New Issue of The Holmberg Gazette

It’s been a while since the last issue of The Holmberg Gazette, but now it is here again! As usual, you can find it in the right marginal below. The focus this time is on “Information and Communication Technology” (ICT) and the articles cover different aspects such as development, use and research. The photos are taken this year in various locations, and can be seen in full at my Picasa site. Enjoy!

I hope you are busy doing nothing during your vacation. One of my next blog posts will have “slow” as its theme. If I ever get around writing it… Suggestions are very welcome!


Location Location Location

On Öland, the second largest island in Sweden, direction is always given in terms of north, south, east and west. Never as right or left. The island is about 130 kilometres long, only 20 km wide, and also very flat why it is kind of difficult to lose direction.

How the landscape can impact our thinking is the major theme for the sixth meeting of the European Network around Appreciative Inquiry and Strength based change. It will take place in the beautiful Italian landscape Reggio Emilia 10-11 October.
It is interesting to think about how the location may have an impact on the political discussions in Almedalen (in the medieval town Visby on the island Gotland), Tällberg (a tiny country village set deep in the woods in Dalarna) and Davos (a ski resort in Switzerland). What does leaving the city and getting closer to nature mean for the people attending these meetings?

The importance of the location has long been recognised by others than Conrad Hilton, for example by Leif Edvinsson who created Scandia Future Center. The centre has served as inspiration for many creative places such as futurefocus in London and Dalenum in Lidingö. However, one of Leif’s latest adventures, The New Club of Paris, seems to be more virtual in character in spite of its name!


Made in Sweden

Yesterday we went to see the latest Björn&Benny success: Mamma Mia The Movie. According to the official website we were in good company since among the 30 million people in 160 countries have watched it. ABBA has done a really good job marketing Sweden, and we are now almost rid of getting mixed up with Switzerland. And yes, it is good fun to watch even for people like me who have seen the show live.

Design is another successful Swedish export area. I went to the small country town Lammhult in Småland, the hub of Möbelriket (the Furniture Country) to check out the latest news at Norrgavel and Svenssons. Although I was tempted by the many creative items from Källemo and beautiful rugs from Kateha (whom I was glad to find is operating with a RugMark licence and thus is working against child labour) this time I bought a very comfy Bruno Mathsson Jetson 66, a really soft cushion from Bantie with the pattern “Paradise” and a Danish vase from Normann. You can see the vase and the cushion in the picture above, although the aluminium table and chair from Byarums Bruk are previous purchases.

For those of you who won’t be able to make it to Småland this year, I recommend www.scandinaviandesigncenter.com!

“It shall stand the wear of the eye”. Sven Lundh


Envisioning The Works of a City

One of my great regrets in life is that I have never been to New York. Although I have been to the US many times, it has always been in as part of a business trip and somehow the conferences have always taking place elsewhere like Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta. So I have to envision the city and dream about when I’m going to experience spring there IRL.

There are several means for visualizing New York. One way of doing it is to read Kate Asher’s book “The Works – Anatomy of a city”. She works at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and has designed a beautiful and intelligent piece of art that describes the transport system, the various parks and trees, how the sewage system works and so on. I guess she’s been inspired by Edward R Tufte’s work on visualization.

Another way of experiencing New York is to read Mark Helprin’s wonderful story “Winter’s Tale”. This is my absolute favorite book of all times since the language is so beautiful and the story so rich and amazing. It combines the importance of following your dream with staying true to your friends and family.

“Set in New York at the beginning and the end of the twentieth century, Winter´s Tale unfolds with such great narrative force and beauty that a reader can feel that its world is more real than his own. Standing alone on the page before the book begins are the words, I have been to another world, and come back. Listen to me. In that world, both winter and the city of New York (old and new) have the strength and character of protagonists, and the protagonists themselves move as if in a vivid dream. Though immensely complicated, the story is centered upon Peter Lake, a turn-of-the-century Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young heiress whom he encounters in robbing her house, and who eventually will die young and in his arms. His love for her, and a gift of grace, will allow him after the most extraordinary and painful explorations and discoveries to stop time and bring back the dead. To follow him, his predecessors, his inheritors, and his companions is to experience one of the great stories of American literature.” (from www.markhelprin.com)
A totally different way would also be watching the new “Sex and the City” film. I must admit that I have seen quite a number of the TV episodes, although I’m not sure I will watch the movie. Although it contains a lot of clever product placements and must in itself be a great ad for New York, I’m not sure I can stomach the moral. Especially after trying out their “Match your man” quiz that resulted in pairing me with Mr Big...

Should you want to view New York and the US in a larger perspective, you can always watch Hans Rosling’s tool for visualization of complex and important issues: Gapminder. There you can watch his 2007 TED talk, "The Seemingly impossible, is possible". It will be interesting to follow the development of Gapminder, now that Google has bought the underlying software.

However, Göteborg is also good at visualization! I feel proud about having been part of the formation of the Center of Visualization Göteborg, an organisation that supports collaboration between academia, companies and the public sector. We used “Appreciative Inquiry” as a means for envisioning the future of the center, and so far much of what was expressed as dreams now have come true in terms of research funding, a conference, a physical center, a web site, collaboration projects and so on.