomes Mapping Methodologies.” (Term borrowed from IDRC) Peer mentoring will prove necessary to meet the ongoing local educational needs. Stimulating local innovation by those closest to the on-the-ground realities is a strategy which has already proven to be effective. Everyone must become both learner and teacher, consumer and producer, all the time.

What new knowledge and technology for each local situation can produce the best results in least time with the least cost, energy, and prerequisite literacy? The answer will keep changing as the economic conditions change, as technology evolves, and as people learn the skills to take charge of their own destinies and sustained self-directed learning.

It is time to transcend the historic tensions between the Top Down builders of these networks and the Bottom-Up intended users by developing new models for meaningful partnerships. There are inherent inefficiencies caused by people working against each other instead of supporting each other, at all levels. The evolution of rural ICT’s has demonstrated a progression from the politics of control, to the politics of appearances, and is now entering an era of the “New Transparency.”

A triple WIN-WIN-WIN engaging public-private partnerships which include but are not limited to: governments, telecommunications companies, and rural citizens is not only viable, it is inevitable and necessary. Related trends involve social entrepreneurship, youth and women  global enterprises, and Web 2.0 constructivist learning and socio-economic capacity-building.

The best advice the author can give based on over 25 years of grassroots ICT innovation is
“Make No Assumptions.” And “We’re limited only by our imaginations.”


The Big Picture and Good News
for Global Rural ICT Community Activities Innovation

Toward an All Inclusive Global Economy
Global peace and security may depend on including everyone as part of the global supply chain to remove the economic disparities as the basis for violent conflict. Creating a global culture of tolerance and recognition that we are all one human family has become one of the key transnational collaboration challenges for us all. Thinking globally and acting locally requires new norms for appropriate “glocal” behavior.

Abe Walkingbear-Sanchez offers perspective on the emerging global monoculture

 “In politics and other ways people are moving away from the “time of me” which is defined by an “us and them” mindset/world view. (Tribalism) There is a pattern playing itself out and in the end the herd will move away from the false prophet of materialism…away from big houses and little lives to a time of small houses and big lives.”  We are entering an era of “the time of the we.”  “We must recognize we are all related.”

Open Source, Open Knowedge, Open Hearts

We are witnessing a global phenomenon of bottom up innovation and entrepreneurship directly related to mass access to the Internet and the unlimited opportunity to learn individually, and in collaboration with others. The proliferation of new free web-based tools, open source software, and open knowledge resources suggests opening our collective hearts to create a set of values for global citizenship. The potential is that if we all share what we know, we’ll all have access to all our knowledge. Everyone can become both learners and teachers, consumers and producers.

The n
ewest technologies can give billions handheld devices with fast wireless Internet as their first real link to education and the global economy… to become participating global citizens. Cell phones are anticipated to be THE distance learning tool to be used by billions to both receive an education on how to participate in the one global economy. Next generation cellphones will be capable of 2-way video, sophisticated distance learning including language translation, and for mobile ecommerce participation for both buyers and sellers. In Jamaica, for example, video instruction for teaching reading and other topics is being distributed via cellphones


The following Hewlett Foundation report addresses this potential in depth:
A Review of the Open Educational Resources Movement (OER) Achievements, Challenges, and New Opportunities  


The World Values Survey asked “Generally speaking – Can most people be trusted?” The findings suggest much of economic backwardness in the world can be explained by the lack of mutual confidence.”  Example: Scandinavian’s 2/3rds agreed VS Africans 10% agreed. A fundamental rural cultural shift will be necessary for many rural communities to participate successfully in a trusted global economic network. (World Values Survey  )



Creating a Global Entrepreneurial Culture in Ten Years or Less
Half the world lives on under $2 a day, and half the global population is under the age of 20. One billion are online, and technological advancements suggest the majority of the remaining six billion may come online within the current generation. In question is what training and processes will allow them to learn quickly how to become participants in the networked global economy? The answer will require new levels of meaningful partnerships between the builders of these networks and the intended users. The answer will require new strategies for growing a global entrepreneurship culture as rapidly as possible; most likely starting with youth and women.


