The big moment for me - and the reason for going to these conferences - is to get into a state, where I “connect the dots”. Meeting people, listening to talks, sharing ideas, talking, thinking. Mostly about seemingly unrelated topics (“Technology and Society” is a fairly broad description. And then, all going well, something happens. A common theme emerges, and it connects the dots.
It has happened to me an around lunch today.
Spaces. Spaces that allow certain things to happen. Spaces that foster people doing things. Spaces that set up the environment.
Spaces like the Liftconference, where Laurent did “nothing more” than provide a venue for 550 minds to mingle - thank you!
Spaces like the inside of ATLAS in the LHC where the conditions will be just like a-billionth of a second after the Big-Bang
Spaces like the activity based workspaces that Clark Elliot designs and builds
Spaces like the Hole in the Wall where kids teach themselves how to operate a computer and learn english at the same time
Spaces like the school of Maria Montessori (thanks Sig for the connection)
Spaces like Habbo Hotel that provides a safe space for kids to play in
But where are the spaces for working and collaborating electronically? Lotus Notes and Groove both had tendencies in that direction. Groove get’s a strong nod (over Notes) because its whole metaphor was just that - to build a common space with task oriented tools. Unfortunately, Groove back in the old days was just to big and slow to be really useful, and nowadays it has been folded into the big Microsoft umbrella. It’s going to be interesting to see, if Ray Ozzie can keep it alive in his role as CTO.
On the web however, things look differently. There are lot’s of single applications (the Google tools (Docs, Calendar, Spreadsheet) spring to mind) and there are probably dozens and dozens of others. But are there actually spaces out there, that foster collaboration? That allow spontaneous co-creation and discovery of information and knowledge? I would love to hear about them!