thinking like a child

Advice I've heard so far in my planning life is that thinking like a child is usually the way to break through a tough problem - keep asking why? why? why? While I keep this in mind in everyday work and play, I have been turning to children's books to make me a better thinker, and especially a better writer. I love the simplicity, and keeping these examples in mind makes my writing clearer for things as simple as emails, and as complex as 100-slide presentations.

Books by Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss, The Red Book (Barbara Lehman), the classics like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak are so well-written and beautifully brought to life that it's hard not to find inspiration in those few pages.

Imagine my delight in finding The Monster at the End of this Book (Jon Stone & Mike Smollin) online (thanks Very Big Blog).

flipbooks online

File this one under inspiration and user-created web content: http://www.fabrica.it/flipbook/topvoted.php. Impressive stuff.

via we make money not art


generations in the workforce

Just came across this article in Fast Company on the effects of many generations now in the workforce:

"Millennials aren't interested in the financial success that drove the boomers or the independence that has marked the gen-Xers, but in careers that are personalized. They want educational opportunities in China and a chance to work in their companies' R&D departments for six months. 'They have no expectation that the first place they work will at all be related to their career, so they're willing to move around until they find a place that suits them,' says Dan Rasmus, who runs a workplace think tank for Microsoft."

I'm already seeing this come to life where I work, and feel like ad agencies and the like are the places most able to adapt to this new way of working. But accounting firms and other typically buttoned-up professions are quickly catching up. The next 5 years in the workplace will be fun to watch.


assignment 3

Here's my response to assignment 3 from the account planning school of the web headed up by russell davies:

  1. A leading retailler wants to create an equivalent of The Gap aimed at the over 60s. What should the key communications idea for that store be?

    "Grandparenting" clothing is the key idea here. Highlight durability, stain-resistance – clothes that help you enjoy life as a grandparent. (19 words)
  1. A leading car brand wants to create a loyalty programme that ensures their over 50s customers come back and use authorised dealerships for their service and maintenance. They want to use direct mail to do it. What should the main idea for that be?

    Send out a crew to detail the car for free once. The guys are your direct mail, send them instead of a postcard. (24 words)
  1. An innovative entrepeneur wants to create a fast food or coffee bar chain targeting affluent over 50s. What should their strategy be?

    Make this crowd feel good about buying coffee by offering only shade-grown/environment-friendly/fair-trade beans. (14 words)
  1. Most people in their 20s aren't investing in pensions or thinking about how they'll finance their retirement - how would you persuade them to do so?

    "You don't have to live on Ramen noodles anymore, but think about your spending" – With time, money grows into something huge, compound interest is the key benefit here. (29 words)
  1. A health care company has realised that the affluent, demanding boomer generation in the US is starting to need critical health care, retirment communities and hospices, but they don't want the grimey, depressing places where their parents went to be cared for and to die. How would you position a total health-care business for this generation?

    "The golden years are golden again." Offer posh pads for living (plasma televisions, "rain" showers, etc.) and luxury cars (Audi convertibles, etc.) for renting. Enjoy your life with us. (29 words)

I especially struggled with #4, persuading young people to invest in their retirement is a toughie.

new research methods

I was checking out the Fallon Planning Blog for the first time (stumbled upon it here) this a.m. and saw this cool post about alternative research methods to groups, interviews, etc. In addition to their list, which is below this rambling, I thought of 2 more I've seen in recent months that allow us a glimpse into what's going on in the general world around us:

Project (1 of 3 by rebar) that gives new spin on what we can do with a parking space that we payed for. This group created a miniature park within their metered spot.

Method of research similar to those already in use in some planning departments, but the main difference here is that a participant photographs everything he or she touches. Lots of data to trudge through, but would be interesting for certain brands.

and I like to explore Flickr. I'll add to this as I come across more in the future.

Fallon Planning Ideas:

"Kids With Cameras

Photography taken by impoverished kids from Haiti, Jerusalem, Cairo, and Calcutta show us the realities of their daily worlds, from their POV. Also check for an HBO film called "Born From Brothels" which documents the initial project which started in India (available on Netflix). They sell the book on this link, too.

SUGGESTION is conducted by a collective of artists called ILLEGAL ART who placed a box marked 'suggestions' with a clipboard, paper and pen in various locations around NYC. A compendium book (available on Amazon) collects the suggestions made by the public.

Post Secret
POST SECRET is an ongoing community art project where people mail-in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard (*I believe some of these have made it to a current pop music video called "Dirty Little Secret" by All-American Rejects).

One Free Minute
This art project allows random, anonymous callers to use ONE FREE MINUTE of phone time to speak their minds. These soap boxes are broadcast live in random public spaces via a loudspeaker kiosk that is bicycled about. As well as, the Minutes are archived and made available online.

1000 Journals
1000 JOURNALS are travelling from hand-to-hand throughout the world. Those who find them will add their drawings, and then pass the journal along in an ongoing collaborative art form.

BOOK furthers the chain-mail expression notion as a single sketchbook was sent in random order between 4 artists in Brooklyn and Belfast. The collected work is being exhibited in art shows and a reproduction book edition for sale.

Vasava, the design studio from Barcelona, has devised the project PLACE, a blank travel book with 350 pages that went around the world, becoming impregnated with the experiences and creative and artistic thoughts of 36 participating designers all over the world. A box with a book, a "blank" T-shirt and a video camera were the documentary tools dispatched to each one of the two monthly destinations. PLACE ended up being a book, a web page, a film and an exhibition, all made from the materials provided by every PLACE's co-creators in the places visited during the project."


It's a start

So, here it is. Better late than never...