VizThink Community in Toronto

Ryan Coleman, a TorCamp Citizen I’ve come to know and love, did a fantastic job in hosting and facilitating VizThink1 a visual thinking jam session last night at his offices at Clay Tablet.

Ryan really stepped up the plate, added a whole new dimension to our community and facilitated a whole new conversation. And because he setup the wiki using the BarCamp event pattern, this one event will trigger more and will almost certainly go global. The goal (visually presented, of course):

Picture 4

So who is this nascent new community? Well, this is it (for now):

See Ryan’s full presentation on SlideShare:

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Italian Man Threatened for supporting a BarCamp

BarCamp London friend (and Italian) Riccardo “Bru” Cambiassi reports about a very threatening note a BarCamp organizer in Italy received for organizing rItaliaCamp to open up discussion about the 40 million Euro portal. Who is threatened by openness and participation? Some people are very threatened, apparently. Please DIGG this story.

read more | digg story

Essay: What is an Open Creative Community?

Three weeks ago, I coined a new term in my attempt to understand and communicate some of the ideas under the surface of Toronto Transit Camp. I referred to Transit Camp and BarCamp as open creative communities. It was a vague notion founded on my intuitions about what I have been observing in places as diverse and apparently disconnected as BarCamp to CaseCamp to NewMindSpace to Burning Man.

So what do marketers and tech geeks have in common with half-naked neo-tribal bohemians in the desert?

Alive, originally uploaded by Thomas Hawk.

These are communities of interest, practice, proximity and values.

These communities live in a hybrid virtual- and place-based geography. They are hyper-creative and produce some phenomenal artifacts of human ingenuity and culture. They are open, in that the barrier to entry is not a membership fee or a geographic line in the sand or a common ethnicity. The barrier to entry is creative citizenship, and you are either a citizen and a participant or you are not, based on your individual relationship to that community’s interests, practices, proximity and values.

They are communities with both global and local dimensions. And they are self-organizing at an increasingly rapid rate, in the most unexpected places. (more after the jump)

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Continue reading “Essay: What is an Open Creative Community?”

Tales of the Unexpected: Transit Camp inspires ChurchCamp!

I’m not making this up. Read the inspiration here. Pastor Chuck Warnock of Chatham Baptist Church, Virginia saw something in the Transit Camp model that he felt was needed in the Church. In particular, the BarCamp principles as we outlined them:

Bar Camp Principles Apply:

  1. We are equal individuals in an open community.
  2. Leadership can emerge from anywhere.
  3. We are all participants.

Pastor Warnock apparently saw a need for openness, self-organization and participation in the Church:

I just think this is amazing. Here we have a self-organized group of transit evangelists who are getting together on their own to help the transit system improve and they have principles that any church should be shouting from the rooftops — equal individuals in open community, leaders emerge from anywhere, and all are participants.

Maybe we ought to let non-church members organize churches for us.

Warnock’s ChurchCamp wiki is up, a solutions playground for the church, with the 3 principles given prominence of place, like a wikified version of Luther’s 95 Theses.

If we needed proof about the amazing hunger in the world outside tech for the methods and tools for openness, participation and community being developed in the BarCamp community laboratory, we need look no further.

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Read Tom’s “Vista’s DRM mistake, and the decline of Microsoft Windows”

Vista’s DRM mistake, and the decline of Microsoft Windows:
Microsoft introduces Vista to area bloggers, Nov. 2006
Tom’s done a fantastic job summarizing the current state of things with respect to MSFT, Vista, DRM, Big IT, Enterprise 2.0 and how they are all interlinked into a bigger story about the long-term trend towards OPEN. Some key quotes:

No, the next revolution in business productivity comes from empowering *people*, and not Big IT. The next revolution comes from embracing emergent uses of tools and a default status of “openness� not the other way around. Port 80 has set us free [port 80 is used by web browsers to access the greater internet and the one loophole left necessarily, grudgingly, open in every corporate firewall].