“Planting seeds of entrepreneurship must begin early enough in a child’s primary education to establish entrepreneurship as a lifelong choice.” 
(Strengthening America’s Communities Initiative)


From a social engineering perspective many rural societies are literally holding each other back from progress by shunning new knowledge and innovation. Creating a local rural cultural shift toward an entrepreneurial global culture which embraces learning and innovation would normally take generations, but with careful design and emphasis on youth and women, it is possible to create the first rural community successes in far less time. Many grant templates carefully designed to address the necessary step-by-step progression of culturally appropriate social incentives, recognition/reputation systems, and new metrics for measurable outcomes are at 

Emerging Social Entrepreneurship Models for Businesses and Philanthropists
While not yet directly related to the Internet, Mohammed Yunus and the Grameen Bank have been awarded the Nobel Prize 2006, for their third world micro-loan innovations which allow women to pull themselves from poverty while making a profit for the loan bank. The 97% loan repayment rate has created major interest worldwide from banks seeking profits as well as those interested in reducing poverty. This new model has created a well-spring of interest exploring how positive global change can become a good business practice to grow new markets rapidly, while reducing poverty.


                        Social Entrepreneurship Teaching Resources Handbook

Global Youth Enterprise Conference and Report
Grameen Foundation
Microloans Video:


Peer LendingMaking Microloans Personal

At , one of many peer-banking sites, one can loan $25 to a baker in Afghanistan allowing him to employ four people and open a new bakery – to the benefit of all concerned, including interest paid to the person who loaned the $25. The loan is paid back with interest, but with the rich divide of satisfaction to the lender having made a real difference in the lives of those in need. Such dividends can be in the form of photos and videos via the web – creating a major social satisfaction incentive for future lending. The Internet has created new venues for citizen philanthropy, even as national or international initiatives, such as:

The Clinton Global Initiative 
The Global Social Benefits Incubator is a stellar example of collection and dissemination of ICT innovations



As 2-way video and language translation become more common, making a difference in the lives of others can quickly become both gratifying and intensely motivating. Consumer loyalty to companies who really care enough to lead with such high impact programs can expect to do better than their non-attentive competitors. The power of a good story (story-marketing), with good people making a positive difference, combining caring and connectivity, is easier to realize than ever before with today’s “human network” as Cisco Corporation now defines itself.


Microloans and ICT’s as Micro-multi-nationals
eBay has purchased , demonstrating a trend where many foundations and corporations are now recognizing the potential to grow whole new markets using ICTs to educate and engage billions of potential new consumers. Micro-multi-nationals may soon be the new small business enterprise model, managed via cellphones.


Meaningful Partnerships Between the Builders of Networks and the Intended Users
The following is an example of a meaningful partnership between the builders of Internet networks and the intended users. We need people-centered innovative initiatives proving what people are capable of with the appropriate tools, access and training.  Real change is more about people and how they learn to help each other to produce measurable socio-economic outcomes than it is about infrastructure and technology. Outcomes should be measured as meaningful in the context of perceived value to the local culture, not just in economic terms.

Case Study: A Scottish Telework Success Story
Donnie Morrison championed a partnership with the UK government for a high speed wireless network end-to-end across the Outer Hebrides Islands in northern Scotland. He created a citizen skills database and successfully marketed the collective skills to international corporations in London. Today, the rural decline has been reversed, youth families are returning to the islands, and hundreds of new telework jobs have been created. A metric has been created for gauging successively greater Internet applications by sector and Donnie says “If we can do it, you can do it. (Details at E-Readiness Metrics manual and Excel based software

People-centered Innovative Initiatives

Outsourcing, Relocation and Teleworking in the Outer Hebrides Islands of Scotland An update from Donnie Morrison: “We are pretty much up to full employment here which is good news. We have developed a TransNational Project with partners across Northern Europe and are now nominated as a best practice model for strategy development, planning, deployment and evaluation of services across the domains of e-Government, e-Health, e-Learning, E-Business and e-Work (Teleworking) by the European Commission. The BIRRA eLadder is a self-assessment & bench-learning development tool for regional eprogrammes /projects. We also just launched a pilot IPTV station based in our local communities. Have also launched our new culture and heritage site for expatriated Scots. See our own community website, too.




Case Study: Lessons Learned from Ten Years of Community Technology Centers

In the U.S., ten years of innovations with community technology centers aimed at reducing poverty have seen their funding diminished. Extensive lessons learned exist.

Community Technology Centers Network
Community Technology Review
Community Networking Clearinghouse
Association for Community Networking


In Canada, over the past ten years, $500 million created 8,000 rural Community (Internet) Access Centers (CAP) to generate social and economic capacity.  In both cases the hopes for economic outcomes have not been realized at the level intended. Federal funding for both these initiatives has been discontinued.


