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The Creative Pursuit of Laziness

It’s seems like a common understanding that companies have valuable assets if they have people who’s hard-working and staying late at the office.
However, the article and the infographic below suggest the opposite. Specially for you whose core work is to maintain fresh creativity, it’s time to be a bit creatively lazy (read: go home faster); and take a break from working too much in front of the computer/internet! Here’s why;


The Creative Pursuit Of Laziness

BY Jeffrey Paul Baumgartner

You start a new job with a new company. There are two employees in similar positions. They have both been with the company for several years. One is clearly hard working. She is constantly busy, juggles numerous tasks successfully and often stays late to get work done. The other seems much more relaxed. Indeed, she is often sharing jokes with her colleagues! She does not appear to work very hard, finishes tasks seemingly too quickly and is usually one of the first to leave the office at the end of the day. Which one should you emulate if you wish to do well in the company?

The seemingly lazy one, of course. Both have been with the company for some years, so you can assume that both are doing their job well. More importantly, you can assume that the apparently lazy one has worked out how to do her job efficiently, allowing her to work in a more relaxed way and go home at a reasonable hour daily.

CREATIVELY SEEKING THE EASY WAY

In my experience, this is something creative people are very good at, particularly if they work in organizations which do give them new creative challenges on a regular basis. They use their creative skills to find short cuts in performing regular tasks and improving the efficiency of their area of operations.

In truth, it is not just creative people who are lazy. Humans are programed to be lazy and this is a good thing. When our prehistoric ancestors were hunting and gathering, the less work expended to kill and skin a mammoth or to collect fruit, the better. Even today, it is sensible to ask why you should spend four hours performing a task that you can complete sufficiently well in an hour.

FOLLOWERS OR THINKERS

At work, when a new employee is shown how to perform a task, she will normally continue to do it in the way she was taught. This is not surprising. Most of us are taught to follow instructions, especially when a superior at work or school demonstrates tells us to do so.

But the creative individual is always questioning things and considering alternatives. She cannot help it. That’s how the creative mind is wired. She will try performing the task in different ways. Of course there are risks involved. An alternative approach to performing a four-hour task could prove more complicated than expected—and eat up eight hours of her time. She may be reprimanded by her superior for not doing the task in the prescribed manner. Worse, her method might not work at all, forcing her to start all over again.

However, this is normal for the creative person. Her curiosity and desire to explore alternatives is stronger than her sense of following instructions. Over time, she will try out various ways of performing tasks and will soon find the most efficient methods.

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED

As I wrote initially, if you are new to a company, do not look to the workaholics for advice on how to do your job well. Look to the laziest people. They will almost surely be able to show you the most efficient way to do your work well.

If you are an employer, on the other hand, those apparently lazy people are probably your most creative thinkers. When you need people with ideas for improving products, services and processes, be sure to include them in the teams responsible for developing these ideas. Moreover, be sure also to allow them to perform on these teams as they do on their tasks: let them try out ideas, see how they work, dispose of failed ideas and try out new ideas. This is how the creative process works.

The Internet Is Ruining Your Brain [INFOGRAPHIC]
by Stephanie Buck

Turns out, multi-tasking online doesn’t positively exercise our brains or mental state. Heavy Internet users are 2.5 times more likely to be depressed. And web addiction reduces the white matter in our brains, basically the transmitters responsible for our memory and sensory abilities.

Source : DesignTAXI, mashable.com

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Ikea is Making TV and Building Houses

IKEA – the Swedish furniture brand is not easily satisfied by their market share, in fact just recently they launched a furniture-TV, advertised to be wireless and integrated. Not only that, they are also touting for their own ergonomic compounds in East London. More details here :

IKEA Launches Its Own Clutter-Free, Smart TV

IKEA has launched a new range called UPPLEVA that integrates smart TV and sound system with furniture that rids the problem of cable clutter. Built in co-operation with China’s TCL Multimedia, the unit houses an HDTV, Blu-ray/DVD player, 2.1 surround sound, wireless speakers and WiFi connectivity.
The furniture is designed to banish cable clutter by having ample storage space.The sleek unit retails for around US$950 and comes with a 5-year guarantee.Come June, it will be available in Stockholm, Milan, Paris, Gdansk and Berlin. From autumn 2012 onwards, it will be stocked in all stores in Sweden, Italy, France, Poland, Denmark, Spain, Norway and Portugal, before making its way to more countries next year.


