Drew Smith: ethnographer, strategist and host of Rising Minds

CreativeMornings/London Interviews: Paul Ormorod

The Zürich chapter, situated in one of the more understated money capitals of the world, chose Money as the global theme for CreativeMornings in February.

Given London’s all-together more challenging take on that which makes capitalism go ’round, we knew that – for us – any old money man (or woman) wouldn’t do.

One only has to look at the titles of Paul Ormorod’s books to get a sense that he’s no classical economist. Starting with The Death of Economics, moving through Butterfly Economics and Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction and Economics and concluding (for now) with Positive Linking: How Networks Can Revolutionise the World, Ormorod has tirelessly challenged the economic orthodoxy. In it’s place, he argues for a model that more closely aligns with our irrational, networked selves and the natural systems we are beholden to.

Whoever said economics, creativity and desire to be more in tune with the world around us were mutually exclusive should get stuck in to Paul’s books.

Or, if you’re a CreativeMornings fan, come along to his talk. Hosted locally by LBi and supported globally by Squarespace, it will a fantastic opportunity to engage with a topic that we creatives rarely enjoy discussing.

Our usual interview is below for some further insight into Paul’s way of thinking. Otherwise, we’ll look forward to seeing you on the 22nd of February.

Paul Ormorod will be appearing at CreativeMornings/London, hosted and sponsored by LBi, on Friday, February 22nd. Doors open at 8:30am. Tickets will become available on the CreativeMornings/London Eventbrite page at 11am on Monday, February 18th.


Where do you go when you need to concentrate?
Anywhere where I can’t be interrupted and I have space to pace around when necessary

Is it about what you know or who you know?
This seems a pretty cynical question

What’s been the most pivotal point in your life thus far?
I grew up on a council estate in Rochdale, and getting into Cambridge was pivotal

Do you think there’s enough discourse between disciplines?
No, nowhere near enough. I liaise with a wide range of disciplines, anthropology,
psychology, economics, physics, for example. This is really important if we want to get a
better understanding of social and economic problems.

Can you teach innovation?

Dollar or Yuan?

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Negative or positive freedom?

Ideal holiday?
I am a keen hillwalker, so a cottage in the Scottish Highlands, ideally on the North West
coast. I would also like uninterrupted fine weather, but that is just a fantasy.

Can you draw?

Can you draw us a wave?

Individual or state (or both)?
Mainly individual

Favourite LP?
The Velvet Underground and Nico

Last book read?
Irvine Welch’s Skag Boys

The best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
During the 1980s and early 1990s I had become increasingly critical of mainstream, free
market economics. I was approached by Faber and Faber to write what became the Death
of Economics. But I had never written a non-academic book and I was very nervous about
agreeing to do it. But several people really pressed me. Worldwide, it sold over 1 million.
More importantly, it opened up whole new intellectual avenues and contacts which I would
never have come across if I had not written the book.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are?
Start off doing academic work, with a strong quant emphasis, but then get out after a few
years and use your innovative ideas in your own business

CreativeMornings/London Interviews: Mark Stevenson

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.

CreativeMornings/London Interviews: Rory Sutherland

To attempt an introduction to Rory Sutherland is to risk seriously underwhelming his legion of followers, not to mention the man himself.

So in the interests of avoiding disappointment, we’ll keep it brief.

Testament to the fact that being written off as a crap graduate is no barrier to stellar success, Rory’s contribution to the world of advertising and its move into the digital space is the stuff of global renown.

Currently vice-chariman of Ogilvy UK, he’s as fervent an advocate of getting the small stuff right as he is luke-warm on the preponderance of crap strategy. We can’t wait to be held in thrall by whatever he choses to hold forth on or, indeed, whatever he choses to wear.

Making sure you set your alarms for 11am on Monday the 19th of November and head to our Eventbrite page for tickets. You wont want to miss this.

CreativeMornings/London on Friday November 23rd is generously sponsored by Carat and will be held in The Johannes Gutenburg Room, 10 Triton Street NW1 3BF London. The nearest tube stations are Regents Park, Great Portland Street, Euston Square, and Warren Street.

Where do you go when you need to concentrate?

A cafe or train – you are undisturbed, but benefit from the stochastic resonance of background noise.

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CreativeMornings/London Interviews: Will Hudson of It’s Nice That

Continuing our interdisciplinary riff, we’re delighted to announce that the speaker for CreativeMornings/London this July is Will Hudson of It’s Nice That.

Since founding It’s Nice That in 2007, Will has worked tirelessly to champion multi and inter-disciplinary art and design through print and online media and a series of events that inspired us to kick off CreativeMornings in London.

It therefore seems appropriate that Will’s talk will also mark our 1 year anniversary in this great city.

As Will’s a specialist in fleshy, human search and curation, we’ve decided to turn up the contrast and host him at the London hub of digital search, Google Campus.

We hope you can join us.

Will Hudson will be appearing at CreativeMornings/London on Friday July 27th – sponsored by Google Campus – at 4-5 Bonhill Street, London EC2A 4BX. For more information and to reserve tickets, please go to the CreativeMornings London Eventbrite page.

