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Creative Momentum Workshops in London

This series of Creative Momentum workshops has now sold out. To be first to hear about future workshop dates, join my events mailing list.

Photo of railway tracks taken from a train, blurred by speed.

Photo by jurvetson

Boost Your Creativity — Accelerate Your Business — Meet Other Creatives

This summer I’ll be running a series of Creative Momentum workshops in London.

The workshops are for creative professionals of all kinds — artists, freelancers, entrepreneurs and anyone else who sees creativity as central to their work. (Yes, that means you.)

The first two workshops will help you inject some energy and impetus into your creative work — and sustain your momentum over the long run:

Workshop 1. How to Motivate Creative People (Including Yourself) — 8 July

Iggy Pop singing

Motivate yourself to overcome obstacles and create amazing work – and a sustainable career. Click here for more details of the motivation training. (Photo by alexsey.const)

Workshop 2. Time Management for Creative People — 29 July

Time Management for Creative People

Manage the mundane — create the extraordinary. Essential skills to maximise your creativity and minimise your stress levels at work! Click here for more details of the time management training.

And click to watch a time management training video in which I explain some of the key concepts from the workshop.

The next two workshops will help you tell the world about your work, attracting admirers, collaborators and customers:

Workshop 3. Web Marketing for Creative People — 19 August

Use the web to build your reputation and attract customers and business opportunities. Click for more details of the internet marketing training. (Photo by joel_wh)

Workshop 4. Creative Presentation Skills — 9 September

Stage spotlights

Give presentations that express your creativity and wow your audience. Click for more details of the presentation skills training. (Photo by givepeasachance)

I’ve had a fantastic response to my recent workshops for creatives, which tells me I’m onto something with these topics. (Check out my testimonials page to read what people say about my training.)

And given the state of the economy, I want to provide some high-value support for creative freelancers and small businesses. So I’m deliberately pricing the workshops to be affordable to people on a limited budget.

I’m limiting the numbers to 25 for the first three workshops and 15 for the presentation skills workshop.

I’m pleased to have found a suitably atmospheric venue — the Cockpit Arts incubator in Holborn, a former warehouse that is now home to a community of creative entrepreneurs, running micro-enterprises based on their creative craft skills. Cockpit Arts is an amazing organisation and I’m delighted to be working with them to host these workshops.

N.B. I’m announcing the workshops here first – but the details will soon be going out to other mailing lists, so early booking is advised.

And if you want to be the first to know about future workshops, you can join my new workshop mailing list.

How Do the Workshops Work?

The workshops will teach you skills that are essential to your creative and commercial success.

I’ve taken each topic and boiled it down to the essential skills you need as a creative practitioner. And I’ll do my best to inject some artistry into the workshops themselves — my aim is to inspire you and for us all to have some fun while we’re at it!

Here’s how it will work:

1. Tell me what you want to learn
Once you’ve booked your place, I’ll e-mail you some questions about your current challenges and what you want to learn. Based on this feedback, I’ll tailor each workshop to address the challenges that are most relevant to the group.

2. Each workshop will feature:

  • Practical skills you can start to use immediately
  • Stories and real-life examples
  • Activities to help you apply the ideas to your own work
  • Questions and discussions – ask me what you want to learn!
  • Networking and learning from other interesting creative people

3. After each workshop
I’ll send you e-books, articles, links and other resources to help you digest the material and apply it to your work.

As well as the material I’ll be teaching, this will be a great opportunity for you to meet and share ideas with other creative professionals — people like you, following their dreams and doing fascinating creative work, and encountering the same challenges as you. So if you’re free after the workshop, maybe we could go for a drink and continue the networking in the pub (it counts as Professional Development, honest!).

Each workshop is designed to work either as a stand-alone event or as part of a series. None of them require prior knowledge from the others — but if you attend more than one, you’ll experience a cumulative benefit from putting the various skills together.

Where and When?

All four workshops will be held at Cockpit Arts in Holborn, London. Click here to download directions to Cockpit Arts.

