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Planning-ness 2013


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A short, garbled wrap up of Planning-ness 2013 in Boston, MA. It's not meant to be comprehensive of the entire conference, but should hopefully give you a little flavor for the event. It's a fun one …

A short, garbled wrap up of Planning-ness 2013 in Boston, MA. It's not meant to be comprehensive of the entire conference, but should hopefully give you a little flavor for the event. It's a fun one y'all.

If you want the REAL presentations, check them out here:

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  • 3. HOWDY!Every year, I try to do one of these little synopses for the folks who didn’t get a chance to join inperson - nothing beats the real thing, but hopefully this gives you a little flavorThe takeaways are mine, the quotes + charts often blatantly stolen from our incredible speakersAll presentations are cited for reference - suggest you guys check them all out in their entiretywhen you can: isn’t meant to be exhaustive (I wasn’t in on every presentation and sometimes I take awfulnotes) - just a few favorite key takeawaysBig thanks to the all wonderful presenters, Mark (and family!), Claire, Dylan and the volunteerswho make this thing sing every year -- all on donated timeYou guys are the best...
  • 4. “PLANNING BY NUMBERS” IS A FALACY**You all know this, but I have to say it anyways...Given the increasingly complex job strategists are tasked with, it’s no surprise that we’re constantlylooking for the next great model or heuristic that will bring additional context to our thinking - manyof us come to these conferences for such inspiration!However, it’s so important to remind ourselves that there are no real answers to questions like“how to make something viral”- there are principles we can learn that help inform the choices wemake along the way, but in our business nothing supersedes amazing ideas and brilliant thinkingThe balance between art and science is one that strategists must keep close to their hearts - nevererring to far either way
  • 6. FOOTPRINTS TO URBAN DESIGN“We do not create space. We alter it.” - Dan Pitera (Detroit Collaborative Design Center)Designing a city is designing to the human experience - less about creating a space to attractpeople to live there and more about creating a place where people who already live there canthrive, grow perhaps consider returning to if they move awayCities are made up of footprints - they mark memories, experiences and losses holding thesignificance of a human action, captured in a physical sense as well as holding emotionalweightAn important distinction: (population) density = complexity of human interactions, not thenumber of people per square foot
  • 7. “A great building must begin with the immeasurable, must go through measurable means whenbeing designed, and in the end must be unmeasured” - Louis I KahnSound familiar??URBAN DESIGN MEETS (OUR) STRATEGY WORLDIMMEASURABLE MEASURABLE IMMEASURABLEideasintentionsdesiressocial mobilitystructureformspacematerialityemotionsdesiresmemoriesthought
  • 8. “A city is a place your heart can sing”
  • 9. A nice little augment to a traditional SWOT analysis as it is used in urban design exercisesTaking a step beyond the typical quadrants, the “STEEP” axis can adds context and the abilityto create more actionable analysesSTRATEGIC TOOLS: STEEP/SWOT MATRIXS(trengths)W(weaknesses)O(pportunities)T(hreats)S(ocial) T(echnology) E(conomic) E(cological) P(olitical)
  • 10. “...(use) design methods that promote the spontaneity of idea sharing (not a method that leadsto a particular result)”- Design to verbs not nouns: (ask how a city functions in terms of actions rather than things)- ”Creative amnesia”: when approaching a new problem sometimes the first thing to do is forgetwhat you know (way harder to do than it sounds)- Look at the overlaps of function rather than discreet functions in isolation- Try not to be too prepared (every strategist gasps for breath...)STRATEGIC TOOLS: PROBLEM SOLVING TRICKS
  • 12. TELEVISION: INDUSTRY OR DEVICE?Awesome “future of” session with MIT’s incredibly sharp Henry HoltzmanTV is dead.TV is more successful than ever.Most of us have heard iterations of both - but “TV” isn’t defined solely as a device (or set)Fundamental truth: people will always seek entertainment; GOOD entertainmentTV “channel” or network is what is in danger of becoming meaningless - it’s no longer anorganizing principle given the plethora of content out thereParticularly endangered is the network channel which doesn’t seem to have any kind ofcohesive thread binding discrete content together
