See? Pretty cool stuff.InnoVenture is an annual conference of innovators and entrepreneurs building personal relationships to enhance products sold to existing customers, improve the productivity of existing processes, or create new markets
In the 50,000 square feet Innovation Hall, trade show style innovation displays highlight opportunities for collaboration
Who Should Attend?
* Innovators in large organizations seeking expertise and resources to grow revenue or enhance productivity
* Entrepreneurs leading high-impact companies in the Southeastern Innovation Corridor.
* Researchers and inventors seeking business partners
* Venture capitalists and angel investors seeking investment in high-impact companies in the Corridor
* Experts and professional service providers seeking to do business with companies commercializing game changing innovations
"A chinese executive was sentenced to death for swindling $385M from investors in a bogus ant-breeding scheme. Wang Zhendong had promised returns of up to 60 percent for buying kits of ants and breeding equipment. he sold the kits (which cost $25) for $1,300, the Xinmin Evening News reported. Ants are prized for medicinal concoctions."Sentence to death. Forget ten years of hard time with full restitution to the defrauded investors and $20M in fines. Forget minimum security country-club prisons. Forget cable TV in your cell, kosher meals in the cafeteria, and weekly unsupervised conjugal visits. Forget house arrest and community service.
Cutting board: Cuisinart or Architec
Interactive timepiece: Nike or Adidas
Party plate: Pfaltzgraff
Hourglass Timepiece: Casio
Cookie mug/cup: Rubbermaid
Locker organizer: Rubbermaid
Lego ice cube maker: Lego & Rubbermaid (co-branded)
Zen Disc player: Bose or Tivoli
Heels: (Mass market)
Why is the spinning disc, the most dynamic element of a CD player, hidden from a listeners view? The simple, but energetic function of a CD player can and should be visually acknowledged. This CD player elevates the spinning motion of the disc and its linear potential for movement to an iconic and understandable form. The player embodies something we know but rarely notice, and something we understand but cannot define.Below, customizable heels.
The spinning CD, displayed as a table saw blade slicing through a rich piece of walnut, draws our attention to an element of elegant activity within a simple, tranquil object. Appropriately, the perforated walnut speakers are equal to the size of planks that might be cut by the spinning blade. As in a lumberyard, they find their resting place, leaning motionless against a vertical surface. Battery powered and wireless, the system is clean, unencumbered and unfettered. To further emphasize simplicity and integrity, the players controls have been reduced to three white buttons. Intuitively aligned with the CD itself, the center button acts to play and pause, the left button tracks backward and the right tracks forward.
Movement, scale and functionality expressed in a simple, knowing form.
Are you a Planner who thinks about design? Maybe you are a designer who obsesses about the business impact of your designs. Or you might be an Information Architect who thinks about motion, transitions, multimedia, and uses tools like storyboarding and visual scenarios. Or how about a Developer who comes up with the “big idea”?
If you haven’t noticed, creativity is evolving.
The perception of creativity itself is slowly but surely transitioning into a mutated and adapted life form. In the traditional world, a “creative” person usually meant someone with savant-like talents excelling in a specific creative discipline defined by fairly concrete parameters. Copywriters wrote copy. Art Directors directed art. There are still talented visual designers who can make anything look good. Brilliant copywriters who can come up with that magnificent tagline which stops you in your tracks. And don’t forget about smart, methodical Information Architects who devote their existence to usability and being an advocate for the end user.
These skills, talents and abilities are needed—no doubt about it. But what’s also needed is the evolution of them—the next iteration. But what does this look like? An Information Architect who completely grasps Human Computer Interaction but can also think fluidly—can do things like rapidly create prototypes, facilitate user testing, understand visual design and occasionaly write copy. This kind of individual possesses a multi-dimensional creative brain that has evolved over time.
This type of mind is capable of creating customer experiences which provide competitive advantage in a fast moving world where customers are increasingly calling the shots.
With consumer behavior evolving toward a more empowered status—the definition of creativity has shifted from one-dimensional skills to a four-dimensional type of creativity that blends logical thinking with creative problem solving. Individuals possessing this “New Creative Mindset” blend Analytical, Expressive, Curious and Sensual qualities into their thinking process. The result is a holistic approach to creativity that is effective across multiple touch points and experiences.
