As part of the Vivid Ideas festival, community ambassador Mark Woodrow went along to the Participatory Revolution, an event inspired by Michelle Williams, connector, collaborator and founder of Ideaction.
“There is the same power in our phones as what took humans to the moon.” Michelle Williams inspires passion in us all to join the revolution in opening the half day conference at the MCA in Sydney, 27 May.
“This is the era of creativity. Participation the new consumption.”
It’s not what we consume, it’s how we participate
Greenpeace CEO David Ritter defined their early vision with blunt clarity in quoting David McTaggart “We have to get our world into 21st C in one piece. Fuck everything else.” Greenpeace works by active participation. The latest campaign targets the horrendous damage by plastics on bird life. Two thirds of Australian sea birds are choking on a stomach full of plastic. You can participate by not purchasing from a multinational like Coca-Cola, which shows no interest in recycling. And watch the compelling ad that was censored by mainstream Australian media.
“Greenpeace’s mission hasn’t changed but now there are many more options for activism.The action items on the menu for social change have expanded in the rich opportunities contained in digital age.”
Participatory democracy and citizen centricity
‘Social media is just a part of a broader cultural change’ according to self proclaimed geek and open data advocate Pia Waugh. Gov 2.0 means 3 key things:
1. open data, 2. participatory democracy, 3. citizen centricity.
It is good to have Pia representing the thoughtful application of technology in government and promoting that as citizens we should all be central participants. “For two years, we’ve had more people engaging with government online than through any other medium”, says Pia.
Learning to be a citizen scholar
James Arvanitakis is the lecturer you wish you had at University, winning a Prime Minister’s award for being the most popular Australian lecturer in 2012. He advocates participatory education where we trade knowledge to attract students – we need more citizen scholars, as “Students aren’t empty vessels”.
Like newspapers, James believes the model for traditional university education is outdated. Studies show that attention in lectures goes downhill from 12 minutes. James overcomes this by interacting before, during & after lectures with downloads, and interacting on Facebook.
“Knowledge is like a big picnic. If we all bring something & contribute it will be awesome. We need to get students ready for jobs that don’t exist”
Know your sense of purpose
People are interested in doing the right thing and changing the conversation, according to Paul Bennett, Creative Director at renowned design firm IDEO. But to truly participate we need little less conversation, a little more action. Paul recommends we:
1. Have a higher purpose. ‘Know your sense of purpose’, but it needs to be integral, “Purpose is not a layer that you just add on top”.
2. Make stuff. ‘Less talking more doing’ is what leads to human centered design.
3. Be transparent about success & failure. Leap forward into growth rather than step back into safety.
4. Play well with others – collaborate. Assume the good. “If you care about solving problems, you can’t try and own the solution”
The rule at IDEO is that everybody is in it for everybody. Incredibly IDEO puts everything online. You can see it all, download it. frameworks , designs etc. According to Paul:
“Burning eyes are the business eyes of the future”
The Maker Movement
Yammers Steve Hopkins is all about eliminating silos. “How you make things is as important as what you make”. Makers are true participants and they are on a different schedule. For a further insight read Paul Graham’s Maker’s Schedule versus Manager’s Schedule
For projects to work, Steve’s suggest’s the Yammer formula:
“Two to ten people in a team for between 2 to 10 weeks. Never longer”
For Ian Lyons, the ‘maker movement’ is increasingly creating value. Ian makes drones (pilot-less flying machines) and suggests you investigate over funded projects on crowd funding platforms, such as KickStarter. These are a great source of market research. Collaboration is the key – find a community that will help you build what you want. There are great Australians ‘Maker Spaces’ including Robots & Dinosaurs, Ozberry Pi, Ninja Blocks and Dorkbot. These vibrant, creative communities that provides access to tools, software, space, ideas and support. As do #coworking spaces. You just need to search them out to participate.
The time is now. Reward collaboration over competition. Join the participatory revolution. Vive la révolution!
About our Ambassador // Mark Woodrow. Prefers the more informal self-appointed title of No1 Fetch Fan. Runs a design and communication consultancy, The Galaxy. Resides at Hub Sydney. On the NSW Board of International Assoc of Business Communicators. You can connect with Mark on Twitter @markwoodrow