  • 13. THE “SECOND SCREEN”Currently we develop apps for a second device to monopolize a viewers attention - as acompanion to a TV show, with the assumption people WANT to be monopolizedThe reality is, people don’t want to pay full attention to a single entityDoing “something else” while watching TV isn’t a new behavior - people have alwaysdone other things with things that don’t require their undivided attention (reading, leavingthe room, cooking, eating...) -Yes, people do like talking to each other about shows, which is why social media isperfect forum for having conversations - but creating a standalone app to moderate socialconversation can be meaningless - it’s far more simple to just play on existing platforms
  • 14. FUTURE OF TVThe Future of TV is bright according to Henry Holtzman: more choices, more places,interactivity and MORE PIXELS.Another hypothesis: the Future of TV may lie in the form of the app store rather than achannel guide...Premium content migrates out of channels and into apps - creating more interactive, fullyexperiential content in ONE space rather than splitting into two screens - in the same waythat magazines + newspapers have become apps (rather than splitting attention betweena ‘screen’ and a paper)
  • 15. A CASE STUDY: NEXTREAMHoltzman brought up one very interesting MIT project: NeXtream as a “Social TV” platformThis project poses the question: what if we could allow a social network BE the network(taking the power away from channels)The simple framework for filtering is as follows:The screens are working in consort rather than competing for attention - two steps offiltering and functionality
  • 16. • Holtzman brought up onevery interesting MITproject: Nextream as a“Social TV” platform• Essentially it has thescreens workingTOGETHER rather thancompeting for attention -two steps of filtering andfunctionality: allowing asocial network BE thenetwork (taking thepower away fromchannels)• The simple framework for
  • 18. DESIGNING EXPERIENCES FOR KIDSLoved this last session of the event (I also wrote my undergrad dissertation in children andplay, so perhaps a bias...)Things to bear in mind to successfully design for kids:1. use of natural elements2. utilize a range of play experiencesAnd remember: kids create their own narratives for whatever space you give them - kidswill make play without you facilitating a thing
  • 19. What we once thought kid’s playlooked like...
  • 20. kid’s play best.
  • 21. “Play doesn’t make a kid a better adult,it makes a kid a better kid”
  • 22. 5 KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL PLAY1. Wabi sabi - the idea of impermanence (slight imperfections - holes, strings...)2. Secrets - dens, forts, a place that’s away -- finding the secret world in a video game3. Hard fun - adventure play - play with an element of risk4. Play with scale - feeling very small vs. feeling very big5. Real - playing with REAL things vs. kid versions of the real
  • 24. CONTAGIOUS IDEASJonah Berger led an interesting session centered around his book, Contagious - the sciencebehind how things catch on (ugh, “go viral”)Still a very salient point - “social currency” being one of the most motivating factors of acontagious idea - being an individual ‘in the know’ is a fundamental human desire.I stumbled on some great sketch notes summarizing the main seven thesis points ofBerger’s framework for contagious ideas (which is far more interesting than me writingthem...)
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  • 28. OH HAI!You say: “Drag show?”I say: “Yes please.” (duh)Wild horses couldn’t keep me away from the ever-fabulous Sheila Dubai...Brave, unapologetic and fabulous, huge kudos to Ms. Sheila for strutting her stuff andreminding us all the core of this conference - to cut loose a bit and remember to have FUNwhile learning a thing or two.
  • 29. BE F!@#ING FABULOUSFun exercises comprised much of the session, the most important reminder was: BE INTERESTINGI know that sounds a bit wank-ish, but sometimes we forget - we’re too wrapped up in the workitself that we forget that being super interesting people MAKE us good at the workDo things that you love and that ignite your creative spirit and the “work” answers often becomemore clear:- having deep passions = new perspective- don’t be afraid to use that perspective in how you solve (work related) problems- utilize that unique perspective as a problem solving lens rather a filter for judgement
  • 30. SEE Y’ALL NEXT YEAR...