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Tayga is an experimental platform for people within arts and cultural in central St Petersburg.
A group of artists managed to convince the landlord to let artists use this large empty building for art production, meeting-places, and networking, instead of leaving it empty and rundown. Art studios, a small shop, meeting rooms, a garden for music and other events, media, video showroom etc have been built up since then. And the deal is simple: The artists pay low rent to keep the facilities in shape.
One of the artists work with video art and mapping in the artistic collective Tundra. Sasha Sinitza has worked with different projects with Tundra, for example they did the interesting piece Void to try to visualize emptiness.
Mapping is becoming more and more interesting and the Tundra has explored this art form to the full extend, showing work both in a four-wall room with four projectors simultaneously working, and on buildings outside.
Göteborg is the host city of one of the biggest book fairs in Northern Europe. The latest years, the need of finding another positioning has evolved and to meet this need Mediadagarna – The Media Days fires off for the second year in a row.
Nätverkstan and Kulturchock, who work vividly with different ideas and initiatives to meet up the needs of the cultural journals, see this platform as one way of putting the Swedish cultural journals on the map.
We are already convinced of the multi-dimensional spread in content as well as subjects presented in the printed cultural journals and their role in Swedish democracy. What we had not digged deeper into before was the sound of them. What would they sound like if it was sound? We decided to build a sound installation in order to make them ”speak” in a new way.
From an old portable typewriter you hear the sound of typings from laptops as well as manual key buttons in a mxi with lead pencils writing on paper. ”Typings” is a 7`48”tape recording played in a loop.
From the headphones attached to the installation play a variation of sound samples from cultural magazines that work with additional formats as sound. Some do radio, talking magazines or present sound art works along with their releases. For this special occasion we also did a special recording of a young girl reading poetry from the arty, literary, and philosophic edition of OEI.
Text and photo: Helena Persson
The new year and our new cultural strategic assignment kick started with a seminar at Vara Concert Hall, focused on the topic of streamed culture, last Thursday. The Swedish government has marked digitalization as an important way for culture to reach a wider audience (read here). Vara Concert Hall celebrates their 10th anniversary this fall and together with Nätverkstan they are now in the process of implementing technology and procedures to start live streaming their events. Their aim is completely in line with the thoughts from the Swedish government – especially to reach people not able to come to the cultural events, in places such as prisons, homes for the old and hospitals.
The first action in our mutual project was to identify and invite the most prominent organizations in the field to a hearing. Our aim has always been to support the small and independent organizations and we are glad that Vara Concert Hall shares this belief. Together, we also believe that sharing knowledge and solutions strengthens the efforts made, and that this is especially true in the complex field of digitalizations where new technology is introduced almost on a daily basis. The procurement of digital services is an intricate matter and smaller organizations often make mistakes in the process – which in turn means that tax money is wrongly spent on expensive and short lived solutions.
The keynote speakers were Urban Ward from Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Ulrik Flood from Digital Live Arena, Peo Thyrén from STIMand Johannes Nebel from Play Kultur. In the audience were representatives from the Swedish Arts Council, Kultur i Väst, Kultursekretariatet i Västra Götaland as well as people from cinemas and smaller cultural organizations. Moderator for the hearing (and project manager for Vara Live Stream) was Leif Eriksson from Nätverkstan.
Magnus Lemark from the Swedish Arts Council remarked that this hearing is a running start for them, as they have just been handed the assignment from the Swedish Government, to help the Swedish cultural sector over the digital threshold. And Johannes Nebel agreed that this kind of meetings to share knowledge is the best way to get knowledge and tackle new complex investments. He also said that the main problem for digital material is distribution, and that Sweden lacks the kind of marketplaces that focus solely on culture. Play Kultur was started with exactly this in mind, to become the first portal for live streamed and archived material on performing arts.
We hope that Johannes last words from the hearing gives echo and they will certainly work inspiring for our own efforts: ”Västra Götaland now has the chance to be the first region in Sweden to show how coordination of digital efforts works.”
Our cooperation with Vara Concert Hall continues, and knowledge produced within the project will be made public in a conference later this fall. But we are also open to smaller hearings in the region and we especially look forward to the 20th of May, when GSO and Play Kultur are hosting a seminar in Gothenburg. Cooperation makes us stronger!
