Alexa Clay is a leading expert on subculture and innovation from unlikely places. She is the co-author of The Misfit Economy, a book that explores underground and informal innovation. Alexa works to create bridges and opportunities for misfit subcultures within the formal economy. She is the Founder of Wisdom Hackers, an incubator for philosophical inquiry, as well as the Co-Founder of the League of Intrapreneurs, a movement to create change from within incumbent systems and big organizations.
As General Manager of IBM Design, Phil Gilbert sets the strategy for and leads the transformation of product design at IBM. His team is focused on three things: recruiting & retaining top designers, scaling the consistent practice of great design across IBM, and simplifying access to IBM’s broad portfolio of capabilities. Previously, Phil led the Business Process Management segment for IBM, where he drove the simplification of its portfolio and the ease-of-use of its products.
Phillip R. Tiongson is the Principal and Creative Director of Potion. Drawing on his training and passions as an artist, software engineer, and storyteller, Phillip leads the studio in creating its groundbreaking interactive experiences. Potion’s signature installation projects, which merge physical and digital elements, reflect his belief that digital interactions can foster a transformative experience of the physical world. Phillip believes that the blending of computation, design, and storytelling creates a new medium of expression.
Erik Hersman is an innovator and technologist focused on advancing the use of technology as an empowerment tool in the developing world.
Anand Giridharadas, child of Indian parents who immigrated to the United States, returns to live in India as an adult. He encounters a culture shifting from traditional and collective values to a me-centric individualism. Giridharadas asks if the “American Dream” is better represented in places like the New India, rather than in our own increasingly calcified class system with limited upward mobility.
Adaptation is the basic idea that we get used to stuff and interpret signals. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely explores how these types of signals relate to pain and social adaptation. How does our previous exposure to pain alter how we experience it now? How is it that we all appreciate the pinnacle of beauty in the same way, but we’re drawn to partners with a level of attractiveness similar to our own?
Designer Orlagh O’Brien gave a simple emotion-specific quiz to a group of 250 people. Asking respondents to describe five emotions – anger, joy, fear, sadness, and love – in drawings, colors, and words, O’Brien ended up with a set of media she used to create Emotionally}Vague, an online graphic interpretation of the project’s results.
Robert Guest writes the Lexington column in the Economist. “I’m going to talk,” he says, “about America and why I think it is uniquely positioned to be not merely the current superpower but the next superpower. I’m going to focus on one very narrow aspect of this. America’s greatest strength, in my view, is that people want to live here. That’s something that the people who already do live here take for granted” — maybe because we haven’t visited the other countries of the world and seen how much they suck?
The stars and stripes forever? Futurist and author Juan Enriquez isn’t sure of that. He cites a long history of borders, countries and flags that have changed, and warns the United States isn’t immune.
Having spent two years living in squatter communities across four continents, urban ethnographer Robert Neuwirth finds people living lives of complexity, challenge, and surprising resiliency.
Writer Suketu Mehta glimpses our possible urban future through the lens of the vastly contrasting lifestyles in Mumbai, the biggest, fastest, richest city in India, and with a population of 21 million, larger and more crowded than many nation states.
There are 7,000 languages spoken in the world. This, argues linguist K. David Harrison, represents the greatest repository of human knowledge ever assembled - but it’s rapidly eroding, and this will be terrible. We’re not only losing information, but we’re losing ways of understanding the world.