The Next Generation

Via Andrew Sullivan:

The next generation – Generation Y, the Millennials, the Net Generation – emerges, announces itself and declares its intentions this year.

I talk about these amazing, creative and post-partisan young people a lot in my work – their values, the way they work, their use of media, their learning styles. I usually explain that my role, and the role of my Generation X peers, is to act as translators and brokers between the Boomers and their Millennial children – transferring knowledge, power and capital to a new generation that will become the dominant force in our future. I know my place, and I have confidence in their abilities to fix the crap their parents have left in their wake.

SummerCamp: A Toronto Creative Mashup Event

summercamp.gifA series of happy coincidences conspired to give Toronto a great new event that’s taking off like a rocket! SummerCamp falls hot on the heals of CaseCampToronto7, CopyCamp2008, CIX and StartupCampToronto2, a major mid-week after-party that CommunityNorth calls “one camp to rule them all”.

This unusual convergence of open/unconference events all happening the evening of the 29th and CaseCamp steward Eli Singer’s booking of the amazing megaclub CiRCA presented an opportunity too good to pass up. Many thanks to CaseCamp sponsors comScore, Thornley Fallis, InterCom Search, Social Media Group,, Segal Communications, FreshBooks and nextMedia for making the space available. Special thanks to Rob Hyndman|Hyndman Law for helping us pickup some extra expenses to make SummerCamp a reality.

Creative convergence happens on the dancefloor!

SummerCamp Dance Party

CaseCamp along with its sponsors transform CiRCA into ground zero for Toronto’s creative communities: art, design, communications, technology, media, social change and entrepreneurship. DJs, interactive art, and the closest friends you haven’t met celebrating their passion for participatory culture, creative practice and society.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008 9:00 PM – Close
126 John Street
Toronto, Ontario M4V 2E3
RSVP on the Facebook event.

Enjoy a late night party and a great lineup:

  • Andrew McConachie (DJ Set)
  • Jimmy Blak (DJ Set)
  • Abdul Smooth (DJ + Visuals)
  • Gabe Sawhney (Interactive Visual Installation)
  • Newmindspace (Cool Stuff TBA)

Trust me, you won’t want to miss this. Book off the next morning and celebrate with Toronto’s emerging creative leaders who are remaking the city. A glance at the Facebook guest list shows one of the most exciting gatherings of creative change-makers and rabble-rowsers in town. Just some of the groups and communities represented:

CaseCamp, StartupCamp, CopyCamp, DemoCamp, PodCamp, FacebookCamp, SciBarCamp, Third Tuesday, Emerging Arts Professionals, ArtsScene, Mercer Union, The Movement, FlashInTO, CFC Medialab, Metronauts/TransitCamp, Centre for Social Innovation, The Overlap, The Beal Institute, VizThink, OpenCities/OpenEverything, Newmindspace, Trampoline Hall, Mobile Jam Fest, Spacing, BlogTO, Talk20 Toronto, WirelessToronto, Mesh, nextMedia, CIX, and many many more. (sorry, my linking finger got tired: Ed.)

Innovation. Creativity. Enterprise.

iStock_000002456857Medium[ICE08] A vision for Canada’s future in digital and interactive media and technology…

In 2018, Canada has embraced its role as a model power of digital innovation and become a key node in the emerging global network economy.

Accelerating technological change has altered human behaviour patterns and radically reduced the transaction costs of communication, negotiation and enforcement between and among firms and individual creators.

The web is us. We are increasingly aware of each other, our interdependency and the artifacts of our physical lives made digital. We are also rediscovering lost aspects of ourselves through our heightened relationship with the Other. Canada’s digital citizens have embraced the creative age and are rediscovering their individual creative agency, sense of purpose and values.

Significant private and public investment in ultra-broadband fibre and the continuous march of accelerating technological change is reducing the cost of moving bits towards zero, both over fixed and wireless networks. This inevitable technosocial reality has reconfigured the relationship between creator, content and audience.

Infinitely abundant digital content itself has been transformed. Content is currency, signal and signifier of resources that are naturally scarce: attention, the rare and valuable relationship between creator and audience, unique experiences of transcendent collectivity and the appreciation of rare social and physical objects of culture.

Canada’s media and technology industry underwent a painful transformation process, remaking the supply chain from a few large companies into open commercialization networks of micro-enterprises building social web tools and embracing the economics of abundance.

The new Canadian broadband and media conglomerates embraced their roles as pools of brand-power and capital within a broader open commercialization ecosystem. They shifted their business models and attention towards the edges, embracing the 1% as important to their future adding new venture investment arms attached to their innovation groups.

