Tag: innovation

16
May

Why Ad Agency-Created Products Fail

Why Agencies Fail_Mona Lisa

We read a recent Fast Co.Create piece by Leif Abraham, partner at Prehype, a New York-based venture development firm creating new digital products and companies together with startups and bigger corporations. In “Spike and Die: Why Products Created By Ad Agencies Fail,” he argues that the current culture and agency business models just aren’t conducive to real product innovation. Namely, that agencies trying to do product work typically treat the production of an app or product in the same way they treat the production of a TV spot.

Abraham says this has two effects:

1. It’s a torch relay

Just like in a TV production, each person finishes his or her work first, before the next one starts. That means the designer completely designs the app before the developer even starts to code anything. Though this can sometimes work, it also bears some risks, such as the developer finding mistakes in the design at a very late phase in the process.

2. An ad agency is not set up to maintain

In a campaign process, people are used to making some thing, put it out there and then never touch it again. This does not work with products, because they need on-going maintenance and a dedicated team to further develop it and deliver support.

As a result, product-like launches coming out of agencies don’t have long-term plans — or budgets — in place to maintain and sustain them.

Abraham further offers a few suggestions for how an agency could become a real player in the world of product innovation. Agencies should treat product development more like the founding of a new company — acting like a startup — versus treating it like another project. This inevitably marries the creation process with the business side of things. And both agency and client are equally invested in the long-term success of the product. To quote Abraham, “…if, as an agency, you believe in and enforce the rule of ‘my success is your success,’ you will have an interest in things running efficiently as possible.”

His other point is something that we at Oishii Creative are very passionate about, and have written on extensively, which is building company culture. Some of our best ideas come from fostering an open and collaborative environment; what we like to call “generative workspaces.” When your team feels excited about building a company — and not just a product — then ultimately, they’ll also feel incentivized and committed to the other aspects of the business.

As our VP Kate Canada Obregon recently wrote on The Agency Post, people like to work in open office spaces, or ones that promote a collaborative spirit, because they feel connected to the company’s organizational mission and to their fellow office mates. It’s about creating community within the office, and ultimately, the effects of this virtuous cycle translate into your output as a company, whether that’s launching a new product or a new TV campaign.

A vibrant and generative company culture takes the long-view for clients and projects. This isn’t always easy because it’s not a matter of providing short-term fixes or campaigns to fill holes. It’s about coming up with innovations that work seamlessly and consistently across platforms. This kind of generative culture asks more of staff and creative resources than replicating the status quo. It means working harder and longer on projects that hopefully, many are willing to do. Because what it really comes down to is thinking and creating with the future in mind, and always finding ways to partner and deliver for clients.

12
May

Think Like A Tourist Series: Think Like A Situationist

Situationist

Creation is a radical act. Whether you create ideas, services or products, all of us who lead and guide creators are obliged to see the world differently every day.

And we generate ideas through a combination of processes and our neuro-circuitry; our mind’s abilities and internal ways of thinking. Think of it as the merging of our work environment, culture and peers with our brain’s capabilities. Whether we are charged with realizing the strategic brand direction or an app or product launch, we must create and realize something new. We’d like to think the entire process is within our control, but it isn’t. Creativity is not an amorphous activity out of our reach, either.

Philosopher and avant-garde cultural critic Raoul Vaneigem observed that creativity is often the obedient offspring to business, productivity and typical measurements of success. Vaneigem was one of the founders of the Situationist movement, a French group of artists, poets and philosophers who looked to art and specifically, the avant-garde movements to instigate societal change. Vaneigem and his fellow artists believed art and art techniques could make people see the world in new ways, just as they learned to represent reality with point on the brush, a dabble of paint or unfamiliar lines. For our purposes, Vaneigem‘s observations are useful because he calls out the reviving power of creative thinking. He believed that art could not be contained or utilized in commercial activities because artists’ contributions outweighed measurement. As he saw it, “you can’t limit the power of bedlam in the logical ‘spin cycle’ of work-a-day world.”  And while we know business and art are mutually dependent upon each other — deeply intertwined even — it’s worth bearing in mind his elegiac defense of creative minds as the driver of success, growth and innovation.

Vaneigem wanted us to always be vigilant to the ways we leaders either judge quickly or dismiss the radical new idea, its creator and his/her new way of looking at things. Following his way of thinking like a Situationist can awaken a feeling of liberation and adventure, which is crucial to the work that we do within the creative industries.

