Blog  Elektroniker

Five Keys To Building A Business That Doesn’t Bury The Humans At Its Core

As business leaders speak of the “Human Age” and claim that capitalism is being replaced by “talentism” -- defined as access to talent as a key resource and differentiator -- many companies have embarked on initiatives to “unleash their human potential.” Those are big words and noble ambitions, and naturally they seem worth striving for. But as one of the hosts of a hackathon in San Francisco this weekend, which invites developers, designers, and other creative minds to “reinvent business,” I have been wondering: What is a “human” business, anyway?

Blog  Elektroniker

Push to Pull

In light of the Arab Spring and the rise of India and China, and propelled by social technologies, the concept of ‘soft power’ (the phrase was coined by Joseph Nye in his 1990 book, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power; defined as “the ability to obtain what one wants through co-option and attraction”) is ever more relevant. Or, in marketing terms, Push is out, Pull is in. If an idea, aspiration, product, goal, ideology, culture, narrative, or national identity is attractive to its constituents, it minimizes the need for constant reinforcement and regulation – whether that is advertising, promotions, and other persuasive efforts, or bureaucracy, command-and-control, and coercion. Pull is powerful (as John Hagel illustrates in his riveting book The Power of Pull). It has a lot of Pull (pun intended) because one doesn’t have to push. It saves energy that can be invested otherwise, for example, in whatever “it” is that creates Pull. No surprise then that individuals, organizations, societies, and entire nations wish they could rely on it more.

Blog  Elektroniker

(Good) Movies and The Three Dimensions of Meaning

I haven’t seen The Social Network yet. But the recent debate about the movie that, characteristical of a successful product, quickly transcended the original artifact and evolved into a broader cultural discourse (a “third meaning”), made me think about how dramatically my own movie experience has changed over the past 30 years. I’ve been fascinated with movies ever since I was a young boy. At the age of 10, I completely immersed myself into films such as Jungle Book, watched them again and again, learned the dialogues by heart, and accumulated an encyclopedic knowledge of the characters. A couple of years later, I became obsessed with the Bond series (I still know the entire filmography in and out). Films were my reality, and my life took place in a parallel universe for the most part.

Blog  Elektroniker

Creative Spaces and Innovation

Last fall our friends from Palomar 5, a collective of young German entrepreneurs, and affiliate curators gave 28 residents under the age of 30 from all over the world the possibility to stay for six weeks in an Innovation Camp in Berlin. It was an invitation to collaborate, and to discover and express themselves. Furthermore, the participants could network with leaders from the fields of economics, science, culture, and politics, and meet experts at the forefront of their fields (among them frog). The initiative generated a cluster of projects ranging from perspectives on social entrepreneurship to technology, art, design, and psychology. Eight of the Palomar 5 residents have now arrived in San Francisco to continue developing their projects at GAFFTA, the Gray Area Foundation of the Arts.

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Lift10: Connected People

Lift10_poster_300px

Describing itself as "a series of events built around a community of doers and thinkers who get together in Europe and Asia to explore the social consequences of new technologies," Lift is definitely one of the best conference networks out there. Laurent Haug, Lift founder and curator, is a wonderful host and has managed to maintain a strong sense of community despite continued growth. In addition to numerous satellite events with partners, Lift organizes conferences in France and Korea, as well as the annual Lift conference in Switzerland as its main hub.

Blog  Elektroniker

On Tour in Germany

I’m en route to Munich where frog will, for the second year in a row, sponsor the Trendforum (Nov 30-Dec 2), a conference that gathers European innovation, marketing, and R&D executives to explore emerging technologies, social trends, and innovative business models. Together with Gravity, a local creative firm, we will co-host the official Trendforum opening party on Monday. In addition, my colleagues Elizabeth Roche (Associate Creative Director) and Till Grusche (Senior Marketing Manager) will moderate a frogThink workshop, and frog executive creative director Tjeerd Hoek will give a presentation about software/hardware convergence. Other speakers include Ray Kurzweil (well, via 3D-hologram….), Jan Geldmacher (CEO of Vodafone Germany), Thomas Ingenlath (Head of Volkswagen Design Center), Axel Becker (Trendscouting, Airbus), and many more.

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Distraction is a Human Right!

I was thrilled to read the riveting “In Defense of Distraction” piece by Sam Anderson in New York magazine this week. Well-surveyed, it covers a lot of different aspects of this complex topic without being overly academic or boring. In fact, and this is the biggest compliment I can possibly give, the article is full of distractions – digressing thoughts that open up unexpected avenues of pleasure for the reader.

Blog  Elektroniker

A BlackBerry Note from TED

I guess the format of BlackBerry-written conference posts resides somewhat oddly between blogging and Twitter, but in the spirit of presence, here’s a quick coffee break update from TED, thumbed in from my colleague Mary Anne Masterson:

Blog  Elektroniker

What Soccer Can Teach You About Innovation

I wrote this post a year ago for a different outlet but I thought it might be worth revisiting (and slightly updating) in light of the upcoming "derby of derbies" -- El Clásico -- between FC Barcelona (Barca) and Real Madrid this Saturday (yes, I'm talking about a soccer game). The duel of these two archrivals is historically loaded with enormous psychological, cultural, and political significance. This edition is a special of specials: Barcelona is leading the table with nine points ahead of Real Madrid, and the upcoming clash can potentially give the Catalan outfit a comfortable cushion during the winter break.

Blog  Elektroniker

Never Be The Same Again: Notes from the Shenzhen Original Design Fair

If you want to experience Woody Allen's claim that "80 per cent of success is just showing up," I recommend you speak at a conference in China. I just had the honor of being invited to the Shenzhen Original Design Fair, which, in its fourth year, brought together "elite designers," as the local daily called them, with the Shenzhen design and manufacturing community.