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Taken seriously, or just for a laugh – the power of storytelling

Fig. 1. Liam Neeson takes revenge in ‘Taken’

Of course our 14 year old son shouldn’t have been watching the moview ‘Taken’, but for the benefit of his 16 year old daughter on the long drive home this evening he set about detailing the action.

I found it hand not to laugh all the way through as somehow I had in my mind’s eye the film that I have seen three times as he offered his esoteric description – All Liam Neeson did apparently was talk in guttural noises and wave his hands about. Dialogue didn’t feature, nor characterisation – just the action. What more does it need. (What was it Hitchcock said about dialogue, that is was a sound effect?)

At the end of this our 16 year old daughter perked up and said, ‘Granny said I mustn’t see this film and then proceeded to describe it in gory detail’. The image of my late mother drawing attention to the nastiest moments in the film brings a smile to my face, ‘there’s a bit when xxxx’ and you mustn’t see the bit when yyyy’. Oddly enough the threat of ‘white slavery’ as a line used with teenage girls wanting to go out late in the 1970s. There was someone ready to snatch my teenage sisters away around every corner of late night Newcastle upon Tyne.

Listening to Philip Pullman talking about a new anthology of Fairy Tales we are reminded of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and of ‘Hansel and Gretal’. The contemporary monsters being the likes of Jimmy Saville and  Gary Glitter.

The problem is – words can be even more vivid as you create something in your mind’s eye that can be far worse, closer to home and therefore possible.

Narrative is a powerful thing, as is humour and violence if done correctly.

(Reading this back, this last line suddenly sounds like something that would be said by a Bond Villain)

The Design Museum 2012

Fig.1. Lawrence Lek at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, London.

Seen it once, then again with my 14 year old son – and for a third time with my 16 year old daughter next week. Potentially with other members of our extended family and friends too. I should have bought a season ticket.

The Design Museum is unique – I spent time with EVERY exhibit. I need a couple of hours every day over ten days. That’s how much it resonates with me – the stories, the process, the end result.

There are three galleries:

FIRST FLOOR

Fig.2. Jessica Ennis takes the stairs to the first floor seven at a time

Innovation in Sport – design with a bias towards the Olympics and Paralympics, with Formal 1, Le Mans, hand-gliding, surfind and a few other sports too. Sixteen sports people silhouettes on the walls in the stairwell – how do you physically match up to Jessica Ennis, Messi, Phelps or Sharapova?

SECOND FLOOR

Fig. 3. A 3d rendering of a crystal whose shape is formed by your presence and movement (courtesy of a Konex device and a laser)

Digital Memory – a dozen designers, architects and conceptual artists play with Swarovski crystal to express what memory is. Most mind blowing, all beautifully displayed with headsets explaining what is going on in the artist’s words and other interactive screens – and ‘augmented’ content from wif-fi and 3g.

SECOND FLOOR – SECOND GALLERY

Fig. 4. Yuri Suzuki at the Design Museum

Designers in Residence – six young innovators set a brief, there journey of discovery, experiment and creation lovingly recreated with video, artefacts, audio and displays – and a take-away booklet.

With half-term upon us where do you recommend taking children, young adults and their friends? How does this change if you are their grandparent or parent of a friend? Can you cater for them all? What might it cost?

The cost of getting into the Tower of London made my jaw-drop – £23 for an adult? £55 for a family ticket!! I think I’ll leave it for another 1000 years.

The Wellcome Foundation ‘Super Human’ exhibition and other galleries are free (and lunch is great too).

The Design Museum was £11 for an adult, £7 for a student

Where in the world do you go? We all have our favourites.

 

Over 1,000 posts on e-learning and creativity

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This is what I write about so this is what readers will find: e-learning, learning, creativity, training, L&D and learning development. The Open University in the UK appears for a couple of reasons – I am on my fifth postgraduate module on the Masters in Open and Distance Education and have also done the MBA module ‘Creativity, Innovation & Change’.

I also attended London’s School of Communication Arts.

My background is in the creation of video and interactive training as a writer, director and producer. My interests involve creativity not only in this context but as a writer – so I often write about the creative process drawing on some terrific sources that I have come across.

 

London’s calling

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Fig. 1 Superhuman – Icarus representing the ‘advanced human’ at the Welcome Foundation Museum, Euston Road, London.

