Who is @FellowCreative?

I’m an agent of change, rather than a guardian of tradition.

“If you want to come up with a few good ideas, or even one great one, then you have to generate lots of ideas” ~ Linus Pauling (one of only four individuals to have won multiple Nobel Prizes).

I’m Carl @FellowCreative; I’m also cofounder of the coworking community and participatory space @coFWD.

I’ve delivered ideas and helped solve problems directly for international names: Electronic Arts (EA), Intel, Nokia, NixonMcInnes, University for the Creative Arts (UCA), as well as talented pioneers like Remy Sharp (@Rem) and Jonathan Markwell (@Jot), to name a few.

Reputed for identifying trends and future focused strategy. I’m a facilitator of insights, architect of citizen-brands and engineer of social-capital in the ever-growing engagement economy. An advisor to NACUE (National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs), anomalous speaker at conferences, recognised blogger of cognition and research fellow.

A perceptive creative professional with cross-functional, cross-disciplinary experience spanning design process and brand strategy, emergent technologies and cultural trends, decentralised social systems and sustainable enterprise. A resourceful co-ordinator with a rounded diagnostic approach to problem solving, capable of quickly learning, dissecting, reading between the lines and understanding foreign concepts to reveal alternative angles and transversal vectors, with an intellectual curiosity for uncharted shifting terrain (on or off the digital landscape).

I’m a catalyst, my role is usually mission orientated. I have a contagious enthusiasm for challenging norms and a high tolerance for ambiguity. With solid testimonials and an established client list I work ‘beyond What Is to deliver What Can Be™’ – R&D lab, think-tank, social enterprise, technology venture, creative agency, rhizomatic community or skunkworks project – I’m a valuable and inspirational element for any do-tank with an emphasis on discovery, not theory.

A creative midwife and joiner of dots, capable of weaving authenticity, co-design, human-centred-engagement and sustainability into the very fabric of an idea or strategy.

I believe creative insights often come in non-linear ways, through seeing connections and similarities between things we haven’t noticed or even tried before. I do well in situations that require divergent, lateral thinking in terms of metaphor, analogy, simile, abductive logic and provocative operation (PO). I challenge with integrity and directness. I make observations, and sometimes predictions. I’m experimental and experiential and always contextual. Learning through actually doing, to provide a more valuable pathway from ideas-lab to real-time and real-space.

I’m currently pondering future focused R&D opportunities. If you’d like to discuss how I could help your strategic research, creative development and innovation towards twenty-first-century economics (and an inter-dependent ecology), please do get in touch.

I’m not an evangelist. I’m a proponent of open-leadership, transparent communications and civic-data, and the practical application of theory and research focused on problems not disciplines, into business and social situations in the real world. I have a strong network of trustees and acquaintances, and a genuine interest in others. I thrive on meeting new people everyday and I can turn casual interactions into meaningful relations. I realise the importance of understanding what people really want and need. I recognize what drives behaviour, curates excitement and facilitates passion, and I suggest ways to channel that energy into projects between people, principles and technologies that otherwise wouldn’t meet – guiding collaboration through creativity, inspiration, support, trust, emotional and psychological intelligence and social sensitivity. Value can always be found through encouraging and enabling others. I have a relentless belief in people and a desire to help – its not just a nicety, it’s a natural and essential part of connection and engagement. Communication is not about talking; it’s about listening and understanding relevance – to inspire dialogue and multi-dimensional narratives, not monologue.

A peer not a boss. I can provide a drumbeat for decentralised organisation, helping top-down business structures develop a little hierarchical-ambiguity and open-chaos to get people into passionate conversation and action. I can map and unite advocates, form new circles, develop open-platforms and cultivate participation – inspiring change without being coercive. Aligning the needs and goals of industry and civics to ensure rich-insights, brand-equity and the early adoption of people-focused-ideas, cultural trends and emergent technologies. Creating meaningful sustainable value, igniting future thinking philosophy and engaging innovation – online or off, on-demand or live, through geographic location (such as GPS coordinate) or a point of interest (POI), and perhaps even through the orientation of a sensory object or mobile device.

Want to know more? Please do say hello.

List of Fellow Trustees

I trust these people with my brand and my personal reputation, they are Fellow Trustees.

