Filed under: unbusiness, unconference | Tags: , emily reed, Innovation, interesting south, interestingness, open intelligence agency, unconference
Last night I went to the first Sydney Interesting South Conference on ‘Interestingness’ organised by Emily Reed of the Open Intelligence Agency. It was put on by a group at Interesting South that meet regularly for coffee in Surry Hills to just chew the fat and geek out together (which in itself is appealing especially if you work on your own). The idea behind Interesting South seems as if it’s sort of loosely based on the US-centred idea of the ‘unconference’, sharing knowledge, passions and geekdom for freshness. It’s about exposing yourself to a whole bunch of different points of view, changing the lens you have on life, that sort of thing. Lovely. The first Interesting South event was first held in London in June 2007 by Russell Davies and last night’s gig followed a similar in Sydney. They had a line up of interesting and unusual speakers, each one was allocated 10 minutes (or in the case of more commercially orientated speakers like the Fair Trade lady – 3 minutes). The idea being that we got a sound byte of whatever each person decided to talk about – from How to make a Zombie to the Moose Dance, the art of vocology and even Pia the Sydney Overlord who talked to us about the strange things people at Darbot do with electricity. We got cuddly with the Free Hugs, met a grassroots activist who took offense and aim at the Coke Zero movement (still amazes me that one guy with $18 can cause a genuine grassroots backlash against a multi-million dollar fake grassroots campaign), the place was jam packed with interesting people came to share a little of their geekness on stage.
Interesting South describes itself as “. . not about brands, advertising, blogging or twitter but a wide variety of interesting, unexpected, original things. We’ve found 19 fascinating people and asked them speak for 3 or 10 minutes about something they care about. We want to replicate the experience of clicking from one really good blog to another, ranging across sciences, arts, music, jokes and whatever. The idea is to be informal and fast paced.”
For those of you who geek out on interesting and wonderful bits of brain candy, this event was magnificent. There was a couple of speakers I found particularly interesting and made a note to Google later. A great way to shift your thinking sideways a little. Well done to Emily and the team, Interesting South was a great event.
You can check Interesting South here
Filed under: Second Life, virtual worlds | Tags: , abc, Accenture, alternate reality, australia, everquest, Innovation, Second Life, SL, telstra, virtual business, virtual world
Fascination with Second Life and the other ‘alternate realities’ seems to be continuing. I went to a seminar the other day to listen to a bunch of Aussie businesses who were making their foray into the SL universe. Telstra’s bigpond is undoubtedly the success story from our shores, having created and nurtured a fully functional thriving community on their island. Likewise the ABC are dipping their toes in the virtual shores of Second Life as an R&D experiment much like many others. There was also a real estate company present who is using recreating their real estate imagery boards for sales and linking them through to the website. It’s odd when people mimic their offline business models online, given the capacity of Second Life to completely change the way we think about real estate altogether. Nevertheless, all brave companies for giving it a red hot go.
Filed under: Digital culture, Future of Media, Future of Work, Geek stuff, Google, Innovative stimulus, Lifestyle trends, Mind candy, Research Methods, Research Presentations, Work Futures
“Interesting Snippets” is a flickr site for Lynette Webb, the Insights Manager at Google. She calls it “my personal dumping ground for various cool quotes, the odd stat, as slides to talk around when describing how things are changing online and in media & communications generally” and it’s jammed with a bunch of great stimulus about the way technology is changing the world in which we live.
It’s a Flickr collection online but she’s also published her slides in a book which you can buy on Lulu.
Check it out, it’s a must see Interesting Snippets
Filed under: creativity, Digital culture, geek, Geek stuff, Innovative promotions
In Japan, they have replaced the impersonal and unhelpful Microsoft error messages with Haiku poetry messages. Haiku poetry has strick construction rules, each poem has only 17 syllables; 5 syllables in the first, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third. They are used to communicate a timeless message, often achieving a wistful, yearning and powerful insight through extreme brevity (and are much better than “Your computer has performed an illegal operation.”) Here they are:
Your file was so big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.
The Web site you seek
Cannot be located, but
Countless more exist.
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.
Filed under: Gen Research, Looking for insights, Oz research, Research Methods, Thinking, Work Futures
To be truly innovative, we have to force ourselves to look at the world differently. We have to be curious about new perspectives & new interpretations because they help us break away from the norm. By exposing ourselves to new ways of thinking and hunting for trends & ideas in other areas outside our traditional category space it allows us to return to the business and make genuinely new connections.
