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10 March 2011

Repost: Reflections on the LIFT conference 2011

Lift
Two weeks ago, Core77 published my review of the LIFT conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
In the interest of completeness, I also publish it here:

lift_01.jpgAll images by Ivo Näpflin, courtesy of LIFT Conference – Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

A few weeks ago I was, together with about 1000 other people, in Geneva, Switzerland, to attend the 2011 LIFT conference.

LIFT is really a series of events, launched in 2006 and now taking place in France, Korea and Switzerland, built around a community of pioneers who get together to explore the social implications of new technologies. The LIFT conferences are driven by a dynamic and informal team of people whose public faces, Laurent Haug and Nicolas Nova, are quite well known in the user experience community.

lift_02.jpg

lift_03.jpg

The main event is the acclaimed three-day yearly conference in Geneva (now in its 6th edition) and this year the theme was: What can the future do for you?

Writing about a design and technology conference has changed a lot recently — especially when that conference streams all sessions immediately and Twitter comments have become pervasive.

So I chose to wait a bit, look back at some of the videos (they are all online here), let it all sink in and look back in reflection.

My angle is personal of course, but it struck me that there were a number of core themes that drove a substantial part of the discourse at this year’s LIFT. They are also, I think, the main challenges we as experience and interaction designers will need to address: networks, identity, people and openness, and algorithms.

NETWORKS

lift_04.jpgDon Tapscott

Today we are vividly witnessing the fact that revolutions don’t get made by leaders anymore. And this is illustrative of a larger social paradigm shift in our society, argued Don Tapscott, author of the 2006 bestseller Wikinomics, How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, in his keynote presentation. Social media has lowered transaction and collaboration costs and enhanced people’s capability to collaborate. Hierarchical leadership models are becoming more and more outdated, stalled and failing. The Industrial Age and its institutions have run out of gas. In short, Tapscott says, we are facing nothing less than a turning point in human history, and this creates friction, of course. The huge challenge for us now is to shape this emerging open network paradigm which, to many in charge, seems to lack structure and organization. There is no easy answer in how our societies and businesses can deal with the challenge of rebuilding themselves along this new model of networked intelligence. We do know the principles though — collaboration, openness, sharing, interdependence and integrity, and you may want to see the presentation or read Tapscott’s new book Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World to understand how these principles are currently starting to be applied in business and government.

lift_05.jpgBen Hammersley

Confronting the same theme was Ben Hammersley, Editor at Large for Wired UK. Thirty years younger than Tapscott, his different take on networks is quite refreshing. In essence both speakers addressed their own generations: Tapscott the digital immigrants who come from a hierarchical world and Hammersley the in-between “buffer” generation who constantly have to deal with the older, somewhat “bewildered” generations, the political, industrial and intellectual elites, that currently hold the levers of power.

Hammersley focused on the psychology behind it all — the dominant intellectual framework of the 20th century now gets inverted into a new model, the network model, which has to deal and co-live with the older hierarchical model. People from these other generations might have, what he calls, the “wrong cognitive toolkits” to function well in a drastically changing world. Hammersley explained what it means for the older generations to be “weirded out by modern times” and why there has been so much focus recently in the world of major corporations and institutions on “innovation” and “thinking outside the box”. It is, he says, a sort of therapy in a world where many hierarchies no longer make any sense. Our primary problem (and he is referring to his own generation) is not to encourage innovation, but to translate it. Our job is to clear the path to allow the young people to come through with their new ideas.


lift_azeem.jpgAzeem Azhar

IDENTITY
The topic of identity and reputation got introduced through Azeem Azhar (personal site), a UK entrepreneur with a background in journalism. Azhar started off with a clear problem we all face: connection inflation. It is so cheap and effortless to make connections that we now have too many of them and the trust element starts to diminish. Yet trust and reputation are crucial tools in our economies and lives. The financial markets are fundamentally based on reputation systems but many other of the worlds ratings and rankings play a very strong role e.g. sports, academia, professions, corporate branding and web search. What we need now, he says, is a people rank that makes sense of the connections between people. Quora, CubeDuel, Mixtent and PeerIndex are examples of companies that help us address the professional reputation rank. Foursquare has the hoop-jumping model of reputation ranking (you have to jump through some hoops, i.e. enter places, to increase your rank) and eBay has a reputation system that is very context dependent and not portable at all. The search for the magic reputation breakthrough is on. After all, we all now live in public. Everything we do is now generally available and indexed. Or as Dan Tapscott said in his keynote, we are all naked now: as companies, as governments and as individuals. Eventually we will go to a single currency, a lingua franca for reputation, that is portable and applies to different contexts. But, asks Azhar, are we aware of all the implications? Who owns your reputation? Who owns your data? And how will your data be used?

lift_brian.jpgBrian Solis

These questions were exactly the kind of stimulation that got the highly active mind of Brian Solis (personal site) going. Soiis, a US futurist, simply loves to put his teeth into anything related to reputation, trust, social capital and influence. We each lead three lives in the real world, he says: a public life, a private life and a secret life. Online however, we are all guilty of blurring the line between the three. We are all over-sharing. We are all indexed, ranked and scored by a great variety of online services. Yet, none of the services currently out there, is actually measuring your reputation, your influence. What they are doing is measuring the semblance of your social capital: what you are worth within these social networks, essentially becoming a credit score for the social web. We are measured by what we say and the company we keep. This social graph is already being used by (US) credit card companies to determine their potential risk. Knowing that, how do we become more mindful in how we use social networks?

Solis cited political scientist Robert Putnam who defined social capital as “the collective value of all ‘social networks’ and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other.” Social capital, Putnam said, can be measured by the amount of trust and “reciprocity” in a community or between individuals. Nothing of that, however, is measured by today’s tools. The problem is that these imperfect “social capital” scores are currently used against us.

Now, asks Solis, let’s look at the issue from a people’s perspective: What do we, as people, expect to get in return for our investment in social networks? It breaks down to trust, relationships, reciprocity, authority, popularity and recognition.

