crowdsourced startup incubator

During the telenet kickstart BBQ I've met with Kenneth Venken, Kristof Luysmans and Arlette Venken. We teamed up to work on a startup around educational reform, based on the outcome of my PhD (see chapter 9). While the focus of the startup will be on the crowdsourced peer learning system, it does fit a larger and way more ambitious goal of a crowdsourced startup incubator. The challenge of the crowdsourced startup incubator is described in three phases:

Being a self-employed post-doc researcher/entrepreneur

There is a big black hole after your PhD, and in that fast emptiness … are endless opportunities.

Like many long journeys it takes a while before you normalize. It took me a couple of months, in which time I've been renovating the house.

Slowly, but with increased speed I find myself talking to more people, going to more meeting, event, job-interviews, planning a consulting practice and teaming up around different startups. So I find myself being a self-employed post-doc researcher/entrepreneur.

Phd submitted

After many year the phd is finally submitted (last November) and the defense is planed for February. Let me give the abstract and executive summery.


This PhD thesis is an interdisciplinary investigation of how the creation of novelty can be regulated. Novelty is a general concept describing the evolutionary emergence of things that did not exist before, while integrating more specific ideas like adaptation, exaptation, creativity, invention and innovation. The controlled production of novelty must construct radically new things out of existing constraints, and thus overcome the conservation law that is inherent in most phenomena. A general solution to this paradox is proposed in the form of an abstract novelty model. It shows how novelty can bootstrap itself by means of a network of feedback loops interacting via a central workspace that mediates between system and environment. This abstract model is then mapped onto four more concrete models, showing how novelty emerges in four different domains: individual cognition, evolution of science and technology, strategic management of organizations, and management of socio-technological innovation. A meta-model then shows how these different applications can be mapped onto each other through a grid of conversion patterns. This suggests two methodologies for implementing the new insights: Carbureted Action Research, which proposes a development path for the phase transition that characterizes the emergence of a socio-technological ecosystem; and the Agile-Enterprise Innovation Planning architecture, which makes such radical innovation more manageable by stimulating the spinning-off of supporting ecosystems. To validate these methodologies, concrete applications in three domains are investigated: an experiment with project-based educational systems, a case study of an open-source software development ecosystem, and a design for an “Interversity”, i.e. Internet-based university of the future. The resulting observations provide a proof of concept that the proposed novelty theory is applicable in practice.

Interversity: a concept for a self-organizing, distributed university

Universities are historically seen as places of universal knowledge. Because of information overload and the acceleration of innovation, the concept of universal knowledge is becoming an illusion. Even the largest universities today only have some of knowledge. The Interversity proposes a conceptual change. It draws the attention to "what is between us" (from the Latin "inter", like in Internet, interact, interdependent, etc.). Universities today are built on three pillars: education, research and public service. To achieve an Interversity, the pillars need to be addressed in a complex adaptive manner. I suggest two such approaches: 1) the open Interversity is about making academic education and research massive; 2) the integrated Interversity is about developing radical innovations.

One year later

It has been more then a year since my last blog. I've not vanished, but have become father, now almost a year ago (11th of April). My last blog was about the educational experiment. I'm now busy with wrapping up my PhD, the submission is planed for this summer. I actually had expected to have my first versions now, the reason of the delay is illness, the cold weather and the incubation by kindergarden is not helping. The worst part was the pneumonia that got me out of play for almost three months.

We have some project in the making. I like to first see one of them become concrete before blogging about it in more detail. I can give some general info. It is now one year that our Global Brain Institute (GBI) has been working on the mathematical model. One plan is to develop the second pillar of GBI which is about next generation university and relates closer to my research on radical innovation. I'm collaborating with many people locally in our university to get a projects going for the next generation university. Another project is the Metropolitan Food Security project that tries to innovate the whole food chain as one huge project. You see, ambitions enough, now lets see the project start ... but first things first => finishing my PhD.

btw, our son is doing fine, it is an incredible experience being father.

Radical innovation in education: an academic experiment

I've been burning to tell you about an educational experiment. The challenge of the experiment was to deal with a problem of reduced support (teachers) and increase number of students (over 300). The solution: add some community spirit. I've been using my Drupal experience to guide this challenge and did some development along the way. We extended the issue queue to work with peer-evaluations and make learning part of the solution instead of the problem.

Totally shocked about groups policy ... burnout!


Some people have a day job and Drupal is a hobby. If your work simply gets deleted after weeks of activities ... during an active day ... without any possibility to appeal ... its enough to stop being an evangelist.

Evaluating the "call for participation" DrupalEdu event

After a month running a "call for participation" on an open space for education (#DrupalEd) it is time for some evaluation. I've used some of the Google charts, but had to copy past all this. Considering that visibilitie is the biggest problem I'm posting this as a comment in groups and as a blog for Drupal planet.

Drupal as case for self-organizing innovation: paper and presentation at the International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM) conference


Last Tuesday I gave a presentation about self-organizing innovation at ISPIM. This paper is an update of my earlier white paper, basically it tries to explain that Drupal is not a CMS community but an open innovation community on software development. Not just the software, but Drupal's community experience is the innovation here. Indeed it's all about the people.

Drupal and Education Open Space: Call for Participation

We have just launched a Call for Participation on Drupal and Education Open Space to be held in London 22nd of August if there is enough responds. So go and let us know if you find training and educating youngling important.


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