Henriette Webber on gamelayers and Return on Involvment

So GeekGirlMeetup.com is next in Copenhagen, tell me a bit about that?

Hello Henriette, author if the book “Return on involvement“, rock n roll avantgarde queen of social media + thinker of Denmark + filosopher, how are things in Copenhagen?
Well, I am not in CPH right now – Im working from my big black working chair in Helsingør as we speak. Anyway I still have my office in there… Denmark is rolling these days, it’s great =)

So whats up in Denmark?
When I look at it is has taken the business environment here to start to embrace the more social parts of the web – but we are getting there. The geeks are starting to take over =) it’s fantastic on one hand on the other it’s getting to be such a hypefest so everybody down here is becoming a social media consultant or “insert your own hip title here”… A part of me is really happy and fond of it – and a part of me is really worried. The good thing is that I get to do stuff like social media club Copenhagen and Geek girl meetup copenhagen and there’s more than 5 people showing up =) it hasn’t always been like that…

Its not easy being an original :). I really liked you book, Return on Involvement, a nifty take on soulful business, or as you would say, business unusual. Now that everyone is on social media, where are the geeks going? Where are the boundries being pushed?

I can see several different things out there, First of all my hope is that social media is staying around for a while so we can start getting really good at it, and it’s not just having a facebook page or a twitter account and then you are doing it. my ambition for social media is, and has always been, that it can make the world better in the eyes of the beholder, and at the same time make companies cooler and sell more. But we need to get from tool-focused to substance, that’s really important to me. You need to put it in context instead of standing on a stage and showing one casestudy after another. So I think that social media will go deeper. I hope so.

Secondly there’s the location based services that people are expecting a lot from, but it’s still real early days. Services like Gowalla and foursquare that makes me feel nostalgic because it reminds me of good-old Plazes (was bought by Nokia a couple of years ago) which in it’s essence was the same, but you had to define your whereabouts yourself (there was no geo-location thing on the phone back then)…

Then there’s augmented reality that I know a lot of phone producers are looking into. I guess the first real step we’re seeing in the real world is the scan codes everywhere..

…and then, my favorite, the game layer on top of everything… it would be awesome if business would be about gaming=)

but – when everything comes together, there’s also the notion of, that we are just making digital convinient and getting back to basics in 1950s style, just in a digital way, I dig that =)

Haha, yeah, i like your perspective. So we know what happned with lovli Plazes (my best experiance with it was at Dansih Reboot in 2008) it went to Nokia, aka, “where good ideas go to die”. (Quote from the Guardian) How do you think big companies and start-ups can avoid this trap, so to say? What responsability do companies have, and how do you think they work to lead the way?

I think that both Plazes (two of my friends from Berlin) and Jaiku (former client of mine+ friends) where bought for the talent pool and not for the service, You have to look into the motives for the acquisition. I think both Plazes and Jaiku was aware that the services was not going to stay in it’s original format when they where purchased. The Jaiku acquirement by google, was to me as a consultant, priceless, it looks good on a CV. But personally I was so sad that we didn’t stay and became the cooler european alternative to twitter. Everyone I have talked to liked Jaiku best. they where fun to work with and a great team. I think start-ups needs to think about the motives for existing, is it because you want to say something important, or is it because you want to be purchased or funded by a big company ? I think we all have our own personal agenda on this (aka. personal happiness, money, creativity) – but is it adding to, or subtracting from the point you want to make ?
If I had made a startup that had a proposal to be bought up by a bigger company, I would do it if I thought it would make my personal mission on earth easier. I think the only responsability they have is not to let the community down and not ignore people that are passionate about the startup purchased. And then, in some ways, be clear on the motives… so people are not disappointed.

Well thought. The last time we spoke, i sent you video(Seth Priebatsch – The Game Layer on Top of TheWorld), and you thought about it. Do you have a take on how a gaming mind can/could be a solution?

