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Drew Smith: ethnographer, strategist and host of Rising Minds

CreativeMornings/London Interviews: Adil Abrar

We often hear about reusing goods, but what about reusing people?

Thanks to London startup The Amazings, the concept isn’t as incongruous as it might first sound.

We’re faced with a rapidly aging population that, on the one hand, is hobbled by an employment market that looks unkindly on advancing years.

On the other hand, our amazing elders are finding that they have to work longer to make up for an increasing shortfall in social care.

The Amazings is working to bridge that gap, matching skilled elders to a younger audience that is keen to benefit from an Amazing’s years of experience and willing to pay for it.

It’s gives us huge pleasure to present Adil Abrar, co-founder of The Amazings, at this month’s CreativeMornings/London, where he’ll be speaking to our 3rd global theme for 2013, Reuse.

We’re also overjoyed to announce our partnership with The Goldsmiths Centre in Farringdon, who’ll be hosting this event for us. It’s a stunning venue and they’ll be special offer for CreativeMornings/London fans announced in due course.

In the mean time, be sure to check out our interview with Adil below and set your calendar to catch a ticket to hear the story of The Amazings.

Adil Abrar will be appearing at CreativeMornings/London, hosted and sponsored by The Goldsmiths Centre, on Friday, March 22nd. Doors open at 8:30am. Tickets will become available on the CreativeMornings/London Eventbrite page at 11am on Monday, March 18th.

Where do you go when you need to concentrate?
My whole career has been built on not concentrating.

Is it about what you know or who you know?
They’re both important. But ‘why’ is more important. If you have a purpose, everything else will become easier.

What’s been the most pivotal point in your life thus far?
Passing my 11+ and leaving the Estate I grew up in and heading to grammar school to hang out with well-fed kids who go skiing every year.

Do you think there’s enough discourse between disciplines?
Nowadays, definitely. It’s rarer to find a specialist than a generalist. The pendulum has probably gone too far towards broad, rather than, deep knowledge.

Can you teach innovation?
You can affect people with the spirit, confidence and attitude to experiment, take risks and be brave. Innovation is the result of that.

Dollar or Yuan?
Rupees

Do you believe in an afterlife?
Ask me when I’m dead

Negative or positive freedom?
Huh

Ideal holiday?
Climbing a (small) mountain

Can you draw?
Only flowers

Can you draw us a wave?
Not on my phone

Individual or state (or both)?
Community

Favourite LP?
Neil Young – Decade

Last book read?
Dirt – Mötley Crüe

The best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Marriage is like a shirt. You have to put it on to know whether it fits.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are?
Do something you love, with the people you love.

CreativeMornings/London Interviews: Mark Stevenson

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It gives me enormous pleasure to introduce our inaugural speaker for 2013, Mark Stevenson.

Playing the part of polymath to a tee, Mark could be considered a comedian, an author, musician and futurologist all rolled in to one. Happily, his wikipedia entry also calls him out as a public speaker.

Which is perfect really, because -in combination with the knowledge he’s gained researching optimism and setting up the League of Pragmatic Optimists– he’s perfectly poised to talk to our first global theme of 2013: Happiness.

Mark will be appearing at CreativeMornings favourite North London venue, Forward Technology, on January 25th. But if you’d like the down-low ahead of time, we have our usual interview below. We’d also recommend that you check out his series of posts for The School of Life and his latest book, An Optimists Tour of the Future.

Mark Stevenson will be appearing at CreativeMornings/London, hosted and sponsored by Forward Technology, on Friday, January 25th. Doors open at 8:30am. Tickets will become available on the CreativeMornings/London Eventbrite pageat 11am on Monday, January 21st.

Where do you go when you need to concentrate?
Anywhere quiet.

Is it about what you know or who you know?
It’s about what you ask and who you ask it of.

What’s been the most pivotal point in your life thus far?
Every point in your life can be pivotal.

Do you think there’s enough discourse between disciplines?
No, a thousand times no.

Can you teach innovation?
You can teach people the techniques that might lead to innovation. Better though is not to have an education system that teaches people out of their creativity in the first place.

