PICNIC day one

My first ever PICNIC festival day started with a nice talk by professor Robbert Dijkgraaf, president of the KNAW. He talked about the relationship between creativity and physics. One of the best parts was about most important element of a formula, the equals sign. This sign brings together two worlds and lets ideas and concepts flow between these two worlds.

The second part of the creativity session was by Mark Runco, who talked about ideation and divergent thinking. Three elements are important in ideation: originality, fluency and flexibility. Time and associations have an effect on ideation and thus creativity. Playfullness will produce better ideas than being serious, so there is a wise lesson for all workshops!

The third part of creativity was about the concept of fractal. This shape is used by nature all the time and can be applied to business problems aswell. Searching the right information should use fractal trajectories to cover the most space on an efficient way.

During lunch I really enjoyed the Boom Chicago Pitch Training, where we learned a lot about giving a good pitch or presentation. A lot of good tips on stature, eye contact, acknowledging energy and presence. In speaking we should avoid “uhmm” and similar words, which can be done by a more than average preparation. At the office we discussed the hitchcock effect, that is to state the conclusion upfront and elaborate afterwards. During this session we talked about the scheme to state a conclusion “I like this bottle of water”, state three short reasons for the conclusion (“because it is fresh, sustainable and a good presentation prop”) and than elaborate on the reasoning. You can take a half day workshop at Boom Chicago for €95 euro, which should be fun and a good investment in your presentation skills!

After lunch I attended a workshop together with @ARoelofswaard on open data combining data from cities and people. The last one is trending as the Quantified Self lately. They mentioned some great stuff that is happening right now like weavrs.com, a site generates a fake person based on a big mix of data. The other service that was really nice is ifttt.com, a site that lets you make a litte app or service combining a number of channels, based on the priciple “if this than that”, hence the name ifttt ;-). Pachube was mentioned shortly, what is a nice service to manage data in the internet of things.

All together a really, really great first day and I am excited to go back to Amsterdam tomorrow!

Masterclass, #QS and Dwolla

Today was a day that started with a meeting on the progress of the new Advisory branch of VLC. The first weeks are on track: a fair deal of leads for new projects and assignments, a number of candidates to join our branch and internal operations are up and running. We are still looking for a senior information strategist and change manager. If you want a new challenge in your career. If you want to join one of the fastest growing companies in the Netherlands and one of the greatest places to work. Or you know a friend that is right for this job. Give me a call or send an email!

We are planning for a masterclass on Information Productivity, to make some progress I had a meeting with a real live guru. We had some great ideas that we will continue to work on. You will see the result in a while but please stay tuned!

In between meetings I saw a tweet of Martijn Aslander about the Quantified Self. This is a new trend about health statistics. A small group of innovators are using apps and home made gear to measure a lot of body statistics. An article in Technology Review sheds some more light on SQ. SQ is another feature of a trend that healthcare is changing to enable people to take their health in their own hands. In am using RunKeeper to track my running workouts.This app uses GPS to show speed and distance and cross-references with my weight and age to calculate burned calories. I saw that this is just the beginning. Some people are harvesting data on brainwaves during sleep, using apps to calculate calories in food and wearing monitoring devices for heart-rate, sweat and calories burned.

Last but not least on of my dear colleague showed me Dwolla. A new service that enables the exchange of money for goods and services without all the stuff that you use today. It all sounds promising but I am curious if it really can compete with the traditional systems or other innovations like NFC. We could not test it because the service is only available in the US.