Filtering by Category: lift

Two workshops at Lift12: futurescaping and location-based games

Lift 12 is almost there... and I will co-organize two workshops there:

1. Game mechanics in location-based games, in collaboration with Mathieu Castelli (C4M):

"Location-based games now exist for quite ten years. They have always been a creative platform to test innovative propositions (beyond gaming) based on geopositioning.

The game mechanics in this field is stable now with treasure hunt, geocaching and people tracking. Interestingly, the evolution of these platforms is quite slow; mostly because it is difficult to tune the game component properly. Beyond contextual issues (the city you’re in, its architecture), the experience is very much dependent on details such as the number of participants at a given time, the reactivity of the game or the accuracy of geopositioning. This workshop will look at this in a very “hands-on” way as we will test different game mechanics with a prototype. It is aimed at participants, interaction designers, web and mobile app developers and game designers interested in testing ideas about the user experience of location-based applications.

The session will consist in a series of group activity based on Meatspace Invasion, a location-based game recently developed by C4M and Mekensleep. After a quick introduction about these, we will form groups who will test different combinations of game parameters. We will then go on the field in Geneva to test these scenarios and regroup after the game session to debrief the outcomes."

2. Foresight surprise!, in collaboration with Anab Jain and Justin Pickard (Superflux): This one will be devoted to exploring near future scenarios but it's going to be a surprise. No spoilers, you have to be there to know what will be going on.

Lift12 ahead

The release of the Lift poster is always an important step in the preparation of the upcoming conference (Feb 22-24).

Unveiled last week, it highlights the evolution of the event as a moment of cross-pollination as shown by how Bread and Butter describes their graphic work for this year:

"Lift aims to act as an accelerator - a kind of Large Collider of ideas - where sketches become successful start-ups and melted cheese becomes life friendship.
In the design of this year theme, we wanted to visualize this. To focused on what happens during lift, this special sparkle so hard to keep alive.

The hand-made sketched and roughly cutted paper shapes are fragile and inaccurate as may be the participants thoughts, ideas and expectations. A polymorphic collection of simple elements, with no apparent link, but their own vague future. The blue flash is the lift effect. It's the verb in a sentence: the action. It transforms, moves, accelerates, gives sense, enlightens, opens, shapes and lifts up. It's the kind of energy we want to give to the participants: the capacity to move forward, toward their future."

The program is also moving forward with a set of confirmed speakers (Gordan Savicic, Kars Alfrink, Fabian Hemmert, Patrizia Marti, Mark Suppes, Steve Song, James Bridle, Gesche Joost and Ashley Benigno. They will address various topics ranging from the interplay of technology and crisis to the new face of gaming, the evolution of finance to the practices of extreme amateurs or trends from the mobile industry.

Early bird prices end pretty soon (October 31).

Lift France 11 program

Lift France 11 (in Marseilles) is 7 weeks ahead and the program is now complete. The general theme revolves around radical innovation and disruptions: when (high- or low-)tech contributes to redefining a market's terms of reference, a whole industry, a share of social life, etc. The program basically consists in 5 main sessions with the following speakers :

  1. URBAN - Who needs to become "smart" in tomorrow's cities? with Saskia Sassen, Robin Chase (GoLoco / Meadow Network), Adam Greenfield (Urbanscale) and Alain Renk (UFO / Cities Without Limits)
  2. CARE - Disruptive innovation in healthcare and well-being with Paul Wicks (PatientsLikeMe), Tobie Kerridge (Material Belief), Jonathan Kuniholm (Open Prosthetics Project)
  3. WORK/LEARN: Transforming the way we work, innovate and learn, with John Robb (Global Guerillas), Ville Keränen (Monkey Business) and Geoff Mulgan (The Young Foundation / Nesta)
  4. SLOW - Can we use technology to reclaim control over how we and our organizations manage time? with Alex Soojung-Kim Pang (Microsoft Research / Contemplative Computing), Anna Meroni (Politecnico Milano / Slow Food movement) and Kris de Decker (Low-Tech Magazine)
  5. OPEN - What happens when barriers to innovation become drastically lower? with Juliana Rotich (Ushaidi), Georgina Voss (CENTRIM, University of Brighton) and Gabriel Borges (AgênciaClick Isobar)

In addition, there will be a Masterclass session that will aim at giving learning material about emerging technologies with Remi Sussan, the futures of innovation and innovation management, with Philine Warnke, and the importance of data with Nicolas Kayser-Bril.

