Between July 2011 and November 2012, Red (team) Analysis has been almost entirely self-funded,* that is besides contributions in kind, as detailed below, for which I am so grateful. This was perfect to start, test interest, explore tools and possible structure of the website.
However, this also implied delays in writing and publishing, as with the Chronicles of Everstate for example, while some – all – issues could benefit from more analysis. Meanwhile, sometimes, some frustrating issues over web-design took over and slowed the creation of content, whilst others just could not be solved. The reality of life must also be considered and there is only so much one can do without resources, despite the incredible support received from the internet community, from Dreamhost to the teams behind the various platforms and open source software used, notably Gephi, Paper.Li, or more recently Peoplebrowsr, to say nothing of the many plugins and advice provided unknowingly by WordPress.org and its community.
Respecting the freedom of information and knowledge’s ideals
Over the last twelve months 45 740 pages were viewed (and hopefully read) by 13 881 visitors in 136 countries, 26,7% of them returning. If this is to be consolidated and improved, if the current shortcomings just outlined are to be overcome, then it is now time to move towards something more sustainable.
I wish, as much as possible, to keep Red (team) Analysis free, notably because much of Red (team) Analysis benefits from the freedom of information and knowledge on the web – the information gift economy – and would be very different without the wealth of insights shared through Twitter, while the support of followers and friends on all social networks and in reality is priceless. Thus, I have given a lot of thoughts about the way to proceed, trying to find out how to still abide by the free sharing ethos and ideal, while overcoming the related various hurdles and challenges. The breakthrough came somehow thanks to this so interesting article published by Edge, ”What is Value? What is Money? A Conversation with Cesar Hidalgo.” The alternative is to rely on funding: micro-funding, crowd-funding and and more classical patronage or angels.
The first step of this transformation is to use Flattr, which is a micro-funding platform. It allows people to reward either a whole website (the button on the first page of the sidebar), or individual posts and pages. The difference with other crowd-funding platforms is that it is based on rewards after posts and pages, or other creative content, has been published. Donations can be as small as 5 cents, and can be shared among all the great content that web users follow and enjoy. Funding then goes to the authors, exactly as when a book is bought.
The following steps will be to look for larger classical funding that would allow Red (team) Analysis to be transformed into a real “think-tank” around the theme of a Strategic Foresight and Warning Office for citizens. This approach should also be of interest to practitioners within and without government, not only in terms of discussions on methodology and tools, but also because it should allow, or more humbly contribute, to make policy-makers and decision-makers more open to some ideas than they would if citizens were not aware and active. Much still needs to be done before this goal can be achieved but “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”** (Lao Tzu)
If such funding is found, then the legal structure of Red (team) Analysis will change to accommodate funders. Yet full independence of analysis will remain. A crowd-funding classical campaign may accompany this part.
Of course, if you have other ideas or suggestions or, if your institution wants to become an angel, I would be most happy to discuss ideas, further potential involvement and funding from angels and institutions. Please contact me.
In the meantime, I’ll do my best to continue writing, but the foremost priority will be given to funding. I shall keep you abreast of developments and, hopefully, shall give you good news.
* The idea for Red (team) Analysis emerged while I was teaching in Singapore – which is not only advanced but also active and forward looking in terms of strategic foresight – and I truly thanks those of my students with whom I discussed it for their suggestions. Regarding The Chronicles of Everstate, the initial steps of the development of the overall dynamic graph has been an element of the research done during an appointment as Visiting Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore between November 2010 and February 2011. I am grateful to the Center of Excellence for National Security (CENS) of RSIS, and to RSIS more generally for allowing me to do so, among my other duties.
Note: Another more accurate translation would be, according to Michael Moncur, “Even the longest journey must begin where you stand.”