CTCnet and CAP programs no doubt demonstrate many, many lessons learned from ten years of innovation and volunteerism at the community level. This report does not presume to detail these lessons, only to suggest in depth exploration of these long term initiatives. A caution is offered to challenge the presumptions that broadband and technology can be expected to deliver positive economic benefits which will naturally “spill over” onto the rest of the community. The volume of grassroots innovation and volunteerism has been very significant, but the question of what fast-track training produces the desired economic results has remained elusive. The most economically sustainable community technology centers appear to be Cybercafés used primarily for gaming, and telework centers, most notably in Europe.


Telemedicine is a great example of a genuine broadband community benefit where very few people have to do anything different, but it is the exception. As a general rule it is what the majority of the community will actually do with broadband that is the socio-economic capacity-building issue to focus on. The best of intentions cannot replace appropriate training and an “Outcomes Mapping Methodology” (IDRC).


Outstanding Canadian Innovations

British Columbia First Nation’s Fully Integrated Technology communities builds on the Aboriginal Voices concept paper at  The Canadian Telecommunications Policy Review Report describes the goals of  the new Canadian government for creating a national ICT adoption strategy. The Pacific Community Networking Association has partnered with the Telecenters of the Americas project which has partnered with the European Telecenters Association, totaling 20,000 telecenters.  Canadian ICT innovations  KNET Aboriginal Innovations


Infrastructure alone has failed as a rural economic strategy:

 “Build It and They Will Come” has proved to be a field of dreams. (False Assumption)

The availability of broadband infrastructure too often has not produced the promised economic boom. It is still in question as to what constitutes the best training suitable to the most rural learners, to produced significant economic outcomes. If no one is really benefiting as promised we need to know. The key lesson learned is that we cannot make any assumptions regarding what training truly produces measurable outcomes. Measurements are the key to success; new metrics are needed. The fatal flaw of past infrastructure projects is the lack of accountability for the promised socio-economic outcomes, particularly regarding who is responsible for focused training designed to produce measurable outcomes.


Follow the Money
Significant funding in the past has gone to telecommunications companies for federally subsidized infrastructure, without consideration of funding for training citizens to produce authentic economic outcomes.  While the need for the promised economic benefits for disenfranchised rural citizens has often been the key justification for such subsidies, once the infrastructure is in place - citizens, schools, and communities are left on their own without funding for significant training to produce the promised results. Telecenters funded with the intent of training often sit empty due to lack of promotion and effective community engagement. The prevailing assumption that once infrastructure is in place, the benefits will be dramatic and forth coming, has been proved repeatedly false. It is recommended that matching funds for both infrastructure and training be on a one-to-one basis. Social engineering strategies designed to produce the promised outcomes are recommended, beginning with how to motivate the intended participants to adopt new skills and behaviors. This is not easy, and the benefits of broadband are not obvious.


Case Study:  “Montana Choice” Rural Ecommerce Demonstration Project

The “Montana Choice” Project, 2003-2006 was a Rural Ecommerce Demonstration project for the U.S. Department of Labor. The goals were to give Montanans the choice to retain their cherished rural lifestyle by providing entry-level web-based self-employment training;
“Redefining Workforce Education Through Systemic Change.” The project advocated for a statewide ecommerce and telework support network for rural citizens. Extensive rural community ecommerce awareness activities, resources, online lessons, and rural grant templates created through previous USDA funded projects were leveraged to provide rural communities with a step-by-step locally-driven ecommerce awareness and adoption process. The main lesson learned is that without formal Top-Down validation such programs are too easily ignored by local rural leaders inclined to distrust technology, new knowledge, and “outsiders.”

The “Montana Choice” Project
Advocating for a Rural Ecommerce Support Network
A Step-by-Step Rural Community Inclusion Process includes;

1. Multimedia Presentations to raise awareness that new knowledge bears new opportunities focused on sharing regional success stories and entry-level training.
2. Engaging citizens in online learning and interaction on what’s already working for others like them – with emphasis on hands-on exploration of links to local and regional ecommerce success stories.  Online Ecommerce lessons:
3. Identify local mentors interested in helping others learn face-to-face and in developing for-profit mentoring services   The Mentoring Mission Model
4. Engage community leaders, K-12 administrators and educators in implementing key locally-driven action strategies to build local capacity
5. Create a Local Community Ecommerce Incubator and Web Site
    Model rural community websites are in the Self-Quiz at

