PSFK CONFERENCE
NEW YORK 2010                                                                            4.14.2010

Piers ...
art that helps that breaks down his entire world. Nick has created another site, Daytum, which
is a free service that help...
Essentially just a big kid, Shantell Martin is redefining how people experience and
perceive art. Expanding conventional d...
from ALS with creative technologies. EyeWriter is new software that helps people that have lost
most if not all motor faci...
facebook/myspace/etc.) people didn‟t have enough friends to make these small programs
viable. A network with only 5-10 fri...
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Psfk conference[4]

  1. 1. PSFK CONFERENCE NEW YORK 2010 4.14.2010 Piers Fawkes, founder of the trends research and innovation company, opened the 4th annual conference with PSFK‟s mission: to provide inspiration to make things better. The day would unfold with a number of 20 minute “Good Ideas” talks that fall into 4 broad categories: Storytelling, Creative Refocus, Changemaking and Disruption. STORYTELLING Keynote speaker Rob Walker, national columnist for the New York Times magazine and author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, kicked off the event. Walker recently began an experiment called Significant Objects, recruiting writers to invent stories about items picked up at thrift stores and yard sales for less than $4. Their theory, which has been proven with eBay auctions, was that even imaginary narratives could add measurable value to „worthless‟ objects. Walker took this on as a side project, and admitted that at the beginning it seemed totally hopeless. According to Walker, though, some of the best projects seemed hopeless from the start, like Art Speigleman‟s Maus or Laurie Anderson‟s United States Live. Luckily, Significant Objects has been very successful and has run three separate times, raising thousands of dollars for charities and organizations that support young writers. Significant Objects has even sparked side projects like Fictionaut‟s Why They Cried, and one object will be featured in an art gallery in California. Steve Powers, a graffiti artist known as ESPO from Philly who once volunteered his time to renew the old hand painted signs in Coney Island, spoke about his project: A Love Letter for You, a legal commissioned city-wide mural series of brick valentines on the Philly skyline. Drawing input, inspiration and work from the community, Powers created a letter to and from west Philadelphia with the help of the skilled hands of 20 of the finest spray painters in America. Ouigi Theodore, founder of up-and-coming men‟s fashion label Brooklyn Circus, spoke on using what you have to get what you want. Utilizing local talent from craigslist to help with design, participating in the community (both geographic and digital) and using his website (a readership of 200,000), Brooklyn Circus has made their way into the iron-tight fashion business. Nick Felton, showed the world that thousands of seamlessly tedious and useless points of data could not only be easily understood, but could also become beautiful works of art. A few years ago Felton began to quantify everything in his life and found a way to take those clusters of data and measurements and turn them into the Feltron Reports: 5 years worth of infographic
  2. 2. art that helps that breaks down his entire world. Nick has created another site, Daytum, which is a free service that helps you collect, categorize and communicate your everyday data. By using this site and contributing data in a real and usable way, people can better understand themselves by recognizing their own patterns and trends and well as taking a look at the bigger picture see these measurements, trends and shifts of a macro scale. Andy Spade and Anthony Sperduti of Partners & Spade shop and consultancy showed us that advertising stories can be told in many ways, not all of which involving TV, radio, print or even digital. When J. Crew wanted to overcome the “preppy, khacki and baby blue” sterotype for their men‟s line, these guys created The Liquor Store: a J. Crew men‟s storefront in Tribeca built into an old bar. The space includes everything from a Strands book corner selling Kerouac and Hemingway to luggage and accessories from other brands that J. Crew admires. Spade and Sperduti believe in “Thinking Small”. They tell clients that the bigger your company gets, the smaller you should act. In other words, for every accountant you hire, hire an artist. By acting small, brands garner the attention of influential thinkers and the media. They enable employees to take ownership and act on their own intuition, and they change consumer perception and appeal to a new demographic. CREATIVE REFOCUS Swissmiss is a wildly popular design inspiration blog started by Tina Roth Eisenberg, a Swiss designer based out of DUMBO, Brooklyn. Tina started the blog in 2005 as a personal visual archive, and she now has 900,000 monthly visitors globally. Her content comes from four sources: reader submissions, referring sites, Twitter and her personal collection of favorite blogs and sites. She has worked on the Visual Thesaurus (a great brainstorming tool), designs for MoMa, and the world‟s most beautiful online organization tool: Teux Deux. Reinvention was the theme of Erin Proulx’s talk. From the hundreds of stories he gathered during and after the making of his film, “Lemonade,” Eric shared what he‟s learned about starting over. “Lemonade” follows a group of advertising people who were laid off and used it as an opportunity to work on their true passions, whether it be making coffee or teaching yoga. Adam Wells is an industrial designer who uses products and spaces to create an experience. He spoke about creating real value in an experience through what can only be described as experiential content – making the interaction with an object or space impactful enough to the consumer to derive emotion from them and provide the best encounter possible. Working with companies like Virgin Atlantic and Dyson, Adam is helping to refocus industrial design to produce interaction with spaces and products that add to the brand, creating one aspect of the content (often in a tangible realm) of an entire marketing campaign.
