Lift Conference


Innovation ist eine Frage der "rechten" Einstellung

As a result of the Enable conference in Vienna last month I wrote a brief piece on innovation for the Austrian Press Agency APA. ThomPhonesas Fundeneider and Markus Peschl moderate a special feature on "Innovating Innovation" and were also the organizers of the Enable Conference. Thank you for inviting me to contribute.

22.04.2010   THEMA | Innovation ist eine Frage der "rechten" Einstellung

Es fehlt an Innovation. Wir brauchen mehr Innovation. Jemand muss da dringend etwas machen. Das unbestimmte Gefühl, technologisch, gesellschaftlich aber auch individuell auf der Stelle zu treten und Existierendes zu replizieren statt Neues zu schaffen, lässt sich auch bestätigen. [more]

Metamorphoses - A workshop at Lift@Austria Enable Conference

The Lift@Austria Enable! conference is shaping significantly different from your "usual" convention. The team is working hard to enable all participants  to experience an innovative and creative environment. After all that's the topic of the event. The event takes place in a factory building of a company developing equipment for bartenders and some plastic parts. So this is going to be an interesting venue. In addition to giving one of the keynotes on day 2, I will also contribute to a workshop on "metamorphoses". That's the title the conference organizers came up with. I'm not sure if the title should be Metamorphosis - a  term is usually only used for butterflies and other animals that change in form and in a variety of art pieces including Kafka's "Die Verwandlung" [ see Wikipedia for disambiguation] or Metamorphoses by Ovid et al. Vladimir Nabokov [Wikipedia] [Zembla], who was a Entomologist as well as a professor for literature and a world-class writer - well versed in all sorts of metamorphoses would be the right person to ask about butterflies and human change.

I submitted a first piece for discussion for the metamorphoses workshop: "For a Change – take a Risk" that is also available here as a pdf:  FBrody - Metamorphoses .

UPDATE: The Lift Enable! conference program has been posted and the newest version of my abstract is here

Post a comment if you are planning to participate or  interested in discussing the topic in general.

The conference blog is here.

Banking and Finance Site covers Enable! Conference

The banking and finance industry urgently needs to look at innovative solutions and, the Austrian portal for the finance industry covers the Enable! conference, an event definitely not in the management consulting / suit-and-tie space. The conference venue is an old factory building on the outskirts of Vienna and the event format is positively not your usual business conference. The article picks up on the idea of "Free Money": every attendee receives EUR50 to "pay" for  outstanding presentations and workshops. The funds loose value over time - so better spend it. It's funny money but can be converted into legal tender at the end of the conference.

Article in German:

Next Release will bring Paradise (Mit'n nächsten Release kommts Paradies)

After 20 years of installing new software all the time, moving from version 0.93b-5 over many steps to version 17.4 or even beta 17.41 we have been educated and trained that there is always another version coming that is inherently better, faster and in every aspect more desirable than the release that was perfect until 10 minutes ago and just became obsolete. The high-tech digital media and software industry is driven by innovation and the restless search for the ultimate solution that is as evasive as bug-free code or the sorcerer's stone. Release numbers are essential to track the versions and ensure that software is managed properly both during development and when deployed.

Among geeks it is common knowledge to never trust software that has a version number that ends with a "0". Version 3.01, appearing 10 days after the perfectly tested and reliable grand new software version has been released,  will have the worst bugs fixed. Many programs include automatic upgrading features and look for new releases based on a user-configurable schedule. And rather being content that a piece of software is somewhat stable, one is almost disappointed when new versions are not available on a somewhat regular schedule. (What are these guys doing? Nobody working there?).

The director of the Vienna University Computing Center, Dr. Peter Rastl, always wished for an embroidered pillow, reading "Mit'n nächsten Release kommts Paradies" (Next release will bring paradise; rhymes in German, refers to the Viennese pop cultural belief that wine, women (today gender-neutral also with men), and music will bring paradise anyway).

There is one small issue with the wonderful concept of release numbers. Not everything - in fact almost nothing - develops in a linear fashion and while this may work to track incremental improvements in operating systems, it is a pretty useless concept for real-world environments. Microsoft just released Windows 7 and unless you're an insider who knows about internal numbering from NT to NT-4, was XP a 5 and Vista a 6? - it makes little sense. But so what.

For the Web, Tim O'Reilly coined the term Web 2.0 in 2002 for a conference he planned and to indicate that it's time to rethink what the Web is all about. To continue with a quest for Web 3.0 does exactly the opposite. Rather than rethinking how networked media develop over the next 3 - 5 years, any "Web 3.0"- approach maintains the status quo. Some developments are predictable: much higher transmission capacities and bandwidth, everything goes global and away from the computer. Other developments are much harder to predict. More about that later.

Lift@Vienna | Enable! - a conference

The Lift@Austria conference invited me to give a keynote and enable a workshop about metamorphosis – a somewhat alchemistic topic. The conference focuses on "Profound innovation in Society, Economy & Knowledge Exploring the new paradigm for bringing forth game-changing innovation" and will be held in  Vienna, March 18-20, 2010. Conferences worth attending have become rare or unaffordable and inaccessible like TED or D - mostly easily replaceable by a Webcast. Lift promises to start a new trend in collaborative events. The topic is challenging and we'll see what we can make of it. It will be a joint effort of everybody attending.

Lift conferences are planned around the world and try to answer the questions " What can the future do for you? - maybe we should ask "What can you do for the future?" - but that's beside the point - there is only NOW. What can NOW do for you?

First event coverage is here and here (both in German). [added 2/4]

More soon.