Welcome to Ikea-land: Furniture giant begins urban planning project

Not content with its current market share among college students and new homeowners, Ikea is building its own little ergonomic Spahn Ranch compound outside London. The company bought 27 acres of land where—presumably with many giant Allen wrenches—it will build townhouses, apartments and offices to rent out. It will also be putting up a hotel because it’ll probably need the conference room somewhere down the line. A Globe and Mail report about the project (which isn’t an April Fools’ joke, even though the story was published April 1) paints Ikea’s role here as a landlord-slash-local government, perpetually leaning over the community’s shoulder, which is more than a little unnerving. Maybe you don’t think so, but I’m only 30 minutes away from Columbia, Md., a town known for a) being an extensively planned suburban community, and b) insane homeowners associations that make it impossible to live there. Don’t say you weren’t warned, Londoners.

Source : Adweek, designtaxi, the globe and the mail

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The Evolution of Books : Edible and Smokable

These books aren’t just regular books, they have literally transformed human’s everyday reading experience. An edible cook book and a smoke-able lyrics book? Yes, this is the era where you can pretty much consume EVERYthing.

Edible Cookbook That You Can Read, Cook And Serve . German design agency Korefe has created the first and only cookbook that you can read, cook and eat. This fun and innovative product has pages made from fresh pasta, which guide you through making a classic lasagne and prompt you to use the sheets as one of the ingredients.
Snoop Dogg’s Smokable Songbook
is a promotional item for his Kingsize Slim Rolling Papers created by San Francisco agency Pereira & O’Dell. Each perforated page of the book is a rolling paper with the rappers song lyrics written on them in non-toxic ink. The songbook is made out of hemp and the spine can be used to strike a match.

Source : PSFK, vimeo

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Turn your Twitter to Sh*tter

Maybe you love your Twitter feed so much that you want to read everywhere you go, even the bathroom. Or maybe you feel it’s just a load of crap. Whatever, it’s now possible to do either, thanks to Shitter, which charges $35 to turn your Twitter feed into a toilet roll and send it to you. The site, which launched yesterday and has already become a hot topic of conversation on (you guessed it) Twitter, was developed by Australian creatives David Gillespie, Johny Mair, Ian Ha and Matthew Delprado.

Source : creativity-online, shitter.com

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Top 20 Cities For New Ideas

Hub Culture is one of the most interesting under-the-radar communities out there. Established by Stan Stalnaker, it’s part social network, part co-working space, part digital currency eco-system. By researching the opinions of the HubCulture community, Stan has updated his list of the most influential hubs of new ideas and inspiration. Here’s the top 20 list:

1. São Paulo (2011 rank: 1)
Perched at the top of the list for a record third year is São Paulo, where the defining topic of conversation continues to be how hard it is to find good help. You know things are going well when staffing your dinner party adequately is a major topic of concern. It is however a harbinger – inflation and class ambition do not make a tranquil mix forever. The strong currency and commodity growth at large aren’t the only thing fueling Brazil – property and consumer retail are continuing to enjoy enviable growth rates despite a 4Q dip last year. Meanwhile, the city is ever more popular, and ever more desirable for corporate postings, regional businesses, and those looking to experience the Brazilian boom first-hand.
Enjoy it while it lasts, Brazilianos.

2. Hong Kong (2011 rank: 7)
Hong Kong hits a high note this year – a cosmopolitan mix, fantastic shopping and epicenter attitude for business make it the world’s drop-in city. But the downsides – pollution, overcrowding, and little thought for public space – have often held it back.
Despite these issues, lately the world just seems to bend more toward Hong Kong – maybe because there is an ever stronger air of confidence and derring-do in the city? HK simply doesn’t care what everyone else thinks anymore, and that makes us all care even more (especially big brother to the north). As the world navigates the shift of power from west to east, Hong Kong remains perfectly balanced between the two.
Plus, try going out on a weekend – holy schmodel! HK is ground-zero to the world’s young, rich and beautiful, tomorrow’s bright lights rocking today’s late nights.

