Tag Archives: community

finding design frontiers: larry keeley at ocad

larry keeley, ceo of doblin, spoke earlier today at ocad, in a wonderful talk sponsored by torch partnership and the strategic innovation lab – the new incarnation of my alma mater the beal institute for strategic creativity. big thanks to the folks that hosted “the john cleese of innovation.” there were a few key ideas that really stood out for me in his talk.

the thesis of larry’s talk focused on a new emerging discipline of innovation, one that is still in its infancy and will eventually encapsulate the methods and rigour demonstrated in fully or semi-institutionalized disciplines such as medicine, law or business. at a time of great uncertainty, as the systems we have come to rely on for the exchange of economic, physical and political capital begin to erode globally, larry offers that innovation, far from dead, is thriving.

as is often the case in times of turmoil, people innovate when they need to think differently, act differently and make different things. they explore the boundaries of what is possible. however, larry asks “what if everything we thought we knew about innovation was wrong?” especially when we consider that most innovation posts a success rate of less than 4%, worldwide. he then gives the following example of how innovation commonly goes down in a company (which i’m sure will be a bit mucked up in my retelling, but the point will get across ;)

    the executives of a major corporation realize that their earnings are tanking, and so product lines are trimmed, teams are reduced and gap analysis is conducted. and the gap analytics indicate that in order to close the gap between the economic projections and the actual company performance, one needs to innovate. so the sr execs comb through the company and pick the best and brightest, and get them all together in the board room. then comes the stirring speech, in which the selected team is inspired and charged to innovate with no margin for error, a super short timeline, no guidance, no resources, threat of termination upon failure and little in the way of exactly *what* they’re supposed to innovate towards. ambiguous expectations and concrete deliverables. however, there will be whiteboards and flipcharts to aid in generating ideas. this is akin to picking a bunch of random people and asking them to perform neurosurgery with a few exacto knives and some rubbing alcohol.

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GameON: Finance is just around the corner

***UPDATE¬† we’re looking for a few volunteers to help out with day and evening – for registrations, OneXOne meetings, etc. please drop me a line if you’re interested – 4-4.5 hrs at a time, and all volunteers get a free pass to the conference – michele {at} interactive ontario {.} com.

whew – what a week ahead! we’re just pulling together the final odds and ends for io‘s GameON: Finance, the games industry investment forum i’ve been working on the past few months. it happens january 17 and 18 at the grand banking hall of one king west. this building is gorgeous – definitely an echo of the old financial institutional era with soaring ceilings and marble everything – a lovely venue.

as for the event itself, woo! GameON: Finance is designed to bring together members of the games industry, the investment community, educators and policymakers -with a strong focus on the financing and business development of games. we’re hoping to facilitate some fantastic conversations and connect people for future opportunities.

as for the speakers…

eric zimmerman, cofounder and chief design executive at nyc’s gamelab will be kicking off the evening keynote reception on january 17th. i caught eric’s talk at ocad’s mobile nation conference in the spring of 2007 – his energy and brains will bring a great dynamic to the conference. on january 18th, our morning keynote will be the fabulous richard iwaniuk, director of finance at bioware, maybe canada’s only firm that can say they’ve raised capital from bono (or at least his private equity firm ;). richard’s keynote definitely raises the bar for the rest of the day!

the panels throughout the day range from monetizing tech IP, case studies, models for growth in emerging channels, negotiating funds, what both ides of the table are looking for, positioning products, the effects of public policy and the drivers of innovation. our speakers range from investors, policy specialists, publishers, studios and analysts – a great lineup of people for some great conversation. register here, and our early bird price expires at midnight tomorrow! hope to see you there!

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studio n seeks new studiomate!

please pass it along! many thanks, michele

Studio N Seeks New StudioMate

Studio N is a shared studio of independent jewellery/metal/craft artists with varying careers and schedules. The studio itself is located at 44 Dovercourt, south of Queen St, and is approximately 750 sq ft, with a wall of south-facing windows. It comes equipped with a small kitchen, bathroom, a reception area and some storage.

This is a shared studio with 5 bench areas (one area is shared by 2 part time people). We each bring in and are responsible for our own benches, hand tools, torches, materials, hardware, etc, and contribute to larger items/ machinery/ tools where possible. The pickle pot is shared, as are vise grips, a shear, ultrasonic, polisher, hydraulic press, etc.