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CreativeMornings/London Interviews: Stuart Wood of rAndom International


June 2012 is a big deal for the global CreativeMornings family.

For the first time, 22 CreativeMornings chapters, in collaboration with Rhode Island School of Design, will be speaking with one voice.

The subject is one that’s close to our collective heart: the magic that occurs at the intersection of art and technology.

The CreativeMornings/London team thought long and hard about who we’d like to represent our city on the world stage and after months of frenzied research and conversation, one name kept popping up: rAndom International.

In rAndom, we found the perfect mix of the industrial and ethereal, their installations using technology to give birth to interactive experiences that are magic to behold.

That co-founders Stuart Wood and Florian Ortkrass are so adept at melding art and technology should come as no surprise. Between them, these two have had stints at serial industrial innovators like Audi, Ross Lovegrove, the BBC and Philips. They’ve also served as co-leads on the interaction design course at Ravensbourne.

It was this last point that sealed the deal for us. Part of what drives CreativeMornings is the belief that the fusion of art and technology into design has been one of the greatest drivers of progress. We can’t help but love a couple of guys who’ve helped a whole new generation of creatives get excited by the magic that happens when art and technology collide.

Read our interview with Stuart below and be sure to come along to see him (and Florian) speak at the St. Martins Lane hotel.

Stuart Wood & Florian Ortkrass will be appearing at CreativeMornings/London on Friday June 29th – sponsored by The Sanderson Hotel– at 50 Berners Street  London W1T 3NG. For more information and to reserve tickets, please go to the CreativeMornings London Eventbrite page.

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CreativeMornings/London Interviews: Peter Gregson

Step 1. Take one musician and have him record a track written by a composer with sensational lineage.

Step 2 Send said track out to the experimental masters of electronica and hip-hop for remixing.

Step 3. Collect results and compile.

If you think this sounds like a recipe for some avant-pop single, we’d forgive you.

In reality, this is a glimpse into the creative process behind the latest work of our next CreativeMornings/London speaker, classical contemporary cellist Peter Gregson.

Apart from his collaboration with Gabriel Prokofiev, titled Cello Multitrack, Gregson has also worked with some of the greats of the classical contemporary music scene, including Max Richter, Howard Goodall and  Steve Reich.

And in the last two years he’s performed at SXSW, XOYO and MIT and TEDx Alcatraz (where he forms part of the house band).

Need we say more.

Performing -and speaking- at CreativeMornings/London in the intimate Sanderson Billiard Room, this ain’t gonna be your average cello recital.

Read our interview below and make sure to set a reminder for 10:55 on Monday, May 21st.

Well, you wouldn’t want to miss out, would you?

Peter Gregson will be appearing at CreativeMornings/London on Friday May 25th -sponsored by The Sanderson– at at the Billiard Room at The Sanderson Hotel at 50 Berners Street, W1T 3NG. For more information and to reserve tickets, please go to the CreativeMornings London Eventbrite page.

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CreativeMonings/London Interviews: Jonty Sharples


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.

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CreativeMornings/London Interviews: Kenny Schachter

Kenny Schachter; art dealer, design critic, car lover, collector and commissioner of culture. His various professional and personal activities give him a unique perspective on design, art and, of course, design as art.

First coming to our attention during a panel discussion on the future of the automotive designer (Kenny thinks the increasing impracticality of cars will see them elevated to objects of cultural desire), there’s little doubt that Kenny’ll provide a provocative perspective on the practical, cultural and economic value of design.

Our usual interview is beyond the jump.

Kenny Schachter will be appearing at CreativeMornings/London on Friday February 24th -sponsored by Forward and Sense Worldwide– 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.

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CreativeMornings London Interviews: Sandy Suffield, Creative Director and author of Things&People


I first came across Sandy – not pictured above – during some expert interviews Sense Worldwide conducted for a financial services client. Somebody had tipped us off to the fact that she was writing a blog about the value of the ephemera that we surround ourselves with. After seeing the delightful Things&People with it’s impeccable presentation of people’s stories about their stuff, we just had to get in touch.

Sandy had a lasting impact on our project and I was intrigued to know more about this creative who lists Pentagram, Time Out, Apple and Nokia on her C.V. Over coffee in the Sense Worldwide loft, we spent a couple of hours discussing the ups and downs of a career in Cupertino, the richness of the mundane, stitching paper bags and her upcoming projects. I knew that if CreativeMornings came to London, I’d have to have Sandy on board.

And here we are.

Sandy will be taking over the amazing space at Forward in Camden on August 5th for our second CreativeMornings London. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have her speaking. You can sign up for the event from August 1st at 11:00 here.

But enough from me, it’s time to hand over to Sandy for our CreativeMornings London interview.

Where do you go when you need to concentrate?
My work room but generally hatching ideas and refining them happens anywhere.

Is it about what you know or who you know?
Both. If you only know people there’s no disguising a lack of ability.

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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.