The Cockpit building in Holborn is a converted warehouse and makes for an atmospheric venue. We will be joined by some of the Cockpit designer-makers, which should add to a very creative and eclectic mix of people.

The workshops will run on Wednesday evenings, 6.30 – 8.30. So there should be time for everyone to make it after work — and maybe stay for a drink and networking afterwards.

Interview with David Amor, Creative Director, Relentless Software

ResearchLast week I travelled to Brighton to talk to David Amor, Creative Director at computer games developer Relentless Software, for the latest interview for my research on Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries.

In an industry where, according to Gamesindustry.biz, “insane crunch times and endless overtime hours … are considered to be a standard part of working in the development sector”, David and his business partner Andrew Eades are remarkable for having had “the crazy idea of a development studio that works 9 to 5 with no overtime”. Not only that, they strictly limit internet and e-mail access during working hours, and recreational games are banned from the office. Their approach has elicited protests about such ‘draconian’ measures, mixed with incredulity when they explain that in 3 years of production they have never missed a deadline or asked their staff to work evenings or weekends.

David Amor

David and Andrew founded Relentless Software in 2003 to make Social Games on traditional games consoles such as PlayStation2. Their first product, DJ: Decks & FX, was published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) in September 2004 to critical acclaim and was subsequently nominated for a BAFTA. DJ: Decks & FX is a music-mixing product that gives users a virtual DJ rig and a set of over 100 genuine dance tracks to play. It allows the user to perform live at parties as well as record their perfect mix for later sharing and playback.

In 2004 and 2005, Relentless worked on SCEE’s London Studios titles, EyeToy: Groove, EyeToy: Kinetic and SingStar. PopworldEyeToy and SingStar are SCEE’s internally developed social games that have collectively sold tens of millions of units. SCEE are world-leaders in developing and publishing this genre of products and Relentless is pleased to work closely with SCEE in this increasingly important market segment.

Relentless Logo

In October 2005, Relentless Software and SCEE released Buzz!: The Music Quiz, a music based quiz game set in a TV studio that includes four bespoke buzzer peripherals. Buzz!: The Big Quiz was released in March 2006 and Relentless continue to develop new Buzz! games for PlayStation platforms including Buzz!: The Schools Quiz and Buzz! The Mega Quiz. The Buzz! franchise has sold 4M units in its first year and continues to be an important brand in the Sony catalogue.

Relentless was honoured with Best New Intellectual Property and Best Innovation in conjunction with SCEE at the 2006 Develop Industry Excellence Awards. Later in 2006 it went on to win a BAFTA for Best Social Game. Relentless was also named 3rd highest UK independent game developer in the recently published Develop 100 which lists the top 100 developers by revenue generated in the UK. At a global ranking of 43 with a single Buzz! product, above Microsoft and Sega, this demonstrates the potential of social games and the ability of Relentless to achieve success in this area.

Relentless continues to make games that everybody can play and has developed considerable expertise in the new Social Games genre that allows people to enjoy video games without having the gamer expertise required by other products.

Talking to David, I was struck by his emphasis on the hard business value of ensuring his staff have a good balance of focused work and time away from the office. In his view this is not just a case of being ‘nice’ to people, but of providing the optimum conditions for efficient work and reducing some of the uncertainty inherent in creative production.

Relentless are currently hiring – e-mail David if you think his approach to making games could be for you.

Click the ‘AUDIO MP3′ icon below to hear the interview.

