December 18 | Raymond Forbes-Schiechesocial links

lost in thought
with Raymond Forbes-Schieche

Brand & Design Strategy, & Former Design Director, Univision Communications Inc.

I’m inspired by the city of New York​.

To me, brilliant is unexpected and unafraid.

My favorite app is ​a really fun and smart game called Two Dots​.

When I’m having a creative block I ​listen to music, read a book, do anything but design or look at design-related things​.

My favorite brand is ​right now, AirBnB. ​They're doing amazing, wonderful things for both guests and hosts—some stuff that many of us are not even aware of!
My favorite color is ​Gray​.

My dream project is ​Packaging Design (single DVD or box set) for Criterion Collection​.

The best advice I ever received was "Trust in your decisions."

The very next thing on my to-do list is Call National Grid​.

My dream collaborator is ​the artist Rosemarie Trockel​.
I think the Kardashians are very 2012​. At least once, everyone should ​try something they said they'd never try before​.

The best way to unwind after a long day is ​with a glass of whiskey. 

If I had a one year sabbatical, I would travel the world with my husband​.

The most overused word in meetings today is ​upwardly mobile​.

At FUSE 2015, I can’t wait to learn new things and meet awesome, creative people​.

At the moment, I’m obsessed with Apple Music's curated playlists​.

I’d define my personal style as "Dirty Hipster Executive".​

My tools of the trade are ​my brand new iMac​, iPhone, external drive, headphones, tote bag, and coffee.

The biggest thing that has changed since I started in the industry is ​the transition from print to digital​.

I’m happiest when ​I'm satisfied with the work I've done.

I lead by ​inspiring others and (hopefully) setting a good example​.

I wish I could ​​start my own Design Studio...

I’m proud that ​I make bold decisions and quite often "go with my gut".​

My playlist is pretty erratic​.

You can usually find me ​at home, Trophy Bar, or at Bossa Nova Civic Club​.

 The last stamp on my passport was​ Czech Republic.

The next stamp on my passport is ​Sweden​.

When I look back on my career I ​feel incredibly lucky, and sometimes wonder how I got here​.

I still hope to ​own my own bar​.
© 2015 IIR Holdings, LTD. All Rights Reserved.
Use design as a strategic force across your organization – attend FUSE 2016 in Miami this spring. FUSE unites designers, brand strategist, marketers, innovators and insights leaders across industries to discuss the power and impact of design.

Here are the top 5 reasons to attend FUSE 2016:

1.      Get to meet and shake hands with design and brand legends like Stefan Sagmeister, Ellen Gustafson, and Mauro Porcini, just to name a few.
2.      Explore our curated FUSE Pods that showcase a variety of industry experts sharing inspiration, best practices, and lessons learned.
3.      Be inspired by the streets and people of Miami with our South Beach Trenz Walk and Wynwood Walls Street Art Tour.
4.      Uncover cultural changes that will impact how you design and communicate with consumers of the future.
5.      Expect inverse Q&A, unpredictable networking, small group discussions and walk away re-inspired, re-energized and prepared for what's next.

Download the brochure for full program details: http://bit.ly/1ZazYHX

Use code FUSE16BL for an exclusive $100 off when you register. Register today: http://bit.ly/1ZazYHX

We hope to see you in Miami!

The FUSE Team

A very compelling article on Fast Company this week discussed the interesting argument that traditional homepages for websites are no longer relevant. The article is centered on a digital-only publication by the name of “Quartz.” According to the article, rather than having a direct homepage, Quartz takes you to whatever their top story of the moment was. A Quartz executive editor named Zach Seward claims, “’the idea of a strictly traditional homepage that people bookmark to find stories is, we think, outdated. But at the same time, we don't want to be defeatist about it. There's still a large number of people coming to the homepage each day. So we've asked ourselves, 'if you start throwing out the old conventions, what can you do instead?’’” The new homepage is charged with promoting all aspects of the Quartz brand while also featuring their hottest story. The complete article is quite fascinating seeing as this is a common trend online. Many homepages are transforming their design to adapt to the fast paced nature of consumer reading. I highly recommend this article and checking out Quartz’s website to see this new design in motion.

