Feb 1, 2009

PICNIC 2008: Media, Technology, Entertainment, Art & Science

PICNIC, an interdisciplinary conference, is held each year in Amsterdam, with delegates who come from a variety of countries. "PICNIC spotlights cutting-edge products and services at the intersection of media, technology, arts and entertainment, and brings together entrepreneurs, investors, creators as well as scientists, and other industry leaders." PICNIC 2008 was attended by over 8000 people.

One of the fun highlights of the conference: Participants were encouraged to use a RFID-enabled tag, linked to their online profiles, which enabled them to participate in a
variety of interactive Social RFID games.

Videos of the 2008 PICNIC presentations and panels can be found online on the Vimeo website. I've selected a few that I found interesting, especially the ones from the "Can You See What I Know" strand about data visualization.

Some themes and videos from Picnic 2008

Can You See What I Know?
"Artist, scientists and designers are exploring a new world of software aesthetics and developing new languages for interactive and visual expression. How can we make information intuitively meaningful?" Presenter: Paul Wouters, program leader of the Virtual Knowledge Studio for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

Paul Wouters at PICNIC08: Can you see what I know? from PICNICCrossmediaweek on Vimeo.
"How do you mediate the relationships between the arts and sciences, and in fact, more specifically, between academy and commerce?"

"Data is not the end of theory, nor is it the beginning, a mistake made by many social scientists. Data are the result of theory...Massive, bottom-up annotation of our physical and symbolic environment exemplifies therefore not for the end of theory, but for it's proliferation. This does, of course, considerably raise the stakes. It intensifies the social responsibility for all knowledge creators...The answer will be given by how we shape visual knowledge".

"The trouble of cross disciplinary work is difficult. It is a nightmare, and there are reasons for it."

Design as a Collaborative Process Presenter: Bill Moggridge, founder of IDEO, a design firm.
"New interactions develop into new design practices; new processes induce new forms of creativity. How can creators involve the people they want to create for in their work?"

Bill Moggridge at PICNIC08: Design as a Collaborative Process from PICNICCrossmediaweek on Vimeo.

Celebrating Collaborative Creativity-Showcase of Creative Production
Presenter: Ton Roosendaal, founder of
Blender, an open-source, cross-platform suite of tools for 3D creation

Ton Roosendaal at PICNIC08: Celebrating Collaborative Creativity - Showcase of Creative Production from PICNICCrossmediaweek on Vimeo.

Emerging Real-Time Social Web: Philip Rosedale, founder of 3D online world of Second Life

Philip Rosedale at PICNIC08: The Emerging Real-Time Social Web from PICNICCrossmediaweek on Vimeo.

What Will Google Do? How Google Innovates
Gisel Hiscock, Director of Business development, Google EMEA

Gisel Hiscock at PICNIC08: What will Google do? from PICNICCrossmediaweek on Vimeo.
From presentation:

This is what Google DOES
Start with a clear mission that withstands time:
  • Democratising access to the world's information
  • The best search engine should give you exactly what you want
  • People should have access to information whenever they want and however they want it
  • Keep it open
  • The litmus test: does it stand the test of time?
This is what Google DOESN'T do:
  • Traditional product management; incremental features, ROI/Finance-driven, pie charts, etc.
  • Think small, niche solutions, short-term thinking, incremental improvement, vertical solutions
  • Go it alone- At Google, all information and vision must be shared across all teams
  • Forget our guiding principle: users come first, not money.
Overview of Google's Innovation Principles:
  • Hire the best
  • Create a culture of "Do's"
  • Everyone can contribute - ideas come from everywhere and all people
  • Share all information - objects and plans are posted on line.
  • Share your vision at every level. Vision must be shared with the team
  • Morph ideas, don't just kill them
  • Speed matters (Google Labs with feedback from users and customers)
  • Data driven:"We are fully data driven...there is no decision that is made without pure data, and real numbers to back it up.
  • Users come first
  • "You really have to focus on what the user wants, what is it that they want to do on line,
  • 20% is at our core- everyone in the company has time to work on their individual projects.
Visualizing Knowledge Spaces - Marco Quaggiotto

Knowledge cartographies / Trailer from Marco Quaggiotto on Vimeo.

Knowledge Cartography (pdf)
Knowledge Atlas: A cartographic approach to social structures of knowledge (pdf)

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