“Remember before the internet?” asks Joi Ito. “Remember when people used to try to predict the future?” In this engaging talk, the head of the MIT Media Lab skips the future predictions and instead shares a new approach to creating in the moment: building quickly and improving constantly, without waiting for permission or for proof that you have the right idea. This kind of bottom-up innovation is seen in the most fascinating, futuristic projects emerging today, and it starts, he says, with being open and alert to what’s going on around you right now. Don’t be a futurist, he suggests: be a now-ist.
Joi Ito is the director of the MIT Media Lab.
Why you should listen
Joichi “Joi” Ito is one of those names threaded through the history of the Internet. From his days kickstarting Internet culture in Japan at Digital Garage, his restless curiosity led him to be an early-stage investor in Twitter, Six Apart, Wikia, Flickr, Last.fm, Kickstarter and other Internet companies, and to serve on countless boards and advisory committees around digital culture and Internet freedom.
He leads the legendary MIT Media Lab as it heads toward its third decade, and is working on a book with Jeff Howe about nine principles for navigating whatever the changing culture throws at us next. As he told Wired, “The amount of money and the amount of permission that you need to create an idea has decreased dramatically.” So: aim for resilience, not strength; seek risk, not safety. The book is meant to be a compass for a world without maps.
What others say
“[His] role at MIT, and as a globetrotting entrepreneurial tech guy, puts [him] in the center of change on a daily basis.” — Wired