Given that my first blurb appears on the cover, I would be remiss not to mention the latest book by my favourite cultural canary, Susan August. Following in the divine footsteps of Haiku Applecart, her first book, Haiku Building is another wonderful collection of charming 5-7-5 poetry. Each one hones in on one of life’s little details and deftly draws it out in just a dozen or so words.
traced by a finger
on the dusty truck window
“I like them dirty”
bath in the gutter
preparing for his hot date
an urban pigeon
I pause to reconsider
the joy of cooking
passing commute time
a favorite song’s bass line
thumping in my chest… more
There wasn’t much to it but Line Rider had me hooked for days drawing virtual slopes for a poor fella to sled down. The beauty of that popular game was both its simplicity and its invitation to build many of the variables that influenced the action.
Two other new “homemade” games are expanding on similar foundations and causing quite a stir. Fez and Crayon Physics Deluxe both demo’d at the Independent Games Festival offshoot of the recent Game Developers Conference. Both show that basic premises – a 2D character navigating a 3d world and wax crayon drawings that magically come to life – can captivate and draw audiences.… more
Dubbed a “field guide for the curious,” the IDEO Eyes Open series of projects – city guides, urban tours, and an online collection of stories – focuses on the significance of spaces in our lives. Their aim is to draw inspiration from culture and communities and the experiences they create, while chronicling emergent ideas by tying them to concrete experience. All to connect inspiration with insight. A very smart outside-in approach and endeavour for the revered innovation consultancy.… more
Back at the beginning of the year I posted a list of over two dozen idea conferences taking place in 2008 all around the world. A true test of one’s frequent flyer miles! Fortunately, several of these conferences now post many of their presentations online for free.
There’s of course the TED Talks. This is an exceptional library of top thinkers discussing important and new ideas. So many to view, but may I recommend starting with Sir Ken Robinson‘s brilliant review of creativity in schools, Lost creator J.J. Abrams‘s talk about “the mystery box”, or James Howard Kunstler‘s rant against suburbia.… more
The mother of all indie-pop-rock music festivals, SXSW, just wrapped up yesterday in Austin. No doubt some stars were born, while others were left just to gas up the van and head home. The Morning News’ contributing writer Paul Ford offers a convenient collection of 6-word reviews based on 48 hours of listening to 763 of the participating bands’ lead MP3s. A great sampling of many new and generally unknown artists.
(Thanks Justin/Jason)… more
Mark McGuinness, a London-based business coach and the caretaker of one of my favourite creativity blogs, Wishful Thinking, has just posted a delightfully well-rounded synopsis of the generalism-specialism debate (if one can indeed call it a debate – I most definitely see the value of both sides and have always advocated a more complementary connection between the two). His post is partially in response to my recent post, What Specifically Do Generalists Do?, which he pits/balances against a post last summer in which ad copywriter Scamp opines that creative generalism is “godless, anti-capitalist, and contrary to all good sense” (alas, my feeds seem to have failed me and I’m embarrassed to say that I missed Scamp’s fun rant at the time – I’ll belatedly respond to it soon).… more
There’s a brilliant rant by William Tozier over at Notional Slurry about the merits (and innateness) of generalism. He argues that there are two ways to get things done: to specialize or to generalize – one and many. One of the things that frustrates him is that so many of the natural and even noble traits of generalists are regarded by society, culture, and commerce as inefficient, unfocused, unforeseen “delay”. As he so eloquently puts it:
You suck as a specialist; you’re not evolved to be one. Your meat wants you to pay attention to what’s around you, what’s inside you, the top part and the bottom part and the inside part.… more
If your academic interests happen to include both knitting and historical writing, chances are you’re still looking for the school that’s right for you. The higher you ascend up the educational ladder, the more pressure there is to specialize, making it difficult to explore diverse interests. And skills like knitting are rarely offered in school, so unless you know someone willing to teach you, learning can be a lonesome process of fumbling with needles.
In this week’s Montreal Mirror, David Ravensbergen has a great article about the launch of the Montreal Free School, “a collective of home-schooling advocates, un-schoolers and free thinkers working to provide learning opportunities without red tape.” With anarchist roots and idealism at heart, Free Schools are part of a larger movement of learning and personal development without the hierarchy or institutional structure of formal schooling.… more