Category: think like a tourist

22
Dec

Relax Your Brain with a Staycation in Style

It’s the holiday season and the end of another year. You’ve probably got loads of work projects waiting for your attention in 2017 and meetings stacked and scheduled deep into January. The client wants your ear, while office problems demand your know-how and problem-solving skills.

But, the supply chain, the creative teams, the leadership retreat and the new product release can wait. Now is the time to stop and retreat. Yes. Retreat into the waiting outdoors or, if weather’s an issue, take a tumble into the inviting coziness of your living rooms. The adventure of quiet awaits.

Your whirling and multitasking brain needs time doing little beyond daydreaming, pausing and refreshing. The neuroscience and cognitive benefits of time away from our overthinking work lives are clear. Your brain requires quiet, calm and loads of free space to revive and look at things differently.  So, hunker down with family, friends and binge a few shows, but don’t forget to overindulge in nothing in particular.

We’ve curated some of the great aesthetic escapes of the last couple decades as our way to inspire you to do nothing, albeit always with style.

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28
Oct

Goodbye Vine: What We Learned from Vine Sensation Ian Padgham

In honor of yesterday’s news that Twitter will be shutting down the 6-second video platform Vine, we wanted to revisit our interview with Vine artist sensation and Twitter animator/producer Ian Padgham, where he gave us insight into how we can all be more creative, even in 6 seconds. 

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.

07
Oct

Five Minutes With – Kate Canada Obregon, PhD

As the Co-Founder, Partner and Director of Strategy and Research of Oishii Creative, Kate Canada Obregon has been with the company from the beginning, since co-founding it with her business partner, and now husband, Ish Obregon, in 2006. Read on as she offers her insight into what the company’s philosophy, “Think Like a Tourist,” means for her, what inspires her, and what she really does all day.

How do you “Think Like a Tourist” (how do you embody that philosophy for yourself)?
For me, “Thinking Like a Tourist” is not only our company mantra, but truly my experience coming into this industry. I had such an outside background that I feel I’ve been able to bring some fresh perspective and understanding to the world of branding. I originally studied political philosophy and culture at university. The more I studied and researched, the more I began to see the small, but powerful, tools people used in culture, language, and perspective — how culture and institutions in society are in a perpetual conversation.

While working in a basement library archive, researching and examining a replica of the Bayeux Tapestry and William the Conqueror’s attempt to win over his new English subjects after defeating the beloved King Harold in 1066, a friend gave me career advice. “You should try out the field of brands,” she said. I looked at her, and we both had a good laugh. “Why not apply your knowledge to different kinds of problems? You know history and science,” she urged. “You should think about applying your skills and passion to more contemporary problems.” And as I completed my PhD studies, I began meeting with creative agencies doing interesting work in strategy, and I was curious and inspired. Around this time, I met Ish, and we immediately clicked. He wanted to shape “branding” into a standalone and serious discipline for his clients, separate from the function and process of marketing, and I wanted to apply social science to study audiences and culture. I wanted to be a “social” scientist, not just study culture for science.So, luckily for me, I still apply my background and outside approach to the industry, and I get to “Think Like a Tourist” everyday — creating actionable strategy and insights using science and good data for companies and brands committed to understanding what their audiences or clients like, want or value.

What do you do when you’re feeling creatively blocked?
Get outside! Even if it’s just for a short walk, getting yourself moving and exposed to fresh air, sunlight and a new environment can jumpstart your creativity.

What three elements would a perfect day include?
Definitely time with my family, a project that I can sink my research teeth into, and maybe a really good cup of coffee.

What do you do all day?
Today, my days are spent working on the strategy and research side of projects at Oishii. As each client comes in, I study their brand, goals, and needs, and help them figure out where they want to go. It’s been a great fit, because like any academic, I’m obsessed with pursuing good knowledge whatever the project or outcome. In my former academic self, I couldn’t have understood English history using hearsay or bad science, and today, my clients deserve no less. Strategy for me is the ongoing pursuit of what makes companies and brands pleasurable for audiences, and that should always involve history, science and rigor.

Do your family understand what you do all day?
Well, my co-founder, Ish Obregon, is also my husband, so I would hope so!

15
Jul

Thriving in the Balance Between Career and Life

Summer is in full swing, and the warm weather has us thinking about taking a vacation. And whenever we plan time off, it makes us face the important question of if we can really afford to be out of the office for even a few days. With Americans working more hours than any other industrialized nation, and with research making it clear that all of our overworking isn’t getting us ahead, it’s time to take a look at our work/life balance.

