Category: Branding & identity

13
Mar

The Creative Work Series: Part 3

    What's your inner creative process?

In creative professions, nothing kills imagination like a juicy ideology.

An ideology is a set of beliefs, ideas, and expectations widely held in an industry, company or office. Ideologies conceal themselves as conventional wisdom. They feel habitual and natural.  Sometimes ideologies are “best” practices in agencies few openly question. You’ve probably experienced an ideology at the office: “We use x method for our brainstorming, presentation, pitch or creative work sessions… that’s just our process; I don’t know why…it just is.”

It’s not always easy to recognize ideologies in creative work. That’s because rules and conventional thinking don’t apply to jobs that ask people to run into the frontier of imagination. Creative work is highly personal, idiosyncratic, messy and peppered with gray areas. And yet there are methods and tools to pull forming ideas onto screens, pages, conversations, meetings, and whiteboards.

There’s safety in Conventional Wisdom

In creative work, and in agencies, in particular, a few big “idea” systems are popular right now. Design thinking, postmodern, neuroscience-driven design are big buzzy ideologies we’ve all come across.  Of course, best practices are vital processes for creative work, that isn’t a problem, what company couldn’t use a system to get everyone collaborating and creating together?  At the heart of design thinking, for example, are kernels of practical truths creatives can use—changing habits in terms of capturing high-quality creative ideas, style, technique or approach.

I’m not calling out the icons in creativity, neuroscience, or design thinking.  I’m interested in opening up a dialogue about how we adapt and accept tools in creative fields. How we often dismiss our internal mushy hunches and follow convention. How tips or wisdom meant to free our minds become roadblocks.

In fact, my aim here is the opposite of criticism, it’s a dialogue.  It’s important to question and turn over popular ideas, separate them out from the what’s mere marketing filler. As any creative will tell you, coming up with novel ideas requires flexibility. The best creatives are eager to test out new tools or processes. But we shouldn’t cleave to an idea because everyone in the office loves it unquestionably.

 High-Stakes Creative 

Creative work is a high-stakes trade.  It’s applied imagination with expectations of a big return on investment. Corporations want creative brand, marketing, products, words, visuals, logo, design, and thinking done on their behalf out in the world.  Creativity adds equity, contributes to bottom lines and boosts shareholder confidence.  Research shows that creative advertising and content tends to be more effective and memorable than tradition-bound ads. People enjoy and remember what’s novel, strange or delightful. This matters in our crowded public sphere.

For on-the-ground creatives the pressure’s on to ideate, produce, perform and scale new aesthetic and experiential heights. I’ve talked to amazing and talented people who describe feelings of dread and excitement with assignments. They feel pressure to run out into the frontiers of what’s possible, making sure consumers or audiences, like, buy, share and circulate.

The creative product, they say, must look original, radically inventive and beyond the corners of the assignment with ROI.  An ask worthy of an existential sigh.

With these expectations, creatives seek out the latest tools, coaches, tips, hacks, models, programs. Anything promising creative empowerment.

Don’t Default To Others

Lots of strategists and designers come through our offices, and some speak authoritatively and enthusiastically to the disruptive qualities of design techniques, a leader they love or the latest news in design thinking. We listen and politely nod. We don’t judge. We get it.

It’s hard to resist cleaving to beliefs we think matter to decision makers. When knowing design best practices and trends can tip the scales in your favor, who wouldn’t want to talk expertly about the new tools in creative and professional worlds?

As I listen to talented creatives, the conversations are always smart and interesting. Even if some people stumble on how exactly they’ve applied design thinking or other similar frameworks to projects, I still eagerly listen.  After these interviews or talks, my mind goes to Pablo Picasso’s summary of his creative process. “I close my eyes and begin.” Closing the eyes, to me, means turning off the surface layers of brain chatter and venturing into the quieter, unknown parts of the brain. Shutting off ideologies, beliefs and what everyone else is doing.

You’re Creative Signature

There’s a radical equality in creative professions we overlook. It begins with our interior process. Our imagination, flashes of ideas, hunches, skills we’ve honed transformed into stories, campaigns, plans,  buildings, projects, products-you name it.   Any tool teaching methods, systems we use can only channel our raw materials.  A teacher or tool isn’t creativity.

Writer Zadie Smith describes these raw materials as a signature of skill, flexibility, skill and sheer will.

