TEDx Geneva: François-Xavier Tanguy — A world full of Dreams: Phnom Penh-Paris on the Dream Road by motorbike [en]

François-Xavier Tanguy — A world full of Dreams: Phnom Penh-Paris on the Dream Road by motorbike

In 2005, goes to Lhasa. His life was good but something was missing. Found a small motorbike in a shop, 500$ — with his friends, they decided it would be cool to buy the motorbike and ride it back to France. But it was not possible: good job, good money, good life in Paris did not permit it.

One day, sends an e-mail to his friends: let’s do it! Four to start with, but finally two of them were ready to carry it out: François-Xavier and Arnaud Dubois. They didn’t know how, though. Had already backpacked, but Arnaud didn’t want to backpack again. Brainstorm + champagne => if this is their dream, why not take interest in dreams all over the world?

Problems: were neither bikers nor journalists, and didn’t have contacts. They just really wanted to do it.

First target: reach out to children about their dreams and projects. Do children all over the world have the same dreams?

Second target: try to understand the dreams and projects of adults. How did they make them come true, what were the keys to success.

In 2007, started their trip from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thaïland, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ouzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Europe. 7 months with 300 interviews. 25’000 km.


  1. what do you want to do when you grow up?
  2. what is your dream?
  3. what is your dream for your country?
  4. if I were a magician, what would you like?

20 countries, many different answers. In Cambodia, for example, many children want to become doctors and fight poverty. In Ouzbekistan, they want to find water. In Afghanistan or Nepal, they want to live in peace. Boy in Nepal (Saroj) “I want to become the Prime Minister of Nepal.”

Adults: many examples too. People who aren’t afraid to fail or be successful.

Fulfilled their dream (the bike journey) and learnt a lot about the dreams of others. Created a social network around people’s dreams. Entrepreneurs. Their dream now: help people achieve their dreams and projects using new technologies. Dreamshake.

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TEDx Geneva: Guillaume Massard, Michael Doser, Bruno Giussani, Jill Bolte Taylor [en]

Guillaume Massard — Industrial Ecosystems – beta version

*(steph-note: not sure if Guillaume is the person giving the talk, or if he’s the guy being replaced because he went to Copenhagen)*

Industry and biosphere are separate. Let’s bring the inudstrial system down to earth. How could the biosphere inspire the economy?

Nature has created a system where there is no waste. It just doesn’t exist. How about applying that to industrial systems?

Strategy in four goals: circularize, minimize losses, dematerialize, decarbonize.

Re-use things more locally. Not a new idea. E.g. The Symbiosis Institute (1996). Get companies to collaborate in order to save resources. Eco-industrial networks and parks, all over the world!

The rebound effect: when you introduce a new technology, you’re sure it’s more efficient/better/etc. But 10 years later, maybe you realize that you’ve created a huge new impact on the environment. E.g. the computer, everybody thought we would go paperless, but actually computers generate more paper. Is efficient really efficient?

A classical example (UNIL research, Roman Näegeli): Toyota Prius, from 8 to 4.3 litres/100km, so you save fuel and money. But if you didn’t have a car before, you’re not being good for the environment by buying it, because then you travel more, it’s another car on the road, etc. So is this green technology more efficient, if it makes car-less people buy cars? What about the money he’s saving on fuel? Travel, restaurants, more consumption (if he did have a car), raw material consumption increase.

Heretic question: should we favor inefficiency, and prohibit low consumption vehicles? 😉 and therefore encourage other types of energy consumption?

Michael Doser — If apples fall down, do anti-apples fall up?

We don’t live in a symmetric universe. Matter and anti-matter are not created in equal quantities. *(steph-note: did I get that right? can’t hear him very well — mic fail)*

Question mark: is antimatter really just matter with opposite charge and identical properties? In 1996, experiment to try and produce anti-hydrogen atoms. But that’s only the first step, because once you have the atom, you want to study it. That first step took 5-8 years. Step “trap anti-hydrogen” started about 3 years ago. “cool anti-hydrogen” will likely take another 5-8 years. We’re not there yet! *(steph-note: and all this in Comic Sans…)* Measure light emitted by antihydrogen… in 10 years maybe?

