Languages of Mindfulness: Connected Learning and Collective Intelligence

Many movements are now forming to gather collective insight, solutions for a troubled planet. I see you all lining up in your positions and I see the leaders who have the big picture to our dynamic puzzle. I see you, striving hard to achieve and bring together the beauty of our world. Our eyes meet across the meetup. We are connecting.

Two aligned movements are colliding: connected learning and collective intelligence. We are learning to use our potential to solve problems together quickly.

Now is the time for collective intelligence to open doors to universal wisdom. We need to learn from each other quickly, sharing our shared insights. We share so much in common – our water and air, food and arteries of transportation that can bring us together in a day. We can solve the big issues like never before. Our capacity and technology grows exponentially, and now we must learn to work together to keep up with our creations.

Empower the stories we want to tell...

Now is the time to be all we can be together, to mobilize and put our plans into action. If you do not have a plan yet, write one out…it can be as easy as change what we do and how we value things. Here’s a process that works for me:

GOAL:  Grow love, increase capacity to resolve conflict
OBJECTIVE:  Change global mindset, shifting culture for billions over the next 10 years
STRATEGY:  Clear message of peacebuilding, participation in public commons, growing empathy in daily life. Promote deliberative efforts.
PLAN: Talk to 10 friends, throw a party and gather insights at public events to develop a common message. Spotlight empathy through interactivity and public participation in related channels. 
ACTION: Event inquiry/conversation and social sharing (Twitter, G+, Facebook, LinkedIn) to grow engagement on collective insight, participation in media and empathy in daily life. Host deliberative events and produce local/global conversations that include resolutions for personal and collective actions.

ImageLay out a path for yourself that starts with a goal and works through setting measurable objectives, a strategy to get there, a plan that you can enact and the call to action you need to see it through. This is a path of mindfulness, of creation with care.

Last weekend I produced social & streaming with the amazing @GATECommunity for GATE3 & StoryCon at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Amy Domini spoke of investing with your heart, a theme that has come up frequently in my work with the Center for the Greater Good to design impact investment and social development tools. The potential for social impact bonds is extraordinary – we have an opportunity now to show what value we can create together.

We all have a stake in our future. I am focused now on building the tools and models we need to create a beautiful world for our collective futures. Our learning technology startup Eddefy is a fantastic multitool, one of many tools that we are ready for in our box….tools that enhance our capabilities, organize information effectively and help us collaborate with others to solve those great challenges.  What do you want to learn and how do you want to use these tools to contribute your art to all of us?

This film may get your juices going to connect to the global grand challenges and find a solution to bring to the world. If you’re interested in medical innovation, check out the FutureMed stream this week from Singularity University, my alma mater is on fire this week.

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I <3 livestreaming

As a child I remember watching PBS with my dad, particularly the live auctions of art and local items to support the station. My dad would call in and bid on something fun for us and we would get all excited watching others bid him up for a good cause.

Later as I started my career in media the PBS station in Providence, RI needed a writer who could deliver hundreds of scripts in a week for auction items while curating and hanging rotations of art every 15 minutes for the live show. A lifetime of creative pursuits brought me back at age 24 to try my hand at live production – and I loved it. The only job I wanted more than curating and writing was behind the camera, directing and producing the entire experience.

A few years later I got the chance to try my hand at directing and over the last two decades have put hundreds of hours of lens time in to capture the essence of stories, interviews and live events. While I never considered myself a journalist – more of a documentarian at heart – there is a sense that my work is to be the eyes of the world, capturing fascinating moments with shared meaning.

Of all of the media careers I have tried – radio, print, writing books, producing events, videos and virtual worlds – there’s something about creating LIVE in collaboration with others that excites me tremendously. The pace of live production is fierce. You must be ready for anything to happen at any time, then keep your cool while everything around you melts.

Over the last few years I have learned to master various streaming paths and production tools for broadcast, collaboration, events and mixed media experiences. My new show Nonprofits Live is hosted monthly at TechSoup with a new episode this Friday on giving Great Presentations. NPlive is a live interactive talk show using a cloud suite called Watchitoo that allows for robust social sharing, Q&A, shared whiteboards and integration with video and slides along with 25 video feeds from around the world – a great and easy way to host virtual meetings across borders.

Some of my colleagues have produced tremendous livestreaming experiences and one in particular, Sarah Austin, is a smart woman who understands the technical challenges of various streaming platforms for live event production. We have a talk proposed for SXSW this year – Streamweaver, I believe you can take me…..Live. Last year I produced a game show with Josephine Dorado on Causebuilding Games at SXSW and this streamweaving session is going to be a stellar mix of social actions & streaming throwdown as we see who has the chops to make it and take it live.