I say this because I’ve worked with them all…

David Ince
Author, Film-maker, Intellectual, Designer & Do’er
Daniel Cudby
Strategic Thinker, Designer… eats Photoshop Retouching & Illustrator for breakfast
Jonathan Markwell
iPhone App, Ruby on Rails & Twitter Developer – co-worker & all round good egg!
Scott Evans
Designer & CMS Developer (XHTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL & WordPress)
Gemma Garner
Designer & Maker of Crafty Stuff (iPhone sleeves etc…), Ethical thinker
Christian Payne
Social Media Journalist, Video Blogger & Legendary Content Creator
Jack Butler
Generation Y Specialist, Inspiring Young People & Public Speaker
Benjamin Breckler
Designer for Mobile & Web – now working at Ribot!
Alan Offord
Graphic Designer (up-coming-talent) and Tea Drinker Extraordinaire
Gareth Rogers
Facebook Developer
Remy Sharp
jQuery, JavaScript & HTML 5
Steve Lawson
Social Media, Musician & Thinker
Ellen deVries
Brand Language Consultant & Copywriter
Josie Fraser
Social & Education Technologist, Digital Literacy, Identity & Citizenship
Paul Anderson
Sustainability Consultant
Tom Nixon
Social Media Consultancy (trust me, I don’t use that title lightly)
Jon Kossmann (Kosso)
Createch – Social-Web Developer Extraordinaire & Founder of Phreadz.com
Brian Noonan
LIVE-streaming & video-on-demand (Web & Mobile)



People I trust enough to work with at the next opportunity:

* those I’ve not met in person at least twice

Anthony Ribot – User Interface, Experience & Apps (anything Mobile)
Phil Campbell – Content Creator, Video Blogger, Social-Web planner
Ben Sauer – User Experience (UX) Consultant
Mike Little – WordPress Developer *
Ben Walker – Musical Legend & Early Adopter
Stef Lewandowski – Developer:
#DEbill http://debillitated.heroku.com & http://stef.io *
Paul Bradshaw – Blogger, Senior Lecturer in Online Journalism
Steve Purkiss – Drupal & Open Source Evangelist
Lloyd Davis – Social Artist, Community Builder
Antony Mayfiled -Digital Marketing Consultant
Oisin Lunny – Music & Social Technology
Ilicco Elia – Mobile, Web & iTV (high-value strategy)
Victoria Lennox – Enterprise & Academic Policy
Little Laura – Designer & Web Developer (with solid code and ethics)
Benjamin Read – Writer, Publisher & Indy Film Producer
Jof Arnold – Developer (currently iPhone App focused)
Peter O’Neill – Web Analytics
Gavin Wray – Content Manager, Information Architecture *
James Yorke – Online Marketing & Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Penny Jackson – Journalist & Audio PodCaster
Dave Goodchild – PHP (Zend, Codeigniter), Rals/Sinatra, SQL/MySQL, Y.Pipes
James Whatley – Social Media, content Creator, Blogger (anything Mobile)
Josh Russell – Product and idea development
Aral Balkan – Flash/Flex, Renaissance Geek & User Experience Advocate *
Alison Coward – Enterprise & Management for the Creative Arts
Allix Harrison-D’Arcy – Crap at mornings. Dead Amusing,  still not dead.
Matt Weston – Strategist & Planner (knowledge, design, space and people)
Dan Thompson – Empty Shops Network
Michael L Radcliffe – Artist & Plumber
Erica Grigg – Sustainability in Social Media Consultant *
Chris Dalby – Developer, HomeCamp Organiser
Leif Kendall – Technology Copywriter
Derek Mantle – Graphic Designer
Russ McVeigh – Web Developer, Flash Actionscript, XML, SOAP, JSON
Stephen Bartholomew – Ruby on Rails
Rob O’Callaghan – Developer, Connector
Neil Pepper – iPhone/Android/Mobile App development
Nicholas Butler – Developer (WordPress Back-End)
Xander Cansell – Connector and Planner (of anything) *
Dan Donald Web Dev/Design, Social-Media, PHP/MySQL, CSS, jQuery
Jenny Brown – Internal Communications and Consumer Engagement
Debbie Davies – Co-Discovery Films
Danny Hope – Interaction & User Experience (UX) Design
Premasagar Rose – Social innovation + front-end engineering
Robert McIntosh – Marketing & Wine
Peter-Paul Koch (PPK) – Front-End Development (#1 Mobile Consultant)
*
Euan Semple – Consultant, Writer
Alan Moore – Engagement/Participation *
Toby Moores – Interactive Game/TV/Online/Mobile
Daren Forsyth – Engagement Jedi
Mike Atherton – Writer for Screen

My recommended ones to watch (some are students):