As a caveat, Studio N is not a residency, mentoring or educational facility – it’s a professional collective of individuals developing their studio practice and business. We don’t provide access to materials, clients or exhibitions, but are definitely about supporting each other when we can. Our works vary from the traditional to the conceptual, with lots of messy territory in between. We do hold open house exhibitions 2+ times a year, involvement is not mandatory, and some of us teach small classes.

What we’re looking for:

You’re friendly, reliable, professional and used to working in a shared, respectful, studio environment. You’re safe and savvy around tools, chemicals, materials and processes. You’ve got some learning in you regarding jewellery and metals, whether it’s through school, apprenticeship, etc, and you have a professional commitment to your practice, whatever that might entail. You’re in possession of tools, and are not averse to contributing when you can!

  • Rent: $200/month inclusive, last month deposit req’d, one year+ commitment preferred.
  • Other: a shared phone line at about $9/month plus any long distance; a $5/month kitty for baking soda, pickle, dish soap, garbage bags, etc.
  • Available: February 1st, 2008
  • Access: 24 hours. close proximity to Queen and King streetcar, Dufferin bus, Gladstone Hotel poutine.

Who we are:

  • Fiona MacIntyre
  • Lara McQuay
  • Michele Perras
  • Carolyn Scandiffio
  • Anneke Van Bommel

Please contact Michele at 416-805-8661, michele {.} perras {@} gmail {.} com

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scotchcamp tonite!

95524589_b04adf2594.jpgphoto by asmunder

the torcamp scotchcamp holiday social will be happening tonight at allen’s on the danforth, from 8pm onwards. stop in to warm up from the cold, and share a bit of cheer. as well, allen’s has a fine selection of over 160 scotches, whiskies and bourbons, and plenty of other options for those whose palate marches to a different drum. and also there’s great food! see you there!

  • when: december 17, 8pm
  • where: allen’s on the danforth, 143 danforth ave (just east of broadview, south side)

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return to yyz

img_2067.jpgsacher torte & ruby port

back from vienna a week already, followed by days of unpacking the new house and wrapping up loose ends for work. it was an interesting trip, and an interesting conference.

while the content was good and engaging, i hate to say it but knowledge, creativity and transformations of societies was poorly organized and not very well thought out, which is a shame as it could have been so much better with just a bit of different effort, ironic given it’s name and mandate… a few things that bothered me…

panel locations weren’t advertised (even general street signage was lacking) and were spread across the city, there was little in the way of networking and meeting with your fellow attendees. and there wasn’t any wifi, which, isn’t so important in the long run.

but those were the little qualms. the biggest problem was that the organizers rescheduled the panel i was on about 6 days before the conference began. originally set to go on friday, we were moved to sunday, which meant that some people missed the panel as their flights were leaving sunday afternoon, or that they were rescheduled to present at 8am. yikes!

beyond that, the content was really really great. mark rectanus, from the university of iowa, spoke about the tensions between institutional knowledge and emergent knowledge (universities and wikipedia, for example), and ways to reconcile this through teaching, dialogue, active participation with one’s students, etc.

and tatjana chorney, from st mary’s in halifax, spoke about transformational teaching methods that also speak to mark’s themes – that while instructors still need to communicate a historical or contextual knowledge base in their curriculi, there’s also an increased need to facilitate and broker knowledge acquisition, insight and analysis as well – the skills and creative impetus to understand and act upon information.

my paper touched upon the underlying dynamics that aid in that facilitation – how groups form, how they trust and read each other so that knowledge can permeate throughout a community. three overlapping areas, and i’m honored that i was able to speak to theirs and the others work. well done, everyone!!

vienna itself is a lovely city – bourgeousie architecture and winding laneways, grand palaces and wiener wurstl stands everywhere. i completely fell in love with the food – especially apfelpunsch, and the people were kind and hospitable. looking forward to another trip in the future!

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around the neck @ prime gallery


this group show opens next saturday, stop by if you’re around!

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media lab toronto is born!


casecamp6 took place last tuesday at the century room, and was a really incredible night full of awesome cases, announcements and people. eli has really raised level of conversation and built a fantastic community around casecamp, which has now partnered with achilles media (the producers of nextMedia). congrats to all – and looking forward to the future. tom has some great notes on the evening as well!

media lab toronto also presented their inaugural project – TXTris, an interactive SMS projection where text messages sink down from the sky onto a hilarious toronto skyline made of tim horton’s boxes. congrats to patrick, gabe, michael and dory, and i can’t wait to see where this will go!!

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