 

Image courtesy of Brictz.com

14
Apr

Design Thinking The Steve Jobs Way

Image via successfulworkplace.org

Image via successfulworkplace.org

Humans innovate. We are wired and curious seekers. And when it comes to work, we are, it seems, inexorably driven to tinker and improve the patterns, people and processes. We can’t help but seek out the novel ways to create and produce our services and products. Alexis de Toqueville in the 18th Century wondered about the “American” temperament of industriousness, what he and many after him, referred to as a resolved determination to seek more and more value in everything.

Interconnecting with what was thought to be a superficial “seeking of value,” is the active pursuit of innovation. It’s no small task to step back from habits and mindsets of work and build better products or engineer services people feel they must have.  Steve Jobs, heralded as the innovator archetype, embodies this philosophy and action, with his ambition and obsessive approach to product design.

But the way we frame Steve Jobs often overlooks his intellectual depth, passion and purpose. It’s an unconscious move, a mental shortcut really. It’s easier to evaluate successes backwards than it is to study the billions of people who almost succeed or fail any given year and to see what works.

Jobs’ many successes, the ones that matter to design thinkers, were his grit, systemic thinking, flexibility and originality. More than a leader of design-driven products, he drove businesses to understand the value designers bring to the bottom line and innovative company cultures. He taught us that design thinking is radical and cyclical. It seeks to outpace demand, and bring excitement to crowded and competitive markets. More than corporate value, thinkers like Jobs normalized the belief that designers were integral to business thinking.

There are plenty of books about Jobs, some good, but most unexceptional. I want to draw attention to a recently published book that isn’t about Jobs, but nonetheless carries his design-thinking legacy and places it firmly and realistically into our time.

The Rise of the DEO, Leadership By Design by Maria Guidice and Christopher Ireland is a how-to book that doesn’t promise you will become a design thinker — but you just might. By way of clear prose and case studies, the authors take you out of yourself and hold up a mirror of reality. Times are quickly changing; it’s no longer enough to think like Jobs. To stay relevant, firms need to find and retain talent who will work, experiment and work some more. Innovative firms are run with the help of innovative people who ask for help, make mistakes and do what scientists have done for centuries — laboriously use their minds to craft solutions. Take a step back and think harder and smarter for solutions. It’s the 10,000-hour rule with mind maps and directions.

So surround yourself with people who will push, challenge, instigate, and affirm (or not) your pursuit of becoming a design thinker.

 

21
Mar

Why Neil deGrasse Tyson Rocked SXSWi

Photo via Network World

Photo via Network World

My goal at SXSWi this year was to not only make it into the actual keynote presentations (which meant arriving early!), but to attend sessions that were outside of my comfort zone. I wanted to feel inspired in my everyday life and broaden my perspective both personally and professionally.

Well, I have to say that Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson (host of FOX’s rebooted “Cosmos” show) handily — and emphatically — delivered. His Bill Cosby-like comedic chops, likeable personality, vast knowledge of science and uncanny ability to make the subject accessible to anyone — made me want to jump back into my grade school science class and learn all over again.

Tyson is, by far, one of the most engaging speakers I’ve ever come across in any conference, festival or event. And it was clear by the wild applause, hoots and hollers from the audience that they were just as captivated by him as I was.

Said Tyson: “I don’t want to hand out answers. When you explore, all those answers come for free.”

One of my favorite parts was when Tyson talked about how children perceive the world, and aren’t afraid to challenge or question the status quo. He shared a hilarious story about how he encouraged his daughter to take a skeptical view and test the myth of the Tooth Fairy. Rather than flat-out denying the childhood fantasy figure’s existence, he equipped his daughter to do experiments with her friends. What did they do? They put their teeth under their pillows without telling their parents!

My takeaway from Dr. Tyson’s keynote is to see the world through the lens of a child. Never suppress your curiosity. Test and try things out for yourself. Don’t just accept what others tell you as truth. Keeping an open mind and open heart will lead to many discoveries about yourself and the universe around you.

10 Neil deGrasse Tyson Quotes To Fuel Your Love Of Science

Courtesy of Mashable

1. “A scientist is just a kid who never grew up.”

2. “Science literacy is how much do you still wonder about the world around you. What is your state of curiosity?”

3. “You can’t just choose what is true and what isn’t.”

4. “All the nine-planet people out there, just get over it. It’s eight!”

5. “There’s so much to be impressed with in the universe. I don’t want you to be distracted by things in the universe that are not.”

6. “One reason we should go space: You know the dinosaurs would have gone there if they could have. Dinosaurs didn’t have opposable thumbs or a space program, though.”

7. “To be scientifically literate is to know when someone else is full of bologna sandwich.”

8. “The missing skepticism is the problem.”