By Carl Forsberg, Head of Medialab and Technique at Nätverkstan
It’s almost unbearable to read.
Belarus writer Svetlana Aleksijevitj’s book with Swedish title Kriget har inget kvinnligt ansikte (The war doesn’t have a female face, my translation) is a remarkable project that took her years to finish. She has interviewed women all around Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, has loads of cassette tapes where these now elderly women tell their horrifying stories of joining the army at ages 16–18 years and the hardships and terrifying work as snipers, nurses, pilots, military seargents, soldiers, engineers, and as members of the partisans and resistance movement.
Women’s role in the military during the Second World War in Russia has never been highlighted. They continued their life after the war, bearing their sorrows, trying to forget while the victory of the war has been contributed men. Aleksijevitj wants to let them be heard, wants to tell their stories, the choices they had to make, their everyday struggles in the war, in life, as daughters, wives, mothers, and soldiers.
At points I have to put it aside, but then I pick it up again. I’m obliged to listen to these women and what they went through during the war and nine hundred days of siege of Leningrad (St Petersburg) by the nazists during 1941-1944. Swedish journalist Ulrika Knutson writes in her resumé in Expressen last week that if you only read one book this year, this should be the one.
I read it as I am on my way to St Petersburg to speak on a seminar about women creativity. I am shaken.
Nätverkstan has been invited to St Petersburg to speak in connection to the opening of the exhibition Creative Women on October 23, exhibiting Inventions from Swedish women.
The exhibition is an initiative by Tekniska Museet (The Swedish National Museum of Science and Technology) where Museum Director Ann Follin realized when looking through the 55.000 objects in their collection that only 100 of these were made by women. It also showed when looking deeper that of all patent applications in Sweden only five percent came from women.
This raised questions of whether women are less inventive than men? Or perhaps less creative?
They didn’t believe this to be true and put together the exhibition of women inventors, an exhibition that in cooperation with Swedish Institute has toured to around ten different countries raising questions of the role of women in innovation.
The St Petersburg-based organisation Social and Economic Institute arranges the seminar inviting a Swedish and a Russian speaker. Olga Gracheva gave a very interesting contribution of the NGO Kaykino Creative Projects she just started two years ago with the aim of promoting and develop interest for the rural area around St Petersburg. An amazing initiative.
The women in the book are with me.
The only connection between these two things is that it’s about women and their hidden voices. Women in 1940s and women in 2012.
Swedish Institute supports the seminar and project, host organization in St Petersburg (run by two charismatic women) is the Social and Economic Institute, an institute focussing on educational initiatives, projects, conferences, and exchanges of experiences between women in the world. The exhibition is shown at the Water Museum, a museum examining the role of water with both an educational and interactive part for children and an open part for the public.
Svetlana Aleksijevit’s book ”Kriget har inget kvinnligt ansikte” is translated by Kajsa Öberg Lindsten (Ersatz 2012).
Often debated, and the politicians in Region Västra Götaland love to join the choir, is the relation between the central city or capital and the periphery. Urbanization has made this a burning question. A constant topic on politicians agenda is how to deal with depopulation of the countryside.
The discussion is often built as if the center is in opposition to the periphery. Instead of a perspective of how the two can support each other in development. American–Canadian activist and writer Jane Jacobs (1916–2006), who had a great interest in urban development and communities, wrote in mid 60s about this dilemma. Her main thesis was that cities are the main drivers of economic development.
The June 30th number of Economist puts London on a high as the international hub in UK and discusses its role for development of the rest of Britain. And the lack of appreciation of its brilliance among policymakers.
”Now history is moving on, and the policymakers are messing up. They could tip the city into a decline without even noticing it, for the ecosystem of a great city is a complex and fragile thing.”
”Stay open to stay great” is the conclusion of the Economist leader article. Staying open means continue to let foreigners and immigrants coming into the country. They have helped built London to the city it is and more help is needed. Building a fortress around Europe doesn’t seem like the most forward-looking idea.
