Last night, MB’s Design Director (and original wearer of the Three Wolf Moon t-shirt) Campbell Orme spoke at London’s latest This Happened event in Whitechapel. Also speaking was James Wheare, creator of TwitShift – a bot which allows you to follow yourself on Twitter from a year ago. James admitted that the service was a unique form of navel gazing, but argued that Twitter is fairly self-absorbed anyway. He explained that users were able to see how far they’d come since last year, and recognize patterns in their own behavior and movements. I particularly liked the idea of people @replying to themselves and even unfollowing themselves. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, “I wouldn’t want to be part of any Twitter feed that includes me as a member”.
Campbell was up next, talking us through the process which led to the creation of a unique animation style even Jeremy Paxman couldn’t get his head around. Splicing animating, 3D characters then swiping the images through space on an iPad and recording them on a long-exposure resulted in an ephemeral stop-motion animation. The project, executed by Campbell while he was at BERG with the team there and Timo Arnall, aimed to encapsulate Dentsu’s concept of Making Future Magic. Of the learning curve surrounding the project, Campbell observed that “Sometimes we learned something on a Monday, which we’d use on a Tuesday. And sometimes we’d learn something on a Thursday we wish we’d known on the Tuesday”. Such is the fate of anyone striving to break boundaries through creativity, experimenting and, as Campbell termed it, “weirdy tech”.
The final speaker of the evening was Tom Taylor. Most widely known as CTO of The Newspaper Club, Tom’s talk was about his learnings and insights from failed photo community game, Noticings. His story about the dramatic growth and demise of interest – both from his users and himself – resonated strongly for me with regards to the Moving Brands’ “Brand For London pitch”. Tom’s surprise that “if you invite the Internet, they will come” mirrored the incredible response we experienced two Summers ago. As did the quick descent into feedback monitoring and troubleshooting, which goes hand in hand with any form of community organization. Tom shared four key learnings, ones which we too could have been mindful of,
1. Work out how to deal with everyone turning up
2. Work out how to keep experimenting and having fun
3. Not get new jobs in the middle of it
4. Turn things off properly
A huge part of being creative is to never avoid the opportunity to try things. As each speaker proved, giving things a go, even if they fail, is the only route to innovation.