When I meet creative colleagues I’m more likely to ask questions along the lines of  ‘What books are you reading? What’s your latest piece of technology? What assignment taught you the most about your skill level? What manager/leader inspired you to tweak your skill set? What’s the most important creative fail of your career, so far?’  These questions set the stage for design thinking or any thinking for that matter.

In other words, creativity and imagination start with the what’s inside our heads.  What’s known, latent and lurking.

I think where creative ideologies fail most for people is when they default to what others believe over their own intuition and knowledge.  Instead, let’s look inside. What’s our signature creative talent, skill, curiosity, capabilities? This translates into action: What are we reading, doing, experimenting, studying, thinking about? In what ways are our eyes set on stretching our capabilities and frontiers into the new?

That’s a creative ideology we should all endorse.

03
Aug

Your Need For Serious Fun Explained

The Oishii team just finished up an exciting week at Comic-Con! And while work brought us to San Diego for the usually artful cross-promotional programming, costuming and fantasy fetes, (Check out our latest promo done for TBS for Conan and his amazing full week of live #ConanCon) we like the play time too. Like most attendees, there’s more to Comic-Con than cosplay, interactive mise-en-scenes and celebrity hero panels.

Comic-Con is an adventure, it’s what can be called play with a purpose.

Wait, what? What is play with a purpose you may be asking yourself?

We adults, even creative professionals, have lost a strong sense of play in our lives.  According to David Whitebread at the University of Cambridge, the traits of playfulness, qualities of mischievousness or curiosity,  have played critical roles in human evolution.  Along with language, culture, and technology, says Whitebread, play has shaped and honed our problem-solving skills and thinking skills.  With every achievement, whether in philosophy, mathematics, art, engineering or economics, people toiled and may have had loads of fun too.

In our increasingly complicated world, with distractions everywhere, it’s not hard to see how we might need to tap into our the play in our evolutionary bones.

 

But it’s not so simple; we can’t just frolic around the office, giggle our way through meetings.  Play’s got serious social and individual biases to overcome.  At the individual level, we adults don’t know how to integrate play into our identities, it wasn’t taught, encouraged beyond playgrounds. There are no “rules” for play on the road to adulthood.  In fact, the quintessential mark of adulthood means leaving behind childish qualities of excessive playfulness.  Play really drops out of our lives and thinking in our professional ventures. We adults measure must ourselves through the lenses of professional accomplishments and work.  Play becomes trivial and without purpose.  Play happens on the other side of our packed work schedules, beyond the world of responsibilities. As the work worshiping Victorians liked to say, we earn play through hard work. For us post-industrial workaholic types, play is for those seeking to relive their childhoods. It’s more suited for the whimsical minded millennial types at the Brooklyn adult preschool.

But the truth is, we’ve lost sight of play and its dynamics, its role in our survival.   We need to develop an integrated and practical sense of play; an altogether new way of thinking that allows us to problem-solve, innovate and dream up novel ideas and solutions. Play can help us tap into our best human selves.

Play keeps us curious and full of wonder.

In the mid twentieth century, influential pediatrician Benjamin Spock championed for the seriousness of kids’ play. Play for Spock gave kids confidence and skills to climb the ladder of intellectual development. Disguised as fun, kids learned key life lessons for their complicated adult lives.

With the help of recent research science, creativity studies and neuroscience, we’re beginning to quantify and understand the workings of the qualities of playfulness. It’s getting close to possible to see and measure the effects of playfulness in our brains.  According to a recent German study of 3000 subjects, researchers found that subjects who used the traits of playfulness showed higher levels of performance on a variety of tests than those with less playful traits.  Under the right conditions, a dose of play helped people solve complex problems, find compatible romantic partners and turn monotonous work tasks into interesting ones. While the study represents an emerging field of study, it nonetheless confirms what every fidgety, doodling day dreamer knows: play activates senses and piques awareness. Play is a tool for taking in and sorting information and it helps us process and churn through our brains and bodies. Play starts curiosity which can open up doorways for seeing and observing.  Our brains churn and process with play in altogether new ways. That’s play at its most practical and inspiring.

park-troopers-221402 (2)

 

This research confirms what many in business see as the foundations of innovation.  Companies and leaders are measured in part by ambition and hubris. How far an individual, teams and a company are willing to dream, aspire and stretch themselves.  Ambition requires among many traits the qualities playfulness, roguishness, whimsy and a can-do spirit.  And play is a good trait as any to give companies the push to innovate or even stop stagnating, gain some competitive space.  Take the Microsoft PC hardware business for example.  Microsoft has suffered many public failures against innovating behemoth Apple. And while Apple chased mobile products, Microsoft has been quietly letting loose armies of visionaries and design thinking types across its product lines.  Surely Microsoft won’t be ready to compete anytime soon, but their investment and fresh if not radical approach hint at what it’s capable of in the future.