At the moment, the currency of social capital is the social object: the thing that you create, do or say online. When you publish it, it has an effect and that effect is measured. The problem is that we are being measured differently in every network. Moreover, context is missing most of the time, and the difference between social currency/capital and influence is not addressed. Influence is the capacity to trigger an effect. It is an ability. We do know that the elements of digital influence centre around a great many terms such as trust, authority, reputation, reach and social capital, but we don’t know how they connect. Today there is just a great deal of confusion (and Solis promised a paper to clarify it all). Knowing how things currently work, Solis has definitely become more mindful in sharing online and in fact he shares less now.

But Solis ends on a positive note: giving back is the new black. Businesses that give something to their customers (advice, ideas, suggestions, tools) earn reputation and influence.

lift_hasan.jpgHasan Elahi

On the very last day of the conference, the most powerful statement about identity came from an artist.

In 2002, Hasan Elahi, a US citizen, somehow ended up, wrongly of course, on a US terrorist watch list and was extensively questioned at Detroit Airport. He was released but had to endure many months of “interviews” with FBI officials and he had to defend himself through no less than nine successive lie detector test. Unfortunately he couldn’t be formally cleared because he was never formally charged. Not surprisingly, Elahi was concerned (and somewhat scared) that similar things, or worse, would continue to happen to him after any successive trip abroad. So initially he called the FBI to share his travel plans with them. This soon changed to emails and then eventually became a very extensive and highly automized website he created in 2002 that basically tracked his life. At first the site was private but in 2003 he decided to make it public — assuming that safety is also in the numbers.

Elahi was initially considered somewhat of a creep by his friends to go to the extremity of making his life public. The real irony and the very heart of his speech is that now, seven years later, there are half a billion people doing essentially the same thing every time they update their Facebook status.

Interestingly, Elahi said that by giving out so much information about himself, he actually leads a rather private and anonymous life. He generates so much data but to understand them you would still have to do the analysis, and when you do that, you get very little in return. All of us are generating data now.

So his FBI encounter resulted in a very extensive real-life project about identity management. Having a little bit of information about you is very dangerous, Elahi says, but by having a large amount of information you get a better picture. By generating a lot of information, you become in control of your own identity, rather than someone else defining your identity.



lift_galbraith.jpgDavid Galbraith

PEOPLE AND OPENESS
Introducing the people theme was David Galbraith (personal site) of Samba, who spoke — in addition to other things — about how people are shaping the future of the Internet. Galbraith thinks the Long Tail is over. People need celebrities — look at the asymmetries that are clearly showing up in Twitter. The Internet is a giant game of follow the leader and the Long Tail is starting to reverse as marketing takes over.

lift_portigal.jpgSteve Portigal

Steve Portigal of Portigal Consulting focused on the importance of understanding people in order to create innovation.

In a condensed and highly practical session, Portigal explained the power of the participatory or user-centered design process. What is the meaning behind what people do, asks Portigal. By focusing on gathering meaning, we can synthesize and find connections that no one connected before. These connections can then be used to create stories that can be applied in the design process to make change happen.

What makes Portigal’s talk relevant is that he explains how concentrating on understanding people’s behavior is so much broader than asking people what needs they have and what they would like as some still seem to think. This approach can lead to misjudging the power of user-centered design in innovation. People, says Portigal, are not good at talking about solutions, but we can understand a great deal about needs by observing people. By leaping away from the specific, we can get at the principles that drive the specific. So the question that drives the research is not the solution but the problem we are trying to solve. Contemporary user-centred design, says Portigal, implies a willingness to shift what we think the problem is, a willingness to shift what we think the solution is, and a willingness to be comfortable with ambiguity.

lift_coates.jpgNick Coates

Nick Coates elaborated this people strategy into the methodology of co-creation, first describing the methodology and then giving a great case study on how he used co-creation to design the cabin space for Etihad Airways.

lift_sutton.jpgThomas Sutton

People was also the topic of Thomas Sutton of frog design Milan, approached from his vision on open innovation.

Sutton’s focus is on contextual networks and the way changing meaning within those contexts create changing behaviors. Sutton gave an interesting perspective on how content and service providers would start on platforms (like Microsoft, Apple and Sun), whereas more recently they actually start from digital and physical touchpoints (like Amazon, Twitter). Through a strategy of openness providers then moved from these outer touchpoints to the layer of platform. Twitter has nearly become a platform.

This has big implications for design. End-users are starting to move very opportunistically from touchpoint to touchpoint, and this undermines some of the basic tenants of classical interaction design: the idea of understanding and designing an ideal path for your user. People are now creating their own opportunistic ideal paths based on the forms of access that they have available to them at any one time. So designing an ideal path has become pointless. The most rewarding strategy is to allow an open flow between channels and platforms by designing an experiential thread to them all. This means that designers have to design for connectivity (giving people the space to innovate for themselves), and Sutton presented some of the participatory tools frog design uses to achieve exactly that.


lift_Slavin.jpgKevin Slavin

ALGORITHMS
The importance of algorithms was alluded to by many speakers (including Galbraith), but only one, Kevin Slavin, dedicated his entire presentation to algorithms. And he did it in a sublime way, not in the least because of his beautiful deep, dark and relaxed storytelling voice (check the video!)

In today’s financial markets, everything is electronic and it is important to hide transactions wherever possible (since you don’t want to show your intentions or strategies). If you need to move one million shares, it is better to move 10,000 individual lots of 100 shares, much like how Stealth bombers make the enemy believe that what flys in the sky isn’t a plane but simply a lot of little things, like birds. That’s why banks use algorithms and have become very equipped at making these appear as random as possible. 70% of all trades in Wall Street are either driven by an algorithm trying to appear invisible or another algorithm trying to find that invisible algorithm.

Today, algorithms do not just impact our pension funds but also affect a much broader part of society. Algorithmic effects are applied to determine what we hear and how those songs are made, what they sound like, what we watch, what we are going to see in the movies, what we read (the titles of what we read are algorithmically evaluated and determined), who we are matched with if we go online to get matched with somebody, what we call news, who gets arrested, what we drive, how we get there, what we eat and even what we drink.

