Exponential Connections With Singularity University

Posted on May 31, 2015 by John Willshire

We've been working to deliver a distinctive conference experience for the participants at Singularity University's Exponential Finance conference in New York.

Conferences are primarily thought of as a way to transmit ideas from speakers to audiences, who then shepherd them back to their organisations over the weeks and months that follow.

Given the brain trust and talent gathered at Exponential Finance, how might we capitalize on the individual and collective ideas, catalyze connections, and accelerate their dissemination at the conference and waaay beyond? In short...

How do we create Exponential Connections?

So here's what we've designed for Singularity University; an interactive experience we've called the 10x Toolkit...

Everyone will receive their deck during the first session. Each of the 48 speakers has a card with their talk title and twitter handle. The back of each card is where you can capture ideas, impressions and inspirations which occur as Exponential Finance progresses.

Then, in the conference environment itself, there will be spaces to share and develop your ideas with others, discover new possibilities, and make interesting and unexpected connections.

In short, it's about Capturing, Connecting and Sharing.

We've produced a short series of Vines suggesting the sort of things you can do with the 10x Toolkit during the conference:


You'll get your deck of cards on the way in on the first morning, along with a fast-drying Artefact Sharpie - here's what's inside:

On the front of the cards, you've got the speakers and panelists. On the back is where you can write, draw, and doodle with the pen, like this (exponential bonus points for doodling):

You can build your 'deck of ideas' either specifically - what's your key take away from each speaker - or generally from any of the ideas you catch as they whizz past:


You'll instantly discover new connections and context by moving and rearranging the cards you've created:

Start mixing them up with other peoples' ideas. On the walls of the venue in certain places will be the Stattys, which are sheets charged with static electricity that the cards will stick to:

You can add up new ideas, or start moving others around to find new combinations and connections between the ideas:

You can also find space to ask a question you'd like to hear other peoples' thoughts on:


The cards are great for sharing on twitter - you can show people what you mean with a simple drawing (don't forget the #xfinance hashtag):

You can share your feedback and follow up questions with each of the speakers in the designated space on the wall:

Finally, after the end of Exponential Finance, you could pass on a speakers details to someone who should be connected to the speaker's work, ideas, or just simply must meet the speaker:


It goes without saying that, after three years of running projects with Artefact Cards, we know that people are bound to create their own uses for the cards, especially somewhere like Exponential Finance. The themes of Capture, Connect and Share are there as a platform to stand on, not a box to be trapped in.

We believe the key output will be a series of co-created mind maps of territories and themes explored at the conference, and impressions of what and how to solve now and next. What will emerge is something useful in the conference itself, and in the aftermath.

As a visual example, it's probably halfway between the emotion mapping work we've done recently with Ella Saltmarshe (seeing the cards in relation to each other on wall, and figuring out connections), and the output from Brilliant Noise's DOTS conference last year (a summary of a collective experience).

Personally, I can't wait to see what happens. Shawna Butler and the SU team will be helping create as many connections as possible across the two days, and capturing all that goes on - make sure you follow the #xfinance twitter hashtag to watch the magic unfurl.



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