One of the success stories of Stanford University, with it’s premises in Silicon Valley outside San Francisco (US), is, it’s said, to be its close relation to the businesses in Silicon Valley. It’s a symbiotic relationship. They nurture each other and many success business stories have started at Stanford; Google, Facebook, Instagram, Apple, Hewlett-Packard.
Leland Stanford, a Republican governor in the late 1800s and who made a fortune from Central Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads, and his wife decided to found a University in their late son’s name. Stanford University opened its doors in 1891 and the device was that the University should not become an ivory tower, but ”qualify students for personal success, and direct usefulness in life”. From the start, the close relationship to private funding, corporate research funds, and venture capital for start-ups, first for innovations in radio and broadcast media to todays digital technology, has been a base for the University.
The story can be read in The New Yorker (April 30, 2012) and gives an interesting light on the success story behind business ideas developed at Stanford and the philosophy behind it. But also the dangers of such a focus on success and making money.
The campus life and the atmosphere at Stanford is described as open to ideas, easy going, ”people are willing to try things”, risk-taking, access to venture and risk capital, creative. But there are also questions raised if Stanford has the right balance between commerce and learning, between getting skills to make it and intellectual discovery for its own sake? Is corporate money stearing research priorities?
David Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, who has also taught for many years at Stanford, express his worries that students uncritically incorporate the possibilities of Silicon Valley, but it’s a lack of students devoted to the liberal arts and the idea of pure learning. The one and simple question stearing choices is: What will I get out of it?
The philosophy now promoted at Stanford is the ”interdisciplinary education” and getting students to become ”T-shaped”, that is they have depth in a particular field of study and breadth across multiple disciplines. Social skills are put forward and an effort is to put together students with different majors (engineering, business, medicine, science, design) to together solve real or abstract problems.
David Kelley, the founder of design firm IDEO, is also director of Institute fo Design at Stanford (d.school), and is driven by the mission to lift empathy in his students. He wants the students to learn to see the human side of the challenges posed in class and that way provoke creativity.
Still, fewer students get into liberal arts and humanities and many become, as said by a senior Miles Unterreiner, ”slaves to the dictates of a hoped-for future”. Students become instrumental and only get majors in subjects that lead to jobs, something also supported by Universities.
It’s an interesting development. Reading Steve Jobs story and listening to many of his talks, he puts two processes next to each other as crucial for his success: The development of technology and the liberal arts.
The post is based on the article in The New Yorker (April 30, 2012) ”Annals of higher education. Get rich U.There are no walls between Stanford and Silicon Valley. Should there be?” by Ken Auletta. The photo is from a TED talk on the web.
Read more from posts on IDEO, San Francisco, and the Arts from our visit in 2008 here and posts on other interesting US visits here. Read also here the report from Svenskt Näringsliv which last year promoted less money to humanity education in Sweden, a very criticized report.
In the freshly published anthology Artists and the Arts Industries, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee puts the artistic perspective in centre of the discussion on cultural and creative industries (CCI).
Five people; researchers, independent analysts, professors, and an artist, were asked to contribute a text reflecting on the artistic practice and CCI and the result has become an interesting anthology putting the light on different and perhaps unexpected aspects of the discussion.
Yudhishthir Raj Isar, independent cultural analyst and Professor of Cultural Policy Studies at The American University of Paris, puts a critical view on the whole paradigm with the conclusion that economy is not everything and that it’s necessary to include reflection on cultural economy and non-market forms of cultural activity.
Kate Oakley, writer and political analyst specializing in the fields of culture and creativity (UK), is focussing her text on innovation, which is as she calls it ”not the New, New thing”. The arts have a complex relationship to innovation, being both on one hand avant-garde and cutting-edge, and on the other saver of tradition. Talk of innovation within culture and art needs to be nuanced, reflected, and with a critical perspective.
Angela McRobbie, Professor of Communication at Goldsmiths, University of London, is discussing key concepts of urban development and gentrification in the light of the policy-development of CCI in the UK since middle of 90s and onward, and comparing development in three different cities: Glasgow, Berlin, and London. Her reasoning is around employability, livelihood and how artists and young people within the field will be able to earn a living and sustain life within these fields.