The idea of playfulness works at a global level too. Aren’t the traits of play, inventiveness and creative thinking part of what the world most admires about America and American entrepreneurialism? Our “creative competitiveness” and ability to innovate across business, in media and entertainment, manufacturing and technology rest on this notion of dreamers restlessly chasing ideas, connecting and innovating and in the process solving the world’s ever increasing complex social and business problems.  When Elon Musk waxes poetic of his desire for commercial space travel to Mars, he’s tapping into his strong sense of play for his business but also for the rest of us, his decision to “change the rules of Space travel” is meant to pique our curiosity in our otherwise firmly earth bound lives.

Early in the twentieth-century Modern art provocateur Henri Matisse, said, “creative people are curious, flexible, persistent and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.”    Matisse was writing at a time when the modern art world, controlled by traditionalists, rejected his style and techniques as outlandish and a threat to accepted norms in realistic painting.  His hunches only reinforce what dynamics playing out in psychology, technology, and business every day. To harness playfulness is to open up the senses, get curious and follow hunches into the unknown.  Play shakes up our senses, prompts us to see and ask new questions. Play can reframe our perspectives.

So, go out, have some play, dress up and dream big at Comic-Con and beyond!

 

 

photos courtesy of Oishii Creative, Tedd Kelly @unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31
May

Don’t Be A Futurist Faker

Luigi Russolo, 1911, The Revolt (La rivolta), Gemeentemuseum Den Haag via Wikipedia

Luigi Russolo, 1911, The Revolt (La rivolta), Gemeentemuseum Den Haag (via Wikipedia)

When Kevin Roberts recently told Business Insider that gender equality was “over for him” and his advertising agencies, saying “(he)… rarely thinks about the problem,” many commentators howled at his indifference. While ad agency employment data shows women make up about 50% of the industry worker force, there’s rough parity within the ranks; 80% of men at big agencies hold leadership and creative director roles according to research from the 3% Conference.   

And if 2016 lawsuits filings are any measure of disparity, patterns of abuse seem to be running rampant in some of the world’s biggest agencies with allegations of racial and gender slurs and inappropriate sexual advances. To be fair, ad firms are but microcosms of society, reflecting larger structural patterns of gender discrimination. From technology to the sciences and across media and entertainment, companies are finally striving to do their best at managing the vestiges of gender discrimination, including promoting and keeping female executive talent.

So why would Mr. Roberts casually elude this reality and go on to describe women as temperamentally ill-suited for executive leadership positions? The answer doesn’t lie in whether or not sexual discrimination still goes on — it does — but in what this says about Mr. Roberts’ status in the media industry, which is even more troubling than his casual dismissal of social ills. As a “coach” to executive talent and expertise, a mentor such as Mr. Roberts should not believe these things. Or should he? Mr. Roberts, I argue, has fallen victim to futurist fakery. That’s right, fakery.

As a society, we’ve become too enthralled with idea leaders. We’re drawn to the men and women who write, blog, teach and educate — crossing the TED stages and traveling the lecture circuits — about the importance of Big Ideas. I’m not suggesting fakers are everywhere. Many of these futuristic insighters bring plenty of real-world context and knowledge to our industry. What I am saying is that while we’ve become accustomed to these educated, talented, and creative men and women to raise our awareness, we’ve let in a few fakers along the way. It’s hard not to.

We’re much better informed and well rounded when talented people step out of their labs, classrooms and offices to share with all of us. But we shouldn’t be idea-complacent or even idea trend-driven. While ancient philosophy has taught us to be respectful of thinkers, we should also use our own powers of reason when it comes to idea hucksters. Ideas for the sake of ideas; concepts without connections to everyday and real problems in search of solutions is simply posturing. And that is what Mr. Roberts seems to be doing. He’s bought into his own ideology, projecting that he’s successful in no small part because he “knows” trends and can connect data and information; therefore, he’s putting himself in a position to constantly seek a connection, no matter how far fetched.