There are, says Slavin, three problems with this: opacity, inscrutability and “something darker and harder to describe” — the idea that taste could algorithmically be determined. Millions of dollars could be moved by that. What if an algorithm would focus not on what movies you might like (as is already the case), but what movies should be made that you might like (as is also starting to become the case)? In a way, it is regression in the sense that it regresses towards the mean. In doing so, we are producing a kind of monoculture and we lose the tools to understand how it actually works (even though we wrote the algorithms).

Now and then algorithms cause crashes. Serious crashes. And since algorithms are now everywhere, we need to ask ourselves, what does a flash cash look like in the wine industry? In the criminal justice system?

CONCLUSION
There is none, besides that LIFT has again proven its relevance to me and to the many others present — although definitely in a myriad of different ways. My perspective on the topics of interest have been personal, and this has resulted — I now notice — in a review of nothing but male speakers. And this despite there being so many excellent female speakers on a host of other themes. I encourage you to peruse video content from other presentations on the newly launched LIFT Video site. I look forward to being challenged by another reviewer, and I can’t wait to go back next year.


About Mark Vanderbeeken
Mark Vanderbeeken is a senior partner of Experientia, the international experience design consultancy based in Turin, Italy, and author/editor of the acclaimed UX blog Putting People First.

23 June 2009

First LIFT09 France videos are online

LIFT France
The first LIFT France conference took place last way in Marseilles. Being in Seoul, South Korea, myself, I missed it entirely, but luckily the videos are now becoming available.

Welcome to Lift!
Lift founder Laurent Haug and Lift France chair Daniel Kaplan will explain the theme and organization of the conference.

Initial and necessary challenge: “Technology & Society: Know your History!”
Is technology liberating us or enslaving us? Hardly a new question, says Dominique Pestre… He will thus challenge us to raise our level of thinking and, in searching for an answer, to embrace dissensus and complexity: How can we welcome techno-skeptics in order to produce more sustainable technologies? Can we really believe that green techs will allow us to avoid drastic (and collective) choices on how we live? How can the interaction between markets, democracy, usage, science, code, become more productive?
Keynote: Dominique Pestre, historian of Science, EHESS, Paris

Changing Things (1) – The Internet of Things is not what you think it is!
If the “Internet of things” was just about adding chips, antennas and interactivity to the things we own, it would be no big deal. Discover a wholly different perspective: Open, unfinished objects which can be transformed and reprogrammed by their users; Objects that document their own components, history, lifecycle; Sensitive and noisy objects that capture, process, mix and publish information. Discover an Internet of Things which intends to transform the industrial world as deeply as the current Internet transformed the world of communication and media.
Keynote: Bruce Sterling, writer, author of Shaping Things
They do it for real: Usman Haque (haque :: design + research / Pachube) and Timo Arnall (Elastic Space)

Video: Timo Arnall: “Making Things Visible” [22:13]
A designer and researcher at Oslo School of Architecture, Timo Arnall offers here his perspective about networked objects and ubiquitous computing. His presentation, and the intriguing design examples he takes, highlights two phenomena. On the one hand, he describes how sensors and RFIDs can enable to “make things visible” as the title of his presentation expresses. On the other hand, he shows the importance of going beyond screen-based interactions.

Changing Things (2) – Fab Labs, towards decentralized design and production of material products
Existing or unheard-of things, designed, modified, exchanged and manufactured by individuals or entrepreneurs anywhere in the world; Local workshops equipped with 3D printers and digital machine-tools, able to produce (almost) anything out of its 3D model; P2P object-sharing networks… Are “Fab Labs” heralding a new age of industrial production?
Keynote: Mike Kuniavsky, designer, ThingM
They do it for real: Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (Tinker.it) and Michael Shiloh (OpenMoko / MakingThings)

Changing Innovation (1)- The end of IT
Today, corporate information systems are innovation’s worst enemies. They set organizations and processes in stone. They restrict the enterprise’s horizons and its networks. They distort its view of the world. But ferments of change emerge. Meet those who breathe new air into current organizations, those who design tomorrow’s Innovation Systems.
Keynote: Marc Giget (Cnam)
They do it for real: Euan Semple (Social computing for the business world) and Martin Duval (Bluenove)

Changing Innovation (2) – Innovating with the non-innovators
Innovating used to be a job in itself. It has become a decentralized procès which includes, in no particular order, researchers, entrepreneurs, designers, artists, activists, and users who reinvent the products they were supposed to consume. Why is that important? What does it really change? And where will it stop? WILL it stop somewhere?
Keynote: Catherine Fieschi, Counterpoint/British Council
They do it for real: Marcos Garcia (Madrid’s Medialab-Prado) and Douglas Repetto, artist and founder of Dorkbot

Takeaways: Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet’s thoughts from Lift
NKM“, 35, is Minister of State to the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Forward Planning and Development of the Digital Economy. Known as an activist for sustainable development, she was minister in charge of Ecology between 2007 and 2009.

Video: Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet’s takeaways (FR) [43:52]

Changing the Planet (1)- Sustainable development, the Way of Desire
What if global warming and the exhaustion of natural resources were in fact, initially, design problems? How do we move from bad, unsustainable design to a design – of goods, services, systems – that is sensitive and sustainable, durable and beautiful, sensible and profitable? Could we build sustainable growth on desire as well as reason, on creativity as well as regulation? Short answer: Yes!
Keynote: Dennis Pamlin, WWF, author of “Sustainability @ the Speed of Light”
They do it for real: John Thackara (Doors of Perception) and Elizabeth Goodman (designer, confectious.net)

Video: Dennis Pamlin: Changing the Planet [23:50]
Dennis Pamlin, who is Global Policy Advisor for the WWF, introduces the ecological challenges we face and contrast them with most of the technological progresses. His talk delineates a set of filters to understand how to judge innovation on conjunction with the long-term consequences they might have on the planet.

