Thomas Madsen-Mygdal, founder of 23 and reboot, goes on stage at LIFT06 and says: "please you guys close your laptops and let's do some thinking here". People look at each other with shocked and awed looks. But most comply, myself included (so I'm delay-blogging) and close their laptops and go back to being a low-tech audience; only a couple of obsessed bloggers in the row behind me bend closer to their screens and type away.
Thomas' topic: "Understanding context: A unified theory of why it feels like it's all happening now". Great headline. But then he doesn't really offer a theory, nor much context. He says that we're experiencing a big shift in perspective coming out of the industrial age, and then he goes over several examples of shifting ways to think of education, nature, computing ("in the digital age, open is the new default"), connections, the individual, creation. To illustrate this last point, he says, he googled for pictures of "innovation" and got a photo of a new packaging machine. Then he googled "creation" and he got the picture reproduced here: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel fresco. Thomas' reading of it: "innovation is the old paradigm, is institutionalized, is linear". Creativity is the new new thing. Well.
(PS: Philippe Mottaz of NanoTV - in French - just posted some interesting thoughts about the conference: "too often, I have had the impression that the deep transformations that we're witnessing are still expressed in exclusive, either/or terms; and we seem to be unable to get rid of the original myths of the networked society, whereby "everyone is a writer, a thinker, an artist". He offers evidence of the contrary by linking to Dan Gillmor's recent letter that I already blogged here.)