New Media and the News15 Mar


Media and the News

There is no doubt that new media is causing real problems for older media delivery methods…especially newspaper. With many embracing the 24 hour news cycle and accessing most news online, few are finding it necessary to have a physical copy of “yesterday’s” news.

Given the financial woes of the old media industry, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch announced recently that he will start charging viewers for the content on all of his media publications in an effort to help a dwindling revenue stream.

While many believe that old media is on it’s way out, others believe that old media can still survive if it seriously commits to revamping it’s business practices as well as delivery methods. While the verdict isn’t out, there are a large number of people that support the revamping of old media for the 21st century. Many, though, believe that old media should finally rest in peace.

GCG explored if old media is on its way out over the next five years, is Murdoch right to start charging for content.

Do you feel that it was the right “move” for Murdoch to start charging for content?

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Vocational Education in Developing Countries02 Mar


Vocational Education in Developing Countries

On a previous GCG conversation, GCG discussed the implementation and implications of the OLPC program (low cost computers) in developing countries. In the information technology age, it is natural to view the topic of “education” from a tech-savvy vantage point.

Does a sophisticated medium like a computer help address the immediate issues that many developing worlds face (food shortage, clean water, and rustic infrastructure)? Is it possible that vocational education (apprenticeship) complimented by modern day methodologies and resources is a more effective way to raise developing nations from extreme poverty?

“Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”

One innovative example of vocational educational in third world countries resides in aquaculture development. Aquaculture is an initiative designed to bring protein rich Tilapia to economically weak and rural parts of Africa. NGOs will donate the necessary resources, and spend several weeks training “farmers” in those methods needed to sustain the facility. 0Ideally, the fish provide the community with both a sustainable food source, as well as an economic currency with which to barter.

GCG guiding questions included, does technology address the most serious issues facing the most impoverished countries and is vocational education a more effective substitute; does vocational education demand too much up-front capital (volunteer’s onsite presence and time); and can we identify other educational vehicles besides technology and vocational education?

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Hi-Tech Bio-Medicine and Nano-robots22 Feb


Hi-Tech Bio-Medicine and Nano-robots

GGC examines two of the perhaps most innovative and revolutionary technologies of the future including bio-medicine and nano robotics and wireless power. Specifically, GCG examined their disruptive nature, implications to business as we know today, and new opportunities.

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Catalyst Conversation: Financial Literacy – A Public Good?30 Jan


Financial Literacy – A Public Good?

Financial literacy has always been considered a private, rather than a public good, and hence, the theory has always been that the ignorant will only harm themselves. As we now know, financial ignorance hurts everyone. Our latest financial crisis was caused in part by the dangerous convergence of unscrupulous sellers and ignorant buyers. Going forward, most agree that on the seller side, the irresponsible middlemen all need to have more skin in the game, and last month we have discussed ideas to ensure this.

Inversely, we should consider whether responsibility also falls on the buyer. If so, then the financial illiteracy of the American consumer is of grave concern for all of us.

Public institutions have agreed that things like literacy, critical thinking and personal heath are not just private goods, but public goods that should be taught. Marcus Howard and Alex Johnston lead GCG in a debate around Financial Literacy and if we fight financial ignorance at the public level and if so, what are the best avenues to do so? With this subject, do we see an opportunity for new tools such social media, open source hardware/software, and crowdsourcing? If you were part of the incoming administration, how would you go about educating the next generation of financially literate consumers?

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Catalyst Conversation: Medical Tourism Strategic Options for US Healthcare21 Dec


Medical Tourism Strategic Options for US Healthcare

In 2008, more than 400,000 non-U.S. residents sought care in the United States, known as inbound medical tourism, and spent almost $5 billion for health services.

“More than 750,000 Americans (with enough cash to pay for the cost of their care and the travel expense) left the country last year for less expensive medical treatments, a number projected to grow to six million by 2010, potentially costing our U.S. health care system billions.”

Trends are showing that Americans primarily seek this sort of care for elective surgical procedures. As healthcare cost rise, the opportunities that exist are going to expand to all parts of healthcare and healthcare procedures.

During this roundtable, GCG discusses opportunities and threats that exist within the Medical Tourism Industry and debates a “Global Healthcare System” or “Global Medical Center”.

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What we are watching: What’s next on the Web?17 Dec

What’s the next new new thing in the Internet space?

At the 2007 EG conference, Futurist Kevin Kelly shares a fun stat: The World Wide Web, as we know it, is only 5,000 days old. Now, Kelly asks, how can we predict what’s coming in the next 5,000 days?


Member Spotlight: Stephen McMullin13 Oct

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Stephen McMullin and Srujan Linga at Yankee Stadium

Fortune Favors the Bold.

In this member spotlight, Stephen McMullin, Founding Member of the Global Catalyst Group shares his stories of earning acceptance into Georgetown University and his resiliency through the arduous hiring process of Goldman Sachs. Stephen’s reflection shows us that through tenacity and perseverance, goals can be attained and ambitions quenched.

Stephen also shares his insight into how Rugby taught him to “leave it all on the field” and to pursue a “common sense of teamwork and resiliency.” Through rugby, he acquired attributes that have been applicable to both his personal and professional life; most notably “playing smart as well as hard.” Stephen says that “everyday I try to make the smartest decisions I can, to be as productive as I can, and to rely on my team to fill in the holes that I cannot fill.”

Finally, Stephen reflects on simple human limitations with a wise and unique account of the success and failures of Wall Street. He speaks of the fearful reality that no one particular person is omnipotent and that life is full of unknowable variables. However, Stephen contends that this reality, when viewed from the proper perspective, can be the source of an overwhelming sense of empowerment. Stephen’s states that we “all have an opportunity to set the agenda, to define the world around ourselves, and to engage others to join us in our respective visions for the future.”