Video: John Thackara: Changing the Planet [23:14]
John Thackara, who is director of Doors of Perception, gives a provocative talk about the role of design in finding solutions to the ecological crisis. After inviting us to avoid terms such as “future” or “sustainable” as they maintain a certain distance to the problem we face, he shows a rich set of projects he participated in. He makes the important point that the resources to be put in place already exist and that they might not necessitates complex technological developments.

Changing the Planet (2) – Co-producing and sharing environmental consciousness
Planetary climate change is too large a challenge for each individual. It can quickly become abstract, technical, remote. How can we reconnect individual aspirations, personal and daily choices, to global challenges? How can we all become part of environmental measurement, evaluate and compare the impact of our own activities, become parts of our collective environmental consciousness?
Keynote: Gunter Pauli, ZERI (Zero Emissions Research & Initiatives)
They do it for real: Frank Kresin (Waag Society) and François Jegou (SDS-Solutioning / Sustainable Everyday)

Video: Gunter Pauli: Changing the Planet [55:14]
Gunter Pauli, who founded and directs ZERI, the “Zero Emissions Research Initiative” of the United Nations University in Tokyo, spoke about redesigning manufacturing processes into non-polluting clusters of industries.

Conditional Future
“The best way to predict the future, is to invent it”, said Alan Kay (and Buckminster Fuller). That is only true if as many of us as possible are given the opportunity to discuss, build, experiment and reflect upon their present and their future. Three speakers describe the conditions required to make that possible.
Rob van Kranenburg (Fontys Ambient Intelligence, Council) and Jean-Michel Cornu (Fing)

More videos are being posted to LIFT’s Vimeo, DailyMotion, Blip, Metacafe, Revver and Viddler accounts, so you can choose the platform you like.

11 April 2009

LIFT France and I Realize Italy

LIFT France
Last month I announced that the next LIFT conference would take place in Marseilles, France on 18-20 June this year.

Entrepreneurs, researchers, artists, designers, and activists who are inventing radically new ways to innovate, design, produce, trade, exchange and manage, will be coming to LIFT France to express their vision of a “hands-on future”, a future of do-it-yourself change:

Changing Things: Towards objects that are not just “smart” and connected, but also customizable, hackable, transformable, fully recyclable; Towards decentralized and multipurpose manufacturing, or even home fabrication.

Changing Innovation: Towards continuous and networked innovation, emerging from users as well as entrepreneurs, from researchers as well as activists.

Changing the Planet: Towards a “green design” that reconnects global environmental challenges with growth, but also with human desire, pleasure, beauty and fun.

The programme is now finished and so is a pdf with background information.

Speakers are Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (Tinker.it!), Bruce Sterling, Catherine Fieschi (Counterpoint), Daniel Kaplan (FING), Dennis Pamlin (WWF), Dominique Pestre (École des hautes études en sciences sociales), Douglas Repetto (Columbia University), Edith Ackermann (MIT), Elizabeth Goodman (UC Berkeley), Euan Semple, François Jégou (Solutioning), Frank Kresin (Waag Society), Gunter Pauli (ZERI), Jean-Michel Cornu (FING), John Thackara (Doors of Perception), Laurent Haug (LIFT conference), Marc Giget (Conservatoire National Des Arts et Métiers), Marcos García (Medialab-Prado), Martin Duval (Bluenove), Michael Shiloh (Teach Me To Make), Mike Kuniavsky (ThingM), Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (French Government), Philippe Lemoine (LaSe), Rémi Dury (Da Fact), Rob Van Kranenburg (Waag Society), Timo Arnall, and Usman Haque (haque :: design + research).

The week before the LIFT France conference, on 9 and 10 June to be precise, you can attend the first edition of I Realize – The art of disruption, a conference held in Turin, Italy, only 370 km from Marseilles.

The organisers describe the event as “Two days aimed at identifying unsolved problems, suggesting possible (technological?) solutions and stimulating the creation of new disruptive start-ups in different fields:

I Eat: eating is not only about taste and quality anymore, but concerns issues as genetically engineered organisms (GEO), slow and bio food, fare trade and sustainability… and what would happen if a global blackout switched the electricity off tomorrow?

I Move & Interact: our ability to communicate and interact both as users and producers of information is more and more «anywhere, anytime, anyway». New physical and virtual ways of moving (or not moving…) are being developed but… (how) will we move in the future?

I Grow: individual growth and development is subject to an increasing number of inputs both on the intellectual side (design/media) and the physical/psychological side (wellness) …but are we really growing?”

Also this programme is ready (although in draft) and the speakers are Andrea Branzi (architect and designer), Alberto Cottica (Kublai project), Antonio Pascale (writer), Bruce Sterling (writer), Carlo Antonelli (Rolling Stone (Italia), Davide Scabin (chef), Elio (artist), Geoff Manaugh (BLDBLOG), Gianluigi Ricuperati (Abitare magazine), Igor Sibaldi (writer), Jennifer Higgie (Frieze magazine), Leonardo Camiciotti (TOP-IX), Maurizio Cilli (architect and urban designer), Moshe Bar, Nicolas Nova (LIFT lab), Peter Saville (founder of Factory Record), and Vittorio Pasteris (Lastampa.it).

31 January 2009

35 Picnic conference videos

PICNIC
On Vimeo you can find no less than 35 videos of the Picnic conference. They are great.

My personal favourites (quite a few):

Jim Stolze: The virtual happiness project
“Virtual Happiness” is a research project that aims to provide insights on the relationship between internet usage and happiness.
– Jim Stolze specializes in new thinking on digital communication.

