#FridaySpeaker: Ben Hammersley on Why Innovation is Bad and People Don’t Like It [via @PICNICfestival]

Ben Hammersley (web, twitter) is quite an erudite technologist and wears many hats, like being Editor at Large at Wired UK but also a messenger from the past. Last week at PICNIC ’11 in Amsterdam, he brought a message from Lord Kelvin: “Radio has no future. Heavier than air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will soon be found to be a hoax”. That was his opener for a talk on why innovation is bad… isn’t it?

Apart from the content and the final message of his presentation, which I found both very good, I chose Ben as today’s #FridaySpeaker because he demonstrates that a talk doesn’t need slideware to be good (in fact he lives in the future where “[…] PowerPoint has been made illegal”) but great storytelling abilities, appropriate vocal modulation, the use of reinforcing gestures and active interaction with the audience, all of which he does masterfully.

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PICNIC Festival Early Bird: Grab It Before July 1st!

If you’re into design, technology, innovation and world-changing stuff that still has to become mainstream, then PICNIC (web, twitter) is an event you shouldn’t pass (disclaimer: I worked for picnic as Marketing Manager for the 2009 and 2010 editions).

The Early Bird Ticket expires on July 1st, 2011

… so hurry up to get yours! (the Early bird is 30% less than the full 3-day ticket and 25% less from the 1-day ticket).

The theme for 2011 is: Urban Futures

The world is undergoing the largest wave of population growth in history: we are looking at more than 8 billion people in 2030 and essentially all of the growth will take place in the less developed countries, concentrated among the poorest populations in urban areas. By that time at least 70% of the world population will be living in an urban environment.


We’re looking to engage you and others of the world’s most creative and innovative minds at PICNIC Festival 2011. Join us investigating several urban future scenarios, including perspectives on:

  • Infrastructure: mobility, sewage, utility grids, street plan, public transport, public and private buildings, public services.
    Sustainability: waste, water, green energy, pollution, Co2, building green, nano-tech, urban gardens, economy, bio-tech, food.
    Society: governance, open data, health, education, social cohesion, poverty, democratization, privacy, aging, immigration, safety.
    Design: city planning, architecture, health care, educational system, green, social change, data visualization, products, services.
  • urban screens, social media, gamification, trans media, augmented city, open versus closed, privacy, social engineering.

    Things I Loved From (My) PICNIC ’10

    This article is about some things we achieved during PICNIC that I’m particularly fond of. We made several things right and probably as many other wrong, but I the end it’s those fun, creative and innovative achievements done with the team that I cherish the most. Big disclaimer: I’ve been the Marketing Manager of PICNIC ’10 so what follows can be VERY biased.

    Much of it had to do with concentrating in storytelling as opposed to selling, going back to the “festival” experience instead of just a conference and developing a look and feel that was at the same time playful and that offered serious insights in how we can redesign our World (the theme of this year was “Redesign the World”)

    Follows a short documentary that we made together with Big Shots to show one side of PICNIC ’10.

    Continue reading “Things I Loved From (My) PICNIC ’10”

    Come to PICNIC’10, Drinks are on Me!

    In barely five weeks the 5th edition of the PICNIC Festival (aka PICNIC ’10) will take place in Amsterdam and this is your chance to buy your ticket before they eventually go sold out. (read on to find a special benefit for you!)

    PICNIC ’10 brings you the opportunity to Redesign the World – through lectures, labs, workshops, pitch sessions, discussions and a special business program.

    To make an impact, we need some help. So we’re asking you — yes, YOU — to roll up your sleeves and Redesign the World with us at PICNIC ’10. Are you up for the challenge?

    Of course we can’t possibly redesign the whole world in three days, so we’re limiting our focus to Life, Cities, Media and Design. The high-impact changes these areas are undergoing provide real opportunities to make a difference. PICNIC ’10 brings you a platform to create new solutions for a better world.

    Redesign the World, the City, Life, Media and Design at PICNIC'10

    As a reader of ConferenceBasics, you’ll get a 15% discount on 1-day and 3-day tickets by using the promocode Conferencebasics15 (note: it’s case sensitive).