Ylva Gislén, Visiting Professor at Malmö Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts and cultural writer, also put a focus on the artistic livelihood and puts this in relation to Hannah Arendt’s reasoning putting a qualitative distinction between different types of human activity in the book The Human Condition; the distinction between labour, work, and action.
Klas Östergren, author with his first book published in 1975, writes an insightful and personal story of his daily work and artistic practice of writing books, his relation to audience, and how he at one point when things were going well decided to write the complete opposite of what the market expected.
Perhaps common for all of these reflections are how pessimistic they are in their views of the role of the artist in CCI. It should be understood in the light of the economic crisis, but it’s more than that. It’s a disappointment. A question shining through is the somewhat disillusioned question of: Who today believes in art as something other than contributing to economic growth, innovation, and job creation?
The anthology can be ordered from The Swedish Arts Grants Committee and is written in both Swedish and English.
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Economy, Employment, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Self-employment, Social entrepreneur, Swedish Arts Grants Committee
Under the crystal chandeliers in Stora Teatern, a theatre built 1859 in centre of Göteborg and with walls whispering of wonderful operas, musicals and ballets during its golden days as the musical scene in Göteborg, Italian Economist Pier Luigi Sacco and Director Christer Gustafsson talked about the role of art and culture for society development on Saturday (25th of February).
It is madness, Pier Luigi Sacco stated, what many European leaders are doing at the moment cutting cultural budgets. Art and culture is the main raw material for innovation, well-being, health and development. And he backs his arguments with research and cross-testing inquiries in different matrices. It shows for example that going to a classical concert may well have give you a longer more healthy life.
His main argument is ”active cultural participation” and he shows the innovation index shown on this page (18th of February) and puts it next to another ranking: Active cultural participation Eurobarometer. In both rankings Sweden is ranked number one. When putting these two independently done rankings next to each other, it could mean that active cultural participation has an effect on a country’s ability for innovation. If you argue for putting public money to boost innovation, make sure to also invest money in local theatre groups, music training, or different dance centres from young age and up.
Pier Luigi Sacco has a system-based method of understanding and analysis a city or region. This has been done in many places, among them he was a consultant for Vancouver (Canada) in forming a cultural strategy: The Power of Arts in Vancouver. Creating a Great City.
Christer Gustafsson is now working with the same method in the region of Halland, a region in between the two large regions Region Västra Götaland and Skåne. The placement might feel a bit squeezed at times, but this system-based and culture-led way of development is new for Sweden, Halland, and Kulturmiljö Halland, is in the forefront of these discussions. It’s about culture-led regional economic and social development.
Culture and art is the core. It’s the ”soft-ware”. The major raw material to build on.
Download the presentation of Pier Luigi Sacco (English) here: Sacco, Halmstad-Goteborg.pdf. Christer Gustafsson presentation (Swedish) can be found here:Stora teatern, Göteborg, 25 februari 2012.pdf .
Pier Luigi Sacco also visited the Conference arranged by Generator last year. And listen to an interview on youtube here done by the European network Encatc. You find another blogpost on the seminar (Swedish) here.
The seminar was an arrangement by Västra Götaland, the think tank Kombinator, in cooperation with Kulturmiljö Halland and Nätverkstan.
Etiketter:Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Development, Digitization, Economy, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, New economy, Västra Götaland
The Encatc 19th Annual Conference in Helsinki was focusing on the future this year.
”A wind of change is blowing over our societies and reshaping our political, social and cultural paradigms. Increased urbanization, uneven social redistribution, a digital shift and an array of new audiences accessible mainly with the use of new technological tools – these are motors of change which provide as many challenges as they do opportunities.”
In a mix of key note speakers such as Saara L. Tallas, IKEA Professor in Business Studies in School of Business and Design, Linnaeus University (Sweden); Katri Halonen, acting head of degree program in Cultural management at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences; and Lidia Varbanonva, consultant, researcher and lecturer was mixed with intense group discussions on different topics. Encatc thematic areas had workshops within their specific themes as well as room for young researchers and research presentations.
Although the financial crisis hovered above like an evil cloud, optimistic thoughts were exchanged on the future of culture and its possibilities.
Read more of the conference here.
