A conversation with Andrew Rasiej about activating student sysadmins, rebooting America, and designing for abundance

My guest for this week’s Innovators show is Andrew Rasiej. The show is a perfect example of what I envisioned a few years ago when I began looking for ways to mash up ITConversations with Social Innovation Conversations. Andrew is a social entrepreneur whose projects all, in one way or another, adapt technology to social need.

In this conversation we focus mainly on two of those projects. MOUSE advances the computerization and networking of schools by inviting students to become system and network administrators. The Personal Democracy Forum is an initiative to reboot politics.

From this interview, and from an earlier conversation with Andrew at Transparency Camp 2009, I took away two key principles:

1. Design for abundance. Activating student sysadmins and crowdsourcing political action are two of many examples where the gamechanging assumption is that resources and talent are abundant rather than scarce.

2. Be a lifelong learner. And to the extent you can, prefer to work with other lifelong learners.

There’s a bit of a conundrum here, because lifelong learners arguably are a resource that really is scarce. I’m still not sure how to think about that.

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