I went along to SCAMP 2012 yesterday and what a fantastic event it was. Friendly, inspiring, smart - there were some great speakers and just as interesting attendees. I particularly liked the format. The curators of SCAMP deliberately selected speakers who wouldn't just stand up and talk to some slides. Clare Reddington brought a lucky dip of props - the audience members picked one and then she spoke about it in relation to her work. Nange Magro presented a prototype of a dress which can be controlled with brainwaves. Salena Godden floored us with her fiery poetry performance. Mixing up talks with performances, conversations and audience participation gave the day a really nice rhythm and flow. One other conferences could learn from.
BUT. This is not what I want to talk about right now. There was one thing yesterday which irked me. Where were all the men in the audience? There must have been about 5 men there, 4 of whom were speaking. What's with this? No need to come because it's just for the ladies?
Last night I went along to the first Ad Hoc enquiries. It's a new approach to doing an event. Someone is invited to present on a topic within the broad sphere of innovation in the public sector, a diverse mix of people are selected to come along, have supper and frankly discuss and critique the topic of the day.
In all honesty I must log onto the BBC website and my local news website at least 20 times a day mostly through my smartphone or work computer, and I can honestly admit that I learnt more about today's events by logging onto this 3 times today
Bruce Sterling's closing keynote at SXSW was typically fiery and inspirational. But whereas last year's felt like a war cry, this year there was a strain of hope in his words.
And he summed it up this way:
Be passionate about what you do, because now is a pretty awesome time.
Two weekends ago, Andrew and I went along to the third Good for Nothing hack weekend, appropriately titled Occupy Blue Monday. It was as inspirational and invigorating as ever. I've written before about what it's like to do a Good for Nothing. I love the way they take new, collaborative ways of working and hack culture to support the true innovators in social enterprise. As a participant, it's amazing to be able to use your skills to provide real value - a new kind of volunteering with tangible results.