Dollar or Yuan?
My preferred currency is the currency of ideas.

Do you believe in an afterlife?
I’ll let you know if I get there.

Negative or positive freedom?
The latter.

Ideal holiday?
Wherever my girlfriend is going.

Can you draw?
I have played Pictionary.

Can you draw us a wave?
Will you draw me a beach?

Individual or state (or both)?
It’s a negotiation.

Favourite LP?
I don’t do favourites. To say something is a favourite is to put it above all others, whereas I like lots of things equally but for different reasons. Seriously, you want me to put Stevie Wonder and Black Sabbath in the same race?

Last book read?
I tend to read several books simultaneously – so, Comedy Rules by Jonathan Lynn, Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson, The Leaderless Revolution by Carne Ross and Debt, The First 5,000 years by David Graeber.

The best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t be tempted into putting your experiences into hierarchies.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are?
Come on over. We have wine.

CreativeMonings/London Interviews: Jonty Sharples

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Jonty describes himself as a country-living gastrophile with a penchant for all things egg.

Our CreativeMornings/London April speaker also revels in understanding the murky area between designers’ confidence and arrogance.

Currently UX Design Director at Albion and previously with Tobias & Tobias, Jonty has over 12 years experience in branding, user experience design, and look & feel across all digital channels.

Having chaired panels at SXSW and appeared for our mates at LDNIA, we’re super excited to be welcoming him to the CreativeMornings/London family.

Our usual interview is -you guessed it- beyond the jump.

Jonty Sharples will be appearing at CreativeMornings/London on Friday April 27th -sponsored by Forward and Sense Worldwide– at the Forward at Floor 2, Centro 4, 20 Mandela St, Camden, NW1 0DU. For more information and to reserve tickets, please go to the CreativeMornings London Eventbrite page.

Read the rest of this entry »

CreativeMornings London Interviews: Chris Bangle of Chris Bangle Associates

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This month sees CreativeMornings London presented by one of the greats of automotive design.

Chris Bangle didn’t just radically alter the way we automotive designers think about package, proportion and surface (the aesthetic and structural skin of the car) and how consumers respond to it. He also masterfully wielded the transformative power of creative thinking in the business context.

In so doing, he helped irrevocably alter the course, aesthetically and strategically, of what was probably the car industry’s most conservative manufacturer, BMW Group.

Upon leaving BMW in 2009 he became the go-to consultant for companies, both automotive and otherwise, wanting to “do a BMW” and set up Chris Bangle Associates to service them. Operating out of an enchanting hill-top estate in the Piemonte region of Italy, he’s currently a creative brains trust for Korean technology giant Samsung. He also continues to push the thinking around future mobility and automotive design with MIT, Scuola Politecnica di Design and the Singaporean Design Council.

Having previously enjoyed Chris holding forth, both over the breakfast table and in front of a theatre of 500, attendees of CreativeMornings London in September are in for a real treat. In the mean time, we’ve presented him with our usual questions to get him (and you) warmed up. You can also read a review of his keynote at Umea University here and see his TED talk here.

DS

Chris Bangle will be appearing at CreativeMornings London on Tuesday September 6th at Buro Happold. For more information and to reserve tickets, please go to the CreativeMornings London Eventbrite page.


Where do you go when you need to concentrate?

In the kitchen, when my wife is not around!  

Is it about what you know or who you know?

Start with WHY you know something, progress thru HOW and WHAT you know. “Who”s pop up now and then at all levels like many enablers.   Read the rest of this entry »

About DownSideUp Design

I'm Drew Smith and I'm an ethnographer and strategist. By day I shape culture and strategy at Westpac. By night I sleep (mostly). And once a month, I help teams host an event called Rising Minds in London, New York, Toronto and Sydney.

DownsideUpDesign is a place for me to collect stuff that I like, often love and sometimes hate for safe keeping. All views represented here are mine and mine alone and do not represent those of anyone else.

Get in touch at drewpasmith (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet me (@drewpasmith) to rant, contribute or collaborate!

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© Andrew Philip Artois Smith and DownsideUpDesign, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrew/Drew Smith and DownsideUpDesign with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.