Agile Policy Making

Complexity Theory and Public Policyagile-policy-making

Dr. Graham Room, in his book Complexity, Institutions and Public Policy, argues that current policy analysis techniques cannot fully capture the dynamic processes between the actors in any given policy area especially when using only longitudinal data. He uses complexity theory to establish his agile policy-making toolkit, which is an eight-step, cyclical process:

  1. Map the landscape – understand the policy arena’s issues and current challenges.
  2. Identify the protagonists –know the players and stakeholders in the policy arena and their relationships to each other.
  3. Model the struggle – create multiple scenarios to understand how the policy landscape may evolve.
  4. Watch for tipping points – identify the triggers that could dramatically shift the structure into a new form.
  5. Tune the landscape – use analytical tools and discussions to move the policy arena into directions that are more productive.
  6. Energize the protagonists – help some of the protagonists build capacity and take other actions to encourage cooperative behavior toward win-win situations.
  7. Civilize the struggle – help create win-win situations and limit destructive behaviors by the protagonists.
  8. Watch for predators –keep one or more protagonists from unfairly tipping the balance of power and creating a destructive struggle in the landscape.

A vital concept, agile policy making is treating agencies as complex adaptive systems or as entities that anticipate and respond to their environments. That is why modeling the dynamics of internal agency processes and relationships between agencies is necessary to fully understand future policies.


reprinted from


Future Ready Co-Living Communities Initiative

 San Diego Future-Ready CoLiving Communities Initiative

November 28, 2013 at 9:36am

 “Despite current ads and slogans, the world doesn’t change one person at a time. It changes as networks of relationships form among people who discover they share a common cause and vision of what’s possible.”
— Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze

My status update from November 27th seemed to spark something for people. This note is meant to expand and circulate the energy around creating a Future-Ready Co-Living Community in San Diego which started with a desire for:

” a co-housing setup with social entrepreneurs, futurists, hacktivists, progressive scientists, culture makers, and influencers who collectively and individually work on projects and partake in integral/collective insight practices…”

There is a lot of excitement around developing not just one but many  flavors of intentional community in San Diego and all over the world – it seems the time has come to move forward.

The landscape is prime for people to participate in the creation of these communities on a larger-scale than ever before.

  1. We have access to collaborative digital financing tools that we have never had access to before
  2. Social Media and sharing platforms allow us to communicate and share resources and tools as never before

Truly there are a multitude of “flavors” of co-living arrangements. A comprehensive list can be found from Venessa Miemes – and we are familiar in this thread with the Tech-Driven communities in San Francisco:

So what is the secret sauce of the ideal community? And where is San Diego in all of this?

San Diego has a wide variety of communities that emphasize and actively embrace co-living. Here are some ideas of the varieties:

  • IDEA District and Maker Quarter  (in formation) – Including all the MakerFaire Peeps
  • San Diego’s Eco-Villages:

Several people and organizations have been experimenting and working toward communal living for many years and I’d like to acknowledge those efforts in our region, these include: Activated Villages and Emerald Village , Treekaya – part of the Transition Towns movement, LeCase EcoVillage, San Diego Eco-Village, Blue Sky Ranch and a new initiative called Boulder Gardens

  • San Diego’s Spiritual Community, affectionately called ‘The Community’ – this is a 1,000+ person community.

There are various home names: Bouncing Buddha, Moonlight Oasis by the Sea, The Den, Sanctuary, Fire Garden, Aum Dome, SkyPad, Ignite, Fusion Room, Whisper House and more…

In my time spent in the community  I’ve noticed an exquisite emphasis on relational practices and systems of influence (perhaps due in part to the confluent rise with Internet Marketers in our region). There’s no shortage of co-creation and collaborative endeavors between people!

In thinking deeply about the strengths of the community  and what it is that limits the potential of what such a powerfully connected community can be and achieve together a key differentiator of the co-living ideologies of the past and the ‘social labs’ being created can be summed up in this quote from Embassy Co-Founder Jessy Kate Schingler:

“We’re not trying to build isolationist, internally focused communes out in the middle of nowhere; we’re rebuilding cities”

I think this quality can come from one Key shift – the shift to seeing oneself as a Global Citizen.

What are the qualities of Future-Ready Co-Living Communities?

No matter what your personal “flavor” of communal living – be it eco-village, urban, spiritual, tech etc. there are a few keys that Future-Ready Co-Living Communities have in common:

  • A commitment to the betterment of humanity and a recognition of each member as a global citizen
  • Built-in self-supporting industries that makes the old system obsolete over time
  • Radical Opennness
  • A system of influence
  • The ability to improve living standards for everyone (Jacob Lucas-Schwartz)
  • A community of practice – Meg Wheatley article  (c/o Sheri Herndon)
  • A plan to move toward off-grid power and self-reliance
  • Shared communication networks

I’d like to pose a question to members of the community:

How do we create more engagement with the wider community and leverage our strengths in service of these Future-Ready Community ideals? How do we move toward a Future-Ready Community as a collective? What types of relational practices can we foster to bring out these qualities? Are these even the right questions?