* those I’ve not met in person at least twice

Merle Cordier – Podcast & Radio producer/editor – will call it as it is!
Toby Watson – Mashupr & Maker of different things and crazy tech stuff!
Richard Mackney – Early Adopter, Blogger, Content Creator – interestingly visual! *
Dave Stone
– Nomadic Business Designer
Thomas Forsyth
– Artist & Maker
*
Paul Davis – Designer, Developer – impressively self taught! *
Mark Phipps
– Microsoft & Apple Certified Support
Katie FotisBranding and Marketing Student – full of enthusiasm!
Gaurav Patel
– Blogger, a Voice with Good Tone – seeks an opportunity! *
Al-nashir Bandali – Marketing Planner & Strategist
Jon-Paul Davies
– ASP.NET, AmpliFeeder *
Will Waterman – Thinker not Do’er – in the right team this man could be gold!
Lee Gavin – Psychogeographer
Giulia Piu – Designer, UX Researcher
Nathan Parris
– Graphic Designer

William Morland
– a young man going somewhere! *

Brand Philosophy : is Nokia a Starfish or a Spider?

Drafted 18/09/09 – Published 24/09/09.
The thoughts/viewpoints expressed are my own.

IF YOU CUT OFF A SPIDERS HEAD, it dies; but if you cut off a starfish’s leg, it grows a new one, and that leg can grow an entirely new starfish.

Quote from Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom.
Authors of ‘The Starfish and The Spider’.


As some of you may know I was recently invited to Budapest to take part in filming and social media production for the new Nokia Nseries Campaign (currently code-named #budaviral it is perhaps a little presumptuous on behalf of the marketing department) but the invitation to join a select team of mobile geeks and bloggers was an awesome opportunity and too good to turn down.


When I boarded my flight to Hungary I was carrying with me a book entitled ‘The Starfish and The Spider’. I was also very aware that my iPhone was my primary mobile handset – so why had Nokia invited me? and what were they expecting from me?

Budapest

Photo: Budapest
Original photo taken and licensed under creative commons by Me

FellowCreative Sustainability
Before I continue, and for those that may question the sustainability of such a trip (900 mile flight each way) I would like to point out that my focus in this instance was positive ‘social impact’ over ‘environmental change’ (although EasyJet do have a CSR Policy I have to admit I’m not an enthusiastic fan of corporate carbon offsetting, but I was pleased to see only one empty seat on-board my return flight, in comparison to the twenty or so available on my outbound journey).

I firmly believe that social media tools and technologies have the ability to connect, unite, empower and educate communities towards positive change (both social and environmental) – as Nokia themselves are demonstrating with their Responsiveness Campaign (exploring the positive impacts of responsive conversation) supported by TED Fellow Kyra Gaunt.
I myself spend most of my days joining dots between technologies and ideas to empower positive impact – hence SustainableWidget and my client list focused on training & development, education and entrepreneurship, and socially and environmentally positive enterprise.


However, getting back to the Starfish…


Nokia’s invitation in this case had me both intrigued and a little nervous for different reasons… given my design background I’ve been an Apple user (some might say fanboy) for thirteen years and a business contract iPhone user since August 2007. However, I personally think the iPhone camera sucks and I find Apple’s ‘corporate non-transparent ways’ and ‘sometimes suspicious governance’ of its App Store ‘specifically for video-streaming services’ extremely frustrating (and some might say non existent).

With this in mind and given the fact my Digital SLR just isn’t portable 24/7, I do tend to carry a Nokia N96 mobile in my bag, from which I sparingly record video footage, live-stream via Qik.com and take photographs of useful quality (5 mega pixels).

Over recent months I’ve also been carrying an Nokia N97 which is equipped with a slightly better camera lens (Carl Zeiss Tessar 2.8/5.4) and comes pre-installed with Qik.com live-streaming; but if I’m honest I do leave the real social media content creation and mobile geekness to entertaining and talented folk like Christian Payne and James Whatley (I’m more interested in how all this shiny stuff can be used at a global/regional/social/academic/community level to bring people and ideas together for positive change).

I prefer bottom-up, multi-channel ‘community focused’ mindsets (some might say web 2.0 principles) as opposed to those of one-way corporate governance and dictatorship – I choose Starfish over Spiders.

The Starfish and The Spider
With this said, and given my recent experiences of Nokia, I’d like to voice my viewpoint to anyone who’s interested:

Apple design and manufacture solid consumer electronics that deliver intuitive usability to a mass and global market. Apple are undoubtedly best-known for their hardware products (including the Apple Mac, iPod and iPhone) but in my personal opinion the most impressive part about their diverse and ground breaking product range is often overlooked (especially by the mass market).