I’m in London today (Tuesday 16th October) and happy to meet up PM should you be available.

I’m starting at the Bronzes Exhibtion at the Royal Academy, Picadilly, then heading for Euston and the Wellcome Foundation Museum. Afterwards to the National Portrait Gallery and ICA and possibly the Imperial War Museum and ending at the Southbank Centre.

What is TV? What will TV become? The Gartner Hype Curve in relation to TV connectivity

What is ‘connected’ TV?

Jen Topping spoke of connections to a plethora of devices through TV and to the Internet. Stuff changes.

Jen spoke of the creative opportunity, of how people work and come together – not just 4OD, but how it changes the way producers, directors and web designers conceive TV. She is looking for people to come up with programmes that work from the start across all the opportunities.

Richard Griffths, Principal Lecture in Computing from Brighton University gave an insightful talk on innovation in relation to interactivity at Connect TV as part of The Brighton Digital Festival through Wired Sussex. Jen Topping from Channel 4 Online introduced the speakers.

The internet changes the device, as happened to phones , so will happen to TV.

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Richard introduced the Gartner Curve of Hype to talk about what was going on here in Brighton in 2001, placing web agency Victoria Real at the top of this hype curve.

At this time along with some more conventional web work, I was pitching interactive support for linear TV documentary ideas at TV markets in Las Vegas, Cannes and London. We too were at the top of the hype curve because . We had commissioners who wanted to hear – however, understandably, they wanted to know how it would make money. Anthony Geffen of Atlantic Productions opened the doors – commissioners knew the content would be awesome, but how would the interactive component pay for itself? At the time many listened to how a BAFTA and EMMY award-winning production company would partner with an agency – we were at the top of the hype curve and sliding rapidly down the other side.

This is how we might populate such a curve with developments in IT.

Hype cycle of emerging technologies

In the next slide Richard as scribbled out the Plateau of Productivity and redrawn the Slope of Enlightenment lower down – this is where our second presentation came in.

Is the answer to put a digital person into a TV company, to get that head space –hard enough to make great TV, even harder to do the two together.

The answer lies in the personality of the protagonists and their relative power in terms of ownership and successes to date (even if these successes are in a different field). How do you get people to work collaboratively from quite different fields? I have found working collaboratively using a wiki enlightening – a team of eight, from client and producer, through to programmers, designers via learning designers. It facilitates assembly and contributing in a what is largely chronological, though if we were to think of this as a production line in car manufacture, in e-learning or in this case building interactive content, we need a production circle, or ascending series of loops.

Richard continued:

What was TV?

  • Seeing stuff in places where you are not or that don’t exist
  • The electronic hearth
  • Shared national experience
  • An economic phenomenon

What is TV?

  • Transition from an economy of scarcity to an economy of abundance.
  • It will stop being a distinct technological, social and economic identity.

What will become of TV?

  • Hold on
  • Co–opt the competition
  • Adult and betting – again
  • Attempts by rights–holders to control

Eternal verities

  • Technology changes – people don’t
  • Richard made a quip about a visit to Pompei where he say an advertising slogan above a shop along the lines of ‘Zeus buys my fruit!’

A technical industry

The key is that it is an industry – it’s commercial so understand how the bills are paid.

;

Is this the reality? Start-ups eagerly clinging to their big idea and struggling against the odds and sense, without financing, to make things happen?

SPEAKERS:

Richard Griffiths, Programme Leader: Postgraduate Programme in Interactive Technologies, University of Brighton

‘Employability for Connected TV

Anna Carlson, Consultant & Steve Winton, Head of Applied Technology, Nixon McInnes

‘Converging People Before Formats’

Andy Eardley, Founder & Director, TV App Agency

‘Why Connected/Smart TV?’

LOOK FURTHER:

Mashable

Buzzing in Ga-Ga- Googleand – creativity on the fly

I’m not tired, which is the worry; it’ll catch up with me. When I wake up with a clear, original thought I’ve learnt to run with it. Time was I could have put on a light, scribbled a bit then drifted off again. 17 years of marriage (and 20 years together) I’ve learnt to get up. And once I’m up, then I know it’ll be a while before I can sleep again.

(I’ll sleep on the train into London; at least I can’t overshoot. I once got on the train at Oxford on the way into town and woke up in Cardiff).