Etiketter:Creative Industries, Creativity, crisis, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Development, Digitization, Economy, Education, Encatc, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Social entrepreneur
Steve Jobs giving a speech at Stanford University on June 12, 2005, on his life lessons. Three stories from his life; the story of connecting the dots, love and loss, and about death.
Have a look at Steve Jobs speech here.
It’s so quiet. During the whole performance soft music is only played occationally. All focus is on the two bodies on the floor and their movements. Painful movements, stretching every mussel to its utmost limit, posing the body in positions that confuses the mind. The stage is black, a white half-rolled out carpet or perhaps paper in one end hanging in the air, the other still rolled up. In between the two ends, the two bodies are placed as you arrive. One sitting up with the back to the stage, the other laying on the floor. Two round balls on a table, like eyes intensely watching the two dancers without once looking away.
Choreographer Jeanette Langert is known for her way of exploring movements and very rightly got this year’s Birgit Cullberg Award given by Konstnärsnämnden (The Arts Grant Committee) in a small ceremony right after the performance.
The Committee has published several reports on the economic conditions for artists in Sweden, working environment, type of organization, to what extend you can live on your art and so forth. Overall the cultural field consist of project work, short-term assignments and a working situation of many varied pursuits and multiple income sources. The dancers and choreographers are to a high degree freelancers with volatile and insecure working conditions. Awards like this are so important.
The theories of philosopher Jacques Rancière and his politics of aesthetics got a very practical meaning the other day when listening to literature researcher and dramaturge Jan Holmgaard.
He was invited to give a talk at the closing of a mentorprogram run by DIK Association and took his standing-point in Rancière. Very simplified described as two spheres in constant struggle with each other; the current understanding of reality, and the resistance towards this understanding. The gap in between these two is where creativity and modern art finds its role in trying to distort current understanding. A vital society should be one that allows for this gap of disagreement to exist.
Translated to practical work in an organization or, such as in this case, a mentorprogram, it poses some crucial questions. Does a mentorship program institutionalize hierarchy? And is that good or bad? Can anything be done to brake this hierarchy? How would you radicalize the idea of a program for mentorship? What are the blind spots we don’t see, that influence on our understanding of reality and are used as the basis for decisions?
A struggle for consenus, a mutual agreement among a group of people, is undemocratic and just confirms the current. Instead, the democratic line is to allow for dissensus and disagreement, Holmgaard points out. A difficult task, and so beautifully addressed by Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård in his summertalk in Swedish radio in August just a few weeks after the horrifying attack by Anders Behring Breivik in Oslo.
We are all pieces in the puzzle of existing understanding and structure in society. This was a good reminder of how important art is to keep us vital.
With a first-quarter GDP in US showing an increase of only 1.8 percent (less than expected 3 percent), declining housing prices, less consumption, an unemployment rate on 9.1 percent (in May only 54.000 new jobs were created), Rana Foroohar argues in Time (June 20 2011) it is time to kill the five most destructive myths of the US Economy:
1) This is a temporary blip, and then it’s full steam ahead
2) We can buy our way out of all this
3) The private sector will make it all better
4) We’ll pack up and move for new jobs
5) Entrepreneurs are the foundation of the economy
Both Republicans and Democrats are pursuing these myths of how the economy will recover, she writes. Instead a different path of growth has to be established rather than continue to believe in these five points.
Under the last myth the point is made that a good system of technical colleges are needed which will require a ”frank conversation” about the four-year liberal arts degree that may well leave the graduates overleveraged and underemployed.
A few thoughts come to mind.
The cultural field is highly entrepreneurial, cultural practitioners are entrepreneurs. In Europe many believe that it is in the creative industries where new jobs will be created. Maybe it is a bit hopeful; the sector is still a comparably small field. But it is growing.
If you read formal reports on unemployment rate within the art field, it does look depressing. But these figures need always to be read and analyzed together with other formal reports from other areas. Many studies show figures pointing at the cultural field as a growing field. Not in comparison with the large car industries as we use to know them, or perhaps the telecom industry. Yet important. The easy conclusion is that artists are over-represented in society. But reports and statistics are pointing in opposing directions (read more here).
Reading another report by the well-known Italian economist Pier Luigi Sacco, another interesting association is put forward to bear in mind. He puts two ranking tables next to each other: One ranking innovation in EU15 countries (2008) and one ranking Active Artistic Participation (EU15 2007).
