Politics & Government

    Domain Knowledge Matters Donald Trump

    trump-presidential-announcement-2015Call me king of the obvious but I’d like to remind folks about something related to leadership, innovation, and the upcoming election.

    Domain Knowledge Matters

    I’m not taking political sides here but I’m going to make a point about Donald Trump’s candidacy. Let’s face it he has captured the attention of a large group of people. This is factual — the polls have him leading the GOP field.

    My opinion on why he’s doing so well is this: Trump says things that are bold, straightforward, non-PC and they echo the sentiments of many Americans. People love this approach because it’s just not what they’re used to hearing from a politician. I’ll put aside the notions and accusations that he’s racist, intolerant, inconsistent, and egotistical — others can make those arguments. In my view those issues mask something more obvious and more important.

    My point here is that people respond to the fresh and different voice they are hearing from Donald Trump, but his ability to speak in a fresh way does not mean he’s qualified to be President.

    Donald Trump doesn’t know enough to be President. He has scant knowledge of things that are essential to running the most influential country in the world. Creativity and innovation in leadership means making new connections, improving old approaches, and creating new approaches. Donald can’t combine what he knows now with what he doesn’t know about government. That kind of creativity requires domain knowledge. He can’t connect the dots.

    I’ll give Donald Trump credit for many things. He’s a shrewd business person. He’s created things, big impressive things. He’s pragmatic and he solves thorny problems — in the domains of real estate, hotels, resorts, and entertainment. He’s an amazingly savvy media manipulator. He’s an exciting speaker. He’s decisive, and in his sphere, clearly, a good decision maker. Overall I’d rate him a very intelligent and effective man, and a brilliant entrepreneur.

    But that doesn’t mean he’s qualified to be President.

    People seem to think that an outsider would do better in Washington, that an outsider could somehow sweep in and get a lot of things done. Wouldn’t that be lovely, but it’s not likely. Don’t get me wrong, I think an outsider with no direct experience in government could possibly do something great in Washington. But that person would have to know something — a deep level of something — about government and that which surrounds government.

    What I’m getting at is domain knowledge matters. Donald Trump lacks domain knowledge and/or experience in several crucial areas related to running a government. He doesn’t know how to get things done in that sphere, in that domain.

    You can’t do what you don’t know. I can’t fly a jet airplane even though I’m also a smart and decisive guy. Neither can The Donald.

    What doesn’t he know?

    Trump does not know history, and therefore he would be doomed to repeat it.

    Trump does not know military strategy or tactics — he’s never served, nor is he a student of the making of peace or war. I don’t hold it against him that he sought, and received, medical and student deferments for Vietnam. JFK spared us from World War III in the Cuban crisis because he understood, in detail, the ramifications of “decisive” action. He did not press the button — against the advice of his experts — because he was not only decisive, he was wise. Wisdom requires Domain Knowledge.

    Trump does not know law (except regarding how to dodge it/leverage it with strategic bankruptcies) or the constitution. No degrees, no courses, no papers, no articles — how can he defend the constitution if he doesn’t know it?

    Trump knows business, and, his path to success was filled with many failures.

    Trump’s knowledge of the economy is highly questionable — his ideas expressed thus far reveal nothing about how he would “make America great again” — other than immigration reform. How does he plan to grow middle class jobs? How does he plan to stimulate manufacturing? Immigration reform alone will not grow the middle class (it might help, but then again, it might harm growth). It’s interesting that on Trump’s website there is only one position paper, on Immigration reform, and it’s riddled with highly debatable ideas and quasi-facts. It’s a fact that the growth of Silicon Valley and USA high tech in general has been fueled by immigrants. Trump would do well to read George Gilder’s Microcosm if he wants reality (actual facts) related to immigrants and the economy (Ronald Reagan was a huge Gilder fan by the way). By the way, Trump’s grandfather was a German immigrant named Drumpf. His mother was an immigrant from Scotland. His current wife Melania Knauss is a recent immigrant and new USA citizen. I mention this because his family took advantage of the USA’s open arms to create a new identity and life. More power to them — and why shut the door behind?

    A President, any President, needs to start in office with abundant knowledge of history, the military, law, economics, and the workings of government. He cannot rely on advisors, entirely, for what he doesn’t know. Domain knowledge matters in doing any job effectively and it is a requirement for leadership and innovation. Stumbling into something you don’t know usually means you make classic mistakes. Applying the domain knowledge he already has would work best if he knew more about what he was applying it to. 

    Fresh voices and perspectives can assist with leadership and innovation in government, but freshness alone won’t do the job.

    To be effective you need Domain Knowledge to guide a transformation in government, and to-date, Trump has shown a lack of what he needs to know to do the job.

    So, enjoy the fresh voice, but when you start casting votes please consider Domain Knowledge — or lack thereof.

