The University of Westminster asked me a while back to contribute to their Creative Juice seminar yesterday, and I was in a slight panic last week when I realised I needed to talk to a mix of designers, freelances and academics about social media and creativity.
I didn’t really have much fresh to pull out of my on-screen experiences: I’m not a web developer. Then it dawned on me that I had three areas of innovation and creativity that I could draw on, and which might be different from other presentations.
The first was the Social Innovation Camp, which I written about here. Six projects chosen from eighty, then teams of social activists and geeks working to develop creative solutions over a weekend.
The second was the co-design process undertaken by Ruralnet to develop a distributed online community, using blogs and other tools. Creativity came from opening up to their partners and those using the system – and asking what they wanted.
Thirdly I could talk about how workshop games – like those developed here and here with Drew Mackie – may be used to simulate in a few hours the process of defining a situation and its challenges, choosing tools, and playing through how things may work out for those using the system.
The point I was making throughout was that we now have a host of social media tools, with many potential uses and benefits, that we are trying to apply to complex situations in organisations or across networks, where people have very different levels of skills, and communication preferences. It’s pretty impossible get things right from “on high”. You have to find ways to engage with the many different people involved, and create with them … not just for them.
Anyway, I put together a set of slides, which you can see here, and promised a follow-up blog post with some links … which is this.
Early in the presentation I suggested that people took a look at the excellent set of blog posts by Michele Martin at The Bamboo Project, aimed at helping people develop their personal learning path with social media. At the end I recommended Beth Kante’s blog as an example of personal creativity using social media.
I hope the presentation and discussion worked for people yesterday. I prefer doing more interactive workshops, but I’m grateful to the University for the invitation. As usual I don’t really know what I think until I write it down – or in this case present. It helped me realise the underlying linkages between creative events, games and co-design. Later today I’m off to hear more about games at an event organised by Johnnie Moore. Knowing Johnnie, that will undoubtedly be creative.