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the trick of truth and trust
May 25, 2015, 6:37 pm
Filed under: Get Activist | Tags: ,

There’s a notion I’m trying to catch in my trampoline mindscape of quotes and collectibles that’s hiding in the spaces between truth and trust. It was prompted by Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans

Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.

The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.

“These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information,” Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said. “And yet, somehow, they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those faculties totally inactive.”

As a truth seeker and trust builder I find this both perplexing and intriguing.

Love Ken Burns. He tells the truth. His work makes me cry. Probably not the work you may think –The National Parks: America’s Best Idea makes me lose it. And I love it. The video above is a snippet from a short documentary about the craft of storytelling, where he explains his lifelong mission to wake the dead:

You know the common story is one plus one equals two, we get it. But all stories are really, the real genuine stories, are about one and one equaling three. That’s what I’m interested in.

We live in a rational world where absolutely we’re certain that one and one equals two, and it does. But the things that matter most to us, some people call it love, some people call it God, some people call it reason, is that other thing where the whole is greater than the some of its parts, and that’s the three.

Jean Luc Goddard said cinema is truth 24 times a second. Maybe. It’s lying 24 times a second too, all the time, all story is manipulation. Is there acceptable manipulation? You bet. People say oh boy, I was so moved to tears in your film. That’s a good thing? That was, I manipulated that. That’s part of storytelling. I didn’t do it dis-genuinely, I did it sincerely, I am moved by that too, that’s manipulation. Truth is we hope a byproduct of the best of our stories and yet there are many, many different kinds of truths and an emotional truth is something that you have to build.

This is the phrase that leapt out at me, the bit about how story can be a reassuring vehicle of truth and connection about one of the hardest things that we all have to deal with- our mortality:

We have to keep the wolf from the door, you know, we tell stories to continue ourselves. We all think an exception is going to be made in our case and we’re going to live forever, and being a human is actually arriving at the understanding that that’s not going to be, story is there to just remind us that it’s just okay.

My brain made a leap to this interaction from So long, and thanks for all the fish by Douglas Adams

“Do you want to have a good time?” said a voice from a doorway. “I have a very special service for rich people …”

“Oh yes?” said Ford, intrigued but careful. And what’s that?”

“I tell them it’s OK to be rich.”

I want to be a champion of enabling the ability to perceive the truth, to feel it, to be moved by it and to be transformed by it. I need to find a way to craft a “tell” so that my audiences can read the difference between “a truth” (story) and “the truth” (fact/proof). But mostly a signifier to say that it’s OK. It’s OK to trust. It’s OK it to change.

 “You what?” he said. The girl laughed and stepped forward a little out of the shadow. She was tall, and had that kind of self-possessed shyness which is a great trick if you can do it.

“It’s my big number,” she said. “I have a Master’s degree in Social Economics, and can be very convincing. People love it. Especially in this city.”



Transforming Sydney
May 15, 2015, 6:17 pm
Filed under: Experience, Service Design, Zeitgeist | Tags:

      

  

I’ve been privileged to be part of the team working with the NSW government on the urban regeneration of the Bays Precinct area.  This weekend, the 16th and 17th of May there will be a summit that we’ve designed with a purpose of generating public awareness and input on one of the world’s biggest urban transformation project of its kind.

Love you to come, bring the kids and your neighbours. Lovely coffee, lush juices and fresh goodness to eat, and just so many opportunities to hear and co create what the future of this waterway district at the edge of the CBD will be.

 Registration

The program and content will be made up of a series of short talks, ‘discovery’ displays and consultation exercises designed to be staggered throughout the day, allowing people to come and go as they wish.

 This is a free event taking place at Australian Technology Park:

http://www.thebayssydney.com.au/events/sydneysiders-summit-16-17-may-2015.aspx

 Background 

In November 2014, Jack Morton worked with the NSW Executive Committee to conceive and develop The Bays Precinct Sydney International Summit.  It was a unique undertaking, which brought together a broad range of local and international urban transformation practitioners, academics and policymakers, as well as community and not-for-profit representatives.  The purpose for the Summit was simple; to create an environment for leading people in their fields to think, hear, discuss, and learn about what is possible and how.  With a focus on forging relationships that will enable ongoing collaboration for both this and future urban transformation work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fipa7o8gnWY#t=309




the pattern of collaboration
May 4, 2015, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Experience, Service Design | Tags:

I’m looking at pattens at the moment and how they are formed and what meaning can be ascribed to them.

I loved coming across kintsugi and the notion that repair can be a process of adding both strength and beauty. It’s interesting that cracks themselves are openings that form in materials to relieve stress…the pattern of cracks indicates whether the material is elastic or not. A true break means tha the materials have failed under the strain.

I think elasticity, being able to change and adapt, is fundamental. And change is never going to be a one off, so perhaps plasticity is a more useful term to explore.Kintsugi can repair breakages- but you need gold, literally gold, to get the best results out of the process.

