Tag Archives: leadership

Old Growth Thinking at ESPN

Via the NYT Today:

Once ESPN establishes itself in local markets, it plans to move deeper into local sports — down to the high school level and perhaps beyond — by using social networking and other technology to inform its journalism.

Sounds familiar (Steven Johnson, Old Growth Media And The Future Of News):

Measured by pure audience interest, newspapers have never been more relevant. If they embrace this role as an authoritative guide to the entire ecosystem of news, if they stop paying for content that the web is already generating on its own, I suspect in the long run they will be as sustainable and as vital as they have ever been. The implied motto of every paper in the country should be: all the news that’s fit to link.

Well Articulated and On-Point

I’m reading a fine line, how design strategies are shaping the future of business, by Hartmut Esslinger. The following quote struck me:

Although few corporations mirror the smooth operations spelled out in their press releases, the internal discord that results from a lack of shared vision at the leadership level can destroy a company’s coordinated pursuit of a design-driven strategy of innovation.

As we begin recognize the increasingly important role design plays in differentiating products, the above statement will (hopefully) drive “the board room” to recognize that a well articulated vision of what an organization’s design philosophy is couldn’t be ore critical to the long-term success of that organization. This extends both outward toward the market and consumers through an organization’s products and offerings, as well as inward to an organization’s employees and internal talent. Take the following blog by Douglas Bowman:

Without a person at (or near) the helm who thoroughly understands the principles and elements of Design, a company eventually runs out of reasons for design decisions. With every new design decision, critics cry foul. Without conviction, doubt creeps in. Instincts fail. “Is this the right move?” When a company is filled with engineers, it turns to engineering to solve problems. Reduce each decision to a simple logic problem. Remove all subjectivity and just look at the data. Data in your favor? Ok, launch it. Data shows negative effects? Back to the drawing board. And that data eventually becomes a crutch for every decision, paralyzing the company and preventing it from making any daring design decisions.

Visionary design leaders don’t grow on trees. And it seems lately that everyone is looking for that one talent that can ignite and focus an organization’s entropy into a laser-beam of innovative creative thought. It would be nice if there were more of a framework for less experienced creatives (bats his eyelashes) to learn how to be the next generation of executive design leaders, but in the end I suppose the best way is to continue to try and fail. Failure, ultimately, is the path to success.

The President is “Very Disappointed”

Upon hearing the bailout failed to pass in the house:

A White House spokesman said that President Bush was “very disappointed.”

“There’s no question that the country is facing a difficult crisis that needs to be addressed,” Tony Fratto told reporters. He said the president will be meeting with members of his team later in the day “to determine next steps.”

This fuckin’ guy didn’t determine “next steps” BEFORE the vote? Contingency plans weren’t discussed? What does this man DO all day?

Update: Bush added,

“Our strategy is to continue to address this economic situation head on. We’ll be working to develop a strategy,”

How recursive.

Insightful Commentary From Ziya Danishmend

The other day I stumbled across Ziya Danishmend’s blog, Notes from the Backyard. Ziya is a CD over at Blast Radius who I met last year while conducting a job search. Our chat went well and his point of view was very prescient and insightful. What we covered is essentially broken down in a post on his blog, “Feeling Chippy?” The following quote is a bit ancillary to his main theme (which is traditional advertising/metrics need to evolve – or get out of the way – in order to fulfil contemporary brand-promises) but great nonetheless:

The by-product of this organizational and institutional struggle is anxiety. It can rule – and ruin – a creative group and an agency. Especially when the organization itself becomes vested in the pretense of the numbers game – attempting to figure out the customer with pointillist accuracy. Often times the creative output of an agency (traditional or digital) thus biased ends up lifeless and dry. It should come as no surprise then that not a single agency, digital or traditional, has ever been named by Fortune magazine as one of the Top 100 Best Places to Work.

Thoughts on Data Visualization

As I get deeper into my studies of data visualization, I’ve been sharing some of my observations and thoughts with the creative team here at Roundarch. I’m admittedly a terrible power-point presenter, but I thought I’d share some of the recent talks I’ve led discussion on. Below are two links to the longer talk I gave to the creative team as well as the abbreviated version to the combined UX/VD team. Read ‘em, ignore ‘em – whatev.

Abbreviated talk to UX/VD team

Somewhat longer and more disorganized discussion with Creative Team

The 3 C’s of Good Design

(via Maeda’s blog in the Technology Review)

Content: There needs to be a message or meaning. Everything needs a reason to exist, otherwise it shouldn’t.

Context: Content doesn’t live in a vacuum. A Chanel bag sitting on a shelf at Wal-Mart will only confuse.

Contrast: An element is made stronger when a counterelement is offered. Salt tastes saltier after one has had some sugar.

Maeda on Being Creative

(from Maeda’s Simplicity Blog)

So it dawned upon me how important it is to be a creative. Because it means you have within you infinite capacity to experiment. You are unafraid to go somewhere new because you are creating a new thought process about your own creativity. You know that if you stop and no longer challenge yourself, you cease to be creative. You become still, silent… And you do not exist. You show you do not have the courage to exist.