Storytelling–behind the scenes

I’ve recently been filming two sets of videos for work, the narrative and content is yet to be revealed. You can however get some glimpses behind the scenes with these two galleries.

It’s been a fun project melding visual and verbal story telling and I’m excited to share the actual pieces with you. Until them take a look at some of these fun photos. Which of course in their own way are also a story.

Lotus F1 Team

© Matthew Woodget 2011

New Belgium Brewery

© Matthew Woodget 2011

Creativity, Process & Perfection

What’s wrong with loving process? The pursuit of processes is by its very nature the pursuit of perfection. I can’t blame people for wanting that, the alternative of chaos. Rules of the road are a great example of process that works pretty well for most of us. If we didn’t have agreed process on the black top it wouldn’t just be chaos it would be a blood bath, cars hitting bikes, people going the wrong way around round-a-bouts (Brits, go visit a US city with round-a-bouts to experience this first hand).

Are processes ever perfect? Can we ever have a good excuse to shun the creativity? To answer that we should first look at the state of perfection, and what the pursuit of it does to us.

“You can’t get to great without going through good, but you’ll never get good if you are trying to be perfect” – Me

Aristotle, Confucius and other classical philosophers propounded the principle of the golden mean which counsels against extremism in general.[2] The Pareto principle or 80–20 rule explains this numerically. For example, it commonly takes 20% of the full time to complete 80% of a task while to complete the last 20% of a task takes 80% of the effort.[3] Achieving absolute perfection may be impossible and so, as increasing effort results in diminishing returns, further activity becomes increasingly inefficient. Watson-Watt, who developed early warning radar in Britain to counter the rapid growth of the Luftwaffe, propounded a “cult of the imperfect”, which he stated as “Give them the third best to go on with; the second best comes too late, the best never comes (Perfect is the enemy of good).

If process and creativity are diametrically opposed then let’s dig a little deeper. Creativity has, as one of its core tenants, synthesis. Taking multiple old things and merging them into something new, something better (Virtual Salt). Arguably even the other forms of creativity such as revolution and evolution require building on the old. Utilizing existing information in different permutations. Is there a place for both process and creativity? Can they, dare I say, have a relationship? Firstly all things are in balance. Extremism in general is a negative thing (Thought Mistakes). You could even have a scenario where you have a process that encourages creativity, in a company for example to keep things fresh and competitive you could reward failure. Creativity can also result in establishing a process. Something that was once new, ground breaking can become established as a process over time.

So once we have a process, we should keep it. Right? Well there is the nature of the universe itself, and our friend entropy. Having a process in place assuming that it is ‘done’, set in stone, is kind of like an adult who assumes they are all grown up (ahh bless, it is back to school week after all ;-)); learning, growing, changing. Thinking you are complete is an ignorant fallacy (The day you stop learning is the day you die). The rules of the road, and roads themselves change over time to accommodate the creativity and changes of the world.

Creativity is useful as it helps us solve problems. If there were no new problems to solve we’d never need new ways to tackle them (wow, that sounds really obvious as I type it). If you have a problem, in a business for example, to address it and resolve it requires analysis of components of the issue, a theory on resolving the issue must be created (there’s that pesky creativity again) even if the “change” is as something as simple as ensuring someone or something in the company complies to the process. So we can safely answer ‘yes’, creativity and process do have a relationship. They are both important so we need to find a place for both.

Should we all live in a wild west of creative ideas? No. Likewise we shouldn’t let the desire for structure and a modicum of predictability lead to a blind adherence to process for process sake. We should seek out the grey areas, fuel and foster both for the right reasons. What I would propose is that is that in today’s world more often than not we fail to create space for the vision and foresight that creates the future. That we are too bound to the short term pursuit of profits and cost cutting. At all levels in our corporations. It’s kind of like the accusations Bob Lutz levels at the short term pursuit of profits vs. long term success in his book “Car Guys vs. Bean Counters“. Managing creativity and innovation can benefit from process, from approach. Likewise process will becomes better and more effective when we create the space for creativity to make it better. Whether it’s a criticism of accountants and their impact on product innovation in biotech (How Accountants Kill Innovation – I love his comments “some of my best friends are accountants”) or it’s identifying new and more effective ways of marketing that cut through the attention economy (Dealing with Distraction) at the end of the day we have to take risks, to act, purse the new, and design our organizations with the intention of doing so.

Be it the balance sheet or the marketing campaign make sure you are leaving space to fuel what made you great in the first place.

Social Media is Dead: Long Live Common Sense

I found this to be a compelling story done in visual presentation form. It could be applicable to your photography business, any business or even your job at big business.

My take aways;

  • Brands are losing (or have lost) control of their message
  • The digital age led rise to the information revolution, information is horded and siloed (internally and externally for companies)
  • We are in the process of breaking down the barriers to information, releasing it
  • “Social” is a fundamental, it’s not Twitter or Facebook or a blog. Those are symptoms of social.
  • Social as a component of all our efforts as a business
  • Social is more than marketing
  • Location is fundamental to how we act and therefore how we market
  • You need a Social Business model, not just external “social efforts”
  • We need to release information to and empower our partners, customers and fans with it.
  • Risk is OK
  • Listen

“The entity with greater information freedom wins”

Thanks to @jer979 for the tip on this article. Fascinating stuff.

Read if you are interested in;

  1. Being ‘where its at’*
  2. The digital social revolution
  3. Evolution of our society
  4. Being what’s next, or at least hitching your wagon to it


Opening Paragraph

According to Elin Whitney-Smith, executives facing technological and economic change have a major decision to make: Will they handle disruption like the Spanish grandees who dominated the 17th-century economy or like the English weavers who supplanted them by embracing the printing press? This is only the sixth time since the dawn of civilization, says this long-wave theorist and economic historian, that human societies have faced a wave of change similar to the one that humanity is going through today. Each time, the disruption has been triggered by an innovation in information technology, which prompts a new form of organization. Today’s leaders have an advantage over the old guard in the five previous waves of change: They can see what’s happening more clearly. But whether they will heed the lessons of the past remains to be seen.

Read on: A Long-Wave Theory on Today’s Digital Revolution

*If you read the article you may decide the wording “being a survivor” is more fitting.