Geeky baby announcments

A couple of years ago, we announced the impending arrival of small ginger #3.  My Mrs, however, is the shy type and didn’t want me to broadcast it on social media.  I made a deal with her that I could do it if I wrote it in code.  I was just surfing through my Facebook timeline and found it again and thought I’d share since it made me laugh. Written in AS3, for my sins. :-/
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A grumpy post about Dinovember and digital creativity

Family ipad time

Standard Sunday morning iPad sessions

This week’s cool thing on the internet: A couple set toy dinosaurs up into little vignettes to give their kids a nice surprise in the morning. And I love it. I do. It’s quirky and fun and awesome – it’s dinosaurs being cute, it would be pretty hard to mess that up. Way to engage little minds. I do similar stuff by dressing up as a tiger and letting my fat tummy be a racetrack, I just thought that it was the fun bit of parenting, when you’re not clearing up shit and doing all the washing in the world. I didn’t realise that playing with my kids was a new frontier of creativity.
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Geek R and D

Andy in carbonite 3d print

Here’s the slides from my Reasons To Be Creative elevator pitch. As usual, they don’t make a massive amount of sense without context but you’ll get the general idea. Have to say, this is one of the toughest things I’ve done. That time limit is brutal, particularly if, like me, you’re more comfortable talking around a subject rather than delivering it concisely.

The point I’m mostly making here is that structured learning just doesn’t work for me, and I think it’s almost impossible in your busy work day. Basically, unless you’re a student or very well established in your field, having extended periods of research just simply won’t happen if you try to make a project out of it. However, it’s SO vital to the growth and motivation of creatively-minded teams of all disciplines, that you really must make it a central part of your culture, and the way I’ve always found to work best is to encourage people to indulge their passions.

Many of the speakers at RTBC talked about the importance of play and exploration and I think this is something we only do when we are genuinely interested in achieving something. For my 4 year old, that normally involves beating his brother at something (or with something more often than not). For me, it’s doing geeky cool – I mean come on, who wouldn’t want a model of themselves in carbonite amirite?

It amazes me that, with a little bit of pissing about, I can achieve things like this:

Andy in carbonite 3d print

…and the lessons that we’ve learned to get there mean the team have a fully rounded understanding of both the theory and practice of 3d printing, which we can, in future, utilise for the benefit of our clients.

Thanks to those that caught it. I’m going to be expanding on some of these themes at my Designer’s Fiesta talk later this month if you’re London based.

oh, the Kinect video will probably be missing from the slideshare, you can find it here.


Thoughts on being creative. #reasonsto day one…

He probably didn’t know it, but Paul Trani set the tone. “[I don't like the term's used too readily]“. You know what Paul, I couldn’t agree with you more. Everybody wants to be creative like everybody wants to be a geek (and there is another word which is rapidly devaluing). From the vacuous numptys on The Apprentice to every Dalston Douche that emin their way into their 15 mins…creativity is perhaps the most overrated word in the lexicon.

And yet, here I am, sitting at a conference called Reasons to Be Creative, bearing the lofty title “Creative technologist”…sitting, in fact, in the exact same seat I was two years ago when this conference was still broadly a tech conference for a now almost indefensible tech. I said once before that conferences like this are creative oxygen for me, this one in particular. I don’t know if John has been paying attention but their logo now shows a recharged battery, which, after a pretty hefty couple of months at the agency coalface, couldn’t come at a better time.

My own creativity has wavered, this I know. At the risk of giving a standard parent-and-manager whinge, there just aren’t hours in the day for the work I want to do in the face of the work I must do. Repeated throughout the day, by Grant Skinner, by Amit Pitaru, by Carlos Ulloa (who needs a separate blog post soon), is the need to play, to explore and to create. It’s something I’ve talked about at length and a central part of the culture of my team at work. I will say it again in the Elevator Pitch I’ll give at this conference in two days time. But now, sitting on the pisshead’s train back to London after marvelling at the ease with which Stefan Sagmeister once again makes being a world-renowned artist and creative seem, I *know*, really *KNOW* that I’ve been coasting, and that I’m not nearly as creative as I would like to think (or project) I am, not through a lack of ideas or skill perhaps, but because I simply haven’t picked up a tool and contributed to something.

It’s the thing I love about – it simultaneously lets you feel like you can achieve anything you want to, whilst at the same time, reality checking you that having the thought is not enough. You must do. Dominic Wilcox (whose work I did not know but instantly fell in love with) kept sketchbooks and littered his talk with cartoonish inventions that stick in the mind more somehow than his considered (and presumably well funded) work. The flow of ideas was irresistible…ideas of all scales from throwaway gags to incredibly emotive and thoughtful pieces of great depth.

I made some resolutions to myself today about the gulf that exists between having an idea and seeing it executed, even if that’s just a sketch, or an outline or a snippet of code or a todo list. It’s not difficult to find Reasons To Be Creative. It’s quite another thing to do something about it.

Reasons to be Creative (and to blog…)

Hey. Long time no post. My bad, sometimes real life just kind of pops up and diverts all attention. Since my last post I’ve become a dad for the 3rd time, launched a pretty epic responsive site for British Gas and built a great development team here at Grand Union who are already doing me proper proud. In my drafts folder I’ve got posts on the subject of appropriate use of technology (a pro-QR rant actually believe it or not), the perils of ajax SEO and some thoughts on responsive which I will get around to finishing up and publishing shortly. In fact I was thinking of joining Stef’s Sunday Post initiative, the only problem being is that Sunday’s are just about the worst time for me to do anything productive.

So, one small bit of news just to make this blog post vaguely worth reading, excuses aside.  Actually it’s a pretty big bit of news since it’s fulfilling a huge goal for me – I’m going to be delivering an Elevator Pitch at Reasons to be Creative this September.  RTBC was born from the ashes of Flash On The Beach which I’ve blogged about extensively before in these pages.  It’s been a highwatermark for me for years – solid creative oxygen, reviving my spirit and reminding me why I’m in this industry.  So I’m very proud indeed to be involved.  I’ll be doing a short 3 min talk, alongside my fellow elevator pitchers, on the subject of 3d printing and geek dream fulfilment!  It’s actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently which I’m hoping to expand into a bigger talk later in the year.

I urge you to attend though – not to see me – but to see  the likes of Memo Akten, Helicar and Lewis, Jay Eliot Stocks and Remy Sharp (I say begrudingly, I’m still not sure I’ve forgiven him for his blinkered anti-flash talk at fotb a few years ago…he is a bloody amazing speaker though) in the lovely confines of the Brighton dome.

See you there!