Apr 2, 2009

Do It Ourselves - Yes We Can

I was privileged to attend the PSFK conference down in Battery Park. I must say, it was a tremendously inspiring event. There were many great innovations flowing throughout the day. It was really wild to see everyone on their laptop or their iPhone (or both) Twittering or blogging or taking notes while listening to the preso. Instead of the old school attitude around people not paying attention to the presenter if they're on their mobile device - it appeared the technological juggling was encouraged. Mainly, because it was a way to drum up more interest and business for the presenting organizations.

Throughout the day I continued to hear the same thing in my head - businesses better wake up and start changing with the tide or they're going to find their industry has changed and passed them by (ala newspapers). Realistically speaking, huge corporate change will take a long time… But I would encourage businesses and industries to identify ways to lead the change; digging your heels into the past is a sure fire way to cast yourself as a dinosaur in the future.

Piers Fawkes - Psfk.com

When Ideas Create Good: Graham Hill - TreeHugger.com. He threw a bunch of great examples at us that ran the gamut but were based on independent thought leaders leading change in various parts of the world from third world countries, to hippies, to larger businesses.

Building Healthy Brands with Heart: Help Remedies, Richard Fine; HelloHealth, Sean Khozin & Jay Parkinson.
Memorable quote: “Patients pay (doctors) $10,000 to treat Asthma and $300 to prevent Asthma”

Ghost in the Machine – Digital Multiculture: Celestine Arnold. Provocative presentation regarding the large numbers of minorities on video games, virtual worlds and social networking sites and yet the representation of minorities is limited and often very stereotypical.

This Platform Called Everyday Life: Kevin Slavin – Area/Code. Kevin’s point of view is that the cellphone is merely one component of a mobile platform. He also brought up some incredibly thought-provoking ideas on the transformation of inanimate objects into beings that interact with the help of technology (ie: plants that email you when they need water, Nike sneakers that work with your iPod). Kevin said we would eventually have 2 representations of ourselves; the physical being and the online being. I wonder if it's possible for those 2 representations to merge into one.

Reconnect: Sarah Beatty – GreenDepot; Simon Colling – Parsons; Ryan Jacoby – IDEO; Matthew Lusk – Hecho, Inc.
The panel discussed the convergence of sustainability and social conscience with design. Lots of discussion about what sustainability actually means – the definitions led me to define it as continuous improvement.

New Idea Agencies: Bart Haney – fuseproject; Carl Johnson – Anomaly; Ben Malbon – BBH Labs; Robbie Vitrano – Trumpet.
Panel conversation regarding agencies that are actually immersing themselves in their customer’s business or, in some cases, actually acting as customer and agency by creating a product/service and taking it from inception thru to market. How do the agencies balance their pure client interests with the agency’s own product/service work? May be hard to remain agnostic and prioritize. I love the idea – it gives the agency the ability to experience what it’s like as a customer which can only help in building relationships with their customers.

New York New Media: Edward Felsenthal – The Daily Beast.
Discussion around the state of traditional news publishing and what the future holds.

Open to Change: John Geraci - Outside.in; Scott Heiferman - Meetup; Avner Ronen - boxee; Domenico Vitale - PI&C. Fabulous discussion around crowd sourcing. Can’t wait to check out each of these websites; I do know Meetup which is a great way to connect with folks with mutual interests that run the gamut from rescue dog owners all the way to sky divers.
Memorable quote: "the power of self organized groups has always been what's changed the world." ~ Scott Heiferman
Other memorable quote: “There are 30,000 mom Meetups” ~ Scott Heiferman
Last memorable quote (Heiferman was quite quotey yesterday): "Let's make it Do It Ourselves, together as a group" ~ Scott Heiferman

I left after this discussion, so I missed the Wooster Collective, which sounded like it was another great presentation.

Will any of these folks make piles of money - the jury is out right now. Will they have a great time working on stuff they're passionate about? Heck yeah. As society evolves and people are encouraged to believe that anything is possible - imagine the day when we're all doing what we actually love to do and we're being compensated for it. Maybe that's not realistic, there's always going to be crummy jobs that no one wants to do, but perhaps we'll find a way to automate those jobs?!

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