1 March 2007

A participatory conference model at NESTA, London

Be the first to share

Uploading...innovation
Two days ago Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken was at the NESTA Uploading…Innovation event in London.

NESTA, which stands for National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, has beautiful well-equipped offices in the centre of London (no wonder, given their £ 350 million lottery-funded endowment), and is increasingly becoming a strategic player in informing the UK innovation policy, in part also due to the new leadership of Jonathan Kestenbaum (who was appointed chief executive of NESTA last November).

The event itself brought about a whole range of ideas (that you can read about here, here, here, here and here – and these are just a few). What I think was also really unique was the process itself.

NESTA organised this event “to learn from those people who have been at the forefront of the development of new participatory ways of working, those who have harnessed the network effects of emerging technologies of collaboration to create new business models, new products and services, to bring about culture change within organisations and disruptive innovation to their sectors.”

So they brought about 150 people together for an afternoon. How do you manage a participatory conference? How do you get 150 people to exchange their ideas and learn from it in the process?

The solution they came up with involved the collaboration of Steve Moore of Policy Unplugged, who created a bottom-up process. Simply said, the afternoon was divided in two blocks, with six to seven people making a 3 minute pitch for a particular topic and then breaking out into discussion groups to deepen it. Both the pitches and the discussion groups were open: if you felt like it you could make your own pitch, you joined the discussion group that you liked, and in the discussion group you contributed or listened as you felt like.

This approach was based on the premise that 5% of the people speaking 90% of the time is not the best way to stimulate knowledge sharing and that we are in many ways all experts. In other words, it functioned like a live version of a web forum.

Mark’s own group discussed the lack of a Europe-wide discourse on people-focused innovation (e.g. on experience design & innovation; sustainable & innovation; participation & innovation), with most of the discourse either being American or country-specific, and what can be done about it. Some good ideas came up and we are exploring a new online magazine on some best practices that he hopes to tell you more about soon. Any ideas and input are of course welcome.

Be the first to share
19 January 2017
Don Norman on what Apple, Google and Tesla get wrong
Don Norman is a technological optimist. The author of The Design of Everyday Things and head of UC San Diego's Design Lab believes that artificial intelligence might only take the worst parts of our jobs, …
15 January 2017
Putting the “intelligent” machine in its place
It's rare for a data scientist to be so reflective and critical on the limitations (and therefore the real opportunities) of their discipline, as Katherine Bailey has managed in a short article on Techcrunch. Recent …
12 January 2017
Experientia’s CITYOPT project awarded prestigious French award for its sustainable development design
Following the 2016 Smart Innovation Award at “FIMBACTE Trophées du Cadre de vie", the CITYOPT project has once again been recognized, this time in the prestigious French design competition: "Observeur du Design 2017", in the …
8 January 2017
Two perspectives on the role of ethnography in innovation
Why Venture Capital Needs Ethnographers: Making Meaningful Innovation in the Startup Sphere by Julia Katherine Haines, Google- December 20, 2016 The power of ethnographic methods and ethnographic thinking is not about finding new territory to colonize for …
8 January 2017
The complexity of plastic bags
As societies face increasingly complex problems, design is emerging as the tool to solve some of Asia's biggest issues. Through field trips with designers skilled in human-centered design, the team behind Ethnographers' Field Guide to …
23 December 2016
ING DIRECT’s sponsored content in The Guardian on the value of CX and human-centred design
ING DIRECT Australia has published yesterday and at the end of November no less than 10 articles in a paid section of The Guardian on the value of customer experience and human-centred design, entitled "Being …
19 December 2016
Australia’s Digital Ethnography Research Centre on experiencing the digital in everyday life
The Digital Ethnography Research Centre (DERC), part of RMIT University, focuses on understanding a contemporary world where digital and mobile technologies are increasingly inextricable from the environments and relationships in which everyday life plays out. …
14 December 2016
Experience design and Big Data at BBVA bank
Over the last 6 months, Fabien Girardin has been working in a rather unique position at BBVA Data & Analytics, a center of excellence in financial data analysis. My job is to make the design …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

12 January 2017
Experientia’s CITYOPT project awarded prestigious French award for its sustainable development design

Following the 2016 Smart Innovation Award at “FIMBACTE Trophées du Cadre de vie”, the CITYOPT project has once again been recognized, this time in the prestigious French design competition: “Observeur du Design 2017”, in the Service Design category. In June 2016, CITYOPT won the first stage of the Observeur du Design. Now the project has […]

1 December 2016
More on upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities

Last month Putting People First announced the upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities in Nice France. Meanwhile we are pleased to announce the full event agenda (see below). This event will feature professionals from leading research institutes and industry gathering to present key initiatives which combine Energy Efficiency and Service Design […]

29 October 2016
Upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities

Invitation to the International Conference on Design & Sustainable Innovation for SmartCities Nice (France) 8 December 2016 On the 8th December 2016, the CITYOPT project will host an international conference on Design and sustainable innovation for SmartCities, at the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen, France. An open invitation to attend is offered to people and organisations who […]

28 October 2016
Experientia’s President, Michele Visciòla, panel judge for MacArthur Foundation’s “100&Change” competition

The 100&Change is an international competition and a landmark opportunity for thinkers and designers to tackle critical challenges affecting the world. Michele Visciòla will be one of the panel of expert judges who will select which project is worthy of the $100 million grant. 100&Change is the MacArthur Foundation competition – launched this year for […]

5 September 2016
Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing

The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to “transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and to turn those insights into strategy.” The article was written by Frank van den Driest and Keith Weed of a […]

29 August 2016
Experientia discussing ethnography and patient-centricity at EPIC 2016

This week Experientia joins our colleagues and peers in Minneapolis at EPIC 2016, the premier international gathering on ethnography and design in industry. The theme for the conference this year is Pathmaking, emphasizing the power of ethnography to create transformative innovation, growth and strategic success for companies, industries and communities. On the second day of […]

See all articles