User-generated enthusiasm

NESTA‘s forum on user-led innovation was rather stimulating. Rainycatz, sitting beside me took copious notes on her Asus EEE and I’ve lazily waited for her to blog them before adding my two cents.

Steve Flowers of Brighton University presented some research funded by NESTA which points out that the government hasn’t paid nearly enough attention to the value of user-led innovation. It’s very good to see NESTA sticking its oar in on this issue. During the Q&A, Steve elaborated on how policy discussions are often dominated by rights-holders which only reinforces the innnate conservatism of policy-makers.

There were some excellent talks from several folks who are big on user-innovation: Sibelius, Swapitshop and Pete Lemon who runs a Nintendo Gaming Community.

What really hit me was the infectious enthusiasm of all three, especially Justin Baron of Sibelius. He used to be a music teacher and came across with exactly the kind of mildly eccentric passion you might expect of one. Definitely not your standard issue marketing director.

It struck me that these people had an abundant worldview, with innovations apparently coming out of their communities’ ears. It felt very different from many conversations around innovation which seem characterised by furrowed brows, hang-wringing and a general sense of scarcity.

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