And he notes:
”It is interesting to notice that the association is established between innovative capacity at the country level and active cultural participation at the same level. This is of course a preliminary piece of evidence, but it seems to suggests that the mechanisms discussed above seem to mirror into data more clearly than one could expect.”
It looks as if active participation in art has a correlation with the innovative capacity of a country. If this is right, we need a large flow of well-educated and professional artists from liberal arts Universities as well as easy access to practice art from a young age. Specifically, that is, if a country wants to ensure high innovation capacity.
Download Pier Luigi Sacco’s report here: pl-sacco-culture-3-0-ccis-local-and-regional-development-2.pdf.
Do you know the price of oil? Could you tell the eight Millenium goals set in 2000?
Venu Dhupa, Director Creative Development at Creative Scotland, starts with a quiz with the audience. We live in a globalized world and as leaders of cultural institutions it is necessary with a global perspective.
”Institutionally we are out of touch” and the question Venu Dhupa asks is: ”Are you looking for people just managing things or are you looking for leaders?”
Other skills are important for leaders such as ability to deal with uncertainty, question and reflection, perspective, a sense of place in the world and sense of value,
A series of two seminars took place recently, the first at Kulturhuset in Stockholm led by Sune Nordgren, and the second at Hanaholmen – Hanasaari kulturcentrum in Helsinki, to discuss leadership within cultural institutions and small organizations with guest speaker Venu Dhupa.
The seminars were arranged in cooperation between Kulturhuset Stockholm, Hanaholmen – Hanasaari Kulturcentrum, Kulturfonden för Sverige och Finland, Cultural Leadership Award in Sweden and Nätverkstan.
Nätverkstan has for some time worked on a Eurozine application for iPhone and iPad. For this project we have developed a cooperation with partners in Bangalore, a newly formed company which, inspired by our profile, decided to name their enterprise Namnätverkstan.
The 23rd conference of the Eurozine network, 13-16 of May in Linz, Austria, was organized under the theme Changing media – Media in change. For this conference, representatives of both Nätverkstan (David Karlsson and myself) and Namnätverkstan (Anand Varadaraj) were invited to present our results so far. We were given the opportunity to take part in a panel discussion with Simon Worthington, editor of Mute magazine, and moderated by the editor in chief of Eurozine, Carl Henrik Fredriksson. It felt really rewarding to present the audience, some of Europe’s most distinguished editors of culture journals, with a fully working iOS application that could be viewed both through simulator on a large projector screen and hands on, on our devices. We also gave a quick overview on how to work our online backend with wysiwyg editor. It became very apparent that many of the journals were interested in the project.
However, even if the presentation was a major milestone for us who have been involved in the project, our workshop was only a small part of the immensly interesting conference programme. The opening speech by Khaled Hroub, on one of the mega stories of 2011: The arab spring, really set the tone for the rest of the days. His reflections on the demographic and social changes in the arab countries for the last decades and his thoughts on the impact of both Al-Jazeera and social media in the current situation were also complemented the following day by the statement:
”The Facebook revolution or the WikiLeaks revolution is a colonial fantasy, a narcissit projection of the West”.
This viewpoint was certainly not left uncontested in the vivid talks the were held in and around the seminars.
And so we discussed, debated and dined through three days of conference – professionally organzied by the Eurozine administration, generously hosted by the Lentos art museum and Linz municipality. It is hard to imagine a better crowd to give response to our endeveours in the publishing field. We have strong hopes for a continued fruitful cooperation.
Text: Carl Forsberg, manager of Mediaverkstäderna (Medialabs) at Nätverkstan.
Read a note in the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet about the app development at Nätverkstan here.
It’s a busy time at the Design Management Program at Pratt Institute in New York and I have managed to grab the only whole in the calendar for a long time. Mary McBride, Director of the Program, take me past her office on the way to our meeting room, an office with the windows overlooking the busy 14th Street at Manhattan filled with around ninety applications for thirty places. All applicants are being processed and the majority interviewed. The attitude is to always to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Students are designers in organizations and businesses that would like to learn more about Design Management. They come in with experience and can use the knowledge directly in their organization.
