It all came and went in a bit of a blur in the end.
Sir Tim Berners Lee came to Nesta yesterday to talk about the Future of the Web, joined by Charlie Leadbeater (Author) and Andy Duncan (Channel 4). The webcast is available here. I think he’s the most important person we’ve had at Nesta in the 18 months. Nobody else has done more for innovation or collaboration in my view. And yet he was so down to earth yet clearly very passionate about his subject even though he must talk about it publically nearly every day.
It also formed the launch of a project which we are supporting called the Web Science Research Initiative. It quite rightly seeks to study the web as a complex system in it’s own right. It’s at a vague but exciting stage right now and feel excited about the prospect of being part of it.
I didn’t particularly enjoy the event in the end, mainly as I was somewhat preoccupied with observing other peoples thoughts via the twitter backchannel. For me, incorporating twitter was a partially successful experiment and one we can build on, but I’d rather be listening in future. I was however rather delighted to be able to ask a question on behalf of a chap in Iceland.
Others have criticised the panel and discussion format, however I think it’s always a very tricky balance between the big themes and big name speakers (which draw people in) and the more detailed discussion and intimacy that we also want. In restricting Tim’s talk, we aimed to give more time for discussion but in hindsight I think some people, myself included, would prefer to have just basked in the presence of a great innovator and heard more from him without interruption. However it was, as with everything else, an experiment, from which we will learn continue to play around with.
Tim said something about not underestimating the potential of humanity connected, and it is that very un-british, ambitious and optimistic note upon which I’d prefer to focus on.