SXSW Day Four – 12 Values Shaping Technologies Future

I’ve got mixed feelings about the handout which was distributed at the “12 Values Shaping Technology’s Future” panel Tuesday morning. (Full audio here).

On the one hand, it was great to have a simple, clear handout which people could read through before the session started, and which gave the panelists the ability to extend the ideas rather than spending all their time in definitional mode. (Reminds me of one of the lessons in Edward Tufte‘s The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint in which he describes the resolution of a simple print handout as opposed to dozens of slides).

On the other hand, having people putting a copy on every single open seat in the auditorium – when clearly they were not all going to be filled in – rather than handing them to people as they sat down – seems to violate the “sustainability” value.

At the end of the day, I’d call it savvy marketing by Scott Smith from Social Technologies, and I appreciate the effort he (and the others?) put into determining the panel themes in advance, rather than taking the “put four smart people together on a dais and see what develops” approach panels often fall back on.

The other panelists were Rachel Matney (Target), Andrea Shortell (MTV), and Timo Veikkola (Nokia).

The twelve values:

  • Appropriateness
  • Assistance
  • Connectedness
  • Convenience
  • Efficiency
  • Health
  • Intelligence
  • Personalization
  • Protection
  • Simplicity
  • Sustainability
  • User Creativity

Unfortunately, while the themes were interesting, I thought the presentations lagged a bit. It didn’t seem that they were as cohesive in their collective understanding of the values as the handout might suggest, and were really sort of each presenting what their own teams are doing. I didn’t leave with much sense that I had a stronger vision of how values will shape technology evolution.

(They may also have suffered in my own experience from being sandwhiched between a panel on open knowledge and a panel on worldchanging – both of which suggested more radical changes in values than this panel did – these panelists were more focused on how their traditional companies are using this information to sell more widgets, phones, or ads on cable).

But, the audio is online, so you can judge for yourself. Certainly some of the examples (from Target, MTV, and Nokia) show how these values are being interpreted and understood in terms of product design and marketing.

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