Wandering Tale

My friend Charlotta, she did it. She went from talking about it to actually do it. She belongs to the same informal group of former colleagues as I do and we have long talked about combining our professional life with some kind of charity. We talked, but she took action!

Last weekend Sjöklint Agenturer and A Gallery invited to vernissage and premier of TOMS Shoes. The founder of TOM Shoes, Blake Mycoskie was there together with a really exciting mix of artists such as Patrik Andiné, Peter Apelgren, Gorm Boberg, Jan Jörnmark, och Viktoria Hallenius.

The idea behind TOMS Shoes is really simple. You buy one pair of shoes and another pair is shipped to a child in need. The shoes are incredible comfortable and very stylish, and you can even personalize them in interesting ways (read about the arduous task Blake’s Mom is accomplishing right now to help her son, it’s quite funny).

Everybody who buys the shoes also spread the word by telling the story behind the company. This way the viral marketing does its trick and the values are displayed in a narrative format. Great! More than 140 000 pairs of shoes have been given to children in Argentina, South Africa and Ethiopia. Even greater!

However, I’m not really surprised. Sjöklint Agenturer was very quick at using Facebook for communicating with us customers, which of course they have continued with their new shop Sally Jones (I wonder if the name of the shop was inspired by Jakob Wegelius book with the title Sally Jones?

Sjöklint Agenturer is represented in the Nordic countries. So is the research project CSR-Driven Innovation. The project aims at supporting the business potential among Nordic small and medium-sized enterprises by combining the fields of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), design, innovation and growth. They should really look into this case!

If you are looking for more art, take a peek at The Saatchi Galley!


Weather Fair

I have come down with the flue. No, not the swine flue, just the ordinary one. One benefit of being ill is that you watch TV programmes in the middle of the day, picking up gems normally lost in everyday doings. Like this splendid documentary on Ian Fairweather I just watched.

Apparently Fairweather led a very special life. Born in 1891 in Scotland and died on Bribie Island outside Brisbane in 1974. He served in both world wars and were twice kept prisoner of war for a long time. He travelled extensively in Europe and Asia, studying both Japanese and Chinese.

No wonder he developed a layered approach, combining several experiences and memories into one painting. Like the Monestary, described in this way by the National Gallery of Australia:

“On the one hand, Monastery may be considered a recollection of an experience many years before when the artist stayed briefly at a monastery near Beijing. He described it to his early biographer Nourma Abbott-Smith as a place of spirituality. He recalled that the snow outside covered the monastery while the inside was illuminated by hundreds of candlewicks floating in golden bowls, casting flickering shadows and softening the carved aspect of the statues. In a broader sense, as Murray Bail noted in his later book on the artist, Monastery also represents all monasteries, all contemplative silences and so summarises this serious artist’s obsessions.”

I think we need more people like Fairweather, who can assimilate various cultures and create something new, who are curious and passionate, and who can capture both the specific and the general.

We could use a bit of more fair weather also. In Sweden, SMHI a government agency under the Ministry of the Environment provides weather forecasts. In addition to general forecasts and weather warnings, it also provides industry-specific services, simulations and analyses, statistics, climate studies and contracted research.

Recently they launched a service providing property managers with forecasts making it possible to adjust the temperature and thereby lowering the energy cost. It will be interesting to see what kinds of products and business models SMHI and other government agencies can provide to support sustainable development.

This reminds me of informative arts experiments of letting interactive art show complex real-time data. Maybe SMHI could be inspired by Fairweather’s work and provide a weather art service?


Long-Tail Muesli

Since 1964 Saltå Kvarn, a anthroposophy-owned mill in Sweden have grinded all kinds of grain. Recently they started a new kind of web-shop. At www.minmusli.nu you can buy your custom-made ecological muesli. First you choose a base by selecting from spelt, barley, quinoa or seeds. Then you add some extra oat, rye, raisins, raspberries, mango, goji berries, hazel nuts etcetera. You can even add chocolate and gummi bears! And then you just write your address and your personalised muesli will arrive at your doorstep. The price depends on the mix.

What better example of the long tail concept!?! Apparently the web designers also used the Internet to listen to customer comments on the usability, given this long blog conversation.

Not living in Sweden? Well have a peek at MyMuesli if you live in the UK, Germany or Austria and are looking for some ecological cereals.