The People Centered Internet welcomes new board member, Linton Wells II, who has provided humanitarian leadership globally for decades. Lin now brings his policy acumen and collaborative research experience to PCI. A Naval officer who served as principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under two administrations, Wells has pioneered international technology solutions enabling civil-military cooperation for disaster relief and resilience building.
Lin’s focus will be in determining areas where PCI can have the greatest impact, creating collaborations, and supporting programs that help communities build resilience.
“There will always be more interesting projects for PCI than we can do, so we’ll need to focus on a few initiatives that can make a difference,” he said. Lin envisions that PCI will “develop a stable core network of partnerships that can generate resources and link to established standards.” Initiatives that build resilience will be the most important, he added.
“The demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster response is only going to increase, often in ways for which we’re not prepared. For example, megacities close to coastlines are likely to impose unprecedented demands on responders, especially as climate changes. This will make resilience a core concept, because you won’t be able to protect against everything.”
Lin likes the definition of resilience from Judith Rodin, former head of the Rockefeller Foundation, who said that resilience is more than bouncing back from disaster to pre-disruption status quo. It means becoming prepared to bounce forward better: “Resilience is the capacity of any entity—an individual, a community, an organization, or a natural system—to prepare for disruptions, to recover from shocks and stresses, and then to adapt and grow from a disruptive experience.”
Lin is encouraged by the work of organizations including George Mason University’s new Center for Resilient and Sustainable Communities” (C-RASC) to help build sustainable resilience at community levels.
“The nation often is too big, and the family too small. The idea is to reduce pressures for migration and marginalization by improving social, cultural and economic opportunities as close to the source of a problem as possible,” he said.
Toward resilience capacity-building, PCI could leverage its impact by bringing emerging technologies to innovative community efforts.
“I think one of the major breakthroughs in the next few years will be the deployment of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) internet, such as SpaceX’s Starlink. It will have a huge impact on HADR, connectivity in rural areas, economic development, and telemedicine. This is exactly the sort of thing PCI should be able to leverage,” he said.
As a military, government, and academic leader, Lin has convened large international networks to tackle complex global security problems; for example, the STAR-TIDES consortium of global knowledge sharing, now in its fourteenth year, has brought together several thousand global nodes comprising agencies, organizations, institutions and individuals in 40+ countries that promote the free exchange of research results on global issues of human security.
“We’ve been able to continue a significant interest. Now we need to marshal resources,” Lin said. He is interested in the optimistic approach of Peter Diamandis and Steve Kottler as outlined in their book, “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think.”
In 2018, Lin was an essential part of the PCI team that provided recommendations to the government of Puerto Rico on opportunities to leverage technology in its post-hurricane recovery. He joined Mei Lin Fung and Marci Harris for a PCI-facilitated learning trip of Singapore by an esteemed group of business, education, and nonprofit leaders from Puerto Rico.
Pictured left: Members of the Puerto Rico delegation speaking with Singapore experts.
Lin has published extensively on his ideas and research. Here is a short list of videos to learn more about Lin’s work, research, and projects:
- The STAR-TIDES Model of Innovation, Sustainability, Resilience, & Global Impact in the Time of Severe Climate Change & Increased Violent Weather Events, Emerald Planet Television, (September 2018)
- “Cognitive-Emotional Conflict: Adversary Will, Society’s Resilience,” Linton Wells II, PRISM 7.2
- “Resilience: Building an Essential Corporate Capacity,” NACD blog (July 2018)
- “Technology Is a Strategic National Security Component,” James Kadtke and Linton Wells II, Signal Magazine, (January 2015)
- “Radical Inclusion to Improve Decision-Making,” STAR-TIDES (August 2019)