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Creativity and the meaning of ‘now’
July 3, 2014, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Experience, Zeitgeist

Have been part of the Sydney Social Media week advisory board ( top geezers) on crafting how we can explore our theme of The Future of Now: Always On Always Connected.

For me creativity, and  the future are inextricably linked.  We just won’t make it unless we fully harness the limitless resource of our creative potential.

“As deep knowledge becomes a common asset, creativity will be the differentiating factor. Creativity is not a ‘nice-to-have’ attribute anymore, it’s a prerequisite for performance, development and growth—supporting us in our ability to innovate and drive change faster and better.” –Ben de Vries, Head of Brand Management, Ericsson

But we also won’t make unless we share, we collaborate and we inspire each other with our different perspectives. I believe that social technology and behaviors may well be one of the engines that will provide the forward momentum  to allow creativity to really be embraced.

The team I’m part of  have been doing some global research on this (on Slideshare here) talking  more than 7,000 people in 11 markets and we found that creative thought was  defined as: solutions to problems that are unexpected in any field of work, not just within traditionally creative fields such as writing, design or the performing arts.

Some of the key outtakes of the research (Collaboration, Play, Freedom to fail, Ego support, Space to think, and Idea Collection)  are helping me build my approach to the panel sessions I’m involved in, and these are the notions I’m looking at:

  • How can we achieve more through collaboration and co-creation?
  • How can we facilitate meaningful conversations, practices for devoting time to creative thinking and mindful contemplation?
  • How can we balance and preserve humanness — meaning the ability to listen, empathize, engage, focus and be present in the moment — despite the constant disruption that technology enables?

Would love to know if you find the research useful. Am looking forward to my own Eureka moment. All anecdotes welcome!



how do you value culture?
January 9, 2014, 6:42 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Experience, Get Friendly, Great Stuff, passion, Zeitgeist

art-culture_metricv5

It’s Festival time in Sydney. While I’m super excited about taking my inner child by the hand and having a bit of a frolic on Sacrilege, the true sized inflatable bouncy castle Stonehenge in Hyde Park’s Festival Village, I was interested to read this in The Australian

FESTIVAL organizers measure success in terms of ticket sales and economic impact, but a new cultural metric may be tweets and pictures on social media. Last year, an enormous yellow duck was a hit of the Sydney Festival, where 1.7 million people could not have missed seeing it at Darling Harbour. Some 14,000 images were posted on Instagram using festival hashtags.

Mmmm. ‘Cultural Metric’. Good notion. Loads of tension in it:

  • What is culture?
  • How might culture be measured?
  • How do we value it?

The NSW Government is investing more than $5 million to ensure the success of the 2014 Festival,

“Last year the Sydney Festival attracted more than 500,000 people with more than 120,000 tickets sold to paid events, including more than 33,000 people who attended events in Western Sydney. In 2012, it injected almost $57 million into our economy

From that perspective an arts investment looks like a pretty good return to the taxpayers hereabouts. I wonder how they’d value those tweets.

Early last year MoMA curator of Architecture and Design Paola Antonelli led a discussion about Culture and Metrics, (which I’ve entirely re cut below):

  • why bother?
    • the reality is that cultures come and go over time. If we don’t know what’s valuable about a particular culture, we run the risk of losing it forever.
    • not all art is concerned with culture, and not all culture is arts-based
    • it’s the best way to create a future that human beings want to inhabit.
    • MoMA has been one of the most important cathedrals of the imagination in my life since childhood, and envisioning it as a driver of R&D across society at large is extremely exciting.
  • measurement
    • Kate Levin, the Commissioner of The Department of Cultural Affairs for New York City: measuring culture, is mostly about objectives and outcomes. She used The Gates as an example of a valuable, measurable project funded by the Department for Cultural Affairs. Four million visitors to this 16-day installation created $254 million in revenue for NYC.
    • Measuring culture will require us to think of new ways to measure and share the story of a project’s insights and impact.
  • culture and value
    • “For me, The Gates was never about whether the saffron curtains and plastic frames were art. Some people argued that it was a hideous monstrosity while others loved it. Instead, I just felt lucky to be part of the flow of conversation and people as we passed together through The Gates on a beautiful blue and gold day. I felt lucky to be a New Yorker. And that’s the point of culture. It gives us a sense of place while at the same time evoking a deeply personal experience of the universal. “

As Rita observed, and who was at the MoMA talk, it brings to life one of Andy Warhol’s statements:

  • “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.”