Now for the all important question.


I alluded to a tool I’m developing… it’s a predictive analytics model to forecast the future career landscape based on emerging technologies to help people move through the economic transition. This project came out of one question. “HOW will this economic transition take place?”

Let this idea sink in: “We are creating technologies that could potentially displace the very consumer market that would purchase those technologies”

The next steps for this plan are being developed. Investors and Real Estate Developers are ready to support us in making this a reality. Money is not an object in this endeavor.

*Anyone who shares this note will be added to a group for early-adopters of Future-Ready CoLiving Communities*

The purpose of this group will be to:

  • Share resources about developing intentional communities
  • Strategize
  • Liaison with other intentional community groups

It’s clear we are ready for this.

When you share this note mention the name of the co-living space where you currently live (if you live in one) and let us know ONE thing… what’s your flavor?

If I have missed anyone that should be tagged, please tag them. If you want to email me personally you can reach me at


View the Original Post Here: 


Fashion Law coming to Southern California!

Fashion Law program coming to Southern California! I really hope that some of the alternative perspectives are covered. Especially some of the topics I cover here regarding cultural appropriation, misappropriation, and history of textile design and development
Check out the FoxRothschild Blog  – Fashion Law from Staci Reardon

If I were creating the curriculum for this course – here is what I would include:

It would start with covering all of these areas ! And go more deeply into the history of fashion and development of legalities around this.

Cultural vs. Geographical Bohemia

So what is Bohemia(n) anyway? This is a big topic so it may take a me a few revisits to complete this. What is Bohemia(n) and why is this blog called ‘Bridge to Bohemia’ anyway?

Is Bohemia a place?

Is it a lifestyle?

Is it an attitude?

It’s all 3. Originally Bohemia was a territory but has come to represent a lifestyle and attitude.

Cultural Imperialism, Post Colonialism – Fair Trade Facts

In the previous few posts I explored the Tom Ford Spring 2012 folklore “inspired” blouse – and questioned whether it is “inspired” or misappropriated. Another lingering question is whether there is a difference between appropriation and misappropriation – when power structures are involved. One of the articles cited mentioned that the key factor was whether a person that is not of the minority culture is “authorized” to use/wear the article. It’s unclear who this authority would come from or how it would be obtained.

One of the difficult things in looking at cultural misappropriation of specifically European culture is the issue of “whiteness” – how can one white culture misappropriate another white culture? All whites are the same right? I mean, they are “equal” in terms of power relations right?… this is not necessarily true. We can’t discuss cultural misappropriation without talking about cultural imperialism. Much of the literature on cultural imperialism deals with either philosophical ideas of power in society or between “the west” and Asia or India. From Wikipedia.

“Ogan saw “media imperialism often described as a process whereby the United States and Western Europe produce most of the media products, make the first profits from domestic sales, and then market the products in Third World countries at costs considerably lower than those the countries would have to bear to produce similar products at home.”[8]

In essence what happens is – first the colonial/imperial nation/culture devalues an aspect  or aspects of the minority culture. Then – the imperial nation then adopts the devalued aspect and then commercializes, profits, and resells it back to the minority culture.

I know there is a word for this, I’m not sure what it is yet. But once I find it I will post it here.

Conceptual Separability – Fair Trade Facts and Fashion Law

Tom Ford Spring 2012
Original Romanian blouse

This TOM FORD blouse sells for $4,900 in boutiques in the U.S. and around Italy. The original Romanian hand-made blouse sells for 110 Euro here

How can a blouse obviously copied from this original Romanian design sell for 40 times the price? No royalties are paid to Romanians.

Art is difficult to protect – unless the origin is obvious to the general public. Most folkloric textile patterns are not immediately recognizable as to the region of the design. This makes textile embroidery and design difficult to patent or copyright.

The general rule within the fashion industry is that if a design is “changed 3 times” or is altered at least 60% then it is “legal.” In the example above the design is obviously not changed at least 60% so how is it this is legal? What is even more egregious to the original cultural property is that if a brand were to “knock-off” this Tom Ford design – Tom Ford could file suit against the knock-off. Does nobody else see that the Tom Ford is the knock off? And why shouldn’t UNESCO or a Romanian non-profit be able to bring suit against Tom Ford for stealing cultural property?



The concept of conceptual separability becomes important but also contentious in the fashion industry. Under the law when an item is considered purely decoration then it can be protected under copyright. When an item’s design can be separated from its utility it can be protected:


The question in this case is then  -can the ie’s design be separated from it’s utilitarian function? The
answer is an unequivocal ‘YES’ – in my previous post I link to and described the function of the ‘ie’ as a folkloric symbol used in rites of passage and special occasion. This is not just a ‘blouse’ with a nice design.

