Datapoiesis fall school, namely how to start a daring enterprise


Our starting points

The location

The complex of the Olivetti ICO Factory (ICO is the acronym for Ingegnere Camillo Olivetti) is a series of industrial block  buildings set along Via Jervis in Ivrea (TO). It is majestically silent and static and preserves the fascination coming from a almost mythological past. The Fall School take place in the only restyled and usable area of the building: is the actual office where the 18 entrepreneurs of Icona work, kindly offered for the workshop The memories of a time, when fabric production, design and technological innovation and social welfare coexisted,  continue echoing through the empty ruins, torn floors and exposed cables.

A new phenomenon

The study and comprehensio of a new phenomenon which analyzes a peculiarity of our times, named DATAPOIESIS: the capability of data and artificial intelligence to bring something new into existence, as an augmented sensitivity to the phenomena of our globalized world. (more info) 

The inspirational object

The very first object that embodies the “datapoietic” logic is an artwork: OBIETTIVO, a lamp animated by data, that will not stop lightening until the world extreme poverty level falls below 500,000 people. It works as a red alarm that will keep on pulsating the data rhythm, designed to gather people around it.

Our ambitious aim

Giving shape to the first enterprise dedicated to Datapoiesis, using the method of Art to approach the matter, the ability of Design to shape it, the Business wisdom to make it practicable.

At the same time, we intend to do it in a collaborative way, opening a call for researchers, artists, designers, professionals and students willing to work on it for 5 intense days.

The Fall School is the central stage of the Datapoiesis project. The creation and realization of the event – which includes the 5 days workshop, a cultural program of visits to cultural location in the city of Ivrea (ZAC!, Open Art House, Museo Tecnologicamente) realized in collaboration with Cittadini Illumina(n)ti , the realization of an exhibit with the results of the workshop and the review of the project with the scientific committee – is the result with a large collaboration between project partners and local partners, which include the network of Il Quinto Ampliamento and its early event “Il Dono Della Sintesi” , hosting the exhibit at Officine H.

Datapoietic tools

To undertake a Datapoiesis adventure you need a set of datapoietic tools: each collaborative online tools we provide to participants produces data, that automatically generates visualizations allowing people to experience and observe the processes, knowledge and relation generated by their interactions, and the groups to work together. Transparency, cooperation and cross-disciplinary are the features of our instruments.


Day 1 / Understanding

31 people from all over Italy, and 3 of them from the rest of Europe, cross the threshold of the Second Ampliament of Fabbriche ex Olivetti to reach our “office/classroom”. It is the only area restyled of the building .

All of them are curious and someone still tired by the trip, and they are keen to listen the coordinators: what is Datapoiesis?
At the end of long day, during the first evening get-together,  the participants expressions are a bit interrogative but  at the same time excited such as it use to be at the beginning of a new adventure 

Day 2 / Research
Time to dive into the subject

The participants are divided into 3 working groups, exactly like the departments of a company: IDENTITY, DESIGN and BUSINESS. Each one has its goals and has to produce a specific outcome by the end of the week: respectively the value and the visual identity of the new datapoietic enterprise; the prototypes of the platform of datapoietic products and objects; the business model and the relational ecosystems to support the life and evolution of Datapoiesis.

At the end of day  their collaborative research becomes a series of visualizations

92 items on Benchmarking research

49 items on Inspiration research

Day 3 / Conceptualization
aka the Day of the lost minds/ find a method

The groups have to focus on the main concept on which to develop the future activities of the company.

How the relational ecosystems of the datapoietic enterprise looks like?
Which is the datapoietic object we would like to produce?
How to visually represent  the company to the public?

Puzzled faces, bitten lips and some hands on  their hair.
A long assembly take place and the solution is reorganize the group and find a way to communicate between sections.
The classroom light stayed on until late evening, until the stomachs of the participants started to complain.

Day 4 / Production
Hands in dough

An an unexpected local person pay a visit to the datapoiesis school: Andrea Ardissone one of the director of ICONA, the company that are hosting us in their office and managed to bring together eighteen partners in order to restore the role of Olivettian places as international point of reference for interpreting the economic and social changes and the future again.

“As you can see we are in the middle of a disaster but we are working hard to bring back Cutting-edge Technology , Creativity  and Social Cooperation in this historical place.”

This encounter triggers the activities of the school.
Each group has taken inspiration from it and this are the outputs of the day:

  • Establishing  the keywords value of the datapoietic enterprise: TRANSPARENCY, SUSTAINABILITY, PARTICIPATION and the participation process starts with EMPATHY;
  • To be sure of using a common  communication and theoretical tools, they write down an “Introduction to Datapoiesis Language”;
  • In order to represent the generative and non extractive approach to data, they design an open source platform composed by a toolkit, the APIs and datapoiesis libraries, which can be used to develop an ecosystem of different objects, processes and services.

Day 5 / Exhibition

There is a big chattering, a continuum of moving seats.
The day is dedicated to finalize the output of the workshop and organize it in an exhibit that will take place inside the Quinto Ampliamento celebrations.

OBIETIVO, the data-driven sculpture of light, is the center of the exhibition layout which leads to the table where the outputs of each group are displayed:

For the DESIGN table:

  • An interactive 3d model representing the activation of a datapoietic process, using leds color, intensity and movement;
  • A prototype of data-driven domestic object under the shape of a clock;
  • A postcards distributor for OBIETTIVO as a first type of real-time generative gadget;
  • 1 booklet that collects the concept and description of the open source platform and the toolkit

For the IDENTITY table:

  • 4 posters in which the asterisk was chosen  as the distinctive feature of the enterprise;
  • 1 animated logo, a way to represent and visualize data in datapoietic processes;
  • 1 booklet that collect the main colour and visual indications.

For the BUSINESS table

  • All the diagrams and the paperworks that draw the Ecosystem of the Datapoiesis Platform, the Business Plan, the benchmarking and pricing, the pitch deck, as well as governance and legal issues.
  • 1 booklet that collect concept and description of the process and include the Datapoetic Glossary

The exhibition, is open to the inhabitants of Ivrea, the members of Icona and Quinto Ampliamento, which hosts the event. They attend the presentation excited and curious: finally an ambitious project has set foot in the ex ICO factories.
One of the claims of Icona says “The future is back home”.
Isn’t this happening with a bunch of creatives, professional, artists, designers, researchers to temporarily live, work, imagine there?


Day 6 / Presentation
Facing the audience

After the exhibit celebration, the time has come to present the“Datapoietic enterprise” to an expert audience: the scientific committee of the project and  a small group of people among foundations and entrepreneur, invited to the review process.
The Business group arrives at 9am, one hour in advance . They want to finalize slides and presentation and progressively people arrives to the final session about soft skills.
The pitch, curated and performed by Plus Value, light up the discussion.
Finally the work of a week produced by the group take shape and face the critique and the enthusiasm of the audience.
Many have become passionate, between some of them have born beautiful collaborations and friendships. We leave each other with the desire to understand together what are the next steps to take.

Day 6 / Backstage

As it happen with all the big enterprise, the time of retreat also comes and  the oneto put things in order, too.
During the night the coordinators have to fix the School and the exhibit set up.
They should switch off OBIETTIVO but together with Andrea Ardissone, decide to leave the red light of the first datapoietic artwork on.
The office of the Second Ampliament of ex- Olivetti Fabric that has host the Datapoiesis Fall School shine in the next night, reminding the city that something is going to happen again there.