Inspiring new forms of creative expression through mobile devices

Or “How I predicted Google Photovine before it was announced”

A few months ago, I shared a research panel alongside one Marek Pawlowski. Marek runs the MEX (Mobile User Experience) conference and is a keen mobile futurist.

He and I had met before but it’s always good to refresh connections and, a month or so later, he asked if I could take part in a new MEX pathway entitled ‘Inspiring new forms of creative expression through mobile devices’.

“Sounds great Marek, but I’m off to Siberia next month and well, I won’t really be around to contribute properly.”

“That’s fine.” he said  “Just present at the event when you’re back in May.”

So I did.

And in fact, I probably gave a better presentation because of it: chilled out (after a whole month away from the internet), wearing a t-shirt and – probably for the first time ever – presenting in trainers.

Getting back to the event, the questions Marek posed as part of the pathway were as follows:

  1. How does ubiquitous access to new sensors such as touchscreens, gestural input and location tracking change the expression of human creativity?
  2. What does artistic experimentation at the boundaries of digital technology teach us about mainstream user experience requirements of the future?
  3. How does mass person-to-person communications facilitate new creative experiences through co-operative working?
  4. Will person-to-person communications enriched with new channels, such as haptics, emerge as a new form of artistic expression in itself?
  5. Are the text-based ‘Status Updates’ espoused by Facebook and Twitter the zenith of emotional expression or can human moods be better expressed?

My presentation (and the ideas around the answers I gave) can be seen in full below but, I implore you, click through to the actual Slideshare page so you can read the corresponding speaker notes. It doesn’t really make sense without them…

#MEX11: Inspiring new forms of creative expression through mobile devices

One thing I do want to focus on, however, is slide 17, MEX Pathway point number three [quick click through]:

How does mass person-to-person communications facilitate new creative experiences through co-operative working?

The answer I gave in my talk (or at least the one word that came to mind when I the question was posed), was ‘Meme‘. The two slides that followed explored the idea of the web-based meme going mobile. To quote:

“What about memes on mobile? I snap this, send it you, you change it, send it back.. An instant meme app? Yes please. Where do I sign?”

That, was May 2011. Two months later, in July, I spot this video from Google, courtesy of The Next Web

Alright, so perhaps it isn’t exactly the meme-based application that I was hoping for and/or predicting, but it’s pretty darn close. Theme-based sharing even. And, if you recall what the original pathway set out to cover – Inspiring new forms of creative expression through mobile devices – this app nails it.

Bizarrely, for an app developed by Google, it’s only available on iPhone right now, but I’m sure this will change over time. And when it does, I’ll be ready and waiting – because having my friends help drive my mobile creativity is something I’m really actually quite looking forward to.

Thanks for stopping by.

UPDATE: the video of said talk is now available –

James Whatley from Marek Pawlowski on Vimeo.


Like I said, go and read that Slideshare deck properly – with the speaker notes.

And when you’re done there, go and read this article on Mobile Industry Review that references some of the above findings. 

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Author: James Whatley

Experienced advertising and communications strategist working in brand, games, and entertainment. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x

5 thoughts on “Inspiring new forms of creative expression through mobile devices”

  1. Great deck! Taking tons of notes from that one. 🙂

    I had a similarly eerie moment of revisionist prescience recently, re-reading an article I wrote in 2001 for “Behind the Themes” magazine. It was ostensibly about the “Next Big Thing” to come in themed entertainment technology — but 9/11 happened right as I was writing the article, so it ended up being an unexpected conversation about privacy, security, and the need for community. Luminaries like Marc Davis basically spell out services like Flickr and YouTube a handful of years before they appeared.

    Read it here:

    whatleydude Reply:

    Hey David, thanks for the lovely comment buddy – glad to be of assistance! 🙂
    And that is a great article. Thank you for sharing.

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