In a world struggling with significant social and ecological challenges, a new economic paradigm – shaped by innovative design thinking – must transform business strategies and tactics.
The words are Mary McBride’s in an article in Design Management Review (volume 22, number 1, 2011) where she puts forward the Triple Bottom Line model as a way of thinking. It proposes to advance the sustainability agenda and encourages simultaneous pursuit of economic value, social equity and ecosystem quality.
”Sustainability is the new quality,” she tells me and in the Design Management Program this perspective is integrated in all courses. She talks about strategy and strategic thinking rather than using ecological terminology, which suggests an out-of-the-box thinking and a process starting with a company’s goal and mission all the way to realization, distribution, and customers.
Radical innovation, she says, is to go to the root of a business’ mission and start an innovation process. The problem is rarely innovation in it-self, but the diffusion of innovation.
To manage this profound change in companies’ values and attitude and the ”ecology of decision-making”, creators are needed. Businesses usually don’t like surprises, while creators are thrilled by the unexpected.
Two reflections come to mind as I leave the meeting: The strong commitment to sustainability as a life matter for all parts of society in business, economical as well as social, and the belief that creators play a key-role in this transformation.
When we first talked about inviting Google to a seminar in Göteborg, people, not the least from the publishing houses, saw red. Why in the world would we invite someone who is ruthlessly digitizing literature without proper concern of the public domain?
Santiago de la Mora, Head of books and libraries at Google in Europe, had his message clear. It’s the user who decides the need for Google and its products. There are today 1,8 billion Internet users, he says, where Google want to reach more readers, more revenue and engagement in Internet. Reading habits have changed since the introduction of the web, from the printed newspaper reading from cover to cover to more individual articles on specific topics. It’s a browsing mentality and more scattered reading. The user has a choice, the representative from the absolute biggest search engine on Internet emphasizes. You can choose other search engines if you would like. For Google the foremost goal is the user experience and for example the thought that you should be able to read books anywhere at anytime. ”It’s an enabler, not something instead of”, says de la Mora.
The informal motto for the company is ”don’t be evil”, which implies that they could be evil but decide not to, moderator Mikael Löfgren pointed out with the question: ”What is it that you are not doing that could be evil?” Answering this question as for others of that caliber, Santiago de la Mora was vague. That was neither surprising, nor the most important with the afternoon.
The five-headed panel of experts from the fields of publishing, journalism, library, European cultural journals, and archives, reflected on the presentation by Google, making several interesting points and posed some crucial questions:
”The dichotomy is not between digitization or printed texts, it’s about how to finance quality content in the future?”
”The state and the public domain have not taken their responsibilities in dealing with digitization. This has left the floor free for other innovative solutions like Google”
”Make a national all-inclusive cultural policy for digital times. We have to stop talk about preventing or compensating.”
”What do an open democratic society want to promote concerning digitization?”
Perhaps it was not a surprise that publishers were not present in the audience. Also politicians were glowing with their non-presence, except for two parties (m) and (fp). But it was a mistake. It’s obvious that the politicians have to lift the discussion to include the democratic and public domain view into digitization discussions, not only copyright laws, something it seems to be little awareness of. And the publishers have to dare to look this new threat to their traditional business models in the eye and start thinking of new ways to continue publish books. This seminar provided that opportunity.
The seminar was arranged by Göteborg Book Fair and Nätverkstan, together with Stampen, Göteborg&Co, Västra Götaland and Stiftelsen Framtidens kultur. It’s part of two conferences on this theme, the other one can be found here. Mikael Löfgren has written a report to introduce the topic (in Swedish) found at samladeskrifter.se.
During two intense days at the guesthouse Slussen, placed right by the ocean side, Nätverkstan gathered all staff to discuss the coming year. In the sunny August-light, the focus was the future vision aiming for Nätverkstan the year 2020.
Two positions were explored, inspired by a method used by Cristina Ortega Nuere, University of Deusto in Bilbao. The first was to envision the catastrophe. Everything had gone wrong. Two and two we discussed things like: What happened? What were the factors leading to the catastrophe? What was missing? The second was to envision the success. Nätverkstan was the most talked about cultural organization in Europe, everything turned into to gold in our hands. What had gone so well? What were the factors leading to such a success, what had been in place? What were the success criteria?
