Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Jonas Damon - Numbers Clock

I love this clock designed by Jonas Damon, European design manager of Habitat. He has reduced the 'Numbers' clock to it's fundamental function of representing the time, in this case through four digital numerals. Each numeral can be positioned independently from the others, to make a personal time sculpture.

The clock is available to purchase from Design Public, that offer a really excellent range of design objects.

Check out more products from Jonas from his personal site. I really like his side table 'Echo' that is made from four independent identical sections that can be used individually or brought together to create a larger table.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Who Killed The Electric Car

This is a documentary that I really want to see!

Rumplo - Social T-Shirt Shopping

Shopping for great t-shirts just got a whole lot easier. Rumplo is a social shopping community that's focus is on specialist and artist created t-shirts. The community uploads it's favorite designs from around the world, all with links to stores where the tees can be bought online. It is only a few weeks old, but already is host to hundreds of interesting designs.

Here are some of my favorites, by Your Eyes Lie, a UK collective of designers. Other designs that I liked can be seen on my Rumplo profile.

Other good t-shirt sites are Emptees and historical favorite Threadless

Wise Words - The Real Value of Team Spirit

Read this article printed in Design Week, if you manage a team. Phil Jones was my ex-boss and he was a truely inspirational leader that knows how to get the most from a team and motivate people.

The real value of team spirit
With the Champions League reaching its final stages, England have a record four clubs in the last eight. The headlines will single out Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres, Emmanuel Adebayor et al, but the top managers know it is players like Owen Hargreaves, Claude Makélélé, Mathieu Flamini and Jamie Carragher who often decide the outcome. Building a winning team takes a skilled manager who values the word 'for' as much as the word 'in'.

Being the best for the team - rather than best in the team - can often be even more valuable. All of the players mentioned fit that category, and so do many staff working in design groups. And the shame is they often never get to fulfil their full potential because they go unnoticed by managers too focused on today's requirements. The best managers spot and encourage natural strengths to come to the fore and allow individuals to fly.

It snowed in Lincolnshire over Easter so I watched plenty of TV and I saw three of my ex-employees excelling at something they loved. Thomasina won Masterchef and was launching her new TV series, Stuart was the judge who chose the winning dog at Crufts and Ray appeared on Mastermind. Most people have hidden talents.

Many more of my staff have surprised and delighted me over the years where I took pleasure creating roles around interesting people rather than employing for specific job descriptions.

As a consultant or mentor I rarely have the pleasure of employing and managing teams these days, but I do try to remind the directors I work with that they each have unique strengths and help them to recognise potentially hidden strengths in their existing teams before looking externally.

The highly rated Gallup Q12 report highlights that giving a person appropriate recognition needs to happen in a normal seven-day period. The most recent research illustrates that this releases dopamine, the body's natural drug that gives us that 'feel-good' sensation. In fact, we humans are dopamine addicts, and it costs nothing.

The report focuses on other key actions that need to be factored in by the manager, including promoting people at the right time. This can make a real difference to consultancy morale, save thousands of pounds in recruitment fees and have a dramatic impact on productivity, customer satisfaction and profitability.

Harry Truman once said, 'You can achieve almost anything in life if you are prepared not to take the credit.' Having taken a company through two mergers it gave me the opportunity to see different management styles in action (good and bad). I definitely agree with Mr T. Sadly, I saw several of my most talented people move on when they no longer experienced the feeling of 'being valued'. They have all been very successful, both financially and career-wise, but often comment that they have never been as happy as they were feeling part of a team that allowed each individual to play to their strengths and where credit was given to everyone in the team on a regular basis.

Another recent Gallup Panel survey (December 2007) asked a targeted sample of job-seekers about what is most important to them in job searches. Top of the list is the potential for career development and the quality of management. Gallup tell us that 70 per cent of people leave managers, not companies. But, deep down, we already know that - it's common sense after all.

Also high on the wish list is getting the work-life balance right and it was seen to be important that the company was a 'fun place to work'. For the staff to enjoy these benefits the directors need to take a 'helicopter view'.

In the face of a looming recession, making your staff feel valued is more vital than ever. If you are too busy to spend time with them, remember the story of the two woodcutters. Seeing them struggling, a passer-by suggested they stop and sharpen the saw. 'We don't have time,' came the reply.

Make the time to sharpen the saw, focus on the things that will make the big difference - they are probably already working for you.

Phil Jones is managing director of Real Time Consultancy.

Exploiting hidden strengths
• Create roles around interesting people
• Give appropriate recognition for success within a week
• Promote people at the right time
• Make your company a fun place to work
• Encourage natural strengths and allow individuals to 'fly'

Ping Mag - Read with caution

I was just sent a link to this online magazine/blog 'PingMag' by Eoghan (thanks!!). This site looks so packed full of amazing articles. Check it out. I am curious about the 'Thrill Designer', Brendon Walker who proposes a theme park based on plane crashes, as well as an interview with the authors of the core memory project, a visual survey of vintage computers. This site is going to become one of my regulars I can imagine!

An image from the Core Memory Project.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Phonographic Speaker For iPod

This ceramic speaker designed for any portable audio device does not require batteries or other power source relying solely on input from the players ear phones, and horn acoustics to deliver the equivalent loudness of a computer speaker.

Designed by Tristan Zimmerman It is not yet available at time of writing this post, but is anticipated for launch in a matter of weeks.

More about it, and where to buy. Read originally of Trend Hunter.

Osram Interactive Art Installation

This is a recently launched interactive art installation in Munich, created by artist Markus Lerner for Osram, Germany. The interactive panels react to the flow of the passing traffic. It is interesting to see how the artist has used the passing traffic as an influencing input of the artwork, but the feedback appears to be very subtle. I am not sure who will really notice this relation ship. See video of installation in action, below.

BBC April Fools Ad For iPlayer

Really nice advert for the iPlayer online service from the BBc that allows viewers to watch BBC programmes online upto one week after they were broadcast on TV. 'Making the unmissable, unmissable'.

From IF!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

FFFFound! - Social Image Bookmarking

Drop Clock

Kaze To Desktop

I was reading recently in Creative Review about one of the internets most inspiring artist and designers, Yugo Nakamura who other than his own personal visual creations also founded one of the most interesting 'social media' sites, FFFFound. The site allows registered users to bookmark images they find around the internet and share them with the rest of the community. This is one of those painful sites that is so full of amazing content that you can't leave.

The only down side is that it is currently invite only, and I don't have an invite. If anyone has a spare FFFFound invite, please would you be so good as to invite me (rich(dot)holley(at)gmail(dot)com).

Some of Yugo's other latest works come in the form of screensavers. One, 'Kaze To Desktop' which blows your windows and open documents across your screen, and another, 'DropClock" which acts as a clock, where slow motion footage of numerals drop into water.

Visit FFFFound for visual inspiration, and SCR for more digital art projects.

Fashion Predictions (from the 1930's)

This video from the 1930's contains some remarkable predictions for fashion in the 21st century. It is amazing to think that fashion designers could have even conceived of portable phone accessories! The lack of formal wear, the functional nature of fashion, even the changing environmental condition are all remarkably relevant incites. A similar project would be interesting to see, asking modern day designers to think 100 years from now.

YouTube Video