Sunday, November 21, 2010

Web Site [semi]-Launch

I will be posting from now on on my new web site, Please go there to stay in touch with my and my students' activities, thanks!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Engines of Innovation

Just listened to this Podcast of a conversation between Brian Eno and Steven Johnson, roughly organized around Johnson's book, The Invention of Air, but talking about environments that support innovation, how ideas can be made, and what conditions are in place when this happens. Very interesting.

Eno and Johnson talk about how Londoners went from drinking wine and beer all day to drinking coffee and tea in the 1760s, and the explosion of coffee houses that provided gathering places for intellectual discussion. They pose the question of whether this fueled the innovations of the Enlightenment - hubs where different disciplines connect combined with an atmosphere of amateurism being characteristic of environments that foster innovation. Johnson compares this open sharing of ideas and cross-disciplinary exploration to the atmosphere in the Silicon Valley. Eno talks about the period in the 60s in England when art schools were where the interesting music was being made - the idea of crossing disciplinary boundaries being essential for creativity - comparing that to the early days of Silicon Valley, when folks coming from a wide variety of disciplines had a hand in creating the personal computer. The idea of randomness being important to innovation, and that when you have experts from only one field involved, that essential randomness is eliminated.

He also discusses platforms that inspire creativity, comparing the 45 rpm record to iPhone apps. Rock music being very easy to play, combined with the 45 rpm record being easy to record and distribute, plus a thirsty dissemination medium, radio, always looking for something new to play. Johnson and Eno compare this to the current open platform web environment, and especially the iPhone app platform.

Well worth a listen.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Art Center Futures

brought to you by Livescribe

Last night Art Center College of Design's new president, Lorne Buchman, started a conversation within our community about future directions with a few guests from outside the college. This is a Livescribe recording of the panel discussion, delivered to a packed house of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Panelists were Katherine Hayles, David Rice, Stephen Oliver, and Andrew Blauvelt.

The discussion was webcast, but I'm not sure they saved it in a form that is still accessible, so I'm posting the session here for those who are interested. For those of you unfamiliar with Livescribe recordings, the audio is linked to the written notes, and you can click anywhere on the notes to hear what was being said at that time. It's a useful way to record a session as long as this one, because you can skip around.

Today we will have a day-long brainstorm on a number of topics: students & student life (life?! what life!! you mean there's life outside of Art Center??!! ;-)), curriculum & pedagogy, outside partnerships, governance & community (promises to be a hot topic, given the excitement of the past couple of years), and future trends & global context. If I have time (we start the term next Monday) I'll report on that as well.