HASTAC's mission since 2002 has been a systems approach to understanding and creating technology in the world. Our colleague Mandy is just back from SXSWi and was cheered by how many people appreciate our systems approach to technology. When there has been a massive change to behavior and social organization, you need to understand how it all changes at once, how each part of the process influences the other. That's why we believe you can't create without critiquing, you cannot create brilliant new worlds without understanding the systemic impact in the world.
We also believe you cannot create anything significant on your own--no one has all the talents, and all the vision. The way the brain is structured, focusing on one thing means you miss other things. That's what focus is. You pay attention to your task by not paying attention to the multiple potential disruptions around you. This is not only true of the visual cortex but of all forms of perceptions and also of cultural and political positions beyond. Yet through collaboration by difference, working closely together with those with different skills and a different mindset and a different cultural background than your own, you can see what you are missing and you can create something truly original and important.
And that's the last C. It doesn't matter if you do something brilliant if you don't communicate it.
Create. Critique. Collaborate. Communicate. The 4 C's.
Postscript: In my previous blog, I praised "The Future of Publishing" for its respect (finally) for digital natives.
It's not the whole picture, though, and as my friend Bob Stein of the Institute for the Future of the Book just pointed out, it can seem a very narrow view of the world, too, reifying conventional publishing. So, as a counter, here's another video I love, and it is not the whole view by any means---but it is an opposite or different one (Get it? Collaboration by difference and you see a bigger slice of the world!) I love Jane McGonigal's equally respecting YouTube video of her TED talk on "How To Make a Better World" throgh the gamer's disposition. She argues that kids play on average of 10,000 hours on line playing games by age 21, which is how much time they spend in school from fifth grade to high school graduation if they never miss a day of school. She argues that school and games are parallel worlds of leaning and that the games offer a better motivation to thrive, by emphasizing: urgent optimism (you can win, incrementally and you win more by playing more), social fabric (you bond even with those you beat because of respect for their talents), blissful productivity (the harder you work, the happier you are), and epic meaning (awe inspiring missions). She says these things can be translated into real world applications and that the gamer disposition CAN change the world. So watch both, and think about these two together:
The 4 C's, in two different modalities. We can learn something from both.