Tag: photo

Photos to make you think…

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We love how easy it now is to post a photo – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram….

From 2006  to 2011 we were regularly sharing photos online…then 18 months ago we stopped…

Did you notice?

Did it matter?

Why did we do it? Because the novelty had expired – and it was so easy other ways.

By the way, our presentations are nearly always made up of a series of photos with not much text. At least half of what we present are shots of things we have personally observed….so that is where we have migrated to.

Where are you going with the technology you love?

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Unlocking the value of old designs

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Airmail envelope

A (largely) defunct innovation: the airmail envelope.

Yet instantly recognisable to those of a certain age.

Now a useful way to share seeds from the garden.

What else could this evocative design be used for?

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Toyota’s reliable brand

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Toyota’s brand took a hit earlier this year.  However, in developing nations the company reigns supreme (see this photo from a couple of weeks ago in Sabah, Malaysia).


In Asia and Africa the car maker is dominant everywhere.  In these places, you get a sense of why the US manufacturers are so scared of the now largest car company in the world and their most profitable competitor.

The reason Toyota does so well?  Reliability.  Less need for repairs – less to spend on spare parts.

How reliable do your customers find what you give them?

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The new Istanbul?

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hong kong


Where East meets West. 

Is Hong Kong the 21st Century Istanbul?

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Polaroid passions

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We were dismayed a couple of years ago to learn that Polaroid instant cameras were being discontinued and the special film for them was going out of production. So we’re delighted that a new consortium has brought them back to life.

I remember when my parents bought one like this around 1975. The magic of the film coming out immediately followed by putting it in a metal jacket to warm under your armpit to help it develop (the instruction booklet told you to). It was leading-edge for its time.

Amazingly, they are still hugely popular more than 40 years after being launched.

Why? The quirkiness of how you use it, the look and feel of the paper, the white border around the picture, the way the image emerges in front of your eyes, the fact that you have something permanent in your hands (would you rip a photo up as easily as delete a digital one?).

Photographers, artists and designers experiment with heat or chemicals to create interesting effects as the picture develops. They are de rigueur for certain fashionistas in the media industries. We even take them to client events as everyone enjoys using them to help build a record of the time together.

It’s not easy to come up with products and services that will command this amout of affection and loyalty across generations (people will now pay for film that costs more than £1 per shot). But the passion around Polaroid can inspire us to be different, to be useful, to be memorable and to offer some fun.

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The ubiquitous Post-It

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phone 24 Feb 2010 020

The Post-It is everywhere (here in a hip converted factory as part of the Shoreditch House private members club in east London).

Yet its ubiquity, as a tool for facilitation and managing the thinking at meetings, means that it is no longer a fresh way to work in many contexts.  It sometimes attracts opprobrium. Increasingly so.

We have a pad of post-its with the words “oh no, not another learning experience” printed on the top of each!

Yet, the alternative stuffy Boardroom-style meeting is tolerated despite its low utility.


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Great design – functional as well as beautiful

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Around London, there are fancy developments with steps like these…funky, nice looking BUT functional?

Great design is a combination of beauty and ease.  Think about your favourite home appliance or piece of furniture.

Here, the interesting angles and absence of lots of hand rails looks good but is tricky for the visually impaired and the infirm.

In business, where do things that appear nice make things harder?  That paper on a tricky topic?  That set piece meeting or conference?

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Imperfectly cool

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I was sorting out the backup on an old computer and came across lots of large video files that I used for editing a few years ago.  8GB avi files and the like. 

Something I wouldn’t have predicted 5 years ago is that, at a time when home camcorders were getting better and better and are now nearly at broadcast quality, along would come something like Youtube coupled with the associated video function on mobile phones and Flip cameras that would make the shaky, the grainy and the imperfect the new norm – perfectly proper and cool.

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