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Conference insights from Vancouver and Boston to Paris and Beijing.

Designing the Design Problem

Thanks for everyone who came out (virtually) to see my presentation last week at Creativity Oklahoma's online conference on applied creativity in art and design with Scott Belsky of Behance.

Frontiers of Interaction

Matteo Penzo is Associate Technology Director at frog in Milan. Long before he joined frog, he initiated the Frontiers of Interaction conference. This year the conference will take place on June 3-4 in Rome, and frog Fellow Luke Williams will be one of the keynote speakers. In this blog post, Matteo explains what moved him to set up and drive this conference.
Nowadays we’re living on a planet where almost everyone, everywhere, can follow lessons from more than 300 top universities through iTunes U. A planet where, given all the constraints we are confronted with, the adoption of Open Source and Creative Commons is spreading like wildfire. Institutions like the Singularity University and events like TED, Lift Conference, or the World Science Festival are doing a great job at spreading (good) ideas and democratizing the access to knowledge.

Sandbox Summit: Day 2

Children's education disguised as building code, interactive art, and online games.

Forty six percent of kids are playing games with their phones as well as sending on average 50 texts each day. With such a high rate of adoption and the ability to access online games virtually anywhere, it is no wonder that that video game producers and marketers seek to create games that give kids twitching fingers something to “obsess” over.

Sandbox Summit: Day 1

Toy action figures, transmedia and the future of play.

Make no mistake: The Sandbox Summit at MIT this week is not just child’s play. An exploration for youngsters disguised as grown up product designers, creatives, and academics, the Summit is a collaborative event focused on how media and design influence children’s education and perspectives of  society.

Designers of the Future

Principal Designer Laura Seargeant Richardson will give the keynote “The Medium Doesn’t Matter” at the Sandbox Summit at MIT next week. The focus of her talk is on the increasing importance of involving play across all platforms as an important training ground for kids to understand greater complexity and introduce new ways of seeing. Laura explores how the medium won’t matter for this; it will simply be another toy waiting for interpretation, manipulation and imagination by the child.

The children in the video are creating their own ways of seeing by identifying design solutions using their most sophisticated tool: their imagination.

Serious Play at the Sandbox Summit

"Children's games are hardly games. Children are never more serious than when they play."

Children's lives are infused with technology that aid their education and transmedia entertainment, allow for 24/7 connectivity and blend their virtual and real-world explorations. With an increased digital lifestyle, children’s toys play an increasingly influential role in shaping their understanding of the world around them. To explore the impact that emerging media platforms and tech has on how children play, the MIT Education Arcade will present the 2010 Sandbox Summit®, “iPlay, YouPlay, Wi iPlay: How Play is Changing Media and Media is Changing Play,” on May 18 and 19 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. design mind sat down with the founders of the Sandbox Summit, Wendy Smolen and Claire Green, to find out how toys are shaping our future creative thinkers and innovative leaders.

Lawlessness at TEDxSF


“Take control of your own narrative,” Jonathan Abrams, the founder and former CEO of Friendster, told us on Tuesday night at California Academy of Sciences during TEDx San Francisco.

iPlay, YouPlay, WiiPlay: frog goes to the Sandbox Summit


Can the Wii teach playground rules? Is an e-book the answer to the literacy challenge? What are today’s children learning from playtime and what do toy and game developers need to know to create play experiences that foster 21st century skills? As new technologies and media are embraced by younger children, it is crucial for designers to create tools and toys that will engage them while fostering creativity, education, and, of course, fun.

Different by Design

Monday night's TED Salon in London

“There will be very little volcano talk tonight,” said TED's European Director Bruno Giussani, kicking off Monday night's TED Salon at the Unicorn Theatre in London. The theme of the evening: “Different by Design.” 
Like most events in London, the Salon — organized with TEDGlobal partner frog design — had been disrupted by the Icelandic volcano that had been spewing ash for the previous three days, forcing speakers, performers, attendees and one of our co-hosts to cancel their trips. They were all replaced, and 250 people filled the theatre. The aim of Monday's Salon: to create an island of normalcy.

Missed Connections

The Interactive Community’s role in the sustainability movement is vital but cannot exist in a vacuum of lofty ideas.

Multitasking at panels and keynotes has become the norm, and South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) exhibits a particularly intense form of this behavior. It makes sense though, as this is a conference made up in large part by and for the very interaction designers who create all this multitasking software. Besides, there's so much updating, tweeting and micro-blogging to do that it's become half the fun of attending. And so in the vast, darkened presentation hall of the second keynote of SXSWi it wasn't surprising at all to see the electrically lit screens of the digerati dotting the landscape as they all did their thing during the speech. What struck me this time, however, was the relationship between what was being said on stage and what was being done on the screens of the audience.