Playing with forces in a middlespace
Bottom-up phenomena has accelerated in recent years because of social software. A relatively simple decentralized pattern of enabling more connections and groups to form has complex results. These results (for example: open source, the long tail, heterarchical organization, emergent democracy, wikipedia and participatory media) hold great promise. Bottom-up production is driven by social incentives, comes at a lower cost, realizes economies of speed and enhances quality through diverse and greater participation. Despite these benefits, Bottom-up phenomena is perceived as a significant risk because the dynamic of control is uncertain. But every risk has its rewards and can be managed if known.
Where the bottom-up and top-down meet -- middlespace -- is the realm of policy, metrics, incentives, cooperation and sharing control.
Looking back now I realised what got me into doing my PhD at the first place - fascination with formal/informal interplay in learning... Where the bottom-up and top-down meet. Middlespace. Taking control over your life and leadership as releasing energy of others.
I remember the feeling that got me there, instant knowing that I found something that could keep me focused for four years of PhD and probably longer... I moved beyond looking for synergies between formal and informal learning, but I'm still there, fascinated by playing with forces in a middlespace.