First Ignite Smithsonian spreads enlightened ideas from the “nation’s attic”

Today in Washington, Ignite Smithsonian is bringing innovative ideas about museums, design, art, technology and culture to life. As with every Ignite, each speaker had 5 minutes and 20 slides to communicate his or her message.

Ignite Smithsonian is being streamed live online from the stage of the National Museum of the American Indian this morning from 10 AM EST to 12 PM EST.

“It is the responsibility of museum as stewards of memory to help citizens think critically,” said Neal Stimler in the first talk

The archive is embedded below.


The Ignite format has been earning more interest in Washington and government in general over the past year or so. Last May, the State Department hosted a Haiti tech meetup that Brady Forrest helped to host “Ignite style.”

Here’s the lineup for this morning

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  • Phillip Auerswald: Creating a Place for the Future

    Phillip is an entrepreneurship enthusiast and aspiring innovation insurgent. Associate Professor, School of Public Policy, George Mason University; Associate, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University; Co-Founder and Co-Editor, Innovations journal (MIT Press). Follow @auerswald on Twitter.
  • Brett Bobley: Digging into Data Challenge

    Brett is Chief Information Officer for the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is also the Director of the agency’s Office of Digital Humanities (ODH). Follow @brettbobley on Twitter.
  • Katie Filbert and Sarah Stierch: Be GLAMorous: Join WikiProject GLAM/SI

    Katie and Sarah are long-time Wikipedians. Follow @filbertkm and @Sarah_Stierch on Twitter.
  • Vanessa Fox

    Vanessa is a Google alumni, author of Marketing in the Age of Google, Entrepreneur In Residence for Ignition Partners, founder of Nine By Blue. Follow @vanessafox on Twitter.
  • Elissa Frankle: Citizen History: Making History with the Masses

    Elissa is an education consultant at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Follow @museums365 on Twitter.
  • Tim Hart: Cultural Data Sculpting

    Tim is the Director of Information, Multimedia and Technology at Museum Victoria, Australia. Follow @timh01 on Twitter.
  • David Hart: The Cleveland Dilemma, Or How To Stop Making Things People Don’t Want

    David works in the Digital Media Department at MoMA, producing content for exhibitions and programs. Follow @senorcorazon on Twitter.
  • Carmen Iannacone: Hello, I’m a knowledge worker

    Carmen is the Chief Technology Officer at the Smithsonian Institution. Follow @SI_CTO on Twitter.
  • Clay Johnson

    Clay is a polycareerist: Founder of Blue State Digital, former Director of Sunlight Labs, government transparency and open data activist, Founder of Big Window Labs, Director of Engagement for ExpertLabs, and current author at infovegan.com. Follow @cjoh on Twitter
  • Martin Kalfatovic: ebooks for everybody

    Martin is a featherless bipedal librarian attempting to avoid extinction. Habitat: Smithsonian Institution Libraries. Follow @udcmrk on Twitter.
  • Steve Midgley: Learning Registry: free to be you and me

    Steve is the Deputy Director for Education Technology at the US Dept of Education, Education Director, FCC., Principal Mixrun. Program officer, Stupski Foundation. VP Engineering LoopNet. Grad school drop out. Follow @stevemidgley on Twitter.
  • Kevin Novak: The New White Space

    Kevin is the Vice President of Integrated Web Strategy and Technology for the American Institute of Architects, Co-chair of the W3C Electronic Government workgroup, Chair of the National Research Council/National Academies Panel on Communicating and Disseminating Engineering and Scientific Data for the National Science Foundation, former chair of the Internet in Developing Countries Task Force under the .MOBI Foundation, former Director of Web Services at the Library of Congress. Follow @NovakKevin on Twitter
  • Fiona Rigby: Making New Zealand Content Easier to Find, Share, Use

    Fiona is the Content Manager at DigitalNZ. Follow @nzfi on Twitter.
  • Margriet Schavemaker: The Museum as InnovatAR

    Margriet is an art historian, philosopher and media specialist. She’s the Head of Collections and Research at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Follow @marschave on Twitter.
  • Camilla SDO: Camilla – The Who & Why!

    Camilla is the mission mascot for the NASA Solar Dynamics Array. Follow @Camilla_SD on Twitter.
  • Simon Sherrin: Giving everyone a bite of the Apple

    Simon is the Technical Manager for the Victorian Cultural Network, Australia. Follow @thesherrin on Twitter.
  • Koven Smith: What’s the Point of a Museum Website?

    Koven is a composer, drummer, and Director of Technology at the Denver Art Museum. Follow @5easypieces on Twitter.
  • Neal Stimler: Renewing American Democracy Through Museums & Digital Culture

    Neal is the Associate Coordinator of Images in The Image Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Follow @nealstimler on Twitter.
  • Kate Theimer: How I Got Over My Hatred of "Archive" as a Verb, and Other Stories of Words and Evolutions

    Kate is the author of “Web 2.0 Tools and Strategies for Archives and Local History Collections” and the ArchivesNext blog. Former National Archives and Smithsonian Institution employee. Follow @archivesnext on Twitter.
  • Jasper Visser: A look at the wondrous world of automatic vending machines through the eyes of a museum professional

    Jasper is the project manager for new technology and media projects at the Museum of National History of the Netherlands. Follow @jaspervisser on Twitter.

Enjoy! You can follow the backchannel for the event at #IgniteSmithsonian on Twitter.


Videos from the Web were interspersed with the speakers, like “Trade School.”

Or a flash mob doing the Hammer Dance.

The Future is Mobile at Ignite NYC: Open Data, Open Government and Augmented Reality

“The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” —William Gibson.

“An exploration of cyberpunk fiction, technology, where we’re headed, the challenges we face, and the solutions we need”-Ignite NYC. I gave a (very) similar talk called Pattern Recognition and Spimewatch at Ignite D.C. later that week. For whatever reason, this version seems to have come off much better. Rack it up to the first time on a big stage; there were close to a thousand people present in NYC.

The creative graphic recording at Ignite NYC at Web 2.0 Expo was created during the talk by Nora Herting of ImageThink.

For a great Ignite talk with a related theme, check out In Coders We Trust, by Laurel Ruma.

Pattern Recognition and Spimewatch: Visions of Open Cities of the Future

If you had five minutes to talk about the future, what would you say?

Last month, I had the privilege of presenting at two Ignite sessions, Ignite NYC at the Web 2.0 Expo and Ignite D.C. later in the week. If you’re not familiar, Ignites are 5 minute-long talks where presenters share subject they’re passionate about, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. If you’re not used to that rhythm, it can be tricky.

The video of my talk at Ignite D.C. is embedded below:

The presentation and associated links is embedded below:

Curious about the title for my talks? As fellow science fiction fans know, the title for these Ignite talks is an homage to two author: William Gibson, and Bruce Sterling. Gibson, sometimes called the “noir prophet” of cyberpunk, coined the term cyberspace and wrote “Pattern Recognition,” an enjoyable yarn about the future-present. Sterling, also an notable cyberpunk author, maintains the excellent Wired blog “Beyond the Beyond,” which has an entire category called “Spimewatch.”