Creating a deeply personal experience of an enterprise, creating a real and vibrant culture, feels like a bit of an art, and has the same kind of challenge:

But, how do you measure that?

Answer: With great difficulty.

Then again…. people are the only metric that really counts.

It’s hard. Really hard. Most companies can’t do it. The ones that can, make a fortune. Life is unfair.



how long is the truth?
January 7, 2014, 12:40 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy, The Rules, triangulation, Zeitgeist

triangulating favourite things

Had an interesting question about the triangulation exercise- how long should it be?

In a true form I’d have to say: How long is the truth?

I’ve put the challenge forward with ‘manifest the outcome how you like…’

I do know that the blank page is the hardest to start with and the that structure is a fine tool to get the ball rolling….

So to help actually answer the question I can put forward some options on process and practice:

  • I’m a big fan of visual thinking as a tool to explore intersection- to mine where commonality lies and to use it to find a singular point of truth
    • the above was a bit of a joke for a mate (if you’re not a Top Gun fan- it means that the absolute truth between his three favourite things is that they FVROOM/ Doppler effect/or can disappear out of sight in a second)
      • this was a while ago- today I’d say that the intersection could be brought to life by Archer
      • this might mean that you could structure a deck like this:
        • Demonstrate key learnings/ Identify themes: one chart each on the major themes of each of the articles
        • Explore intersections: commonalities between each article
        • The absolute truth- your key out take/ observation/ pov
  •  When I started doing these exercises myself as blog posts I tried to keep them around 300 words

I’d love to see a podcast, an interpretive dance, a cartoon if that can take us on a journey of your thinking.

I’m as interested in what you see along the way as the destination of your journey.

Anyhoo- good luck, and thanks for asking.



getting into the swing of things
November 26, 2013, 9:02 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Experience

Trying out the lovely Haiku deck….

These are my notes from a breakfast meeting with the lovely Megan Brownlow from PwC.

She spoke about their interesting report: PwC’s NextGen: A global generational study, Millennial Workers Want Greater Flexibility, Work/Life Balance, Global Opportunities

This comprehensive and global generational study conducted by PwC, the University of Southern California and the London Business School looks into the aspirations, work styles and values of “Millennial”/”Generation Y” employees (those born between 1980 and 1995).

The study, which included more than 40,000 responses from Millennials and non-Millennials alike, captures the various forces at play that are influencing the experience of Millennials. These include: workplace culture, communication and work styles, compensation and career structure, career development and opportunities and work/life balance.

I followed with these notes on how the existing behaviors and first language of millennial employees can be harnessed to meet both their needs and that of their employers.



sweeping statements
September 6, 2012, 11:40 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy, Experience, Great Stuff

I love it when you come across a sweeping statement that just takes your breath away.

In Australia there’s been a doozy this week- which you can follow here, particularly if you think that humor is a good way of addressing misogyny….

Anyhoo…and before I get well distracted….

I came across a notion that UX didn’t exist before digital – that the spirit utility, interaction and participation was ‘invented’ by introducing digital to brands.

A-hem.

It might be surprising that the discipline of mapping out optimal interactions between humans, machines and contexts has been around since the 1940’s. Participatory design’s been around since the ’60s.

I can’t help but agree with Jon Steel’s refutation of the statement

…these days everything has changed, planning has to change because advertising has changed, nothing is the way it used to be, everything is digital now and if you propose anything other than digital solutions then you’re old-fashioned and generally hopeless…you should drag your sorry old ass out of the business and work somewhere else.

I believe that’s completely wrong, because in the end in an analogue world, in a digital world the key to success is understanding the basics of human communication.

In order to most effectively influence a group of people “you don’t target them you engage them as willing accomplices”

I think the best brands have always inspired individuals to become willing accomplices…

Mr Steel also mentions the amazing work of Howard Gossage in the 1950s.

In short the example of Gossage has never been more possible to follow and more needed, particularly as dreary advertising drifts from our televisions to the places we spend time online, his idea that you should never confuse the product and the message becomes even more powerful. Howard would build his messages around something he thought would interest people and then weave the product into this story – the first international paper airplane competition for Scientific American being a brilliant example.