Can an Information Architect embody this kind of mindset? What about an Account Director? I think as human beings we are all capable of thinking like this. But as designers, communicators, marketers and creators of experiences—for us, it’s even more critical to become multi-dimensional creative thinkers and problem solvers. I’m not the only one talking about this. Tim Brown from IDEO evangelizes “Design Thinking” and “T-shaped People”. Both principals are related. Design Thinking encourages Designers to think past aesthetics and design simple solutions for complex problems. T-shaped people have a core competency but branch out into other areas and can do them well (thus forming a T). And of course there is the new kind of collaboration that comes with this—where we combine people with diverse skill sets who often times speak very different languages but need to come together to make their collective and diverse skills work together. This kind of collaboration sounds easier than it actually is, because when you get a few T-shaped people together, they tend to “play in each other's sandbox”. Translation? Ego’s need to be unlearned. In short, it’s not just about T-shaped people.
It’s about how we work together to create something that people will want to use, experience and ultimately—compel them to take action.
I don’t think that any of this is very new. It’s been happening for a while. In my time spent at agency.com, we developed pageless prototypes, pushed technology like Flash + Ajax and created human-centered “web applications”. But with the rapid and pervasive nature of Web 2.0 going mainstream—it’s becoming mandatory to be able to think and execute like this. Need proof? Take a look at this collection of thoughts + work from a recent grad of the IIT Institute of Design. Notice anything about how he approaches his work? He’s a “designer”, but aesthetics are only one small part of how he exercises his creativity. In fact, this brand of creativity is more like creative problem solving vs. the way many people still traditionally view creativity. And what about the teams? Aside from this evolved creative individual, what kind of team is needed to drive the next generation of communication, interaction and marketing engines? There’s not a clear answer to this question, but signs are heading toward smaller interdisciplinary teams composed of individuals possessing complimentary skill sets and overlapping talents.
So where does this all go from here? If you feel like you fit the bill, you’re probably thinking about how marketable you are right now. And remember, we’re not talking about a “jack of all trades” here. “Creativity 2.E” is not about doing everything and learning every application under the sun. It’s about being curious, empathetic, analytical, insightful and expressive all at the same time. It’s about being willing to do anything to get into the heads of your customer/user. It’s about adopting new tools, techniques and artifacts to help make your case for creating the right kinds of communications, interactions and experiences. So what to do if you’re feeling left out?
Resist the urge to become defensive and territorial—put that energy into developing an acute sense of curiosity and optimism. Become like a child.
Participate in the emerging media. Start a blog, update your site or if you don’t have one—set it up. Dive into the digital social communities and be willing to do what your customers do. Try methodology that you might not ordinarily consider. PowerPoint isn’t just for presentations. Flash isn’t just for motion. Move past boxes, arrows, colors, layouts, charts, funnels, and metrics.
Creativity 2.E is both old and new—and like evolution, will continue to change and modify over time. The question is will we?
Hal R. Varian, professor of business, economics and information management at the University of California, Berkeley explains "Kaizen, the practice of continuous improvement," in today's NYT.
Kaizen doesn’t just mean a business should keep trying new things. Rather, it refers to a disciplined process of systematic exploration, controlled experimentation and then painstaking adoption of the new procedures.
The most successful online businesses are built on kaizen, though few of those who carry out the testing would recognize the term, since many of those who created these online businesses were in grade school in the 1980s.
The online world is never static. There is a constant flow of new users, new products and new technologies. Being able to figure out quickly what works and what doesn’t can mean the difference between survival and extinction.
Labels: agile creativity
You must keep asking why. Why? Because it's just not (planning) when:
1) Everyone is talking and no-one is listening
2) Intellectualism is feted more than simplicity in your dept.
3) Research is used for support not illumination
4) You talk about 'consumers' not people
5) You have information not insights
6) The boss is always right
7) All your powerpoint decks look the same
8) There are rational reasons for why people buy things on your briefs
9) You still believe in purchase funnels
10) Ideas are the job of creatives
11) Data is seen to be more important than behaviour
12) The client is always right
13) You don't know the role of communications for your brief
14) The account team thinks the client isn't 'strategic'
15) Everyone analyses rather than synthesises
16) Dialogue is more important than conversations
17) You judge creative work rather than create it
18) The 'brand' conversation is owned by another agency
19) You think there is one answer
20) People around you believe that efficiency is more important than effectiveness
21) That it is ok to think incremental improvements are a long term solution
What should an agency of the year look like? In my eyes--in this era of the rising "you"--an agency must embody ten critical attributes and capabilities:
1. Foremost, agency staffers must be passionate about acting in the interest of consumers as much as they are in the interest of paying clients. You must do good things in the world and reciprocate with others. Tolerance for anything else is waning.