Together, this tightly interwoven but loosely structured network economy is accelerating through time, projecting the cultural creative values of Canadians into a hopeful shared global future.

Enter the DEMOCAMP/ICE08 blogging contest.

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: 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””

Gen Y Growing Up Online | Will Pate’s Blog

Will Pate links to a really great PBS Frontline documentary, Growing Up Online:

If you want to understand the generation gap between us Gen Y kids and our Baby Boomer parents, you can’t beat this show. You can literally see in the eyes of the parents their fear at how fast their kids are evolving, their frustration at the amount of their kids lives kept private from them but made public on the internet, their media-fueled paranoia about child predators, the pain of realizing their son used the internet to get the know how and the support he needed to take his own life before he was old enough to drive a car. Kids are changing too fast for their parents to possibly keep up, and that’s not a good feeling.

[From Gen Y Growing Up Online | Will Pate’s Blog]

And what of us Gen X’ers who only partially get it?

Obama inspires! (From Gen-X Apathy to Sense of Purpose)

I have been following the U.S. democratic primaries pretty closely and I am struck by Barack Obama’s amazing talent to transcend everyday politics and inspire in a way that no leader has done in my lifetime. Obama’s abilities and his unique and transformative potential were well articulated both by small-c conservative libertarian Andrew Sullivan in the Atlantic Monthly and by Caroline Kennedy in this weekend’s NY Times.His ability to engage the passion of youth and unite it with the wisdom of age inspires me. In my community engagement work, I am attempting a similar kind of engagement and I am learning a lot just by thinking about this task in the context of the emerging Obama moment. If successful, he will be the first President of the Social Web Age.

But you only need to witness the man himself in his moment.

Why do I want to believe? Because we are facing increasingly intractable and difficult problems. The old ideologies are failing us. Government is failing us. Corporations and other large institutions are failing us. I believe that human culture applied through our creative passion will solve the most difficult problems of our age. They are, in fact, the only things that ever have. We have no choice but to unite, collaborate in new ways and harness the creative spark in every individual. It’s not a matter of being idealistic, it’s a matter of survival and the resilience of our communities and society in the face of accelerating change.

Why do we engage young people? Because they have the energy, the passion, the new ideas and the skills to realize them. They also need the wisdom, knowledge and experience of their parents generation.

If Millennials have the passion and ideas, and the Boomers have the power, authority, capital and experience, then the epochal role of Gen-X folks like me is to help broker the relationship between the Millennials and their parents. We are the ones working to build the institutional structures and the inter-generational interfaces of the new millennium. This is my mission and the focus of my consulting work, and I know it describes the role of many of us in our own ways.

Mark Kingwell on Toronto, justice and fauxhemian hucksterism

A harsh critique from one of Toronto’s best public intellectuals in The Walrus. [Hat tip: Joey , BlogTO and Kelly.]

Kingwell argues that there is nothing new about Toronto as a rich source of ideas and the shift “of Canada from being a resource basket to a linked series of communications nodes held together by thought”, and continues…

But the economic and social conditions of ideas have changed, here as much as elsewhere, putting the city on the brink of a certain kind of identity, and a certain kind of success: a creative-class boom town. My suggestion is that we are thinking about this possibility in exactly the wrong way. The question for Toronto now is not whether ideas can flourish in this place, because demonstrably they do, but what consequences in justice that flourishing will entail. On the edge of new identities and possibilities, what is our idea of justice?

It’s a good read. Kingwell describes the central creative era political faultline around the question “what is the city for?”. Is the city for glory or for justice? Kingwell argues,

Though a city in pursuit of glory may neglect justice, the opposite does not hold: a truly just city is always a glorious one, because it allows greatness even as it looks to the conditions of strangeness posed by the other.

Kingwell warns against a certain “hucksterism” in the creative city agenda that sees the city as a glittering entertainment space for the bohemian bourgeois. You can see this vision being realized everyday in the horrifying marketing campaigns of downtown loft condos targeted at the nouveau-hipster-doofus.

Another great quote:

Toronto is not a city in the modern sense of a unified whole. I suspect it never will be, and probably need not try. Toronto is, instead, a linked series of towns loosely held together by the gravitational force of its downtown core and the pinned-in-place effect of the surveillance rod we call the CN Tower. Like Canada in general, that triumph of communications technology in defiance of all nationalist sense, Toronto is postmodern in both its geography and its psychogeography. There is a physical centre, in the sense of a summing of vectors like a centre of gravity, but there is no normative or mythic one, no single agora or narrative. This much is obvious, and often said. But we continue to fail in grasping its political significance.

Great food for thought, the whole piece is a must read. I’m interested in your take on it.