If you haven’t the slightest clue what all the fuss is about ….it would not be an exaggeration to say that Howard Gossage:

1) Invented interactive advertising (as opposed to direct response advertising) in which the audience is invited to get involved with the brand’s life and participate in its activities
2) Invented the idea of creating communities of interest around topics and then galvanizing those people into action through advertising
3) Invented the PR stunt as a marketing tool using advertising to catalyse and popularise the activity
4) Created the fee based remuneration model in place of the widely used but utterly discredited commission system
5) Invented the independent media planning agency with the Kick Back agency
6) Discovered Marshall McLuan and made him a household name in ‘60s America, a man who predicted the rise of the connected global village that we all live in today
7) Saved the Grand Canyon from flooding with advertising that changed the way that environmental campaigning forever
8) Helped create the modern environmental organisation and both named and housed the Friends of the Earth
9)Helped start the anti-globalisation movement
10) And almost won independence for Anguilla

And so to wrap up this rather long rant:

  • If a brand wants want people to play with (and they do)
  • Think
    • What do we need people to do?
    • Why would they do it?
    • What are we going to make or do that will enable them to do it?



the answer’s in the problem
August 29, 2012, 11:31 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy

Over at Paul Mcenany’s blog this week

As many of you know, I’m a big believer that the better the problem, the more likely you are to get to work that works. Wrongheaded problems leave us in a ditch. Boring problems invite uninspired solutions. And when you only ask advertising questions, unsurprisingly – you get lots of advertising answers. The best of the best understand the value in taking the time to get the question right.

Love the thinking in Paul’s presentation I got a load of value. I wonder, though, if it’s always time that is the missing component in getting the problem right.

One of my favorite stories of getting the problem right is this one:

Sainsbury’s planned to grow revenue by £2.5 billion, a huge target made tangible by redefining it as an extra £1.14 per transaction. Previously, Sainsbury’s had been trying to create a big change in behaviour amongst a small number of high-spending customers of other supermarkets. Now it proposed a small change in behaviour amongst a big number of existing and potential customers. Research showed that people were ‘sleep shopping’ because they found supermarket shopping routine. The strategy centred around earning the required extra £1.14 per transaction by building the brand around simple food ideas. The slogan was ‘Try something new today’, but the idea behind it permeated Sainsbury’s business, informing management ethos, point-of-sale creative and advertising campaigns. The idea helped accelerate Sainsbury’s growth, attracting 1.5 million extra customers, increasing profit by 43% to £380 million and growing revenue by £1.8 billion over two years – ahead of the three-year target.

What I like about this case is that not only was the question about behavior change (what would we need to get people to do to grow by 2.5 billion), but the stimulus for the question was held within the value of the owned media of the brand- the amount of customer interactions inside their retail environment.

So to reimagine Paul’s statement:

The best of the best understand that getting the question right delivers value.

An Australian example of this:

In 1813 Governor Lachlan Macquarie overcame an acute currency shortage by purchasing Spanish silver dollars (then worth five shillings), punching out the centres and creating two new coins – the ‘Holey Dollar’ (valued at five shillings) and the Dump (valued at one shilling and three pence). This single move not only doubled the number of coins in circulation but increased their total worth by 25 per cent and prevented the coins from leaving the colony.

Last night a holey dollar was sold $for 410,000 and 1813 New South Wales Colonial Dump sold for $100,000.



A piece of the puzzle
December 15, 2011, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy

I’ve been working on this campaign for a client…while I don’t t usually do this, I’d love you all to help.

Piece by Piece is way to show our support for breast cancer sufferers by aiding research (through the National Breast Cancer foundation) to help solve the puzzle. The online mosaic is made up of the faces or chosen images of those committed and caring people who want to donate a dollar, or more to breast cancer research.

So here’s the idea….

  • I would like to give 10 of you 50 pieces for Christmas.
  • I’d love you to share your pieces with family and friends in a pay it forward style and we will their match donations (or yours!) dollar for dollar.
  • We’ve got $2000 to give away. And we need to give it away by the end of the year.
  • All your readers/followers/friends and family need to do is to include #payitforward with their message in the comments box when they donate.

Let me know if you’d like to be part of this and I’ll set you up.

http://www.piecebypiece.net.au/




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