Idea Festival – Reflections
Some random reflections on Idea Festival 2007…
-Overall, a great event. I had a blast. I attended 21 presentations in three days – phew! – and most of them were outstanding. I especially like the talks given by Homaro Cantu on cooking innovations, by Dirk Brockmann on money circulation, by Tiffany Shlain on her film projects, by Laurence Gonzales on intelligent mistakes, by Ned Kahn on environmental art, and by James McLurkin on robot swarms. The quality of speakers was top-tier and the range of topics was pretty wide too. Integrating non-lecture aspects like musical performance, film screenings, and the Thursday evening “Taste of Innovation” food and beverage sampling rounded out the event very nicely too.
-IF was well-organized but I have to say I think the traditional conference/convention structure works against a general-interest event like this. I prefer the rapid-fire 20-minute/speaker one-venue format of ideaCity, BIF, TED and Interesting. It provides a more cumulative effect from bouncing topic to topic and it also fosters the social/conversational element a bit more.
-With both big Kentucky universities as sponsors I was kind of surprised not to see more younger people among the attendees.
-Beyond the conference, one of the reasons I decided to make the trip was so that I could check out a part of the US I’d not seen before. I love discovering new cities. Downtown Louisville is quite beautiful. Architecture and urban studies freak that I am, I was charmed by many of the buildings – modern and traditional – that I saw and I was impressed with the clean and clever public and park spaces. It could use some more people living downtown to keep it alive at night though. It shuts down quickly after the work crowd vacates. Reminds me a bit of downtown Calgary when I lived there several years ago.
-Kentuckians are really friendly people. And so very polite.
-Bourbon. They like their bourbon. I like their bourbon.
-Finally, the other reason I attended Idea Festival was because IF’s resident blogger, ambassador, and philosopher Wayne Hall invited me. Thanks very much, Wayne!