The LIFT experience

Last week I went to LIFT08 in Geneva, and although it is a conference, I think you’d better describe it as an experience. And an experience I was really much looking forward to, especially after talking to Laurent Haug and Cristiana Bolli Freitas, the creative brains and organizers of LIFT a few months earlier.

Lift08

Part of what makes it a really interesting experience, is all the interaction and community involvement both before and at the conference. You have workshops & open stages that be suggested and voted on. There was a Live Magazine (“Not so empty book”), the Fontself,  the creating of the LIFT song, etc etc. All very unique and interactive.

It started on Wednesday with some workshops, one during the morning and one during the afternoon:

  • Fearless City: Re-routing the digital divide with mobile: I got in a bit late as I only flew in that morning, but that didn’t make it less interesting. The presenter (Irwin Oostindie) and I had a few chats later on about The Fearless City project is about digital inclusion, but looking at this issue from a technology, culture, art and community combined view. I found it quite interesting and hope I can help Irwin out with it somehow.
  • Teenagers/Generation Y and technology: The second workshop related a lot more to my day job as MSN (referring to Live Messenger) is a huge part of this. The workshop ended up in being a lengthy but interesting discussion between a few teenagers and ‘the audience’. Although the teenagers present weren’t your typical average teenagers, some learnings were still quite surprising and would most probably have applied to the average teenager anyway. I’m planning on posting a bit more in depth about this on the Live In Europe blog

Thursday and Friday were the main conference days, and while I found only few presentations on Thursday to be really good, the ones on Friday made up for that. This is a list of what I liked (links to video here):

  • Rafi Haladjian on the Nabaztag, watch out for Ztamps – RFID for the masses
  • Kevin Warwick on his life-project as a ‘cyborg’
  • Robin Hunicke (EA) on trends in designing games
  • Guy Vardi (Oberon Media) on casual gaming
  • Paul Barnett (EA Mythic) on the evolution of multiplaying games
  • Kevin Marks (Google) on Open Social

And the open stages from:

Next to all of that I obviously enjoyed meeting lots of ‘old’ and new people, seeing some back after quite a while was especially great. And last but not least, the famous Fondue on Thursday night, that was really good as well.

Overall, since it’s not a web only conference, some tech related presentations interested me less than let’s say at LeWeb3 although some did as you can see above. Apart from that the uniqueness, the interaction, the warmth of the event made it a fantastic experience. One I’m putting in my agenda for next year.

Ine, Clo, this is your conference – make sure you mark it in your agenda for ’09.

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