Table of contents for Research: Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries

  1. Take Part in My Research – ‘Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries’
  2. Research Project: Definition of ‘Coaching’ for this Project
  3. Research Project: Definition of ‘Creative Industries’
  4. Questionnaire for Managers in the UK Creative Industries
  5. Questionnaire for Employees in the UK Creative Industries
  6. Online questions for UK Creative Industry Staff
  7. Interview with Mick Rigby, Managing Director, Monkey Communications
  8. Research Project Featured on ‘Better Business Blogging’
  9. Interview with Ruth Kenley-Letts, Film Producer
  10. Interview with Chris Arnold, Executive Creative Director, BLAC
  11. Interview with Russell Davies, Advertising Planning Maestro
  12. Interview with Chris Hirst, Managing Director, Grey London
  13. Interview with David Roberts, Senior Project Manager, Creative Launchpad
  14. Interview with Neil Youngson, Technical Director, Cabinet UK Ltd
  15. Interview with Greg Orme, Chief Executive, Centre for Creative Business
  16. Interview with Chris Grant, Consultant, 14A Conversations
  17. Interview with Antonio Gould, Consultant, and Sara Harris, Screen Media Lab
  18. Interview with Richard Scott, Surface Architects
  19. Interview with Ben Demiri, Brand Manager, SIX Showroom
  20. Interview with Sian Prime, NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme
  21. Interview with Jill Fear, CPD Manager, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
  22. Interview with Terry Childs, Creative Director, Silver Chair
  23. Interview with Matt Taylor, Director, Fat Beehive
  24. Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian
  25. Interview with David Amor, Creative Director, Relentless Software

Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian

Research ProjectI’m very pleased that Mark Earls is the next interviewee in this series on Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries, as his book Welcome to the Creative Age was one of the inspirations behind the project – particularly his concept of the “accelerator manager”, whose job is to “help my people get a better job next time”.

Mark EarlsMark Earls is one of the leading thinkers about brands, marketing and consumer behaviour. He has been described variously as “one of the Advertising scene’s foremost contrarians” and “the Christopher Hitchens of advertising and marketing”. But mostly he just refuses to accept received wisdom and is determined to make us all think a bit harder to get better results.

Mark has been an account planner for most of his working life. He has held senior positions in some of the largest and most influential communications companies in the world – his last job was as chair of Ogilvy’s Global Planning Council, prior to which he was Planning Director at the revolutionary St. Luke’s Communications. He was Vice Chair of the The Account Planning Group and has judged a number of awards competitions in the UK and abroad for communications and marketing effectiveness and innovation and even collaboration between arts and business.

HerdHis written work has regularly won awards from his peers and is considered by many to be amongst the most influential being written today. His first book, Welcome to the Creative Age, was widely read and discussed and has been translated into several languages. Dominic Mills of Campaign Magazine called it, “the book that Naomi Klein should have written”.

His latest book, Herd: how to change mass behaviour by harnessing our true nature challenges our Western received wisdom about mass behaviour and develops an alternative model rooted in our ‘Herd’ nature and has already received strong endorsement from other leading practitioners and theorists both in the US and the UK. The story continues on Mark’s blog, a welcome recent addition to the conversation.

Mark is in much demand as conference speaker around the world – in recent years he has spoken in the UK, USA, Argentina, France, Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Spain. He lives in North London and is currently preparing his next book and doing the odd bit of consulting for interesting companies and people.

Mark’s interview is a great way to draw the research project to a close for 2006. Early in 2007 I’ll publish the research report here as a free download. Many thanks to Mark and all my other interviewees for being so generous with their time and expertise.

Click the ‘AUDIO MP3′ icon below to hear the interview.

Table of contents for Research: Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries

  1. Take Part in My Research – ‘Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries’
  2. Research Project: Definition of ‘Coaching’ for this Project
  3. Research Project: Definition of ‘Creative Industries’
  4. Questionnaire for Managers in the UK Creative Industries
  5. Questionnaire for Employees in the UK Creative Industries
  6. Online questions for UK Creative Industry Staff
  7. Interview with Mick Rigby, Managing Director, Monkey Communications
  8. Research Project Featured on ‘Better Business Blogging’
  9. Interview with Ruth Kenley-Letts, Film Producer
  10. Interview with Chris Arnold, Executive Creative Director, BLAC
  11. Interview with Russell Davies, Advertising Planning Maestro
  12. Interview with Chris Hirst, Managing Director, Grey London
  13. Interview with David Roberts, Senior Project Manager, Creative Launchpad
  14. Interview with Neil Youngson, Technical Director, Cabinet UK Ltd
  15. Interview with Greg Orme, Chief Executive, Centre for Creative Business
  16. Interview with Chris Grant, Consultant, 14A Conversations
  17. Interview with Antonio Gould, Consultant, and Sara Harris, Screen Media Lab
  18. Interview with Richard Scott, Surface Architects
  19. Interview with Ben Demiri, Brand Manager, SIX Showroom
  20. Interview with Sian Prime, NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme
  21. Interview with Jill Fear, CPD Manager, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
  22. Interview with Terry Childs, Creative Director, Silver Chair
  23. Interview with Matt Taylor, Director, Fat Beehive
  24. Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian
  25. Interview with David Amor, Creative Director, Relentless Software

