LIFT: William Cockayne, “Foresight to Innovation”

See Michele’s fantastic notes from William Cockayne‘s excellent talk at LIFT about foresight, it’s connection to innovation and the roles that people tend to take within a product innovation cycle. Great stuff. I’m embedding the video here: 😉

It’s a great talk which gave me lots of food for thought. Michele took the time to recreate some of Cockayne’s images from his slides, the most important of which is the following which describes the four common roles of expert, breadth + depth, breakout and innovator:


Michele builds upon Cockayne’s foresight to innovation role/actor model to offer an alternative view of an innovation process that more closely reflects the subjective impressions of being part of a open, creative and chaordic system, which I think is genius! She describes it as a model to deliver “timely awesomeness”. (Michele is herself timely awesomeness!)

Check it out:


not flowing along a regulated path, each eddy is an iteration, receptive to changes in external and internal environs, and accept the nature of ambiguity as something to work with. larger eddies flow towards foresight and visioning, smaller eddies flow towards prototyping and design. research does not stop. the process ebbs and flows between the two.

And now you know why I want to work with Michele Perras, Super-Genius. I’ve always found linear innovation pipeline models to be not terribly useful to reflect the ambiguity observed actual creative work. While some industry innovation cycles do look like your standard pipeline or funnel model, the remixability, permanent ambiguity and limitlessness of digital materials mean that old models don’t offer much insight for a new world of digital objects and subjective human experiences of those objects. Michele is onto something here.

Fix the Canadian television content funding regime

annualreport0607.pdf (page 1 of 104)

This appears entirely reasonable to me:

“We don’t think it’s a radical proposal. We’re interested in Canadian eyeballs for Canadian programs,” Lind told the commission. However, he added, “It’s confusing when everybody has their hand in the pie. To maximize Canadian audiences in primetime, social policy objectives need to be elsewhere.”

[From Playback :: Rogers calls for market-driven fund]

I’m no fan of Rogers anti-competitive behaviour in the mobile and broadband arena, but I have to agree with the tenor of their approach to the much-maligned CTF. I want to see top-quality Canadian content succeed on Canadian screens as well as around the world. I don’t think mixing economic and cultural policy agendas has been very successful to date and will become increasingly irrelevant unless some drastic changes are made. The CBC should focus on its mandate of telling Canadian stories to Canadians and be well-funded to do so.


If the cablecos get their wish on CTF reform towards a more market-centric approach, then I think it is fair that those funds also be made available for indie producers for broadband distribution without discrimination or the requirement for broadcast network distribution deals.

Dear CTF: Open up the process, let viewers decide on what gets funded. Maybe the CTF (or some successor institution) could learn something from A Swarm of Angels or FilmRiot and actually innovate instead of foot-dragging on change.

This is the single biggest policy change that could support the emergence of a new generation of Canadian innovators in content and business models, who can develop quirky and compelling niche content on small budgets with potential global audience appeal. This is my dream – am I alone?

LIFT: Genevieve Bell, “Secrets, lies & digital deceptions”

I love digital ethnographers and anthropologists! LIFT08 had a strong program of anthropological and ethnographic research and practice. Genevieve Bell is an anthropologist at Intel (which sounds like a great gig!). She gave an insightful presentation about digital deception based upon a solid understanding of human behaviour around secrets and lies. She argues that understanding secrets and lies provides better insight into issues of privacy and security.

Fascinating stuff – watch the video:

Presentation notes after the jump…

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LIFT: Holm Friebe and Philipp Albers, “The Hedonistic Company”

Holm Friebe and Philipp Albers delivered a presentation at LIFT on a topic that’s close to my heart: the future of work, exploring new forms of self-organizing “unorganizations” of creative free agents. Of course, I’ve been thinking about similar issues as I consider how to scale Remarkk! Consulting, so I took particular interest and had a great conversation with the guys over fondue. (which, btw, is the best part of LIFT!)

Friebe’s book, Wir nennen es Arbeit (“We call it work”) is a bestseller in Germany that has been described as “youth economic manifesto”. They organized a conference in Berlin also called Wir nennen es Arbeit Festival-Camp, which looked like tremendous fun and is possible inspiration for a Toronto FreeAgentCamp or Future of Work conference. These guys apparently invented Powerpoint Karaoke (fact check anyone?), and put on events like a poetry slam with sms voting and electro-shock feedback. They are looking to develop coworking spaces to accommodate their starfish adhocracy.  This is not your father’s creative agency.
Presentation notes after the jump…

Continue reading “LIFT: Holm Friebe and Philipp Albers, “The Hedonistic Company””

LIFTers underground at CERN

Lifters underground at CERN, originally uploaded by Kooze.