  3. 3. Essentially just a big kid, Shantell Martin is redefining how people experience and perceive art. Expanding conventional definitions of drawing and pioneering an area that combines improvised live illustrations with music, Shantell is helping to ad new dimension to the way people interact and experience art. Most notably, Shantell teams up with DJ‟s, designers, and musicians and provides live performances with a digital tablet, allowing her to project live drawings on walls and the audience. Interacting with the music, the audience and the art allows Shantell creates a new environment that is all her own and can be utilized to create something bigger than its individual pieces. CHANGEMAKING Colin Beavin (aka No Impact Man) started off his presentation with a question “If we keep creating the same thing (say for example cooler cell phones) year after year, is that really progress? Or is it just more of the same?” His point was to help get us as individuals and businesses back on the right track, not just in what we consume, but in what we create as well. Colin started his search for “more good” in 2006 when he launched a year-long project in which he and his family went off the grid and attempted to live in the middle of New York City with as little environmental impact as possible, cutting out all electricity and even toilet paper. He took what he learned and is now trying to preach the word through his book, website, and consulting. Colin has a firm grasp on marketing and consumerism and works with individuals and companies on one simple equations: less bad more good. He tries to encourage individuals and companies alike to be more proactive in their conservation efforts. Andrew Hoppin was appointed the first ever Chief Information Officer for the New York State Senate in February 2009. His mission is to dramatically improve government transparency, citizen participation and operational efficiency using technology. Check out nysenate.gov to see how easy it can be to interact with government right from your computer. NYU‟s Interactive Telecommunications Program has a “Designing for Unicef” class that made the leap from academia to action in disaster relief zones recently. John Dimatos, a resident researcher, oversees the student projects that were kicked into action to support Unicef‟s efforts in Haiti. Zach Lieberman focused the majority of his talk on the concept of interaction. Definitely the most popular of all the speakers at PSFK, Zach showed us a few great pieces of technology and frameworks that are helping people and machines interact better. Using a combination of creativity, community, software, and empathy, Zach showed the audience a few incredible ideas that he helped bring to life. Firstly, he showed us the work he did with Toyota in helping to create their own font for the launch of their new car. Second, he showed us the EyeWriter Project, which is an ongoing collaborative research effort to empower people who are suffering
  4. 4. from ALS with creative technologies. EyeWriter is new software that helps people that have lost most if not all motor facilities retain their creative talents with the use of a specially designed camera that tracks the movement of your eye to draw and create on a digital canvas. Finally, Zach spoke on openframeworks.cc which is essentially a giant community of developers that have archived all of their coding in open source, meaning anyone and everyone has access to thousands of lines of code to help them in their creative endeavors and in pushing software development and creativity even further. Zach envisions a world where software is like the subconscious, and interactivity with machines is as intuitive as breathing. The biggest take- away we got from Zach is his revision of the DIY movement, which he changed to DIWO (Doing it with others)-- people coming together in an open environment where progress and empathy reign, creating beautiful works or art as well as meaningful and impactful technology. DISRUPTION Peter Weijmarshausen has created an interesting digital marketplace centering on 3D printing. At shapeways.com, those familiar with 3D software (such as CAD) can upload their plans to Shapeways and have their products both printed and sold online in their marketplace. Those looking for unique and interesting gifts and products can also take advantage of the marketplace and purchase the products that were all created using 3D printers. Grant McCracken, author of the recently published Chief Culture Officer, spoke about how the corporation can become more skilled in finding the opportunities and avoiding the perils that come from culture. Avner Ronen is the founder of Boxee, a multi-media browser which combines the worlds of the Internet and Television. Avner, on the forefront of mixed media gave a few insights and conjectures into what sort of world our media will live in over the next few years. Avner foresees a world where access and content will be sold separately. Where artificial barriers such as cable and premium channel subscriptions will be taken down, and building value within each entity (program) will be a necessity to drive subscriptions and profit. He believes that the discovery of new entertainment will remain mostly passive, meaning that there will remain a lot of room for innovation in how we discover what sort of media we will consume. This could have major relevance in how we advertise in the future. As well, audience fragmentation will get much worse, and platforms will grow to become audience aggregators more so than anything else. While these are all conjectures, Avner sees these shifts in consumption to be great catalysts for good in how we produce, consume, and utilize media. Naveen Selvadurai is the co-founder of the up-and-coming mobile service foursquare, which helps people connect and interact with the world around them. Naveen, along with his partner Dennis Crowley, wanted to make a way for people to motivate themselves to try new things and meet new people. Within social networking (besides the big players
  5. 5. facebook/myspace/etc.) people didn‟t have enough friends to make these small programs viable. A network with only 5-10 friends wasn‟t engaging enough. To counteract this problem, Naveen introduced game mechanics into the social realm to help challenge people and create a more interactive experience. Hence, foursquare was born and phenomenon of personal gaming and content tracking was born. More than anything else, foursquare is helping people do three things: connect, challenge and track. It helps connect people through interactivity within their social realm, it challenges them to explore new places and try new things, and it helps them track what they are doing. Imagine the power of know every single time you went to the gym last year, or all the restaurants you ate at, or number of times you did any activity. Naveen and foursquare are helping us to understand that the more we know about what we have done, the more we know about ourselves, which is often less than we think.

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