     

     

    Comments

    GOP Debate: No Mention of Manufacturing

    A short post to make an observation. Say what you will about the GOP debate last night — and there is much to say — there was no attention paid to manufacturing. Search the transcript, you’ll not find the word mentioned a single time. Wow, it’s a very big point to miss. In related topics innovation was mentioned once, and infrastructure, a huge problem, was not mentioned at all. Why is it important and a big missing that manufacturing wasn’t mentioned? Manufacturing, and the middle class jobs that accompany renewed manufacturing, are absolutely essential to sustained, healthy economic growth. Our growth right now is anaemic in large part because of this missing element. We are not going to be a

    Read More..
    Comments

    “Open For Business” is a Promise Made

    Open for Business  It’s a real joy when a business opens its doors for the first time. “Open for Business” sounds and feels like hope and possibility to me. Starting a new business is where creativity blossoms and where innovation is made real. You’ve created something and you want to deliver that value for a fair payment in return. That’s what an entrepreneur does. Why would the government put anything in the way of a win-win business transaction? The law recently passed in Indiana (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) is being fiercely debated. I really don’t want to comment, much, on the moral aspect of the law, I want to comment instead on what it means to open your doors for business

    Read More..
    Comments

    The Flaming Lips and Economic Development

    Consider Attending the Creativity World Forum 2015 As many of you know I’ve participated in the annual State of Creativity Forum in Oklahoma for several years. I’ve written here previously about how effective their model is in getting broad-based involvement, participation, and attendance. This is arguably the most successful creativity conference in the world right now. Those interested in the creativity and innovation field should attend Creativity World Forum 2015 if at all possible. It’s affordable, the content is superb, and it’s a great networking opportunity. It’s in just a few weeks, so register, and make plans now to arrive in Oklahoma City for the March 31st one day event. The illustrious Sir Ken Robinson is  returning as a keynoter (he

    Read More..
    Comments

    FAQ Re: Dr. Alan Black

    Greetings from gray and chilly Three Oaks, Michigan. As gloomy as it is, I’m grateful to be here and free. Freedom is not something we should take for granted. Later this morning I’ll take a walk outside around my pond and say prayers for my friend Alan Black. I might take a photograph. When he’s released I hope he’ll come visit me here so we can enjoy a walk outside together — and photograph whatever catches our eye. Below is the latest information from Friends of Alan Black. The FAQ pretty much says it all. Much of this has been covered in news reports, but FAB thought it would be helpful to put all the facts into one document. Alan’s

    Read More..
    Comments

    Help Detained USA Citizen In Abu Dhabi

    This is a departure for this blog. While there is a direct connection to creativity and innovation it is essentially a press release written by concerned leaders in the creativity and innovation international community. One of our own, Dr. Robert Alan Black, has been detained in Abu Dhabi. The details are below. My request is that if you are so moved, please contact the offices of your elected officials. USA citizens can find contact information here.  Press Release For Immediate Release Contact:                     Rosemary Rein Phone number:       239-910-3354 Email:                         rosemaryrein@rosemaryrein.com   American Creativity Expert Detained In Abu Dhabi Friday October 31, 2014 – Athens, Georgia. Dr. Robert Alan Black, an Athens resident, is being held in Al Wathba prison in

    Read More..
    Comments

    Rural Broadband Necessary for Rural Innovation

    Tuesday– September 23, 2014 It’s nice to see that people are recognizing that innovation isn’t always in Silicon Valley. Writing you today from the countryside in Three Oaks, Michigan, aka “Michiana” — where my poky web access is satellite based. Steve Case’s article earlier this week in the Washington Post  — Why innovation and start-ups are thriving in ‘flyover’ country —  is spot on. Case, you may recall, was co-founder of AOL. He correctly identifies the reasons why Chicago, Denver, Cincinnati, and other smaller cities are becoming vibrant centers of start-ups. He’s asking for investments of time and money to be made in order to further the trend. I agree, and… He didn’t go far enough with his article — he missed one

    Read More..
    Comments

    Support RAMI

    We Can’t Get Serious About Manufacturing Soon Enough. I support RAMI. I read with interest a post on the congressional blog The Hill. In a rare example of cross party cooperation it would appear that the Senate is taking action on supporting growth in our manufacturing sector. Do read the piece but in essence the idea is to set up a national network for manufacturing innovation. This would build on the pilot center/hubs for innovation already set up by the Obama administration. Kudos to Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Roy Blunt (R-Missouri). I like your style gentlemen — first for working in a true bipartisan manner, and secondly for doing it on something so important. The bill is called Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI). Congressman Tom Reed (R-New York) and

    Read More..
    Comments

    Minimum Wage Boost in Silicon Valley Ups the Cinderella Factor

    Let’s put politics aside for a moment and pretend the minimum wage is not a party-centric issue. Let’s look at it from a pragmatic perspective if possible. Raising the minimum wage in Silicon Valley (beyond San Jose which has already done so) is a very important and rational thing to do for the economic health of the valley, California, and the USA economy as a whole. I’m sure a lot could be written about the class warfare aspect of this, but to me, the innovation guy, that’s not the key issue. The issue is continuing the incredible innovation that happens in Silicon Valley. As of March 2014 it’s 87% more expensive to live in Silicon Valley than the USA average.

    Read More..
    Comments

    Ted Nugent Lacks Creativity

    The Golden Triangle of Inanity I’ve resisted the urge to write an enraged post about the inflammatory comments made in recent weeks by Ted Nuget, Sarah Palin, and Duck Dynasty guy, Phil Robertson. I call them The Golden Triangle of Inanity (GTA). Many writers and observers have responded to their words in kind, so, I guess that base is covered. I had the notion to take Ted Nugent’s recent statement (called Obama a “subhuman mongrel”) on word for word, and then I thought, it’s not worth the energy. Why spread around even more negativity? Suffice to say I think the recent statements of the GTA are crass, ignorant, and grossly inappropriate. If you believe that these celebrities are speaking out

    Read More..
    Comments