Finding Your Way through the World

Everyday I see a squirrel is a happy day. Everyday I see a squirrel and a hummingbird is an extremely happy day. Sitting at the airport of Atlanta, I’m both extremely glad since I’ve had both squirrel and hummingbird sightings and sad since I’m leaving the friends I’ve been staying with.
This morning I took a much needed jogging trip through the Brookfield neighbourhood. Although I have had several guided walks through this lovely golf community, I nevertheless got a little bit lost. Gradually I begun to pay more attention to various kinds of signs indicating suitable paths along the streets among the 900 or so beautiful houses of all kinds and sizes (although all of them much bigger than I’m used to). The white sign indicating the shortest way to the clubhouse was for example a welcome finding. Paying attention to the landscape also paid off.

Yesterday when we drove downtown Atlanta to Georgia State University, we talked about Key Performance Indicators and how difficult it is to make them transparent to co-workers in organisations. In contrast, an indicator such as the eco-driver metre in the car is just excellent. It is clearly visible all the time and easy to read. It gives you real-time feedback and you can influence the outcome directly. How can we devise triple-bottom-line measurements and indicators that have the same features? How can we help people so that they don’t get lost in the world? How can I get more squirrels and hummingbirds in my life?


In the future. Or Now!

Now.... The International Conference Center in Tanga, Tanzania is the place everybody is talking about.
Now... Everybody is talking about the African Miracle... The boom that started in Southern Africa.
Now... People are talking about how the paradigm shift from industrial mindset to a post modern paradigm was enabled by a metaphor shift from metaphors of the machine world to metaphors of living systems.
Do you dare to join us?

We are looking for no more than 20 people who wants to meet us in Tanga Tanzania November 25th to November 30th to explore the metaphors of the future. Join the Metaphor Safari: http://www.metafari.com/

The idea had a first ignition spark in an Intranet project. "What should this Intranet be like?" "I think it should be like a waterhole!" "What is a waterhole like?" And a creative explosion followed. Discussions, seminars around how the intranet could be like a real waterhole.

But then the use metaphors is hardly any new invention. A well known metaphor safari started 2000 years ago....

It is easy travel to Dar es Salaam. Day travel (for Europeans). No jetlag. We will help you find transportation. You will have comfortable accommodation in the Norwegian-built International Conference Center in Tanga, Tanzania - http://www.icctan.com/

Please register for more information at www.metafari.com - Feel free to tell others about it.

And.. If you have doubts about the future for Africa - view this presentation - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yfz8yTXKXI

Lena Holmberg - Leif Josefsson - Ingrid Rudefors - Ruth Nesje

PS This invitation has been sent to the following networks that we feel share our values and hopes for the future.


Selling Stories

Last week I took a shortcut through Stockholm’s Gamla Stan (The Old Town). Suddenly I stopped in front of a placard advertising an exhibition with some of my absolute favourite designers: Ingegerd Råman, Byarums Bruk, Märta Måås-Fjetterström and Tove Adman. It turned out to be an unexpected combination of design and medals, provided by the Royal Coin Cabinet. I asked if I could take some photos, and to my surprise they said yes.

The day before, Leif and I had talked about how different our approaches are to photography. We both display our photos using Picasa, and get automatic emails when one of us has made any additions. Leif is more into describing sequences, whereas I tend to focus more on details. When taking pictures this time, I started to reflect on my actions. What first caught my eyes was Råman’s glass vases in the window. Then I tried to catch the clever idea of putting the delicate medals under glass together with the plants. After a while I came to realise that I hadn’t really paid attention to the medals as such, why I started to focus on them only. Then I discovered that the combination of glass and light provided some rather funny pictures. After that, I also recognised that I had not captured much of the work of Adman. Leaving the exhibition I took a last shot trying to capture as much as possible, and finally I took a picture of the entrance to make sure I will find my way back. Reflection-in-action proved to be very interesting!

The more distorted pictures reminded me of a research project some former colleagues from the Viktoria Institute did a couple of years ago. They developed digital cameras that changed the image directly. Today similar cameras can be obtained in any store, and I saw a review of a camera that makes your motive look thinner. I’m not sure I like that particular development though… My colleagues were inspired by the lomograph. This special type of camera is provided by the company Lomographische AG. It was started by two marketing students, which is probably the reason why storytelling plays such a big role. They have created www.lomography.com which has the look and feel of a community. Here the “rules” of lomography are presented, and people are encouraged to become members and share their pictures.

If you look at Lomography at Wikipedia, a somewhat different picture emerges. Here you can find links to critical remarks regarding this marketing strategy, and complaints about the price and that the cameras are no longer made in Russia. It’s apparent that with Web 2.0 tools, you’d better keep your story straight, but also that it’s not that easy to tell which story is the truth.

Another example of odd Russian technology is the Theremin, probably the only musical instrument your play by not touching it. This is a kind of early version of the synthesizer and I was not surprised to see that Robert Moog played it as a young student and made use of the experience when developing the famous Minimoog. You can still buy your own Etherwave® Theremin Kit at www.moogmusic.com and put together one just for fun. Moog Music has chosen another approach to their fans/customers. They provide a forum where anyone can ask questions or tell the rest of the world how they have used the products. They are letting the customers tell the story.

What a Theremin sounds like? Well, remember the eerie sound in the theme waltz from Midsomer Murders? That’s it!