2. The agency must drop tactical communications from its core positioning and instead embody the value of creating great experiences, with tactics following. (Emphasis mine. This is something that we've been saying to agencies since we started the Lab and something I've been preaching since the mid-90's. Maybe now people will start listening! DBP)
3. The agency must embrace a world where paid media placements lose overall traction, and instead master the new currency of word-of-mouth, where reputation and propensity to recommend are earned. These latter factors increasingly determine your ability to communicate and be noticed; they are the new media pipeline.
4. The firm must strive for everlasting client partnerships, not because of insatiable desire for ongoing revenues, but because it understands that programs which achieve deep, ongoing customer experiences and loyalty are incompatible with a start-peak-end model. It's all about a transition from campaign to platform mentality.
5. An agency of the year should be one that first evaluates the client's internal processes and culture, to ensure those dimensions optimize opportunities for greatness, not hamper potential.
6. The agency must gain expertise in areas of innovation, product and customer service--versus solely on marketing communications. When the client fails to deliver those fundamentals, the agency must recognize that any advertising or marketing communications will only threaten or erode the client's brand, or simply waste money. Yes, sometimes the client's baby is ugly, and it needs help beyond advertising or marketing communications. (Again, something that we've been saying since day one. It's why we created the Experience Audit, so companies can see whether or not they're actually delivering on their messages. It's also why we created our university program, to help explore the innovations that will be driving our storytelling in the future. Of course, it goes without saying that we always explore those innovations from the consumer side first! DBP)
7. The firm will value institutional customer-listening as a core competency far more than institutional speaking.
8. Enterprise creativity will stem not from a creative department, but collectively from a group of staffers with diverse disciplines, each with the ability to think creatively, abstractly and from different vantage points. These passionate staffers will often have backgrounds in digital, science and algorithms, multimedia, social sciences, history, arts, culture and more.
9. The agency may get out of the advertising business, for the most part, and perhaps outsource the more tactical aspects.
10. The agency increasingly will recognize and organize around you, the individual.
"I would go so far as to say that many advertising agencies are almost obsolete in their approach such that they add very little value to their client’s brands. In today’s post I’ll share my insights on why most advertising agencies just don’t get it…"
"It is the CEOs responsibility to set the brand vision and then to evangelize and champion that vision. I have observed far too many CEOs and entrepreneurs who abdicate their responsibility by just turning over their brand to advertising agencies and hoping for great creative output. The problem lies in that the concept of “branding” has moved far beyond communicating product differences and building “image.” In order to improve brand performance, marketing experts need to consider product re-design, reengineering the supply chain, refining distribution, reducing costs, introducing loyalty rewards for customers and many other variables. While advertising will certainly retain an important role as a component of branding, it is clearly not the driver of branded businesses that it once was.
"Put simply, ad agencies create brand advertising. They don’t create brands…Put even more simply ad agencies create, buy and place media they don’t develop brand architecture and modeling which are used as a blueprint for all activities and communications for the brand. It is rare that you’ll find ad agencies that will even have the diversification of competencies that will allow them to provide strategic brand direction across mediums. While I have rarely observed a lack of willingness by agencies to dive into a project, I have often observed a complete inability to execute.
"Even within their purported areas of domain expertise (media and mediums) the marketplace is littered with agencies who have huge gaps in competencies in PR, direct marketing, blogging and other forms of social media, interactive media, search marketing, word of mouth marketing and any number of other areas. However it is their lack of experience and ability to deliver on brand strategy, business intelligence, knowledge management, innovation, corporate venturing, competitive analysis (and by this I don’t mean whose TV ad is better), intellectual property and other items that make ad agencies the worst possible choice to take brand direction from.
"Okay, let’s call a spade a spade and bring the ad agency agenda out into the light of day. Ad agencies get paid to sell advertising not to build brands…Reflect back upon your last agency pitch and you may have been wowed by creative talent, and yes even a bit of brand-speak, but at the end of the day you were pitched on buying advertising. Ad agencies speak to your advertising budget, not your brand equity."
"Almost nothing has stood out...not even the return of eTrade from the grave (a duet with Orville Deadenbacher perhaps?) Perhaps the line of the Bowl is from Go Daddy: 'Everybody wants to work in Marketing' (Maybe) at your company, but for every other marketing Veep at this year’s Bowl, you’re going to be trolling Careerbuilder come Monday morning... If you’ve got nothing newsworthy to say ... don’t say anything."
