As the festival season and the (slight) Amsterdam summer wind up, a slightly different event rolls into the ty, this year hitting the site of the new EYE film museum. But there will be no camping, dancing to your heroes or bonding with new friends here… or perhaps, just maybe.
Introducing the PICNIC network; a haven for creative minds, technological vision and pioneering spirit… a network that likes to call Amsterdam its “home”, and that is also ground zero for the new media movement. Inspired by a visit to Silicon Valley, two Dutch entrepreneurs, Marleen Stikker and Bas Verhart, envisioned positioning Amsterdam as a similar creative hub for innovation and co-creation. Since 2006, PICNIC has been creating salons, stirring the internet oceans, hosting mashup workshops and of course, staging their annual shindig the PICNIC Festival, which has set upon a mission dedicated to blurring the lines between creativity, science, technology and business. It’s all about taking a headon approach to the immediate topical issues by exploring innovative solutions whilst maintaining a spirit of cooperation and freedom of thought. So far, it’s been quite a successful mission…
Each year a key theme is identified; a common thread that links the array of speakers, participatory workshops, networking events and lectures that traverse the various levels of collectivism/tribalism, from a personal to global level. It reflects changes in our personal lives, our society, economy,governance and environment. This year, the theme is New Ownership: the shift from top down to bottom up. Firstly,udos to the PICNICers for identifying that there is an uprising of bottom up endeavours… however, whether it’s a megatrend, I’m not so sure… not yet… these are just the ripples of a wave yet to be experienced.
A series of crises make it clear that many traditional institutions and systems of governance are being seriously challenged. Institutions such as governments, banks,educational institutes, the media, businesses and even charities are rapidly losing citizen and consumer trust.
At the same time, supported by the power of connected technology, citizens and consumers are (re)discovering the ability to take greater control over their lives, causing a huge shift from top down to bottom up.
A networked society has emerged, giving people a sense of autonomy and stimulating a new and stronger notion of personal and collective ownership. Recent developments provide evidence of this mega trend – Picnic Ethos.
Essentially this boils down to the power of the people, and collectivism has proven to be a very influential force. When this people power is both enabled and facilitated by technology…well, shit just got real!
Open source movements (think firefox, openoffice,ubunto, AmsterDO etc.), cloud computing and online collaboration tools, social media platforms (blah, blah, blah) and self-policed communities (á la wikipedia, ebay, piratebay etc.) have demonstrated that connected people, regardless of physical, geographic or irtual platform, can create an independent entity, with their own identity, values and beliefs. Such communities can emerge, grow and disseminate very quickly, with viral communications and 24/7 handheld technologies as the catalyst. Whether these forces are used for good or bad is irrelevant… the mere that hat this situation exists marks a milestone for humankind… and facilitates a global and communal consciousness.
Bottom up processes are inherently less hierarchical in structure, so lend themselves to a more open and democratic governance and policing. So therefore a huge amount of trust and faith needs to be left with humanity – thats us! Global rebellion in the form of occupy movements, as well as cell uprising like that Seen in London, Athens and across the Arab states, against the so-called 1%ers and fat-cats, havehighlighted the perception a common evil… those that have come out as “winners” in the traditional top-down structuring.The evolution into more egalitarian fundamentals seems to be a logical step of progress. w are individuals, societies,businesses and institutions adapting to this ownership shift?
How will we stay relevant and meaningful in this brave new world? Who will be the winners and the losers of this disruption? It is this evolution and these questions that PICNIC 2012 will focus on.
The event price is steep – but this really is an event that encompasses everyone that gives a damn about the way the world is heading, and a worthwhile investment. However, the festival is only the cherry on top, as the organisation operates all year round, staging events and stimulating the global conversation (follow on twitter, join facebook etc.), but the event itself provides an invaluable opportunity to connect with those like minded individuals and businesses… and when people power gains momentum… well… we have already discussed that, and will do so further at the PICNIC event.
This is not a geek fest, as people from all walks of life will be attending. Although, if this article has stimulated least one geek guest, twitter follower or facebook thumbs-up, then it’s been worthwhile. It’s always good to connect, and it’s always great to picnic.
Dan van Dahl, CTO