We’re now only 3 months away from the Contact Summit, an event I am helping Douglas Rushkofforganize.The purpose of the gathering is to bring together a few hundred technologists, artists, activists, educators, businesspeople, investors, philanthropists and other stakeholders in our networked future, so we can cross-pollinate ideas, share work, make connections, and build towards a better tomorrow.

In case you missed Rushkoff’s recent announcement, a donor has offered $30K to encourage the conception and deployment of innovative networking and technology solutions to our greatest collective challenges. $10,000 will be awarded to each of the three most compelling and achievable ideas presented at the Contact Bazaar on October 20, 2011, in New York City as part of Contact.

You can check out our Projects or Participants pages to get a sense of how it’s coming together.

Though we have the event broken down into tracks, it’s kind of difficult to separate something that is so interconnected. When it comes down to it, there’s a new socio-economic paradigm emerging with a bunch of moving pieces.

On the technology side, we need an Internet that can’t be shut down, as it’s an essential global communication tool for 21st century life. How do we ensure this? What are the alternatives that can be quickly deployed in crisis situations?

On the side of civil liberties, we’d like to defend our free speech, privacy, innovation and digital rights as well. How do we protect against government and corporate takeover?

Business is shifting towards more open collaboration and more mindful social enterprises. What are the frameworks to support this and create mutual benefit. How does IP work when there’s so much sharing? What are the business models being built around the commons? How do we measure positive change and social impact?

Our consciousness and awareness is heightening due to the ability to access uncensored information, giving us insights into what’s really happening in the world and in each other’s heads. What does it mean to be human in a world where we can be connected so consistently, building collective intelligence, and extending the global brain? What does learning mean?

There’s an opportunity to have greater transparency between government and their constituencies. How can we create better mechanisms for understanding what people truly want and need, to better channel resources, and to give and measure feedback easily?

The fundamental operating system of value exchange appears to be broken. Digital currencies based in abundance are being developed, which encourage fairness, non zero-sum behavior, and generating real wealth for humanity. How will these parallel systems interact with our traditional economic infrastructures?

And that’s just the beginning. 🙂

Anyway, I am genuinely excited to be able to meet some of the amazing people who are thinking about these issues and developing solutions.

The format for the day will have 3 main parts:

Provocations: Selected participants will deliver brief ‘provocations’ on stage, sharing the greatest challenges they are facing in their particular fields.

Meetings: Participants will convene meetings to share their own ideas and get into deeper discussion. Because we’ll only have a few provocations in the morning, this period of time is for any participant to propose a topic of their choice, as inspired by the unconference / open space technology format.

The Bazaar: A two-hour midday Bazaar, when the entire venue becomes an open marketplace of ideas and demos. Anyone who registers to come to Contact is entitled to space at the Bazaar to demo their projects or present their concepts. Judges from our featured participants will be selected to view projects, and then we’ll announc winners at an evening extension of the Bazaar, where demos can continue along with drinking and entertainment.

If you’d like to register for the event, click here.

To submit your demo to the Bazaar, click here.

We’ve got several discussion forums already active – The Next Net specifically to share info about technological projects, Contact Summit for everything else.

It’s going to be great, and I hope to see you there!