We talk a lot about design in the product space but there’s also a lot being done in the internal company space with office design. Arguably one of the most interesting articles this week, Fast Company wrote a piece on a jazzy new tech office design in Montreal. Essentially, a software company by the name of “Lightspeed” is turning an abandoned train station in Montreal into a revamped office building. “Constructed in 1898, the train station was done up like a French chateau. But time wasn't kind to the building and over the decades, it fell into disrepair (thanks, Great Depression). Today it's the site of a $250-million mixed-use redevelopment project that seeks to revive the abandoned structure.” According to the article, the redesign of this location retained “vestiges of the past” while also incorporating rigorous renovations including scraping off layers of tar that coated the bricks. The images of past and present are incredibly stark in contrast and really showcase the unique design of this new office. Check out the article here

Look out designers! Forget all of the head scratching and hair pulling you go through in order to collaborate on a project and share ideas. According to a Fast Company article this week, a new tool by the name of “Figma” is coming your way. Figma, in essence, is the equivalent of a GitHub for desingers. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this platform either, GitHub is a platform for engineers and code developers to collaborate and share assets and files. “In recent years, the open-source code repository GitHub has completely remade the way coders build software…all the biggest tech companies—Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft—house their code on GitHub, both publicly and privately, and teachers are using the site as an educational tool to train a whole new generation of software developers.” So in this way, Figma will be an online platform for designers to share their projects and perhaps learn from other works. Dylan Field, one of the masterminds for this platform, believes that Figma will give designers unique capabilities that other creative tools such as “Adobe Cloud” cannot. This article explains a lot about the new product and, if successful, how it could revolutionize the world of design. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the direction of online design. 

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com 
The 2016 Keynotes Spark Inspiration and Action at FUSE, Plus save $650 when you register by Friday, December 11th!

Here’s this year’s amazing keynote lineup:

·         "Why Beauty Matters"
Stefan Sagmeister
Co-Founder, Sagmeister & Walsh
·         "How Virgin Champions the Customer & Builds Businesses for Good"
Teddy Mayer
VP of Design, Virgin Hotels
·         "Don't Change the World, Sing with the Universe" 
Bilal Ghalib
Autodesk, Nuries, SeeFeelDo
·         "PepsiCo's Culture of Design-Led Innovation"
Mauro Porcini
SVP & Chief Design Officer, PepsiCo
·         "Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice"
Todd Henry
Founder, Accidental Creative
Author, Louder Than Words: Harness The Power Of Your Authentic Voice
·         "Creating Dynamic Guest Experiences"
Lisa Marchese
Chief Marketing Officer,
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
·         "Shoes with Stories: Bucketfeet is
 Connecting People Through Art"
Bobby Stephens
Operating Co-Founder, President & COO, BucketFeet
·         The Evolution of Do-Good Marketing"
Ellen Gustafson
Author, Entrepreneur, Co-Founder, FEED
·         "One Culture After All"
Grant McCraken
·         Are You Prepared for Disruption?"
Erica Orange
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, The Future Hunters

Download the brochure for the full program: http://bit.ly/1U4zQqC

Register by 12/11/15 and lock in the lowest rate.  Use code FUSE16EM3 and save $650. Plus, use exclusive LinkedIn discount code FUSE16LI for an additional $100 off. That’s a $650 saving! Register today: http://bit.ly/1U4zQqC
“Graphic arts is a means of expression beyond words”

Friday, December 13th was our last night in Paris. My fiancé and I had big plans to fully enjoy the city of lights and all it had to offer for one more night before heading back home to New York City. We had been in Paris that whole week for business and partially for pleasure. We spent a full three days before my conference gallivanting around the city, eating cheese and chocolate, and sipping wine. Then, we enjoyed another three days filling my free evenings with delicious cafes and restaurants and wandering the moonlit, romantic streets of Paris – not a care in the world. That Friday night after our last meal and glass of wine in Paris, that feeling came to a screeching halt.

We casually walked out of the restaurant to screeching sirens zooming by us, unable to get a cab. After waiting several minutes, we got into a cab and were stung with the news of shootings and bombs less than a mile from where we were having dinner. As we frantically Googled the news on our phones, we were driven to safety at our hotel where upon our arrival, we learned, “There have been 9/11-type attacks in Paris tonight.”

After the terror attacks in Paris on the dark Friday, a symbol of peace unified people across the globe, offering the world a glimpse of light. I’ll never forget that image because I posted it on Facebook that evening as I sat, anxious and scared in my hotel room in Paris.  A simple image that combines a peace sign and the Eiffel Tower created by French graphic designer Jean Jullien was shared by millions across social media.

"It was the most spontaneous thing. I heard the news on the radio, and I had this heartfelt reaction. I wanted to draw something that could symbolize peace and solidarity, and I wanted something with the context of Paris," Jullien told CNN.

About four hours after the image was posted on Twitter, it had accumulated 16,000 retweets from Jullien’s personal Twitter account; after 24 hours that number had climbed up to 53,000 retweets. His followers on Twitter also sky-rocketed, going from around 8,000 prior to November 13, to more than 21,000. A few hours after Jullien posted the image to his Instagram account, Instagram shared the image to its 113 million followers with credit to the artist. After 24 hours, the post by Instagram had accumulated more than 1.3 million likes. Not to mention, countless media outlets and celebrities around the world also have shared the image.

