Category Archives: Inspirations

Insights from World Innovation Forum 2013

A few weeks ago I attended the World Innovation Forum at the regal New York City Center, a two-day immersive look at what it means to build a culture of innovation, hearing from a broad range of speakers, across countless disciplines. From the experience, I came back to my work and personal life refreshed and invigorated, as is true of most conferences. I think what makes this experience truly unique is that unlike other conferences, Innovation is not an industry specific thing, and yet has become so widely desirable in so many facets of life. I found insights from this experience that I hope to carry across the broad spectrum of my creative endeavors, both personal and professional, and here, I plan to share them with you.

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Posted in Inspirations, IT, Life Lessons, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , , , .

Michael Martin – Vibram

Michael Martin – From a Marketing Strategy to a Global Movement

“We sold a product that went against everything we ever did in the industry, without a business model, that no customers asked for, that people initially hated, without spending a dollar in marketing.”

Michael Martin, General Manager of the Five Fingered shoes (you know, the “toe shoes”), shared his journey building a product that was doomed to fail according to virtually every conceivable measure of potential future success.

The company’s big break was actually deep in it’s history, when it sold the first rubber soled shoe, going on to supply the US military with all of its footwear. They had proven they could innovate once, why not again? As anyone in a large successful company can attest, it is a lot harder to innovate in a proven, successful market than it is at the start of a company when you have nothing to lose.

As if putting Mauro’s theory into practice, they relied heavily on their loyal customers to advertise their product for them. They have a website where their customers have made three minute videos about what Five Fingers means to them.  Suddenly, this confusing, unwanted product has evolved into the 2010 “Item of the Year” in the Plus awards for design excellence.  All of this is possible because they had the courage to stand by their idea, because of their experience with a young, unproven product. The courage to accept early failure as part of the road to future success is instrumental to building a culture of innovation.

Posted in Funny, Inspirations, IT, Life Lessons, Project Management, Shifting Perspectives, Uncategorized. Tagged with , , , , , , .

Design Thinking – Mauro Porcini

Design Thinking – Mauro Porcini, Chief Design Officer at PepsiCo.

“Innovating in Brand design is no longer about packaging and graphics, but about understanding people, and focusing on emotional needs of consumers.”

Mauro is a passionate, quick speaking, quicker-thinking visionary that has spent his career at the helm of several of the most iconic brands worldwide, first with 3M and currently with Pepsi. He really came with two talks (unfortunately for the timekeeper): one on the way he now views the role of Design Thinking in brand management for the next generation of marketing, and one on his path to design, finding himself through his role models and experiences.

From his remarks, his thoughts on overall brand experience rang true to me. He spoke about how the most successful brands are done with product packaging and graphics for their own sake, and are attempting to design your experience – how you and the product interact, and in turn, what the product says about you to those you care about. The most successful companies at this are those that are using marketing to build a story between your customers and their peers.  This bridge gives them the context to share what they like about your brand with others.

Posted in Art, Inspirations, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , , .

Overcoming Obstacles: David Blaine

Nothing is quite as poisonous as the words, “you can’t do it.”  Those words are more caustic than tar, more debilitating than any disease, and have destroyed thousands of dreams. It’s not the words themselves; it’s just a sentence, an opinion, right?  It’s when the public ridicule of your resolve raises to critical mass, and becomes the mantra of the gloomy cloud of people that have already given up hope on their own dreams, and threatens to drown you out completely, that it becomes dangerous.  They start to convince you that, “maybe you can’t,” and it becomes clear that the emphasis on what we can’t do stifles our ability to “do the impossible.”

David Blaine doesn’t listen to these voices, even when the global scientific community insists that something isn’t possible. His insistence on pushing the boundaries on what’s possible can teach us a valuable lesson.  Sometimes, conventional wisdom isn’t true. Sometimes, failing firsthand is better than believing you are doomed to fail at the start. More on that after the break, but first, David Blaine, soft spoken and humble,  tells the story of how he learned how to hold his breath for 17 minutes.

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/lang/eng/id/741

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Posted in Blog, Inspirations, IT, Life Lessons, Shifting Perspectives, Work. Tagged with , , , , .

The Overview Effect

The Overview Effect is a phenomenon experienced by a large number of veteran astronauts, who traveled to the moon and stars searching for answers to ancestral questions about who we are, what is our purpose, and what is our destiny. They were so focused on what was “out there” that it never occurred to them how breathtaking, how awesome, fragile and how perfect their home would look from mankind’s newest vantage point. It is this profound moment when they began to feel an overwhelming sense of inter connectivity, of unity, or purpose. That we are all part of one ecosystem, and that may have been the most important discovery of the journey. Fair warning: this post will get deep.

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Posted in Blog, Inspirations, Life Lessons, Science, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , .

To This Day

This powerful work has been going viral, and rightly so.  It explores how the insecurities that form from bullying, and how they stay with you much longer than the proverbial “broken bones from sticks and stones”.

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Posted in Art, Inspirations, Life Lessons, Poetry, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , , .

Pep Talk From Kid President

This is making the rounds as the next viral video around, and it totally made my day.  I am standing in a crossroads in life, and this is set my mind on the tasks at hand.

~PL

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Other videos by Soul Pancake

 

Posted in Funny, Inspirations. Tagged with , , .

Designing For Our Bodies

Artist Neil Harbisson was born completely color blind, but these days a device attached to his head turns color into audible frequencies. Instead of seeing a world in grayscale, Harbisson can hear a symphony of color — and yes, even listen to faces and paintings.  Neil Harbisson’s “eyeborg” allows him to hear colors, even those beyond the range of sight, such as ultraviolet and infrared frequencies.

His story is unbelievable; a remarkable use of modern technology.  This is just one example of a growing trend of technology integration with our biological “hardware”.  I want to talk about encouraging the innovation that will push the boundaries between technology and our world.  To do this, we have to start designing for our bodies, for our native ecosystems.  There is a lot of material in this post, so make sure you catch all of the exciting developments! Listen to Neil’s story, and get excited! Continue reading

Posted in Health, Inspirations, Science, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , , , .

Finding Your Lens, and Sticking To It

Chuck HobermanChuck Hoberman has made a career out of looking at the world with a different perspective.

Hoberman, internationally known for his “transformable structures”, seamlessly fuses the disciplines of art, architecture and engineering. Through his products, patents, and structures, Hoberman demonstrates how objects can be foldable, retractable, or shape-shifting.

He is the founder of Hoberman Associates, a multidisciplinary practice that utilizes transformable principles for a wide range of applications including consumer products, deployable shelters and structures for aerospace. His art has been exhibited around the world on many occasions over the last 20 years.  Examples of his commissioned work include the transforming video screen for the U2 360° world tour, the Hoberman Arch installed as the centerpiece for the Winter Olympic Games (2002), as well as exhibits at a number of major museums. Hoberman spoke at TEDxJNJ about his accomplishments in a calculated, almost too humble manner, but in the midst of explaining his way of viewing the world, he imparted on me some words of wisdom that really stuck with me. Continue reading

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Ubuntu Phone OS: A Welcome Change

It’s Time for a Change

wpid-Photo-Jan-3-2013-319-PM.jpgI’ve been depressed about my mobile situation.  I have the original DROID X, and it is acting like a senior citizen with dementia.  It forgets it has a camera, a microphone, and needs to be rebooted twice a day. I have loved my android experience until last month, to be completely honest. I bought the phone in March of 2011, and I have really come to think of my phone as an extension of myself.  That said, with carrier concerns, and the degrading performance, it is time for a new phone for me.  But what phone to get? Continue reading

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