Matt Hanson: Celebrating Collaborative Creativity
Matt Hanson, a filmmaker, working on the open-source movie project A Swarm of Angels

Panel Discussion: Celebrating Collaborative Creativity
In this fast paced session, several examples of collaborative creativity are under review- what processes and business models appear? What changes will occur in the movie, music, ppublishing and advertising industry?
Moderator: Laurent Haug, entrepreneur and co-founder Liftlab
– Matt Hanson, a filmaker, working on the open-source movie project A Swarm of Angels
– Ton Roosendaal, founder of Blender, an open-source, cross-platform suite of tools for 3D creation
– Katarina Skoberne is the co-founder and managing director of OpenAd.net, ‘The biggest Creative Department’
– Pim Betist, a music lover and founder of Sellaband, an audience supported business model for bands.
– Eileen Gittens, founder and CEO of Blurb, has built a creative publishing platform that makes it easy for anyone to design, publish, share and sell real bookstore-quality books

Ben Cerveny: Can you see what I know?
Artists, scientists and designers are exploring a new world of software aesthetics and developing new languages for interactive and visual expression. How can we make information intuitively meaningful?
– Ben Cerveny is a strategic and conceptual advisor to Stamen, specialists in creative visualization. He is highly regarded experience designer and conceptual strategist.

Stefan Agamanolis: Dueling with Distance
Based on his work at MIT and Distance Lab, Stefan Agamanolis reports on hot trends in communication and connectedness that are doing battle with distance in unexpected ways, ranging from sports games you play over a distance to telephones crossed with flotation tanks.
– Stefan Agamanolis is the Chief Executive and Research director of Distance Lab

Matt Jones: The Emerging Real-Time Social Web
Matt Jones is a creative director and user experience designer who worked a Sapient and the BBC before founding travel service Dopplr

Jyri Engestrom: The Emerging Real-Time Social Web
Jyri Engestrom is a social scientist as well as the founder of the Finnish mobile presence service Jaiku, which was acquired by Google in 2007; his subsequent move to Silicon Valley resulted in his renewed attention to social processes in new media platforms.

Conversation the Emerging Real-Time Social Web
With ubiquitous internet connections and a surge of connected mobile services, slices of reality can be saved that people could not capture before. Saving and sharing our presence, we can feel those of others as well. We are on the verge of a reality with ‘social peripheral vision’, in which ambient friendships flourish and life stories and life’s details are stored, shared and searchable.
– Matt Jones is a creative director and user experience designer who worked a Sapient and the BBC before founding travel service Dopplr
– Philip Rosedale is founder of the 3D online world Second Life and a pioneer in virtual worlds
– Addy Feuerstein is the co-founder and CEO of AllofMe, a service that allows you to create digital personal timelines form digital assests such as pictures, videos, and blogs.
– Jyri Engestrom is a social scientist as well as the founder of the Finnish mobile presence service Jaiku, which was acquired by Google in 2007

Younghee Jung: Design as a Collaborative process
New interactions develop into new design practices; new processes induce new forms of creativity. How can creators involve the peopele they want to create for in their work?
– Younghee Jung, a senior design manager at Nokia, shows how users are imagining new products.

Bill Moggridge: Design as a Collaborative Process
New interactions develop into new design practices; new processes induce new forms of creativity. How can creators invovle the people they want to create for in their work?
– Bill Moggridge is founder of IDEO, one of the most successful design firms in the world and of the first to integrate the design of software and hardware into the practice of industrial design.

Ethan Zuckerman: Surprising Africa
A presentation on vibrant and fast-moving tecnological and creative developments in cities and rural areas across Africa, from mobile naking to new communication patterns.
– Ethan Zuckerman, the co-founder of Global Voices, a research fellow at the Berkman Center, and a prodigious blogger interested in hte impact of technology on the developing world.

Conversation with Ethan Zuckerman, Helen Omwando and Binyavanga Wainaina: Surprising Africa
An update on vibrant and fast-moving technological and creative developments in cities and rural areas across Africa, from mobile banking to new communication patterns.
– Ethan Zuckerman, the co-founder of Global Voices, a research fellow at the Berkman Center, and a prodigious blogger interested in the impact of technology on the developing world
– Helen Omwando, head of market intelligence for Royal Philips Electronics
– Binyavanga Wainaina, Kenyan author and journalist

Clay Shirky: Here Comes Everybody
A revelatory examination of how the spread of new forms of social interaction enabled by technology is changing the way humans form groups and exict within them. Our age’s new technologies of social networking are evolving- and causing us to evolve into new groups doing new things in new ways.
– Clay Shirky is a leading Internet thinker, the author of Here Comes Everybody, and a sharp analyst of social media developments.

Wolfgang Wagener and Jared Blumenfeld: Eco Map
What can we do with an open source collaboration platform that enables citizens and business to see collective results of their actions?
– Wolfgang Wagener, Director, Sustainable Cities Connected Urban Development, CISCO and Jared Blumenfeld, Director, Department of the Environment, City and County of San Francisco

Euro Beinat: The Visible City
What if we could view an entire city from above, as if from an airplane – and see not only the buildings and squares but also all the human beings populating it, oudoors and indoors?
– Euro Beinat, professor of location awareness at Salzburg University, CEO if Geodan Mobile Solutions, and founder of the Senseable Future Foundation

Stan Williams: Tracking our World
CeNSE: The Central Nervous System for the Earth is based on the believe that nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionise human interaction with the Earth as profoundly as the Internet has revolutionised personal and business interaction.
– Stan Williams, HP senior fellow; director, HP Information and Quantum Systems Lab

Adam Greenfield: The Long Here, the Big Now, and other tales of the networked city
Future urban life will thrive on new modes of perception and experience, based on real-time data and feedback. What will the networked city feel like to its users? How will it transform our sense of the metropolitan?
– Adam Greenfield , head of design direction for Nokia and author of Everyware

Charles Leadbeater – We Think: The Power of Mass Creativity
The conflict between the rising surge of mass collaboration and the attempts to retain top-down control will be one of the defining battles of our time. An exploration of what this means for our culture, the way we work, government, science and business.
– Charles Leadbeater, thinker, famed policy advisor to former UK prime Minister Tony Blair, and author of We Think, a groundbreaking analysis of a changing world

Charles Leadbeater in conversation with Clay Shirky
The conflict between the rising surge of mass collaboration and the attempts to retain top-down control will be one of the defining battles of our time. An exploration of what this means for our culture, the way we work, government, science and business.
– Charles Leadbeater, thinker, famed policy advisor to former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, and author of We Think, a groundbreaking analysis of a changing world,
– Clay Shirky, leading Internet thinker

(via Laurent Haug)

29 January 2009

“Publicy”, the rebirth of privacy

Laurent Haug
Laurent Haug, an entrepreneur based in Geneva, Switzerland and founder of the LIFT conference, launches a new concept: publicy.