As we’ve explored before, creative brains lose focus when they don’t get enough sleep and can greatly benefit from disconnecting. But in an industry where there’s a seemingly never-ending line of projects to finish and deadlines to meet, sometimes, things fall a little off balance. A recent study found that 87% of knowledge workers admit to working more than a typical 40-hour workweek, and 23.4% put in more than 50 hours a week. And 71% of responders admitted that they were unhappy about putting in the extra time. The corporate, and even creative, work cultures have unwittingly created an environment that is literally wearing us down.

As a leader of a creative company, I see the importance of maintaining work/life balance not only for myself and my own well-being, but for our employees, too. If we’re not setting a good example at the top, it’s likely the rest of the team won’t feel they have the freedom to take care of themselves as well. With that in mind, we put together a list of ways that we maintain work/life balance for ourselves and encourage our employees to follow:

Put Health First
From mental health to physical ailments and even sick family members, when our well-being is on the line, we must take the time to take care of ourselves (or our loved ones). From exercising and eating right to taking a sick day when we need to, in order to bring balance back to our lives, we need to put our health — and that of our employees — first.

Encourage Passion Projects
We are firm believers that passion projects drive innovation, and encouraging those passion projects for ourselves and our team members allows us all some much needed creative freedom and the ability to take a sanctioned break from our day-to-day. The result, hopefully, is that we’ll all feel re-inspired and reinvigorated.

Respect Personal Time
When Wieden+Kennedy’s London offices recently announced their initiative to ban emailing during night hours and encourage employees to reclaim time spent working on weekends, we were struck by how simple, yet important it had become for our industry. Certainly, there are times where work cannot wait, but by making it clear that they valued their employees’ personal time, they’ve set a good example for all of us in this industry to make sure we’re not losing sight of our or our team’s humanity.

Promote Vacation Time
Maybe we can’t all offer unlimited vacation time, and there’s some controversy on whether or not it actually discourages employees from taking time off, but we can make it clear that vacation time is meant to be taken. From working with employees who never seem to use their two weeks, to touting the benefits of travel directly and taking our own vacations, we need to ensure that taking time off is seen as a worthy path to nurturing the creative soul.

That’s just a small list of how we can begin to incorporate better work/life balance into our days. How do you or your company encourage better living through less?

15
Apr

Lost and Found on the Creative Path

Everyday is a new creative adventure, whether you’re working on a passion project or trying to come up with the next big idea for your client. We should try to strive to let ourselves embrace, explore and be inspired by our own personal creative paths.

But sometimes, we wander off the path and get lost on the way. The journey may still feel enjoyable, but we’ve stepped away from the process in an unplanned or unhelpful way that takes you too far from actually achieving your goals. And in those instances, no matter how pleasurable the experience, sometimes, if you go off-course, you’ve got to find your way back. Here are three tips to getting yourself back on track.

  1. Find a guide. If you’re truly lost, perhaps you need a little guidance to find your way? Maybe it’s revisiting the original creative brief to see if you’ve strayed too far from the original concept. Maybe it’s asking your colleagues, team or boss for advice when you’re facing a mental challenge that has you sidelined. Or, if your struggle is a bigger challenge of feeling adrift in your job, a mentor or even a career coach may be the answer. As creative consultant Jeffrey Davis said of feeling sidelined, “I’ve seen talented minds go to waste out of sheer stubbornness, pride, and shame in not asking for directions from others… Every thriving enterpriser I know, interviewed, and have studied has a mentor and a group of trusted allies.” Don’t be afraid to admit how you’re feeling and to ask for help.
  1. Focus. This is the tough one because struggling with focusing could be what caused you to feel lost in the first place, but sometimes, the only answer to getting back on track is to buckle down and do it. While we always need to allow ourselves a balance of creative freedom, having the concentration and discipline to see ourselves through challenging projects, situations and even time periods is essential to seeing things through. So, next time you feel yourself drift off your path, work on training your mind to focus, just like you would any muscle.
  1. Give Yourself Time to Get Lost. We’ve explored before how important a little time off to daydream and wander is for the creative brain. Perhaps you’re getting lost due to creative fatigue. In a digital era where we’re always connected and an industry where we can technically do our work from anywhere with a wifi signal, it’s easy to understand how fast we can get to a state of burnout. Wieden + Kennedy London even recently went so far as to institute email-free hours and limited meeting times to help combat the “always-on” expectations. If you’re feeling disconnected in your creative work, maybe it’s time to schedule some time to be actually disconnected.