A detour might be shorter and more scenic… let’s try again.

How about measuring the fall of antimatter? Bring gravity into the fold of particle physics. So, let’s use the limitations of the previous experiment (the atoms are moving) and form a beam of anti-atoms.

Bruno Giussani — Ideas About Spreading Ideas: Inside TED

With the internet, more and more people are having access to the best teachers in the world, to learn and be inspired. Important phenomenon when it comes to how ideas spread: before this, the reach of these inspiring teachers was much more limited.

TED is a very broad platform devoted to spreading ideas: videos, fellowship, events, all year around.

Some less-known aspects of what TED does.

1. TED Open Translation Project

Talks free to the world… not exactly true if they’re just in English. Now there are many languages in which subtitles are available for TED talks. 59 languages in 7 months. Community. Started out with professionals.

2. TEDPrize

Has to do with past achievements and future potential of people. Express a wish and ask the TED community to help them realize it. 100’000$. Example: XDR-TB awareness campaign (extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis).

Other example: Charter for Compassion.

3. TEDx

Delocalizing. Allow anybody to organize a conference “à la TED”. The license is free, there are just a dozen rules, e.g. not to charge for entry. There have been more than 250 TEDx events to this day, all over the world, from NASA to Kibera, a shanti-town in Africa.

Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight (video)

I hadn’t seen this video. Do watch it if you haven’t.

Right hemisphere: present moment, sensory collage, connexion to the world as a whole perfect human being (parallel processor)

Left hemisphere: thinks linear and methodically, about the past and the future, details, thinks in language which connects my internal world from my external world, and it says “I am”, separates me from the energy flow around me, and from the others.

When she had her stroke, she lost her left hemisphere, basically. Perceives her body as some weird external thing, walks across the living-room in a very rigid, mechanical way. Loss of distinction between self and outside. Then brain chatter stopped. Felt at one with all the energy around here, blissful Lala-land, no distinction between her and the world. Peacefulness, all stress gone, as well as 37 years of emotional bagage.

At one point she realises she’s having a stroke “OMG! so cool! how many brain scientists get a chance to study their own brain from the inside out?”

Couldn’t recognize if she was looking at her business card or not.

Stroke in waves, moments of clarity, on off, on off… Matches the shapes of the squiggles on the card to those on the phone to dial the number. She didn’t know that she couldn’t speak or understand language until she tried.


Wakes up shocked to be still alive. Feels so huge she can’t imagine fitting back into her body. Nirvana, and still alive. Clot the size of a golf ball. Took her eight years to completely recover. We have two minds, and we have the power to choose who and how we want to be in the world. We can choose to step into the consciousness of our right hemispheres… or the left.

The we inside of me. Which do we chose, and when?

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Barcelone: un peu de nostalgie voyageuse [fr]

[en] As the editor for ebookers.ch's travel blog, I contribute there regularly. I have cross-posted some of my more personal articles here for safe-keeping.

Cet article a été initialement publié sur le blog de voyage ebookers.ch (voir l’original).

Cela fait un bon moment que j’ai envie d’écrire un article sur Barcelone. J’ai visité cette ville une fois, et je l’ai adorée, et j’ai envie de vous faire envie.

Je suis allée fouiller un peu dans mes archives personnelles pour voir si je n’avais pas des photos présentables à vous montrer, ou même un article ou deux sur mon blog. Hélas, non: c’était il y a bien des vies de cela, il y a presque exactement six ans.

Du coup, je vais me permettre un peu de nostalgie voyageuse avant de vous offrir l’article sur Barcelone en personne.

Il y a six ans, si j’avais déjà un blog depuis belle lurette, je n’avais pas d’ordinateur portable, et je découvrais la photographie numérique avec mon révolutionnaire (à l’époque) SPV, généreusement offert par mon employeur d’alors, qui m’envoyait d’ailleurs également à Barcelone participer au Forum Avaya. Comme aujourd’hui encore, je me baladais avec un cahier/carnet en papier dans mon sac, mais à la différence d’aujourd’hui, j’y écrivais parfois des textes avec l’intention de les retaper une fois près d’un clavier.

