The Quantified Self Festival
Traditionally, research questions about health and wellness are addressed from the top down. Professionals choose which health measures are important, while citizens are seen mainly as sources of data and recipients of expert advice. The aim of our Quantified Self festival is to turn this world upside down, inspiring individuals, families, and communities to define what they’d like to track, and why, while enlisting experts, civic leaders, journalists, and technologists as supporters of a broadly popular adventure in knowledge making.
We’ll use our Quantified Self experience to involve diverse partners, including schools, community organizations, city political leaders, media organizations, research institutions, technology companies, and health care providers. By aligning all participants around a common mission of supporting individual and community self-discovery, we’ll accelerate cultural change.
Our festival involves some technical infrastructure so that participants can easily register, share projects, find tools, and lend each other support. We will involve the developers who have been a big part of the Quantified Self movement, as well as the tech community more generally, to provision the festival. A guiding principle will be that participants have maximum control over their own data. We’ll end with an exposition at a major civic venue, where we'll celebrate what we've done and learned together.
Innovation is typically figured as the product of individuals or small teams working together towards a known goal: making a device, building a database, curing a disease. Our proposal arises from a different idea about innovation. Although we see incredible inventiveness in our field, it’s obvious that conventional knowledge systems, especially in health care, can’t easily handle the increase in data and the diversity of questions that comes with the advent of new self-tracking tools. What we need most is not a new invention, but a new way of thinking. So our Quantified Self festival has three aims: to inspire and support broad, popular engagement with our own data; to make new, significant discoveries about ourselves and our communities; and, most importantly, to celebrate a more democratic way of making knowledge.
UPDATE: Here is some more detailed information about our QS Labs Team: http://quantifiedself.com/qs-labs/. For our Quantified Self Festival, we'll be calling especially on the expertise of our Advisory Board member Michael Olmstead, founder and president of e2k/Events for Change. Michael has produced civic events for Jon Stewart and Stephan Colbert, the NFL, America's Cup, Pachamama Alliance, World Cup Soccer, and many other groups.