Challenging The Divide;- Is The Problem one of Perception, Culture, or Lack of a Platform

The times they are a-changin’.

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The “Challenging the Divide, Perceptions, Stereotypes, Myths, Misconceptions and Realities as to the “lack of minority-owned businesses in today’s Tech Sector! ” Presentation doc is online at

Is the issue of a divide really one of perception…

above video of Wright: ‘Closing the Divide: Perception Problem’ from Open Society Foundations and The American Values Institute on

or is it lack of an adequate Platform… as a discussion in  The Linked in  Black Enterprise group would suggest;-

“African Americans are in need of a platform in which their ideas are allowed to flow freely”.
Or as some in local discussions have countered is it a matter of culture;- how we do things and how we raise our  children.

Are these discussions on Target

Yes and no…we’ve conducted workshops, exploration session with some of the most “Creative” black individuals around… They have come forth with Brilliant ideas, Have had access to great resources.
  1. Family responsibility- Too many have conflicts with family responsibility …
  2. Fear of lack of “RELEVANCE”- So they only adopt  AFTER it is accepted.
  3. Me MY and Mine… Cultural fear & reluctance to form Partnerships
We take  great  pains to reduce Illiteracy  but have had to  deal with Arrogance ( I have a degree… I Know) and Ignorance… deliberately ignoring  signs and information…
still I try to  broadly  handle the topic and truly  believe that there should be a “fierce Urgency of Now” as to  addressing  solutions
challenging the divideSee my notes originally  presented as BDPA NY chapters June meeting
“Challenging the Divide, Perceptions, Stereotypes, Myths, Misconceptions and Realities as to the “lack of minority-owned businesses in today’s tech sector!  see notes and updates at
here are some   of my thought on these discussions …
Somehow as always the narrative went from a  “platform in which their ideas are allowed to flow freely,” to that of funding… and business.. while all are relevant, they are NOT the same issues. A ‘Platform for innovation” could be a physical space or a virtual one. At the core though it  is simply a system that  allows for new “thought” and exploration and testing of new ideas” it can be open… available for all or closed available. Conceptualizing needs only  paper and pen and the belief that  you can. testing testing one’s theories does not cost  anything when we delve into the concept of collaboration or ‘Village”. You will be surprised how far one can go without funding. These explorations and subsequent discoveries then allow for Product  development, It is at That point  that funding  methods often  come in… along with restrictive “rules that  subsequently  kill great ideas’
What propels innovation are questions “why” “what if”, The Wright brothers were not the only  ones investigating flight… nor were they  funded or followed by  press. They were not “relevant” to the discussion of the day when they fact took  flight. they i am sure were not the only ones making  progress.
Space and an entrepreneurial programIn 2003 I began a project exploring the a method to teach entrepreneurship to creative By  2005  I took that  project outside the support  of  a local group. the static from individuals who could NOT comprehend what they had not been thought was my  first lesson…
Innovation needs the correct  environment.  we actually  started “projects- based thinking”, and the lead planners would meet lay out the concept then reach into our network and draw in open minded individuals… Physical “space” meant libraries, lounges, homes, parks that were free and low cost… Our goal was to design a format others could follow.
At that point we set up  central communication space;- we tried emails, project management, groups, blogs self hosted sites;-  Today Google drive and Google communities is one of the best. we used Skype for group call we can now use Google hangouts.
The current  formula
  • 1) discuss the problem,
  • 2) Explore the current solutions, and emerging technology and tools.
  • 2) Identify the “hole/s that needs to be plugged”,
  • 3) create theories on solving that  problem
  • 4) recruit vested interest partners-
  • 5)explore/discuss concepts and Methodology with  others making room for their input
  • 6) run a dry test , reconfigure solution,
  • 7) Run actual “innovation test”.
  • 8) run a debrief and create formula, Identify  what new equipment, services needed
  • 9)lather Rinse repeat
From this point  all participants were free to create relevant  products services and merchandise whether bootstrapped or fully  funded. The key we then realized is more difficult it is ‘cultural”. Our present  education system advocates coloring within the lines.. encouraging  “innovative thought’ even in the way we raise children  is NOT  culturally  favored.
The result On  November  2011 we lifestreamed, connectingdancers in Ghana, New York, St Lucia and Vermont who danced in improve pieces to a simultaneously stream compilation via Skype
Out of Pocket  budget a couple hundred bucks.
In our last such test “Dancehackit”  I partnered with Marlies Yearby  the  original Choreographer of the broadway show Rent.- “The question what  would you do with technology  if you can?”
That said the next  step, post  exploration, is shaping those concepts into  businesses that scale and trickle down… which is the point  at  which many of the solutions mentioned come in. My concern is the  number of business plans i  see that have not properly thought out there theories nor simply  done basic testing. funding such  businesses is ultimately money that eventually is wasted.

So yes Innovation is possible in the barest of circumstance… But  we created in 2012 and have since come to a decision that creating local “space” will help  any online efforts. While we have a plan developed. we recommend looking at the did a couple years back… a group of friend committed to  the monthly rent for a NY loft space that allowed them to explore  their concepts. they give classes have a weekly  open night and a membership program. The space has been the home of many  innovations including the Makerbot 3D printing machine. Simple “scalable”



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