I’m off to Sweden for 10 days, in part to attend next week’s Alibis for Interaction conference.
The conference is subtitled “A two-day conference on the design of participatory and narrative experiences.” which, for those outside the experience design hipstersphere, perhaps doesn’t mean much.
My reason for attending is simply this: a lot of my paid and volunteer work – all of it, probably – involves working with other people in groups of one form or another.
In my day job I work with a decentralized New Hampshire-Prince Edward Island team co-creating websites and mobile apps; after-hours I help coordinate the PEI Home and School Federation – an organization of parents that exists soley on the bedrock of parents getting together to improve education – and I work the community to spread the word about the virtues of open data and accessible technology. And, of course, I’m a father and a partner, and our family is nothing if not an ongoing “participatory and narrative experience.”
Common to all of those roles is a need to find ways of improving communication, interaction and engagement.
If we’re discussing the school calendar around the home and school table, for example, how can we ensure that everyone’s opinions are heard? Indeed, how can we help ensure that everyone is in a position to form opinions in the first place?
If I’m trying to convince people with the policy and financial purse strings of the value of having wireless Internet in schools, how do I tell them the story of why this is important, and how do I make them realize that we’re both characters in that story?
If I want my work to be more rewarding, and to create a greater sense of a collective shoulder to the wheel, how do I do that?
How can I help make Christmas morning more fun?
My deeply-ingrained terror over social interactions of any kind gives me an appreciation for the power of deconstructing situations in which people come together and then figuring out how small interventions can improve the quality of that coming together.
So I’m going to Sweden with the hope of learning more about those small interventions.
I leave tonight; I’m back on the 28th of October. When I’m not conferring, I’ll be spending time with friends, getting some work done, and enjoying all that Malmö has to offer. And if that wasn’t enough fun, I’m dropping in, virtually, with the help of my friends Olle and Jonas on the annual conference of the Association of Professional Librarians of New Brunswick to help my friend Don Moses spread the word about “makerspaces in libraries.”
Take care of the Island for me while I’m gone.