Case Study: Rural Alaskan Native Villages – Internet via Satellite

In 1998, the first satellite systems were installed in 11 Alaskan Native villages on the Yukon River in Alaska.  As one of first Internet instructors, Lone Eagle Consulting (LEC) presented three 3-day workshops in all 11 villages over a two year period. (As reported at )  During the next ten years (LEC) taught graduate level online courses for Alaska Educators.  While the youth quickly learned to teach themselves the technologies beyond the level of most of their instructors, policy restrictions limited community access and ecommerce activity through these systems. A healthy village construct emerged recommending Internet applications without restrictions across the 8 essential sectors of the community and was presented to many state legislative committees. Since 2000, the theme of rural ecommerce and telework strategies emerged along with many village grant templates addressing the step-by-step community education process:

Village Area Networks (VANS)
A cache model has been developed as a terabyte server updated nightly by satellite as an economic alternative to thin-bandwidth expensive direct satellite Internet access. Over 1000 hours of selected video and thousands of selected websites can be made affordably available at 100mb wireless speeds to the homes. Store and forward email can give everyone affordable access to essential communications. While not true Internet access, there is the advantage of prohibiting access to culturally damaging information such as pornography, how to manufacture drugs, and other culturally damaging information which will be actively sought by a significant number of youth and citizens – if given the opportunity.

While this “Walled Garden” approach certainly limits unrestricted access, which can still be available in a supervised setting, it has the advantage of protecting the local culture from the very real risks of inappropriate information while ideally providing the ongoing sharing of cultural multimedia content created by those in over 250 Alaskan Native villages. The economical opportunity is to provide the quality and range of additional learning resources which represent time intensive selection of the best of the best which the Internet has to offer. In addition, it provides an affordable system for sharing locally generated cultural multimedia content among any number of remote Alaskan Native villages. Once citizens have demonstrated responsible Internet use, they can be granted unrestricted access – within the limitations of metered Satellite access.

Case Study – Alaskan Native Villages – Policy Issues

What is Broadband? And What is in it for ME?
Alaska’s premier Internet provider, GCI,  presents their success as having achieved 99% access to broadband for rural Alaskans, and that Alaska has highest home-based subscription rate in the nation with 68% of homes subscribing to broadband. However, “access to broadband” by their definition may mean speeds of 256kb “shared,” which in villages with multiple users can be less than 64kb - which is not considered broadband by common definitions. Even viewing a simple video can be prohibited. Without addressing the number of Native village homes actually subscribing to this “broadband” service – the facts of who is actually connected and significantly benefiting as promised are not addressed.

Ground-Truthing Methodologies Are Necessary
Showing a state map with red dots attesting to 99% of rural Alaskans having “access to broadband” requires a ground-truthing methodology to verify the on-the-ground rural reality.

If less than .05% of Native village homes subscribe to the service and very few of those subscribing actually have any idea how to realize an income from such access - due to lack of training, then stating 99% of Alaskans have access to broadband can lead non-technical Alaskan leaders to falsely believe people are indeed enjoying the full benefits of real broadband, when the reverse is closer to the truth.

The assumption that broadband access is all people need to prosper defies the question of what training and amount of time will be needed to attain the level of skills required to use the Internet for economic success and to meet other highly specific needs. What people often really need are answers to their daily needs and questions; just-in-time-inquiry-based services, and a social trusted mutual support network. Less is more in the age of information overload. There are many broadly general assumptions regarding the benefits of broadband that have wasted major time, money, and energy through past projects. We need to build on the lessons learned, not duplicate past mistakes.

Information condenses to knowledge which condenses to wisdom and “Value” is created in an age of information overload.   Often, Less is More. (Greater Value)

There are many related issues such as E-rate (universal service) policy restrictions for ecommerce use, even by youth in schools who are prohibited from entrepreneurial educational activity. Duplicative costs for health, education, and business for separate Internet access systems are commonplace. Despite fiber optics in 14 Alaskan communities, minimal ecommerce or telework activity is taking place. There also exist many cultural resistances to new knowledge and influences from “the outside.”  In short, assumptions derived from looking at a map of red spots bear careful analysis for “ground-truthing” the realities of what actually is and is not in place, available, affordable, and being used as intended to deliver very specific necessary benefits.

Short Case Studies:

Hiring American Rural Teleworkers to Teach English to Asians
Tensleep, Wyoming, Pop. 350, has fiber optics to every home, church, and bar in the community due to the perseverance of a local ISP called TCT.  Over 20% of the locals work via Internet as professionals in their desire for a rural lifestyle. And many others are learning how they too can enjoy sustainable flextime employment as remote home agents, also called teleworkers.  Eleutian,  is training English speakers to be English teachers using 2-way video via fiber optics servicing the $100 billion/year English instruction market in Asia. This project has inspired a regional initiative in Wyoming:
Wyoming Rural Ecommerce and Telework Support Project

LiveMocha is another startup focused on language instruction but with a peer mentoring and social networking model which has grown rapidly. Since September 2007 over 200,000 people are participating teaching each other languages – some as volunteers but with a growing number now charging for their instructional entrepreneurship services.


