Category Archives: Shifting Perspectives

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 , , , , .

Visualizing Slacktivism

I think that leveraging Social Networking tools for political activism or interpreting public opinion has enormous potential.  I don’t believe that just because supporting a cause online is easier to do that it has less meaning than more traditional forms of getting your voice heard.  That said, I don’t think that the methods have matured to fully capitalize on this potential.  I like this quadrant chart, which separates different forms of activism by global/local level of participation, and by use of technology. After the break I share my opinions on the strengths of slacktivism, and its potential future in active protest.

SRC: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/slacktivism Continue reading

Posted in Activism, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , .

Johnson & Johnson: New Digital Charity App

A lot of people think that “Digital Activism” doesn’t accomplish anything.  By digital activism, I mean the idea that sharing a viral message on twitter or facebook can directly support a noble cause. I could probably write a whole post on the subject of successful digital activism campaigns and other attempts that were total failures… but instead, I’m going to talk about Donate a Photo, a cool app just released by Johnson & Johnson.

It enables you to have a direct monetary impact on important charitable causes, by donating to charity in exchange for donating a photo. Very easy to do, and has enormous potential to change the way we think about raising capital for good causes. Read on for my review of the app and my thoughts on digital activism’s place in the next generation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoNv_BGxfyk
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Posted in Activism, Charity, Shifting Perspectives.

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 , , , , .

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 , , , , , .

What Does Healthy Behavior Cost?

I am really bad at being healthy. Exercise? Diet? Healthy lifestyle?  My motivation is always low. One of the talks at TEDxJNJ was about looking at why it is so hard to be healthy.  It’s not like we don’t know what’s good for us.  Implementing a lifestyle that we know is healthier than our current one always falls to the wayside. Is it because we lack the energy, or the time, to be healthy?  In the spirit of the new year, and new year’s resolutions, let’s talk about how to get over the procrastination hump and start living healthier, based on a talk from the TEDxJNJ Main Event on 12/12/12. Continue reading

Posted in Health, 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

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