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Exploring culture, technology, and design: Onomy Labs founders offer lessons for cross-disciplinary innovation

Exploring culture, technology, and design: Onomy Labs founders offer lessons for cross-disciplinary innovation


Three experts on the intersections of technology and culture, including HASTAC Executive Board member Anne Balsamo, will visit the University of Iowa April 2 and 3 to talk about imagination, collaboration, and innovation.


Anne Balsamo, Dale MacDonald, and Scott Minneman co-founded Onomy Labs, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based design company that builds interactive devices and exhibits for galleries, museums, schools, and other public venues.  


Onomy’s products include the Tilty Table—a movable, table-top display that lets users navigate maps and other large images by tilting in different directions—and the Interactive Wall—a digital screen that glides across a static exhibit, displaying changing information.


Balsamo, MacDonald, and Minneman are "SERIAL COLLABORATORS" who span the disciplines:  a humanist, a computer scientist, and engineer.  They offer lessons, insights and stories from their 12 years of working together, and from 20 years (each) of working with others in cross-disciplinary teams on technological innovation.


Here are the events at U of Iowa:  Each event demonstrates HOW they "take CULTURE seriously" as the starting point for technological innovation:


* “Computer Science Challenges in Culturally-Inspired Innovation”(Monday, April 2, 12:30 p.m., 110 MacLean Hall):

Dale MacDonald, technology manager for the Annenberg Innovation Lab < 

* “Just Can’t Stop It: Confessions of a Serial Innovator” (Monday, April 2, 5 p.m., 116 Art Building West):

Scott Minneman — whose past work touches robotics, human-powered vehicles, workplace communication, and public art — will discuss the process of making ideas real, including the need to navigate environment, team dynamics, legal hurdles, and sheer luck.


* “Designing Culture: The Technological Imagination at Work”(Tuesday, April 3, 5 p.m., 240 Art Building West): 

Anne Balsamo will draw on her recent book to argue that questions of culture drive technological discovery, and ongoing innovation requires taking culture seriously.> . Check it out! 



In addition to the three formal presentations, the Onomy Founders are also visiting classes, conducting studio visits, facilitating design exercises, offering guest critiques, research projects, and meeting with digital humanists and their collaborators across the disciplines.  They would be eager to do a similar visit at other universities in collaboration with other HASTAC participants.  For more information please contact:  


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