Aside from social media, Jullien's illustration was used in a public show of support and to commemorate the victims. Not even 24 hours later, people began printing it on T-shirts, on posters, and on flags, bearing it proudly in a global show of solidarity with the City of Light.

"The response has been overwhelming -- especially since I didn't have any control over it. But I can't feel pride or happiness because it is such a dark time. It's undesired exposure. A horrible moment. But, I'm just somehow glad people made use of it,” he said.

So what caused the image to go viral? The social role of graphics is a powerful.

Jullien said, "People think it's just an everyday tool to sell things like cars or advertise products, but graphic arts is a means of expression beyond words. Words can sometimes be difficult to translate. I think the simpler, the better, the more universally understood it can be.”

In Jullien’s case, the Peace for Paris symbol he designed was able to unify millions across the entire world in a common cause against terrorism, proving that art can defy hate.

Jullien’s design was honest, authentic and immediate, sending one message: peace. Sometimes words can be hard to form after such a tragedy, and Jullien's design gave give us something powerful to share.

Jullien currently lives and runs a studio in London.

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA where she manages social marketing strategy and content marketing across the business. She a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, life sciences, innovation, law, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big Design,  Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Blogs. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.
With Christmas right around the corner, everyone is prioritizing their gift lists and making sure that the best of the best items are listed. Among these items, commonly listed is the “Hoverboard.” However, in an unforgiving article on Fast company this week, the author criticizes this product arguing that this new board “…doesn’t even attempt to do the functional things that hoverboards are meant to do: hover.” According to the article, the board is balanced by gyroscope and obviously runs on two wheels. In a critical analysis of the product, the author states, “The two wheels of a motorcycle symbolize freedom, exploration, and recklessness. The two wheels of this hoverboard mean nothing but that you spent $300 (or more) on something that moves you slower than you can run.” Unfortunately I tend to agree more with the author of the critical piece. With all of the hype of this new product, my first thought when looking at it was, “why isn’t it hovering?” In my mind this new gadget, though new and fun, doesn’t quite live up to its name. What do you think?

You overhear it all the time when someone is complaining about cyclists. “Those bikers man…they own the road these days!” Well that may have been an overstatement a year ago, but now this statement holds substantial validity in Denmark. According to an article posted on Fast Company this week, Denmark is trialing what’s known as “RFID” tags on cyclists that will allow them to turn traffic lights green. “As they approach a junction, the tag sends a signal to a nearby reader, which in turn switches the light to green. Cyclists never even have to stop, even as car drivers on the other side of the junction are brought to a standstill.” This new move in innovation and design comes as an effort in Denmark to get more cars out of the inner city. Only set in a small area currently, the plan is to make this innovation city-wide. I absolutely love this idea! The only drawback I saw can be summed up in the last few words of the article: “Should we start feeling sorry for Danish car drivers?” 

Are you a dog lover? Do you not have the bandwidth or capacity to own a dog? Well today is your lucky day! According to an article on Fast Company this week, there is now a dog-sharing app called “Bark’n’Borrow.” Basically, the app matches dog owners with people who don’t have dogs but wish they could. “Dogs get some extra attention, dog owners can get a free dogwalker or sitter, and dog lovers can play or cuddle with a charming new friend.” The app claims that is vets each potential borrower and firmly believes that the app can work safely if everyone takes the time to get to know the other person. The article also states that, “For now, dog owners and borrowers pay nothing (the app also connects professional dog walkers who do charge a fee, but the main service is free, at least for now).” The app makes sense right? I know, for me, living in New York City does not allow for me to own a dog. However, I consider myself to be a huge dog person so borrowing a dog for a short walk once a week would definitely appeal to me. I would highly recommend anyone interested in this concept and the unique app design read the piece here.

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com 
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. The FUSE 2016 program is here! Download the FUSE 2016 Brochure for full program details: http://bit.ly/1jfVHy1

FUSE 2016 Miami
Designing Brands with Purpose
April 4-6, 2016
Nobu Eden Roc
Miami, FL
Visit the website: http://bit.ly/1jfVHy1

The pressure to build meaningful connections with your consumers has never been greater.  Brands built on trust, empathy and purpose are thriving in our new economy. Join us and discover FUSE 2016: celebrating a new synergy of brand strategy and activation, design, culture and trends to build better brands that change the world.

Exclusive Savings – Use code FUSE16BL for a $100 discount. Register today: http://bit.ly/1jfVHy1

We hope to see you in Miami this spring!

