The importance of SLUSH

November 15, 2013

The creative era we live in is an age of unprecedented possibility compared with the industrial age. Totally new opportunities are systematically being created. One of the best examples of this is the SLUSH event that took place in Helsinki on November 13th and 14th. SLUSH is a two-day startup conference, a meeting point and a coming together of roughly 6000 people belonging to the international startup ecosystem. There are entrepreneurs, investors, startup founders, employees and students taking part.

The democratization of technology that is taking place at the moment does not determine social and organizational change, but does create new opportunity spaces for new social practices. Some things are becoming much easier than before and some things are becoming possible, perhaps for the first time. The vibrant startup culture proves this point.

There are very few isolated geniuses. But there are many bright people who have continued and improved the work of others. Capable people always have capable peers, people who act as filters connecting them with people and connecting them with high quality information. The goal of SLUSH is to “gather the connections that startups need to thrive on the global stage.”

In a sense, creative people are more remixers of other peoples’ ideas than inventors. Technology and development are not isolated acts by independent thinkers, but a complex storyline, where the storytellers and curators, are more important than the heroic inventors, if there ever were any.

SLUSH_1Creative, connected learning is at the core of the startup business. SLUSH is a huge learning festival and the biggest concentration of positive energy I have seen in a long time.

Businesses and non-profits like SLUSH, more than government, seem to be driving the changes in education that are required for the knowledge-based economy. The government-run education systems are lagging behind the transformation of learning that is evolving.

Learners are teachers and teachers are learners during the two hectic days of SLUSH. Creating learning connections is more valuable today than creating learning content.

Information is becoming a process of continuous iteration and networked negotiation. Information networks are the architecture of work and a valuable, shared resource. These networks are the new commons.

In the new commons people with many ties are better informed and have more signalling power, while those outside the commons and with few ties may be left behind.

The real forte of SLUSH is that as we engage in new relationships, we are creating new potentials for action. Every human relationship, every connection, serves as a model for what is possible.

The Internet era has proven that we are capable of working together competitively/cooperatively and building social communities that some time ago many would have dismissed as impossible dreams.

Thus we don’t yet have a good idea of what cannot be done by connected people working together in new ways.

“We can walk on water” as @pvesterbacka from Rovio says in a very compelling way.


Thank you Miki Kuusi, Ilkka Kivimäki, Peter Vesterbacka, Inka Mero and the whole team! And yes, Supercell! It was a great party!

More on commons.

2 Responses to “The importance of SLUSH”

  1. alain ruche Says:

    Esko, always nice reading you!

    The government-run education system is lagging behind : true, but we pay for it, so we have to do something about it, right?

    Speaking about ‘new commons’ could be better formulated, to avoid giving the impression that the ‘old’ commons do not matter anymore. Of course, the ‘old’ are rather linked to traditions, and the new one (like networks and P2P) linked to the digital revolution. But we are everyday creating traditions. They are both commons, so, let’s -join forces, as we did in the Berlin Seminar in May 2013 at the Heinrich Böhl Foundation.

    Furthermore, the impressive conceptual work produced by James Quilligan could possibly be used for the ‘new’ commons, who knows? You can check the Berlin Seminar mentioned, and also the Kosmos Journal of which I am proud to be a ‘global ambassador’ (:)).
    Could we be in direct touch, I have mentioned you so many times in conversations I had these last two years!
    be well

  2. eskokilpi Says:

    Thank you very much Alain. Yes, let’s continue!

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