Zhang Xin’s SOHO is Beijing’s new heart.

3. Beijing (2011 rank: 14)
While its still a bit rough around the edges, one gets the impression that Beijing is the new Manhattan, but on a much larger scale. Yes, its still under construction. Yes, you can still ride a rickety rickshaw from a man with no teeth through teeming traffic, but now he’ll charge you $40 bucks. Yes, its freezing cold half the year and choking with dust the other half. But it will rule, and therefore, people are building and innovating and spending and earning and just plain living. It’s very alive right now, Beijing, in a way other places aren’t.

4. Berlin (2011 rank: 4)
Berlin is like your hipster friend who went into local politics and ended up raising your property taxes. All the cool kids are still there, but the city’s evolution into political power player is complete, and that’s replacing the hip factor with raw power. Berlin is calling the shots across Europe – from the Greek crisis to EU interest rates, and so for every underground dungeon slash disco there are now two lawyers in a coffee shop talking about work. That’s life.

5. London (2011 rank: 9)
It’s official, this is London’s year – from the Queen’s Jubilee to the Olympics, there is no better place in the world to be this summer. Lots of labour is coming to fruition in London – from the epic Shard, Europe’s tallest building, to progress on Crossrail, the city is making sure it will remain the center of European business for a long time to come. As the pound deflated in the crisis, cost of living has become thankfully more reasonable, and there’s still an influx of foreign money propping up property. Trouble is… no one knows what abyss lies after the Olympics, and how Team Britain can compete in a world that offers a lot more for less – and with better weather. Banks are downsizing. Taxes are epic. The streets are filled with unemployed alcoholics. But otherwise it’s great!

6. New York (2011 rank: 6)
As the US economy evens out, New York stands to benefit from all the forces that make urbanization a driving force elsewhere on the planet. America’s most optimistic city offers a comparatively green lifestyle and a steady creative sector, leadership in finance, and a re-emerging ‘scene’. Somehow the city managed to capture and amplify the Occupy movement into something resembling hacktivism, with a simple message: “if we don’t like something, we change it”. Not much has actually changed, but at least post-Occupy, can-do New York refuses to be anyone’s victim.

7. Sydney (2011 rank: 3)
Sydney remains the place everyone would go if it weren’t so far away. Over the last twelve months, the continent has only moved about 6 mm closer to the rest of civilization. Another year of strong commodities and a hot economy mean another year richer. The biggest challenge is that Sydney is pricing itself out of the global market on the back of a strong currency and intense demand in the urban core, but is that so bad if you’re already established there? Nope.

8. Singapore (2011 rank: 11)
Singapore is sizzling. We’ve talked about the city’s green credentials, oasis feeling, sticky-bun mall flavouring, and increasingly beautiful architecture before, but its nice to see the edge here getting sharper and sharper. Where else can you feel like an alien strolling into a roof top bar covered in neon and gold fixtures, as the city glimmers at your feet? One casino here turns over as much cash as Vegas in a year. And you’ll need to gamble just to afford the drinks – life here has gotten pretty expensive lately. Also: bubble tea.

9. Istanbul (2011 rank: 18)
Istanbul is electric. All that youthful energy is just busting with creative endeavours, and its such a cool place to be, especially if you’re in the leisure sector. The sense that Istanbul is building a great future for itself has been pervasive for awhile now – its more of the same, with more results, more people and more attitude featuring that unique stamp of a crossroad. The creative vibe has really taken root here, and its turning a leisure attitude unrivalled anywhere and completely impossible to copy into big business. Its evident in the art galleries popping up all over town, the furniture brands, and the growing list of mobile tech startups squashed into every corner of the city.

10. Rio de Janeiro (2011 rank: 20)
2012 kicks off a 4 year marathon for Rio, beginning with this summer’s Rio +20 Summit on the environment, and running to the World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Is Rio ready? Crime is still an issue, 1 in 3 live in a slum, and all the activity has driven real-estate prices sky high. There aren’t enough hotels, or cops, or thong shops.
But relax, this is Rio! Have a frozen acai smoothie, don your Havainas and ride the wave – Rio is in for a fantastic ride. For quality of life alone, it might be number 1 on the planet, provided you don’t have to ruin your beach runs with a day job.

