Friday, October 28, 2011

Networks Understanding Networks: Fall Event Followup

Thanks again to my co-host César Hidalgo and everyone who helped organize and participated in the Fall Media Lab event Networks Understanding Networks—my first meeting. I was very inspired by the energy and the sense of community and I hope you felt the same. While we’re still energized from the experience and great interactions, we’re already thinking about how to make improvements for next spring’s meeting. Please email any thoughts or feedback you might have to

Both César and I agree that one of the most important messages that we imparted in two jam-packed days was the benefit of offering a meeting that is highly participatory and inclusive of all of the participants. We firmly believe that great ideas come from encouraging all attendees to talk to lots of different people about topics of greatest interest to them and their organizations. We hope that the meetings are both the source of great new ideas as well as a way to share our ideas. We will continue to look for new and engaging formats to maximize these opportunities. For this meeting we focused on unconferences and research open houses. We’ll be refining these for next year, as well as adding new formats for interaction.

And as part of the Lab’s new focus on openness, for the first time we offered all the meeting’s presentations to the world by live streaming them on the web in real time. These are archived and available for viewing (

Keynote speakers included: Albert-Lászió Barabási, on human dynamics; Nicholas A. Christakis, on the evolutionary significance of human social networks; and Ricardo Hausmann, on what countries know about what they produce and why it matters. Other talks were by Ethan Zuckerman, on understanding media as an ecosystem; Sep Kamvar, on search and the social web; and the Media Lab’s Ed Boyden, Kent Larson, John Moore, Neri Oxman, and Sandy Pentland. You can also view a panel discussion on open innovation and creativity that included Larry Lessig, John Seely Brown, Yochai Benkler, Chris DiBona, and me. The closing remarks by Wadah Khanfar, who until recently was the director general of the Al Jazeera Network, were presented via Skype, which unfortunately created some quality issues for viewing,

Take a look and listen, (, and let us know what you think.

- Joi

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