What about a golden notion though- one that allows an object to change and grow an adpt and self organise

The Golden Ratio is a universal law “…in which is contained the ground-principle of all formative striving for beauty and completeness in the realms of both nature and art, and which permeates, as a paramount spiritual ideal, all structures, forms and proportions, whether cosmic or individual, organic or inorganic, acoustic or optical; which finds its fullest realization, however, in the human form.”

Adolf Zeising, 1854

The Golden Ratio, is very important in nature. Converted to an angle (as a proportion of one – =360 degrees – full turn), it equals 137.507764 degrees. Turns out that plants often use this angle to arrange leaves around the stem. This just happens to minimise the shading of leaves lower down the stem by leaves higher up so each leaf gets as much sunlight as possible (more than with other arrangements anyway).

Visually, the series typically appears as a spiral.

From the point of view of physics, spirals are lowest-energy configurations which emerge spontaneously through self-organizing processes in dynamic systems. From a biological perspective, arranging leaves as far apart as possible in any given space is favoured by natural selection as it maximises access to resources, especially sunlight for photosynthesis.

I really like these notions that systems just known when to turn, how to share and maximise the distribution of resources and grow in a way that is both strong and astheically pleasing.

Be wonderful to create these kind of self organising principles- I wonder if the trick is to bring propotion and a sense of proportion into the environment so that it can be easly seen and acted on.



cracks and kintsugi
April 9, 2015, 3:49 pm
Filed under: Experience, Great Stuff, Service Design

Tea bowl with #kintsugi

Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen, Anthem

Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

Part of service design is describing and inspiring people about the real challenges of change, the need to to fix things, to look at something broken and believe that not only can it be brought back to life but be both  more beautiful and more valuable while retaining history and integrity.

I find it useful it to explore Mr Cohen’s insight that cracks provide illumination and how it intersects with this ceramic practice of renewal.

Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated… a kind of physical expression of the spirit of mushin….Mushin is often literally translated as “no mind,” but carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, of non-attachment, of equanimity amid changing conditions. …The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject.

—Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics

Mostly what this notion can tell us is that it’s ok. It’s ok to break, to have cracks and weaknesses. It’s natural and part of life and growth and of interacting with people. Even more than that, when you pick up the pieces, you can transform into something stronger, more resilient, utterly unique and desirable.



Service design and scriptwriting
March 27, 2015, 4:37 pm
Filed under: Experience, Service Design | Tags:

birdman-ego

I’m constantly thinking about the creative brief and how to get it righterer.

I’ve written about my approach here on the notion of collaboration and the blank page one page brief

To me the planner’s role in giving a creative brief to a team is to tell team a the story, set up the protagonist/ the consumer, outline  their obstacle and the part you have for them- the hero.

Give your story a beginning a middle and end. Allow the team to collaborate with you as you tell the story.

and shared Jasmine Cheng’s delightful exploration here (and whoop! it’s had +125,000 views since it got published).

I need to change it up again as I’m doing far less campaigns and far more service design projects. Far. More.

Building the bridge between a brand’s promise and it’s practice is kinda awesome and shifts the game from defining what you want to say to designing what you want people to do. It’s real, it really changes things, it’s difficult but not hard. It makes sense to me, and that’s my challenge because I need it to make sense to other people.

And a creative brief just doesn’t quite cut it. There are many reasons why. The diagnosis and the remedy are still very close bedfellows but you’re writing a solution for a stage, with scripts and blocking for the actors. It needs to be rehearsed and built by collaboration. It must have the space to be fueled by improv and deliver a sense of ownership to each and every player. And it must fundamentally delight audiences.

I came across this exploration Birdman: Writing A Screenplay Is Like Writing a Poem

“you need to write.. so that…every moment is so perfectly placed, so carefully visualized and realized on the page that anyone who reads it will immediately know: “Yes, I know this can to work. I know this can work because I saw it and I felt it and I imagined it and I heard it play…in my head as if it were real. I know it work because I’ve already seen it happen in my mind.”

There’s some great thinking there about balancing out ego and the need to tell the truth, exploring how to externalize the internal obstacles that you see and creating that safety net (for both the budget and the creatives) where you’ve really worked as hard as you can to ‘fix it on the page’.

I loved this:

we do need to strike that balance between the part of ourselves that wants to say something authentic and the part that needs to succeed. We also need to strike that balance between writing (what’s in) our hearts and shaping into a form that other people can understand.

Both our form and our function can work together to accomplish that goal to tell a true story in a true way, in a way that other people can connect to. And in a way that can get people in seats to see the story you’re trying to tell.

More than anything this piece is a call to action to write and re-write. The coolest thing about service design projects is that you shift from a six week cycle to at least a six month cycle. You need to think and re think the task, the tools and how the teams collaborate. I’m thinking that is time for a shift from a brief to a script.

‘.



measurement and magic beans
March 10, 2015, 2:17 pm
Filed under: Great Stuff, passion | Tags: ,

Magic Bean

Interesting to compare FastCo’s 25 Predictions of what marketing will look like in 2020 to the recent work by the The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Both spoke with marketing visionaries around the world and posed essentially the  same question: “The world of marketers today has changed drastically from what it was ten years ago. What will it be like in 2020? And what do marketers need to forge a winning career path over the next five years?”