Interview with Matt Taylor, Director, Fat Beehive

Research ProjectThis interview for my research into Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries was with Matt Taylor, Director and Producer at Fat Beehive and Fat Beehive Films.

Fat Beehive is a small web developer based in the heart of London’s New Media cluster around Hoxton Square. Established in 1997, it has built up a strong reputation for creating accessible and engaging websites for charity, NGO, Faitrade and sustainability organisations. Its client list includes The Sustainable Development Commission, Crisis, GamCare, Global Witness, Compass Network, People Tree and Union Chapel.

Fat Beehive logo

Matt is one of the founding directors of Fat Beehive – there are now seven members of theteam including fellow director Tom Moreton. They have recently launched Fat Beehive Films, taking advantage of their film-making skills and the growth of the corporate film marketing, driven by the expanding broadband network. As well as the actual filming and editing, Fat Beehive Films offer video hosting and live webcasting services. You can see a selection of their films on their website.

I spoke to Matt in the relaxed surroundings of a cafe on Hoxton Square, where he described the importance of social skills and peer learning in a small new media agency. He also offered some amusing observations about the way management terms such as ‘coaching’ are regarded in the Fat Beehive office!

Click the ‘AUDIO MP3′ icon below to hear the interview.

Table of contents for Research: Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries

  1. Take Part in My Research – ‘Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries’
  2. Research Project: Definition of ‘Coaching’ for this Project
  3. Research Project: Definition of ‘Creative Industries’
  4. Questionnaire for Managers in the UK Creative Industries
  5. Questionnaire for Employees in the UK Creative Industries
  6. Online questions for UK Creative Industry Staff
  7. Interview with Mick Rigby, Managing Director, Monkey Communications
  8. Research Project Featured on ‘Better Business Blogging’
  9. Interview with Ruth Kenley-Letts, Film Producer
  10. Interview with Chris Arnold, Executive Creative Director, BLAC
  11. Interview with Russell Davies, Advertising Planning Maestro
  12. Interview with Chris Hirst, Managing Director, Grey London
  13. Interview with David Roberts, Senior Project Manager, Creative Launchpad
  14. Interview with Neil Youngson, Technical Director, Cabinet UK Ltd
  15. Interview with Greg Orme, Chief Executive, Centre for Creative Business
  16. Interview with Chris Grant, Consultant, 14A Conversations
  17. Interview with Antonio Gould, Consultant, and Sara Harris, Screen Media Lab
  18. Interview with Richard Scott, Surface Architects
  19. Interview with Ben Demiri, Brand Manager, SIX Showroom
  20. Interview with Sian Prime, NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme
  21. Interview with Jill Fear, CPD Manager, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
  22. Interview with Terry Childs, Creative Director, Silver Chair
  23. Interview with Matt Taylor, Director, Fat Beehive
  24. Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian
  25. Interview with David Amor, Creative Director, Relentless Software

Interview with Terry Childs, Creative Director, Silver Chair

Research ProjectThis interview for my research into Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries was with Terry Childs, who has the dual roles of Managing Director and Creative Director at Silver Chair.