To give some historical context, I use the term “futurist” as it comes to us from the anti-traditionalist art movement in Italy and the Soviet Union in the early 20th century. Futurism was committed to rejecting all established art techniques and styles that depicted the “dynamism” of technology, industrialism and automation. Futurism wanted only art that put people in the experience of machinery, the then-future of economic and cultural progress. Because futurism was so thoroughly unforgiving of tradition and history, as a movement it had little depth beyond a love of industrial machinery. What it did have was an unyielding commitment to projecting the idea of progress — a future people see only in art. And as a result, by the 1930s, it had devolved into propaganda art for totalitarian regimes.  

Unfortunately, Mr. Roberts is the sort of “thought” leader who has adopted the futurist role model for audiences and, in so doing, wiped away any concern for the real, the here and now. What concerns futurists are ideas, trends, disruptions and data points pointing to something… and if they’re not able to back up that something with context or evidence, well, there lies the fakery. But I don’t believe that it’s intentional deception on his part. Mr. Roberts, and many like him, believe they can’t delve into the real-world issues of today as, in their minds, they’ve already crossed over to the other side into tomorrow. Our devotion to the prophecies of industry futurists sets us all up for failure as it’s an unrealistic expectation that thought leaders can consistently think beyond what everyone else can even imagine.

Truth is, we’ve grown a bit complacent and perpetuated these sorts of idea leaders and their sometimes misguided or downright ridiculous projections that have no recognizable bearing on our industry. I admit, I’ve been known to pore over “white papers” and beg favors for tickets to hear giants in science and technology speak on the state of blah, blah, blah. I follow every MIT scientist interested in neuroscience and technology. I’ve got a PhD in political science, but I’m obsessed with the behavioral science of decision-making as I am design thinking applied to… anything.  So I’m not pointing fingers. I’m saying let’s not delude ourselves. Using Freud’s observation that humans are extraordinarily good at deceiving ourselves, especially when chasing their own ideas, leaders like Mr. Roberts seem all too silly. Let’s not be fakers.

24
Mar

Office Matters: Why Your Work Space Makes You A Better Creative

Anyone who’s come to our office knows we value the power and functionality of a well-crafted creative space. From the constant flood of natural light to Ish’s art collection to the eclectic array of found furniture from around the world, we’ve tried to make a space that’s both stimulating yet comfortable and cozy. Renowned London designer  Reno Macri knows all too well the science, art and productivity aspects of building the right office for creative teams, and we’re thrilled he’s shared with us some of his latest insights on why office environment can make us better, flexible and creative thinkers.

 

jeff-sheldon-3225

 

There are many reasons why the design of an office is important, ranging from making a positive impression on clients, to ensuring each of your staff members have sufficient space, to more general office branding strategies. However, one of the most important reasons is the influence design can have on employee behaviour.

Indeed, workplace surroundings can impact upon staff members’ productivity, communication, customer service, etiquette and even their attendance. In this blog post, we look at how ideas surrounding design and office space planning can positively change the behaviour of your employees.

 

  1. FlexibilityMany businesses make the mistake of opting for either open plan or closed-space offices, depending on how important collaboration and privacy are. Yet, in reality, one of the best ways to improve employee behaviour is to provide an element of choice, because employees’ needs may change over the course of a working day.

    Collaboration is important, which is why open plan offices have emerged as the dominant design. Yet,research from Steelcasefound that the 11 percent of employees with the best access to workplace privacy were the most satisfied with their surroundings. The solution, therefore, is to provide workers with a design that offers them both.

    2. Branding

    In addition to pure office space planning, the branding of a workplace can influence employee behaviour. Through intelligent use of company logos, slogans, buzzwords and colour schemes, employees can be continuously reminded of who they represent and what their mission is.

    “Employee behaviour and health are influenced by company culture as well as space design,” says Cyril Parsons, managing director of Office Principles. Through office branding, a business can communicate culture clearly.

    3. Biophilic Design

    Finally, in recent times, studies have shown the importance of including natural elements, such as sunlight and plants, into office design. In fact, the Human Spaces Global Report highlights the fact that office workers with access to natural light and greenery have a 13 percent higher level of well-being.

