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Making Things

Bayete Ross Smith on a much needed lunch breakThe goal for Tuesday at the Producers Institute was to map out the deck that will ultimately become the presentation to potential funders on Friday. That was day two of four 13-hour days, running from 9AM to 10PM, sometimes longer, with breaks for good food, a little dose of sunshine and perspective away from the computers.
Mapping with Post-its from Question Bridge lab
What does process look like at the Producers Institute? It's messy. It's color-coded Post-its. It's whiteboard with bright yellow scribbles. It's a missing sock. It's a few cups of wine, a few more cups of coffee, beautiful scans of sea creatures and sketches of trees. It's picking up trash. It's timelines and logos.

Monday was about refining the story. Tuesday has been about mapping out the deck and making things. The deck is on giant memo paper, on whiteboards and in slideshows. Fearless leader, BAVC Creative Director Wendy Levy, advised teams to also create visuals that start a two-way conversation.

Teams all have a different approach to mapping out the deck and different needs Pete Brundle and Wendy Levy talk Last Oceanfor visuals. Ethnographer and mentor Larisa Mann reminded participants to make sure that solutions and functions tie back directly to the finely tuned articulation of the problem.  Each of these elements is part of the strategy for successful presentation, which will get rehearsal time on Thursday. But these presentations shouldn't be performances, says LEd Wolf from We Were Here and Kamal Sinclair from Question Bridgeevy, they should be storytelling in which you own the language.

A major driving force for the creativity emerging in the labs is the group of mentors who rotate among the teams, guiding, refining and helping produce stunning visuals. These crucial conversations are opportunities for project designs to pivot and gain momentum.

The core problem-solvers who are helping Wendy Levy guide the way--if you don't know these minds, you're missing out:


Eric Doversberger, Data Visualization Specialist, Google Mentor Sophie Tunsler works with Tim Trench on Equal Footing

Laura Hilliger, Webist, Zythepsary

Anselm Hook, Games Developer, Augmented Reality Specialist

Antonio Kaplan, CEO and Co-Founder, Innovent

Takaaki Okada, Co-founder, Creative Director, Condition One

Larisa Mann (aka DJ Ripley), Legal Ethnographer, UC Berkeley 

Sophie Tusler, Software Developer, Whirl-i-Gig

Tony Walsh, Game Producer, Phantom Compass

The inspiration doesn't stop there, also dropping by have been: Wendy Cohen, Participant Media; Jubari Mahiri, TEACH; Gaby Brinks, Tomorrow Partners; and it's only Tuesday.

Very brief updates from our teams:

Question Bridge: Found a pedagogical partner and full time mentor in Jubari Mahiri. Whitboard snapshot 

We Were Here: Working closely with Kaiser Family Foundation and Greater than AIDS.

Wikilakes: Met this afternoon with ZYNGA executives to talk all things game. 

Mapping Earth's Keepers: Project has been solidified with a new name, Equal Footing, and a strategic design for empowering Mayans with agency in land-use zoning. 

Rekindling Venus: Forming an identity as Last Ocean, incorporating marine imagery, data and direct interaction with NGOs through coral.

More to come, don't forget to follow the #pi2011 hashtag to get micro-updates.