Six last-minute creative and inspiring treats for every taste this holiday season. We especially enjoyed:
Enough already with the fat talk. Special K takes a page from Dove and encourages women to stop the fat shaming and start celebrating their bodies (especially meaningful during this season of over-indulgence and New Year’s resolutions).
North of the border. Designers revolt against boring logos with their tribute to Canada at 150. (Next project: Rob Ford re-call?)
Branding woe-ho-hos. Quietroom (UK) brands *Santa*, complete with pretentious guidelines.
Objects of desire. Barbarian brings home the (consumer) goods through the visual magic of “intermodal transportation.”
Have a Coke, a smile and a family. Coke Argentina “knows what (early parenthood) is like.”
Tune in, turn it off. Wolff Olins introduces Higby, friendly hands-on tools to encourage mindful, face-to-face, in-the-moment personal interaction.
Going nowhere fast
The economy, like the weather, is encased in ice and going nowhere fast. This, despite the recent unemployment figures that might look pretty on the surface, but hide an ugly reality. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) calls unemployment benefits a disservice to the unemployed (hunh?) while fast food and big-box retail workers around the country are fighting for a living wage.
This is a blog about “exploring creativity in all things” not economic policy so the focus of this post is not so much the underpaid or unemployed worker but the unpaid worker, specifically the growing number of interns in creative fields.
The arts have always been a “hard-knock life.” You don’t go into it expecting to get rich. You’re looking for contacts, mentoring and the chance to be discovered. Knowing this, arts employers—from cultural institutions to fashion, Hollywood to publishing—“hire” young, energetic and naïve creative workers and pay them in “experience” or college credits rather than actual money.
You can’t eat experience.
It seems like a fair trade, but in truth it’s exploitive and elitist. More indentured servitude than apprenticeship. Only those with affluent families can afford to work for free (especially when paying jobs are at a premium). Interns of color or limited resources or connections are, by necessity, excluded—limiting their future as creative professionals and our exposure to new forms of artistic expression informed by their unique vision.
The millennial generation is rapidly becoming the lost generation. An unpaid internship will take someone only so far. It’s no way to build a future (let alone pay off staggering loans) for an individual or a nation that needs young, diverse creative thinkers to re-imagineer the world.
Yes, organizations and corporations have a responsibility to their share- and stakeholders. Profit is not a dirty word. But beyond that, there’s a social contract that asks us to pay those profits forward to the next generation.
As creatives, surely we can brainstorm some solutions. How can ad agencies, design firms, arts and cultural institutions and other organizations join together to do the right thing for interns and the bottom line? What job-creating/fair-paying solutions would you recommend?
Jeff Bezos’s announcement on “60 Minutes” that Amazon is about to launch a drone delivery system for select merchandise has set the cyberworld buzzing. While “Prime Air” deliveries are unlikely to take off before 2015 (at the earliest), this improbable innovation is a perfect example of what branding and strategy firm, Lippincott (think Starbucks, Coca Cola and Samsung) would describe as “design thinking” or “the fusing of creative and open-ended with the analytical and operational.”
In short, creativity is not limited to the traditional performing, visual or literary arts or allied professions. It is a visionary, disruptive approach that takes in all elements of our experience and re-imagineers them in entirely new and unexpected ways.
This is both bad news and good news. School systems bent on testing the creativity out of students (future innovators) or companies fixated solely on the next quarterly report rarely support the occasionally risky detours that foster similar breakthroughs. But those who toil in creative occupations (however you define them) or for enlightened organizations may soon demonstrate their worth as “significant drivers of innovation and economic growth.”
How to create a more creative work environment? Some suggestions from Lippincott:
1. Encourage cross-pollination between the “suits and the creatives” by building on individual passions and talents that can contribute to a shared love for “the experiential and emotive.”
2. Break down barriers and let people figure out the best way to work together most effectively.
3. Get out of the bubble. Everyone has an idea to contribute so don’t limit “deciders” to the usual suspects.
4. Think big. Don’t limit yourself to incremental change.
5. Focus on the journey (the creative collaboration) not the destination (the ultimate output.)