“What happens with social networks is they publish information about you to the world. Two kinds of information: the ones you control, and the ones you don’t control.

The solution to fight the ones you don’t control has been known for years. If you can’t control the conversation improve it! Become the one stop source of info about yourself. [...]

Now that you are back in the driver seat, you have your privacy back. Just of a different kind. You have built a space that could be called “publicy”, or “the plausible me”. It is a credible space where people expect to see information about you. Whatever credible information you say in there will be taken as true by the world.

That is your new privacy.”

Read full story

13 December 2008

Transformeurs 2009

Transformeurs 2009
Over the last few years many terms have been proposed to describe the future of the internet: pervasive computing, ubiquitous computing, ambient intelligence, physical computing, to the frustration of some. In the end the Internet of Things seems to have won and I am very pleased about that, as it is a term which is immediately graspable and distinctively non-jargon.

Now that the European Commission has put its formidable shoulders under the Internet of Things, people everywhere are starting to take notice.

On 30 January the LIFT conference people are helping the Swiss applied ICT research incubator TechnoArk with its upcoming conference Transformeurs 2009 (in French) on January 30 on the topic “Internet of things, internet of the future?”.

Daniel Kaplan (CEO of the FING), David Orban (of the Open Spime project, also known as Bruce Sterling’s alter-ego Bruno Argento) and Jean-Louis Fréchin (ENSCI and NoDesign) are the keynote speakers. Laurent Haug and Nicolas Nova of LIFT will moderate the workshops.

(via Laurent Haug)

1 October 2008

LIFT Asia 08 vides online

LIFT09
The first LIFT Asia 08 are online. My favourites:

Mobiles and the urban poor – Bruce Sterling

Bruce Sterling’s talk at LIFT Asia, about how the poor are moving to cities, using mobile technologies to access services like payment, was impressive.

But what made it simply brilliant was his discussion on how the future collapse of North Korea will present South Korea with a challenge of enormous proportions, and how mobile technology and mobile payment can be part of the solution:

“When you are working on cell phones, when you are working on the web, when you are working on electronic money and payment systems, you need to think: What if my user is a North-Korean? How would I do this differently if I knew my user was from Pyongyang, that his regime had collapsed, that his economy had collapsed, he was completely bewildered, and he had never seen a cell phone or a computer in his life, and I intended to make him a productive and happy fellow citizen in ten years, what kind of technology would I give that person, what kind of trading system, economic system?”

According to LIFT organiser Laurent Haug he moved a large part of the audience, leaving a strange silence in the room as they came out for the break.

The Long Here, the Big Now, and other tales of the networked city – Adam Greenfield

Adam Greenfield, head of design director at Nokia, talks about the emotional aspects of living in a networked city. What happens when the choices of action in the city are not only physical, but also influenced by an invisible overlay of networked information?

23 July 2008

In three years…

Experientia
Three years ago we founded Experientia. It has been a very exciting ride since.

In three years we worked with some of the best companies in the field and some of the best people too.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Our clients
Alcatel-Lucent (France, Spain), Area Association (Italy), Arits Consulting (Belgium), AVIS (Italy), Barclays (Italy, UK), Blyk (Finland, UK), Cittadellarte (Italy), City of Genk (Belgium), Condé Nast (Italy), Conifer Research (USA), CSI (Italy), CVS-Pharmacy (USA), Design Flanders (Belgium), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Expedia (UK), Facem (Italy), Fidelity International (UK), Finmeccanica (Italy), Flanders in Shape (Belgium), Haier (China), Hewlett Packard (India), IEDC-Bled School of Management (Slovenia), IKS-Core Consulting (Italy), Istud Foundation (Italy), Kodak (USA), LAit (Italy), Last Minute (UK), Max Mara (Italy), Media & Design Academy (Belgium), Microsoft (USA), Motorola (USA), MPG Ferrero (Italy), Nokia (Denmark, France, Finland), Research in Motion (Canada), Samsung (Italy, Korea, UK), Swisscom (Switzerland), Tandem Seven (USA), Torino World Design Capital (Italy), Voce di Romagna (Italy), Vodafone (Germany, Italy, UK), and Whirlpool (UK).

Our collaborators (interns, consultants and staff)
Sven Adolph, Ana Camila Amorim, Andrea Arosio, An Beckers-Vanderbeeken, Josef ‘Yosi’ Bercovitch, Enrico Bergese, Niti Bhan, Elena Bobbola, Janina Boesch, Giovanni Buono, Donatella Capretti, Manlio Cavallaro, Gaurav Chadha, Dave Chiu, Raffaella Citterio, Sarah Conigliaro, Piermaria Cosina, Marco Costacurta, Laura Cunningham, Regine Debatty, Stefano Dominici, Saulo Dourado, Tal Drori, Dina Mohamed El-Sayed, Marion Froehlich, Giuseppe Gavazza, Valeria Gemello, Michele Giannasi, Young-Eun Han, Vanessa Harden, Yasmina Haryono, Bernd Hitzeroth, Juin-Yi ‘Suno’ Huang, Tom Kahrl, Erez Kikin-Gil, Ruth Kikin-Gil, Helena Kraus, Francesca Labrini, Alberto Lagna, Shadi Lahham, Jörg Liebsch, Cristina Lobnik, Maya Lotan, Ofer Luft, Davide Marazita, Claude Martin, Camilla Masala, Myriel Milicevic, Kim Mingo, Emanuela Miretti, Massimo Morelli, Peter Morville, Muzayun Mukhtar, Giorgio Olivero, Pablo Onnias, Hector Ouilhet, Christian Pallino, Giorgio Partesana, Magda Passarella, Romina Pastorelli, Danilo Penna, Andrea Piccolo, Rachelly Plaut, Laura Polazzi, Laura Puppo, Alain Regnier, Enza Reina, Anna Rink, Michal Rinott, Silvana Rosso, Emanuela Sabena, Vera de Sa-Varanda, Craig Schinnerer, Fabio Sergio, Manuela Serra, Sofia Shores, Massimo Sirelli, Natasha Sopieva, Yaniv Steiner, Riccardo Strobbia, Victor Szilagyi, David Tait, Beverly Tang, Akemi Tazaki, Luca Troisi, Raymond Turner, Haraldur Unnarsson, Ilaria Urbinati, Carlo Valbonesi, Marcello Varaldi, Giorgio Venturi, Anna Vilchis, Dvorit Weinheber, Alexander Wiethoff, Junu Joseph Yang, and Mario Zannone.

