The Lineup of Ideas

While I was listening to the live stream of the Aspen Ideas Festival (because my track had not started yet so I couldn’t be ‘in’ the room) I inadvertently heard the theme to what I’m going to be experiencing

Planned Serendipity

Leave it to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh to drop the knowledge on his Theory of Serendipity: creating collision opportunities in planned environments so that you can accelerate serendipity, and therefore collaboration, creativity and idea generation. (more on this concept when I tackle his Downtown Project)

While I don’t think I’ll be head on running into people around the Aspen Institute campus (tho I might, because I am socially awkward in foreign locales and also quite the klutz), I do see the collision opportunities. Hell, even before my track has started I’ve been close enough for some amazing OH moments with Justice Elena Kagan, astronaut Anousheh Ansari and a table of folks from the CDC.

Plus – the lineup of ideas I’ve selected for the 3.5 days takes me out of my comfort zone and into different fields. Here’s the plan so far:

    Saturday, June 29
  • Afternoon of Conversation:
  • Featuring House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Henry Paulson on Sustainable Urbanization, Eric Lander of the Human Genome Project, Playwriight Anna Deavere Smith, Violinist Robert McDuffie, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, and Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan

  • Fire and Lights:
  • Mankind Illuminating the Cosmos at the Planetarium

  • Bay Lights| the Most Remarkable Public Art Project in America:
  • Artist Leo Villareal discussing his light sculpture in San Francisco

      Sunday, June 30

  • Experts are Passé, What About Leaders:
  • Andrew McAfee, Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business

  • The Future of Your TV:
  • Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, fmr FCC Chair Julius Genachowski & Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton

  • With All This Data, Will We Come to the Right Conclusions?:
  • RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson, MIT Director Andrew McAfee, MAYA Design CEO Mickey McManus

  • Your Brain on Stories|Why You are Hardwired to Think and Learn through Storytelling:
  • Master Storyteller & Consultant Kendall Haven

  • Matter of Debate|Is Privacy Paramount or Should We Live in a Transparent Society?:
  • Legal Affairs Editor of The New Republic Jeffrey Rosen, Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu. (This is underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton, which I find awesome & timely

  • Envision, Invent, Inspire:
  • Three PhD candidates from MIT Media Lab present their research.

  • Designing the Human Interface:
  • CCO of Jawbone & CEO of fuseproject Yves Behar, CEO of Nest Tony Fadell, CEO of Flipboard Mike McCue, CEO of Path Dave Morin

  • Build on It|Designing Our Educated Future:
  • Los Angeles USD Superintendent John Deasy, CEO New Classrooms Innovation Partners Joel Rose

  • The Literature of War|Who Gets to Tell the Story?:
  • Author Lea Carpenter, Author Ben Fountain, Author Karl Marlantes

  • What does it Mean to be a Journalist in the age of PRISM and Wikileaks?:
  • Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman, HuffPost Editorial Director Howard Fineman, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus, Finance & Economics Editor of The Guardian Heidi Moore, WSJ Weekedn Review Editor Gary Rosen

      Monday, July 1

  • NPR’s “Tell Me More”:
  • Live show with John E. Deasy, Anand Giridharadas, Steve Inskeep, Shirley Ann Jackson, Joel Klein, Madeline Levine, Paul Tough

  • Beautiful Complexity|Design, Business and Technology in the Age of Trillions:
  • CEO OF MAYA Design Mickey McManus

  • The Cool War|The Future of Global Competition:
  • Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman

  • Surprising Synergies|Game Makers, Policy Makers, and Educators:
  • CEO of ESA Michael Gallagher, CEO of Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars Jane Harman, CEO of Dreambox Learning Jessie Wooley-Wilson

  • Art in a Post-Conflict Society:
  • Fmr CEO Viacon Tom Freston, CEO of Moby Group Saad Mohseni, CEO of Season of Cambodia Phloeun Prim

  • Crowdsourcing Solutions to Messy Problems:
  • TED Curator Chris Anderson

  • Future Footprints|Expansive Landscapes and Enduring Cultures for the 21st Century:
  • National Geographic Fellows Sean Gerrity and Chris Rainier

      Tuesday, July 2

  • The Rise and Fall of Curiosity:
  • Williams College Senior Lecturer Susan Engel

  • The Rule of Law on the Move|Challenges and Disasters:
  • Associate Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

  • Love It or Leave It|Can You Design Love into Your Brand?:
  • PepsiCo Chief Design Officer Mauro Porcini

  • Activism Anew| Dispatches from the Front Lines of the War on Women:
  • Jane Harman, Author Courtney Martin, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards



    1. Wow. Jealous. Would love to get a download when you get back. You around on the 3rd?

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