• Metastrategy In Malmo: Adventures at The Conference

    On: August 22, 2016
    In: culture, design, economics, Smithery 3.0
    Views: 4960
     Like

    I was honoured to be invited to give a keynote talk at The Conference in Malmo last week, to an audience of 1000 people. Which is a big room…

    Here’s the ‘before’ picture…

    P1130524

    …and here is the ‘after’… although technically ‘during’, now I think of it…

    P1130525

    The talk itself was on Metastrategy, the need for ‘a strategy of strategies’.

    It’s the ‘third act’ after the Metadesign talk at last year’s dConstruct, and ‘Metamechanics‘ at IAM in Barcelona this year.

    In a brilliant move, the guys at The Conference were live editing the videos as they were recording, and posting up the videos of the talks about an hour after they’d happened.

    Which means if you want to watch the talk, you can do that here.

    There is also a whole mountain of amazing talks from across the two days, some which I saw and some I’m now going to catch up on after hearing so much about them.

    I also ran a masterclass on the Thursday with a small group of people who’d signed up (apologies to those who tried but couldn’t get in, I might come back to Malmo to run it again) on using the ‘9 Box’ agility map as a springboard for metastrategy.

    Using masking tape, we quickly made the framework to work within, and then populated with Artefact Cards to keep moving around types of work and activity and examine different potential routes through projects.

    P1130533

    It’s set off a whole series of subsequent thoughts about working on the horizontal plane rather than the vertical too (in short, people are more likely to reach out and move things around; the tabletop seems to be ‘common’ space much more than walls do…), but I’ll think about that more and write it up.

    And, of course, because it’s the year of The Chair Game, we played that at the end, to examine the nature of multiple strategies folding in on themselves, becoming appropriate depending on how the context shifts, and each deployment of a strategy changing the nature of the game and so therefore the next strategy needed. Scholars of The Chair Game will notice a new chair set-up tried by the players, which we shall christen ‘Malmo Rows’ I think.

    P1130536

    Anyway, thank you again to all the team at The Conference for a splendid, splendid week. Whatever they do next year, get it in your diary.

    Read More
  • Designing The Future: Tues 21st June

    On: May 23, 2016
    In: design, technology
    Views: 4085
     Like

    This June, during London Technology Week, I’ve been invited to give a talk over at Loft Digital on Designing The Future. It’s been about a year since I started a track of thinking and doing on this specific topic, spurred on by the invitation to talk on the topic at dConstruct in Autumn last year:

     

    However, there’s a whole new subsequent set of reckons and thoughts that’ve added in since then, so it’ll be a talk a bit like that talk, but also not. There might be less superheroes, for one.

    It’s from 6pm on Tuesday 21st June, and if you’d like to come along, please give the guys at Loft a shout here.

    Read More
  • How does #thechairgame work?

    On: April 21, 2016
    In: culture, education
    Views: 2927
     Like

    We’ve had a good sign-up rate for The Chair Game tomorrow, Friday 22nd April, at the V&A Performance Festival.

    We gather at 1:45pm for a 2-4pm game, after which we’ll repair to a local pub. Come along if you can, and sign-up here so we have a sense of numbers.

    But how does it work many people have asked. So here’s a quick ruleset:

    1. Everyone sits in a chair, randomly distributed in the space.
    2. One player is “chair zombie” – they vacate their seat, walk to the other side of the space
    3. The chair zombie can only walk, at a steady pace
    4. They must try and sit in the empty seat.
    5. It’s everyone else’s job to stop that happening, not by blocking them, but by occupying the empty seat
    6. Which means vacating the one you’re in, so the zombie heads for that one
    7. Everyone else can move as fast as they like – e.g. they can run between seats.
    8. Once you’re up, you can’t sit back down in the same seat
    9. The round ends when the zombie sits in an empty chair
    10. Repeat, ad infinitum

    What happens as a result of multiple plays, as people learn the game, is the interesting part. We’ve trialling out two specific (non-playing) roles tomorrow to help this part of the game along…

    The Whatcher – the person who, at the end of every round, asks what went wrong, and what the group’s next strategy should be

    Waits & Measures – The timekeeper, who tells the group how long they succeeded for, and what interesting things happened (and when)

    See you there if you can make it.

