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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Linkness. What we’ve been reading | August 31, 2012

by Nextness published August 31, 2012 posted in Linkness

Enjoy some robot swagger! And now Linkness.

If you read only one thing.

  • Where does your organisation sit on the empathy-apathy spectrum? | Whitney Hess


  • Why remote workers are more (yes, more) engaged | Harvard Business Review
  • Every leader is an artist | Harvard Business Review
  • My paleo media diet: What would happen if we turned off, opted out, and completely disconnected ourselves from the technology that runs our lives? | Lifehacker
  • What successful people do with the first hour of their work day | Fast Company



  • See the digital become physical in Google’s web lab | Co.Create
  • Merchants and shoppers sour on daily deal sites like Groupon | NYTimes.com
  • SEO isn’t what you think it is: Updates to Google’s algorithms mean that social engagement, rather than search engine trickery, yields top results. | Fast Company


  • “OK! Let’s see this amazing product you’ve built! This shrine that inspired four million people to become your fans. And they look at each other, and they look at me, and they say, Product? Shrine? And then I realize that they don’t have a product. They don’t have a shrine. They have a Facebook page.” | Contents Magazine
  • To BE or not to BE? People want good entertainment, branded or not | Moon Blog
  • Let’s agree that I don’t know you: In a world of strangers, the act of recognizing who you are has value. But increasingly that personalized greeting is becoming commoditized | Jan Chipcase
  • Niall Ferguson and the rage against the thought-leader machine | Harvard Business Review


  • One of the best pieces of creative advice I was ever given | Hey Whipple
  • How I write | Only Dead Fish
  • The rise and fall of grunge typography | The Awl
  • In praise of bokeh: the dilemmas of TV filming | BBC News
  • The talent myth: How to maximise your creative potential | The Independent

On Nextness this week.



Nextness Visual Diary | iPad art, paddle pops, nailz, pixel rain.

by Nextness published August 29, 2012 posted in Inspiration

Nextness Visual Diary is our semi-regular round up of visual inspiration. It’s not just to show off how cool we are; it’s to function, we hope, as an ingredient in your process of combinatorial creativity -- to provide a little spark that makes a new idea take shape. And now to the sparks:

This was sketched on an iPad. Don’t even talk to us we’re too astounded, too amazed. By Canyon Castator. Is David Hockney jealous?

Scientists  have used a suction electrode to attach an iPod nano to a nerve in a squid’s fin. This video shows what happens to the squids membrane’s when they play Cypress Hills’ ‘Insane in the Membrane’ on the iPod. Sidenote: what an amazing song that is and always has been. Via brainiac.

Oh you’ve got a new campaign? Who’s looking after the nail art? Move Slightly blogger Elizabeth Monson’s Proenza Nails. Did you see, by the way, O.P.I.’s Goldfinger, celebrating 50 years of James Bond?

Miu Miu‘s “Women’s Tales” film series showcases and supports the work of talented women filmmakers. This is the trailer for director Massy Tadjedin’s short “It’s Getting Late,” starring Aubrey Plaza, Gemma Arterton and Patricia Clarkson, among others. Music by Au Revoir Simone and Zola Jesus. More.

When the Black Keys performed live on stage at Osheaga 2012, the audience got showered with rain pixels. Via brandflakes for breakfast.

The Curiosity Mars Rover descent footage interpolated from ~4 frames per second to 25 frames per second so it’s playing in real time. YouTube user says, “This took me 4 days straight to put together, so I hope you enjoy it!”

Never thought of this before but Emma Mulholland (via the Benah blog) is right: rainbow paddlepops are kind of holographic. On holograms.

Terese Alstin and Anna Haupt spent seven years creating the Hövding, the invisible bike helmet. By the time this short video shows the radically-innovative ‘helmet’ in action you’re primed to start crying and we bet you almost do. Via Etsy.

A beautiful figure parades past a Toyota in this Japanese ad. At the end, it’s revealed the she is a he: androgynous model Stav Strashko. The vid’s okay but what we love is the tagline: ”Not trendy, not casual, not for everyone,” according to Copyranter. Bold, wonderful.


The 10 commandments of successful Client-Creative relationships.

by Nextness published August 27, 2012 posted in Management

At Nextness, we very much dislike posts that treat creatives like clueless crazy children and clients like clueless stick-in-the-muds. But we love this guest post by OgilvyOne Sydney creative and Nextness Prize finalist Simon Bloomfield (@dekkard42). A perfect roadmap to getting the most out of a client-creative relationship – and producing great work.

1. Thou shalt engage early and often.

It’s a great idea to get the creative team into the room to discuss big campaigns as early in the process as possible; preferably before media/channels have been decided upon.

2. Time is the enemy of all great ideas.

Too much, not enough; when it comes down to it, it’s about finding the right balance. And knowing just what that is often comes from starting the conversation as early as possible (refer Commandment 1).

