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Friday, June 29, 2012

Orangutan Swing “improv for ideas” 

Last Saturday a Clarion Content duo, Editor/Publisher, Aaron Mandel, and Creative Director, Cady Childs, attended what we expected to be a colloquium organized by Orangutan Swing, the brainchild of Dipika Kohli and Akira Morita.

The topic was "Is the Medium still the Message?" But rather than lecturing at us, or having those of us who were panelists lecture at the other attendees, Orangutan Swing was a facilitated conversation where all who came were on equal footing as participants.

One of those folks was Karl Sakas, who is a web project manager at Hesketh.com and blogs about marketing in Raleigh at KarlSakas.com. He breaks down this fascinating hivemind moment most aptly.

Why you should be sharing and learning at Orangutan Swing "improv for ideas" events.


Whether you’re in marketing, design, or business in general, it’s important to take time to think about new things — but it can be hard to get out of your day-to-day routine. You should go to a free Orangutan Swing event organized by Durham creative duo Akira Morita and Dipika Kohli. The regular “salon” is like “improv for ideas.”

At the “media and message” event yesterday, I loved hearing and sharing ideas with people from outside my usual bubble — participants included people in marketing, design, architecture, art, and more.

To me, the biggest themes were Tools (and Change), History and the Future, and Communications. Below, I’ve shared comments that resonated most for me — what stands out to you?

Marketing Theme 1 — Tools (and Change)

1) On needing the right tools: We’re smarter than the tools we have. We need tools that can keep up with our creativity.

2) Computerization vs. doing things by hand: Although AutoCAD is computerized drafting software, it still uses the language of architects and engineers drawing by hand. To use the software fully, you really need to learn to draw first.

3) On the nature of change: When we switched from typewriters to computers, we had the opportunity to replace the circa 1870s QWERTY keyboard, but we didn’t because there was such a huge installed base. Change isn’t just flipping a switch.

4) Changing fast: Some change can be fast, like Steve Jobs decreeing in 1998 that there would be no more floppy drive. He was right — USB flash drives and cloud-based sharing are faster, easier, and higher-capacity than floppy disks ever were — but the radical change was annoying and disruptive at the time.

5) The phone in the iPhone: The actual “phone” on the iPhone is just another app.

6) Perspective on the speed of change: Today, things change so fast — but in the scale of history, they’re changing so slowly.

7) Triggering futurism: To brainstorm about real innovation, think 50 years into the future — what do we do today that would be seen as barbaric in the future? For instance, regarding medicine, just as leeches and bloodletting are now seen as foolish today — why do we still wait until people are sick to “fix” them, rather than healing people before they “break”?

The article continues with:

Marketing Theme 2 — History and the Future...

We are grateful for permission to reprint a portion of this article. You can read the rest of Karl Sakas's fascinating take here at KarlSakas.com.

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