The FUSE Team

After a week that ended with horrific violence and atrocity, it was warming to see so much support for both France and Beirut. Many gave their respect to the events in Paris by gathering together and acknowledging a moment of silence, and others made signs with the peace symbol. However this peace symbol was different. This time, the lines in the middle of the circle made up the Eiffel Tower. You’ve probably seen it by now, as it’s all over social media at this point, but what you probably don’t know is how this design got started. According to an article posted on Fast Company this week, a 32-year-old French designer by the name of Jean Jullien created the image upon hearing about the news while on vacation abroad. “"I wanted to create a symbol of peace,’ Jullien says of the hand-drawn illustration that combines the Eiffel tower and the universal symbol of peace. ‘It was a raw reaction. It was the only thing I could think of doing and my way of expressing to all of my loved ones in Paris ... I was thinking about them…’” In the article Jullien also stated that the world needs symbols that can express what we cannot, at the moment, say. The image, which he posted to all of his social media accounts has become a global symbol for the hope and support for the victims’ families in Paris. After 24 hours, the image was posted by Instagram and accumulated more than 1.3 million likes. In dark times, like the ones we find ourselves in today, it is uplifting to have images to remind us of our unifying factor; that human good will prevail.

Ever since I was little I always hated taking my temperature. I always worried the thermometer wasn’t sitting right or, if checking it via mouth, that it would be affected by the cold drink I had just drank. But we live in the future folks. Now, according to a Fast Company article, there is such thing as a temperature reading sticker for babies. That’s right. Not only are you able to tell the temperature of a sick one, but they are able to wear a cool sticker for it! The sticker is called The Fever Scout and is priced currently at $59. “It’s a reusable sticker that you apply to your baby’s torso to constantly monitor his temperature. Via Bluetooth and an accompanying app, it will send a trend graph of temperature updates to your phone, and even wake you in the middle of the night if a fever gets too high.” This cool new piece of technology comes from a company called Vivalnk that also enlisted NewDealDesign, the firm behind the Fitbit. The article also goes into quite a bit of detail on how the product was designed and how the design of the finished product eases the mind of parent with a sick child. “…the worst case scenario for The Fever Scout would be that, instead of being a device that can worry for a parent, it became a conduit to amplify their concerns with more data points.” I highly recommend reading the entire article, as it is a fascinating technological innovation and provides interesting insight as to how it these innovative pieces are designed.

An article on Fast Company this week discusses the development and design of Samsung’s Gear VR as it was largely spurred on by consumer insights. According to the VP of Immersive Products and Virtual Reality, Nick DiCarlo, “’Consumer and developer feedback is critical and all of the tweaks we’ve made to the device have been as a result of what we hear from the community. We are committed to continuously improving and bringing this amazing new technology to millions, and that takes a careful ear to listen and learn from the passionate VR community and developers we work with every day.’” Many consumers had comments from the previous version that centered around the touchpad which is located on the right side of the headset. In its newest version, Samsung changed the touchpad from being flat and squarish, to a cross-shaped groove that is more conducive to swiping up and down. This article is great example of how consumer insights and market research can impact the design of a product and its evolution thereafter.

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com 
Whether you’re starting brand strategy from scratch or reviewing your business’s current strategy to make sure it reflects the goals for your business, there are a few key things you should know. According to a recent Business2Community article, here are 7 ways to nail down your best brand strategy.

You should know:

Who You Are. This may seem simple, but it can be more difficult than you expect. The more you know about who you are as a business, the better you’ll be able to communicate that to your customers.

What Makes You Special. It’s important to identify your unique attributes in comparison to your competitors, but it can also be valuable to see how you’re unique from a broader industry perspective. Things like how you run your team, how you interact with people online, what you value as a company, how you talk, how you look, etc, are all part of what makes your business special.

Your Purpose. This is one of the big questions and one that’s just as important for a brand to answer. Why does your brand exist? What is it designed to do? What’s your vision? Without a solid answer to these questions, your brand won’t be very meaningful or effective.

Your Audience. Identifying exactly who your brand wants to serve, what their interests are, where they spend time, and what they care about will guide your marketing efforts and your business development journey.

What You Are Doing. Your brand’s mission statement should very clearly explain what you’re doing and why. In addition, your daily business activities should tie back to these central goals.

How to Communicate. You can’t develop solid a brand communication strategy until you’ve answered the questions above. After you’ve identified who your brand is, why you exist, what you’re doing and for whom, you can figure out how to talk to your target audience and what kind of tone your brand should have.

Where to Invest Time. It’s true that where we invest our time is where we invest our lives. So, it’s also important to identify where the brand should be spending its time, both in person and online.

Want more on developing a brand? Attend FUSE 2016 in Miami, FL this spring. For more information, click here
Preview the Just Released FUSE 2016 Agenda! Download it here: http://bit.ly/1S1zOOM

The pressure to build meaningful connections with your consumers has never been greater.  Brands built on trust, empathy and purpose are thriving in our new economy. Join us and discover FUSE 2016: celebrating a new synergy of brand strategy and activation, design, culture and trends to build better brands that change the world.

