16th November 09
This is so brilliantly simple, and hints at a very interesting emerging platform both for conventional storytelling (in this case, reading with kids) but also for new opportunities where print meets interactivity anywhere.
This is a mock-up, clearly, but @Schatz & I been trying to work out what technology would allow the iPhone (say) to know when the page was turned; this would ensure a more immersive & richer experience.
Two thoughts come to mind:
One, use headphones controls to hack some kind of next page function from the next track control.
Two, shake and turn (bit random with kids in charge)
Any other ideas?
More details here: http://www.mobileart.jp/phonebook.html
Thanks to Alex Rainert – @arainert – for the original link on his excellent blog: http://www.everydayux.com/
13th November 09
This is a good summary of some of the key shifts in music retail (although US-only data).
But what’s also really interesting is that it’s coming from a financial services company: mint.com
mint.com’s service – already brilliant on the web, and on a very strong iPhone app, now seems to be extending into data visualization and cultural commentary.
6th November 09
Posted in creativity
We’re full of respect for the way co-Chairs of the ANDYs, Michael Lebowitz and Ty Montague are shaking things up with their “Elect The Jury” platform for the election of 2010 ANDYs judges. Involving the industry in collaboratively determining who should judge what is ‘great work’ is a more democratic and more interesting way to put together a broad-ranging panel of top notch creative people. It’s also an opportunity for the industry to create a jury that doesn’t just judge and reward the past, but in some way tries to sketch out a vision of where this thing we loosely call ‘creativity’ is going.
I’ve caught up with both Ty and Michael over the last few days to ask them how it’s going, what they’re learning, and what’s next (though what follows is my view, not theirs, necessarily).
The first thing to note, and to celebrate, is that as an experiment, it’s clearly already been a success.
They’ve pissed some people off; always a sign that you’re doing something right.
They’ve curated a brilliant list of some truly phenomenal people across an extensive spread of creative industries, art and culture; this seems pioneering.
They’ve provided a platform for debate about the role of technology in creativity, the role (or not) of big ideas, and the role and value (or not) of awards shows; about time that happened.
But we also need to look at what’s happened as a result . . . where we’ve ended up, with less than 10 days to go.
We’ve ended up with a fairly conventional – dare I say it, expected – list of the top 25 jurors. It is a list that glitters with talent, experience and in many cases, legends. It has some unconventional entries, which is great (Shepard Fairey, Marc Jacobs). It has some super worthy judges who might not normally find their way on to the shortlist (Vivian Rosenthal of Tronic). But the remainder of the shortlist seems to be the ECDs from the top large agencies, mostly in the the US.
Below ‘the cut’ (at least currently – voting doesn’t end for a few days yet) are some phenomenal people who both define and in many ways embody an emerging sense of what creativity is, or perhaps even more, might become. I’ll list a few of my personal heroes here. These are people who excite me when they talk about ideas. These are people I’d collectively describe as hacking creativity, media, interactive art, or culture. They are at the forefront of trying to mutate formats, channels or content into new forms. They are not all in creative departments, but they are in some way creative people.
Kevin Slavin of area / code; John Winsor, latterly of CPB, now of Victors & Spoils; Faris Yakob of McCann NY; Noah Brier of Barbarian; Benjamin Palmer of Barbarian; Mike Monello of Campfire; Yugo Nakamura of Yugop; Clay Shirky, author of “Here Comes Everybody”; Hashem Bajwa of Droga.
Let’s be blunt about something. They are possibly not the people to go to for craft skills in art direction, film or typography (to name but three); craft skills that are still critically important in so many ways to creating magically good content. But they are the kinds of people who might create new crafts altogether. And that’s why they’re interesting &, I’d argue, relevant.
I believe that alongside the Legends of Creativity who already populate the ANDYs shortlist (many of whom are also clearly completely at home blending technology with creativity), we need more people like this judging and guiding creativity.
So here’s my suggestion.
Let’s try and persuade Michael and Ty to take the great list of creative talent they’ve carefully curated and stage a *Second Round* of their experiment. Before they have to finally appoint the jury.
Let’s try and persuade them to create empty categories. To take the entire 150+ curated list and ask the people in the industry to help allocate judges to categories. Once judges are in categories, then people can vote up their favorites so that we end up with a crowdsourced final list who go on to to be jury members.
And this time people can only vote once for their top 5. Just like real politics.
We might end up with a broader definition of creativity, and some helpful pointers to the future.
What do you think?
6th November 09
(Posted by Richard Schatzberger, Director of Creative Technology, BBH New York)
We spend a lot of time thinking about how now you can do things when you step away from the confines of your desk — tweeting in the supermarket, replying to email on the escalator. But what about when you are sitting in one of those comfy sofa’s or ergonomic Steel Case chairs? How does mobility come into play when you are in a fixed location?
