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A few weeks ago I was in Boston with just enough time on a deliciously rainy day to spend an afternoon wandering the halls of MIT's (magical) Media Lab.
For those unfamiliar with Media Lab, it is a big part of why Boston is such an innovation hub. Founded by Nicholas Negroponte (who also spearheaded the One Laptop Per Child project) nearly 30 years ago and famously supported in its early days by Steve Jobs, Media Lab is a literally mind-boggling mix of geeks unleashed, nerds unbound and artists a'flourishing. It is a mesh of engineering, tech, materials science, entrepreneurship and social innovation, infused with a makerspace ethos, design-thinking and gushers of imagination.
The alchemy of Media Lab is in how STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) is turned to STEAM with the addition of art. It makes all the difference.
Today, at the Aspen Ideas Festival, it was announced that Media Lab will join forces with design powerhouse IDEO and journalism philanthropy The Knight Foundation to start an "Innovators Guild," designed to bring together "iconoclasts, risk-takers, and renegades...who look to the edges for new ideas." Its first project is slated for Detroit to work with local innovators "to hack out a new possible solution for inner-city food production and think about how to create sustainable systems." Xeroc Parc veteran John Seely Brown and former Sun Microsystems Chief Scientist John Gage have already signed on to help.
I, for one, would love to be part of an Innovators Guild and suspect there are many in Chicago who would also as well. Given the talent, STEM doesn’t turn to STEAM nearly as much as it could here. The more connections among imaginative edge thinkers, both within the city and beyond its borders, the better.
- Innovating Innovation by Joi Ito, MIT Media Lab
- The 3D Adventures of Henry and Balley by J.A Ginsburg / TrackerNews Dot to Dot
- News from Media Lab: Carpet Lightfish edition (photo: J.A. Ginsburg)
- STEM to STEAM by Jessica Herron (video)
Note to BiC: Please add an auto-save function to the blog composer. As composers go, it’s seriously buggy. The spell-check is awkward, the linking function could be simplified, you can't embed video (at least I couldn't figure out how). I would be happy to work with the programmers to identify and fix the bugs. In general, though, study tumblr. They’ve got the no muss, no fuss blog-writing platform down flat.