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Je suis allée déterrer le cahier de l’époque, et j’ai regardé (en frémissant d’horreur) les photos que j’avais prises avec mon fidèle téléphone (terriblement rudimentaire six ans plus tard — non je ne vous les montre pas, si vous avez le lien, tant mieux pour vous!). J’ai relu mes notes gribouillées, et je me suis souvenue…

En 2003, on était bien avant mes années de “terrible voyageuse”, 2006-2008. Oui, j’avais vécu en Inde et fait des vacances ici et là, mais bon. Alors partir à Barcelone quelques jours, c’était une grande aventure. Et j’avais fait ce que font de nombreuses personnes qui ont l’occasion de voyager professionnellement: rajouter quelques jours sur place à ses propres frais, quitte à payer la différence de prix du billet d’avion.

J’étais donc une voyageuse novice (voire débutante) et j’ai commis l’erreur fatale de ne pas réserver d’hôtel pour les nuits qui étaient à ma charge. Couchsurfing n’existait pas encore, et je me suis retrouvée à trimbaler ma valise (à roulettes heureusement) à travers le centre-ville chaque matin à la recherche d’une chambre pour la nuit durant les quatre premiers jours de ma visite. Dans le genre, on fait mieux!

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A me replonger dans ces souvenirs, je réalise combien de chemin j’ai fait entre-temps, en tant que voyageuse. Si je refaisais ce voyage aujourd’hui, qu’est-ce qui serait différent?

  • J’aurais des contact locaux sur place: soit que je connaîtrais des autochtones (mon réseau international est bien plus fourni aujourd’hui qu’alors), soit que j’en trouverais via Twitter, Facebook, ou surtout, Couchsurfing.
  • Couchsurfing, justement: je ne vivrais pas le calvaire de la recherche d’hôtel, parce que j’aurais déniché auparavant un logement chez l’habitant via ce réseau social (si mon réseau ne l’avait pas déjà fourni).
  • J’aurais préparé un peu ma visite grâce à WikiTravel (qui démarrait tout juste en 2003) — voir leur page consacrée à Barcelone. J’aurais aussi fait un tour sur la page Barcelone de Wikipédia, et je me serais renseignée un peu à l’avance sur Gaudí et son oeuvre.
  • Je partirais avec mon MacBook et mon appareil photo numérique (digne de ce nom), je mettrais en ligne mes photos sur mon compte Flickr, et avec un peu de chance je publierais quelques articles durant mon séjour sur mon blog (plus facile avec un ordinateur portable que lorsque l’on est tributaire des cafés internet).
  • Je donnerais régulièrement des nouvelles (à coups de photos aussi) via mon compte Twitter, sans pour autant faire péter la baraque avec les frais de roaming pour les transferts de données.
  • Je stockerais dans Evernote les adresses des bons bistrots que j’aurais trouvés, en photographiant leur carte de visite avec mon iPhone.

Comme vous pouvez le constater, une grande partie de mon “évolution de voyageuse” tient à l’évolution technologique. On pourrait palabrer longtemps là-dessus (mon année en Inde, en 1999-2000, se déroulerait tout autrement si elle avait lieu aujourd’hui, avec téléphones mobiles, ordinateurs portables, et bancomats Maestro à tous les coins de rues).

Est-ce qu’il y a des innovations technologiques qui ont radicalement changé votre expérience de voyageur ou voyageuse au cours des dernières années?

(Oui, promis, je vous parle de Barcelone et de Gaudí tout bientôt. Avec des photos. Mais pas les miennes, promis aussi.)

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Lift09 — Jörg Jelden — Fakesumption [en]

Unauthorized products. Office in Beijing, was shocked by the importance of fakes over there. Talked to his manager “let’s do something about it”. So started talking to fakesters, those who track them down, lawyers.

Disclaimer: not making fun of a serious challenge… want to offer a new way of thinking about this problem.

Fakes have been around for a very long time. As things were done, they’ve been copied. Also a learning strategy. The US was well-known in the early 20thC for ripping off European patterns and re-using them. *(steph-note: did I get that?)*

Hollywood: desire to move as far away from NY as possible.

Some facts: survey in the last weeks in Germany.

