Tuesday, June 30

recommended website

Sputnik Observatory

"Sputnik Observatory is a New York not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to the study of contemporary culture. We fulfill this mission by documenting, archiving, and disseminating ideas that are shaping modern thought by interviewing leading thinkers in the arts, sciences and technology from around the world. Our philosophy is that ideas are NOT selfish, ideas are NOT viruses. Ideas survive because they fit in with the rest of life. Our position is that ideas are energy, and should interconnect and re-connect continuously because by linking ideas together we learn, and new ideas emerge"

image from their site

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Monday, June 29

Innovation can happen anywhere when we remember that we are all in this together

Clay Shirky's May TED talk is well worth your fifteen minutes. Shirky discusses the tremendous impact of all media being digitized while emphasizing that it is the ability of the people to organize, rather than the technological tools, that is truly revolutionary.

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Tuesday, June 16

a useful site for book lovers

Check out The Book Seer created by Apt. Here is the back story

Share your favorite recommendations in the comments.

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Monday, June 15

Influx Curated 2009

The set-up

Ed Cotton curated an impressive group of talented folks and gave them the assignment of sharing inspiration in a five-minute format. They were also asked to invite two others to do the same. Essentially, it was a day of experiencing first-hand~ all the best links from your friends and influencers.

How it played
Fast-paced introductions to projects, collaborations and other labors of love, fantastic group exercises, visual art & storytelling.

The takeaway

Good Things Are Afoot~beyond the magazine, we have all sorts of tools and ways to be forces for good.

Madison Mount, IDEO, discussed the importance of standing for something good in the face of many, many choices and a populace that is increasingly thinking contextually. Mount cited Newman's as an example of how to answer metaissues with the brand.


Kanyi Maqubela, field director of Virgance, described the power of the mob as a force for social good. Virgance is  a platform for social activism that has worked with Carrot Mob and One Block Off The Grid. Read more about their collaborations here.

Emily Piloton discussed  Project H Design is a non-profit coalition that finds design solutions to problems such as the hippo roller  transporting water in Africa, teaching math through playground design in underserved populations in Africa and the U.S..

Jennifer Pahlka from O'Reilly discussed the spirit of internet citizenship. Pahlka encouraged urged us to frequently consider what would a citizen do? Pahlka also suggested that brands begin behaving like citizens.


Paul Kim, Mozilla, reminded us that everyone of us has the opportunity to be a student and a teacher. Kim shared some ways Mozilla has enabled participation. A couple of highlights jotted in my notebook:

Strive to make everyone feel included.
Make it easy for your community to do the easy things.
Allow people to do more.
Enjoy Paul Kim's deck "Three stories about participation"

"We all have invisible rules. Always question those. Always look for them." Gary Hirsch from On Your Feet

Gary Hirsch lead an interesting exercise demonstrating the power and role of the audience in storytelling. Hirsch suggested that in order to engage audiences we do less work, by providing ways to co-create with them.

During the Q & A an audience member asked if there is an overemphasis on being unique?
The answer was an emphatic Yes.

Speaking of Yes. We heard about the power of the word from Chris Barden and Jelly Helm. Chris focused on the power of collaboration when he shared that quite possibly the most inspirational two words are: "Yes, and..."

Jelly's call to action was to judge less. embrace limits. be not afraid. be open. forgive and love. His blog post on the day.

Chris's wife, artist Doris Mitsch contrasted the yes men with her story of saying NO. She took us through a difficult period of feeling blocked as a painter to the beautiul photograpy she is now creating (see photo credit below).


I enjoyed Jeben Berg's YouTube tips and examples. With 15 hours of video being uploaded to youtube every minute, we can all use pointers on how to stand out.

Here are some of Berg's suggestions & reminders for creating successful videos::

~It's not about technology. It's about trust.

~be who you are: enter the conversation organically.

~be thick-skinned: dove evolution eventually embraced the hijacks (after first resisting them)

~don't tease: build with the intent to deliver something phenomenal. over and over.

~create a competition: by our nature we are compete with others. Show people where to play. There is an audience for everything.

~be addicted to love: strike the heart. it will be shared. we love to forward emotion.

~be self-contained: make content that can live on its own.

~think low-fidelity/high concept

"Elevate the writer in all of your work...design means nothing without narrative." - Chris Riley of Apple

Chris Riley, shared the poetry of Ted Hughes and spoke emphatically about the importance of the narrative.

Marieka van Der Poel confirmed the importance of the story in her presentation on trends. But it did not require the talents of a trend forecaster to sum it up. Every presentation in its unique way demonstrated the power of narrative and how it can inspire.

Much, much more happened but these are a few of my selected nuggets. Beyond the quality of the presentations was the great conversation in the line for the women's restroom (there's a simple design challenge for all of you), during the lovely lunch and at the party hosted by Flamingo at The Tipsy Pig.

The day exceeded my expectations and I am again thankful to everyone at BSSP who made it happen. Especially Mr. Cotton. Respect.

Related: Cotton shared 10 themes coming out of Influx Curated.

photo credit: Spring B from Doris Mitsch website.

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Wednesday, June 3

The most important factor for success

This TED talk is a great companion to a recent New Yorker article titled Don't!

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Monday, June 1

make your words meaningful

This example of emotionally intelligent trash can signage is from Daniel Pink's blog.

Pink is the author of The Adventures of Johnnie Bunko and A Whole New Mind, two highly recommended reads.

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