Some thoughts after Picnic 2010

Like the years before I visited Picnic also this time. I kicked of with a closed session on the Future of the Internet, of which reports will follow later.
Picnic was as ever an event packed full of potential inspirational talks and possible great interactions. Which became partly true. With the amount of sessions it is hard not to miss some interesting talks. But after three days I heard good talks by Matthew Stinchcomb, Paul Pangaro, John B. Rogers, David Gallo, Evan Ratliff, Cory Doctorow, Stephen Emmett, Charles Leadbeater and Geoff Mulgan. And great talks by Tom Hulme and all the speakers in the Urban Lenses Lab (Adam Greenfield, Usman Haque, Tom Coates, Anab Jain, Matt Cottam). Not a bad score after all. You find my ‘notes’ captured via keepstream here. More interesting are the overall take aways.

The central theme was broad it seemed; redesign the world. Design as central method for solving solutions was a mutual understanding. And design is in that sense not about making things beautiful, but about making things good. Focus on service design, or system design was clear. Design as conversation, or in conversation with the user.

In the end that is the most important take away. Live your life as a beta. Make products and services as beta, in real conversation with the user. It all connects really to the ideas on impulsed shaped services you found on this blog before. Good to see this thinking has found a broader ground.

One thing I missed in the talks on Picnic was the aspect of play as manner to shape this perpetual beta services. The vanishing man touched some of these aspects, and maybe I just missed those talks, but I got the feeling that you see a kind of discovery phase still of the outside of the new services, and creating these living beta services are one step away.

In the end Picnic was not mind blowing this year, but still some good inspiration after all. And as ever with lots of great people hanging around to complete a real Picnic experience.

Published by


I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s