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Smithsonian Ignite Talk: The New White Space

In the beginning: disruption, a new white space was created, the web came to life.

The web, an immature space which offered great possibilities and opportunities to those that understood it.

The newness created excitement, bandwagon rolling, one must be first out the gate, the trailblazer before everyone else jumps onto the new exciting wagon rolling into the future.


The great time of experimentation, prototyping, testing and building began.

An explosion of approaches…

An explosion of information….

An explosion of services and experiences…..

Which would take hold in the present and in the future…..

How would this new white space be filled?

As information, services and experiences exponentially increased, so did usage…. The public was excited to be a part of this great new but undefined white space…

Those working or responsible for the “space” began to solidify, justify and prove the possibilities and opportunities within and outside of public, private, non profit and other organizations….

Strategies, tactics, paint ball throwing and large sums of money created one stop shops for information and services… all about communication, service, availability, more and more and more and more…..Paint Balls


Libraries began digitizing their collections en mass to be made available in the strange new frontier…

Governments began publishing documents to share…….

Businesses explored the web as a marketing and service tool…..

New businesses, attempts, prototypes came and went bouncing off of the new “white space”

We ran and we ran hard….. evaluating every new technology…. Every new idea..copying and applying what other trailblazers were doing and tailoring it to our business and projects…

Further defending why we were doing what we were doing, why it was of value, why it was cool, and what impact it would and could have…..

The result: .COM, .GOV, .ORG and a myriad of other websites….

Large websites… millions of pages…. Millions of interfaces….. massive repositories of content…. Thousands of interactive experiences…. Portals….. search engines…. And more…..

The growing monsters and their needs to be fed…. Ever growing… ever increasing…. Exploding

Users adjusted… it is what is available….

Digital Monsters


Response: We will give you everything we can, everything we have….. HERE TAKE IT……..

Calamity ensues and the monster grows…

We think we have it down….

We have a strategy…

We know the tactics….

We have the talent…..

We have operationalized the web into an organization….

We understand the user……

Isnt it only very recent that we did “get” it, that we did operationalize? That we have finally begun maturing the execution and direction?


Disruption is here again….

Devices of all sorts: Tablets, PADS, Mobile, Smartphones, talking cars, smart homes…..

Begin their quick, fast, crazy and short adoption track for the masses….

Faster than a speeding train

Faster than a speeding train

Faster than a speeding train…

Faster than Superman…..

Leaping tall buildings better than Spiderman…..

In the proverbial blink of an eye the playing field has changed….

A new “white space” now exists that isn’t quite the same as the old one… its different…

The delivery medium has changed… it isn’t a single glowing rectangle anymore…

It is many rectangles, squares, circles… who require different, directed, single, task based experiences..

What was required has now fundamentally changed…. Is there any similarity?

Our conceptions…. Those things we have grown and rooted, actually matured… are altered..

New strategies need to be formed…. The new white space is upon us….

We are once again in the great undefined and unknown frontier…..

How do we fill in the “white space”.Slide14

Will .COM, .ORG, .GOV exist in the future? Have we created something short term that now needs to fundamentally change in focus, intent, and shape?

How long with the great BIG RICH COMMUNICATIVE websites last?

What is their future to an organization?

To us in the “white space” and the mature space?

Are we ready once again to evolve?

Can we change our strategies? Can we create new ones? How do we adapt ourselves and our organizations for the future?

How do we define the future?

The new great “white space” is upon us……. All that is there are a couple of new pencil lines….

What is the picture we will draw, how will we build off of the little that is there?

Do we know how to fill it?

The time is now and the time needs to be quick…. Disruption is here once again…. It needs to be fed, grown, and matured before the next great leap comes…….


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