    (previous post on what this is all about…)

    Mexico - P1090203 Read More
  • Working Out How The Internet Works

    On: April 13, 2016
    In: design, media, rivetings, technology
    Views: 3312
     Like

    I did a wee talk at the fabulous IAM 2016 conference in Barcelona. In it’s second year, and conceived and run by Andres & Lucy of Wabisabi Lab, it’s the kind of weird experimental conference that London was great at a few years back, but seems less so, now, I think?  Something something gentrification something something.

    (actually, maybe that’s another blog post for another day – the lack of joy in NeuLondon, in all forms of work and play)

    I spoke about Metamechanics, and working out how the internet works. Or, indeed, not, because that isn’t the point.

    There will be a video some time soon I believe, and at the time, I did a simultaneous Periscope of it (but ‘you had to be there’ as they say, given how Periscope streams expire after 24 hours or something…)

    ….but until then here are the slides, and two pics Scott sent me afterwards where it looks like I’m showing people who big the internet a) was and b) is now.

    JVW at IAM16 - 1 JVW at IAM16 - 2 Read More
  • The Chair Game – Live at the V&A

    On: April 12, 2016
    In: culture, education, people
    Views: 3904
     Like

    This is the year of The Chair Game“, I said to Rob, over a pint after an evening’s play in London Bridge. He’d just spent two hours running the game for all of us who were new to it, save for Clarisa.

    It was her fault, apparently. She’d been in a workshop Rob was doing where he’d used The Chair Game as an exercise. “If you run a workshop that’s just The Chair Game for hours, I’d come to that” she told him. Hence London Bridge. True to her word, Clarisa flew over from France especially for it.

    The Chair Game is pretty simple. Everyone has a chair. They’re randomly distributed around a space. One person gets up, and walks to the side; they’re the chair zombie. They have to amble towards the empty chair. It’s everyone else’s job to stop them by sitting in the empty one. They can’t block them, but they can run as fast as they like. But once they’re up, they’re up – they can’t sit back on the same chair.

    Chaos ensues…

    Mexico - P1090203

    The first round is always really quick. Like, six seconds as an average. Then you ask the players what went wrong? And what their strategy next time should be. And you go again. And again. And again.

    It’s a game that is about strategy as much as you want it to be. You can stop, analyse, plot and plan, instruct and act. Or you can just play. It is compelling to watch, and addictive to play. Since learning about the game, I’ve been building it into various strategy workshops as part of the narrative, and prototyping workshops as part of the fun. We started calling it Karaisu, for fun – like karaoke; Japanese* for “Empty Chair”…

    Karaisu

    Another thing happened after the night Rob showed us the game.

    James was there, and James works at the V&A in London. We joked on email that we should play it on all the very expensive chairs at the V&A. Ho ho ho. Wouldn’t that be a lark?

    Two weeks later, James emails again. We’re on. Not on the expensive chairs. But at the V&A. As part of the Performance Festival. Look, we’re even listed on the site.

    We’re playing next week, on Friday 22nd April, 1:45 meet-up for a 2pm start. We’ll be in the John Madejski at the V&A in South Kensington. We finish at 4pm, and then head to a pub to unpack what goes on.

    And we need some more players.

    If you are around, and fancy it, then please sign-up here. We need around 30-40 players. Send this on to anyone else who might fancy it too, and we’ll send confirmations out next week.

    So sign up, and come down and play.

    Because this is the year of The Chair Game.

     

    *I checked with a Japanese friend – it kinda doesn’t mean this, but also kinda does.

     

     

     

    Read More