The combination of Apple’s Mac OS X operating system and iTunes media platform delivers an unparalleled and unrivaled user experience! Lets face it, the reason most people overlook beautiful simplicity is because its so simple they don’t need to (or even require time to) stop and think about it. I only wish Apple made ‘touch-tone call-center systems’ – the world would be a better place and I might actually be able to talk to my bank manager!

Apple’s product quality, intuitive user experience and developer community have made them a world leader. The App Store topped 1.5 Billion Downloads in its first year and with less than 3 years in the mobile industry its supposedly on target to be market leader by 2013.

But remember I personally think the iPhone camera sucks and I find Apple’s ‘corporate non-transparent ways’ and ‘sometimes suspicious governance’ of its App Store ‘specifically for video-streaming services’ extremely frustrating. And more importantly still, I know I’m not alone.

I might be an early adopter in the technology space but I’m confident that those who frequent my circle will agree that being able to upload a video to YouTube is not enough (especially when its sprinkled with targeted advertising later), and its certainly not enough when so much more is easily possible (I’m reluctant to believe its a matter of cost).

It may surprise some of you to hear me say, others will have heard me openly say it already, but compared to the iPhone I actually prefer the look and tactility of the Nokia N97, and I’d even go so far as to say the build quality is better – if only it had an intuitive OS interface and keyboard (?)

It is with the above ‘open mindset’ that I landed in Budapest…

A nagging voice in my head kept telling me that Nokia wouldn’t be able to live up to my Apple expectations. What I found made me re-evaluate.

I found Nokia’s team to be extremely ‘community and socially minded’ in there approach and very open in conversation; not just excited about their products but more interested in what I and those around me thought we could (or wanted to) do with them. They appear to understand why I carry multiple devices and they didn’t appear at all threatened by the presence of a competitors product or a non Ovi Store App (I fail to name another brand that would be so open to this situation – perhaps Google?). Nokia appeared to understand why I prefer the App Store to Nokia Ovi, and they appeared to recognize iPhone OS is more intuitive than Nokia’s current Sybian OS.

The independent bloggers I met all shared their own stories about how the Nokia Marketing Team had actively promoted blog posts that highlighted ‘traditionally negative’ product flaws and drawbacks. Nokia seem to understand that ‘learning through doing is key’ and providing an open platform for constructive criticism and negative consumer feedback is a strength not a weakness in today’s connected ‘bottom-up’ world. Inviting bloggers and Nokia fanboys to see the latest toys is one thing but to boldly invite an opinionated Mac Addict along shows confidence in product.

Nokia N00 (N900)

Photo: My hands on an Nokia N900 Prototype
Original photo taken and licensed under creative commons by Me

The very fact that Nokia are developing innovative multi-channel Social-Media tools like Noise Cancellation Headsets and products like the Booklet 3G’s makes me feel they understand a growing audience and mindset; and better still I think they understand their competitor marketplace (especially with Google and HTC now on the playing field). The N97 and specifically the N900 demonstrate to me that Nokia understand that one button clad product doesn’t fit all but making an adaptable touchscreen interface can help. Sure their current standing is in mobile (especially in developing markets) but I’m encouraged by the fact its building upon its impressive audio and camera know-how to develop new legs in other markets like Netbook’s and VOIP.

I left Budapest impressed with a Starfish, and I keep my fingers crossed that Nokia sort out their OS Interface before a competitor releases a decent quality camera and signs-off on a live-streaming App. The fact that they are working in developing markets gives me confidence that not only will a more intuitive and useful user experience emerge on a Nokia device but its sense of social media and global connectivity/transparency will grow.

Nokia, if you are listening, thank you for making me welcome =)
I’ll leave you with three thoughts, imagine what you could do away from Ovi…

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To read more content from our Budapest adventures here are some relevant links:

#BudaViral: Social Media Adventures in Budapest with Nokia
Nokia Nseries Campaign: A Storyboard of Secrets from Budapest #BudaViral

My Review: Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-905 (Probably the ideal freelancer/co-working headset?

My Review: Nokia Booklet 3G
Ben’s Review: TheReallyMobileProject.com – Nokia Booklet 3G
Stefanos’ Review (in Greek): Pestaola.gr – Nokia Booklet 3G

N97 mini and N900 stuff can be found here: http://thereallymobileproject.com