What happens when you reach out and ask an entire region to create technology related events and projects during a ten day period in June? Well, hopefully we'll see civic engagement like we've never seen before and have some fun in the process.
I'm referring to a 10 day festival focused on technology, innovation and all things digital planned for Washington DC this summer, June 11 - 20, called Digital Capital Week (@DCWEEK). With almost 3,000 people registered so far and 5,000 expected, a little optimism seems appropriate. And optimism, quite frankly, is the only way to get through the planning process during the inaugural year of an event of this magnitude.
But DCWEEK isn't the first festival of this nature. Actually, we have some great models to look to, such as Internet Week NY, Social Media Week, FotoWeek DC and Fringe Festival. Like those events, DCWEEK will consist of a series of distributed events produced and hosted by individuals, organizations and community groups.
What's different about DCWEEK?
We've already lined up a number of great events that include Jeff Pulver's #140conf, TECH cocktail, CityCamp and Ignite DC. Dozens of daily session topics will range from Mobile Fundraising for Nonprofits, The Future of Print Media, Funding for Startups, Social Media in Education and much more. Maybe that's not so different from some other festivals, but the Project Lab is.
The Project Lab is a massive experiment to see if, when encouraged and given some resources, we can come together to solve problems, or in some cases, just experiment and try new things. There will be some light projects, like organizing scavenger hunts or mini-film festivals, yoga for techies and foodie events. But we've also got people submitting and leading projects such as computer drives, Internet literacy classes, pro-bono consulting for non-profits, and even a performing artists clinic to educate artists on using the Web.
Any festival participant can sign up to be a project leader or volunteer for a project they are interested in . Our goal is to see some really interesting stories, learnings and successes emerge from these projects - and we'll highlight them at the end of the festival for others to see.
As co-producer of this event, I of course want the pieces I'm organizing to be great - but DCWEEK should be a reflection of the Washington DC area and it's diverse population, not just the interests of a tiny group of organizers. Speaking on behalf of the entire DCWEEK organizing team, I feel confident saying that we want this 10 day festival to feel like the DC technology & creative communities got together, engaged in topics they cared about and, if all goes well, made a real difference in the community serving as a foundation for years to come. We want to inspire, but we also want to activate.
Who is behind DCWEEK?
- Shiny Heart Ventures is a technology company with heart and soul, focused on creating community driven products and services that remind us of the joys of life such as Thankfulfor.com, an online gratitude journal community. The team is Jen Consalvo and Frank Gruber.
- iStrategyLabs is an idea foundry that brings new ideas to life in the digital and physical world for clients, communities and ourselves. We specialize in experiential, word-of-mouth, and social media marketing. The core team includes Peter Corbett, Joe Corbett, DJ Saul and Audrey Matthias.
While Digital Capital Week will be filled with technologists, creatives, govies, entrepreneurs, social media enthusiasts and others from across the greater DC area, we've also got a large number of people coming in from around the country and internationally.