Terry ChildsFounded in 1998 Silver Chair has developed into an agency with international experience in creativity and media, working on brands such as BMW, Barclays, Kellogg’s, Sears, BT, Norwich Union, HSBC and Land Rover. 2006 saw the agency expand with the launch of Silver Chair Digital.

Terry is the Managing Director and Creative Director at Silver Chair and has spent over 15 years in the marketing communications industry. During this time he has worked for both agencies and clients including Ogilvy & Mather, WWAV, Leo Burnett, BT, Norwich Union, Safeway, BMW and has recently developed campaigns for tic tac, Yamaha and the Department For Education and Skills.

scgray2.JPG

Terry gave an entertaining account of the challenges involved in managing creative professionals. He also described Silver Chair’s internal mentoring programme, and highlighted the importance of using appropriate terminology when ‘selling’ a development initiative to a creative team.

Click the ‘AUDIO MP3′ icon below to hear the interview.

Table of contents for Research: Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries

  1. Take Part in My Research – ‘Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries’
  2. Research Project: Definition of ‘Coaching’ for this Project
  3. Research Project: Definition of ‘Creative Industries’
  4. Questionnaire for Managers in the UK Creative Industries
  5. Questionnaire for Employees in the UK Creative Industries
  6. Online questions for UK Creative Industry Staff
  7. Interview with Mick Rigby, Managing Director, Monkey Communications
  8. Research Project Featured on ‘Better Business Blogging’
  9. Interview with Ruth Kenley-Letts, Film Producer
  10. Interview with Chris Arnold, Executive Creative Director, BLAC
  11. Interview with Russell Davies, Advertising Planning Maestro
  12. Interview with Chris Hirst, Managing Director, Grey London
  13. Interview with David Roberts, Senior Project Manager, Creative Launchpad
  14. Interview with Neil Youngson, Technical Director, Cabinet UK Ltd
  15. Interview with Greg Orme, Chief Executive, Centre for Creative Business
  16. Interview with Chris Grant, Consultant, 14A Conversations
  17. Interview with Antonio Gould, Consultant, and Sara Harris, Screen Media Lab
  18. Interview with Richard Scott, Surface Architects
  19. Interview with Ben Demiri, Brand Manager, SIX Showroom
  20. Interview with Sian Prime, NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme
  21. Interview with Jill Fear, CPD Manager, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
  22. Interview with Terry Childs, Creative Director, Silver Chair
  23. Interview with Matt Taylor, Director, Fat Beehive
  24. Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian
  25. Interview with David Amor, Creative Director, Relentless Software

Interview with Jill Fear, CPD Manager, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising

Research ProjectThis interview for my research into Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries was with Jill Fear, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Manager for the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA).

The IPA is the industry body and professional institute for leading advertising, media and marketing communications agencies in the UK. Collectively, IPA members handle over 80% of media spend (worth £13 billion in 2004) and a large proportion of the £43 billion spent on marketing in the UK each year.

Jill Fear

The role of the IPA’s 55-strong staff is to serve, promote and anticipate the collective interests of IPA members; and in particular to define, develop and help maintain the highest possible standards of professional practice within the business. The IPA’s CPD in Advertising Standard is the industry’s training and people development standard, launched in 1999. Commitment to achieving the standard is now mandatory for IPA membership.

Jill Fear spent eight years at full service agencies (DMB&B and J Walter Thompson) before moving into the design industry as Group Marketing Director of Coley Porter Bell and Client Services Director of Springpoint.

In 2003 Jill joined returned to the advertising industry when she joined the Professional Development Department at the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising). There she manages the CPD (Continuous Professional Development) Accreditation Standard.

Jill’s experience of agency life as well as her current developmental role enabled her to give a well-rounded overview of the issues involved in managing and developing people in the advertising industry. She argues passionately for greater recognition of the quality of informal development practices in advertising agencies, as well as the need to balance these with more formal programmes. Towards the end of the interview she gives some excellent examples of informal coaching by managers going about their day-to-day work.

Click the ‘AUDIO MP3′ icon below to hear the interview.

