I’m launching this new blog from Mexico, the first step in a series of trips born from a desire to understand the state of innovation and social media in the five corners of the world. I’m convinced that the majority of life-changing technologies will come soon from places other than Silicon Valley. I lived in the valley area for 15 years, trying to share what I learned there on my blog, Transnets — which still exists and is periodically updated.

In the five corners of the globe.” This is first of all a nod to the Mayas, who described five cardinal points, the fifth being the vertical axis which passed through the Earth, linking the infra-worlds to the heavens – 3D imagery before 3D. It’s also a professed desire to go to as many cities, as many continents, as possible. For this project that means more than thirty cities and five continents.

Here is a provisional list: Mexico, Casablanca, Dakar, Abidjan, Accra, Nairobi, Cairo, Tunis, Bologna, Belgrade, Istanbul, Doha, Tehran, Dubai, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Sydney, Djakarta, Singapore, Bangalore, Mumbai, Johannesburg, Cologne, Warsaw, Saint Petersburg, Tel Aviv, Moscow, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, and San Francisco. 

Show Pisani Winch 5 on a larger map

That’s the plan, at least. I imagine that reality will invite me (as long as it doesn’t force me) to change. We’ll have the chance to talk about this again.

The idea then is to go see what’s being conceived and created in regions beyond our own. This is why I talk about “The Elsewhere of our future” in my first column published in “science&techno,” the new Le Monde supplement.

I’m following two main lines in my inquiries and reporting: first, “innovation climates,” the context where people can create, innovate, and change what calls to be changed. Second, social media, the intersection where technology and society most noticeably meet. If you”re wondering, winch5 means “wave of innovation and change on five continents.”

I have a pretty clear idea in mind: the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman tells us that the world is flat, that technology is homogenizing us. I have doubts but I don’t have proof, so it’s time to go see for myself

I need to make an important point: I have no intention of this being an exhaustive study, of saying everything there is to say about Mexico, about India or Morocco. I’m looking for individuals, businesses, and social experiences — and I’ll share what I learn about them with you.

I’m counting on you to help me find what’s most interesting, most significant, and to correct me when I’m wrong. You can do it in the comments, on Twitter @francispisani and on the new Facebook page, facebook.com/francis.pisani.

My first post on Mexico will follow tomorrow.

It’s too late to ask you who I should see there, but please do not hesitate to offer tips for my next steps: Casablanca, Dakar, Abidjan, Accra, Nairobi, Cairo and Tunis.

And definitely let me know what questions you’d like me to answer.

So, does this trip inspire you? What are your thoughts?


J’enquête, je suis et j’analyse les technologies de l’information et de la communication depuis la préhistoire (1994). Piqué par la curiosité et l’envie de comprendre ce que je sentais important,...