Highlights from the Creativity 50

A few avid readers of both Creativity as well as this thing may not need the spur, but we’ve just posted our annual list of 50 interesting people and groups in the innovation game.

The Creativity 50 has changed a bit in the three years I’ve been involved, and I’m glad to say this year we have a great balance of both interesting and inspiring people in the world at large and the world of marketing. The latter can be myopic to a fault at times and one of the parts of the magazine I’m gladdest to bolster is introducing new viewpoints to our readership.

So, to that end, I was really excited to get to talk to some interesting people for this edition, above and beyond exciting achievers in advertising. Jason Fried is the CEO of 37Signals, and knows a thing or two about productivity and development. Aaron Koblin has an exciting worldview and is one of the few who’ve been able to wrap samples of our world’s data in elegant cloaks. Jonathan Blow, the creator of Braid, is part of a group of game developers pushing to make things that are much more intellectually and emotionally stimulating than the standard entertainment offerings. I had an in-depth and highly informative conversation with Blow, but that’s still under wraps until April.

Lastly, I got a chance to talk with the ever-interesting Dean Kamen, a guy I consider a real pioneer. The full Q&A is on our site now, and I urge you to check it out. Kamen has some very exciting opinions about growing up in our era and how our future innovations will come about.

Browse through this year’s list of honorees; you may come across a nugget of wisdom or two. Special thanks to Von for the kickass cover illustration.

Update: Something screwy came about between the ampersands in the Creativity links and my WordPress RSS feed. If you’re into the links and they’re returning noise in the syndicated version, click through to the actual post and they’ll work from there.

Old Media

“Old media will not be forced back into a historical village, like cute old handicrafts, wielding the same brief power of nostalgia as a spinning wheel in action. The old media are as intoxicating and empty as the new playthings. Their age is no guarantee of wisdom. Nor can we accuse the old media of dull or demented behavior. Their chronicling continues; they perceive with the one sense to which they have been doomed. With a little exercise, old media may serve us just fine, amidst all the contemporary telematic machinery.”

Buddy Scott sent this over a while back; it appears here on Agentur Bilwet’s “1000 Fehler,” an audio recording of these guys. “Adilkno (Dutch: “Bilwet”), the Foundation for the Advancement of Illegal Knowledge, was established in Amsterdam in 1983. It is a free association of authors and researchers. ”
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Android Cometh: First Looks, Critiques and Bugs in the G1

So, I got my G1 Android, aka Googlephone ahead of schedule last night and have now spent some time with it, so here’s a hands-on look as well as a bit of criticism.

I think the phone, especially the Android OS, has a lot of promise, and potentially can unseat the iPhone, if you look at functionality.

Stylewise, the G1 is a bit of a beast, though, and won’t win any beauty contests. But, erstwhile netcrunchers, we don’t want pageant wins, do we? We want to work! Handle business. That’s why we owned BlackBerries. Or at least I did.

Updated!!

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Spark it up! We’re talking Facebook next week.

Next week is Advertising Week in New York, the week many in the industry gather for a celebration of selling things. It’s not all parades with mascots down Fifth Avenue (though I can’t find any info this year about the “Procession of the Great Icons”); there’s some jibber-jabber too, and an unhealthy amount of socializing.

I’m going to be moderating a panel Tuesday, talking with three very intelligent guys about the potentiality for big ideas on Facebook and other social media. If you’d like to come by, it’s free, all you have to do is RSVP. (Oops–I just looked, and it says it’s sold out on the Advertising Week site. Contact me if you’re interested in coming, or just show up early.)

Anyway, we’re going to be (hopefully!) talking about interesting stuff, including a pretty conceptual look at what some future hypothetical Facebook marketing efforts might look like. I’m joined by some great creatives/forward-looking digital guys, so expect some cool ideas to pop out.

The Facebook Spark Series: Spark The Big Idea

How do good ideas spread? What does it take to get people to share branded content or offers with their friends? Top creative thinkers discuss innovative work and the methods to developing big ideas worth sharing in today’s social media world.

