Archive for 2010

All we want for Christmas

We’re shutting up shop over the Christmas and New Year window, so it’ll be 2011 before you hear any more of our self-opinionated rants, our plans to change the world or our strategic drive to get everyone doing nice stuff on digital platforms.

It’s been quite a year (good, bad, weird) so see you all on Wednesday January 5th, 2011. There’s already a lot ‘bubblin’-under’ for us in the New Year and we hope it’s going to be the same for you.

From all of us, to all of you, a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of a New Year!

No more boring data

As ‘information-architects’ we’re fascinated in the way that statistics and ‘graphs’ are represented. The reason for this is that if information is shown in a clear and well-designed way, it’s relevant, it’s used more and as you’ll see below, it can help to make a real difference. Over the past few years, you could be forgiven that the oft-talked-about online design phenomenon of ‘Infographics’ was something new. In effect, good designers have been getting paid to make boring statistics and information look exciting (but more importantly, have real relevance) since written communications began.

It’s set us thinking though, as our clients are bombarding their employees with ever more sophisticated information (and more of it), how can we help them make sense of this myriad information, on multiple platforms? Definitely, it’s been presenting our clients with some amazing opportunities to change perceptions of what they do and how they do it, both internally and externally.

It’s for this reason that we find the work of Hans Rosling to be so interesting. Professor Rosling’s widely recognised as one of the leading ‘thinkers’ in the World and Gapminder is a dynamic information tool he’s developed which allows people to look at freely-available statistics, in an entirely new way. It allows everyone to use statistics in ‘real time’ but also ‘design’ them, to make them much more interesting and…FUN! We’ve never been particularly precious about ‘owning’ the ability to do nice design things. In our eyes, if areas of gorgeous design, clever typography and considered use of colour can become accessible to everyone, this has to be a good thing. As Google took ownership of the software Mr Rosling’s Gapminder Foundation uses in 2007, obviously they agree with us!

With most organisations talking internally by using company Intranets and more sophisticated CRM Share Point Platforms, the fact that you’ve got to present information to audiences in an interesting way has now become a bit of a ‘given’. As well as having nice photography and well thought-out ‘words’ it’s also a prerequisite that your ‘graphs’ and ‘stats’ are designed in a nice way.

As we’re moving into a dynamic age of ‘real-time’, instant communication, the ability to present your organisation’s information quickly, cleverly and dynamically is the thing that’s going to make you stand out from the competition.

Technology is moving so quickly and pie-in the sky ideas such as 3D presentation, which would have seemed futuristically bonkers only a few years ago, well, they’re here! So, it’s time to put some real thought into how you present, to everyone. We’ll help, if you like!

Hans Rosling is what you’d call ‘ahead of the game’ here. Rather than us try to describe what he does, have a look for yourself. His recent television appearance, The Joy of Stats represents his work very erm…graphically. It shows that ‘statistics’ are far from last-Century’s fad. They’re more relevant than ever. In the case of Gapminder, if they’re presented well, they’re going on to help change the world.

Rudy Giuliani meets Claire Dunning

At the SCDI Dinner in Glasgow we witnessed a really interesting event, featuring a really interesting character-Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Claire with the Mayor

"Another opinion former I've met", said Rudy

Known worldwide as the ‘Mayor of New York City’ everyone remembers, (do you know who the present Mayor is?) It’s clear that thrice-married, prostate cancer-survivor Mr Giuliani was going to be a compelling speaker. With an ‘interesting’ past where an Italian ‘enforcer’ father who served prison time and a marriage to his second cousin formed his early life, he was never going to be a conventional character. This perhaps makes his rise to Worldwide fame all the more remarkable.

In most people’s eyes, after George W. Bush, he’s the first name that comes to mind when people think of the momentous day that’s simply become known as ‘9/11’.

It’s obviously impossible to overstate the importance of this date in America’s, let alone New York City’s history and although he’s achieved lots of other things, it’s definitely the event Mayor Giuliani will be remembered for. However, it’s perhaps important to note that long before this date, Rudy Giuliani had already made massive changes in a City, which was grabbing headlines over in the USA, for all the wrong reasons. When he was elected Mayor of the City in 1994, in many people’s eye’s, ‘The Big Apple’ was rotten to the core, with spiralling crime and social problems. His turn-around of a famous city was perhaps brought into focus by the appalling events of 9/11.

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In his Glasgow speech, Giuliani, unsurprisingly didn’t go in to all the fascinating aspects of his incredible life but instead focused on Business leadership and how he’s gone about this.

He highlighted that to change things, you had to make tough decisions that not everyone would like. It’s clear that when you’re involved as ‘front man’ for a city experiencing a horrific and unique event, you’d have to make decisions that would be made in the heat of the moment. Decisions there for history to judge you on. History has judged Rudy Giuliani and overall, he’ll be remembered for that unforgettable day in September 2001 – 9/11 in a really positive light.

Rudy’s gone on to become involved on the broader political field in the USA, with mixed, some would say unspectacular results. However, there’s no getting away from the fact that in the midst of a World-changing event, with the Global glare of the Word’s media on him, he  ‘did things’. Whatever you may think of Mr Giuliani, it takes tremendous leadership and guts to ‘take the helm’ during such a crisis. As he remarked at his keynote speech in Glasgow, it was his ability to ‘do things’ that perhaps singled him out from other people without leadership qualities during this momentous time in World history.

As you can see above, our MD Claire Dunning added to her photographic portfolio of ‘famous political people I’ve met’ when she posed with New York’s most famous citizen.

On that mention of New York, it’s not to late to enter our competition to win a bottle of prohibition exempt hooch. If you can tell us where some of Glasgow’s Statues of Liberty are (yes, there are several) we’ll enter you into the hat!