Webstock, a design and technology conference held in Wellington, was once again packed with ideas, passion, inspiration and fun.
Highlights for me:
- Fiona Romeo – how the Royal Observatory is using crowd sourcing to get people involved with science, making science easy fun and interesting, in turn people are actually having a significant impact on science. She showed several different projects, each of them was a brilliantly simple example of how to engage and harness the energy of thousands of people…
- Upload your night sky photos to a Flickr group, then software analyzes the images, identifying and tagging the star system in your photos.
- Galaxy Zoo is a game where you’re shown a photo of a star system and you need to classify the type of galaxy. It’s easy, fun and addictive (sound familiar?). In the past, they had one full time employee do this over several years. Now they have thousands of people all over the world processing millions of images, resulting in the discovery of new galaxies!!
- Adrian Holovaty, Matt Jones, Tom Coates – were all riffing on the same theme: surfacing metadata to expose implicit behavioral patterns – making the invisible visible. Help people discover what’s happening in their neighborhood. Other interesting examples were a plant that Twitters when its water is low or a bridge that Twitters when it’s opening or closing. The goal: Help people become aware of what’s all around and aware of their own behavior. Awareness let’s us see the world in a new way. It’s also the first step to change.
- Ze Frank – finding fun ways to inject some humanity into technology and create ‘social resonance’. In the coldness of cyberspace people are discovering, creating and sharing their quirks , vulnerabilities, and moments of tenderness or absurdity. Ze is inspiring people to embrace their beautiful imperfections and he likes to challenge our collective beliefs.
Those are just a few of the big highlights. The list could just keep going for miles.
Whatever business you’re in, you could and should be applying many of these ideas in your work.