:: radical sabbatical ::
:: DC Blogfest ::
:: article of the week [03.11 - 03.15] ::
:: Playshare ::
Picture this scene: a motorist, traveling on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. He passes a highway sign reading "Welcome to Baltimore." He continues driving, unmoved by the sign, unmotivated to get to know the city, its people, or its character. "Welcome to Baltimore" provides no more to the traveler than a designation of the city limits.
Now consider a different scenario. Same driver. Same parkway. Same sign except for the addition of one word: "Welcome to Baltimore, Hon." The addition of the local abbreviation of "honey" to the traditional road sign tells a compelling story as it heightens your curiosity and provokes questions. Where does your mind go due to that one word? Do you hear a voice and inflection in your head? Do you imagine a personality? Do you visualize a friendly waitress and a slice of pie? Maybe you're reminded of old friends? Chances are that the driver takes a mental detour as he travels down the highway.
Thanks to an anonymous urban folk hero, this scenario is a reality for motorists entering Baltimore. Using a stealthy, anonymous approach, "the Hon Man" (as he has been named) has been altering Baltimore welcome signs for the past ten years. He has created a story for the city by giving it a personality, and in the process, reminding us of the creative power of words.
What is the ultimate goal of creativity in business? On one level, it is to give an organization a competitive edge, to be memorable to the client or customer, or to build brand recognition. Any business or organization wants to tell a compelling story that invites the listener to take another step closer—to engage in or explore what the business has to offer. Words are the tools that allow us to tell those compelling stories. Or in the case of the city of Baltimore, just one word.
What opportunities are available to you to tell your compelling story? Change your business and change the world. It starts with a single word.
let's play, hon.
:: strangers on the web ::
The first: "Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs."
The second: "The stranger has been a fundamental touchstone of cultures at least since Abraham and Sarah invited weary road travelers into their tent only to find out that they were angels in disguise. The Odyssey, too, is a meditation on strangers and hospitality: Odysseus experiences different ways of being a stranger on his way home while the suitors abuse every rule of hospitality in his own house. It's easy to see why strangers are so important: a culture's attitude towards them expresses its understanding of its position in the world of social groups. In our culture, we're suspicious of strangers. They're a threat. They lurk in shadows. On the Web, however, strangers are the source of everything worthwhile. Strangers and their utterances are the stuff of the Web."
I like it.
:: "stock" car racing ::
Growing up in DC, I had no idea about the social and economic impact of auto racing. Having moved to Richmond, though, where it's a moderately popular sport, it's easy to see how professional auto racing makes something to the tune of four billion dollars each year. Now, a collective known as Fanz Enterprises has started up a co-op to let the common man join in. They are selling stock ($10 per share with a minimum of 25 shares) to fans of NASCAR, "giving a limited group of everyday fans across America the chance to directly own part of a professional motorsports team." We'll see how it does. Regarding the target audience, it doesn't seem to have the drama and color that NASCAR fans are drawn to. Regarding its financial approach, it seems like it's less "professional" than the pre-IPO status of most public firms. But there's a lot of potential. We'll see what happens. Article.
:: housekeeping ::
:: moving day ::
In somewhat related news, my wife and I just bought our first house. We won't move in until the beginning of May, but gosh. We're excited.
:: 2MBR ::
I was hoping to review A Pattern Language, but that'll have to wait until next week. For now, I want to share with you The Ultimate Book of Business Creativity. All too often, "creativity in business" is perceived as people wearing bizarre hats and doing team-building exercises to facilitate communication and build trust. Ugh. The author (Ros Jay) escapes that, by applying sound, analytic thought to creating strategic exercises and techniques that help develop a creative mindset. One of the nicer elements of the book is that he breaks the exercises down into "problem solving" and "idea generation" exercises, as well as "individual" and "group" exercises. Although not all of the techniques are outstanding, there are some solid exercises that can help lead to innovative thinking. And he even has a technique built on A Pattern Language.
:: every road a toll road ::
:: public art ::
:: a good reference for blogging newbies ::
The other link is from Blogdex, which is a project at MIT, "built to harness the power of personal news, amalgamating and organizing personal news content into one navigable source, moving democratic media to the masses." It shows which sites and articles have been linked the most from blogs. The above link will take you to the main list. Clicking here will take you to the info page, which has some good links to info about blogs.
The Blogosphere is a constantly evolving place. Welcome aboard.
:: blogs meet "the tipping point" ::
:: "a complex network of relationships over time" ::
:: convergent circles ::
:: subscribe ::
:: six months later ::
The most significant element of the site is the confusion. Everyone trying to figure out what's going on. Everyone sharing the information they know. Everyone wondering who organized the attacks, why they did it, and what the US response would be. Bin Laden is named as early as 9:23 am, which is pretty early. Anyway, it's a fascinating microcosm of the range of emotions and responses from that Tuesday in September.
In case you want more of the discussion, go here. It's where the discussion continued, due to the large number of people trying to access information on the Internet. And here, the BBC chronicled eyewitness accounts.
who / what / why
At Play we create brands, strategies, new products, and better cultures for Fortune 100 companies. Our formula for creativity: "Look at more stuff. Think about it harder." Pure Content is one place where we do that, daily.
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