An outstanding aboriginal success story
100 million hits a month from 30,000 Aboriginal participants.
Telemedicine and a virtual High School are key success stories.
Details and links at


The Yukon First Nations Council Ecommerce Project  A million dollar Ecommerce project is underway working with Aboriginal communities with fiber optics – facing the challenge of motivating grassroots champions in each community.  A concept proposal for exploring facilitating International trade connections for rural American businesses.


Fort Peck Community Ecommerce Incubator - 2007
A Native American community initiative.


Catalytic Communities
A Latin American community ICT solutions database.


Rural Alaskan Village Ecommerce Network (RAVEN)


The Indigenous Commission for Communications Technologies in the Americas  An important new indigenous initiative.

Women and Youth Social Entrepreneurship to
Create an Economy of Caring
The microloans success mentioned above demonstrates rural women as far more responsible than men in most cases for loan repayment and for caring for children. Rural women are often abused and need a social network for peer support and as access to social services. Cultural needs and priorities may be for social contact, before economics, and perhaps also web-enabled cultural expression and preservation of cultural and family photos, and oral histories. In Alaska, women are more often employed than men based on their typing and communications skills. It appears women and youth are best suited for combining caring and connectivity to create sustainable rural businesses and communities. An outstanding example of women creating a business teaching online is


The role of men in indigenous societies is often one of hunter, warrior and storyteller. Where such men fit in today’s world is a dilemma. Too often the cultural need for tribal self-identity as a warrior requires identifying, or creating, an enemy. New constructive roles need to be defined.

Youth Are -The First Digital Generation; and the First Digital Natives
Given access to computers and the Internet, youth are typically far more motivated to learn digital applications than adults. Youth demonstrate greater openness to new knowledge, hands-on experimentation, and ability to assimilate vast volumes of new knowledge. Youth generally share a vision for a better world through their sharing of new knowledge and collaboration. Despite a global teacher shortage youth are already teaching themselves and each other new skills to unlock the collaborative and economic potential of Web 2.0. Given these demonstrated capabilities of youth, and that half the global population is under the age of 20, it may well be possible to grow a global entrepreneurial culture in 10 years or less.


The Rise of the Creative Class and Implications for Rural ICT Community Activities
Creative individuals, NOT universities, multinationals, or governments, have produced the latest multi-billion dollar success stories by providing free online self-expression and collaborative tools: Skype, Myspace, Youtube, Facebook, and others. 

MySpace and the significance of 100 million youth creating the multi-billion capitalization
250,000 new users a day made MySpace worth 2.6 billion in 18 months; the projected value by 2010 is 110 billion+. If MySpace were a country it would be the 8th largest country on Earth. The significance of MySpace is that their success was due to 100 million youth who demonstrated “MOTIVATED” constructivist learning, using the Internet, and Web 2.0 content creation and collaboration tools for building their own knowledge, identity, community, and culture.

The most immediate result of these multi-billion dollar successes is a new wave of Web 2.0 startups based on this new profit model for providing free content creation and collaboration tools to those interested in building their own sharing and learning “trusted” peer communities.

The focus on social entrepreneurship by many corporations has stimulated a similar trend among philanthropists focusing on for-profit social enterprises and mass engagement.

Suddenly, it is accepted that both corporations and foundations can “Do Well by Doing Good.” Corporate social responsibility, green businesses, and corporate philanthropy reflect the New Transparency. Due to the Internet and the growing availability of information, and particularly the voice of those not previously heard in the media, no longer is the politics of control, or the politics of appearances, acceptable. The new transparency demands accountability for corporations seeking to win the loyalty of increasingly educated and conscientious consumers. There is an air of evolutionary inevitability to these phenomena. If it CAN now be done, someone IS going to do it. It is just a matter of who and when.

The growing numbers of social networks are becoming rapidly more sophisticated regarding peer mentoring, sharing videos and integrating new free web tools (called mashups). These new peer instructional dynamics have profound implications for educating the global population on an ongoing basis. As a strategy to capitalize on bottom up innovations, creative competitions are emerging as demonstrated at

A History of Global Educational Competition Partnerships Between Youth and Corporations
The role of youth, in partnership with corporations and foundations, demonstrating the educational and collaborative potential of the web is well documented. Starting in 1995, Thinkquest tasked youth in multiple countries to create the first collection of web-based instructional web sites demonstrating online collaboration in order to demonstrate the educational potential of the Internet. Over 5000 web sites exist at  National Thinkquest competitions are held annually in many countries. Oracle Corporation purchased Thinkquest and their sites include for education and as a matching service for remote home agents (teleworkers.)

