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.


Notes from TEDx

lego print advert /via

This was the closing image of my TEDx talk at Teesside University last week. I think it’s one of the most beautiful images I know. It actually brings a lump to my throat when I see it. My talk will be published in full soon – it was an incredible experience. Daunting, especially being the closing act after so many great ideas had been communicated, but exhilarating as well. I hope that I managed to impart some of the spirit of what I’ve found in my experiments in creative research at Sky. As a notorious master of the tangential ramble, it was a challenge to keep to 20 mins whilst remaining focussed on what I wanted to say.

My takeaway message, which is encapsulated neatly in the image above, from a Lego print campaign in 2006, is that in the corporate environment, we often rush toward an end product, locking it down, planning it, concerning ourselves with the minutiae of it’s execution. Letting your imagination run free, expending company time and funds on frivolous explorations of creative ideas, technology and the very nature of your organisation’s products or brand bring nothing but benefits to you in the longterm. By abstracting the central ideas from the deliverable product, we energise our teams, create better environments and workflows, and, at best, allow new paradigms for our work to emerge.

Basically, have fun again and don’t worry if your timesheet has unaccountable holes within it. One cannot quantify the experiential.

Massive thank you’s to all at Teeside University and the awesome Institute of Digital Innovation for hosting the event, and in particular to Jane Henderson who is always a pleasure to work with.