How to Fill an Empty White Board

“EUREKA!!!!…I Have Found It!!!”

The word eureka as an exclamation (and its meaning from the Greek) is attributed to Archimedes…who according to the story…“discovered” an accurate means of measuring the volume of irregular objects as he lowered himself into his bath (not tub – we are talking serious Greek Bath here) and ran naked and, I imagine, dripping through the streets of Greek Syracuse yelling at the top of his lungs.

Archimedes and his run were much in my mind, over the weekend, as I participated in one of the WPP Stream un-conference events in, serendipitously, Marathon, Greece.

The metaphor is simple – an un-conference is like Archimedes and his bath – you immerse yourself in an almost endless stream of discussion, people, things, food, music, presentations, stuff, videos, cheap red wine; you let go; you float, and the next thing you know…you have EUREKA moments of euphoric discovery.

Now full disclosure – I work for WPP – and no – I did not run naked and dripping through Marathon yelling EUREKA…closest I came was…never mind…. But I did have a number of amazing discovery moments as random strands of nonassociated experiences came together in light-bulb-over-my-head moments.

An un-conference begins with big – almost empty – whiteboards divided into hour segments that any of the participants can stake a claim to by writing in a topic they’d like to discuss.

And there are no rules to topic selection – if you think you can get an audience…go for it.

I participated in discussions on social media; the future or maybe present of TV; digital art; the state of content; what is content; what makes an idea – more on that latter; the maker economy; the use of drones (that included a demonstration) – to name a few. I played video games and viewed Oculus-based interactive programs that were amazing and used my powers of concentration to move a ball along a track. I served drinks at a Midnight Cooking Madness – has to be experienced to be understood – listened to my friends and fellow Streamers showcase their musical and other talents – amazing! We listened to seven groups, who coalesced on site, present ideas on how Save The Children can raise more money and awareness to help combat Ebola – we voted to choose the best – but I must tell you that with nothing more than ingenuity and passion, they all came up with amazing ideas that could be articulated in a two-minute pitch – and one group even showcased a working website and app they built overnight…and finally I had my last Xbox One Kinects session at 4 AM Sunday morning, as I left for the airport, with a group who might still be there….

Bottom line, Jason Silva (not there) captured the concept in this quote: “Creativity and insight almost always involve an experience of acute pattern recognition: the eureka moment in which we perceive the interconnection between disparate concepts or ideas to reveal something new.”

And that is what Stream is all about. And that is what we need so much more of…

It’s digital – of course – but it’s equally analog.

It’s got focus – but it’s completely random.

It has presentations – but it’s all about the discussion.

There are “celebrities” in residence – but it’s completely democratic.

In short, if you are invited and you come – you are expected to play and play hard. Otherwise you never see another invite.

And in sessions – you rarely saw folks on their devices – they were too busy interacting, listening, adding, debating – connecting…get the point?

My mind is reeling from all the input – will be for days – but for now I need some sleep….

The bottom line is simple – we can really change the world if we change our trajectory – kill the digibabble – be more civil and caring – Click and Shout….

Sadly, much of what we obsess over as world changing is more related to shopping than saving….

It’s ironic that so many think so literally and linearly in our digital world….


Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try! – Dr. Seuss

Jump in the Stream…let yourself go…and keep a towel handy for the run….

What do you think?


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