Innovation in Open Networks

, June 19th, 2012

This is a great talk by Director of @medialab and @creativecommons Chair @Joi Ito, given recently at the @NMCorg summer conference. Many subjects are covered in the talk including the decreasing cost of innovation, education and learning, harnessing networks, open data and open hardware.

Just a couple of the great lines from the talk include:

‘I hate to be educated but love to learn’

‘You can keep learning as you go. It’s more important to learn how to pull than it is to learn how to stock’

which is referring to the idea that you don’t need to carry around and stock knowledge in your head but be able to pull in what & whom you need as you go along thanks to the internet and networks.

Joi Ito, photo by David Hooker

Joi Ito, photo by David Hooker

Towards the latter part of the talk (30 mins onwards) Joi provides a very useful example of how innovation can flourish by harnessing networks by recounting how  @safecast got started. Safecast was created immediately after and as a result of the Japanese earthquake in March 2011. It was initially funded by @kickstarter. Safecast makes available data ‘by mapping radiation levels and building a sensor network, enabling people to both contribute and freely use the data collected.’  Safecast makes all their data (‘largest single database of radiation measurements in the world’) available with a CC0 waiver and currently has 3,163,969 data points collected. As Joi says:

‘this is an opportunity to take a tremendous amount of data and learn a lot from it but it only works if people share the data and allow us to do correlations.’

The examples provided from the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster highlights how empowering and even life saving openly shared data can be.

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