Build better brands and business – and change the world
April 4-6
Nobu Eden Roc
Miami, FL

Let the world’s top brands and design leaders spark inspiration and reignite your passion to create iconic design:

·         Why Beauty Matters: Stefan Sagmeister, Co-Founder, Segmeister & Walsh
·         The Evolution of Do-Good Marketing: Ellen Gustafson, Author, Entrepreneur, Co-Founder, FEED
·         PepsiCo’s Culture Design-Led Innovation: Mauro Porcini, SVP & Chief Design Officer, PepsiCo

Save your seat for FUSE while the lowest rates apply. Don’t forget to use code FUSE16LI for $100 savings, Register today: http://bit.ly/1S1zOOM

We hope to see you in Miami this spring!



Fast Company this week released an article on the 3 key traits of an “exceptional designer” and they are, well, inspiring even for those of us who aren’t designers. The first trait listed is an empathetic designer with a business-savvy mindset. “Exceptional designers take an empathetic approach to not only understanding the person they are designing for but also the mindset and requirements coming from each stakeholder in the process.” Being open and respectful and capable of building relationships is listed as the second quality. If you think about it, this one really makes sense, as design often requires one to think outside the box and be open to many different directions of art. The final quality according to the article is being a selfless advocate and acting like a communication bridge. “Exceptional designers put themselves in the shoes of the person they are designing for.” So there you have it, three keys to being successful in the design industry. What do you think? Should there be others?

In a fascinating article on Fast Company this week, the author explores eerie photos that literally show people getting sucked into their mobile devices. According to the article, a photographer based out of London by the name of, Antoine Geigeris noticed that everyone is constantly connected to their phones and wanted to make a statement about it. “In a photo series entitled SUR-FAKE, Geigeris explores what he terms ‘over-exposure’ to our phones by depicting people getting their faces sucked off by their devices.” Apparently Geigeris captures an image where a person is looking down at their phone and from there, distorts the pixels of their faces using Photoshop in order to create a melting effect. “’The images weren't staged. They are all proofs, facts that I captured, and post-treated to apply my feeling on it… I used a telephoto lens so I could shoot from far away without being noticed. But sometimes I shot with a regular lens—you can literally come in front of somebody and take a picture they won't even notice. It's fascinating.’” Want to view the pictures? Click here.

Switzerland is famous for being home to many spectacular things including chocolate, accurate clocks and, self-driving what?! That’s right. Switzerland is set to soon add a driverless bus to this list. According to an article on Fast Company this week, the Swiss city of Sion will be carrying out a two-year trial with two autonomous buses starting this spring. “The buses come from startup BestMile and will be operated by SwissPost transport subsidiary Car Postal. The company’s name hints at the purpose for these small, nine-person shuttles. They are designed to cover the "last mile," the gap between a regular bus or metro stop and the passenger's own front door.” Many are saying that this design could prove to be a pleasant alternative to common ideas of having fleets of driverless taxis. Here, the idea is public transportation while putting less vehicles on the road and adding to the cluster of taxis. My one concern is the jobs that are being stolen with this move? What do you guys think? Are robotic busses worth the amount of driver jobs that will be lost?

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com 
If you live in NYC or familiar with the area at all, you know full well how ridiculous and hard rent and finding an affordable place is. And just when you thought it couldn’t be worse anywhere else? This week Fast Company wrote a piece that singles out Bangkok for being so expensive, that architects created “a tiny house that can easily pop up in a parking garage…” You definitely heard correctly, by the way. The article, which discusses this portable home, states that the rent in Bangkok has gotten so expensive that people are living in parking lots and parking garages. According to the designers of the collapsible home, “’It is very difficult for young professionals to live with a bit of quality of life in the city…we noticed the issue and want to offer an alternative way of semi temporary living.’" Due to the climate in Bangkok being mild, these “pop-up” apartments are open and quite airy. Rather than solid walls, the structure is composed of a lattice-like design that allows a breeze to pass through. Named after its actual physical properties, “The Light House” is on display in the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Museums are great for rainy days right? However, what about visiting a museum on a rainy day without having to even go outside? According to an article on Fast Company this week, The Guggenheim has just launched its first online exhibit. Troy Therrian, who is the curator of architecture and digital initiatives at the museum, believes that museums should be rethinking the architecture and the way the exhibitions are designed. “’A lot of museums have gone the way of introducing more gadgets and gizmos into their exhibitions so that people can experience [the technology] firsthand, but that doesn’t give you a sense of the effect of those things," says Therrien. ‘It’s too direct, and it's not interpretive enough. The idea for the Åzone Futures Market was to create something that would itself display the dynamics of the way that technology is controlling parts of our lives.’” In this way, the digital exhibit, called “Åzone Futures Market”, isn’t solely about technology; the exhibit IS the technology. Another important difference between the physical exhibit and Åzone is that Åzone does not have an end date. I think this is a completely unique and innovative idea for museums to perhaps model after.