11. Capetown (2011 rank: 17)
If Africa was a car, South Africa would be the engine and Capetown the tantalising hood ornament. From the cheesy panoramas infesting Facebook to the bragging tourists sipping a Stellenbosch wine on Clifton 4 in their status updates, this city is where everyone wants to be. Overlooked is how great the time zone is – right on par with London, one wonders if you couldn’t actually serve the world from an iPad on the beach in a pair of Aca Joes. Crime is down, Africa is booming, and the living is good, why not?

12. Tokyo (2011 rank: 12)
Sometimes it take a disaster to jolt us into new ways of thinking, and its nice to see how Tokyo has changed since this time last year. A stoic response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami lit a fire for something new in Japan – a kind of hacker mentality that was never obvious has been revealed – with a sense that citizens are taking their future into their own hands. In the days after the disaster a flurry of activity unleashed social collective responses, and the results were fascinating.Tokyo was at the center of this shift and is different because of it. Now its less status quo, more DIY.

13. Seattle (new)
Forget the coffee-house cliches – the Nicki Minaj of cities is back in fashion. That’s all there is to it. Signature look neo-grunge and flannels stretch from Doha to Detroit, and Seattle’s neon Twin Peaks quirkiness is visible in so many forms. Pop music has taken the hint, infusing everything from the Foo Fighters to Beats by Dr. Dre with the Seattle Kitsch.
This time Amazon, not Microsoft, is the poster-child – as they move to own the entire book publishing supply chain, take on Apple and the Goog, and deepen their reach into business services all at the same time. Seattle may not be the biggest city on this list, but it is punching well above its weight in this cultural register.

14. Mexico D.F. (2011 rank: 16)
Still the world’s biggest city, Mexico is onto a leisure story much in the way that Istanbul is creating its own reality. Big, brash, noisy, the city’s elders are trying to kickstart a green revolution without much luck. But change is slow, and in the meantime the habit of escaping hell for the weekend, much the way New Yorkers exit for the Hamptons and Miami, has become de rigeur. The city may not offer everything, but the jetset is finding it further afield, and that’s attracting global talent, who increasingly agree Mexico’s capital is a great place to be based – on the weekdays.

15. Shanghai (2011 rank: 8)
Why did Shanghai slip so much this year? Zeitgeist is all about radar, and while we know Shanghai should be on this list, there’s not much new happening this year that explains why. Sure, its a mecca. Sure, there’s new stuff every day. Of course its getting bigger and better and more exciting. But growing rumbles of a property slowdown, bad debt and other go-go problems (that extend across the land) are tempering the mood in Shanghai. Compared to Beijing, Shanghai just feels a bit “meh” at the moment.

16. San Francisco (2011 rank: 10)
San Francisco isn’t the first city that comes to mind when you think of corruption, but this is the year where the city gets skewered by the new rich. Facebook’s IPO is creating an army of millionaires who are expected to cash in and change the dynamic of the city in overnight – from luxury real estate to funding the next big thing, the mood is bright, but the envy is deep. It remains to be seen how windfalls will affect the city at large, or if it will just widen the booming class divide.

17. Dubai (Returning, 2009 rank: 15)

Its been hard-time-city in Dubai since the crash – with all those stories of abandoned BMWs at the airports, migrant workers keeling over with kidney failure and the like. But you can’t build a city like Dubai and expect it to not come back fighting. As the economy absorbs its own growth and residents settle into whatever latest and greatest thing was just built, the reality is that brands are still coming, tourists are still coming, families are growing and the miracle of the Gulf is more than a mirage. Dubai is back, chastened, and with a smirk. As one local puts it, “Dubai has withstood the test of time”. In this case, that’s 24 months, but ok! It does sum up the optimism.