9. “If we’re trying to go into the 21st century and be competitive, we can’t just believe we’ll be competitive.”

10. “I would encourage you to not become attached to the number of things. There’s no physics in the number of things.”

And a brilliant piece by Fredric Paul of Network World on how Dr. Tyson’s insights could apply to the world of enterprise technology and networking.

— Michele Lu Kumar, Principal of Priya PR

28
Feb

Five Tips For Making Your Office A Creative Space

oishii-studio-pics-08Our VP, Kate Canada Obregon, wrote a blog post on “Five Tips for Making Your Office a Creative Space,” which appeared in The Agency Post today.

An excerpt:

Here are five elements that can contribute to making your space the type of generative office that supports and amplifies creativity:

1. Familiar People

Researchers have demonstrated that collaborative work environments create happier and more productive employees. J. Richard Hackman, one of the world’s leading researchers on organizational behavior, found group work, particularly a familiar group, to be more productive when compared to individuals who worked alone. When a familiar group is encouraged to share ideas, hear other perspectives and receive constructive feedback, they report greater satisfaction with their job, their peers and culture.

2. Collision Brainstorming

Writing in the New York Times, Greg Lindsay observes that successful tech firms know the benefits of people coming together for an impromptu brainstorm via happy accidents and aggressively seek what Google calls the “casual collisions” or Yahoo’s “serendipity” meetings. This is because research strongly suggests that structured group work has limits. In the new context of an informal chat, the brain has a chance to re-engage and renew a problem, and possibly come up with new approaches or ways of thinking.

3. Solitary Creativity

Most neuroscience studies on creativity and problem-solving demonstrate the powers of intermittent group work coupled with “incubation” or quiet time and solo work. This is where the lounge and reading areas and ping-pong tables that startups are famous for come in. After a group meeting, the brain needs some distraction and ambient activity to reassess a problem or create. Neuroscientists such as Rex Jung and others have studied the brain in “action,” and observed what is called fluid or dynamic activity in the brain during quiet times of relaxation and calm, which could yield high creative output benefits.

4. Tactile Engagement

If you consume lots of data everyday and need to recall information quickly, there’s new research showing that keeping information slows down our ability to remember and process. One powerful method for what is called “embedding” information is getting tactile at work. Embracing the old-school pen and pencil during a meeting, or taking marginalia in a book can code information into our brains in ways that author Clive Thompson suggests are deeper and more meaningful than on touchscreens. That’s why writable walls, movable whiteboards and active work sessions are excellent ways at getting the brain and body physically involved in learning and doing, fostering neuron activity in the brain.

5. Good Reading Materials

A well-stocked library in your office gives people places to relax between projects, but reading has other powerful cognitive benefits. Recently, researchers at Emory University observed changes in the executive functional part of brain in fiction readers. Participants in the study showed heightened neural activity in the part of the verbal and visual sections of the brain when reading. So, not only were subjects able to “imagine” a character, they were able to activate senses in their brains — deepening their awareness and imaginative capabilities.

See more at The Agency Post.

21
Feb

Open Offices: Fostering Creativity or Killing Productivity?

Open OfficeFor 60 years, the open office floorplan has been both the standard and ideal for office design. Mirroring economic changes since the 1950s and into the 1990s, architects have designed work environments for the booming “knowledge industries,” spaces where people create and produce ideas as part of their company bottom lines.

Symbolically speaking, people like to work in open office spaces, because they report feeling connected to the company’s organizational mission and to their fellow office mates. These spaces do well at creating “communities.” And while the intangible benefits are apparent, studies conducted by organizational psychologists on large corporations show mixed results on the measures of productivity.

Workers in open offices complain most often about noise, loss of privacy and constant distraction. What open floorplans do really well for creative industries is provide two key components: Collisions and Quiet.

* Collisions or happy accidents among workers can happen anywhere from a meeting to lunch, coffee or a chance meet-up in the hallway. Researchers have shown that these collisions can be methods to generate fertile conversations and move along ideas previously discussed.

* Quiet is incubation time. Many problems or ideas people are tasked to bring to market require vast amounts of time. This is because the creative process has many stages, one of which is when ideas go into hiding, or into unconscious activity and emerges again in a new context; in a meeting, for example.

Kevin Johnson has said “Chance favors the well connected.” By that, we think he means the office that is open in connectivity, but also open to the processes required for real creativity and innovation.

We cannot create without other people. We are social animals. Some philosophers and scientists argue that physical and sensorial evocative environments act like our scaffolding into the world, giving us humans opportunities to deepen our brain activity and expand into the world.

