ThingsCon 2015 is a wrap

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And what a weekend week we had. It was exhilarating and inspiring. And also quite humbling to meet and debate with all these amazing, smart, passionate folks that made the trip to Berlin.

I’ll be processing these last few days for a while, but there are some people that stood out to me, that were particularly memorable.

The theme that emerged at this year’s ThingsCon, the focus on building meaningful, considerate products.

It was great to see how the whole field around #iot, connected services and hardware evolved and matured within just the year. ThingsCon reflected this by moving the debate from “what can we build & how” to “what should we build, and how can we make a positive impact”.

One focal point of this debate was the launch of version 1 of the #iotmanifesto (iotmanifesto.com) that was prepared a fantastic group of participants largely from the Netherlands (including Frolic Studio, The Incredible Machine, Beyond.io, Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken, TU Delft), and then went through several iterations during ThingsCon.

The #iotmanifesto comes from a similar background and impulse as the Declaration of the OpenIOT Assembly that I was involved in a few years ago, and I’m sure we’ll hear much more about this. It’s an important debate to have, and now’s the time.

Once more, the diverse mix of people from all kinds of backgrounds (both professionally and regionally) was truly humbling. That said, this time ’round there were certainly more designers than last year among both the speakers and the participants: Are more designers getting into this field? Are more roles re-framed under the label “design”?

I found countless moments of inspiration, provocation, or fresh thinking: Bruce Sterling’s and Warren Ellis’ keynotes come to mind, the moment several people improvised tiny (purposefully crappy) robots for a competition, debates of how to utilize tech for development cooperation for communities in poor countries. The serious debates around impact next to light jokes and playful interactions, learning by making next to more conceptual experimentation.

As so often, the truly priceless moments happened during smaller group conversations on the edges, in the hallways, in the beer harden or a bar. This is where bonds are forged, collaborations come to life, friendships start. Contributing to this even in the tiniest of ways is a hugely rewarding experience.

Thanks for everything. The team is working on some proper write-ups, videos of talks are being prepared for release online. I think it’s safe to say this won’t be the last you heard of ThingsCon.

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