    Multiple studies have shown a correlation between well-being and productivity, while Human Spaces found that biophilic design also enhances creativity and reduces absenteeism.

 

tim-gouw-60216

Reno is a founder and director of a leading exhibition and event company Enigma Visual Solutions, specialising in retail designs, interiors, graphic productions, signage systems, office branding, event branding, exhibition stands design and much more. He specialises in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to follow him on twitter.

 

02
Jul

Step 2: Why Your Company Needs to Build a Brain Trust

Now that we’ve talked about creative entrepreneurship, let’s build a brain trust, shall we?

It takes more than one person and half an idea, which is why entrepreneurs need to set art, imagination and design loose into the company. One’s particular if not unique talents are small in comparison to a generative, empowered brain trust. By setting talent into motion, they can systematize imagination and let art and strategic design help solve problems collaboratively.

hands-people-woman-working (1)

A company is only as good as its people. For imaginative and capable people, everything is a canvas for the imagination, to paraphrase Thoreau. But with not so capable people, ideas are a punishment to be endured. So, cultivating great talent means not only finding the right people, but also planning and building out a brain trust. As Steven Johnson has argued, most of us walk around with half ideas in our heads; and we need others to test our assumptions, put them into practice and, ultimately, accomplish our visions.

Talent who can create, spread and adopt ideas are integral to a brain trust. They animate the organization’s environment and shape its culture – no wonder creative teams need to be intellectually, creatively and temperamentally diverse. From loud to quiet, left to right-brained, logical to free-form, a blend of perspectives and skill-sets is what makes an exceptional creative team. While the process is a raucous bustle and tussle of talking, arguing and sharing, it’s how truly innovative ideas take root and grow.

We’ve built this into our culture. Transcending the design discipline to include social scientists, MBAs and humanities graduates, our brain trust is unconventionally dynamic and collaborative.

It’s not unusual, for example, for one person to question the purpose of the traditional upfront while another deconstructs a logo from a different perspective or investigates the history of lower thirds, transitions or swipes. As Johnson puts it, “chance favors the connected mind.”

08
May

Get Lost: How Thinking Like a Tourist Can Reset Your Creativity

Paying attention is a radical act in a busy day.

Paying attention is a radical act in a busy day. Photo courtesy of Unsplash/Joshua Earle

Stanley Kubrick once said “Observation is a dying art.” Kubrick was urging artists and creatives to do the increasingly impossible in our cacophonous worlds—pay attention. Sit quietly. Look and observe the small details in our day-to-day lives. Simple, but profoundly difficult.

And, it’s not just external distractions causing us to lose focus, but our own impulses. Ask any artist and they will tell you its the texture of their lives—everything from popular culture, art, television, social media, and nature to the urban life inspires them. But so much possibility for inspiration drives an innate fear of missing out on something that could spark our next idea, innovation and campaign. So embedded are we with sensory overload, we often jump to the next stimulating thought before fully processing the present.

This isn’t a phenomenon specific to our industry either—it’s built into our brains. Neuroscience research confirms that when processing information, our minds are wired to take cognitive shortcuts, we make snap decisions based on what we know. Or rather, what we think we know. So, while, say reading an interview with a creative whose work we admire, our brains are instantaneously cataloging, discarding and scanning over any information they think we already know, causing us to rush through, never really taking in the whole picture.

Henry David Thoreau saw the skill of observation as a matter of will, one that requires our attention to how we see. “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

Look at the smallest of details, it will yield any number of patterns.

Look at the smallest of details, it will yield any number of patterns.

Inspired by these thinkers and this perspective, Oishii Creative developed an ethos that encapsulates how we brainstorm, create and execute ideas: Think like a tourist.

Think like you are new to a city. Put yourself in the mindset of mild confusion, in an unfamiliar place, perhaps lost and in need of an espresso. Sounds a little overwhelming, doesn’t it? That’s the idea. Thinking like a tourist forces your brain to take in and process new information as it comes rather than skipping over the familiar bits, because, if you can truly put yourself in that mindset, none of it is overly familiar. Outsmarting your thinking habits, the short-cuts you take is key to change your patterns.

