The following is quoted from an article by Laurie Guevara-Stone in Home Power (Dec and Jan 2011). It concerns a trip several of us took to Gaviotas, Colombia, in March 2010:
Innovation through Experimentation
According to (Pablo) Lugari, the community (Gaviotas) thrives on overcoming obstacles through experimentation. People are encouraged to read academic texts but with a critical eye, and approach problems wihout any preconceived notions of what can or cannot be achieved. “The only fixed idea in Gaviotas,” Lugari says, “is that nothing is done that is not sustainable in the final balance.”
Maintaining this freethinking atmosphere has meant doing away with some outside influences–most notably the Internet. After 2 years, the community decided to disconnect its solar-powered Internet connection and “return to thinking.” According to Lugari, the community determined that Web access was stifling its progress–people were turning to the Web for preconceived ideas rather than working together to dream up innovative solutions for tasks.
I’m not sure what is described above is very consistent. It is okay to look at academic texts, but it is not okay to look at the Internet? In an era of rapidly changing technologies, the Internet is a much more reliable and timely source than academic texts. Additionally, the Internet provides 2-way communication, which I would think would be invaluable for not only discussing possible innovations, but also for spreading the word. This comment about the Internet by Lugari caused many of us to shake our heads in wonder.
While I agree with Lugari’s thoughts on innovation, excluding the Internet seems oddly out of place.