Saturday saw the launch of the Enlightened Ideas Network – A network for collaboration and emerging ideas in Edinburgh:
“Enlightened Ideas is a loose network of groups and individuals who are or wish to be engaged in the emerging interdisciplinary landscape in Edinburgh. The network is designed to be inclusive and, eventually, comprehensive and thus involves groups from a variety of academic, student and community backgrounds.
This site is the ideas marketplace for Enlightened Ideas – a place to put up your own ideas and find people and groups for collaboration.”
Funded by Roberts Funding from the University, it was an event dominated by academics. The point is to encourage interdisciplinary discussion, and there was certainly a varied range of people from science (there were a lot of biologists) to artists. Fuelled by the free wine and beer, the event offered an informal atomsphere to mingle and meet others. The offline interactions can be turned into online ones through the Ning network, and there is a competition for interdisciplinary ideas (deadline 31st July).
My favorite bit was the paper profiles. The organisers had printed off the Ning profiles and invited everyone to write their interests. This was posted onto a wall (a real life one), and people can comment on the wall by post-it notes! It was just really neat to be able to see who was there and what they were upto so you can target your networking (if you so wish).
About 30-35 people turned up in the end (probably more as people who turned up early, left early), and it was a very interesting crowd. Interestingly enough, I got chatting to the organisers who said that they thought that this type of event would only work if there is an offline element, and the Ning network was almost an after-thought: it was the place to go in-between the meetups. It’s interesting to think about the balance of online and offline collaborative space in this day of social media. What is the balance, I guess is big question?