Sometimes, the best way to find your way back is to embrace the journey for a bit. After all, as Tolkien said, “Not all who wander are lost.”

10
Mar

Playing to Work, Working to Play

According to Pablo Picasso, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Even though we work in a creative industry, many of us are faced with this same issue, but the solution could live in our childhoods as well. When we were young, most of us spent a great deal of time making our own fun by engaging in unstructured imaginative play, and it turns out that all those hours on the playground might have been developing our brains as much as our time in the classroom. But as we’ve grown older, most adults are faced with a constant barrage of meetings, deadlines and the monotony of the day-to-day, which often gets in the way of us feeling like true creative beings and competes for any leftover time we might have to engage in playful activities.

Studies have shown that even under-stimulated adults can suffer from play deficiency, the same way we suffer from sleep deficiency if we don’t get our required allotment of hours every night. In fact, those grownups who do engage in consistent play have been proven to be more productive at work. According to Brian Sutton-Smith, the developmental psychologist who devoted his life’s work to studying the importance of play in both adults and children said, “The opposite of play is not work, it is depression.” Play isn’t just an activity; it is a powerful mindstate and a skill that requires commitment and challenges us to stay creative yet focused and must live in everything we do.

But what is play? According to Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of nonprofit the National Institute for Play, “Play is something done for its own sake. It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.”

So, it could be a game of office foosball or trivia night, keeping playdough or some other fun, stimulating activity at your desk or even just engaging in work that feels playful. At Oishii, we’ve been lucky to have worked on several projects for children’s brands, from our rebrand of The Hub to our recent award-winning work for Sprout, which have kept us on our toes creatively and reminded us about the wonder a child’s imagination and an afternoon of unfettered playtime can hold. Those projects had budgets and deadlines and meetings, but we were able to find a sense of fun in each of them, and tap back into our younger years of unstructured play.

In the process, we’ve been able to strengthen ourselves as creatives, build better relationships with our coworkers and even relieve stress. And by engaging in our own versions of play, we can keep our minds and hearts open to new creative ideas. After all, you never know when that sense of kid-like wonder will spark your next great idea.

29
Jan

Four Deadly Creative Sins Saved

We all have our bad habits, the ones that we revert to when we’re stressed out or feeling disengaged. And when we’re working long hours on tight deadlines, we tend to unconsciously revert to these negative patterns. Breaking them can be incredibly hard, but what if you could, instead, make those same bad habits actually work for your own creative good?

Read on for our top tips on how to turn around four of the most common creative pinch points and use them in your favor. After all, if you can’t beat them, join them.

Procrastination
Let’s just get this out of the way: We’re humans and we procrastinate. But with a little flexibility, we can view our procrastination as a matter of discipline and not necessarily a personality trait. With that said, there are deadlines to manage and meet, and the hardest part of any deadline is the starting — the jumble of emotions and thoughts of excitement and anticipation that often serve as an initial obstacle. But, putting together a list and prioritizing tasks is a good place to start. In fact, with a little foresight, according to John Perry, professor emeritus at Stanford University, procrastination can be your friend. Perry, who wrote “The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing,” touts the benefits of “structured” procrastination or postponing tasks strategically to focus on more important jobs. “Procrastination means not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Structured procrastination means you don’t waste your time,” Perry explained in Business Insider. So, next time you’re putting off an unpleasant task, embrace that opportunity to do something else that needs to be done instead. It’s amazing how much you can get done as long as you’re conscious of how your energies have shifted.

Restlessness
Sometimes restlessness — a symptom of procrastination or boredom — especially during meetings, can be highly distracting for those around us and give us a general sense of discomfort. But, next time your legs are jerking or your fingers are doing a little too much tapping, why not take your body’s cue and go for a walk? Getting outside and walking around can lift your mood and help change your creative mindset.

Daydreaming
As we’ve said before, “The unconscious process and its strengths don’t always fit into standardized work schedules, and… sometimes, people are judged as unproductive or lazy when they don’t seem to be hitting a mark; when they aren’t relentlessly ‘producing’ heaps of”things.’” While zoning out can be seen as a waste of time, it’s when our minds are at ease that we’re the most creative. Studies have shown that the most productive creatives stay inspired by allowing their minds time to roam. So, instead of fighting your daydreaming impulses, why not schedule some time to engage in them?

