2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Don't Be Ned Stark: Change Your Institution & Live

#sxsw #notned


Clay Shirky has said that the only institutions that will thrive in the Internet age are those born of the Internet. We have built an ecosystem to advance digital startups: accelerators and incubators, mentors, curriculum and academic courses. In our rush to embrace startup culture, we risk ignoring the importance of institutions, public and private. US colleges and universities alone control over $350 billion. A handful of leaders and internal change agents are trying to apply startups’ culture of experimentation, appetite for risk and acceptance of failure to government, educational and corporate institutions. Disruption is lonely work; when they’re not successful internal change agents can find themselves isolated and out of a job. The panel will include two digital entrepreneurs with recent experience in institutions and someone with experience driving change within government.



Brian Bannon


Chicago Public Library

Since 2012, Brian Bannon has served as the Commissioner of the Chicago Public Library (CPL). As the chief executive officer of the 80 libraries that serve the 2.6 million residents of Chicago, he leads the largest and most visited cultural institution in Chicago and among the largest public library systems in the United States. CPL has received national and international acknowledgement for its leadership role in early learning, engaging youth in technology and STEM learning and recently won the coveted Chicago Innovation Award for its Innovation Lab. Prior to joining CPL, Brian was a senior executive at the San Francisco Public Library and served in leadership roles at the Seattle Public Library and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Brian is very active in work related to information access, public technology, and bridging the digital divide. He holds his MILS from the University of Washington iSchool.


Harper Reed


Modest Inc

Harper Reed is an hacker/engineer who builds paradigm-shifting tech and leads others to do the same. Harper loves using the enormity of the Internet to bring people together, whether as CTO of Obama for America, CTO at Threadless.com, or on his own projects. Harper and his team created Dashboard, a site that connects volunteer teams and acts as an online component of the field office. You can often find Harper playing with new technology, looking for something to hack, or enjoying life in Chicago with his amazing wife, Hiromi.

Follow @harper on twitter, read his blog or email him(harper@nata2.org).


John Bracken

Dir of Media Innovation

Knight Foundation

John S. Bracken is director of media innovation for the Knight Foundation. He oversees the Knight News Challenge, Knight’s prototype fund, its journalism and technology investments. Bracken has over 10 years experience as a philanthropic investor in digital media, media policy, innovation and global internet freedom, having previously worked at the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation.

Bracken is a frequent presenter at media and technology conferences and serves as an adviser to 1871, a co-working resource for digital startups in Chicago. A 2009 fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, Bracken has a masters degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from Pitzer College in Claremont, California. He writes @jsb, johnbracken.net and at the Knight Foundation blog.


Laura Ramos

VP Innovation & Design


Laura Ramos is the General Manager and Executive Producer of The Bold Italic, where she is responsible for setting product direction and strategy in the pursuit of creating a modern city publication. She was a member of The Bold Italic’s founding team.

Laura is also the Vice President of Innovation and Design for Gannett Co., Inc. where she leads a team using human-centered design to develop new media offerings.

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