Real problems and Common Knowledge

The problem with real problems, is who gets to define what those really are.

How to minimize the impact of lobbies taking advantage of public money unless the outcomes respond to public real benefits?

How to foster the networks and ideas that could either "respond to real problems with simple solutions that can evolve with time" ?

I came across this ScienceBlogs and it brings forth interesting points to reflect and think on examples. The heading of the blog is Common Knowledge.

The case of digital public TV in Spain now open to private entities for marketing sports and entertainment by business groups that contribute to soccer becoming almost a religion in some countries, could be one case to follow closely. What kind of role model(s) are the leaders and administrators of public funds offering the young? And what mass media are offering here today makes you hope that more and more kids may prefer to entertain themselves with video games and other informational skill building activities, via web or other, building their own social media networks and learning something of value along the way.

The integration between soccer, media and business, the trade with professionals and all the publicity that goes with it, I fail to understand how any of that should be subject to public interest, and draw laws that benefit any. It may be not as bad as pushing a stupid war move following lousy decision making in international centers, but it's also not heading in the right direction.

Moving on to another hot subject drawing amazing amounts of public funds and attention, in Asturias as in the US: public health systems: standards, administration and information. What is public, what isn't, and how to better integrate both with fair policies and rules. Not an easy subject by all means, where the mesh of standards, underlying assumptions and beliefs, not to mention the private interests are highly complex. Yet, we tend to expect simple positive outcomes, responding to what multiple opposed players define as "real problem", and that they are implemented fast.

My chosen take away of all this from the above quoted post by John Wilbanks, dated August 5, 2009,
"the real issues underpinning what it would take to generate real disruptive innovation in health technology and health costs."
"If we're going to bring that level of innovation potential to health IT, we need to keep the lessons of the simple standard in mind. Because right now, if you're a bright young entrepreneur, you don't get into health IT. And the lack of not just standards, but the right kinds of standards, is the first barrier we have to knock down to change that reality."

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