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?

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

Negative or positive freedom?

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)?

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: 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: Daniel Lewington & Christian Miccio (updated)

Over the last few weeks, the hot topic of conversation in CreativeMornings circles has been the sometimes awkward relationship between the tech and design communities in London.

This month, we have the pleasure of presenting two chaps that have bridged the design/technology gap in a dizzying display of entrepreneurial endeavour.

Daniel Lewington worked for a who’s who of digital, design, branding, product and service agencies before chucking it all in to join London start-up Apsmart. Here, as Head of Strategy & User Experience, he joined members of the original development team behind music discovery app Shazam.

In June of this year, Thomson Reuters acquired Apsmart , with Daniel becoming their Director of Mobile User Interface. But before the sale, Daniel had a hand in developing a serendipitous internet radio app for iPad called Mpme, which is where Christian comes in.

As an early joiner at Shazam, Christian’s responsibilities included building the technical team, the content management system and what has become one of the largest music databases around.

He then spent almost 5 years at Google as a product developer, rolling out core features in Gmail and Maps while also looking after market research and recruiting activities.

He’s now CEO of MPme, where they’re continuing to refine their iPad app, widely considered the most beautiful radio app going.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you to CreativeMornings/London October with Daniel and Christian on the 2nd of November at Forward Technology in Camden.

In the meantime, get yourself acquainted with Daniel via our usual interview and set your alarms for 11am, October 29th when we’ll release tickets to this event.

Daniel Lewington & Christian Miccio will be appearing at CreativeMornings/London on Friday November 2nd – sponsored by Forward Technology – at Floor 2, Centro 3, 19 Mandela Street, London, NW1 0DU. The nearest tubes are Camden Town or Mornington Crescent. For more information and to reserve tickets, please go to the CreativeMornings London Eventbrite page.

Where do you go when you need to concentrate?
DL: Home.

CM: Into my own place in my head. Generally in a coffee shop so I have only anonymous chatter around me that I can ignore, while getting enough external input to come up with new ideas.

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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: 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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Why Tina started CreativeMornings (and why I brought them to London)


Recently CreativeMornings founder Tina Roth-Eisenberg a.k.a SwissMiss went to see a talk at the Atlanta chapter.

While she was there she was interviewed by Ron Dawson of Dare Dreamer magazine for the video above.

It’s such a neat encapsulation of what attracted me to CreativeMornings and why I was so desperate to bring it to London way back in 2010.

Hat tip to Tina and Ron

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.