Let’s say you’re looking to innovate within the computer hardware market. Instead of asking people how they feel about their computers or how they feel about Apple vs PC or technology in general, what if you asked them about a time when their computer really let them down or saved their life? what if you asked them why it felt different using their own computer versus someone else’s? or what kind of car brand their computer feels like?
It’s much more productive to ask consumers a bunch of different questions which encourage storytelling around the product rather than going for the marketing jugular and trying to get people to explain how they feel about your product specifically.
An interesting post from Whistle through your comb I thought I would share with you ::
The “Big Idea Model” is dead from a business perspective. The big idea points in a direction and says, “Charge!” Resources are poured into it. It’s a boastful model built on force. And more often than not, it’s a Pickett’s Charge. (The movie industry is suffering from this as well)
On the other hand, having many small ideas is a cheaper, faster, lower risk and a more diverse way to create. After all, little ideas can out grow their fish bowl. You only need a few successes to really make it big. The Recording industry has operated this way for years.
As CMO’s tenures dip below 2 years, it seems they would be much better off working with agency operating on the Many Small Ideas model. After all, failure is more common than success and there are only so many big ideas you can execute in two years.
That said, maybe ad agencies should mimic companies like Y Combinator, Curious Office Partners, Obvious, Tech Stars and Hit Forge who incubate and execute lots of little ideas (typically Web 2.0 startups). Each idea out with a small bit of financing and once it proves itself, it receives more. This means that all the time and money wasted worrying about and researching whether a new idea will succeed is unnecessary; you simply try it out.
This offers up an interesting paradox: the agencies who thrive in the future will be those who do not just outsucceed other agencies but outfail them as well. They will grow not in spite of failure but because of it.
Filed under: Asia Research, Brain stuff, creativity, Gen Research, Innovation, Innovative marketing, Marketing, Mind candy, Oz research, steal or borrow info, Work Futures, Work out up top
What makes one person think more innovatively than another?
Most people spend their time doing stuff. Selling shoes, marketing hammers, securing distribution, balancing nutritional value with taste and so on and so on. So to sit down one afternoon & just decide that you’d like to think more innovatively is kind of like deciding that you’d like to paint a masterpiece without the paints or the canvas, or even the subject matter. In order to be more innovative you need to prepare your brain with the tools it needs & you need to garner the stimulus, the
subject matter if you will. Then how you interpret that subject matter will determine what kind of masterpiece you’ll create.
Some people seem to be naturally more creative just like some people are better musicians or artists. But there’s a big difference between people who are mediocre, bloody good and those who are brilliant. When it comes to innovation like everything else, there’s no reason why most of us can’t be bloody good if we set about learning the skills in the same way we would for music or art.
Picture the person in your head who you think is the cat’s pijamas. They’re more creative, more lateral, they see things and make connections that you don’t. They approach opportunities from different angles and they change things. Can you picture them? Are they better looking than you too? Some people have all the luck…
The truth is, those people that seem to be more creative or more innovative than you, it’s generally because they spend most of their time looking at things differently. If I’m asked to help companies innovate, I find it easier to come in & look at a category in a completely new way. That’s because I’m not bogged down with the details of how to sell in a product to stores, or pitch for company funding, or create a media strategy or control a budget. You know, the hard stuff.
I spend most of my waking hours trying to think differently & innovate – create new brand positioning, new revenue streams, to imagine a new space or think about what the future might be. The point being, that if you put aside some time each week to concentrate on being more innovative, you’ll find it easier too.
The best way to start being more innovative is to force yourself to start thinking differently. To start imagining ‘what if?’ rather than just being concerned with ‘what is’. That means taking some time to expose yourself to new ideas & thinking. It also helps to start gathering together a bunch of tools that will help you ask the right questions & force your brain to think differently.
It doesn’t have to feel like homework, it doesn’t have to take a huge amount of time out of your day. You could start by checking out of the site links on this site each day. Pick a blog or a site that sounds interesting, visit a new one each day and ask yourself : What is interesting about this site? What could I learn from this site? How is this site different or similar to my business or the issues we face? or the people we reach? or the sorts of ideas we’re looking for?
Being innovative is about making new connections, it’s about jumping from one space to another, it’s about putting a new lens on existing research or points of view. It doesn’t have to be a big shift, it might just be a little bit different. Sometimes that’s all you need.
This site has a whole bunch of brainfood but don’t stop there :: there’s a whole world wide web of non-work related mind candy goodness that will put some buzz in your uptop muscle. So go, hang your balls out in the wind and try something new.