In my next post I will discuss the deleterious effect of this violation of cultural capital on developing countries such as Romania and other developing countries. I will continue comparing and evaluating other examples where “designers” have taken folkloric and cultural artifacts and resold them under their brand. I will also attempt to explain how is it that developing countries have been taught that their cultures do not have value – only to have their cultural artifacts stolen and commercialized for colonial profits. I will also explore why this is not seen as cultural appropriation and why the use of Native American artifacts is seen as appropriation.


Cultural Appropriate or Appropriation? Fair Trade Facts

In my last post I looked at a comparison of one of TOM FORD’S Spring 2012 designs (picture right) and a traditional Romanian ‘ie’ (below). An ‘ie’ is known in the “west” as a “peasant blouse” but traditionally in Romania – The ie has been carefully hand crafted and it’s patterns preserved from generation to generation – each pattern and color unique to specific regions.

The design TOM FORD used as “inspiration” is from a region of Romania called Sibiu. As written here and here

“Embroidery on folk costumes worn for holidays and special occasions (like weddings) follows strict regional patterns and serves also as a sort of secret language known only to people within the different regions.  Sibiu uses graphic black and white motifs, reflecting its Saxon heritage; southern regions of Arges, Muscel, Dimbovita and Prahova use red, black maroon, yellow, gold, and silver threads, reflecting influences of the Ottoman Empire.  Buzau uses terra cotta; Oas uses green and Moldavia uses orange and the Voronet blue made world-famous by its use on the monastery of the same name. Especially beautiful is cut embroidery on white or ecru linen and cotton, done throughout the country.”

You might be asking, so what TOM FORD was inspired by this Romanian design – cultural appropriation doesn’t automatically mean misappropriation does it? This article discusses the difference between the two. The author states: 

Cultural appropriation happens every day, especially in the world of fashion. It’s the loose idea of borrowing, sharing and being inspired by other cultures.


Cultural misappropriation is a land of darkness. It’s a place where one culture (most often one that has an historical record of oppressing other cultures) engages in the unauthorized taking of some aspects of another (most often a minority) culture.

She says the key element here is ‘power’ and ‘authority’ – while it’s ok to share and “borrow” – when it comes to Native American headdresses it is misappropriation when a person wears one that is not “authorized” to wear it. But in the realm of art and cultural capital there is value in the derivatives of cultural symbolism. For example – feather earrings – sure Native Americans maybe didn’t have feather earrings exactly like the trendy ones now but when educated people that know their history see those – they immediately “get” the esthetic sense of Native American peoples. Things carry historical resonance – that’s why pop art often works because it draws from the historical meaning of things to comment on society.

But doesn’t the paragraph above about the intricacy and meaning of embroidery on the ‘ie’ show that it is embedded with cultural capital and holds meaning reserved for only “authorized” people and “situations”  – in other words – who decides the authority?;sz=320×320;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000029272154;pid=600474169;usg=AFHzDLvsjm6RdN97zADNsfCdxqxaWdOrSA;–f–us–443–600474169%2526sourcecode%253Daffiliate%2526pid%253D6673073%2526utm_cp_signal%253D18-75;pubid=557510;;width=320;height=320;sz=320×320;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000029272154;pid=608973525;usg=AFHzDLsMyOl-4drgO6MwH9lb7R5ciP6cPg;–f–us–523–608973525%2526sourcecode%253Daffiliate%2526pid%253D6673073%2526utm_cp_signal%253D18;pubid=557510;;width=320;height=320;sz=320×320;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000029272154;pid=60805209;usg=AFHzDLvS3CdSAOPXx0xnQNr9CtIoyEvkaw;–f–us–100–60805209%2526sourcecode%253Daffiliate%2526pid%253D6673073%2526utm_cp_signal%253D18;pubid=557510;;width=320;height=320;sz=400×400;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000028007181;pid=RSRGP5507;usg=AFHzDLtV7z7lk5v5r2f6wMXZMl-WQMdeAQ;;pubid=557510;;width=400;height=374;sz=320×320;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000028505128;pid=FV1889;usg=AFHzDLvXJjrHTStekv3Jr42G0SgE2Oogqw;;pubid=557510;;width=320;height=320;sz=320×320;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000028505128;pid=LWB1175;usg=AFHzDLsphD-XkIy0x1GD6ZCRHVZfMgjYQA;;pubid=557510;;width=320;height=320;sz=320×320;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000036779680;pid=2000046772_small_CREAM%252FBLACK;usg=AFHzDLveUziOEOKqCaO2GkBEzrl7KY1iMg;;pubid=557510;;width=262;height=320;sz=320×320;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000036779680;pid=1000027910_ONE%2BSIZE_MULTI%252FBURN.G.;usg=AFHzDLschIcuD4PIx-gCtXRKWDfPklaiDQ;;pubid=557510;;width=261;height=320