A year and a half ago I ventured down to the charming city of Providence to check out an ideas conference being hosted by Rhode Island’s “Business Innovation Factory.” It turned out to be an outstanding event, attended by many bright minds with numerous inspiring stories from a wide range of fields. (I returned last year too.) Beyond all of the ideas, however, the main takeaway was just how advantageous being small actually is for tiny Rhode Island when it comes to actually capitalizing on innovation. And they know it! For this installment of the eclectic curiosity interview series, I chat with Saul Kaplan, the “Chief Catalyst” leading the BIF charge.… more
Matt Mason is the author of the just-released critically-acclaimed book The Pirate’s Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism. The title is an important and timely history and exploration of piracy–its innovations and its implications–in the digital age.
Matt began his career as a pirate radio and club DJ in London, going on to become founding Editor-in-Chief of the seminal magazine RWD. In 2004, he was selected as one of the faces of Gordon Brown’s Start Talking Ideas campaign, and was presented the Prince’s Trust London Business of the Year Award by HRH Prince Charles. He has written and produced TV series, comic strips, viral videos and records, and his journalism has appeared in The Observer Music Monthly, VICE, Complex and other publications in more than 12 countries around the world.… more
Creative Generalists are changing our world of ideas in a very big way.
Almost six years ago I humbly planted a stake in the ground and began this weblog, Creative Generalist. The blog was and continues to be about generalism and generalists, those so-called dabbling dilettantes of knowledge; those curious of everything, but experts at nothing. I myself am a proud Creative Generalist and through my blog I’ve discovered that there are many, many others like me who share the same wide-ranging tendencies and healthy skepticism of unchecked or misguided specialization.
Nothing can substitute for depth of analysis, and there’s proven value in specialization – it’s what education, career paths, scientific research, and technological innovation are built on – but generalism is a secret talent.… more
Dr. Dirk Brockmann is Associate Professor for Complexity at Northwestern’s Department of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics and a theoretical physicist at the Max-Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, Germany where he leads a team of young scientists. His research focus is on complex dynamical phenomena in physics biology, sociology, neuroscience and economics.
Dirk is convinced that many of the hardest problems we face today sit at the boundaries of conventional disciplines. In the past years, Dirk has investigated systems as diverse as transport phenomena in living cells, dynamics of neural networks and human eye-movements. Recently he became interested in the spread of human infectious diseases such as SARS, HIV/AIDS and pandemic influenza.… more
I started the Eclectic Curiosity Interviews in September 2006 to both broaden the perspective of this blog and to learn a thing or two from some incredibly bright people with exciting stories to tell and wisdom to share. The response from participants and readers alike continues to be outstanding! The series will continue in the new year but in the meantime, if you haven’t already, check out the full series here or any of the five insightful installments from 2007…
Chef Homaro Cantu is blazing the way into the new era of Postmodern cuisine. One of America’s most daring chefs, and an Iron Chef victor, Cantu pushes the limits of known taste, texture and technique in a stunning futuristic fashion at his restaurant, Moto, in Chicago’s Fulton Market. There, the menus are edible, the soup comes in a syringe, some courses may have been prepared with dry ice and centrifuges, the fish cooks inside a polymer case on your table, and your fruit and sorbet dessert may look like nachos with cheese.
Cantu grew up in Portland, Oregon, and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu.… more
Adrian Chernoff is the Chief Creative Officer of Ideation Genesis, an innovation company based in Boulder, Colorado. He creates and develops a wide array of novel consumer goods – everything from story-telling products to technology products.
Chernoff has been inventing things since the age of six. Even at that tender age, he would carry a pad and pencil to jot down his thoughts and sketch them out. Maybe it’s not surprising, then, by his thirty-fifth birthday he received his 50th U.S. patent on top of 12 international ones. His innovations run the gamut from highly technical to deceptively simple. At General Motors he was awarded the title of Master Inventor and the Chairman’s Honor Award for leading GM’s pioneering efforts in developing the AUTOnomy, Hy-Wire, CARousel, and Sequel technology vehicles.… more
Steven Rechtschaffner is a noted Athlete, Producer and Creative Director. As VP and Creative Director of Electronic Arts he pioneered many sports and action games and created a new brand called EA Sports BIG. A few years back he moved into the role of Chief Creative Officer for the Canadian EA Studio and then into the Creative Director role for the entire Worldwide Studio Group. He stepped down from the company last year and now resides in West Vancouver with his wife and three children.
What have you been up to since leaving EA? What sorts of projects are you working on now?… more
Smiling Albino is a very special cultural adventure travel company based in Bangkok, Thailand. It was founded several years ago in 2543 (on the Thai calendar) by a couple incredible young canucks, Scott Coates and Daniel Fraser, and it has thrived delivering its original blend of unusual, intimate, inspiring, and all-out fun journeys around the remarkable Kingdom – and now Cambodia and Nepal too. As far as trip planners and guides go, these guys are tops. I had the privilege to work with Dan many years ago. He is truly a man of many talents: adman, model, consultant, athlete, tastetester, speaker, intellectual, emcee, and even feature film movie star.… more
Steve Callaghan is a writer and producer for the hugely popular cartoon TV show Family Guy. Steve has worked on the show since its inception and has even personally helped Stewie assemble his Guide to World Domination. He has also written sitcoms for CBS and MTV, screenplays, and live sketch comedy. He lives in Los Angeles.
Walk us through how an episode of Family Guy is made. How many people are involved?
Well, as you might imagine, it is a highly collaborative endeavor. There are about 100 people or so who are in some way or another involved in putting together an episode.… more