What is your office experience like? Do you think it fosters collaboration and ideation?

14
Feb

How To “Think Like A Tourist”

Conference RoomMany people have asked us about the meaning behind the need to “think like a tourist” — a topic we’ve covered before on our blog. It sounds fun and slightly risky, but what is it? How does it help people come up with innovative solutions? Push along a brainstorming session? How does thinking help people think creatively?

“Thinking like a tourist” is what psychologists and scientists refer to as the attitude of perceptual innocence. Basically, it’s a learned method of thinking and ideation; of looking at ordinary objects around us, focusing on their details and then letting the mind wander gently to make connections, or even make remote or obscure links to the object. Once learned and practiced, it opens the door to playful thinking and experimentation, and can be brought back to any number of problems we are playing with on any given day.

Think of it this way: it’s like waking up in a new city. Walking out of your hotel room and tossing out the GPS. It’s taking in the smells, sights and sounds. Your senses see the ordinary sights in a new context. And in the process, you awaken new connections, such as finding the best corners to explore and visit.

There are any number of creativity techniques: divergent thinking, vertical thinking, and lateral ideation. Thinking about the ordinary in extraordinary ways opens up new possibilities, and takes us into the unknown.

Try this “tourist” technique today — and notice how differently your everyday world and situations look to you.

18
Oct

How Creativity Boosts the Bottom Line

A while back, a group of us were meeting to discuss a project and client expectations. The internal conversation pivoted to questions about finding a “blue ocean” space for the design and branding industry, which eventually turned to a debate on measurement, and how to quantify “creative” using the metrics of efficiency and “value.”

Someone chimed in, “Creativity can’t be constrained by bottom-line considerations. That ‘line’ pushes away imagination and limits vision.” Since then, this perspective has become part of the culture and fabric at Oishii. Ish was recently featured on postPerspective speaking on this very tension: http://bit.ly/15Fv23V

04
Oct

Delicious: Creative Inspiration Curated By Oishii

DeliciousWe’re proud to present “Delicious“: all the creative inspiration that’s fit to “print.” Curated daily, our digital newspaper puts an eclectic community of the thinkers, dreamers and creators at your fingertips.

Why did we launch Delicious? Because we want to share the ideas that stir our wonder, curiosity and excitement – a platform that echoes the true sentiment of our company mantra: “Dare to Inspire.”

We believe inspiration is the key to imagining and experiencing the world in new and unforeseen ways. It informs every facet of our multidisciplinary approach to delivering award-winning creative. It is the bridge between great ideas and even greater creations.

In our creative field, inspiration is beautifully cyclical – and it all starts with our clients. We strive to reciprocate that with the caliber of creative we bring to their brands.

So flip through the pages of Delicious and discover a world where inspiration abounds, from industry-centric ideas surrounding design and digital media, to the music and arts community. As you come along on our Delicious journey, we hope you also find your own inspiration!

16
Aug

Ish Talks PromaxBDA Judging; Metrics for Award-Worthy Design

imagePromaxBDA recently tapped Oishii Creative Principal Ismael Obregon to join the judges panel for its annual awards event, which honors the advertising and broadcast industry’s best design and marketing work.

Ish views his participation as more than a “best practices” accolade; it is an opportunity to meet some of the best and brightest designers, editors and producers working in broadcast and television. The “rules” of broadcast design (written and unwritten) are well known among influencers and decision-makers in our industry. They have proven to be instrumental in keeping audiences engaged and watching content across all channels and platforms. But for Ish, there is more to assessing creative work than applying guidelines. Here are some of his own metrics for award-worthy design:

Read and Research
“Well-read and knowledgeable designers are not just clichés. Promos have a script – a cadence with a tone and style. I’m always looking for the inspired piece, and that usually happens with effort. Inspiration means looking at your work through different lenses. Whether by way of research, books, or conferences – even looking at your competitors’ work – the practice of innovative design-thinking begins with an open mind that is ready to absorb any and all combinations of inspiration.”

Use the Rules to Break Patterns
“Everyday creativists play by the rules, and the rules of branding, design and culture need to be understood, unconscious even. A designer might see an assignment with a new tweak, a new perspective, and simple shifts can become new elements of the brand.”

Small is Big
“Most designers know how to use the tools. I’m interested in how designers use their skill sets. The biggest impact comes from the small details and I pay close attention to how skill sets are used when judging work, the rendering techniques or animation approaches. Regardless of what technical approach is taken, I’m always interested in someone’s ability to create emotional connections with audiences. That’s what differentiates a good piece from a great piece.”


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