A solution to what problem? I don’t think there’s a problem. I think there’s a huge opportunity However I do see that a game layer could mean a cool addition to a lot of companies. A game is one of the most involving things and one of the places you would spend a lot of time. I’ve researched stuff like farmville and frontierville by Zynga since last time we’ve spoken, and I can see why people are returning, however it’s too fragmented in my mind, you can’t really play and really get into it, because then you have to bug your friends on facebook or purchase coins to get a barn or whatever. I love games that you can completely indulge in – like WoW or Sims 3. then I can be gone for 8 hours and then return to the world. Farmville and Frontierville you have to return several times a day – and if I have to do that I have no time to read perezhilton =)
I think the “game layer” can be added in different means. I am always talking about storyliving, if you can change your communication + your content production so it becomes more fun, I think that’s a game layer. Play/fun is more important to me as a curly creative who digs champagne. thinking out of the box can be a gamelayer. I have a client these days that sells natural stones for terraces. people think im crazy when I tell them that I have taken on a client like that. The reason I said yes, was because the people behind Lithos (coming soon to a garden center near you) was so committed to changing the stone business in Scandinavia that they where willing to look outside the box and play. So how do you play with stones ? Either you let a geek stand and tell you about the different shapes and sizes and why you need natural stones for your terrace, OR you take all the old stones, that can’t be used for anything else and you turn it into a ninja-stone smashing thing.. That’s a game layer to me that works especially well with boys – young and old =) (the first video will be up soon)

Thats a wonderful example, thanks for perspective.

So GeekGirlMeetup.com is next in Copenhagen, tell me a bit about that?

Im so happy because we actually have a got a location now. it took us a while. We are also talking to sponsors. I met up with the fabulous Annika Lidne last time she was in copenhagen and she told me about the geek girl academy. Basically we are going to do three things at geek girl copenhagen (please note it’s my ambition and it might not work out that way – but it’s in the sponsor material as well)
1. the un-conference
2. the academy – technical and business know-how
3. the showroom. where we are talking things like a geekgirl clothes swap, a stylist, an upcycling booth and general hang out and have fun. After doing several bar and social media camps I want to demystify it all a bit so it has a broader perspective, especially in Denmark where geekgirls aren’t “cool” – not like in Sweden… So we are turning it into a celebration of cool. the word of the day is going to be reYOUse.. I’m really excited about it. And Heidi I think you should start seeing it as an income instead of a hobbyproject. Geek girl could totally make you enough money so you could get by, im so sure of that. if you don’t know how – call me =)

Ok, cool. I kind of feel ambivalent on that point, as i want it to be lust and passion driven, the results turn out to be something else than if people are doing it for money, inclusive of myself. But mayeb ai should re think that. Anyway. So the topic will be reYOUse? I think all geekgirls i’ve met in CPH/ Denmark have been radfully cool. I might just have to come down to my darling CPH and hang out with you, when is it? How many days? Free?

It’s on the 6th of november. Oh and all geekgirls I’ve met have been cool as well, there’s just some ladies in Denmark who can’t relate to the world “nørd” or “geek” because they don’t see it as being passionate, but someone who eats pizza and sits in front of the computer all the time. It’s one day, and it will be free, and it’s going to be amazing.

Sounds wonderful! I think we have to wrap up this interview, or it might just turn into a book. Could you give me a take on three people i should interview in the future, and why.

sure thing… I might aim high now, but one of the people I think you should talk to is Danielle Laporte, she so rad. Another person I think you should talk to, is Francesca Birks from Arup (I can connect you) oh and Benja Stig Fagerland up in Norway, Im doing some work with her on rocking a business board (an ebook) it’s going to be rad… maybe we should turn this into a book ? =)

Yes we should, i still have to finish that book you asked me to write at Reboot on User-Driven innovation. Blush!

Thanks you for you time dear Henriette! I hope to speak to you soon. Have a wonderful Autumn!

An unconference, also called an Open Space conference, is a participant-driven meeting. The term "unconference" has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as fees, sponsored presentations, and top-down organization.
Information from Wikipedia/DBpedia, article
Denmark (/ˈdɛnmɑːrk/; Danish: Danmark [ˈd̥ænmɑɡ̊] ) is a Scandinavian country with territory in Europe and North America. The most populated part of the country is south-west of Sweden and south of Norway.The unified kingdom of Denmark emerged in the 10th century as a proficient seafaring nation in the struggle for control of the Baltic S…
Information from Wikipedia/DBpedia, article
Sweden (/ˈswiːdən/ SWEE-dən; Swedish: Sverige [ˈsværjɛ] ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish: ), is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden…
Information from Wikipedia/DBpedia, article