How to change the world

"I believe art and design are poised to change the world now like science and technology did in the last century.  Art and design humanize those developments, and fuel true innovation, which ultimately leads to both economic recovery and cultural prosperity. Apple's iPod is a perfect example of technology that basically existed for a long time as an MP3 player, but that nobody ever wanted until design made it something desirable and useful in a way that you could integrate it into your lifestyle."                                                                                                                                                                                             - John Maeda, Art & Design Matter


Let's make sure we understand...




You're standing by the water fountain in a park and just across the concrete path, about 30 feet from you, there's a young lady sitting on a bench. Very quietly, with an intense focus, and a degree of serious concentration, she's lost in a book that she's reading. There's very little movement from her other than the occasional rubbing of her nose or a quick scratching of her head. Not drawing any attention to herself, she's clearly enthralled in whatever's happening on those book pages. 

As you're standing there, quietly observing her, you hear a bunch of yelling and shouting in the opposite direction. Across the grassy field, from where you're standing, two guys are talking smack to each other. As a small crowd begins to form around them, they heighten the intensity of the situation by egging on the two men. You immediately lose interest in the young lady, as nothing eventful is happening there. The two gents, though...that has your attention. Something's about to go down...

The young lady reading her book is fundamentals (personified). Quiet, serene, and a bit on the excitement-less side. This can be the nature of fundamentals, but not necessarily always the case. She's  focused, engaged, and measured in her responses to anything outside of what she's immediately doing. At first glance, she's not much of an attention grabber, a bit mundane to an extent. If you were to chat her up, in a conversation though, you'd probably see that there's more to her than meets the eye.

Now on the other hand, the two gents getting ready to throw down... are hype. Loud, brash, over-exaggerated and often seeking attention for the sake of seeking attention. They have the crowd frenzied, rooting for them, with excitement stirring in the air. The crowd is animated; clamoring and in an uproar, interested in seeing these two men go at it. There's alot of excitement buzzing and plenty is going on. Peel the layers back and peer just below the surface of all this ruckus; nothing of significance is really happening at all.

This is what happens often in today's hashtag, like my page, what's trending now, this week's youtube sensation, give me hype or give me death environment. Now there's nothing wrong with this in and of itself, but when it occupies so much space that you can barely see, hear or get access to quality concepts and/or fundamentally good and sound ideas, then this is when it becomes a problem.

What makes this doubly a problem is when this hype-space becomes the market interpretation of choice (across many channels). This now creates a (social media) reality distortion field - It's claiming to bring you customers, make your brand relevant, give you buzz (and I could go on), when in acutality it's often lacking conversations around numerous other value factors (story, emotion, empathy...). These accepted interpretations that run rampant in 'social media circles' speak partially to what's happening in the market. Digital media pundits many times focus on fleeting value that feeds short term "hype," often getting lost in their own techno-babble, forgetting about the issues of sound ideas and basic business fundamentals.


Understand the Soul...

Everyday we're on the web, we're engaged. We're looking, searching, learning, sharing and experiencing. Across our screens crazy cat antics play out,  we like our friend's FB status, we comment on blog posts, we retweet a cool quote or peruse through an interesting tumblr page, and the list goes on.

But on occasion we happen upon great content. Something that connects with who we are and speaks to something far below the surface. For me when that happens I take pause because it's not often that it occurs. And when it does it's only fair to give it some extra love.

Definitely worth your time, an incredible 2 1/2 minutes with John Jay, Executive Creative Director, Wieden + Kennedy....


Warhol: Business, creativity and culture

At my core I'm an artist. I grew up during hip hop's explosion into the market during the mid 80's and early 90's. So the world of b-boy culture, rhyming, graffiti writing and dJing was the canvas in which I creatively expressed myself to the world.

Now I have never been heavy into the art world. I don't proclaim to be an expert, an enthusiast 'per se' or a rebel, changing the world with my every brush stroke, but I do get, understand and vibe with the creative energy that drives that kind of center of gravity. 

At the core of innovation is creativity. And what I mean by creativity is "any way to interpret your environment differently than you currently experience it." This can be done in so many different ways...(but that's another blog post...)

Andy Warhol was the master of reinterpretation. He reinterpreted art. He reinterpreted commercialism. He reinterpreted (and maybe better stated, re-defined) pop-culture.

Ever since I started to look at him through the lens of an innovator vs. a creative talent, I'm consistently having a different kind of appreciation for who he was and what he brought to the world of business and art

This morning in my inbox was the below video from the Economist. I love that a publication focusing on free-trade, globalisation, government health and education spending takes the time to highlight the influence that Andy had on 'commerce' (what the Economist is all about) and what this idea represents.

Great video. Hope you enjoy.


Ok Go (with more intersection stuff please...)

So here at Cnvrgnc we are HUGE fans of the intersection (its the premise upon which the company was built). When business, technology and culture converge amazing, wonderful, creative, beautiful, and innovative things can happen.

Whether its a cool product, the world's firs 4D Experience or a design battle the intersection is where forward thinking happens.

So just a couple of days ago when I came across an article from Creativity (I subscribe to their online magazine) and saw the title on one of their posts: An intersection of music, technology and modern dance, I was definitely checking it out. Come to find out it was, once again, another creative video from Ok Go (surprise, surprise). Here is the actual write up from Creativity...

OK Go has a new music video out, in collaboration with modern dance company Pilobolus, and Google. The clip once again features the collaboration between the band and director Trish Sie of Bob Industries (and lead singer Damian Kulash's sister).

The music video, a kaleidoscopic, typographic display of the bandmembers' bodies,is only a small part of the package. Users can also visit the HTML5-power website (only via Chrome), All Is Not Lost, type out a message of their choice (in Roman letters or Japanese) and watch the performers dance it out using their bodies to create letters and shapes.

The video is an effective showcase for the Chrome browser technology. The dance, when viewed on the website, appears in 12 separate windows. The windows themselves will resize and move along with the music. According to a post on the Google Blog, the team included staffers from Google Japan. OK Go has suggested that the video be used as a message of support for the Japanese affected by the Tohoku earthquake.

Check out a behind the scenes video here.

Here's the video...enjoy!