Charles Leadbeater at Culture 2.0

Leadbeater The key note speech by Charles Leadbeater during the Culture 2.0 conference in Amsterdam (30 May 2007) as more inspiring than I had expected from reading his book We Think. I may have misunderstood his position in the book, but at that time I got the impression that he envisioned some sort of utopian and egalitarian future for us in the web 2.0 era.

As if everything would be different from now on. His talk at the conference was much more subtle and open to the complexities of daily life. He pictured this contemporary era as one of transience, a liminal space of exploration and experimentation. The main issues we struggle with are in a way timeless (private vs collective, individualism vs collectivism, local vs global, materialism vs spiritualism, professionals vs amateurs), but we seem to be looking for a new balance between them. The world around us is in a constant state of flux and we are adapting our understanding of it, in order to deal with the ambiguities of everyday life. This process is crucial for our reflection on our ethics and our agendas. Web 2.0 is not a new dogma that dictates reality. It is rather a new set of phenomena that we are responding to.
Later in his talk he also addressed the issue of innovation, and stated that periods of ambiguity are excellent feeding grounds for innovation. Real innovation needs open spaces and collaboration. You seldom see surprising innovations coming out of established organisations or isolated individuals.

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