Think like a tourist is a phrase and toolkit for us. It’s our pre-whiteboard mindset and process. It’s how we organize our internal process before we upload, work or collaborate with others. We believe the subtle and often overlooked details of how we see, perceive and interact with the world around us can make us better storytellers, innovators.

Let’s go back to the metaphor of travel because it’s an ideal way to explain thinking like a tourist. When most of us travel, disorientation and exhilaration script our movements. We’re contentedly confused, even with GPS, as new patterns and pathways merge into our consciousness. The New York Times “Cultured Traveler” writer Eric Weiner describes the best travel moments as “losing our bearings and finding new ones.”

And what can become activated during travel are our powers of acute observation. As a ‘tourist,’ your attention is amplified, if even for a short time, by everything new around you. From the trees to the people to the graffiti on the buildings, it’s a new din powerfully able to pique your senses.

Once you get acclimated to places, your brain settles back into making cognitive shortcuts as it routinely does when you’re not on vacation. But for those first ineffable hours, all bets are off, jolted from the old and into the new. This is the perspective we apply to ideas.

iphone:thinksmall.
Auguste Rodin said it best when he quipped, “I know nothing, I only discover.” Whether you’re in a creative industry, using the world around you to make something new, the keen powers of observations are critical strengths. Art is the constant reinvention of new narratives, layers and meanings, and paying attention is no fool’s errand; it demands your whole person and intelligence.

So, before the next pitch, meeting or brainstorming session, spend some time as a tourist in your own head. Go sit somewhere and get lost, even if it’s just the park around the corner. Take in your surroundings. Embrace the unfamiliarity. Bring it back to the boardroom. And, if you need further inspiration, follow the words of poet Mary Oliver.

Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

Other photos courtesy of Deathtostock.com

24
Apr

Oishii Creative Welcomes EP Danixa Diaz

Danixa Diaz at the Oishii Los Angeles offices.

Danixa Diaz at the Oishii Los Angeles offices.

Oishii Creative Welcomes Danixa Diaz as Executive Producer

Los Angeles, CA – (April 23, 2015) – Oishii Creative is excited to welcome Danixa Diaz as Executive Producer. She joins the company with two decades of creative, production and design industry experience. In 2012, Diaz founded representation firm “iartists” after spending seven years leading business development at Imaginary Forces. The addition of Diaz represents the next growth phase for Oishii, which has proliferated from a traditional design studio to a multidisciplinary full-service creative solutions studio since it launched in 2002.

“The natural ebb and flow of our industry requires us to constantly adapt,” remarks Ish Obregon, president & chief creative officer, Oishii. “Having known Danixa and her admirable work for many years, I know her blend of energy, vision and direction will compliment Oishii well. She brings invaluable experience and understanding to our team. It’s built on her appreciation of great art and design – and a keen sense of what’s happening in our industry now and what’s on the horizon.”

Likewise, Diaz has long been familiar with Oishii’s award-winning pedigree. She got to know the team better after experiencing their “visually arresting” multi-platform branding package for last summer’s PromaxBDA Conference — an organization for which she served on the board while fostering many professional connections through the years. Pointing to recent branding projects for television networks The Hub and E!, she is eager to parlay Oishii’s talent and capabilities for even more visibility and future success.

“Oishii offers clients a truly collaborative partnership,” adds Diaz. “That comes with not only exceptional creative, but also depth of knowledge and experience in brand strategy. Their long list of repeat clients, like the NFL Network, are a testament to their success in design, but also their ability to merge the disciplines of branding, design and business strategy. As more and more people recognize Oishii as a go-to name for the kind of big-thinking, top-notch creative that elevates brands, my goal is to keep getting that message out.”

From executive producing to business development, Diaz’s deep industry experience spans commercials, broadcast, feature film, gaming and experience design. Her career began in Miami in the mid-90s and took off in Los Angeles when she became Executive Producer at Three Ring Circus. She fondly remembers this period as the birth of today’s mixed-media companies, as they were combining creative solutions from motion graphics to live action – all across new media platforms.

“I simply fell in love with the design and production geniuses who were reshaping our industry back then, many of whom are still leading it today,” says Diaz.

Continuing to align her career with industry pioneers, Diaz went on to lead business development for Imaginary Forces. During her seven-year tenure with the award-winning creative studio, she remembers taking the first call with “Mad Men” Creator Matthew Weiner, who was looking to commission the show’s now legendary, Emmy-honored title design. Diaz would eventually sit on the Emmy Title Design Executive Committee.