Our partners
Amberlight, Design for Lucy, Fecit, Finsa, Flow Interactive, Foviance, Italia 150, Launch Institute, Prospect, Savigny Research, Syzygy, Torino World Design Capital, UPA, URN, Usability Partners International, Usercentric, UserFocus, User Interface Design, and UXnet.

Our friends (insofar not covered by the above)
Nik Baerten, Valerie Bauwens, Toon Berckmoes, Ralf Beuker, Marco Bevolo, Daniella Botta, Stefana Broadbent, Francesco Cara, Jan Chipchase, Allan Chochinov, Elizabeth Churchill, Gillian Crampton-Smith, Regine Debatty, Federico De Giuli, Jesse James Garrett, Adam Greenfield, Hubert Guillaud, Wilfried Grommen, Laurent Haug, Bob Jacobson, Marguerite Kahrl, Anna Kirah, Simona Lodi, Peter Merholz, Bill Moggridge, Donald Norman, Nicolas Nova, Bruce Nussbaum, Laura Orestano, Vittorio Pasteris, Gianluigi Perotto, Carlo Ratti, Hans Robertus, Bruce Sterling, John Thackara, Joannes Vandermeulen, Lowie Vermeersch, Judy Wert, and Younghee Yung.

Thanks to you all!

Pierpaolo Perotto, Mark Vanderbeeken, Michele Visciola and Jan-Christoph Zoels
The Experientia partners

PS. We are constantly looking for great talent! We currently have openings for interaction designers, communication designer, information architect, IT staff, usability consultants, etc.

17 October 2007

The LIFT08 conference programme is out

LIFT08
Bruno Giussani reports on the press conference announcing the LIFT08 conference programme (backgrounder):

The conference LIFT08 will take place for the third time in Geneva, Switzerland, on 6-8 February 2008. The main structure of the programme has been presented tonight in a trendy bar downtown Geneva by organizer Laurent Haug and editorial producer Nicolas Nova.

And again, like last year, they seem to have got a knack of seeking out many new voices and speakers that haven’t made the rounds yet – but have interesting things to say. The programme is structured in thematic “tracks”, four per day on Thursday 7 and Friday 8. On Wednesday, a pre-conference will present a series of focused workshops. Thursday evening will feature the now-traditional fondue for 500+ people. Alongside the main conference there will be a “blogcamp”-like space for unplanned discussions and presentations, as well as an “off” space dedicated to design, art and games.

Here a quick rundown of the main tracks:

  • Internet in society — With Jyri Engestrom (he just sold microblogging platform Jaiku to Google), Jonathan Cabiria (on virtual environments and social inclusions) and others
  • User experience — With two tech anthropologists, Younghee Jung (Nokia, Tokyo) and Genevieve Bell (Intel, Seattle) and UC’s Paul Dourish.
  • Stories — With serial entrepreneur Rafi Haladjian and others.
  • A glimpse of Asia — With Marc Laperrouza, a specialist of new tech in China, Heewon Kim, a Korean researcher on teens and social networks, and others.
  • New Frontiers — With “cyborg” Kevin Warwick, Henry Markram who’s trying to simulate the functioning of brain cells, and Holm Friebe talking about new forms of cooperation and collaborative work.
  • Gaming — With Robin Hunicke (who worked on games for the Nintendo Wii) on gaming trends, and others.
  • Web and entreprises — With David Sadigh and David Marcus on how the web is reshuffling work practices.
  • Foresight — With future researchers Scott Smith (Changeist) and William Cockayne (Stanford) and Nokia designer Francesco Cara.

Haug also announced that LIFT is exporting itself to Asia: after a successful small launch event a few weeks ago in Seoul, South Korea, they’re now planning a full LIFTAsia in September 2008, again in Seoul.

I am very pleased to notice that Genevieve Bell, Paul Dourish and Francesco Cara are amongst the speakers.

4 September 2007

People regularly featured on this blog

In alphabetical order:

A
Marko Ahtisaari
Ken Anderson

B
Nik Baerten
Genevieve Bell
Chris Bernard
Tim Berners-Lee
Ralf Beuker
Nina Boesch
Danah Boyd
Stefana Broadbent
Tyler Brûlé
Bill Buxton

C
Jan Chipchase
Hilary Cottam
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Alistair Curtis

D
Uday Dandavate
Liz Danzico
Regine Debatty
Paul Dourish

E
Jyri Engeström
Richard Eisermann

G
Jesse James Garrett
Fabien Girardin
Anand Giridharadas
Bruno Giussani
Adam Greenfield

H
Laurent Haug

I
Mizuko Ito

J
Bob Jacobson
Matt Jones

K
Jonathan Kestenbaum
Anne Kirah
Dirk Knemeyer
Jon Kolko
Mike Kuniavsky

L
Loïc Lemeur
Dan Lockton
Victor Lombardi

M
Nico Macdonald
John Maeda
Ranjit Makkuni
Ezio Manzini
Roger Martin
Stefano Marzano
Simona Maschi
Bruce Mau
Grant McCracken
Jess McMullin
Peter Merholz
Crysta Metcalf
Bill Moggridge
Peter Morville
Ulla-Maaria Mutanen

N
Jakob Nielsen
Donald Norman
Nicolas Nova
Bruce Nussbaum

P
Steve Portigal

R
Carlo Ratti
Howard Rheingold
Louis Rosenfeld
Stephen Rustow

S
Dan Saffer
Nathan Shedroff
Jared Spool
Yaniv Steiner
Bruce Sterling

T
John Thackara

V
Marco van Hout
Rob van Kranenburg
Mark Vanderbeeken
Joannes Vandermeulen
Jeffrey Veen
Timo Veikkola
Michele Visciola
Eric von Hippel

W
Tricia Wang
Luke Wroblewski

Z
Paola Zini
Jan-Christoph Zoels

15 May 2007

Balance generated content – towards the end of user generated content?