Moreover, there's also the open program. Feel free to submit your workshop :)

Session about game design at Lift11

At Lift 2011 in Geneva (yes we do have a new website) we will feature various speeches about game design, gameification and transmedia approaches. Video games have long escaped the realm of nerdy teenagers to become one of the most important cultural product of our time - ahead of cinema and music. Now we hear our life will be "gamified", with many of the mechanisms invented in games showing up to our "real life". Is this really happening? What are the real possibilities and pitfalls of such a proposition? We will also talk about how games can be used to engage people into an activity like reading, and discuss the implications of transmedia approaches. We’re going to have 3 speakers about these topics:

  • Steffen Walz (GEElab), The lowdown on "gameification": With the advent of gameification, we've seen a recent proliferation of points, badges and other game mechanics in lots of on-line services. Based on various projects, Steffen will offer an insightful and critical perspective on how game design is not just about forcing users to earn points and that there is much more to it.
  • Etienne Mineur (les éditions volumiques), The paper book as a new computer platform: If you're interested in how designing old fashion paper book can be transformed by video game mechanics and computing technologies, you'll be intrigued by Etienne's talk. The work he is going to show is about creating “Paper Video Games”, mixing paper in either books or board games with the digital world.
  • David Calvo (Ankama Play), Beyond transmedia: David is a game designer, writer and cartoonist interested in how to go beyond current transmedia postmodernist approaches. In his talk, he will describe his quirky, whimsical way to spin contexts on various platforms (games, books, social media) and how it can be fueled by careful observations of users’ activities in and out of the games.

Lift seminar at imaginove abt User-Generated Content

Last week, I organized a Lift seminar at Imaginove in Lyon, France. The focus was on user participation and user-generated content in digital industries. The idea was to give attendants an overview of the field, to address recent evolutions and possible futures. Given that I think it's important to have a transversal approach, I invited three persons from different fields. We had Florence Devouard (Wikimedia Foundation Advisory Board member, consultant at Anthere Consulting), Sabine Dufaux (independent Digital Strategist) and Alexis Lang (game designer at AtOnce technologies). The idea was to understand the implications of user-generated content with 3 cases: the Wikipedia, the role of UGC for brands and how the video game industry look at UGC. The Wikipedia case

Florence Devouard started off with a description of the Wikipedia case. More specifically, her presentation focused on the evolution of participation on Wikipedia, as well as the motivation users have to be engaged in this project.

Understanding usage pattern on Wikipedia is not that easy because people do not necessarily log in (and when they do they use a nickname), they may contribute with different nicknames, sometimes contributions are anonymous and sometimes handled by bots (correction, etc.). Moreover, most of the studies that has been carried out focused on the anglophone wikipedia, which does not account for cultural differences.

That being said, some lessons can be drawn:

  • The notion of participation on Wikipedia is broad: participants are not only people who write articles, they can be users who only correct mistakes or individuals involved in fundraising.
  • Regarding the participation stats, less than 0.05% of the visitors are active contributors, which is far less than the 1-90-100 law.
  • Most of the contributors are male between 18 and 28 years old (students or people having their first job, not married yet and no kids) as well as lots of retired people. The enabling factors are pretty basic: they have time, skills and a will to share content.
  • "North" contribute to 81% of the modifications and consultations (although they represent only 18% of the word population). Europeans contribute to 35% of the modifications (and account for 35% of the consultation). North americans take care of 23% of the modifications amd 38% of the consultation.

Interestingly, as shown by the graphs above, the the number of active and very active contributors (those making 5+ edits in a month) peaks after 5–6 years, around 2007 on the anglophone Wikipedia. The reason for this might be that: (1) a sentiment that there's already a lot of content (and hence participation can be more focused on small corrections), (2) the community is less welcoming for newcomers, (3) technical difficulties to editing (and the mediawiki technology is a bit old), (4) social networks put a lot of competitive pressure (in terms of on-line attention from users). That being said, there are clearly some success factors: a clear and engaging vision, a low barrier to participation, good incentives to participation (people are happy to exchange, rewards on user pages, etc.) and a functional governance.

Brands and UGC

Sabine Dufaux (see her slides) followed up on this with a different angle. She address the relevance of user-generated content for brands and the way they communicate. Sabine showed that technological and social conditions are now good enough to provide an abundance of content and participation. These conditions enable a dynamic and collaborative model for which there's a social gain for people in participating, a virtuous circle of some sort.