Table of contents for Research: Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries

  1. Take Part in My Research – ‘Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries’
  2. Research Project: Definition of ‘Coaching’ for this Project
  3. Research Project: Definition of ‘Creative Industries’
  4. Questionnaire for Managers in the UK Creative Industries
  5. Questionnaire for Employees in the UK Creative Industries
  6. Online questions for UK Creative Industry Staff
  7. Interview with Mick Rigby, Managing Director, Monkey Communications
  8. Research Project Featured on ‘Better Business Blogging’
  9. Interview with Ruth Kenley-Letts, Film Producer
  10. Interview with Chris Arnold, Executive Creative Director, BLAC
  11. Interview with Russell Davies, Advertising Planning Maestro
  12. Interview with Chris Hirst, Managing Director, Grey London
  13. Interview with David Roberts, Senior Project Manager, Creative Launchpad
  14. Interview with Neil Youngson, Technical Director, Cabinet UK Ltd
  15. Interview with Greg Orme, Chief Executive, Centre for Creative Business
  16. Interview with Chris Grant, Consultant, 14A Conversations
  17. Interview with Antonio Gould, Consultant, and Sara Harris, Screen Media Lab
  18. Interview with Richard Scott, Surface Architects
  19. Interview with Ben Demiri, Brand Manager, SIX Showroom
  20. Interview with Sian Prime, NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme
  21. Interview with Jill Fear, CPD Manager, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
  22. Interview with Terry Childs, Creative Director, Silver Chair
  23. Interview with Matt Taylor, Director, Fat Beehive
  24. Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian
  25. Interview with David Amor, Creative Director, Relentless Software

Interview with Sian Prime, NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme

Research ProjectThis interview for my research into Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries was with Sian Prime, Training and Development Manager for the NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme. Through this programme, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) provides funding, training and mentoring for early stage creative entrepreneurs, helping them turn their ideas into viable businesses.

nesta.JPG

Sian gave a fascinating account of the challenges facing creative entrepreneurs, particularly those moving from a hands-on creative role into a leadership position. She challenged the stereotypical dichotomy between creativity and commerce by emphasizing the potential of creative skills to translate into business success. She also highlighted the pitfalls trainers and coaches can encounter when introducing ‘management’ concepts to creative entrepreneurs – and gave some memorable examples of how she overcomes these problems and engages delegates on the Creative Pioneer Programme.

Click the ‘AUDIO MP3′ icon below to hear the interview.

Table of contents for Research: Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries

  1. Take Part in My Research – ‘Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries’
  2. Research Project: Definition of ‘Coaching’ for this Project
  3. Research Project: Definition of ‘Creative Industries’
  4. Questionnaire for Managers in the UK Creative Industries
  5. Questionnaire for Employees in the UK Creative Industries
  6. Online questions for UK Creative Industry Staff
  7. Interview with Mick Rigby, Managing Director, Monkey Communications
  8. Research Project Featured on ‘Better Business Blogging’
  9. Interview with Ruth Kenley-Letts, Film Producer
  10. Interview with Chris Arnold, Executive Creative Director, BLAC
  11. Interview with Russell Davies, Advertising Planning Maestro
  12. Interview with Chris Hirst, Managing Director, Grey London
  13. Interview with David Roberts, Senior Project Manager, Creative Launchpad
  14. Interview with Neil Youngson, Technical Director, Cabinet UK Ltd
  15. Interview with Greg Orme, Chief Executive, Centre for Creative Business
  16. Interview with Chris Grant, Consultant, 14A Conversations
  17. Interview with Antonio Gould, Consultant, and Sara Harris, Screen Media Lab
  18. Interview with Richard Scott, Surface Architects
  19. Interview with Ben Demiri, Brand Manager, SIX Showroom
  20. Interview with Sian Prime, NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme
  21. Interview with Jill Fear, CPD Manager, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
  22. Interview with Terry Childs, Creative Director, Silver Chair
  23. Interview with Matt Taylor, Director, Fat Beehive
  24. Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian
  25. Interview with David Amor, Creative Director, Relentless Software

Can the iPod Kill Your Creativity?

