Blending brains (not as grim as it sounds)

Below are a list of tech and media groups and events which I have attended over the past year. As you can see I’m a bit of an event hussy, I’ll go to pretty much anything… Some events are average, some are wildly inspiring, but the one thing nearly all of them have in common are their limited audiences; it’s often the same crowd each time… or at least the same circles.

TEDx Edinburgh

Edinburgh Interactive Festival

Edinburgh Tech Meet-Up

Glasgow Tech Meet-Up

Mobile Apps Meet-Up

MoMo Edinburgh

This Happened

Edinburgh Entrepreneurship Club (EEC)

Café Flickr / GMAC (Glasgow Media Access Centre)

SICSA

Tech Crunch

Science Festival

IPA talks

Girl Geeks

ECA workshops

Art college graduate shows

“Edinburgh Lectures”

One-off events such as http://www.tinpark.com/2009/02/airless-room/ and http://www.fctt.co.uk/festival_theatre/event.aspx?evtid=277

Pecha-Kucha nights

Royal Society of Hackers, Designers and Watchmakers

And today for the first time… a 4IP briefing session through in Glasgow

It’s understandable that people have many commitments and a finite amount of time, but I’ve been to so many talks where questions have been presented about how Scotland can become more entrepreneurial, more innovative… how we can learn from Silicon Valley. Such questions often frustrate me (that F-word again), because I think that there are many opportunities out there, but they only reveal themselves when you visit a variety of events around the Monopoly board and not just the ones with which you’re comfortable.

The best talks I’ve been to were organised by Greenpeace and New Scientist at the Royal Institute in London. The organisers took a bunch of controversial topics and put in place two opposing teams [of experts] for each subject. These talks generated fascinating debates and a quality of thought-provocation that I have yet to see repeated elsewhere. We’re going back about eight years now, but for anyone who’s interested, there’s a transcript of one of the debates here:

The Search for Perfection

http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/files/pdfs/migrated/MultimediaFiles/Live/FullReport/4855.pdf

Perhaps it doesn’t matter that these groups don’t mix more, but in a challenging economic environment – it surprises me that more people aren’t interested in exploring beyond familiar spaces. The exciting opportunities aren’t always the ones we’re looking for.

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