Thursday, November 17, 2005

A place to discuss and get lifted

Met up with Laurent Haug the other day.

He who was helped wants to help.
He who has listened has something to say.
He who was active wants to create activity.

He's putting a conference together in Geneva - LIFT06 - and I thinks it's a good one. Not because I'm speaking (oh yes - the email crowd is watching) but because it makes sense.

Technology is not a narrow walk on the wild side - it affects all we do. WEB 1.0 was about how we entertain, manage our money, book our trips - but even more important - WEB 2.0 is about infiltration - innocuous - convergent technology.

Here's the hook - technology affects how we develop as humans - it influences and shapes our opinions, enables communication, modifies behavior, creates opportunity, breaks down hierarchy and changes perspectives.

'Corporate memory' was a concept rejected by IBM, Harvard and McKinsey - now looks where it's going.

Social informatics wasn't even born when I started to get into this.

Steven Pinker was a no-name - a Chomsky wanna-be.

Memes? A unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation? What? Forgetaboutit!

This isn't new coke - the last 10 years has proven that this concept is exponentially influencing core business decision.

It creates 'book smarts' as well as 'street smarts'. Problem is - we are distracted by the hype - and the short term motives of quick money and power. We need to discuss this but there are not that many platforms.

Conferences? Owned by vendors selling cookieware.

Academics? The law that allowed universities to 'own' intellectual property is slowly changing that.

Foundations and NGO's? The will is there but the flesh is weak.

Harry Houdini - now he's an artist. He could make an elephant disappear in the middle of a theater filled with people, and do you know how he did that? Misdirection.

The WSIS conference is a good case in point. The Economist was the only paper to get it right. The question is not, 'Who controls IP, pipes or domain names' - the American, French, Germans and Japanese have done an incredible job of defining common standards and sticking to them.

The question is about life in general and the social informatics questions of impact. I'll say it again

Impact (ĭm'păkt') - noun (se it in sign language)

  • The force or impetus transmitted by a collision of ideas
  • The effect or impression of one thing on another
  • The power of making a strong, immediate impression
This is where public organizations can learn from private business. This is where activist can learn from capitalist. We can all learn from each other - especially from fields of knowledge that are converging.

Public Relations knows it.

Advertisers knows it.

Naomi Klein knows it.

And I think Laurent knows it. Drop him a line and ask him.

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