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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.

CreativeMornings/London Interviews: Peter Gregson

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQeuJrYPLO4&w=415]

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/35592055]

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

Ferrari 599? Not so much. Ferrari 599 in matt black? YES!

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Having enjoyed a lovely lunch with the even more lovely Lady Nogrady in Marylebone, we set off to find a place for a coffee.

Low and behold, parked with impunity in the Baker Street bus lane, was this wonderfully sinister Ferrari 599.

Normally not much a fan of the new Fazzas (has there been a truly poetic stallion since the F355 or 456?), this machine drew me in like a moth to the matt black flame. No mere wrapping job, this appeared to be a full re-spray. It was also fitted with a (relatively) subtle carbon fiber body kit for good measure.

Seems the traffic cops were similarly attracted, judging by the growing pile of parking tickets under the wiper.

A beer in the sun and the future of the industry. A perfect combo, no?

Ah, the perils of a pub on the Thames, a pint and a video camera!

Last Friday I had the good fortune to, finally meet with the other half of the Movement Design Bureau, Mark Charmer.

With Joe Simpson and I in tow, he lead us to the most magical London pub I’d ever encountered, the Angel at Rotherhithe (somewhere near Bermondsey if you’re keen).

Ostensibly a social gathering, the ever scheming Mark had the sense to bring along a video camera to catch unsuspecting design strategists mid-pint, mid-cigarette and mid-flight setting the problems of the automotive world to rights.

Head over to the Movement Design Bureau to see Joe and I talking about the long term prospects for automotive industry and how I feel that, despite the massive strides made in HMI and connectivity in the last few years, I still don’t think that we’ve successfully grasped the aesthetic and social potential of the digital age.

[Photo: Mark Charmer]

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.