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National Theatre Wales being green: a crowd in the cloud

The entire trajectory of technology (and its culture) from about 1970 to the end of the century could be summed up by the phrase “Never underestimate the power of chips.” All you needed to profit hugely in those 3 decades was to very firmly believe that computers would double in power and shrink in half in size and price every year — year after year for at least the next 40 years.

The first 40 or so years of this new century will be marked by a similar axiom:

“Never underestimate the web”. Tim O’Reilly, reporting from the Google I/O conference, provides a neat antecdote illustrating this principle:

“Never underestimate the web,” says Google VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra in his keynote at Google I/O. He goes on to tell the story of a meeting he remembers when he was VP of Platform Evangelism at Microsoft five years ago. “We believed that web apps would never rival desktop apps. There was this small company called Keyhole, which made this most fantastic geo-visualization software for Windows. This was the kind of software we always used to prove to ourselves that there were things that could never be done on the web.” A few months later, Google acquired Keyhole, and shortly thereafter released Google Maps with satellite view. “We knew then that the web had won,” he said. “What was once thought impossible is now commonplace.”

Sustainable Ability
National Theatre Wales is never underestimating the power of the web. As a new organisation, they are already trying to digitally develop in an environmentally sustainable way. Envirodigital is working with NTW to ensure that all NTW digital developments are low carbon impact/carbon neutral.

We have set up all NTW internal operational processes to be on the cloud – project management tools, calendar sharing, digital content storage are all in the cloud: so there’s less need operationally for big computers and servers eating lots of energy. Where we can, we’ll chose providers of cloud services who in turn chose greener hosting.

Envirodigital Communities
NTW have also set up an online social network – so what has that got to do with being green, you might think? Well, its an important statement for a couple of reasons: its saying that NTW as a theatre company doesn’t want to run an EGO system, where they push, control, dominate the distribution with monologue. Its saying NTW wants an ECO system – open conversation, collaboration, a cultivating culture! NTW’s crowd is also in the cloud!

Perhaps some of NTW’s content should be there in the cloud too? Perhaps audiences could make use of a digital application that made car-pooling easy, so that less people would end up driving to live events?
What more could NTW be doing through digital mechanisms to reduce NTW’s impact, and NTW’s audience’s impact, on the environment? I’ll keep you up-to-date as we discuss this more with with NTW’s networks and stakeholders.