Cyberfair has a long history as a international competition for elementary youth to create web pages to celebrate eight aspects of their local communities.  The World Future Society is a sponsor. Cyberfair is hosted by the Global Schoolhouse,

International multi-classroom projects have been sponsored for 20 years by IEARN involving millions of students in over 80 countries.

Epals has recently received $13 million from the founders of AOL and Lotus 123 and offers free tools and web pages for international classrooms and penpals. This is an example of the new wave of Web 2.0 business startups now aimed at international multiclassroom educational projects  

A more recent trend is that of youth microenterprises and youth entrepreneurship.

New Business Models and Ethics are Emerging
The nature of Web 2.0 (ICT) businesses is watching carefully the innovations of others. If a trusted network with the right values and participatory model emerged, it is possible tens of millions could become participants within weeks. A new challenge for business start-ups is one of promoting a unifying vision where everyone wins morally, socially and economically. We can begin to think seriously about strategies to efficiently educate one another on how to participate in the global economy on an ongoing basis amid a world of accelerating change and innovation.


Green Businesses are Prospering

Green Businesses which address support for global environmental issues as good business practice are doing well by doing good as the transparency of businesses demonstrating social responsibility has won the loyalty of a growing base of environmentally concerned consumers.


Positioning Your Business in a Web 2.0 World

The Internet has seeded a global blossoming of entrepreneurial innovation from which we can learn what works and where to begin ourselves. The evolution of ideas and sharing information has been accelerated by the open source and open knowledge movements. While the first billion online were from developed countries, the next several billions will be from developing countries.


Ecommerce Update from Economist Magazine

The world Internet population will hit two billion by 2011, mostly from developing countries such as India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia and China. In 2007, the number of Chinese with broadband will equal the number of Americans, 79 million. Business to consumer online sales will grow from $172 Billion in 2005 to $329 Billion in 2010, 14%/yr. European online shopping will grow from 100m to 174m and average yearly internet retail spending will grow from around $1,250 to $1,800/year.

By 2010, European marketers will spend $88 billion on emarketing. Mobile commerce via cell phones will be worth $88 billion by 2009. Europeans will make 28 million mobile transactions a year by 2009, fuelled by growing volumes of mobile micropayments. From a profit-oriented standpoint, fundamentally new dynamics and opportunities have emerged:


Shifting to a Service and Knowledge Economy

In developed countries, we’re experiencing the largest labor shift in human history, from an industrial economy to a service and knowledge economy. How we receive instructional services with ideal timeliness, efficiency and lowest cost, to meet our individual and immediate needs, will define successful services in the future. Whereas a commodity-based economy stalls when supply meets demand, a knowledge-based economy can continue to accelerate as education stimulates demand for more and better knowledge and media products of all kinds.


Mining Raw Human Potential for National Competitiveness

95% of the global market exists outside the U.S and the prospects of billions of new consumers has caused many companies to focus on doing business outside the U.S. The new gold rush in very literal terms will be mining raw human potential for national competitiveness. INTEL Corporation plans to teach 10 million teachers by 2010. Similar projects are underway from CISCO, IBM, Oracle, and dozens of others.

Educating Global Citizens with Expanding Extensibility

Repeatedly we’re hearing stories about one or two individuals making a huge impact on the lives of thousands or millions of others by sharing their innovations and ideas online. (Ex. eBay, Skype, MySpace, Grameen, etc.) Online instructional resources created by individuals can become essential learning tools for an almost unlimited number of persons.

  “Extensibility” is the growing measurable potential of individuals to make a major positive impact on the learning and capacity building of many others, locally and globally.


Companies and organizations can capitalize on the desire and ability of individuals to make a major impact on world conditions by making it easier for them to do so, and in sharing in the glory of their accomplishments. The New Transparency and digital storytelling represent major media evolutionary trends resulting from anyone being able to tell their stories via multimedia.


The Power of All of US
No one can keep current with the pace of global change without collaborating with others. There is too much going on, but by sharing what we know and contributing to peer networks we can keep each other up to the same instant of progress. We have found a new interdependency that can buy us back the time in our days to live life and not be continuously overwhelmed. Cisco Corporation coined the term “coopetition – cooperative competition” for the corporate world, and has renamed itself “the human network.”  eBay as trademarked the phrase, “the power of all of us.” Gateway Corporation touts “You have a friend in the Business.”  There are significant new trends for corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, and corporate philanthropy.


