Visualization for business impact

The last two days I was in Rome for the IBM IOD2010 EMEA conference – mainly because I’ve got a bit of an interest in enterprise software, smarter work, innovation management, business model innovation and design, improving organizational processes, and the smartening up of the daily worklifes of us all. You can call it “interested in a smarter planet” if you wish.

The two days were filled with inspirational conversations, both inside the building and outside in the italian sun, but I also enjoyed the intro to the conference on day one. And my friendly IBM blogger contact person Erica arranged a meeting with Evan Michaels, one of the team members of George P. Johnson aka GPJ. Evan and team were literally working for months on

– setting up a storyboard that integrated all the things that were on the slate for the two days conference
– crafting the concept of the reverse mirror (the audience was filmed and projected onto the three big screens in front, so we were basically looking at ourselves before the start)
– designing the intro visuals and videos, ie. the data streams flowing through the ancient city of rome (big data streams), the tags hovering over the heads of the audience (single ideas bouncing up and down, later more like a visual avalanche)

Part of this can be seen in this video:

The attention and work that went into creating the intro is astounding (and will make me pay more attention to kick-offs at conferences in the future). Getting a deep understanding of the client’s agenda and designing a fitting “visual design” – including symbols around the whole conference venue – may just be what is needed to get an audience into thinking (and collaboration) mode.

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