I recently started using Apple’s Magic Mouse and have found myself leaning back in my chair and just using the touch functions to navigate. It’s an oddly liberating feeling to move your hand and mouse away from the desk and still be in control.
I have also spent the week with the Motorola Droid and by far my favorite feature is the dock that sits on my bedside table. I am no longer fumbling for my iPhone to check the weather in the morning to decide what to wear before I get up. I can now retreat back under the covers for a few extra minutes of sleep as, right there in my peripheral view, I can see that it’s “56 degrees and cloudy”.
And, right now I am sitting with my headphones on as I write this, but I would much prefer to be untethered and have a sound laser wrap the sound around my space rather than having a device wrapped around my head–allowing me to move slightly to hear the conversation rather than removing an object from my body.
Mobile phones have untethered us from objects plugged into walls and wires so we can run jump and call at the same time, but we do live and work in a society where people sit in single locations for large amounts of time. I like to think of the new technology as a way to enable 7.1 Dolby Surround… for everything. Surround screens, surround data, surround interaction.
Micro mobility requires design for all our senses and subtle changes in the environment, rather than distinct I/O control giving people a new type of freedom in the locations they spend most of their time.
If you could unhook or liberate one thing that is sitting close to you right now, what would it be?
21st October 09
I first came across this last year, and found it to be one of the best written and most insightful papers of the year.
At first glance this year’s presentation, posted yesterday (20th Oct) looks equally essential reading. See what you think.
15th October 09
“This is it. One day, one issue, thousands of voices.“
Robin Beck, Lead Organiser, Blog Action Day 09: Climate Change
Blog Action Day has it all: a social experiment on a mass scale, for the good of the planet. And, whilst it’s been pretty awe-inspiring to witness thousands of people write about the same topic in one day, it’s fair to say we’re most excited by that word in the middle: Action.
With that and #BAD09′s climate change focus in mind, we’re using our post here to share the work of Sebastian Copeland, the photographer, environmental advocate & polar explorer. (Full disclosure: I’m proud to say Sebastian is also my cousin).
Aside from the fact we’re not-so-secret fans of exploration in all senses of the word here at Labs, the thing we most admire (as we’ve discussed on a more than one occasion) is the killer combination of ground-breaking creativity put to great use. In Sebastian’s case, it’s one thing to have enviable creative & technical skill as a photographer, director, writer & speaker, it’s altogether another thing when that’s combined with a fearless appetite for physical endurance and a single-minded commitment to putting climate change issues front & centre.
15th October 09
We liked this.
Fairly cutting edge stuff – probably not easily accessible to everyday (‘normal’ i.e. have-a-life) users, quite yet at least, but still really interesting step on the way from mouse to touch-based (more direct) interface. See what you think.http://www.vimeo.com/6712657
Thanks to @kunaldpatel for the heads up.
3rd October 09
As in thrall as we may be to the firehose of new stuff drenching us in the here and now, occasionally we want to look a little further over the horizon. Two thoughts collided in the collective Labs brain a short while ago. By ‘collided’ we mean we saw a consequence of the relationship between the two that made us sit up and think:
1. The mass socialization of technology. 300 million + Facebook users can’t be wrong. We’re still in awe of how mainstream the adoption of technology has become and just how networked the world is. Increasingly the ‘loop’ never seems to close.
2. How ill-equipped we are to cope with the deluge. Natural human processing power is sadly finite and struggling to cope. Certainly, we know we’re not alone in adopting coping strategies like continuous partial attention and ignoring much beyond tomorrow or next week. Steve Rubel at Edelman also has written extensively on the attention crash and its relevance for marketers.
The heady mix of excitement and uneasy tension brought about by these two things has felt irresolvable and on an accelerating curve. Sure, we can help speed our path through the data with better micro tools (“there’s an app for that…”) but they invariably lead us to consume more, faster; giving us the sense that we’re simply accelerating to the point where our brains implode are placed under too much stress. We’re not wannabe priestesses and priests of Zen around here, but is there a longer term, more profound step change to be made where technology actually enables a more balanced life?
An answer began to emerge when we read a thought-provoking piece in the NYT by John Markoff subtitled “Artificial Intelligence Regains Its Allure.” AI. Cybernetics. Nanotechnology. Post Humanism? Sounds eccentric, but stay with us. Markoff’s assertion that a groundswell of attention and respect has been building around AI, in particular around an idea dubbed the Technological Singularity, made us curious. In a sentence, the idea is that once we create an an artificial intelligence greater than our own, it follows that any resulting ‘Superbrain’ will be capable of augmenting itself extremely quickly to become even more intelligent and so on, leading to an explosive growth in intelligence that is (literally) beyond our imagination.