3. Thou shalt tell us what’s wrong, not how to fix it.

If I had a dollar for every debrief full of tracked changes that didn’t actually explain why the changes were being made, I’d have quite a few dollars. The problem with this is if we don’t know the reason behind a change, it’s very difficult for us to avoid making a similar mistake again. And there’s always more than one way to write a bullet point, so by telling us the issue, rather than your quick solution, we can often find a middle ground that keeps everyone happy.

4. Thou shalt not insist on thy product name in the proposition.

Again, if I had a dollar … We know what the brief’s about – we’re not going to miss it. That handful of additional words would be better served delivering a unique insight (refer Commandment 5).

5. Insight shalt be provided in abundance.

You know your product better than anyone; your creatives need to know it as well as you; then add a layer of consumer objectivity on top. So give us as much insight as you can – shopper; brand; product; category; communications; technology etc. There’s a reason why David Ogilvy was a big fan of the factory tour – it’s where real insights are often found. And speaking of Ogilvy, the next commandment is one of his…

6. Frightened people art powerless to produce good advertising.

Confining client/creative relationships to the creative presentation ensures that you won’t get the best work possible. A lot of creatives can be quite timid individuals, and they’re often a little bit scared of clients. I always remind young creatives that clients are people too. Seriously. And the best way to break this fear down is by encouraging opportunities for clients and creatives to mix in other situations, eg, OgilvyOne SWAP meetings see our clients spend a day moving through different aspects of the creative and production process, with different teams.

7. An element of respectful friction shalt be encouraged.

You need to think outside of your comfort zone in order to deliver work that cuts through, so the end result of successfully negotiating Commandment 6 is that creatives should feel confident enough to speak their mind to you. And you should be trusting enough to listen.

8. Thou shalt give thine agency a focused brief, not a lofty ambition.

Another Ogilvyism was “Give me the freedom of a tight brief,” and it’s true, nothing focuses the mind more, and yet still encourages room to play, than a brief that provides a clear picture of the problem to be solved. Too often half of the creative team’s time working on a brief is lost to trying to work out what the real problem is.

9. Always ask thyself this question before making a decision.

“How would you feel if you woke up tomorrow and your biggest competitor was running this work?” This question came from Steve Henry, founder/CD of Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury in the UK. For me it’s a reminder that the work we create for our clients is designed to elicit a reaction, so the work we present to you must do the same. So if you’re just a little bit afraid, that’s probably a good thing.

10. Thou shalt celebrate successes jointly.

Great results, big awards, we’re all in it together, and nothing could have been achieved without the other party. Whether you like them or not, awards keep creatives inspired, excited and motivated, and seeing you get excited by them makes them want to keep giving you their all.

Simon Bloomfield (@dekkard42) is Creative Group Head American Express at OgilvyOne Sydney. His last piece for Nextness was The future of 1dent!ty.


Linkness. What we’ve been reading | August 24, 2012

by Nextness published August 24, 2012 posted in Linkness

Behind the scenes at the Republican convention - the podium features 13 different video screens — the largest 29 feet by 12 feet. And now, what we found worth reading this week!

If you only read one thing.

  • The pretty new web and the future of “native” advertising. A rash of new services are launching that all look similar; they ”want their appearance for users to be visually unified, and it’s also extremely telling that these “sites” are overtly rejecting display advertising.” | The Awl


  • Peer influence among CEOs and CFOs has a profound effect | WSJ
  • How to be assertive (without losing yourself) | Harvard Business Review
  • More firms bow to Generation Y’s demands | WSJ.com
  • How to design culture: 16 patterns to build adaptive learning organizations | emergent by design



  • Artificial intelligence gets creative | WSJ.com


  • The future isn’t about mobile; it’s about mobility | Logic+Emotions



  • How to sell an ad | The Ad Contrarian
  • Platforming books. Making beautiful books across all platforms – the web, Kindles, iPads etc | Craig Mod
  • The future of storytelling: immersion, integration, interactivity, impact | Co.Create
  • Amazing interview with Francis Ford Coppola | The Rumpus.net

On Nextness this week.

STW Group news.


A Venn for everything.

by Nextness published August 23, 2012 posted in Data

Today’s guest post is by STW’s Ella Campbell (@ella__campbell). Late at the office one night, Ella and the team were finishing off a presentation. It was a strategy; three components, three circles. As they magically moved into strategic perfection, it hit her – there’s a Venn for everything.


Via Bud Caddell.

If you have a job that involves a) working with people, b) a computer or c) all of the above, you should probably make friends with the venn.

But for those of you that aren’t convinced, here’s five reasons to reconsider.

1. Client recommendations look simple and compelling.

Read Zurb for more info.

2. Stupidity becomes intelligence. Sometimes.

Via Vennoid.

3. Sweeping generalisations appear analytical.

Via Vennoid.

4. LolCats.

Via Indexed.

5. Out of the long grass, a wild business strategy appears.

Via AlexAitken.

Bonus level | 6. Cat + bird = owl.

Via Society6.

If you need further convincing, you should be fired. Or alternatively, promoted, depending on which way you look at it.

Thanks for letting us repost this from your Tumblr, Ella! If you liked this, you might like Adventures in data with David Pountney.