The State of the Global Economy: Cheap Credit and the Housing Market09 Aug

The State of the Global Economy: Cheap Credit and the Housing Market
Prepared by: Stephen McMullin and Srujan Linga

The Global Catalyst Group examines the relationship between cheap credit and the housing market. Further, GCG discusses the implications of a post-cheap credit society in the United States.

Questions include:

  • How important is the health of the housing market?
  • How important is the velocity of money (The ability for easy lending/spending)?
  • What will the changes in the economic landscape do to the political landscape?

The following materials were discussed to support our conversation:

The 2009 Outlook: Nouriel Roubini (NY Stern School of Business)

Libertarians: A third party? *Please excuse the political undertones (feel free to skip the last 1min and 30 seconds)


Leadership Discussion: High Tech Crowdsoucing Driving Innovation and Opportunity with Liam Cleaver09 Aug


High Tech Crowdsoucing Driving Innovation and Opportunity

Prepared by Ryan Coleman and Kevin Walsh

The Global Catalyst Group revisits the reoccurring topic of crowdsourcing. Our guest for the call, Liam Cleaver is the Program Director of IBM’s Innovation Jams. Liam will share with us the background, technology and theory behind IBM Jams. Innovation Jams are online brainstorming events hosted over the course of 72 hours and synthesis the ideas, thoughts, recommendations and opportunities of thousands of participants across the world.  IBM hosted Jams that incorporated over 300,000 members of its global workforce and has dedicated more than $100 million to fund the development of ideas present from Innovation Jam  Events.

IBM’s InnovationJam 2008 took crowdsourcing to its truest form by “tapping the collaborative insight of leading thinkers from thousands of companies to help advance the vision of IBM’s CEO Study, “The Enterprise of the Future.” The event hosted 90,000 login’s and over 32,000 post over a 90 hour period.
Read more at:


  • Discover the fundamentals behind IBM’s Innovation Jams
  • Explore the intrinsic benefit of companies hosting events like Jams on a) innovation and b) corporate culture
  • Identify key attributes of successful crowdsoucing and corporate wide brainstorming sessions (Risk associated with/Opportunities/Key Management Principles)

Guiding questions:

  • How can we translate internal or corporate crowdsourcing into consumer driven innovation?
  • What opportunities exist by innovating through crowdsourcing in the high tech industry?
  • Based on previous conversations and insight into IBM’s Innovation Jams, what business opportunities present themselves through platform creation to facilitate crowdsourced innovation in emerging industries (3D Printing, Nano Tech, Bio-Medicine)
  • Based on the IBM case study what key lessons surfaced as essential to creating innovation programs like InnovationJams.
Economy, Education, Tech

Educational Development in Developing Countries09 Aug

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Can introducing a laptop to every child foster educational as well as economic growth in developing nations?

Prepared by Marcus Howard and Srujan Linga

There is no doubt that there is a large education gap between the established and developing nations of the world. One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) attempts to begin closing this gap by introducing technology to students in rural nations through the implementation of a $100 laptop to every student. Started by Nicholas Negroponte, director of the Media Laboratory at MIT, their mission is to empower the child of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child. Started in 2005, OLPC has provided just over 500,000 laptops to children in Africa, Asia, and parts of Europe.

While ambitious in their mission; their initiative has not been without setbacks. OLPC has been fraught with several financial, political, and structural pitfalls. First, widely marketed $100 price point for the laptop costs them just under $190 to produce. Second, while the technology may be present in many of the OLPC classrooms, there are few teachers trained sufficiently enough to utilize the technologies and/or to help students troubleshoot. Third, many object that OLPC’s approach to education does not take into account the varying cultural and political norms and attempts a “one size fits all” approach to education and technology. Finally, OLPC is facing an increase in competition by companies like Intel due to demands by consumers in developed nations for a cheaper laptop.

Education is quickly growing to be a priority not only in developing nations but in the United States as well. Given the vast availability of free technology that spans every area of education, providing a free laptop to children in developing countries can potentially provide great value to everyone involved. Is OLPC a viable solution to this very pertinent problem?

Video 1:

Video 2:

Finding a solution:

Education in developing countries should be a priority. While OLPC has served as an ambitious foundation to tackling the problem there is still more work to be done.

During our conversation, the Global Catalyst Group discussed:

  • How can we further utilize open source software and technology to enrich the educational experience of students in developing countries?
  • What are some ideas to combat the “One size fits all” approach that serves as one of the major objections to the OLPC model?
  • Is there real “value added” in providing laptops to children in developing nations when the teachers haven’t the training or educational experience to masterfully navigate through the technology?
  • Is technology truly the answer to the growing educational gap between developing and established nations?

Below are some additional resources to help with learning about the project, it’s progress, and some of its setbacks.

The OLPC website:

Keynote by Nicholas Negroponte on OLPC

Our Mantra

The Global Catalyst Group seeks to gather persons of unique potential into a community dedicated to thought leadership, shared resources, and mutual improvement. Through deliberate collaboration, collective mentorship and continuous dialogue we believe that we can support and stretch one another with meaningful insight and thoughtful guidance. We encourage our membership and partners to exercise, together, their ambition, creativity, and both their professional and social networks to pursue a greater purpose than oneself. We challenge them to leave a legacy and we support one another towards this end.

Contact Us

We are actively exploring new opportunities to connect and collaborate on projects that add value to our mission. Contact us to start the conversation.