BrainJam Comes to Silicon Valley

Is it structured serendipity for brainiacs, or speed dating for nerds?

The SRI International campus in Silicon Valley, a legendary non-profit research
institution that’s spawned many technology breakthroughs, will host a most
unusual inaugural event Saturday.

The first “BrainJam” at the Menlo Park, Calif., facility is described by its
backers as knowledge networking, or a kind of speed dating without the romance. Participants will have 24 one-on-one meetings lasting
five minutes each, where they can talk with one another about what they are
doing and share valuable insights from their personal experiences. The
attendee-led afternoon sessions focus on how people use emerging technology
such as blogs and wikis to more effectively complete their projects and
pursue their passions.

But unlike, say, a trip to Las Vegas, what happens at BrainJam doesn’t
stay at BrainJam. Discussions will be captured by bloggers, podcasters and
vloggers to be shared with others online in the hope of further discussion.
Admission is free, though the non-profit BrainJams says donations will help
its efforts to set up similar events across the country.

BrainJams says its goal is to enable the creation of solutions for some
of the most difficult socio-economic problems by applying easy-to-use, openly available Web technologies. BrainJams sees structured serendipity as a way to help people
find out what they need to know to do what they have to do.

“You never know what can come out of getting great people together,”
BrainJams founder Chris Heuer said in a statement. “New companies may be
formed, old problems may be solved or an old idea may gain new life… the
point is people. Get people to share knowledge across traditional
boundaries, break down information silos and watch the human spirit soar to
new heights.”

SRI International has been the site of
many technology breakthroughs including the computer mouse, and it was an early
host to the Arpanet, the predecessor to the Internet.

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