Other highlights from Diaz’s diverse and accomplished career include an American Express campaign via Ogilvy, which introduced her to Joan Gratz – one of her biggest influences. The Oscar-winning artist would go on to participate in an all-women creative panel that Diaz organized for the annual PromaxBDA Conference.

In 2012, Diaz spread her wings and launched iartists, which focused on business development for mixed-media clients, including longtime colleague and design luminary Kyle Cooper, (founder of Prologue and co-founder of Imaginary Forces). Following three successful years at the helm of her own company, Diaz found herself eager to return to the stimulation of a collaborative creative environment and fully embed herself within a collective.

“I wanted to go back to my roots and work with a team that had excellent strategy, branding and creative talent, which is what I’ve been invited to be a part of with Oishii,” she concludes. “Between all of our creative goals and mutual perspectives on the industry and its future, Oishii was the obvious partner for my new journey.”

About Oishii Creative:
Oishii Creative is a full-service creative solutions studio. From ideation and strategy to design and production, we distinguish our clients through the relentless pursuit of the next BIG idea. While no ambition is too big or too small, it all boils down to the RIGHT idea for your brand. Our award-winning team is ready to dream with you and create with you.

http://oishiicreative.com

# # #

17
Apr

From The Oishii Ideation Lab: Is Your Creative Passion Killing Your Team?

Harness the Power of Creativity with a Dash of Kindness

photo courtesy of magdeleine.com

photo courtesy of magdeleine.com

Mark Twain once said, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Replace the word “kindness” with “creativity,” and it’s easy to see that these unique forms of expression are remarkably homologous to the human experience.

No wonder kindness plays such an important role in the creative field –- from the collaborative environments in which we work to the paths we choose to find the next big idea.

Look at the captivating process of brainstorming, for instance. We tend to approach it through an overly optimistic and empowering lens. It make us feel like innovators in action – unleashing the power of our brains, attacking the problem while developing something new.

You could say that brainstorming is an art in and of itself. After all, you’re setting the stage for success while managing collateral damage that we humans are seemingly wired to instill in one another. It’s a high stakes environment: team members, peers, and bosses who are watching, listening and evaluating our ideas.

At the same time, like any human activity, we’re both at our best and worst when idea-generating. This usually means reality blends with our own fictive understanding of ourselves: what we think we are capable of in a whiteboard session. As Friedrich Nietzsche so exquisitely described us humans, “In conversation we are sometimes confused by the tone of our own voice, and mislead to make assertions that do not at all correspond to our opinions.”

At some point, kindness has to find its way into the process.

On a practical level, Alex Osborne, founder of the modern brainstorm work session, believed that idea-generation required rules to ensure people participated and felt a part of the group. Why? Because empathy and kindness are gateway traits to working well together. It’s a theory that’s well-documented by neuroscientists today. Kindness fosters an open, collaborative and alert mind, allowing us to think at a high level. It let’s us go beyond petty differences and transcend resentment and everyday slights.

Playing Nice with Nanci Besser

photo courtesy of IMCreator.com

photo courtesy of IMCreator.com

Convergence is tricky. Working towards a common goal, creating a prototype, a beta project or campaign means people must work together. But convergence is tricky.

As emotions, feelings and temperaments merge – and, even, collide – neuroscience shows us the value of empathy to offset it. We’ve asked author and teacher Nanci Besser to shed some light on this through the value of emotional intelligence in the brainstorming session:

A common misconception is that kindness equates with being “nice” and granting another his or her “way.” Looking within the parameters of emotional intelligence and mindfulness, it may be ascertained that kindness involves solving problems and fulfilling needs by creating space for an outcome that is bigger than any individual ego.

Being kind is meeting someone where he or she is at, in terms of his or her state of mind. The ability to expand your perceptions to include the ideas of another requires an empathic approach. To many, the notion of conflict tends to convey a negative connotation.

However, conflict in and of itself is a neutral state. It is only our interpretations that assign a negative or positive attribute to its existence. Passivity is not the gateway to promote innovation and creativity. Only through sifting through seemingly conflicting perspectives with kindness do we answer the greatest of creative enigmas.

