Friday Reading #17 – Post Paternity Leave Edition

Hello there, yes it has been a while. I have been a bit busy in April with the arrival of my second child so things like blogging took a back seat to changing picalli filled nappies, wiping up milky mouth discharges and forgoing any sort of decent sleep. It has been a joy, honestly it has. The reality of work has kicked back in and I have been reading something other than Gina Ford so I thought I would share them with you to keep you entertained on a Friday afternoon before a three day weekend, in the UK that is.


Experimentation beats expertise

Stop having meetings to argue about which design approach is better  – endless meetings with stakeholders full of defensiveness and crazy arguments where the people who tend to win are those who are loudest, most persistent or highest paid. Start making decisions based on lightweight research that provides evidence (sometimes stories, sometimes numbers) to support the design that most strongly supports the agreed goals.


An innovative approach

We need more grown-up talk about business and growth strategies. This has to be the year when adland’s innovation practitioners need to grow up or, put brutally, shut up. It’s time to make ourselves invaluable. If we can’t do that, then I think we should conclude that our industry innovation era has failed.


Your Body Does Not Want to Be an Interface

The first real-world demo of Google Glass’s user interface made me laugh out loud. Forget the tiny touchpad on your temples you’ll be fussing with, or the constant “OK Glass” utterances-to-nobody: the supposedly subtle “gestural” interaction they came up with–snapping your chin upwards to activate the glasses, in a kind of twitchy, tech-augmented version of the “bro nod”–made the guy look like he was operating his own body like a crude marionette.


Meet the man who turned David Cameron onto open data

Senior civil servants wanted to include this text in all government pronouncements on open data:

“No government data shall be released unless its quality can be assured”

Silva refused. His argument was that sunlight would drive improvements in the data itself. “They kept writing that in – I kept taking it out. I got into an argument with the civil servants about it. That would mean essentially no data ever released. That would have choked off the open data agenda from day one. They said if we release poor quality data it will embarass the civil service – but I believed the only way to improve that data would be to release it.”


I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet

A couple weeks later, I found myself among 60,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews, pouring into New York’s Citi Field to learn from the world’s most respected rabbis about the dangers of the internet. Naturally. Outside the stadium, I was spotted by a man brandishing one of my own articles about leaving the internet. He was ecstatic to meet me. I had chosen to avoid the internet for many of the same reasons his religion expressed caution about the modern world.


“About the Word Design” by Vilém Flusser

The new form of culture which Design was to make possible would be [i.e.,] a culture that was aware of the fact that it was deceptive [i.e., designed]. So the question is: Who and what are we deceiving when we become involved with culture (with art, with technology—in short, with Design)?


Does alcohol improve ideas?

The experiment, in a nutshell, involved 18 advertising creatives, split into two equal teams according to their length of service in the industry. One team was plied with as much alcohol as they wanted, while the other team was assigned a liquid diet that the temperance movement would have approved of. They were each given three hours to work on a brief. And once it was all over, their work was judged by a team of big-shot creative directors.


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