For Peter Corbett, a leader in the new technology community in Washington, DC, relationship-building is a full-time job. "Bringing people together is what I think about every day," says Corbett, the founder of iStrategy Labs, a digital marketing firm and the engine behind the Twin Tech, a series of regional events that bring together the creatives and techies of the information technology world for networking and business development. "My job as a leader is to feed technologists what they need and get them involved where they need to be involved. "
A case in point is iStrategy's recent Apps for Democracy project for the District of Columbia government. Nominated for a UN Public Service Award, the project sourced innovation directly from talented citizen coders. The result was the development of 47 new applications, from an iPhone app that sounds an alert if you are in a dangerous neighborhood, to an app that tracks government spending and allows you to make comments. "The government valued these apps at 2.6 million, had they been acquired through the established Request for Proposal model, says Corbett. "It's all of our jobs to contribute to democracy. We wanted to change the way government procures IT. This is a crowd source application development model we're pioneering, and now, cities like Toronto and New York are looking at it."
Traveling to Helsinki, Corbett looks forward to meeting the brands that are developing technology-driven marketing and to connecting with Helsinki's IT community for cross-collaboration. "I'll be looking for a Finnish Ambassador for the Government 2.0 Club, a global chapter-based organization helping governments understand how new technologies can benefit citizens."
Forum Virium Helsinki is ready to show Mr Corbett the digital delights of Helsinki.
We are specialists in this field, as Forum Virium Helsinki promotes the development of digital services in the Helsinki metropolitan area.
We are an independent co-operation cluster, bringing together ideas and content creators with high-growth and established companies as well as public sector organisations. Forum Virium Helsinki leads development projects and opens contacts to international markets in addition to playing a key role in creating Living Lab test environments.
Mr Corbett's visit will be hosted by Mr Jarmo Eskelinen, Executive Director of Forum Virium Helsinki and Ms Helena Hyvärinen, Executive Producer, Media Project Area.
We have prepared an interesting programme for Mr Corbett's visit. He will be introduced to the technical, innovative and creative side of Helsinki - not forgetting the phenomena of social media.
1) Sauna Society: Jumping through a hole in the ice twice is something I'll never forget.
2) Hotel Torni Roof: On my last day in Helsinki my Forum Virium hosts took me to the Ateljee Bar which overlooks the entire city. It's a beautiful sight.
3) Saaga Restaurant: Eating traditional Lapland food is recommend for anyone traveling to Helsinki. Smoked reindeer is mighty tasty.
4) Tavastia Club: If you like music you have to go to the world's longest standing rock and roll club. Make sure you check out the semi-final stage where emerging artists get their first chance to show off their stuff.
5) Stockmann Department Store: It turns out that during my visit it was "crazy days" at Helsinki's largest department store, which mean everyone was in a buying frenzy. The I explored 6 floors of Finnish goods - I'm sure you'll find something you like!
My journey to Helsinki has not officially begun, but I've been talking about it with a number of people over the past few weeks. One of the things I plan to do is to shoot a short documentary - and I'm still refining the concept for it. Once I have a definitive directly I'll post more about that here.
I'm reading my draft itinerary and digging deeper into:
I just finished writing up a document on "Creating a Citizen Driven Ideas and Problems Sourcing Platform, and associated Providers to Needs Matching System."
The PDf and video are here:
Finally packed for my trip. Key items that will help me along the way (all tech of course):
-iPhone with international data and voice plan.
-Canon HV20 HD video camera with shot gun mic, 10 HDV tapes
-Nikon D40 SLR - 4gigs of SD cards
-Mac Book Pro 2.4ghz w/ 4gigs RAM (loaded with final cut pro, motion, illustrator, after effects).
-MiniBook 120 gig USB HD for dumping HD video onto.
...clothes and such.
Last minute schedule: Having a great client call at 10:30 to talk about a digital + experiential marketing campaign on college campuses, photo shoot for Washingtonian Magazine at 11, interview on Fed News Radio at 1pm, head to the airport at 2pm, fly to Helsinki at 5pm!
Yesterday was a tough one as I landed with about an hour of sleep and jumped right into agenda planning and a couple meetings.
I'm glad I didn't opt to just run to my hotel room to sleep because my meetings with www.zipipop.com and www.tripsay.com were terrific!
Today is going to be a full day and you can follow most of what I'm doing via http://www.twitter.com/corbett3000 in real time :)
I'm at the http://www.mediapaivat.fi/english/ conference and I'll be speaking about Apps for Democracy and Citizen Driven Innovation at 2pm.
I landed yesterday and there was an article about my work in Helsingin Sanomat: http://tinyurl.com/c8qql4
Forum Virium has been such a incredible host and have setup some really interesting meeting for me thus far. I've visited the following companies:
http://about.zipipop.com/about (Really interesting conversation about Intention Broadcasting)
http://www.tripsay.com/index.html (Great insight into the local tech community in Helsinki. Looks like Helsinki has good sources for early strange funding, but the tech community isn't as tightly coalesced as DC. DC on the other hand has very few sources for early stage investments).
http://www.demos.fi/english (These guys are a think tank + culture hacking group that I think feels and thinks a lot like iStrategyLabs).
www.kuubi.fi (also really felt like iStrategyLabs but with a deeper focus on content creation - they do all the film trailers in Finland for big Hollywood films, where as iStrategyLabs is more heavily weighted on the social media marketing side...though Kuubi is quiet adept at that as well). They made a really cool touch screen interface to pop bubbles with!
Went to http://2009.pixelache.ac/ today which was interesting - I stood up and told a very left leaning socialist that capitalism is the best system but that it needs to be tweaks A LOT to work better for people.
http://www.sulake.com/ was certainly a very enlightening company to visit. They've really tapped the pulse of the youth market in a big way with http://www.habbo.com/
Off to meet the Mayor now!
Yesterday I spoke at a conference on "Citizen Driven Innovation" and my slides are here:
Afterwards, we grabbed a bite to eat at Grotesk, the Ice Bar, Tavastia and Bar Loose - and ended up at home be about 4:30am!
This afternoon I went back to Pixelache to see a VJ presentation and a mass-collaboration art project featuring 100,000 kg of clay.
I'm sitting in the Copenhagen airport recovering from a night of incredible Karaoke with the Forum Virium + tech entrepreurs team...and I'm run plain exhausted.
My journal slipped by the wayside over the past two days because my schedule became so completely full of wonderful meetings that I just haven't found the time to posts.
In order to make up for that, I've got some videos for your viewing pleasure:
From the Top of Helsinki: http://www.qik.com/video/1408827
Exploration of the Ice Bar: http://www.qik.com/video/1389144
From my Media Days talk: http://www.qik.com/video/1385461
I've been capturing some great HD video along the way and once I find a moment (or 10 hours) to edit it, I'll post it here.