There is a bunch of great stuff in each report but I’m just looking at ‘what counts’ vs ‘what can be counted’.

FactCo’s short and sweet thought:

Metrics are all over the place. We had page views (which was essentially like tracking escalator use at a department store—i.e., how many times people had to do a thing that’s basically inconvenient), Facebook Likes (which are now of no lasting utility), video views (now an indicator primarily of paid investment), and click-through rates (which still fail to discern quality of traffic). None of them are good. Even engagement rates and dwell times are slippery. We are still yet to settle on a metric that is fit for purpose; one that is easily repeatable, undeniably valuable, demonstrably linked to ultimate effectiveness. I can’t help but feel that when we do, when we’re able to say, “Yes it achieved 19, and our benchmark is 12,” and we know for sure that means it worked, then we will be in a transformed place. Surely. Surely it’s going to happen soon.

Alex Hesz, director of digital, adam&eveDDB FastCo’s 25 Predictions of what marketing will look like in 2020

 

The more indepth EIU:

1. It’s all about engagement

Seth Godin believes that marketers who are serious about engaging the customer recognise that the most valuable moments are when the customer is actually in touch with you: using your product, on the phone with you, reading your content. If you are able to address your customers’ needs during those moments—rather than put them on hold while telling them how important their call is—you’re going to get engagement.

2. Get your own house in order.

An asset is an investment that generates value in the form of return on investment (ROI). Engaged customers fit the definition of an asset, but marketers often complain that their CFOs resist the idea of engagement as an asset worth investing in.

In fact, these marketers are wrong: the problem is one of data, logic and presentation. Many marketers don’t fully understand what drives engagement—and therefore they can’t present it in a compelling way to the CFO. “If you can quantify engagement, any CFO in the world will pay attention,” says Jim Stengel. And not just pay attention, but jump in and ask, “How can I help?” Too many marketers don’t understand what makes their company preferred over others.

3. Harden the soft.

Of all the factors that drive engagement, the most important may be a culture of customer centricity. Culture is often mistakenly considered to be a soft concept. It is a big concept, but it is not a soft one: it can be broken down into a very specific set of values and activities that are mirrored in incentives, salaries and promotions. Customer engagement needs to play a central role in the organisation’s culture. Otherwise the business will not be sustainable.

4. Passion trumps everything

John Hagel argues that passion is the single element most critical to success in marketing. Passion enables executives to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and advocate for the customer inside the organisation. It is not always a comfortable role. It requires confidence and courage. But in the end, passion determines whether or not a marketer is successful.

“If you have a passionate commitment to make an impact on the customer by being more and more helpful to them, you will either develop the skills yourself or you will find ways to connect to the skills wherever they reside,” says Hagel. “It may be in other functions within the organisation. It may be in third parties. If you have the passion, you will find a way.”


 

This same team (The Economist Intelligence Unit) has written a cracking report about the urgent need to restructure marketing to better support business. There’s thirty pages of goodness- but I’m really just focussing on two of their identified trends that need urgent change and support:

A broader view of customer experience: positive customer experience across all touchpoints is increasingly seen as a company’s most valuable asset. And, more than any other function, marketing is responsible for managing it across the customer life cycle and across channels, from initial awareness through loyalty and advocacy.
The customer experience is increasingly seen as a key to competitive advantage in every industry. Slightly more than one-third of marketers polled say they are responsible for managing the customer experience today. However, over the next three to five years, 75% of marketers say they will be responsible for the end-to-end experience over the customer’s lifetime
Metrics for revenue and engagement: Effectiveness trumps efficiency, especially in a time of rapid change. Metrics will become broader and more comprehensive, focusing on top-line revenue and overall engagement more than  efficiency and brand awareness.

It feels like the mapping marketing landscape of the next 25 years or even the next 5 can be nothing more than trying to see a mythical realm. Even Sir Isaac Newton attributed his success to standing upon the shoulders of giants. I’d like to think that if we can help marketers move from counting beans to planting magic ones that the future may just be fantastical indeed.



the future of digital business
February 18, 2015, 11:44 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy

A brilliant presentation from Scott Galloway on Amazon/Apple/Facebook & Google (The Four Horsemen) and who will win and who will lose in the digital business economy. It’s a rapid fire, 90 slide, 15 minute presentation that you MUST watch.

You will laugh and learn:

  • Sales training for Facebook or Google…”I have more relationships than god and I’m on a mobile phone”
  • Google Glass is not a wearable it’s is a prophylactic
  • Brands are built at purchase…
  • Why Apple will become the first trillion dollar brand
  • Self-expressive benefit: (about his watch) this is not a timepiece, I have not wound it in five years, it’s vain my attempt to express Italian masculinity and signal that if you mate with me I am more likely to take care of your offspring than someone wearing a Swatch watch…



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