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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.

‘.



peak insight
September 25, 2014, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Experience

flying haiku

Have been lucky enough to be at the Spikes Festival of Creativity in Singapore. I’ve been involved in the forum sessions about creative talent and I presented on this:

Does your business value creative thinking? Of course it does, and you are almost certainly one of the 91% that believes it impacts directly on your company’s success. But are you one of only 26% of employees who strongly believe their working culture encourages creative thought? And where does this leave the future success of our businesses?

While we all know it’s important, one of the fundamental challenges organisations have is in developing a culture of innovation and inspiration. Jack Morton conducted research among employees across the globe which suggests the lack of understanding and consequent support for creative thinking could be hampering effective creative output and the ability of business to attract and retain talent.

This Forum discusses to what degree business across the globe is actively encouraging a culture and environment conducive to creative thinking and consider the success stories of those organisations that hold the nurturing and promotion of creative thinking close to their hearts.

I think that the case for change for our industry and for Enterprise is quite well-known. We know why we need to change (disruption) and we know we need to change (creativity and innovation be that digital, integration or whatever) the challenge is away going to be how.

In Andrew Ho’s session he spoke about a better marriage of strategy and creative and how the tools, perspective and approaches of each discipline works better in combination rather than pass (or parse) the parcel, and a  question ‘will we ever run out of insight?’ really stimulated some reflection on the experience of presenting and facilitating my own session.

The questions around how we deliver great ideas, how we can innovate our process, how we can support people through this journey are  tough to answer.

And here’s the journey to my refection. Jack’s creativity research puts forward 6 recommendations to help build more creative cultures: collaboration, play, freedom to fail, space to think, ego support and idea collection. The best kind of cultures have all of these aspects and I wanted to create an experience of what those six principles in action might look like. I love the haikugami tool

  • as of freedom to fail I show a haiku written about my own work culture and attempt to demonstrate how to fold a paper plane- giving permission to people to make their version as imperfect and human as they like
  • I tell them a story of collaboration, how I’ve sought out their participation by putting a sheet under each of their seats. I tell them about the goal- let’s make a hundred co-created wishes for creative culture fly. I want their thoughts and expression, but I want us to share and build on our thoughts
  • I ask for playfulness a thought articulated in only 5 or 7 syllables, and line by line I ask them to stand up and let their thoughts fly across the room, and to jump and catch someone else s thought as it flies past
  • ego support is about making the rewards of creativity real, fun  and transparent, hopefully a room full of heads down and the energy of sharing reflects this notion
  • the conference and the session itself is place to think, a context that is designed to open up different parts of the brain
  • and I collect ideas and celebrate participation at the end. The photo above is just some of what I was given back from the audience

What did I learn? What thing did I see, what human truth did I observe, from delivering this experience to  room full of punters wanting creativity, believing in  creativity and eve working in creative fields?

It’s really award and uncomfortable to move from a passive state to one of participation.

It’s hard to know what’s the right thing to say when you’re asked to express your feelings.

And that’s the point- creativity feels chaotic  and a bit weird if you’re not used to it. It’s the reason why there’s such a gap between the desire for these kinds of cultures and them grit it takes to deliver them. But the  results! I have a hundred poems: inspiring, playful and brave that tell the story of what can happen in a room when you start to do things differently.

Peak insight? I think I’ve only just started to learn about the power and potential of human creativity.

 



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.




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