A very fascinating article by Fast Company this week, discusses the work of Alexander Semenov, a marine biologist who dedicates his life and career to educating people on what organisms lie in the deep sea. His work, done through art and photography, is stunning and captures the organisms in such a way, that the reader is pulled into everything within the photo. According to Semenov, “’My own goal is to study underwater life through camera lenses and to boost people’s interest in marine biology.’" Just looking at the one photo posted with the article, I am drawn in and can’t help but study the photograph and weigh in on all the intricacies of the organism. The article also states that Semenov is going to be leading a three-year-long oceanic research trip called the “Aquatilis Expedition.” The purpose of this expedition is to study the rare and extremely fragile soft bodied organisms that reside 300 feet under water. “He's photographed a handful of these creatures, but estimates that 80 percent of them are undiscovered. The arresting images show jellyfish that look like delicate flora, iridescent Syllidae, and UFO-like Estonian indicans.” I highly recommend scrolling through the slideshow of pictures he’s put out, as they are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

We’ve all seen the news articles and hear about it in passing, “China’s pollution problem is horrid, did you see the photos?” However, this week Fast Company wrote a piece discussing an up and coming architecture firm that plans to change this. The idea is to essentially build cities from bamboo and surround them with pollution-sucking bamboo forests. According to Chris Precht, one of the co-founders of Penda, “’Bamboo is underrated material, especially when it can be used locally.’” The article states that bamboo in a building, is two to three times stronger than a steel beam of similar weight. “The designers also envision that it could be used to create entire cities in China, using a paired system of planting bamboo groves next to buildings. For each cane of bamboo chopped down for buildings, more could be planted in the forest, providing fresh air and a constant supply of new building material for the city.” When looking at the pictures and framework for these buildings I am blown away with how feasible and modern it all looks. If this design were to actually work in a city setting, it would be a huge stride for china decreasing the pollution problem they have currently.

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com 

Working in an office can get “crumby” am I right? Between staring at this bright orb of light for eight hours and having fluorescent lights beat down on you all day, life at the office can get mundane. Not to mention the chairs that, I know, we ALL slouch in. But what if you could change at least one part of this uncomfortable environment? What if…rather than sitting in these uncomfortable work chairs we were able to sit in a chair that has a sitting, standing, and….wait for it…lying down position! Get your finger out of your ear, you heard correctly. In an article this week on Fast Company, a new product called the “Altwork Station” allows you to work efficiently in all three of these positions. “At the push of a button, the desk can tweak the position of everything or fully shift back into sitting or standing. As the back moves, the monitor moves with your eyes, the desk moves with your hands, and the back headrest shifts slightly in or out to best support your head.” According to the co-Founder of the station, Che Voigt, “’you can make one of two choices: you can say you're going to sit in this uncomfortable position because it's more protective of your body. Or, I think we can go the other route, which is, how about we just let people work the way they want to?’" This piece of furniture innovation and Design is also unique because it was designed by aerospace engineers. Think you want one? Starting price is at, $3,900, so step on up! 

With so many stereotypes and preconceived notions about people, it’s easy for individuals to come off as sexist and or racist. However, according to an article on Fast Company this week, a new card game invented by researchers from Dartmouth’s Tiltfactor Lab will reprogram the way negative stereotypes affect people. The card game is called “Buffalo: The Name-Dropping Game” and works a lot like the game “war” where two people lay down cards at the same time. This time, however, one card will display and adjective and the other will display a noun. “The goal? Come up with someone who fits that description. The experience feels like a fast-paced game of trivia, but under the surface, you’re being reprogrammed. By chance, you may have to come up with a combination like ‘multiracial superhero’ or ‘female visionary.’ And rather than unconsciously associating Christopher Reeve with superheroes or Steve Jobs with visionaries…you’re forced to consider alternatives like Miles Morales, the half-black, half-hispanic Spiderman, or Rosalind Franklin, the overlooked genius who was instrumental in discovering DNA.” The design of this game is certainly an excellent idea to try and get more people to think outside of the box! As the designers’ state at the end of the article, “’ what’s important for people to take away is there are things you can bring into design practice: everyone can bring in attitudes to shift opinions through design choice.’”