Moderated by Nick Parish, Associate Editor, Creativity

Panelists:
Rei Inamoto, Co-Chief Creative Officer, AKQA
Richard Ting, VP & ECD, Mobile and Emerging Platforms Group, R/GA
Rick Webb, Co-Founder and COO, The Barbarian Group

Tuesday, September 23
9:00 AM to 09:45 AM
The Times Center
242 West 41st Street
New York, NY

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone for coming to what turned out to be an interesting session. Audio is here, and video may or may not be coming soon. Ad Week saw fit to dispatch a reporter, who summarized the event quite well.

Michigan’s Digital Production Divide

All this looks like small beer compared to the meltdown here on Wall Street this month, but I was back in Michigan over Labor Day and found myself thinking the state’s huge production incentives program isn’t being fully utilized.

Up North, things are particularly bleak. In the town where my parents stay, Boyne City, 95 people started Labor Day weekend with a pink slip, as LexaMar, one of the biggest corporations in the town of 3500 laid them off on Friday. It made small talk everywhere, downtown, strolling past the classic cars on display, at the police-sponsored drag race at the city airstrip, another midsized manufacturer slicing off jobs as the economy expels another ragged breath.

The one point of light in a state with its biggest industry, automobiles, breaking down, is film production. It’s exceptionally cheap to shoot anything in Michigan right now, and that has ushered in the closest thing to a business renaissance the region has seen in years, at least the latest Band-Aid to create an economic buffer around the doomed car business, like Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s Automation Alley plan that began about a decade ago.
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Radiohead, but with lasers.

Oh, you know, just another day at the office writing about Radiohead, lasers, and the folks that love them. Last week I talked with James Frost, the director of Radiohead’s new “House of Cards” video. I’m seeing the group play for the first time at All Points West next month; I’ll report back if the stuff from the video is used at all in the live show. It’d be a bit of a shame if it wasn’t; this look is too closely connected to this song to be utilized in a fresh way anywhere else. So Radiohead might as well keep trotting it out with “House of Cards” when they play it live. Come to think of it, as amazing as applying this technology to film the crowd and band during a live performance would be, it’d probably be impossible to render the data in time to produce anything but the crudest preview. But I’m sure you stopped at the link to read Frost say that in our talk and have already ruled out that possibility.

Good thing, too, as who knows whether that LIDAR stuff might cause some impromptu LASIK for audience members, like these dodgy Russian rave lasers.

ffffind something for ffffacebook

A few months ago I began a flirtation with ffffound after receiving an invite from designer Keita Kitamura. It’s a neat little image bookmarking service created by Keita and Yosuke Abe in Yugo Nakamura’s Tha ltd web design shop. Check out a bit on Yugo I did as part of the Creativity 50 to learn more about them. It’s gotten a great group of beta testers who’ve bookmarked some zany stuff out there. (Though the beta has grown rapidly and now includes lots of random photos of tits off Flickr.)

After playing around with it for a while I figured it’d be excellent if we could get the images to go on Facebook, to spice things up a bit here beyond hatching eggs and super wall videos. So I drew out a little plan of what a simple Facebook ffffound app would do.

Problem is, I’m just coping with English; communicating with Facebook’s guts is a ways away for me. Luckily super Aussie Arnold Almeida found me after a desperate post on a ffffound appreciation group here and whipped up a spiffy little app according to my basic specs. And he’s been awesome enough to maintain it through several ffffound code changes since.

If you’re on ffffound already, now’s your chance to show off all the freaky nonsense you pick up on the web to your facebook buddies. If not, the app will still work! You can put in any user, like ‘yugo’, who’s always got interesting new stuff, which will then show on your page. (Or me, ‘paryshnikov,’ but no guarantee my bookmarks are interesting or new.) Cruise around, have fun, and look at interesting images.

Nerd Farming

Here’s a piece from the June issue of Creativity I feel came out quite well. Pulling in young talent is a constant source of gnashing whether you’re blogging or running a basketball franchise–but as far as digital marketing goes, it’s time to take the next step from hiring designers and coders who can make things look cool to hiring developers who can form concepts and bring together a team with knowhow to execute higher level things. Software tools. (Like, imagine if Chase built Mint.) There aren’t any great case studies yet as to how these things will look but smart agencies are already thinking beyond microshites to applications.

Here’s the full thing; poke around on the site for more goodies–we were all really proud of the June issue (let me know if you’d like me to send one). I’ve also pasted it below for convenience (erm, and search engines).

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