2 out of 3 Germans have heard of seen fakes in the last 3 years; other numbers I didn’t get: => fakes are socially accepted. Quality is very similar to the originals (50%: we can’t tell the difference). One reason? Many fakes are produced in the same factory. 15-20% of all goods produced in China are fakes. 35 mio jobs directly created by fake industry.

Generating jobs for the masses remains the focus of the Chinese government.

Connected to organized crime. Has gone global. Big business. Fakes: twice as big as Walmart. Illegal and shady, connected to crime, stealing, cheating, lying.

But if these people are so successful, they must be doing something right. So looking at it as a success story, what can we learn from them?

Fakes do something for consumers that the originals don’t — many people buy the fakes on purpose. Consumers need *good enough* solutions. Many fake buyers are your brand customers — they consider themselves to be. => it might not be the best idea to spy on them, sue them, punish them.

So how about finding news ways to integrate this customer base? Find a way to get them to commit to paying more for the real brand.

Fakes truly expose the brand gap. Brand bubble. Overvaluation of brands, and loss of trust in them on the other side. Declined 50% in 10 years.

Brands rely too much on their products, and products can easily be cloned these days (particularly in the digital world). What makes the difference: relations. One way to deal with that is better bonding with the customer. But what companies do is invest in brand protection. Very cost-intensive, particularly in the digital world. Can’t control anymore. Money short these days: many companies will have to reconsider these strategies.

The more they criminalize fakes, the more fakers become criminals. The more fakers become criminals, the more they connect to organized crime. Instead of buying bigger arms, how can brands win over and connect better with their customers?

And what can brands offer to those who can’t afford the premium?

Let’s talk about the fakers. In the brands’ shadow initially, but now have started to live on their own. Business is very demand driven and highly competitive. “We fake on demand and only that what we can sell.” Retail-driven.

Brands are busy running their empires, and fakers adapt products to local needs. New features, bigger variety of styles. In return brands begin to watch the fake industry to learn what customers might need.

Chinese middle class emerging: fakers go upscale. High-class fakes where you really can’t tell the difference. Just price difference, but not as cheap as you might expect. Premium quality, boutique stores, warranties, services => higher prices.

Fakers will develop retail brands and become the H&Ms of emerging markets. It’s still early days though. Real threat that competitors will emerge from this initially shady business.

Fakes attack prices — mix fakes with originals, sell fake parts to manufacturers… One container: big percentage of fakes amongst the originals. Makes it very difficult for customs. Sell directly through online stores.

So how much further will we let them take over?

To sum up: if you have a problem, you fight it. If you can’t fight, you criminalize. When you can’t do that anymore, you need to integrate. What do brands have to offer aside from their logo? Why don’t brands collaborate with the best fakers?

One last thought: the way the US dealt with alcohol in the 30s.

Not to say fakes are good, but the way we deal with them needs to be looked at.

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Lift09 — Matt Webb — Scientific Fiction and Design [en]

Book: Cusp, Robert A. Metzger. SF *(steph-note: sounds like a crazy story, need to read it!)*

This is not the SF we’re talking about here. No flying cars, silver skullcaps… Here: Scientific Fiction (World War Z — zombie story; the book unfolds, and “it makes sense”). This is what Matt wants to talk about — this kind of book.

Taking pleasure in watching things unfold. (Shows us videos of marbles in “mazes”.) Human nature: it’s almost compulsive, we want to watch things happen.

The impossible triangle: Human nature, Society, Things. How do SF stories read through this triangle? One thing changes, other things have to change too.

Cf law of perfect gasses, linking pressure, volume, temperature. Linked. SF is walking the landscape of possible future worlds.

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Problem? inventing, imagining the future: hard.

Which products work in the landscapes of possible worlds? Discover it through:

– market research
– economics
– evolution (start with something that you know works, and change it very slowly)

*steph-note: making good note of this for my fiction writing*

In the process of invention: prototypes. Process?

Middle of the paper, draw your new invented radio. At the corners, contexts => you evolve your radio, create hybrids, cross-breeds. *steph-note: some kind of visual/drawing braingstorming!* Matt: not a storming, random process. It’s very methodical, process of deconstruction. What emerges is the discovery of what it is about that original radio that persists.

