"Traditional marketing was built for another age. Today a new creative energy is required. Sociability is the media of now. Social connections happen everywhere, every minute of every day, in the real world and in the digital world. Social communication touches everybody. Brands are carried along in the stories people share, and the conversations they have, in social media, on their mobiles, and face to face. We help brands to get their stories to travel further and faster, building sustained relationships and advocacy as they go.
Our story began in a (thankfully converted) cowshed back in 2000. We saw that a new age of communication was emerging, an age of social communication. Since then we have worked with some of the world's best businesses helping them to behave in different ways; encouraging participation and collaboration with their audiences. We now have an 90-strong team of talented thinkers, doers and sometime dreamers who bring social communication to life for brands around the world."
"'Don't Touch' is an unspoken warning in any art museum. Sometimes an institution might post a sign explaining to visitors why touching the art on view is bad - not just for the obvious catastrophic reasons, but because even oils from hands that appear to be clean can cause incremental damage. Mostly, though, visitors already know what they are (or, rather, aren't) supposed to do in art's presence.
Touch is a privilege typically reserved for the artist who made the art, as well as its professional caretakers. In fact, 'the artist's touch' has been a central value in Western art for hundreds of years.
By the start of the 1960s, with the Abstract Expressionist generation of American painters riding high, it had even become something of a fetish. The loaded brush, the whiplash line, poured paint, the palette knife and sponge - signs of distinctive gestures mattered, almost like handwriting. De-mythologizing the artist's touch was left to Andy Warhol, who announced that he instead wanted to be a machine, and to Sol LeWitt and his idea-oriented cohort of Conceptual artists. They pulled the plug for good.
Enter Franz West, the impish Viennese artist whose compelling retrospective is at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Born in 1947, West is a generation younger than Warhol and LeWitt. The fetish for the artist's touch having been retired just before he arrived on the scene, he took the next step. In the mid-1970s, West handed things over to the audience.
Wrapping pieces of wood and cardboard and lengths of wire with gauze, coating it in plaster or papier mâché and painting the whole thing white, West made sculptures that the audience was meant to pick up, manipulate, examine at close range, hang on an arm or around the neck, or even stick one's face into. The shapes are abstract. But often, part of the sculpture suggests a handle - a direct visual invitation to audience participation. Silently it says, Touch me, hold me.
Other shapes appear designed to fit around the neck, under the arm or on other embraceable parts of the body. Or, they echo bodily orifices. (Can a sculpture have a belly button?) A glass bottle at the end of a long stick, both embedded in lumpy papier mâché, looks like a ritual implement meant to be passed around in some primitive religious ceremony.
These materials also evoke the damaged condition art holds in contemporary life. Like a cast made for a broken limb, white plaster and gauze result in sculptures bound in a medical dressing.
West calls these sculptures 'Passstücke' -- originally translated as 'fitting pieces' (passende Stücke) but now referred to as 'adaptives.' In biology, adaptation is a structure or form modified to fit a changing environment. West's touch-me sculptures attempted the same for art's new circumstance."
(Los Angeles Times, 31 March 2009)
"1992 - 20 years ago: all countries belonging to the European Union decided to create a single market. This meant removing the obstacles blocking the free movement of goods, people, services and capital among them.
20 years on, we can travel across Europe without having to show our passports, work and live in another country without any difficulty, and find the best deals across Europe when shopping online. But we all agree that more work needs to be done in order to have a fully functioning European single market.
If you are 20 years old, we want to hear from you: your experiences, stories, complaints and proposals to make Europe a better place to live and work."
"The economists Richard Lester and Michael Piore have studied the firms that sought to create the switching technology, finding that cooperation and collaboration within certain companies allowed them to make headway on the switching technology problem, whereas internal competition at other corporations diminished engineers’ efforts to improve the quality of the switches. Motorola, a success story, developed what it called a 'technology shelf,' created by a small group of engineers, on which were placed possible technical solutions that other teams might use in the future; rather than trying to solve the problem outright, it developed tools whose immediate value was not clear. Nokia grappled with the problem in another collaborative way, creating an open-ended conversation among its engineers in which salespeople and designers were often included. The boundaries among business units in Nokia were deliberately ambiguous, because more than technical information was needed to get a feeling for the problem; lateral thinking was required. Lester and Piore describe the process of communication this entailed as 'fluid, context-dependent, undetermined.'
By contrast, companies like Ericsson proceeded with more seeming clarity and discipline, dividing the problem into its parts. The birth of the new switch was intended to occur through 'the exchange of information' among offices 'rather than the cultivation of an interpretative community.' Rigidly organized, Ericsson fell away. It did eventually solve the switching technology problem, but with greater difficulty; different offices protected their turf. In any organization, individuals or teams that compete and are rewarded for doing better than others will hoard information. In technology firms, hoarding information particularly disables good work.
The corporations that succeeded through cooperation shared with the Linux community that experimental mark of technological craftsmanship, the intimate, fluid join between problem solving and problem finding. Within the framework of competition, by contrast, clear standards of achievement and closure are needed to measure performance and to dole out rewards.
 Richard K. Lester and Michael J. Piore, Innovation, the Missing Dimension (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004), 98.
 Ibid., 104."
(Richard Sennett, 2008, pp.32-33)
1). Sennett, R. (2008). "The Craftsman". New Haven & London, Yale University Press.
"The theme of the lecture addresses a question: how can we design spaces in the city which encourage strangers to cooperate? To explore this question, I'll draw on research in the social sciences about cooperation, based on my book, and relate this research to current issues in urban design."
(Harvard Graduate School of Design, 28 February 2012)