The design field usually strikes a light and easy going tone, with talk about designing a new look for modern homes and how to design a relaxing work chair. However, this week Fast Company wrote an article on design that is a little darker: the design of new gas masks for people in Israel. You don’t have to be strictly following the news to be aware of the issues the Middle East, and Israel in specific, are facing. According to the article, most children walk to school carrying not only a lunchbox, but a gas mask in the other hand. “Until 2014, when budgets were cut, the government handed gas masks to every citizen. But the ubiquity doesn't make them less terrifying to see lying around.” With that, the article introduces Israeli designer, Zlil Lazarovich, and her new design of a friendlier and less frightening mask that can help one prepare for chemical warfare. It is true that the standard gas mask appears in a frightening way, and, especially in times of war, elements of daily life (such as a gas mask) should not add to the chaos and fear. According to Lazarovich, “’the stressful situation, the constant news updates and the frequent dashes to the nearest shelter reminded me of the Gulf War… [When] I was a young child, and one of my most profound memories is the length that my parents took to make the situation seem more normal while we sat for hours in the chemically sealed room at home, with our gas masks on. They decorated their masks with colorful stickers and made funny gestures to try to make their own image look less intimidating to the four-year-old me.’” After reading the entirety of the article I am completely humbled and inspired by designers and women like Lazarovich who put their design skill set to improving conditions for people in terrifying places around the world. I highly recommend reading the full article here.

This week Fast Company released an article called, “The Best Triangle House since the Pyramids” that details a new house designed by Swedish architect Leo Qvarsebo. The house is just as the title describes: in the shape of a triangle. According to the article, the house is designed in this particular way in order to give a stunning and unobstructed view of an “idyllic vista in Dalarna.” The house displays large windows on each of the three different floors, with the first floor opening to a beautiful terrace. The article claims that Qvarsebo believe that, “despite the fact it isn't very close to any trees, he thinks of it as a treehouse for adults. As such, there's a rope connected to the peak of the roof, so he and his kids can scale the facade. Even inside, though, climbing the home's central staircase is meant to feel like a treehouse.” This unique home has walls and ceilings that are lined with birch plywood which were sourced from a puzzle factory! The pictures of the house are definitely worth viewing by visiting the original article here.

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com 
We’ve all seen some pretty unique and innovative street art, but have you ever seen a car with unique cardboard designs pasted on? Well, this week Fast Company featured an article about artist, Max Siedentopf’s new project of spiffing up the design of cars with unique cardboard cutouts. “… Max Siedentopf noticed that we've lost our creative edge when it comes to personalizing cars. So he took things into his own hands and started a guerilla art project that involved kitting out nondescript cars with cardboard spoilers, headlights, body kits, and more.” According to Siedentopf, his inspiration stemmed from trying to think of a way to turn certain boring car designs into “supercars” for a few euros or less. This design plan involved Siedentopf going in the cover of night to paste the cardboard designs wherever he thought necessary. I know what you’re thinking, because I was thinking it to: “Can’t he get in trouble for vandalism or destruction of private property?” Well the article doesn’t say anything about people speaking out against it, but the article also only covers Siedentopf’s story. What do you think? When does unique design cross the line?

In a very captivating and fascinating video posted in a Fast Company article this week, a new design compilation was put together by Universal Everything for the OFF Design Festival. Each of the company’s designs combines some element of typography and architecture. To start the video off, they feature the first design, called “Ideo” which, like the article says “looks like a roller coaster designed by M.C. Escher. I have to say, however, that my favorite featured design is the one called “AKQA.” This design, paired with a neat arrangement of music, features fans that move to the beat of the music and arrange themselves to spell out “AKQA.” According to the founder of Universal Everything, Matt Pyke, “’I wanted to invent some imaginary structures and products that people wish existed. These structures could represent any form of messaging or branding.’” I highly recommend this short 1 minute video to any design enthusiasts out there. This video definitely captures the essence of design being able to combine two very random themes and turn them into a captivating piece.

If you work in New York City but commute from New Jersey, well then, you may want to sit down while you read this article. According to a Fast Company article released this week, there are plans to design and build a new bridge across the river just for pedestrians and cyclists. New Jersey resident Kevin Shane teamed up with architect Jeff Jordan to dream up this idea of a one mile walkway which will link Jersey City to lower Manhattan. The bridge, called “The Liberty”, is planned to rise 200 feet and be much like the popular Manhattan walkway, the highline. This bridge is based off of the model of the Walkway over the Hudson which is located 80 miles away in Poughkeepsie, New York. The article claims that the funding strategy for this project is built on the idea that due to this structure possibly becoming an icon, many large corporations will clamor at any chance to fund it and get a name on it. This project would be very innovative if properly funded, so here’s to waiting around to see if it gains traction amongst New York’s wealthy.