The internet IS real life.

by Nextness published August 21, 2012 posted in Real life

The best nights are always the least Instagrammed, they say.

Bloggers you follow have probably started self-righteously announcing “I had the most amazing weekend ever, but there are no photos because I unplugged.”

Or, “I had the best meal, because we phone stacked and just paid attention to each other for once. We talked, instead of social networked. It was amazing.”

You tweeted, but I wrote a sentence in my notebook; that means mine was much more meaningful.

And remember that NYT piece about The ‘Busy Trap’ that everyone tweeted and Facebooked and emailed last month?

The author finds himself submerged by email and ‘endless frenetic hustle,’ unable to think or work or relax.

…finally I fled town to the Undisclosed Location from which I’m writing this. Here I am largely unmolested by obligations. There is no TV. To check e-mail I have to drive to the library. I go a week at a time without seeing anyone I know. I’ve remembered about buttercups, stink bugs and the stars. I read. And I’m finally getting some real writing done for the first time in months.

Writing! Reading a book! Being creative…. Those things come naturally when you’re not chained to Facebook. Buttercups, stinkbugs and the stars! That is real life.

Except that it’s not. That viewpoint is smug and wrong.

Everything you do online is real. Online is real life.

The IRL Fetish.

Writer and social media theorist Nathan Jurgenson called out this trend in his piece The IRL Fetish. (IRL of course is web shorthand for “in real life.”)

He says plenty of people spend plenty of time offline, and like it – just as they are happy to spend time online and like it. “To obsess over the offline and deny all the ways we routinely remain disconnected is to fetishize this disconnection.”

He thinks commentator after commentator bemoans the loss of “real life” simply to make themselves seem more special: “I am real. I am the thoughtful human. You are the automaton.”

Digital dualism.

Moreover, to draw a distinction between online and offline life is absurd. We don’t toggle between them; we live in both, and are equally real in both. Jurgenson says,

What is most crucial to our time spent logged on is what happened when logged off; it is the fuel that runs the engine of social media. The photos posted, the opinions expressed, the check-ins that fill our streams are often anchored by what happens when disconnected and logged-off. The Web has everything to do with reality; it comprises real people with real bodies, histories, and politics.

If you believe the digital world is “virtual” and the physical world “real,” then you’re a “digital dualist.”

We, the web kids.

It could be generational.

Polish writer Peter Czerski (born in 1981) wrote We, the web kids to describe the mindset of people who grew up with the Internet and on the Internet.

…we do not ‘surf’ and the internet to us is not a ‘place’ or ‘virtual space’. The Internet to us is not something external to reality but a part of it: an invisible yet constantly present layer intertwined with the physical environment. We do not use the Internet, we live on the Internet and along it. If we were to tell our bildnungsroman to you, the analog, we could say there was a natural Internet aspect to every single experience that has shaped us… The Web to us is not a technology which we had to learn and which we managed to get a grip of. The Web is a process, happening continuously and continuously transforming before our eyes; with us and through us.

What does it mean for us?

Let’s be clear. Nextness believes in solitude, quiet, thoughtfulness and reflection.  We believe in nature. We think creativity can be nurtured through offline and online means. But we also love the internet. And change. And new stuff.

The wonderful thing is, if you discard the digital dualist viewpoint, you don’t have to choose between online and “real” life. You don’t have to be ashamed about liking Facebook as much as you like dinner parties, or filing your inspiration in a Tumblr instead of a Moleskin.

And what does it mean for the industry? Well, as web kids grow up, there might be fewer ads exhorting us to ‘Get real. Get outside.’

As blogger Sarah Wanenchak says, Dear Stihl: I’m already real, thanks.

Jessica Stanley is the Editor of Nextness. Some of her other Nextness posts include: Is the internet making you sad? | On process. |  Introverts in ad agencies: a helpful guide. | Left brain vs right brain. | How do you solve a problem like climate change? Or: why having the facts on your side doesn’t mean you’ll win. | The future belongs to the curious.


Linkness. What we’ve been reading | August 17, 2012

by Nextness published August 17, 2012 posted in Linkness

Oreo Phases of the Moon by ogel on DIY. If we were writing How to get out of a creative rut again, we’d add an 11th point: Browse kids’ projects on DIY. (Have you see they now have a skills section too? This site is going to be big.) And now, onto Linkness.

If you only read one thing.


  • Everything I (currently) know about starting and keeping habits | Nick Crocker
  • Break old habit with new habits. | Wrestling Possums
  • Why customer experience is the only thing that matters | Fast Company
  • How to be more charismatic: 10 tips (ignore the link-baity headline, this is a nice article about being a good leader) | Inc.com
  • Read this if you do timesheets: Seven strategies to get the blue bar under the orange line | Sideways Thoughts


  • “When he presented the data to the CEO, the executive cast his research as fresh insights—and not the boss’s bad call. ” How to win an argument with the boss | WSJ.com



  • What internet habits say about mental health | Scientific American
  • PR moves front and centre: Whether creating movements or memes, the once tactical practice is now driving creative engagement | Adweek

On Nextness this week.

STW Group news.