Being Messy
Working at a desk piled high with empty food cartons and half-full coffee mugs isn’t conducive to productivity, but, according to research published in the journal Psychological Science by Dr. Kathleen Vohs and colleagues at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, being messy can boost creativity. The team ran a number of experiments with participants in messy and clean rooms and found that subjects in the messy room tended to come up with more creative solutions for challenges, being five times more likely to produce “highly creative” ideas. It seems that messiness and creativity are strongly correlated, and that a little disorder can let inspiration flow. So, feel free to add your new collection Star Wars figurines to the desktop, but maybe it’s time to wash those mugs.

21
Jan

Color Your Way Into Bliss

Walk through any Barnes & Noble or Art supply store, and you’re likely to see displays brimming with thick volumes of coloring books. Our favorite is the Existential coloring book, with Jean Paul Sartre poised and ready for bold dashes of color. There are lots of color-ready ready styles. mandalas are popular as are floral patterns. But the intricate patterns and delightful details offered in the pages of these books aren’t for kids — they’re geared toward adults. The trend is so strong that four of Amazon’s current bestselling books are adult coloring books. Even Fortune reports the rise in popularity of adult coloring books contributed to 2015’s increase in paperback sales (up 12 million units from 2014).

So, what’s the meaning behind the craze? First of all, it’s a satisfying creative experience. Filling in these detailed patterns and pictures with colors and sketches of your choice can make even the most artistically challenged feel like they’re doing something creative. But the benefits and appeal go far beyond just having some fridge artwork that stays within the lines.

According to the American Journal of Play, adult coloring books (and really any sort of play) can help you relax and reset your mindset, as well as reduce stress and foster creative and innovative thinking. They can also offer potential benefits, such as improved mental health or logic, problem-solving and motor skills.

In this fast-paced creative industry, the value of letting yourself relax and renew your mindset is key to keeping your creative juices flowing. So, what are you waiting for? From mandalas to octopus gardens to paisley pages, there’s a coloring book out there for you. Just sharpen some colored pencils, find your perfect pattern, and let your mind relax.

31
Dec

Best of The Year – Think Like A Tourist: Yurt Style

New Year’s Eve is all about reflection and renewal, so we thought what better theme for our last post of the year than to feature one of our most popular (and favorite) posts from this year — Think Like A Tourist: Yurt Style. So whether you’re yurt is a literal one or symbolic this holiday, we hope it leads you to the creative rejuvenation you’re seeking and inspires you to kick off the New Year with a fresh, open heart and mind.

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

Oishii designer Amanda Trovelarecently 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?

21
Dec

Your Holiday To Do List: Relax, Recharge and Renew

The end of the year is near, and while our schedules are slowly filling up with holiday parties and travel plans, we’re also enjoying a period of winding down. As we wrap up 2015 and prepare to face 2016 anew with all of the challenges and opportunities it may hold, this is a perfect time for a creative breather — to reflect, reenergize and reorient for what’s next. Here’s five tips for using this opportunity to recharge and reset yourself creatively.

  1. Daydream – The stress of constant deadlines, managing projects and pushing through the mundane to achieve the great catches up to a creative. Sometimes, we all just need to space out a little and let our minds wander. Letting your mind relax, freeing it up to make its own free associations can produce those “eureka” moments.

  2. Do Nothing – Taking daydreaming one step further is the power of, well, just doing nothing. And what better time than the holiday break, when you may find yourself with several unscheduled hours or — if you’re really lucky — days, to indulge in just being. Being present, being mindful, being there. Doing nothing, can actually help you do anything.

  3. Read a Book – Need a quick recharge? Picking up a book that piques your curiosity, whether it’s a true crime thriller or the history of logos, has many benefits for your brain and your creativity. From improving your concentration and vocabulary, to stimulating your brain, it’s the perfect way to relax, while still keeping your mind active.

  4. Embrace Your Family – As we’ve discussed this year, Modern Families are a big, sticky, tricky mess that can be rewarding and invigorating like nothing else. Families know us (and can test our nerves) better than anyone else and spending time with them can help us reconnect with our true selves and our true creative centers. And feeling grateful for them is pretty good for you too.

  5. Get LostGet outside, get lost and reset your thinking. Our ethos is “Think Like a Tourist” for good reason. 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 and inspiring yourself.

 

 

 


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