    On the afternoon of Friday 24 September we’ll be hosting Drinks at PICNIC, a closing networking event dedicated to the attendees, speakers, partner and special guests of PICNIC ’10. Entrance will be 15 euro (with the all-you-can-drink formula) and as a special treat to my readers, I’ll be paying myself for the drinks to all of those that purchase a ticket to PICNIC’10 using the aforementioned promocode.

    So what are you waiting for? It’ll be about inspiration, making stuff, meeting new interesting people and chilling-out in Amsterdam all in a very different setup from your typical conference. I bring you an invitation to PICNIC with a special discount and free drinks on Friday evening. What are you bringing?

    Click here for more details on the tickets and here for the program highlights. A (growing) list of speakers is available here and I suggest you keep an eye on the news, twitter, facebook or linkedin for the latest updates!

    Disclaimer: I’m the marketing manager of PICNIC’10.

    A pic from 2009 that gives you a hint on how Drinks at PICNIC might look like

    Contribute to Picnic Festival 2010

    marcel kampman
    Marcel Kampman (photo by Ronniw Besseling)

    A Picnic is more fun if you bring something of yourself! – says Marcel Kampman (on twitter), Picnic Festival‘s new creative director (disclaimer: I work for Picnic as Marketing Manager).

    Since I’ve been appointed as creative director for Picnic, a lot of people have shared their ideas and plans with me. And that’s great! This page makes it a bit easier to handle all the flux of information.

    The page invites people from the Picnic community and just anyone else in the World to share their thoughts, wishes, suggestions to make Picnic the best possible, rocking, amazing, insightful, inspiring, practical event ever! It all starts with a wishful scenario for the near future:

    Once upon a Picnic

    Imagine it’s Saturday, 25 September. You have spent the past three days at PICNIC. What happened before those three days? You don’t really remember. Both sides of your brain have simply been reformatted. You’ve seen things you’ve never seen before and done things you never did before or even considered possible. You’ve met new people and made new plans. Plans you would have previously never considered yourself to be part of. You feel energized, revitalized and recharged for the coming year. It was the best event ever, like no other. It was PICNIC Festival 2010. (read more & share your ideas)

    [Disclaimer] I am now PICNIC Amsterdam 2009’s Marketing Manager

    I know this post might seem just blunt self promotion but since I started Conference Basics, transparency has been an important issue for me.

    Since July 2009 I have become PICNIC Amsterdam 2009‘s Marketing Manager. I’ve since long admired this event and I am very excited about this new role.

    As Marketing Manager I’ll am responsible of:

    • Supervise, and increase online ticket sales through various tactics
    • Develop media-alliance and network partnerships with key international players
    • Set-up online “social marketing” campaigns to stimulate the conversation between PICNIC and it’s community
    • Set-up promotions and barters with other websites/relevant target groups, driving traffic to the site to increase ticket sales
    • On-site management of Marketing partners and network alliance partners
    • On site management of all Video recording, Webcasting, and Live posting of conference contents
    • Support the Program Director  in speaker acquisitions

    From PICNIC’s promotional brochure:

    “PICNIC is a unique experience, featuring an inspiring conference and a creative festival bringing together top creatives and innovation professionals in business, technology, new media, entertainment, science and the arts.
    PICNIC educates and connects people, industries, sectors and disciplines, and stimulates creativity, innovation, inspiration and business.

    PICNIC is designed to evoke an emotional reaction through visual and auditory stimuli and quirky surprises.”

    PICNIC Amsterdam 2009 will take place from  23rd to 25th September 2009 at the historical Westergasfabriek (a VERY cool venue).

    If you’re interested in PICNIC, register to the network and connect with my profile there (www.picnicnetwork.org/gianfranco.chicco)

    As with all events I work with or participate to, the aim of Conference Basics is to promote interesting content, highlight pros and cons and distillate lessons learned to be applied on my or your future projects.

    As a special treat for my readers, I’m offering a special 15% discount to the first 10 people that will but a ticket for the 3-day conference (discount valid only for full conference tickets and not single day conference tickets). To get the discount use the prom-ocode ConfBasics01 during the checkout of the e-commerce system (you can buy tickets here).

    If you buy tickets now you’ll be helping me achieve my goals ahead of time  🙂

    Attendees to PICNIC Salon NY - Photo by Ahrom R. Foster (ahronfoster.com)
    Attendees to PICNIC Salon NY - Photo by Ahrom R. Foster (ahronfoster.com)