The Win-Win Dynamic Requires Trust and Honesty
from the Top Down and the Bottom Up

We need to recognize the historic tensions between those in power, governments and big telecommunications companies, multinationals, and those disenfranchised, rural, indigenous, and ethnic populations. Telecommunications companies need authentic success stories to inspire rural citizens to subscribe to their services. Citizens need authentic socio-economic returns on their investments to justify subscribing to broadband services.  To achieve this logical Win-Win dynamic, there are significant barriers to overcome at both the Top Down and Bottom Up levels regarding working together to make the “promise of broadband” a reality in measurable terms.


Top Down Barriers to Trust from the Bottom Up

Many rural adults and leaders feel that telecommunications companies promised economic benefits from Internet access over the last decade that never materialized. Once federal and state subsidies for building out their infrastructure were implemented, citizens were left wondering what happened to the promise of economic growth? Many monopolistic issues have been long debated regarding net neutrality, which is the attempt to limit online content to those who pay telecommunications companies to post their content. Another issue is Municipal Wireless – attempts by telecommunications companies to outlaw communities from providing their own wireless networks even when the telecommunications companies refuse to provide it. Many similar monopolistic attacks on grassroots attempts at self-empowerment are well-documented.

Bill Moyer’s Opening Keynote Video  (32 minutes)
The Bill Moyer’s PBS special on Media Reform The Net @ Risk: Net Neutrality
Community Networking Clearinghouse


Bottom Up Barriers to Broadband Adoption
Many citizens and rural economic developers have the impression that the Internet is based on scams, hoaxes, and those who would cheat you. Many adults are intimidated by computer and Internet technologies and the pace at which they are evolving. It is easier to presume that the broadband is not an economic opportunity to that it is to face the daunting task of figuring out how to participate and compete in the rapidly growing and changing global economy. This is in fact the predominant attitude among many rural adults, rural community leaders, and rural economic developers. Many rural entrepreneurship initiatives specifically avoid addressing the economic potential of the Internet. Many philanthropic foundations are fearful of being embarrassed by what the Internet might bring to their projects. This generational bias has stalled what should have been a boom in rural connectivity, ecommerce, and economic growth in the U.S. over the past ten years. The following perception is all too common in rural areas:
“The Internet is a time-wasting toy best suited for youth with nothing better to do.”


The local popular media has not told the stories of the grassroots successes of the 10% of rural early adapters who have taught themselves how to create successful rural ecommerce and telework home-based businesses. And these successes are in every rural community. The trend even among rural citizens themselves has been to shun local innovators as if anything associated with success on the Internet must be a scam of some kind. The dot com bubble bursting in 2000 convinced many that the potential for Internet ecommerce was hyped. The prevailing assumptions in this regard need to be carefully assessed in light of the role of the popular media and rural attitudes.



Rural Innovation Diffusion Dynamics; “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down?” 

Whether “hype” is the right word depends on the context and motives of who is promoting a particular grand “promise.”  But, it is insightful to note that new ideas take time to be accepted and the role of peer attitudes and of our popular media can have a lot to do with the time required to accept new ideas.  Of particular note grassroots ecommerce and telework success stories in local media are few and far between. This can cause people to believe “If ecommerce success stories were happening, we’d be hearing about them.”  The local newspaper editor in a rural Montana community justified such omissions by stating “The Internet is a competing media.”  The reality is these success stories exist in literally every rural community – but are often suppressed by current attitudes and media bias.  Too often, local innovators are “prophets without honor in their home lands.” And as such, “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.”

New Dynamics for Creating a Rural Entrepreneurial Culture
As rural citizens, we need to learn how to be more open-minded, to celebrate local innovators, and to share innovations between our rural communities. We need to create an ecommerce and telework support network and begin to develop a shift toward an entrepreneurial rural culture. Creating a mutual support trusted network and developing just-in-time-inquiry-based-services is recommended. We need new positive feedback social recognition mechanisms for encouraging innovations and innovators.

What are the 5 phases of a Hype Cycle?