"I just overheard my older daughter (she’s 15) say to my 12 year-old son, 'the ads on The Super Bowl really suck.' And, sadly, that pretty much expresses my sentiments. The careerbuilder.com spot was clever, and Coke was...well...unusual, but nothing stands out as creative or worth remembering. "
"Overall, a sense of disappointment. The Coke animation was gorgeous, the Bud Light stuff a good group, the Emerald Nuts stuff with Robert Goulet ...nutty in a good way, Fedex consistently funny. Where was the genius of the Apple “1984” spot? Feels like the genius is going into different media nowadays."
"So far, I think the game is more entertaining than than the spots."
"Note to anybody considering an advertising career: talking animals have no automatic, built in relevance to anything resembling a real idea. (And it’s still ideas we’re supposed to be about). You’ve seen half the world’s living species so far in this game, and God knows what’s to come. But do not let the industry’s brilliant ability to re-create these speaking creatures on camera confuse you: you still need an idea, despite the evidence to date. And somebody still has to clean up after them, one way or the other."
After watching GM run a 2 million dollar commercial that consists of a robot getting fired, walking the streets and then committing suicide, I’m so confused, so clueless and yes, so ashamed to be even peripherally involved in this line of work, I have no choice but to quit.
If your company was breaking records (in losing money) and was so adversely affecting the lives of thousands, why on earth would you run this ad?
I give up."
Rule #1: If you can't tell your story in 30 seconds, find a different medium than the 30 second spot for your concept.
Rule #2: If you're going to go through the trouble of creating a cute, likeable character, don't kill it off aimlessly.
Rule #3: Try to avoid suicide as a theme for a 30 second spot. Maybe it's just me, but it's generally kind of a mood killer. Unless it ends well... Like... where the suicide attempt fails and something good or cute happens.
"It is better to be the real bricklayer than a half-tailor" -- Nizami Gandjevi, azerbaijani poet, 12th century.I don't think anyone willl argue that differentiation is probably the most important element of any brand strategy. In his post, Michael (Brand) Baker points us to something he found on BrandMO: “Instead of being a something, become the something.”
"When you build your brand it is vital to keep your differentiation idea in all your communication channels. Website, flyers, posters etc all of them must tell the target your idea. It is like branding England as conservatism country with its tradions and lifestyle. Build your ow stronghold under the name of your differentiating idea or attribute that you took in your category."
Read the latest headlines or examine the recent product evolutions around us and you will soon realise that all major developments have one driving force in common. Design. From gook-less mustard caps to renewable toothbrushes, the power of design is being used in unlikely places and creating competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Design has the power to change (even save) lives and create a more functional economy. Here are 10 reasons why designers rule…
1. We are curious. The best designers are those that bring knowledge to a project but gather perspective from the end-user. Designers are trained to know that they don’t know all the answers and the best solutions to problems lie in examining context and defining the target. To design for a better future, a designer must uncover how the people lead their lives today. Ask questions, uncover truths and dig to find out who they should be designing for.
2. We create brands. Don’t hire a designer who uses the words logos and brands interchangeably. Instead look for designers who think logos are only as important as lipstick on a beautiful woman. Creating a brand means adding true market value that transcends features or benefits. I paraphrase and borrow liberally from the Brand Gap but the idea is that imagine Coke without it’s brand. It would be worth half its current market value:
3. We create distinction in crowded marketplaces. Clever design and niche products have made Apple successful again. Good design has always been the cornerstone of what Apple has been known for. Everyone knows that the soon to be available iPhone has nothing amazingly new about it. But we also know that Apple will make access to the features and the shear visuals so appealing that the iPhone will make other phones look like Stone Age tablets. Apple understands and leverages the fact that design is the ultimate competitive edge.
4. Designers are excellent translators. Got business goals? Got technological constraints? Designers can uncover user goals and then find the sweet spot where business goals and user goals converge. Even better, they can ensure that technology can be leveraged to meet those goals. Designers help business dream big and beyond what exists today and also ground those dreams by presenting a set of very real, tangible user goals. Sure you want to build a flying pig but no one wants one! Good design means building products and services that are useful. Less wasted time, less bad products.
5. Design = Innovation = Design. When Business Week wanted to launch a section on design their research told them that their readers assumed that the section would be all about architecture and interior design. So they renamed that section to be called Innovation. A sign of the times we live in. Design walks around wearing a veil called Innovation. Whatever you call it, you are dead in the waters without it. Design not keeps businesses alive, it helps them float to the top and be seen as victorious over their competition.
