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Archive for the ‘guest’ Category

  • The Human Operating System

    3rd March 11

    Posted by Saneel Radia

    Posted in coding, guest

    Author: David Bryant (@davidbryant), Google Creative Lab, NYC

    Disclaimer: David’s opinions are not necessarily those of Google Inc (editor’s note: BBH does advertising work on behalf of various Google products).

    Human beings have spent around 2 million years working with physical objects in physical space. We are hard-wired to enjoy throwing things into the air, at animals and at each other because mastery of these skills has given us a huge evolutionary advantage.

    We understand the inter-relationships between weight, inertia, texture, tensile strength, brittleness, velocity and gravity so well, we’ve even given it another name. We call it instinct.

    When we cross the road in front of a car, we are judging the speed of the car and the width of the road and performing fairly complex calculus in the process. Some would say that we are not really doing the calculations in this case – we are simply using instinct.

    Calling this process ‘instinct’ isn’t very helpful because it doesn’t explain anything. We’re simply renaming the observation, rather than attempting to explain it.

    The truth is the calculations do get done. We use a neural-based learning system rather than a set of solvable equations but the calculation does happen. It’s part of our operating system.

    Only after Humans had being throwing things around for a couple of million years, could we get down to the slow business of developing useful abstract notions. Like a positional system of mathematics, time, complex numbers, algebra. These are all things that are not hardwired. On the contrary they are remarkably counter-intuitive to our operating system and have taken centuries of trial and error to grasp them.

    With these abstract notions we created computers, and interestingly, computers have evolved towards us, in completely the opposite direction. They started life as deeply abstract calculation engines. Nowadays, with rich graphical interfaces, touch screens, large icons and finger control they are increasingly feeling like physical objects.
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  • What do go-karts, used mannequins, indestructible soccer balls, flame-retardant garments, & a painted toilet stall have in common?

    10th September 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in guest, storytelling

    Author: Jeff Johnson, Creative, BBH New York (@fittedsweats)

    Late in the spring, British Airways gave us a great brief for North America. Last year they held a contest where they gave out hundreds of free international flights (and shipping) to small business owners in the U.S. so that they could do business face-to-face rather than just via email, iChat, Skype and…fax. They hold the belief that face-to-face contact helps seal more deals rather than just staying put and hoping for the best—which in the current economy, we’re probably more likely to do. Stay the course. Take less risks. Tread water. Shutter the place. Etc.

    We immediately told them we would use the entire budget to make a feature length-documentary about the death of the use of the fax machine in Sacramento-area small businesses between ’98-’08, while also weaving in our commentary on the dearth of new ideas in leather belt holsters for mobile devices.

    They pushed back. Gently.

    Actually, that last paragraph’s not true. BA were giving away more free flights this year, and thought last year’s winners—in telling their own unique success stories—would inspire other small business owners here to enter this year’s contest, and go see their clients and prospective clients face-to-face.

    Meeting real people who’ve dreamt up their own business and are ambitious enough to make it a reality was the fun part. Working with a budget that didn’t allow us to send clients, directors, producers, account people and creatives back to far-flung locations to recreate face-to-face meetings was the challenge.

    Tireless creatives Jessica Shriftman and Zac Sax teamed with director Chris Bren and Picture Farm out of Brooklyn, as well as photographer Todd Selby, and BBH editors Mark Block and Jonah Oskow to bring ktunnel sex stories from a handful of the most compelling businesses to life. Throughout the summer, the group was fueled for the most part by Kombucha tea and it’s startling before-taste.

    The films (and the chance to win) can be found at British Airways’ Face of Opportunity site, and, we hope, elsewhere.

  • From Art to Apps: Data Visualisation finds a purpose

    27th August 09

    Posted by Patricia McDonald

    Posted in creativity, data, design, guest

    Author: Jim Carroll, Chairman, BBH London

    I recently attended an excellent Made by Many event hosted at BBH which featured a re-presentation by Manuel Lima of his 2009 TED talk on data visualisation. Manuel is the curator of visualcomplexity.com and is an eloquent, modest, charming pioneer in this fascinating field.

    As a novice myself, I could not help wondering why we are all so immediately and instinctively attracted to the best of data visualisation.To start with, I’m sure there is some fundamental truth that for most of us data become meaningful only when we can see scale, change, patterns and relationships. Seeing is understanding.

    It’s also very reassuring to discover that complex, seemingly chaotic data sets and networks can be expressed as elegant, colourful, ordered maps and models. Perhaps there’s something akin to what the Enlightenment scientists felt as every new discovery revealed the endless beauty of nature.

    Indeed the best examples of data visualisation have their own aesthetic beauty. (I felt a nostalgic pang as I recalled time spent with spirograph in my bedroom as a child.)

    Like spirograph, but better: Email map by Christopher Baker

    Like spirograph, but better: Email map by Christopher Baker

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