1. "Technology Trigger"
The first phase of a Hype Cycle is the "technology trigger" or breakthrough, product launch or other event that generates significant press and interest.
2. "Peak of Inflated Expectations"
In the next phase, a frenzy of publicity typically generates over-enthusiasm and unrealistic expectations. There may be some successful applications of a technology, but there are typically more failures.
3. "Trough of Disillusionment"
Technologies enter the "trough of disillusionment" because they fail to meet expectations and quickly become unfashionable. Consequently, the press usually abandons the topic and the technology.
4. "Slope of Enlightenment"
Although the press may have stopped covering the technology, some businesses continue through the "slope of enlightenment" and experiment to understand the benefits and practical application of the technology.
5. "Plateau of Productivity"
A technology reaches the "plateau of productivity" as the benefits of it become widely demonstrated and accepted. The technology becomes increasingly stable and evolves in second and third generations. The final height of the plateau varies according to whether the technology is broadly applicable or benefits only a niche market.  Source: Gartner Consulting Group: 

The BIG Win-Win–Win

In conclusion, for telecommunications companies to grow the demand-side of their markets, they need to authenticate their assertions for the benefits of broadband. For national economies to prosper they need to cultivate the learning and innovation potential of their citizens. Citizens must recognize that negative attitudes and behaviors can be self-defeating and that only through new knowledge and behaviors can they learn to survive in a world of accelerating change.

Social engineering strategies must be developed to provide new incentives to task citizens to produce results, and give them the training and support necessary for success. Participatory community research methodologies and pilot projects must be ongoing.

Recognizing the Emergence of a Global Learning Culture

Culture is the creation of meaning and identity.

"The world's diverse cultures jointly represent humankind's ongoing search for individual and group identity and meaning."

Bill Yellowtail, a Crow leader and former Montana state legislator argues for Indian sovereignty – the autonomy of the Indian person.  Mr. Yellowtail calls for a circling back to the ancient and most crucial of Indian values - an understanding that the power of the tribal community is founded upon the collective energy of strong, self-sufficient, self-initiating, entrepreneurial, independent, healthful, and therefore powerful, individual persons.  Human beings.  Indians. 

Cultures have always changed and evolved as people learn new ways to interpret their life experience and the world around them. Today, we have unprecedented opportunities to create a functional new global entrepreneurial culture based on identification of our commonalities as human beings, as one human family. We can, and must create a global culture that does not diminish our diverse regional cultures but celebrates them as the cultural genome of our shared search for individual and group identity and meaning. We are indeed, all related, we are one species, of the Earth, with the challenge to recognize our sameness, and to grow, together.  Our youth are already leading the way, and we must follow.

Community Learning is Everyone’s Responsibility;

K12 Schools, Universities
Economic Developers
Government Agencies and Organizations
Non-government Agencies and Organizations
Elected community leaders
Parents, Youth, Citizens
Telecommunications Companies

Measurements Define Success

Level of Authentic Citizen Inclusion
Number of New Skills Per Citizen
Number of Active Local Mentors and Volume of Skills Transferred
Mapping Social Capacity Skills and Mentoring Dynamics
Value and Volume of New Local Content
Number of New Businesses and Entrepreneurs

New Metrics for Community Capacity Building
Community Readiness Index
Genuine Progress Index
Outcomes Mapping Methodology (IDRC)
BIRRA E-Ladder (Scottish)



Lone Eagle Consulting Resources and Articles  The best resources listed by topic.   Extensive articles by the Lone Eagle.


What is Community Networking; And Why You Should Care 
Many related links are listed in the Community Technology Review

A letter to Montana Governor Schweitzer recommending creation of a rural ecommerce and telework support network for Montanans

Good questions for Montana Regarding Rural Broadband Applications

A Public/Private Partnership Model to Showcase Youths' Digital Skills
and Rural Community Web-based Innovations

Native Youth Digital Indianpreneurship
Creating a Cultural Shift Toward Sustainable Sovereignty


A Fully Integrated Technology (FIT) Community Flyer from Canadian First Nations

American Rural Teleworkers:  Great Employees, Lower Costs  Includes using Skype to teach English to Asians from Wyoming.

Fort Peck Community Ecommerce Incubator Grant  A Model Native American locally driven initiative.

Rural Ecommerce Grant Templates  Action plans to build local socio-economic capacity

In Support of Genuine Rural Broadband Applications.

Wyoming RC&D Rural Ecommerce and Telework Project 
Presented Jan. 14th 2008 at the Western States RC&D Conference.

Smart Communities: People-Centered Innovative Initiatives  Extensive community networking articles and resources.

The Power of All of Us? — The eBay Lesson for Community Development

Peer-to-Peer Social Networking; The Next Big Thing

Healthy Alaskan Villages

Lone Eagle Update January-October 2006  Ten Alaskan presentations, six Canadian conferences and a dozen Montana events – with many resources included.

Lone Eagles Recent Presentations and Workshop Events