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.
“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.
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.
A SXSW panel spells out how mobile technology has the potential to be an enormous help in disaster zones around the world.
I attended an interesting panel at SXSW Interactive on Monday titled "Architecture, Technology and the Rebuilding of Haiti." While frog isn’t typically in the architecture or disaster relief business, there were parts of the talk that seemed relevant to what we do (and what we have the potential to do), specifically in the field of mobile technology.
An emerging field of interaction design related to personal health.
Interaction designers talk a lot about a user’s emotional experience, but they understand very little about what motivates people to engage. How can designers understand triggers (signals, facilitators, and sparks) that help to change people’s behavior? frog VP of Creative Robert Fabricant investigates.
Clay Shirky and Beth Ferguson are the Sunday highlights.
Sunday morning, after augmenting realities at the frog opening night party, and having two days of SXSWi under my belt, I realized I still didn’t know quite what to expect from the conference. I do know, however, that an emerging theme for my personal SXSW journey is “nothing is quite what it seems.” Of course, it’s hard to decipher from session titles and even their brief synopsis just how meaningful the presentation will be for you. But more importantly, I was concerned with avoiding the passive consumption of that knowledge and, if I was inspired enough after listening to a speaker, how might I shift my consciousness, and perhaps even my behavior.
Yesterday, at SXSW Interactive, I realized how serendipitous (and potentially harmonious) your encounters could become, even among the chaotic mission to attend tightly scheduled and provocative talks on everything from transmedia to DIY digital higher education — and then document it all.
I suppose one can officially claim a “movement has begun” when the movement has a party at South By Southwest, and so we can now call Social Entrepreneurship officially “started”. The Good Capitalist Party will be Monday, March 15th, 2010, from 7:00pm – 9:00pm, and 1500 of your closest friends have already RSVPed. The party is free, run by @Montero with the generous support of sponsors like Social Edge, Kiva, and my very own Austin Center for Design – an educational institution in Austin that combines interaction design (IxD) and social entrepreneurship (SocEnt) to make some awesome SocEntIxdFtw. You’ll probably be recovered from the frog party by this time, and so come out and say hello. I’ll be there, talking about frog’s efforts in social innovation – including Project Masiluleke – as well as promoting Austin Center for Design.
It’s both amazing and hilarious to consider that being human, or treating people well, or interacting with one another, is now in-vogue in big business. We did a turn with quality (“we need to make things well!”) in the 80s, optimization (“we need to track the supply chain and distribution chain!”) in the early 90s, the internet (“bricks and mortar is dead!”) in 2000, and now it’s All About Social. But when you unwrap “social”, you start to realize that it’s a container for some major, powerful, and fundamental aspects of human life. It’s not a business construct, as was six-sigma or ERP. The stuff we mean when we talk about “social” is the stuff of life, and it’s natural. And so I find it both amazing and very, very funny to observe how fundamentally hard it is for some people to “manage social” and to understand the role social plays in the context of business.
The buzz in Austin is palpable: SXSW is in the air. At frog, we’re gearing up to host the 17th annual SXSW Interactive Opening Party. Last year we celebrated our 40th anniversary and wowed the crowd with Chinese dragons, drum lines and Burlesque. This year, expect more spectacle and maybe a bit of information overload as we go down and out in SXSW.