It is possible to garner support for your point of view without negating someone else’s dreams. In an ideal collaborative environment, there are no inherently “wrong” ideas in a brainstorming session. Some conceptions are a better fit than others and, like cream, they will rise to the top without external manipulation.

Regardless of the industry or group demographics, if everyone embraces the process of conflict, rather than attempt to usurp the outcome to favor his or her position, the possibility for genuine synergy exists. Through employing constructive empathic communications motivated by an intention of kindness, the sum might be bigger than its individual parts. In other words, 1+1 could equal 3.

Author, Speaker, Teacher
“Go Kindly (TM)”
E: nancibesser@gmail.com
Visit http://www.nancibesser.com
Connect http://www.linkedin.com/in/nancibesser/
Twitter: @nancibesser

10
Mar

Think Like A Tourist: Yurt Style

photo courtesy of ChoongChing, Flickr

photo courtesy of ChoongChing, Flickr

Think Like A Tourist: Find A Yurt

Creativity often flows through us and into our projects, campaigns and ideas. Part mystery and part an ability to focus intensely, creativity in popular consciousness remains a murky mystery to most. We may not know what creativity is exactly, but we do know we want it.

Neuroscience continues to pull apart what was once the mythical and peculiar brain activity of ideation, imagination, and creation. Early results suggest a small but powerful shift in our thinking. We should frame creativity through the lens of  “skill” rather than a character-based temperament, nature or disposition. Creativity isn’t something people epitomize or resemble, but a tangible skillset with corresponding characteristics.

And given our traditional definitions, thinkers and educators have focused less on how to sharpen creative thinking skills and more on the best ways to “funnel” our chaotic emotions, thoughts and unconscious snippets.

What cannot be studied or scanned in the neuroscience lab is curiosity. That quality we humans should always have; the desire, interest and hubris to tromp into our world and explore every crevice, and piece of technology or experience around us. #thinklikeayurt

Stepping out of the everyday world of deadlines, habits and our curated digital lives is a vital part of staying curious and interested. Oishii designer Amanda Trovela recently stepped out busy L.A. life and dropped into a yurt in Malibu. Yurts are tent-like structures that come from the ancient Turkic peoples. And while going nomadic isn’t necessarily what we should — or could — be doing full-time, yurt-living is an increasingly popular mode of escape as it is a symbol of individual freedom and clear-headed thinking in an age of enforced distraction.

We think yurt life is an excellent tool to Think Like A Tourist.

Are you ready to reinvigorate and #thinklikeayurt?

 

01
Jan

Oishii Creative Interviews Vine Sensation Ian Padgham

At Oishii Creative, we believe design thinking can’t be constrained; it fuels innovation and helps us think big. In our Think Like A Tourist series, we explore life at the intersection of creativity, thinking and technology. We recently asked Vine artist sensation and Twitter animator/producer Ian Padgham about what inspires him, and how he makes six seconds feel so dramatic, engaging and big.

What artists or music inspires you in your work? Why?
Albrecht Dürer, M.C. Escher, Bill Watterson, Bob Ross.

When did you start working on the Vine platform? What attracted you to it?
The day it came out. I liked the ability to produce content immediately and share it just as fast. Nothing saps the creativity and joy out of a project like months of meetings and revisions.

How does Vine compare to other mediums?
While Vine is little more than animated GIFS with sound, there is something truly special about the platform. This is partly due to the community, and partly due to the fact that, at least initially, it was a production toolkit with incredibly limiting parameters. That has since changed, but I think the ethos of DIY ingenuity continues to set the tone.

Which project do you find most inspiring and creative?
Projects that have no precedent and no goal other than creating something delightful and different.

What inspires you as an artist? Where do you find your stories to capture/tell?
I’m not a huge fan of the word inspiration. It feels like it’s saying that something out there is giving us a hint of what is cool, like we need to find a muse that will show us the way. I think stories and ideas just come from letting our minds off their leashes and letting them roll around in the park.

In 2013, observers pointed out that Vine was built on “constraints.” It allows you make edits and stitch them together for a story. You’ve worked out Vine’s constraints and taken shots and motion into a new medium. What does your process look like?
It depends on the Vine. Some Vines I make up as I go along, literally letting the animation flow out frame by frame without forethought.


Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /nfs/c05/h05/mnt/16967/domains/oishiicreative.com/html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-social-media-icons/libs/controllers/sfsi_frontpopUp.php on line 63