Nowadays the car to own and have is a smart car, or one that has extensive technological capabilities. However, whenever we look into getting said car, our hopes and dreams are shot by the outrageous price that’s associated with buying these cool mobile gadgets. Not to fear though! According to a Fast Company article, a new San Francisco-based startup called Voyomotive is going to change everything about this dilemma. The article discusses this new company’s venture in introducing a sleek gadget called the “Voyo” which will plug into a car’s OBD-II port and have an accompanying app. According to the article, the gadget will work with any model from 1996 and on! “After a two-minute set-up, the $200 gadget essentially becomes a car's second brain, cracking into all of the data the car produces and translating it into more useful metrics for drivers.” The article states that if your “check engine” light comes on and you’re not sure why, the Voyo can read the alert and figure out why it it’s blinking. This is definitely a unique and innovative design that has the potential to build an entirely new market for people looking to have the perks of a “smart” car without have to drop millions of dollars.

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com 
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If you’ve ever worn glasses or need to wear them in order to be able to function, you’ve probably experienced the struggle of wanting to wear cool/funky frames but either not being able to find any, or worrying about being stuck to that one set every day. This week Fast Company, released an article discussing a new Company called “Biz Eyes” that essentially has a 3D printer make different accessories that can be attached to a normal pair of glasses to “funkify” them. “…it's a crazy, modular line of 3-D printed frames that can be easily mixed, matched, and swapped out, according to your mood.” The concept of Biz Eyes is to make it simple for the consumer to get as creative and funky with their eyewear, as they want. “Biz Eyes are made of two parts: a sturdy, transparent base frame, in which your prescription lenses sit, and the spectacles faceplates themselves, which are 3-D printed out of custom dyed white nylon and resin.” I highly recommend that anyone interested in design and creative concepts check out this new idea. To me, it was very fascinating and has the potential to really gain traction within the global marketplace.

This week, Fast Company wrote an article describing the process that the brand of Filson has been undergoing in order to tell their story. “Since 1897, the company has been outfitting the more rugged types of the Pacific Northwest, starting with gold miners, then forestry workers, and on to outdoorsmen of all stripes, including hunters, fishers, sports shooters and travelers. Over the last decade, the brand’s territory has expanded to just about anywhere a guy can grow a beard…” Until recently, the Filson brand has gotten by utilizing very little marketing and rather relying more on word of mouth. Now, the company has hired Alex Carleton (Rogues Gallery, LL Bean Signature) as their new Creative Director along with Gray Madden (associated with Burberry Watches) being their new president. “The plan is to use the legacy of the brand’s long, storied history to chart its future.” The full article then goes into what key components will be used to make this campaign reach its full potential. I highly recommend looking over this article, if not to look into a unique brand design strategy, then to glean how this brand has reached such a wide consumer base without much marketing in the past.

What do you see when you stumble upon a dollar bill laying around? Most people would respond by saying buying power. However, a recent article released by Fast Company explores the concept of currency from around the world, being deconstructed and turned into a textile. London-based designer Angela Mathis was commissioned to design a project for the National Bank and decided to take currency from around the globe, and use it as a textile to upholster a number of different custom-design stools. This unique and fancy project is what she calls as, “Value.” “As designed, Value comes in the form of four stools, each upholstered with a potpourri of different-colored currencies, reduced to shreds. Depending on how she combines these currencies—the American dollar, the purple English pound, the brown Indonesian rupees, and the color dense euro—Mathis was able to create different colors, textures, and effects (such as marbling).” Many people may see this as being a waste of money or even a criminal act in the destruction of it, however this is not the case. “…the average life of a note is scarcely more than 18 months, at which point, it is decommissioned. In America, you can actually buy a five-pound bag filled with $10,000 worth of shredded currency for just $45.” This is the type of currency Mathis used for her project which makes it far more affordable than it originally appears. Again, I highly recommend reading the full article and glancing at the designs. Perhaps you may find some inspiration in it.

Most, if not all, of us are familiar with the unique designs that the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Los Angeles Walt Disney Concert Hall exhibit. With their peaks appearing just like that of the billowing top sails of a fleet, it’s easy to draw a connecting between the two structures and a sail boat. This week Fast Company wrote an article announcing that the designer for both of these structures, Frank Gehry, is actually designing himself a Yacht. As the article states, “…the 86-year-old architect is finally applying the aesthetic where it belongs: to his first ever yacht.” Gehry, being an architect and building designer, wanted to be sure this yacht could actually float and function so he enlisted Argentine naval architect German Frers to assist him. “Built out of traditional larch wood and accented with titanium, it looks modern only in detail, like the webbed planking of the steering wheel, or the elaborate lattice-work glass windows on the deck and the stern.” The article concludes that despite this boat’s unconventional design, it clocked the fastest time at the Round the Island race around Martha’s Vineyard this summer. Check out Gehry’s design here to look a little closer at how his architectural design may have affected this masterpiece. 

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com 

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