Ballpark
Laurent Haug, founder of the LIFT conference, argues on the blog of the Swiss internet consultancy Ballpark, that we are moving away from the “all users are born equal” utopia, and entering a more balanced, productive and sustainable era where powers are divided again.

He distinguishes between three types of people:

  • the users, the legendary and volatile “content generators”, needed to scale the system to a dimension where it starts to matter.
  • the drivers, those building the community framework and, indirectly, allowing the participation incentives to flourish.
  • the experts, bringing credibility to the whole edifice by sharing their extensive knowledge of their part of the knowledge long tail.

Read full story

18 January 2007

Interview with LIFT 07 conference organisers

LIFT 07
Convivio, the European network for human-centred design of interactive technologies, has published an interview with Laurent Haug and Nicolas Nova, two of the organisers of LIFT 07, a conference that will be held in Geneva on February 7-9 2007, focused on the “challenges and opportunities of technology in our society”.

My Experientia business partner and friend, Jan-Christoph Zoels, is one of the main speakers. Others include Robert Scobble, vice president of media development at Podtech; Régine Debatty of we-make-money-not-art; Stefana Broadbent, head of User Adaption Lab at Swisscom; Jan Chipchase, principal scientist at Nokia Research Center; Bruno Giussani, writer; and Sister Judith Zoebelein, editorial director of the Internet Office of the Holy See; to name just a few.

In the interview, they discuss how the design of the conference last year, almost accidentally, became deeply human-centred and how they have added even more opportunities (LIFT +, Open Stage) this year for attendees to act like active contributors rather than passive recipients of somebody else’s messages.

Read interview

3 August 2006

PICNIC 2008

Experientia/Putting People First is a media partner of PICNIC 2008. Set up as a series of events – a top-class conference, seminars and workshops – PICNIC will be held in Amsterdam from 24 to 26 September this year, and will attract thousands of creative minds from all over the world.

Speakers

PICNIC brings together and disseminates the ideas and knowledge of the world’s best creators and innovators, including the following speakers: Stefan Agamanolis (scientist and developer); Genevieve Bell (anthropologist, Intel); Pim Betist (music lover and entrepreneur); Ben Cerveny (director, Playground Foundation); Matt Costello (writer and games developer); Esther Dyson (investor); Jyri Engeström (founder, Jaiku); Addy Feuerstein (founder, All of me); Eileen Gittins (founder, Blurb); Bruno Giussani (writer, commentator, entrepreneur); Adam Greenfield (futurist, Nokia); Rafi Haladjian (co-founder, Violet); Matt Hanson (movie maker); Laurent Haug (LIFT); Jeff Jarvis (media analyst, blogger); Michael B. Johnson (Pixar); Matt Jones (co-founder, Dopplr); Younghee Jung (senior design manager, Nokia); Ben Kaufman (founder, BKMedia, Mophie, Kluster); Aaron Koblin (artist, designer, researcher); Charles Leadbeater (advisor and author); Loic Le Meur (entrepreneur); Stefano Marzano (CEO, Philips Design); Bill Moggridge (founder, IDEO); Claus Nehmzow (general manager, Method); Madan Rao (consultant and writer); Martin de Ronde (director, OneBigGame); Ton Roosendaal (chairman, Blender Foundation); Philip Rosedale (founder, Linden Lab); Ken Rutkowski (KenRadio Broadcasting); Justus Schneider (marketeer); Clay Shirky (author); Eskil Steenberg (game designer); Linda Stone (writer, speaker, consultant); Kara Swisher (co-executive editor, AllThingsDigital); Itay Talgam (conductor); Michael Tchong (Ubercool); Peter Thaler (artist, entrepreneur); Vital Verlic (co-founder, OpenAd); Werner Vogels (CTO, Amazon); Kevin Wall (CEO, Control Room); and Ethan Zuckerman (blogger).

PICNIC Themes

The main theme of PICNIC’08 is “Collaborative Creativity” in its many guises. The organisers will look at new and connected forms of intelligence and creativity, from the fields of entertainment, science, the arts and business. From the global brain to crowd-sourced design, from data visualization techniques to fostering creativity; from connected cities to connected souls: in a series of ground-breaking presentations, discussions and debates PICNIC will explore the future of collaborative creativity and its implications for us all.

Below some of the themes the PICNIC’08 Conference will explore:

  • The Global Mind What happens if everyone is connected to everyone, all the time? PICNIC explores collaborative creative processes that involve large groups of people.
  • The Tupperware Economy Friends’ referrals are at the heart of new ‘advertising’ programmes. Social networks are commercial ventures that interlink communication and commerce in new ways.
  • Almost Real Advances in technology are also connecting us in new ways. From 3D cinema, to life video interactions and from 4K video to distributed opera, PICNIC explores reality in its new digital guise.
  • Future Urban Spaces Cities are experiments in new social forms, based on real-time information and feedback. How can we develop sustainable cities?
  • Creative Leadership How can leaders orchestrate creativity and innovation in an age of collaboration?
  • Domination of Infotainment Today more than ever, we can follow events as they unfold. The adrenaline of live reporting, turns news in to a game.

Media partnership with Putting People First

In the months leading up to the event, Putting People First, will feature several interviews with the speakers, including some exclusive ones. During the event we will also cover the event live.

Last updated: 24 May 2008