The 2011 I launched the Red Bull Creation event, after several years of pitching, and all that fun stuff. We brought together 16 teams of Makers, Hackers, and Inventors to Brooklyn, NY to participate in “the ultimate creative competition”. At the beginning of a 72 hour competition window teams were given a secret topic (Energy In Motion), and were asked to interpret it anyway they wanted to. The only constraints were that it somehow had to move a person, and it could not use any type of fossil fuel.
Altogether we had over 50 participants from all backgrounds. There were Hackerspaces, Universities like NYU’s ITP program, loosely organized groups of friends, and some teams where the members had recently just met for the first time. The teams lived, built, and worked side by side for 3 days straight, in what would soon be dubbed “Summer Camp for Awesome People”.
One of the biggest learnings for me was how important it is sometimes to separate the “real world” from the “creative world”. We were really able to create an alternate universe, where for a few days, creative people could just be creative. We handled food, accommodations (everyone stayed on-site in RV’s), and provided some raw materials (the now infamous “junk pile”). We also put together a really amazing shop, with almost every badass tool you could imagine. We worked with manufacturers to get the latest models, some that were not even out yet.
The final Creation were amazing. Some touched on a sustainability theme like I3 Detroit’s “Squiggle Trike”, a Co2 powered scissor action vehicle.
And some were just fun like Ruination’s “Wedgie Mobile”.
And some were beautiful like the Donner Party’s Electric Chopper Bike.
And some were just plain old dangerous (and fun), like Team Techshop’s well….Swing of Death.
This mini-documentary from IEEE Spectrum does a really nice job of capturing the event. Worth a watch if you have a few minutes.