18. Los Angeles: (2011 rank: 4)
Its not those homeless tent cities in the park, the endless traffic, the train wreck that is Beverly HIlls reality TV or the yawning Oscars – but something is a bit stale in the city of Angels. The decay hit the nostrils around the whole SOPA brouhaha, which revealed to the entire world how desperately worried Hollywood is about its business model – and the lengths it will go to trying to protect what remains. Somehow this… fear… can pervade everything, despite the relatively small role of entertainment on actual output. So yes MPAA, a dog on the defensive bites, but who likes a biting dog? LA’s overplayed hand against the valley will be costing it dearly for time to come. Bright spot? The Grammys are “in” and flourishing in LA.

19. Moscow (2011 rank: 15)
Speaking of class divides, Moscow gets credit for its own approach to activism. The city’s gritty determination to plunge forward, regardless of sleet, snow, or political baton stick deserves some credit. Russia is never easy to understand, but if the universal language is money, then Moscow remains a growing force. Especially abroad. The Ruskies have invaded Thailand and Sri Lanka, turning their sights from the Mediterranean to new paradises for bi-continental living. Moscovite money is transforming these locations into elite havens, far from the realities of life at home, and that’s shaping futures from tundra to tropics.

20. Abu Dhabi (2011 rank: 19)
Steady as as she goes, Abu Dhabi bumps along the bottom of this year’s list with more money in the bank than ever. It has emerged as the third of a private banking triumvarate (with Zurich and Singapore) and a similar reputation for sensible reliability. Cultural investment dividends like the Guggenheim, art fair, and museums are maturing, and the city is actually pretty fun! Maybe it will move up once it loosens up.

via PSFK, Hub Culture

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VitaminWater Ad Pays Homage To Internet Memes

This new commercial for VitaminWater by ad agency CP+B pays homage to the internet meme and encourages the viewer to spot all the different viral hits referenced. ‘Grab it by the horns’ packs a lot into its 30 seconds, with a prisoner flash mob, lime head cat, planking and a double rainbow, amongst others. The brand writes:

“ah yes, the splendors of the internet. triumphant babies, photobombs, seductive men who strictly play smooth jazz, and of course the cats made of toaster pastry. these days, it’s not unusual to encounter something this unusual. so take a sip of your vitaminwater, grab the proverbial antelope by the horns, and check out this commercial. yeehaw!”

via PSFK

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How Young Women Are Changing The Way We Speak

As to celebrate International Women’s Day today, I thought it would be great to share an article which proves on how women are actually change agents – even the excessively girly ones :

Spoken language changes fast, but who are the agents driving such rapid change? Recent linguistic research is pointing to young women as being very influential in this process and grapples with the question: how do these vocal trends make their way into the mainstream? How do they cross the gender boundaries to the point where it is now men who are more likely to say the word ‘like’ than women?

Recent projects, spearheaded by Stanford linguistics professor Penny EckertMark Liberman at University of Pennsylvania, Long Island University speech scientist Nassima Abdelli-Beruh, and professor Carmen Fought at Pitzer College, are proving the point that there is something deeper here than the merely surface assumption that young women who use certain vocal trends are ‘immature’ or ‘airheads.’

Carmen Fought told the NY Times that:

If women do something like uptalk or vocal fry, it’s immediately interpreted as insecure, emotional or even stupid. The truth is this: young women take linguistic features and use them as power tools for building relationships.

Research in this area looks at vocal trends driven by young woman like uptalk (where we pronounce statements as if they were questions), new slang, vocal flying (that raspy, croaking intonation that usually comes in at the end of a sentence), and of course, the use of the word ‘like.’ Professor Eckert asserts that:

A lot of these really flamboyant things you hear are cute, and girls are supposed to be cute. But they’re not just using them because they’re girls. They’re using them to achieve some kind of interactional and stylistic end.

In discerning the cultural drivers, general conclusions revolve around the idea that vocal trends double as social cues and help women navigate through social interactions. Other theorists see it as an empowerment tool, while others want to say that young women simply want to get away with speaking flamboyantly because they can. It’s not easy to discern because lowering one’s voice in a ‘vocal fry’, for example, can help the speaker sound more authoritative, but it can also express indifference.

However, the ability of these speech quirks to linger and get picked up by other segments of the population aside from women, demonstrates some type of deep-rooted  linguistic influence by women.

via PSFK

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