The process continues to physical objects.

History: the past is another set of possible worlds, just like the future. One process of fictionalizing these worlds is to change one important event *(steph-note: didn’t get the term for that… counter-fractures??)* — What if Kennedy wasn’t shot? What if the war of Independance had been lost?

Prototype phone for Nokia, made of metal that melts at 47°C. Good for redoing it, but don’t keep it too close to your ear (contains lead ;-))

Materials. Soft furry phone. Soft on your face, and can stroke it when on the table. Hair you have to tie up to see the screen. Patchwork phones.

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“Design is the conscious and intuitive effort to impose meaningful order.” Victor Papanek

Scientific Fiction:

The story is the laboratory. Reading is your research. Writing is your experiment.

*steph-note: this is giving me food for thought, about my difficulties in creating stories and worlds and my incapacity to design anything graphically.*

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Lift09 — Sarah Marquis [fr]

*Laurent: extraordinary stand-in speaker Sarah Marquis, an adventurer who goes off for months on end, walking across Australia for example.*

Est-il possible aujourd’hui d’imaginer se retrouver dans la nature sans aide technologique? On est des mammifères après tout. Pas d’électricité, d’eau, de nourriture? Avec des habits quand même…

Sarah a décidé de faire ce pas… retrouver des instincts d’animal, en sorte. Elle a fait le tour de l’Australie, 17 mois de marche.

Comment fait-on un voyage comme ça? Avec les pieds, d’abord, mais surtout dans la tête.

Difficulté: eau et nourriture… On n’a pas appris à chasser le lézard! Il faut devenir le lézard pour le chasser, le comprendre. Eau à travers la sudation des arbres.

Gérer sa propre consommation d’eau. Respirer que par le nez pour éviter de perdre de l’eau. Marcher de nuit. Survie. Conditions animales. C’est rassurant à quelque part de voir à quel point on est animal.

Sarah n’est pas sur Facebook… envie d’un retour à la terre. Retrouver la source de la vie.

Pendant le voyage il arrive des tas de choses. Raconte comment elle a “adopté” Joe — elle a volé le chien au fermier qui allait l’abattre. Chien qui l’a accompagnée et vit maintenant se retraite bien méritée à Verbier avec elle.

Technologie? Une appareil photo et un enregistreur vidéo. GPS pour retrouver son frère pour les points de ravitaillement (7 paires de chaussures).

Sarah avait pris 15kg avant de partir, histoire d’avoir des réserves. Le corps s’use, aussi. Il s’adapte à l’effort. Sac à dos de 30kg!

Rencontre avec des aborigènes. A passé un peu de temps avec eux. La chasse: une des femmes aborigènes attrape une proie à la main (le choc! comment elle a fait?)

Se déconnecter.

Deux ans plus tard, repartie en Amérique du Sud. 8 mois de marche. Le froid. Seul repère: monter. C’est important d’avoir des repères. Peut-on trouver ce qui va nous combler dans le monde actuel, là où on le cherche?

Sans ressources d’énergie, on peut en tant qu’être humain bipède, se retrouver dans un élément inconnu et survivre.

Chose intéressante: retour à la civilisation après 17 mois dans un pays désert et hostile… Quand on survit on vit au jour le jour — comment préparer l’arrivée? Dans les 300 dernier mètres seulement, Sarah réalise que le lendemain, c’est le retour à la civilisation, qu’elle va ouvrir son frigo, pouvoir prendre un bain…

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Lift09 — Dan Hill — Soft Infrastructure Superpowers [en]

Has been travelling since Monday, arrived from Australia 3 hours ago. Poor Dan!

How to re-route 400 passengers?

Soft infrastructure, bits of paper with numbers on. In Hong Kong, malfunctioning aircrafts *(steph-note: not sure I’m understanding all this.)*

Hotel Smart Card keys not working (soft infrastructure fail #59)

=> no matter how good the hard infrastructure is, it’s the soft infrastructure fails that define the experience.

Soft infrastructure:

– interaction design
– software design
– information architecture
– service design
– urban design
– urban informatics


– business models
– legal and political context
– belief systems
– social and cultural fabric

Infrastructure futures…?

