Where Science Meets Muse

Archive for February 26th, 2011

Making Innovation and Design Consciousness Ubiquitous – Lessons from Open Mics

Posted by Plish on February 26, 2011

I used to be a fan of the Pecha-Kucha presentation format. Stripped down, only the essentials, no wasted time.  This is what a presentation should be. 

But then, like this person and this person, I became frustrated by it.  Frustrated because if I wanted to run a Pecha Kucha night, I had to get permission from the ‘founders’ of Pecha Kucha.  The reason for getting permission is because, as the website says:

We have a very simple Handshake agreement with each city basically to ensure there is only one event series per city and people are not treading in one another toes or pulling the rug out from under there[sic] feet. PechaKucha Nights take quite a bit of organizing and the more networks the better so we think it is better for cities to focus on one event.


As a practicing musician I often go to open mics to try out new tunes and refine them prior to using them in shows.  For those that don’t know, open mics are held weekly, or at least monthly, at various venues such as bars, restaurants, churches, cafes, etc..  Some of these are very spartan in format, others are quite elaborate with backup bands, but they all have food, drink, friends and fun.  They often last for 2 to 4 hours, some even longer.  Many open mics develop followings and have regular attendees.  They are events!

According to the PechaKucha website there are over 230 cities holding monthly PechaKuchas. According to openmikes.org,   there are at least 137 open mics in and within 25 miles of Chicago each week!  That’s 548 per month, not counting those establishments that have monthly, as opposed to weekly, open mics. 

 There are twice as many open mics in one city in a month than there are PechaKucha events worldwide!

That is sustainability.  That is empowerment.  That is a whole lot of sharing, of interaction, of friends and fun! 

What are the rules for performers at open mics?  Usually it’s something like 3 songs or ten minutes, whichever happens first.  PechaKucha, as a reminder, is 20 slides for 20 seconds each- six minutes and forty seconds max.

According to their website:

Pecha Kucha was devised  by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham and their office Klein Dytham architecture has supported the movement and global network for the past 7 years covering all cost for staff and web development. To keep the project sustainable and viable going forward as the network expands we are setting up a foundation. The foundation will also support creative projects such as the Mark Hoekstra PechaKucha Night Award.

As a reminder, there is no central office for Open Mics, no foundation, no licensing the format for events.  Just a simple rule: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Authenticity, Conveying Information, creativity, culture of innovation, Design, Education, Experience, imagination, Information Visualization, innovation, Social Innovation, Social Networking, Society | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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