Meanwhile those who know, and those who are [not] tied to corporate IT have switched to Mac already. It was the MacBookPro and Apple’s switch to powerful (and finally equivalent/better) x86 hardware that did it. Try going to a tech or blogger conference and every single person sitting comfortably ensconced behind the glowing Apple logo of their MacBooks.

Read the whole post.

Ryan Feeley on Spotlight Whack-a-Mole

Ryan Feeley has a blog. Expect to see lots of usability critique, urban warrior tools and food porn.

Ryan was a proto-photo-travel-blogger back in the day, long before LiveJournal or Movable Type. It was called Wrecktangle, and it was genius. So why did it take Ryan so long to find his voice post 1.0? Good question, let’s ask him.

In the meantime, read Ryan’s pithy critique of Apple OS X’s Spotlight feature.

Harnessing Social Media for People Living With HIV/AIDS

I’m excited to be cycling from Toronto to Montreal again this year in support of PWA Toronto, the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation. Last year was my first year doing the ride, and it was a remarkable experience. Yes, that kind of remarkable.

6 days, 600 km, 200 riders, 1 good cause. Last year we raised $600,000. I have no doubt that Co-chair Walter and the rest of team are going to pull out all the stops to surpass that milestone by a significant margin this year.

I learned a lot last year…about the human spirit, about the power of possibility, about our need to find ourselves in community with others. What seemed at first a distant impossibility was in the end a simple act of pedaling, one stroke after another.

I’m looking to my friends, colleagues, clients, blog readers and the members of the various communities of which I am a member to help me continue this journey this year. It is your support in the past that made last year possible, where I raised $2,500 for the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation. This year, my target is $5,000, and I hope to surpass that goal.

Please Pledge Me in the 2007 Bike Rally for PWA Toronto

I also want to experiment with social media tools to both enhance my fundraising efforts, to increase the profile of the event and to enhance and maintain the sense of community that gets created in the ever-evolving packs of riders on the road.

Many riders experience a post-Bike Rally depression. Believe it or not, we grieve: for the open road, for that sense of personal challenge and most of all for our wolfpack, our loose and shifting community which is a moving, living, breathing entity in its own right.

I have created an informal Facebook group for Bike Rally riders, crew, friends and supporters. The Bike Rally also collects a list of blogs, which I’ll share as well.

There is also a great opportunity to document the journey with blogs, photoblogs and videoblogs from the road. Anybody interested in volunteering as crew as part of a social media team? Can we get some sponsorship for EVDO wireless cards and service? There are hundreds of stories during the ride, and a huge extended community of interest who want to follow them and participate in them.

Coopetition is a Dirty Word…Dirty in a Good Way

Small firms often need to cooperate to compete. That’s what the Entertainment & Creative Cluster Partnerships fund is all about. Jay recently threatened to slap me if I used the word coopetition, but he’s in Redmond now, so I feel safe.

Check out Jevon MacDonald of Firestoker making the call for collaboration to his startup competition in the Enterprise 2.0 space. Of course, they are Enterprise 2.0, so they WOULD naturally move to the new paradigm.

So, are stealth startups dead? If you’re a closely guarded secret, how do you attract the kind of attention you need to forge partnerships, gather users, talent and other resources?

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Read Michele Perras, “Shot from the Hip”

I love Michele, who is my newest oldest friend. Read her most recent reflections on Open Cities and the Lift Conference, where she is exploring the concept of communities of values. This links to my concept of “open creative communities”, which deserves a post (coming soon).

It shocks me to think that we’ve only known each other a month since the Alex Manu book launch (read the David Crow review) at Rotman on January 18th. It feels like I’ve known her much longer. I quickly fell in love with her mind, her wit and her joie de vivre, and had the pleasure of Lifting with her, Tom, Joshua and other new friends in Geneva, and enjoying fantastic conversations at dinner chez Surman this past Saturday.

Michele and her colleagues at the Beal Institute for Strategic Creativity are playing at the edges, and I get giddy when I have the opportunity to play with them. I look forward to more of those opportunities.