Monday, 28 July 2008

A is for Apple

Last week we had the guys from Work come over and take us through their 'Fission Training' which is something they've designed for our agency as a guide to conducting successful brain storming sessions.

We practiced various techniques which all worked very well and got people thinking of some awesome ideas for what were fairly mundane topics at times.

One technique that resonated was the 'Random Whack' technique which involved using pre-school style flash cards with pictures of a dog or egg etc and using this as a starting point for an idea. It was so effective! I think that maybe people could come up with ideas based on the card and hide behind it and blame the picture for what they might consider a crap idea.

This follows on to another point that came out of the meeting which was that you should always try and include people in the brainstorm who have nothing to lose i.e. members of your finance team or reception, people who don't necessarily give a toss about what you think of their idea!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Brief 2008 - have we started something??

So after what felt like months, Brief 2008 finally happened last Thursday at the Design Council. I really wasn't sure what to expect and was having all sorts of day dreams about the night, most of which ended in disaster so was pleasantly surprised when everyone who said they would turn up did, and no-one got too pissed and made a fool out themselves (although I think Ant was giving it a good go!).

We ended up with 8 teams (The Young Guns (aka Spandex!), The Naked Mashups, Rapier, DLKW, The Latecomers (Banner), The Randoms (mashup of VCCP, Iris, Omnicom etc), Loft Digital and Magic-ish (creative pair from BBH and Hyperhappen).

The judges were invaluable and threw in some excellent curve balls in the form of reducing the time by half, 10 minutes in, and asking some nasty questions from time to time which kept all the contestants on their toes.

The brief itself for Time Bank, threw up some really interesting questions including a tough target audience (young apathetic youths) and the responses were broad reaching and surprisingly insightful given the time available.

There could only be one winner however and this accolade was given to The Young Guns who gave an excellent presentation which was full of energy and certainly pushed the brief!

Overall feedback has been excellent and although it wasn't really on the cards, there will definitely be another Brief before the year is out. There are many lessons learnt from this one but the overall energy and competitiveness is not something you see all that often and I'm keen to replicate it so watch this space!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Band of the week - Vampire Weekend

for all you trendy festival groupies I'm sure you've been humming along to these guys for months but my sidekick Anisha introduced me to them last week and I'm slightly addicted as a result!

Just found out tickets are going on sale this Friday, right in the middle of our company AGM, typical.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Ni hao!

So Wednesday night is Mandarin night. A full three hours of trying to master a language that has approximately 60,000 characters (or so they think, nobody actually knows!) due in part to the fact there are four different tones which can make the same word mean VERY different things!!

I'm in the middle of a 10 week course which should result in me having a vague idea of basic greetings, asking directions and ordering dim sum. (as you can probably tell I have no ideas of grandeur when it comes to my skills!)

This week we learnt how to introduce ourselves, say where we're from and ask after one another's well being.

Jokes aside it really is such good fun! Ming (our teacher) is a hard task master as she literally doesn't stop for the full three hours but she likes a good laugh (yes that is a picture of her laughing and not showing off her fillings!)

The other guy is David. He's an accountant and has real trouble saying the number 4 which phonetically sounds like the first part of the word 'sew'er.

More updates to follow and if there's anybody working for W+K Shanghai (or the like, those are the only guys who I can think of with an office out there) who are looking for an energetic digital planner, here I am!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Return to the sandpit

Yesterday I happened to cycle past the first flat I ever lived in when I moved to London, suffice to say I hadn't been back nearly two years and I was suddenly gripped with that feeling that you get when you go back to your old school. In many ways it's indescribable but I think you know what I mean when I say I felt slightly apprehensive mixed with excitement as well as a sense that I shouldn't be there. It was odd and whilst I looked up at the windows and balcony all the memories of the parties and fun times flooded back and I felt immensely warm whilst chuckling to myself. People walking past must have thought I was slightly unhinged as I looked longingly at a block of flats grinning away.

One thing that I did think however was how great it would be if you could tap into this feeling through some sort of communication? Now obviously the biggest stumbling block would be that everyone's feelings are acutely personal (old schools, houses/flats, ex's etc) so whatever was being said and whichever medium was used would have to combine ambiguity with specifics. Ambiguity, to avoid wastage of ideas on un-receptive audiences and specifics, which tap into the key feelings that are generated in these situations.

Immediately I'm thinking that this might be something that is user generated at its core and maybe facilitated through the brand, for example Orange could offer users the facilities to put together a slide show of their memories of school which would include photos of old teachers and perhaps classrooms and playgrounds. From this I could see other people from the same class/school chipping in and giving their opinions and versions of the school/events etc. This is quite a large scale example and I imagine it would be for primary and secondary schools however that's not to say it wouldn't work on a really small scale personal level. i.e. destinations of childhood holidays, the first place you met, maybe track down your first car?!!!

Bit of a stream of consciousness and lacking in details but I think if it worked this would create a very neat network that would be fed from all sorts of different sources and could allow for people to share their early experiences using modern technology as a facilitator.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Where the party's at!

Just read about this quite cool technology that the guys over at City Sense have come up with. With the proliferation of GPS on mobile, tools like this were always going to be developed.

Although we're fairly habitual in our drinking habits (especially on a Friday after work) I think knowing where the hotspots are or aren't (depending on what sort of night you're looking for) could really help you to shake up where you normally hang out. Currently it's only on Blackberries so the current hotspots in London would probably be Bishops Gate and Holborn, but things should improve after the 11th of July...

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