I had a fascinating tour of the Large Hedron Collider at CERN on Saturday. This was one of the last opportunities for members of the public to get inside this amazing, mind-boggling project probing the frontiers of physics and our understanding of the universe before it gets switched on this summer. Something to tell the grandkids.

Our guide Bilge Demirköz is a research fellow at CERN who is searching for evidence of dark matter. She gave a tour through not only the facility, but also across the history of particle physics through 30 Nobel prizes. Her passion for the subject was infectious, as you could sense the excitement of scientific exploration at the frontiers.

LIFT Workshop: Online Communities Clinic, Pedro Custodio

Reboot9 First Day 34: Pedro Cust? on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Pedro Custodio did a great workshop, an “Online Communities Clinic”. Good material, really solid foundation for thinking about and planning user interactions for online communities. Once the slides are on Slideshare I’ll update this post and embed. (If you want to see them when uploaded, leave a comment on this post.)

My rough notes follow after the jump….

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Accelerating the TransitCamp community!

Pleased with the validation of having our TransitCamp article published in Harvard Business Review (co-authored by Eli, Jay and I), we were looking for ways to continue to develop the TransitCamp community from that first event exactly 1 year ago. We wanted to spread the idea far and wide. Well, it looks like we’ll have our wish – and on a bigger scale than we were imagining.

On the anniversary of the first TransitCamp, I am excited to announce that Remarkk! Consulting, working with a stellar cast from the TransitCamp and OpenCities communities, has been engaged by Metrolinx (aka, the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority) in order to adapt and extend the TransitCamp community across the vast city-region of the GTA and Hamilton and from transit into all aspects of integrated regional mobility, including roads, bike routes and pedestrian experiences.

What is TransitCamp?

TransitCamp is a solutions playground, not a complaints department. TransitCamp is an open creative community.

As described in the Harvard Business Review article [Sick Transit Gloria], we will use open source tools (including unconferences) to bring together community members from across the GTA and Hamilton to participate in intense, participatory and fun face-to-face and online happenings to reimagine the future of the region’s transportation system. This will be, above all, a community-led experience. While we are helping to build the platforms, it is people passionate about transit and transportation issues in the region who will provide the content.

We were delighted to discover that Rob MacIsaac, Chair of Metrolinx and the Metrolinx planning and communications staff are open to new ideas and approaches. The community will have an unprecedented opportunity to contribute to the future of the region in a very tangible way. Metrolinx is responsible for developing an integrated Regional Transportation Plan in 2008 and is the Ontario government agency responsible for deploying at least $17 billion in new capital to projects across the region.

But this is a Camp, so it’s not all serious. We’re also going to have a lot of Campy fun. There will be accordions and chickens and other mayhem.

When is the next TransitCamp?

No date has been set just yet, but we would like to have the next TransitCamp in March. Watch this space! We are planning a series of TransitCamps across the GTA, so we can look forward to doing more than just one event over the coming months.

How do you get involved?

  1. Join the TransitCamp Google Group. You will receive updates from the organizers, and also be able to join the discussion and participate in the design of the unconference experience. (Twitterers can follow here. You can also join the Facebook group.)
  2. Read about the original TransitCamp experience from February 2007. There are many links of interest on this wiki page.
  3. Check out the Regional Transportation Plan papers on the Metrolinx site and start imagining the future.
  4. Participate!

What does participation mean?

Help us design the events and the online community spaces and help fill them with your aspirations, ideas and passions. Tell us what you would like to do together as a community.

You can leave comments on this blog post, or start a thread on the Google Group, or blog about it, share videos, photos – express yourself! (tag: transitcamp).

If TransitCamp is a solutions playground, every game on the playground needs basic rules so that the participants can have the best play possible. What kinds of games would you design?

Who is already involved?

Eli Singer; Jay Goldman; Sean Howard; Misha Glouberman; Michele Perras; Daniel Rose; David Eaves; Mark Surman; David Crow; Jed Kilbourn (don’t worry, we’ll get him a blog soon); and soon many others….

FAQ Links:

What is an unconference?

Why “unconferences” are fun conferences

What is a wiki?