According to Patrick Burgoyne it can – he’s just written a provocative post on the Creative Review blog, claiming that by sitting ‘hunched over their Macs, headphones on, plugged into their own private world’ designers are killing conversation in the studio – and when the conversation dies, so does creativity:

Design studios used to be full of banter – work-related or otherwise. Now all you can hear is the tssk, tssk of a dozen headphones.

Sure, you can still hold meetings and discuss the work, but who ever had a great idea at a “brainstorming” session? There’s something about the appearance of a flipchart that just sucks the life out of a room.

Great ideas come about either when you are busy doing something else – walking, taking a shower – or through talking to another human being.

If you’ve listened to any of the podcasts of my research interviews about managing creative teams, you won’t be surprised to hear I think he’s got a point. Every single manager, director, consultant and development professional I’ve interviewed has said that conversation and interpersonal interaction are essential to the creative process. One of the themes that has come out of the research for me is the idea of conversation as a creative meta-medium, where new connections and ideas emerge that would never have occurred to individuals working in isolation (or with their headphones on).

So should design studios ban iPods? That might be a bit extreme, but just as some companies have regular ‘no e-mail’ days, maybe there’s a case for ‘no-iPod’ days, or a return to the communal office sound system.

What could be better for fuelling the creative tension on a Monday morning than a good old-fashioned squabble over who gets to put their tunes on the stereo?

Interview with Ben Demiri, Brand Manager, SIX Showroom

Research ProjectThe next interview for my research into Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries was with Ben Demiri, Brand Manager and International Sales and Marketing Manager at SIX Showroom.

SIX Showroom is the collective behind Swear and b store (own brands) and 5 worldwide footwear licenses (Eley Kishimoto, Bernhard Willhelm, Peter Jensen for b store, Henrik Vibskov and Opening Ceremony).

Ben Demiri

Working with mainly UK designers and emerging design talent, supporting them with distribution and a unique production infrastructure, SIX is the roof of an international operation encompassing London’s b Store which is the international flagship for its line of ‘b’ footwear (formerly Buddhahood), Swear in London’s Carnaby Street, and a synergetic marketing and branding operation.

SIX specialises in the design, development, production and wholesale of fashion footwear collections. It operates a production-sourcing agency in Portugal and in Hong Kong, and has more than 20 agencies worldwide covering all continents, including Scandinavia, France, UK, USA, Japan, Hong Kong, Russia, South east Asia, Italy and Spain.

SIX’s first venture into premium footwear design and production happened with the internationally acclaimed brand Swear founded in 1994, opening its flagship in London in 1996. Since then, the company has evolved, launching Buddhahood in 2001.

SIX has developed close ties with many designers resulting in collaborations to launch footwear for Eley Kishimoto, DIE for Swear, Peter Jensen for b, Judy Blame for b, Bernhard Willhelm and in the recent past, Zakee Shariff, YMC, Burro and PPQ.

SIX now handles all product development, international sales and distributions of the following footwear lines: Bernhard Willhelm, Eley Kishimoto, Swear, b store, Peter Jensen for b store and the last additions to our family, the new Spring Summer 2007 footwear collections for Opening Ceremony and Henrik Vibskov. [Read more…]

Table of contents for Research: Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries

