Idealab – Week 1

I’m attending a course called ‘Idealab’ at the Science Gallery. This is the first adult evening course ever to be offered free by the Science Gallery; and is a kind of incubator for design based projects that can have an impact on the city. I’m using this opportunity to promote Open Learning Ireland as an idea, and our planned pop-up in February in particular. Hopefully, the designers, economists, engineers and city planners on the course can contribute to help making our dream of a permanent open access learning institution in the city a reality. I look forward to collaborating to grow the idea beyond it’s research / activism led route, and to taking on board some of the gathered wisdom and experience present on the course. Below are my very rough notes from the first lecture. Presented as part of our ethos of openness (which is shared by the Idealab course).

Idealab lecture – 16th October 2012

Come up with a Project

  • Collaborative Project Development
  • Related to the city

First ever free adult course in Science Gallery

The Global City

  • Ireland considered rural
    • because of city size
  • 1950’s – population boom
  • Unequal global population growth – stagnancy in West
    • upside down demographic pyramid
  • Under 25 = 45% of world population
  • Dublin – 1.5 million – ‘nimble city’
  • Tokyo = most expensive city to live in
    • capital of Angora, Africa = no 2
  • Poorest = Congo & Liberia
    • War

Magic number 1.5
– each time population doubles
– social and economic factors scale by 1.15

Psych research on happiness

Big 7 Factors
– income (social inequality)
– relationships
– work
– community / friendships
– health
– personal friendom
– values freedom (e.g.: religion)

[what about geert hofstede – power distance, individualism, masculinity / femininity, uncertainty avoidance, long term orientation]

Social research ethnography etc
– now used in best practice product design / architecture

Goal of course
– not just business, but social goods

Route to sustainability
=> here defined largely as profit making

Digital commons event in Dublin
– looked into Analog spectrum uses
– public spaces, privately owned and managed

Further lectures in course

Idea refinement

Documenting visually – market research, design brief

Need to have task for designer
– e.g.: communicating through logo etc

Practical Sessions
– developing ideas in depth
– producing something to test with users
– e.g.: prototype workshop



Invite Teresa Dillion (course runner)
– to be part of panel in OLI Feb

Open Learning Ireland Learning Tools
– Building a model for funding that doesn’t undermine function

Open Learning Ireland – Streams
– Art
– Education
– Activism (not entrepreneurship)

Template Institution
– documentation
– democratic flexibility
– low cost utility
– fun! freedom! non-compulsion

Libertarian Socialism in its DNA
– freedom
– plus absence of compulsive need [2 concepts of liberty]

Questions for workshop holders
– group numbers!

Places as facilitators of social relationships
– affordability [voluntaryism]
– new social contract
-> lack of social spaces in Dublin
=> disabling impact on connectivity

Livable cities movement
– local autonomous educational institutions.

Invite designers to help build visual identity for OLI?

Do headcount at next OLI
– hook up with education researchers
– get practical quant / qual stuff going on – metrics

Role of prestige in motivation – does it increase / decrease extrinsic motivation?

Useful contact – 1 member of the group is in the city planning department

Jean Byrne – Creator of Design 21 C

– Make better lecture from old Exchange Words communications talk

To Do

Make 2 minute presentation in Prezi
– send in on Friday or Monday

Library + Maker Workshop + Laboratory + Art Studio + Hackerspace + Social Space
= Open Learning Ireland

Breaking down age barriers / access barriers / conceptual barriers

Learning = Fun -> enabling agency – competence, autonomy, relatedness

– value proposition
=> social space for learning for everyone
=> enabling through agency
=> redeomcractising society

Who for?
Psychographic communities, not demographic

Empathise – who is it for
Release Again

What participants can do
– anything!
– in next 10 weeks – we can work on
=> communicating identity visually
=> workshop affordances
=> tapping into city resources towards a permanent institution
=> building strong decentralised structure into practice

Contact NCAD learning group

Course Deadlines

20th Novemeber
1,000 words
– literature review, or project critique
-> critical review – journal article, book etc
-> just one book?
– project and how it relates to the city
=> Link to own work
– historical work in this area
– current research viewpoints
– major arguments
– assumptions / approaches / principles and methods
– conclude with summary – points and findings
=> position within current thinking / trends

11th December – Group presentation and report
– 2,000 words
– background research
-idea development and process – visual documentation

Sustainability research
– plans – 6 months
– budget – costs
– conclusions

Rank need fulfilling elements of designed outcome


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