I have the thought nailed, or rather sketched out, literally, with a Faber-Castell Artist Pen onto an A5 sheet of cartridge paper in Derwent hardback sketch book. This seems like a waste of good paper (and a good pen), but this doodle, more of a diagram, almost says it all. My vision, my argument, my persuasive thought. My revolution?

Almost enough, because I then show how I’ll animate my expression of this idea by drawing it out in a storyboard. I can do it in seven images (I thought it would take more). I hear myself presenting this without needing to do so, though, believing myself quite capable of forgetting this entire episode I’ll write it out too.

I once though of myself as an innovator, even an entrepreneur. I had some modest success too. Enough to think such ideas could make me. I realise at this moment that such ideas are the product of intense mental stimulation. To say that H808 has been stimulating would be to under value how it has tickled my synapses. The last time I felt I didn’t need to sleep I was an undergraduate; I won’t make that mistake. We bodies have needs. So, to write, then to bed.

(This undergraduate thing though, or graduate as I now am … however mature. There has to be something about the culture and context of studying that tips certain people into this mode).

You may get the full, animated, voice over podcast of the thing later in the week. I’ll create the animation myself using a magic drawing tool called ArtPad and do so using a stylus onto a Wacom board.

(Never before, using a plastic stylus on an a plastic ice-rink of a tablet have I had the sensation that I am using a drawing or painting tool using real ink or paint. I can’t wait ’til I can afford an A3 sized Wacom board … drawing comes from the shoulder, not the wrist and certainly not the finger tips. You need scale. Which reminds me, where is the book I have on Quentin Blake?)

Now where’s a Venture Capitalist when you need one at 04.07am. That and a plumber, the contents of the upstairs bathroom (loo, bath and sink) are flooding out underneath the downstairs loo. Pleasant. A venture capitalist who is a plumber. Now there’s something I doubt that can even be found if you search in Ga-Ga Googleland.

Collaboration in all things

Engestrom came up with Activity Theory to explain collaboration

Experiences here, lessons learnt and studied, has me now appealing to friends and colleagues to collaborate on all kinds of things.

What strikes me, having spent a few years buried in my writing and alone with the task, is how I have always worked best in a team, if only in a team of two. I do well as number two, I like to have someone working to, for or with me, I like constructing larger teams.

The intention therefore is to throw several balls into the air, but rather than juggling alone there will be a troupe. These will be formed into formal teams (businesses, projects) and less formal ones (writing, thinking teams and partnerships).

The outcomes?

  • Results
  • Credits
  • Reputation
  • Income
  • Contentment
  • Pride

Whilst supported online I know too that for the sake of cohesion and commitment there will need to be face-to-face meetings and shared offices. As soon as I can get an office in town, I will do so. I am looking for a space at the University Innovation Centre and for the first time in a decade will get an address in the West End, back to Newburgh Street or Newman Street, or in Covent Garden.

Ask me in 12 months time how 2011 has been.

Either way I’ll keep you posted here.

Rogers’ Criteria of assessment – diffusion of innovations

Diffusion of Innovation model

Diffusion of Innovation model (Photo credit: mrwilleeumm)

 

Rogers Criteria of assessment:

 

  1. Relative advantage
  2. Compatibility
  3. Complexity
  4.  Trialability
  5. Observability

 

DOKI & iTV (WAYL) were chased intuitively – if a client would back it, then it was ok. This chase continued with projects developed to support equally speculative broadcast / internet linked projects. From a business perspective this was encouraging clients to chase chimera.

 

We should have know better and offered value in money made or saving made … networking for the NHS was developed within their far more cautious framework. The advantages had to be apparent and the transition compatible. Though apparently complex the technology & the players were in place to take the next step. It could be trialled at a limited number of outlets and observations shared with the team.

 

The relationship with Ragdoll was different again; all they wanted was a website. We tried to steer them towards something that would be a credible tool for selling product (their programmes & merchandise). We all got tantalised by the creative opportunities.

 

With FTKnowlege it was another leap in the dark, feeling their brand name could be instantly attached to a distance learning MBA programme and feeling their was a need to get in their first. The view being that not to do otherwise would see other Amazons and the like taking a huge market share.