  1. Take Part in My Research – ‘Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries’
  2. Research Project: Definition of ‘Coaching’ for this Project
  3. Research Project: Definition of ‘Creative Industries’
  4. Questionnaire for Managers in the UK Creative Industries
  5. Questionnaire for Employees in the UK Creative Industries
  6. Online questions for UK Creative Industry Staff
  7. Interview with Mick Rigby, Managing Director, Monkey Communications
  8. Research Project Featured on ‘Better Business Blogging’
  9. Interview with Ruth Kenley-Letts, Film Producer
  10. Interview with Chris Arnold, Executive Creative Director, BLAC
  11. Interview with Russell Davies, Advertising Planning Maestro
  12. Interview with Chris Hirst, Managing Director, Grey London
  13. Interview with David Roberts, Senior Project Manager, Creative Launchpad
  14. Interview with Neil Youngson, Technical Director, Cabinet UK Ltd
  15. Interview with Greg Orme, Chief Executive, Centre for Creative Business
  16. Interview with Chris Grant, Consultant, 14A Conversations
  17. Interview with Antonio Gould, Consultant, and Sara Harris, Screen Media Lab
  18. Interview with Richard Scott, Surface Architects
  19. Interview with Ben Demiri, Brand Manager, SIX Showroom
  20. Interview with Sian Prime, NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme
  21. Interview with Jill Fear, CPD Manager, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
  22. Interview with Terry Childs, Creative Director, Silver Chair
  23. Interview with Matt Taylor, Director, Fat Beehive
  24. Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian
  25. Interview with David Amor, Creative Director, Relentless Software

Interview with Richard Scott, Surface Architects

Research ProjectThe next interview for my research into Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries was with Richard Scott, founding Director of Surface Architects. Surface was formed by Richard in 1996, in collaboration with philosopher Jeremy Weate and architect Kristen Whittle. Their first project ‘Soft-space’ won first prize in the Shinkenchiku-Sha Residential Design Award in Japan and ‘Aquaphilia’ was one of the ‘Ideal Rooms’ exhibited at the RIBA in 1997. At this time Richard worked for Will Alsop and taught History & Theory at the Bartlett and the AA with Jeremy Weate.

Richard Scott

From 1999, Richard concentrated on Surface, winning a competition for the headquarters for new media company Razorfish. Surface’s next project was to be their largest to date. The £6M South Eastern European University in Macedonia was designed and constructed in 10 months, using pre-fabrication.

Queen Mary's College Graduate Facility
Queen Mary’s College Graduate facility [click for larger image]

Andy MacFee, who was the project architect for Will Alsop’s Peckham Library, joined Surface in 2001 as director. Richard and Andy’s work together aims at the emergence or ‘surfacing’ of new experimental possibilities, promoting an architecture of rich experience.

Surface were the highest placed British practice (third) in the Building Design/Corus Young Architect of the Year Award 2004 and were third again in 2005. Significant built projects for Queen Mary, University of London have brought the practice critical recognition. [Read more…]

Table of contents for Research: Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries

  1. Take Part in My Research – ‘Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries’
  2. Research Project: Definition of ‘Coaching’ for this Project
  3. Research Project: Definition of ‘Creative Industries’
  4. Questionnaire for Managers in the UK Creative Industries
  5. Questionnaire for Employees in the UK Creative Industries
  6. Online questions for UK Creative Industry Staff
  7. Interview with Mick Rigby, Managing Director, Monkey Communications
  8. Research Project Featured on ‘Better Business Blogging’
  9. Interview with Ruth Kenley-Letts, Film Producer
  10. Interview with Chris Arnold, Executive Creative Director, BLAC
  11. Interview with Russell Davies, Advertising Planning Maestro
  12. Interview with Chris Hirst, Managing Director, Grey London
  13. Interview with David Roberts, Senior Project Manager, Creative Launchpad
  14. Interview with Neil Youngson, Technical Director, Cabinet UK Ltd
  15. Interview with Greg Orme, Chief Executive, Centre for Creative Business
  16. Interview with Chris Grant, Consultant, 14A Conversations
  17. Interview with Antonio Gould, Consultant, and Sara Harris, Screen Media Lab
  18. Interview with Richard Scott, Surface Architects
  19. Interview with Ben Demiri, Brand Manager, SIX Showroom
  20. Interview with Sian Prime, NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme
  21. Interview with Jill Fear, CPD Manager, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
  22. Interview with Terry Childs, Creative Director, Silver Chair
  23. Interview with Matt Taylor, Director, Fat Beehive
  24. Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian
  25. Interview with David Amor, Creative Director, Relentless Software