To envision the organization in such terms, pretending it was 2020 and looking back on these two scenarios, opened an intense discussion on where the organization is now, the content, projects, economy, workload, joy and so forth. We ended with a list of conclusions of things we could see were important for the planning of activities in 2011.
We also took help of communication consultant Kent R Andersson and talked about different communication methods. Everyone ended outside on the porch in preparing a small presentation of a colleague. Intense, a lot of fun, and important!
As one of more than thousand developers from all over the world that attend the Filemaker annual conference I can choose between over 80 sessions in little more than three days. Unfortunately I can´t attend every session I find interesting; there are just too many going on at the same time. Today at nine, just after breakfast, I have to decide whether to attend a session named Improve Quality, Reuse Code, and Program Efficiently or another named Speaking the Same Language. Understanding Your Client and Helping Them Understand You. Two very interesting topics but I have to choose one before the other. The first one is compelling but the second is more what I need, to be honest.
The main theme this year Connect with your world is well mirrored in the schedule and you find sessions on PHP, SQL and ESS but, again, Filemaker Go is the talk of the day. With Filemaker Go on an iPhone or iPad you can reach your Filemaker solutions from any place but the office. That makes sense. I bought an iPad and I am impressed. It’s way better than I expected it to be. In Sweden you have to wait until fall to get a piece but when it comes it will be a big hit. I am Sure!
I attended a very scary session called File Maintenance and recovery: tools and Best Practices. The speaker was Alexei Folger and she was awesome. Really bad stuff can happen with files but there are some good techniques and strategies to prevent a disaster. But it was a bit creapy to here in a theatrical voice ”…and then you are in big trouble!”
Devcon is an International conference with developers from different parts of the world but the typical attendee is American, actually. At least you can say it’s an Anglo Saxon world. I have seen or talked to people from Britain, Australia and New Zeaand but not from the Latin world or Asia. There is a lot of attendees from Japan.
Its´s striking how big Filemaker is in the US. I learnt that Filemaker is used in schools, universities, really big coorporations and in govermental offices. On a high percentage.
Tonight we enjoyed a dinner at the USS Midway in the San Diego Harbor. The ship was on duty as late as in the Dessert Storm. Dinner was served on the actual flight deck and during the Californian sunset we listening to live music zipping a drink or could hear docents telling stories how it was once up on the time… One of the best moments so far.
This morning I finally got my suitcase from the airport. It was lost in Frankfurt during the stop over and I had to buy new clothes every day while waiting for the trunk to arrive to my hotel. The downtown hotel, by the way, is something extra. Its very old with an interior like those in a horror movie but with a very helpful staff.
To morrow is my last day in San Diego!
Written by Christian Stensöta
Christian Stensöta is a colleague at Nätverkstan in charge of database and Filemaker solutions for the cultural and civil society field. He is visiting the Filemaker Development Conference 2010 in San Diego, USA, August 15-18.
Horton Grand Hotel:
It was a Grand Opening!
On four giant screens we could see the a thin and charismatic man given us the facts: the numbers are great, the future is bright. A big Wheel in the Sky. The speaker was the president of Filemaker Corporation Dominique Goupilon in his keynote speech. A fairly short but intense opening speech was followed by appearances of the company´s engineers. One after the other they went on stage to describe new features and the crowd was ecstatic!
Chief engineer Andrew LeCates made some entertaining presentation of FilemakerGo, a new and promising product on the IOS platform. Filemaker on iPhone and iPad. This is the most interesting aspect of Filemaker for the moment and I am going to attend every session on that topic during the conference.
The opening session was over and time to party. Live music, food and drinks and lot of networking. Tomorrow agenda is packed with sessions from 8 in the morning until 10 in the evening and I can hardly wait…
Written by Christian Stensöta
Christian Stensöta is a colleague at Nätverkstan in charge of database and Filemaker solutions for the cultural and civil society field. He is visiting the Filemaker Development Conference 2010 in San Diego, USA, August 15-18.
Have a look at: http://www.filemaker.com/products/filemaker-go/for-ipad/
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