I love livestreaming and have used many platforms – Ustream, Livestream, Qik, Adobe Connect & other video conferencing tools, Watchitoo, TinyChat, Skype, Google+ – what do you love to use, and why?

Virtual Engagement Platforms for Events

Over the last two days I have been remotely attending the Virtual Edge Summit, a conference focused on event producers and leaders who are making sense of the virtual event space.  At VES11 mostly one-way dialogue from the stage on the how and why features dozens of virtual engagement platforms; 8 different virtual platforms are hosting the virtual expo/trade show and live streaming sessions.

Compare screenshots of various platforms and the virtual user experience as we look at this growing field, now accessible and more robust than livecasting tools like UStream or LiveStream.  While streaming bandwidth is a huge issue at large events like this some providers were able to perform far better than others.

Digitell and VirtualEvents365:

Spent little time here due to browser crashing issues.  Moved from RockMelt/Chrome to Safari for better compatibility with most of these services.  Found this UI from VirtualEvents365 to be easiest.  Digitell opened up the ProLibrariesLive window seen at the end of this blog post.  VirtualEvents365 did not have access to all slides or as many social tools as other platforms like Digitell.

Social27:

This site excels on mobile – the web shots do not do it justice.  I found the UI needed work – it was hard to find the livestream on the website but it worked very well on my iPhone.  This tool integrates your web app with your livestream beautifully if well developed for your event.


Connex6:

I could not get their links to work properly and ended up on this outdated site for a company I’ve seen before hosting Second Life events. Wish something had worked for them but never was able to load.


Unisfair & InterCall Streaming using Stream57:

Overall high quality experience with an uncluttered UI that’s easy for most first-time users.  Would love to see it take one less click to find the streaming content and less bandwidth/stream breakup issues but overall this tool is ready to use for comprehensive conferences integrated with SMS & Twitter.  Unisfair offered more of the sessions streaming than most of the other providers.

UBM Studios  & INXPO:

I liked this set of tools once working through browser/popup issues.  Reliable stream, clean interface, easy to find what I was looking for throughout the service.  These two companies are in partnership providing platform and content together. The INXPO platform seemed to be the least buggy and most easily multifunctional tool of the bunch.


Overall there was a lot of this….people talking AT you.  Looks like old sci-fi television, not great for engagement.

Many of the video windows looked like this and lacked Twitter integration or other meaningful social media dialogue.

Other platforms from Cisco, Adobe, IBM were also featured in special talks on the agenda.  Adobe Connect, IBM’s Virtual Event Center and a dozen other platforms were featured in two days of talks.

Fiona Bruder from George P. Johnson, working with IBM Virtual Event Center speakers spoke of 3 c’s: collapsing distance, connecting people, driving behavior conversion.  COHESIVE EXPERIENCE makes sense with your mission and communication strategy; one experience enables deeper engagement and drives greater conversion to clients.  Unfortunately the tech team in place at VES had a hard time working with the IBM sample video to share their virtual space designs.

IBM is working toward geoexpansion: how do you reach clients in far-reaching places?  How can we recapture dropoff and reach those who cannot travel to your event?  Richer engagement to bridge the distraction gap in virtual events, allowing them to follow their “nurture streams” in UNICA, a tool they use to track the details of every connection.  IBM looks to aggregate data to ask about formats, informational ease and provide better tools for the market.  This shot of an IBM event demo on video via the InterCall livestream platform shows how the rabbit hole starts to deepen.

The cost of hosting virtual events is attributed to three categories:  the virtual engagement platform (the real estate), event execution (manpower) and content creation.  CONTENT is king. IBM will be doing 180 events this year without subsidizing the cost of using tools like we’re seeing here in the marketplace.  With few free and low cost players in this space there is plenty of room for consistent technology giants to take on much of the heavy lifting as this industry stabilizes.  Overall at least four of these tools look poised for long term success in this field, with IBM, INXPO, Social 27 for Mobile and Intercall as some of my favorites along with tools from EON, Adobe & Cisco.

Conference Takeaways:

  • Content must be engaging!  How is it relevant to your clients?
  • Hybrid Events are Taking Off!  Big growth in this arena….most people are learning that virtual events enhance their relationships without cannibalizing their live event.
  • Movement away from standalone virtual events, toward 365 engagement centers where information is always available
  • Virtual Expos/Trade Shows offer value add to companies looking for asynchronous reach throughout the year
  • Most large companies are concerned with the aggregation & cultivation/filtering of information as the primary value resource provided by hosting a virtual event
  • Platform instabilities are common on every platform, even with professionals at the helm

Good luck out there as you produce your own virtual events!  Tell us how it goes and which tools you are using.