Sabine also showed that there's a need to go beyond the 1-90-100 law of participation by pointing the "participation ladder" described by Forrester Research:

For brands, this is important and as much as 25% of the content of brands are made of UGC. Technology converted part of the "spectators" into users, which in turn can prescript products and services (only 14% of consumers trust ads, 78% trust recommendations from friends and family). However, ad men seem to have a love and hate relationship with UGC. They know it can lead to success and consumers' engagement but they fear the inherent loss of control. The advantage for brands are clear: create a relationship with people, develop a certain proximity, favor adhesion and recommendation, etc. The risk to loose control is there but it was already present beforehand.

What's interesting is that design can produce gaps and holes that people can fill. These gaps can lead to new form of dialogues between companies and the users of their products.

UGC in the video game industry

Based on various examples from the Role-Playing Game field, Alexis Lang showed first that user-generated has already been there for a while, without technology. RPG were based on a simple pyramid of participation with pros at the top (writers, cartoonists), game masters (who created their own scenarios), players (who created a character and "play" it) and readers/spectators. Content circulated between these different actors and sometimes got published in books, fanzines and magazines.

The advent of the digital media led to other forms of participations in video games: MUDs, level editors (Starcraft + FPS), games such as Little Big Planet or Lego MMO. The new forms of pervasive and location-based games also offer interesting possibilities in terms of user creation. See for example platforms such as Hidden Park, GPS mission or SCVNGR.

Alexis is interesting in how to go beyond these examples and how a relevant narrative can be co-created by a crowd of players (like encyclopedia with Wikipedia). His current project (called "project c") is about designing a collaborative storytelling platform by using design gaps are source of creativity (and narratives). The obvious problem here is both to keep a certain level of quality and coherence. In his project, the history if a jigsaw puzzles: virtual objects (in the form of narrative bits) have to be collected and assembled... and the user-generated content lies in the holes that people have to fill and speculate about (by creating hypotheses).

Why do I blog this? These 3 perspectives are highly insightful. It's curious to see how such a focused topic can be addressed with a different vocabulary and distinct perspectives. However, there are clearly some common trends:

  • The success of participation lies in the "gaps" left by designers... and which users can insert their contributions. The size of the gaps can be very wide (the beginning of Wikipedia) or super tiny (typos in Wikipedia, some examples from how brand use UGC).
  • The growing importance of mechanisms to orchestrate what is going to sit in these gaps: the curation.
  • Time is an important issue as motivation evolves, some spaces are filled and other can be opened

Thanks again to the three participants!

Lift seminar@imaginove about robots/networked objects

A quick update on the Lift@home front, we're going to have a Lift seminar with Imaginove on September 29th in Lyon. We'll talk about how networked objects and robotics can offer an interesting playground for digital entertainment. The event will be in French and we'll have two speakers. Etienne Mineur from Editions Volumiques, a publishing house focusing on the paper book as a new computer platform, as well as a research lab on book, computational paper, reading, playing and their relation to new technologies. The second speaker, Pierre Bureau from Arimaz. will discuss how robots and networked objects can be connected to virtual environments to create innovation gameplays. I'll give an introduction about this field and moderate the session. (A "beggar robot" encountered last week in Trento, created by Sašo Sedlaček)

Very related to this, we are now officially working on a new conference about robotics. The "Robolift" conference will take place on 23-25 March in Lyon, during the first edition of inno-robo, the European trade show dedicated to robotic technologies organized by the French Robotics Association Syrobo.

Lift10 recap

Last wednesday, we did a debrief of the previous Lift10 conference in Geneva, with partners and local guests. It was an occasion to give a very quick and punchy wrap-up of what speakers presented at the event:[slideshare id=4533357&doc=lift10recap-100618032308-phpapp01]

Lift France 10: Marseille

Marseille The program for Lift France 10 in Marseilles (yes, it's in English, there's a "s") is now completed. The theme is called "dot.Real" and the conference is meant to explore how the technologies and concepts of the web are changing the real world today and in the future:

"For the last 20 years, networked technologies have redistributed the power of imagining, evaluating, and acting. No frontier has remained fixed. No longer the world's factory, Asia has become a major source of innovation. Consumers have also become producers. The divisions between industries or disciplines are being redefined. This change extends far beyond the digital. It transforms manufacturing, learning, cities, public policy, perhaps even our own minds… The Web changes the world – But to what extent? With what limitations? How can it reach its full potential?"

The program is described here with speakers such as Matt Cottam, Jan Blom, Jean-Louis Fréchin, Adrian Boyer, Manuel Lima, Anab Jain.

If you're interested in proposing a short speech (open stage), the call is still opened here