In 1939: the “green new city” in the forest (understandable, industrial cities at the time were pretty horrific). Scaling the city from how far you can travel on foot, to tram, train, car…

1966, “New Movement in Cities”

*(steph-note: missed a bit here, I think my brain needed a rest)*

Map showing the shape of wifi around a building (wow).

Projecting the inside of a building on the outside (what’s going on in there? how full is it?)

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Lift09 – David Rose – How Fiction Shapes the Future [en]

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Persistant needs/wishes fantasies:

– to know
– to communicate
– to heal
– to protect
– to create
– for mobility

Inspirations for where to advance.


To know the truth. Invention and fiction.

  • Marsden (?): here were no cultural icons representing strong women => WonderWoman, with lasso of truth. In its snare, you have to tell the truth.
  • Snow White: mirror mirror on the wall…
  • Conlin: Alexander Crystal seer.
  • Wizard of Oz.

Single pixel browser. Orb. Ambient objects: between push and pull. Skiing conditions, gardening, weather forecast…

Watches are a pretty mature object, but angular perception is not very ambient. *(steph-note: I think I may have got that wrong, lots of examples of angular displacement devices.)*

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Fridges are a great place to diplay stuff. They’re already expensive, so easy to add an extra screen or something.

Exposing customers to energy prices flattens the demand curve.

Showing us a device with proximity sensor: from far away you see the cross-room view of the weather forecast, and as you get closer, you see more detailed views. *(steph-note: wow!)*

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Photo frame with presence sensor, and squeeze sensor.

Internet-connected pillcap. Ordering refills. Escalating alerts to take the pills. Share on facebook (I’m on something and I’m doing well). Rewards! Medical records!

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Phasers on stun on Star Trek. Exploring brave new worlds without harming anyone.

Ambient umbrella!!


Robots would give you time to be creative. Roomba!

Painting with a digital brush that picks up color from your environment! (great video)

Guitar Hero.


Flying carpet. Drive in the smart lane, GPS. Marauder’s Map = GPS combined with Google Latitude. Tracking busses in SF.

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Lift09 — Change — Nicolas Nova — The Recurring Failure of Holy Grails [en]

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Videophone 1969 — so expensive that nobody could use it.

The Intelligent Fridge 1996

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Location-based services 1993 — a success in terms of communication, but not in terms of where people are *(steph-note: not sure I got that right)* — Google Latitude, but problems for privacy reasons. Not that simple.

Common characteristics:

– overoptimism
– reinvention of the wheel
– ignoring similar attempts


– Trapped in the zeitgeist (designers, researches, engineers).
– Time is not stable. Innovations happen slowly.
– Short term, long term
– bad understanding of “users”
– the “average human” myth

Automating rituals (Where are you? Smart fridge that does the shopping.)

Virtual assistants in MS Office. Idea: technology should be more “natural”. Making things “natural” is difficult: what is natural, and how can technology really replicate it?

What is “natural” shifts over time. Eg. swiping travel cards that are in bags in the subway: natural for the people who are used to do it, but not for those who have never been in the subway. It’s difficult to define.

So, why is it important to explore failures?

Many failures are actually good ideas before their time. Failures can indicate possible futures to explore. More detailed critique. Source for design (Apple certainly learned a lot for the iPhone from their Newton failure).

It’s important to spot failures, there is a need to document them and turn them into a design strategy.

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Lift09 Workshop: Where will you work tomorrow? (Pierre Belcari) [en]

Workshop information. Watch the video.

Developing environments. Different solutions available at the moment in Europe. Evolution of the workplace.

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Where do we come from?

Office: individual offices, cubicles, open spaces

Hoteling: book work spaces when you need them, inside the company.

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Companies might try to encourage people to telecommute: save money on space, and improve work-life balance.

Evolution of technology has made evolution of the workspace possible.

Working from home? social interaction is lacking.

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Coworking: Gathering of people working independantly but sharing values and costs. Synergy.

*steph-note: I talked about eclau and Coworking Léman here.*

Xavier: FRIUP incubator. Very different from a coworking space. Very startup-minded. Need to leave after one year. Have to present a project to a committee who will decide if they can benefit from the incubator.

Nicolas: on the road.

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