 

REFERENCES

 

Kaye, R. and Hawkridge, D. (eds) (2003) Learning and Teaching for Business: Case Studies of Successful Innovation, London and Sterling, Kogan Page.

 

Rogers, E.M. (2003) Diffusion of Innovations (5th edn), New York, Simon and Schuster.

 

Diffusion of Innovations – Rogers

The diffusion of innovations according to Roge...

The diffusion of innovations according to Rogers (1962). With successive groups of consumers adopting the new technology (shown in blue), its market share (yellow) will eventually reach the saturation level. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1) Relative advantage
2) Compatibility
3) Complexity
4) Trialability
5) Observability

DOKI & iTV (WAYL) were chased intuitively – if a client would back it, then it was ok. This chase continued with projects developed to support equally speculative broadcast / internet linked projects. From a business perspective this was encouraging clients to chase chimera.

We should have know better and offered value in money made or saving made … networking for the NHS was developed within their far more cautious framework. The advantages had to be apparent and the transition compatible. Though apparently complex the technology & the players were in place to take the next step. It could be trialled at a limited number of outlets and observations shared with the team.

The relationship with Ragdoll was different again; all they wanted was a website. We tried to steer them towards something that would be a credible tool for selling product (their programmes & merchandise). We all got tantalised by the creative opportunities.

With FTKnowlege it was another leap in the dark, feeling their brand name could be instantly attached to a distance learning MBA programme and feeling their was a need to get in their first. The view being that not to do otherwise would see other Amazons and the like taking a huge market share.

REFERENCES

Kaye, R. and Hawkridge, D. (eds) (2003) Learning and Teaching for Business: Case Studies of Successful Innovation, London and Sterling, Kogan Page.

Tracey Emin at my fingertips

Friday 3rd February 2006

(First appeared in Diaryland)

There’s a danger I’m going to better my current track record of posting regularly

There’s no way I can get out of my head, get away to the level you can by drinking. I need to get out of my head and put it all on my fingertips if I am going to say, do or suggest anything mildly amusing or outrageous.

Or so I’m led to conclude having just read Tracey Emin’s Column in the Independent newspaper.

I’m starting to like her

I’m starting to feel jealous of her life style. Her scramble through life is fun to read. I’d like to be the kind of person she’d meet and enjoy. She could be rude to me, crude with me and I’d remember it all. She strikes me as the kind of person you don’t forget with ease.

‘Last week, I spent a week in bed. I got up twice.’

She begins the second paragraph. I wanted to think this was artistic licence; I take to bed to think, to find solitude. She was ill. Sorry. Some people, even Tracey Emin take to their beds when they feel sick.

Tracey Emin Lighthouse Gala Auction in aid of ...

Tracey Emin Lighthouse Gala Auction in aid of Terrence Higgins Trust. Please attribute photo to Piers Allardyce (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘There is more testosterone per square foot than anywhere else in the world. Men, men, men! Single. Gay. Married. Lovely, intellectual men! It’s not exactly a hunting ground – more a stampede.’

It sounds like the kind of party I’d enjoy

I’m arrogant enough to feel it is the kind of party that I should attend. We had heads this big at Oxford, all of us. At our soirees, our cocktail parties, we all thought we were so brilliant. Many of us turn out to be – I’m not amongst them. I don’t run my own firm of stockbrokers, I’m not a millionaire publisher, a Hollywood director, or an Oscar winning composer. I’m not a leader of a political party in this country, or Europe, or North America, or Asia or Malaysia, all countries that were represented by aspiring barristers and politicians when I was an undergraduate at Balliol. Nor have I written a book, I haven’t finished several. I’m the runner who competes in a marathon every year but never finishes.

Her column reads like the letters I used to get back from my girlfriend

They make you smile and wish you were there to enjoy her adventures.

‘Its a tricky life getting the balance right. I’m not a big drinker; I just can’t take my drink. I have the constitution of a mouse. Hic. ‘

‘I rarely ever make mistakes in life. Not when I’m sober. I only make mistakes when I’m drunk. Some may say that that’s quite a lot of the time. But I drink to get out of my head. I want to go somewhere else. I want the level of freedom which is absolutely impossible in my natural state of mind.’

If I found someone who wrote like this online, I’d want to love them and make love to them.

I’d want to get inside their head and share the contents of my mind with them. So where are you Trace?

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