Giving Thanks & Creativity

GratitudeThe holidays are upon us, and while they can bring with them a mountain of stress (for various reasons), there’s one emotion they trigger that we should all learn to harness all year long – gratitude. Studies have shown the positive effect of feeling genuine gratitude, which can improve overall physical and mental health, including creative problem solving and memory. And people who are more positive tend to have stronger friendships, better relationships and happier employees. Expressing appreciation towards someone not only strengthens the relationship, but it also opens up the lines of communication. This is especially important when you’ve got people of very diverse backgrounds and ways of thinking working together – often on tight timelines. We previously discussed how bringing together an eclectic team yields a unique mix of capabilities and depth. Giving direct thanks for each of their distinct contributions and insights can aid in the success of a team by ensuring each person knows they are heard and valued for what they bring to the overall conversation.

So, while Thanksgiving Day may be a good reminder to be thankful, try practicing gratitude once a day. Stuck in traffic? Use that time to think about all of the good things you have in your life, rather than what you don’t. Early for a conference call? Remind yourself of the many people who have influenced your life in one way or another. Creativity doesn’t have to be a lonely process; many times, our greatest ideas are sparked by those around us who offer feedback and encouragement to keep us going. Tell your coworkers, your employees, your business partners and your vendors how much you value them. The more gratitude you build within yourself, the more you’ll have to share, thus giving back some of that happiness – and its creative benefits – to those around you.


Imaginative Spaces: How To Do Your Best Work

Featuring Dan Walkup

As professionals in the design and branding industries, we’re always thinking about our creative surroundings as generative environments. Generative spaces – or imaginative habitats — allow ideas and people to flourish. Bold, radical and intentional, they empower culture, sensory experience, habits, mindsets and thinking patterns. Imaginative habitats help generate curiosity and respectfully blend people of vastly different viewpoints working for a common goal.

What’s your company’s imaginative habitat? Does your space attract the kind of talent you want? Does it inspire you and those around you?

At Oishii, we are lucky enough to work with academics, storytellers, producers, visual and spatial dreamers. Featured here is Daniel Walkup, Executive Producer at Oishii. He is someone who thrives in an imaginative habitat, seamlessly working in a culture that uses his talents in research and creative, the left and right hemispheres.

Dan Walkup_3

What was your first paying job doing what you love?

I try to approach everything I do so that it’s doing something I love. My career trajectory has many deeply interesting and often unrelated branching paths. The one thing that connects them is my desire to work independently and with a sense of purpose. My first “favorite” paying job was probably working in a neuroscience lab doing my own research on song learning and acquisition in zebra finches.

What inspires you in your work?

DW: I’m inspired by the breadth of things we do and the depth of creative, strategy and understanding we put into it all. This inspires me to figure out the best approaches to ensure our people in the trenches have the resources they need, while keeping clients informed, happy and as much a part of the process as makes them comfortable.

What are your favorite type of projects?

DW:I like all kinds of projects. That’s what makes being at Oishii so special. There’s never a day where we’re doing the same thing; we’re always looking to expand what we do and how to do it more efficiently.

For me personally, I like solving puzzles that require quiet time, research and creativity. These kinds of projects come in many forms, from creative to growing a business. I’m lucky I’m at a place where I can try my best at both.

What is your ideal working environment?

DW:One where everyone has ownership of what they do and everyone’s input is valued. I can be a bit intense and impatient, so I work better independently – it’s also where I can make strange connections in developing different solutions. I have to be secure in my steps before I can bring someone on the journey with me.

What artists inspire you?

DW:Too many to name really … and it depends on the day of the week and my mood and what I’m doing. I guess my greatest hits list might be Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, David Wojnarowicz, Xavier Dolan, J. M. Coetzee, Matthew Bourne, Alexander McQueen, Sadie Benning, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Dante. I know these are all pretty classic, but I’m always looking for new inspirations.

What companies do you like to work for?

DW:I like working for companies that care about the people who work there – not just seeing them as cogs in the wheel. One that not only allows a life outside of work, but encourages it. I love possibilities of being challenged and really pushing the way I think.


Big Fish: Taking You To The Depths Of Mindfulness

bigfishRecently, we talked about How Meditation Makes You a Mindful Multitasker, but the benefits of mindful meditation go even beyond improving our ability to juggle our work, it’s also a cognitive workout. We spend so much time focusing on improving our bodies that it’s easy to forget about giving our brains a little strength training as well. In a recent article in The Atlantic titled “How Meditation Works,” Dr. Katherine MacLean, a psychologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine stated that when “you strip it of its religio-historical context, mindfulness meditation is essentially cognitive fitness with a humanist face.” Studies have shown that just like other forms of exercise, the more you do it, the more of a lasting impact it has.

Filmmaker David Lynch is a firm believer in this concept and has even published his thoughts on meditation and creativity in the collection Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity. In it, he describes the creative benefits he’s received from practicing meditation and how it’s influenced his style as an artist by keeping his mind nimble and helping him dig deeper into his creative conscious.

According to Lynch: Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They’re huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful. The more your consciousness – your awareness – is expanded, the deeper you go toward this source, and the bigger the fish you can catch.

Just as we wouldn’t expect our bodies to be capable of running a marathon without plenty of training, if you want to be able to fully flex your creative muscle, you need to build up core strength in your mind, and mindful meditation is a great way to start.

Image Credit: Abstract Screams Of A Dying Fish Painting by Ginette Callaway



Same Old Story: Why Technology Will Never Outpace Good Storytelling

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

At Oishii, storytelling is at the heart of what we do. Whether we’re launching a new brand, redefining an existing one or creating a 360-degree integrated experience, storytelling drives every one of these projects. The rise of digital technology means more opportunities to get your message out – more than we’ve ever had before. But with these new platforms also comes the fear that the rise of digital storytelling will fundamentally change what we do, shifting it into something unrecognizable. After all, if we can’t foresee it, then how can we adapt and excel with it?

But the key to good storytelling is older than any technology. No matter how many new ways we come up with to tell a story, the fundamental core of it remains the same: a good story is about connecting, be it to a character, an emotion, or, yes, even a product. Worrying that the story is dead just because the mediums for it have evolved would be like worrying that we’re no longer capable of love just because people use dating sites to meet someone.

Good storytelling transcends the platforms we use to deliver it, ensuring that no matter what technological changes we see, if your story is well told, engaging, and, most importantly, provides a value to your audience – be it informative or entertaining – it will make that connection. All of the companion Twitter feeds and carefully-timed video series in the world are not going to give your audience a reason to care. So, before you start wondering whether a Pinterest board or a sponsored Buzzfeed article is the best delivery medium for your story, make sure you’re telling a good one.