TEDX BRIGHTON 2014

‘MANY HANDS’

Exposed to lots of stretchy new thinking, it’s good to wait a few days and see what sticks with you. So, a couple of days on and here are the three ideas which are still front of our mind from this year’s TEDx Brighton.

Firstly, a real connection with Karl Mattingley from slowXchange.com which crowdsources forecasts on financial performance, creditworthiness and management quality of the world’s top 2,000 listed companies. He springboards off James Surowiecki’s 2004 thinking in Wisdom of Crowds to reinforce how crowdsourced opinion & judgement gets to consistently better answers. A great parallel with our live semiotics app Cymbol, which helps us to predict cultural change, category futures and to build reliable anticipatory strategies for brands and organisations. The key is that crowdsourcing semiotic and cultural insight reduces the risk of bias and group think which smart small, like-minded groups of people need to be aware of, and dramatically increases diversity in our thinking. Cymbol gets us closer to the truth.

Secondly, the very motivating Googler/Educator/Inventor Stefania Druga impressed on us the power of “make culture”. This is not a slightly whimsical interest in knitting, whittling and baking but seriously equipping kids in SubSaharan Africa with the skills and know-how to build electronics and digital tools to monitor electricity consumption, to understand when air pollution gets dangerous. Upcycling defunct webcams to make microscopes, recycling materials into circuits, sensors, timers, information systems. Materiality, empowerment. Jacques Peretti of ‘The Men Who Make Us’ fame spoke about hands ‘reconnecting us with ourselves’ as we look to restructure the worst of consumerism which is by nature, disconnected from the body. What a fantastic prompt to us to push forward into our own physical prototyping and material realisation of ideas with our clients.

Finally, ask a 5-13 year old kid how disused urban spaces should be reinvented and they know it intuitively – they know what they want, what’s safe, what’s fun, what makes life positive. Megan Leckie and her partner Joe Palmer at blockbuilders.co.uk saw that potential – the genius stroke was getting kids to use their own language, MineCraft to show the rest of us the way to go. Once the MineCraft vision is complete, the 3D model can be built and used to lobby and inspire town planning. Using the right people and the right technology to plan the towns of the future – brilliant!

Thanks TEDx – see you next year.