6. Design saves lives. My Treo’s tiny buttons have caused me to have many a close-call car accidents (I know, I know, no multi-tasking while driving). That said good design has probably saved my life many a time. From my steering wheel car stereo controls to the 3 point safety belt that keeps me from kissing my windshield. ABS brakes that don’t require me to do anything different than just use a brake like I always would. Designers dare to think different and when they do; they reward us with products that work. While your badly designed website may not kill people, it may contribute to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) or just good ol’ web rage.
7. Designers are user advocates. If you ever have the pleasure to be in a feature discussion meeting, they start to sound like a religious debate. I would never…I always…My mother has said…My girlfriend swears she would never…People use whatever anecdotes they possibly can to prove their point of view and ‘win’ the debate. A ‘good’ designer would bring good research to the table. Research based on fact, research based on user goals to validate direction. Use your designer as your stand-in for the user you should be designing for, and trust that they are the voice of the people. That’s who they want to please. That’s who makes you money and keeps you in business.
8. Designers make things pretty. Human nature: “If it looks good, it must be good”. We are highly visual creatures who make snap judgments on the basis of how things appear in that moment. This is how we survive, hunt and gather and marry people who will make use beautiful babies to carry forth our civilization. Designers understand this and use this knowledge to make us products that fit in with our idea of beauty. Beauty is not skin deep, it is the knife’s edge.
9. A design process is a good process. You don’t develop a brand, you design a brand. You don’t develop a software application, you design a software application. Having a user experience focused design approach means that the entire production cycle should have design validation at key points throughout the entire process. This keeps the focus where it should be. On the paying customer.
10. Designers love constraints. Tell a designer that they have complete freedom to do what they want, there is no target market and there are no financial or technical constraints. They go crazy. They literally go nuts. They become artists creating for themselves. Designers are defined by constraints and embrace them with open arms. After all, to design for a fixed target, to design for a set of rules and goals is what defines design. It’s what we do.
So I propose to you, get designers to rule the world and we will be happier, waste less by building products and services that we actually want to buy and use well. Fire your local self-serving politician, hire a designer and we will live in closer harmony with the planet which we happen to inhabit.
1. We're a small South African vineyard. We make the best South African wine for the money, end of story.You can easily see how something like this could be beneficial to your company when it comes to understanding where it stands in the marketplace, how to explain it to people without boring them to death or overpromising on what you have to offer. And it helps you define what your company actually stands for - aside from profits and sales and the maximization of shareholder whatever. The details of your business' financial goals are inconsequential. Burger King makes great burgers. Yves St. Laurent designs the classiest fashion. Specialized makes the best bicycles. Apple makes the coolest mp3 players, computers and smart phones. Stormhoek makes" the best South African wines for the money, end of story." What's your company about?
2. We believe in punching above our weight. In this regard, we've been pretty fortunate. We're known for trying out relatively "out there" marketing ideas. We do that for a reason. When you are a small company in a relatively isolated part of the word, thousands of miles away from your main customer base, you frankly have no other choice.
3. We believe that even a small company like ours can change the world, even in a small way. Why shouldn't a small wine company in South Africa see large international companies like Google and Microsoft as their competition? Why should the battle only be confined to other small South African vineyards? It makes no sense.
4. "It's not what you do, it's the way that you do it." There's more to life than wine. Sure, we love wine, we love making it, but it's a big world out there. We try to make allies not just with other wine geeks, but with other interesting people trying to do amazing things. This is why we're so drawn to the internet. That's where passionate people invariably head for.
5. On one level, we take ourselves very seriously. On another level, we try to keep a sense of humor about it all. We try to "keep it real", which is another way of saying, we try to keep it interesting, as much for ourselves as anyone else.
6. We believe the wine business can use a good kick in the pants. We certainly try to do our part. Burying oneself in the usual blanket of wine clichés to us is not a viable marketing strategy. With hundreds of thousands of vineyards out there, and only so many distribution channels available, you face two stark choices: Either rise above the clutter, or face a lifetime of misery and woe.
7. We live in extremely interesting times. The internet has changed everything. Our story is proof of that. Get with the program or reconcile yourself to entrepreneurial oblivion.
8. It's just wine, People. Sure, we make excellent product. But let's not get too carried away. At the end of the day, even the best Bordeaux is just fermented grape juice. What's more interesting to us is the conversations people have over a bottle of wine. There's a human element to all this we find utterly mysterious and fascinating.
9. You only live once, and not for very long. Try to make a difference while you're here. It isn't just about the money, and it sure as heck isn't about making "a good product at a good price". It's about doing something that matters. It's about doing something that resonates with both yourself and the people you care about.
10. We humans are incredible beings. Doing something that continually reminds us of this simple, basic truth is where the real fun is.