Design, NGOs & Nonprofits, Presentations, Work

Reflections on the IDEA Summit

This time last week I was deeply engrossed in the IDEA Summit, which was a gathering of people exploring what “indigenous digital excellence” means.

I was privileged to be one of the co-facilitators for the sessions, and had the opportunity to briefly present on the concept of “design thinking”. Hopefully I did the topic justice in such a short timeframe (15 mins)! My presentation is embedded below, or you can download a PDF of the presentation with my associated speaker notes (PDF 3.9MB).

The event, which ran over 2 days, was a really inspiring experience to participate in. The atmosphere was awesome, in no small part due to Rhianna Patrick’s “MC” role.

The event culminated in a presentation of 5 ideas explored by the participants to a broader audience of invited guests. The 5 ideas emerged from exploration of a number of key themes that emerged early in the Summit around self-determination, appropriate technology, sustainability (for communities to manage and continue initiatives beyond the initial “seed”), mobile, and cultural transmission.

Opportunities identified by participants related to mobile applications for collaboration and finding kin, to business concepts that protect indigenous knowledge, an indigenous-centric search engine, to an initiative providing some innovative twists on mobile phone recycling programs.

The output was inspiring, as was the process. It was amazing (on a personal level) to hear how the process employed—a co-design process in the design thinking/service design vein—had such an impact on participants, both in terms of the Summit itself, but beyond. A part of this was the valuable connections between individuals across the two days and the sense of solidarity behind the initiative.

An exciting development during the Summit was the announcement of substantial support from the Telstra Foundation to the NCIE to continue and develop the ideas that emerged through the Summit. I’ve been impressed with the Foundation’s openness to co-design methods, of which the Summit was a part, in terms of developing the “Indigenous Digital Excellence Agenda”. And from all reports the Summit has played a tremendously positive role in this regard.

Kudos to team at NCIE (especially Mickey and Maddie) for such an inspiring first step. Given the Summit’s success, I’m really looking forward to the momentum behind the “mini-movement” the Summit was intended to engender growing in the coming months and years.

P.S. some great photos of proceedings have been posted on Facebook. Seems all of the speakers like to use their hands to talk! And despite appearances to the contrary, I wasn’t angry in my talk… :\