I read this in The Guardian the other day. Cheered me up no end. It's about WEIRDness, or how Western Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic societies produce people who are in no way typical of the planet as a whole, yet make up the bulk of the respondents in social science experiments.
Jonathan Haidt mentions it over here:
"So, the first article is called "The Weirdest People in the World," by Joe Henrich, Steve Heine and Ara Norenzayan, and it was published last month in BBS. And the authors begin by noting that psychology as a discipline is an outlier in being the most American of all the scientific fields. Seventy percent of all citations in major psych journals refer to articles published by Americans. In chemistry, by contrast, the figure is just 37 percent. This is a serious problem, because psychology varies across cultures, and chemistry doesn't."
As I embark on learning how, professionally, to talk to and work with people from other places it's cheering to know I don't know anything. Because if the real social sciences are biased towards Western intuitions then the pseudo-sciences of marketing are, planetarily, even more bogus than I'd always suspected.
By now you're bound to have seen the lovely iPad light-painting that Dentsu and BERG have done. It's typical of them - deeply rigorous and clever and with a completely new and original aesthetic. So I wanted to point out something that isn't being talked about yet - the way Beeker and a little cabal of colleagues are transforming how we all think of Dentsu.
The London office has always been an anonymous and functional outpost of an equally anonymous, slightly weird empire - not a place that's ever been on anyones radar. But, since Beeker's been there that sense is changing. And it's mostly changing because they keep doing interesting projects, little hybrid things with interesting collaborators, things that, just like the BERG piece, are somewhere between creativity and strategy.
None of it's too grand, they don't put all their eggs in one PR basket, there's not a lot of grand-standing philosophy, just a slow, subtle accretion of the thought - there are interesting things going on over there.
Went to the PSFK thing on Friday, which was very good, partly because of the chance to chat to lots of interesting people.
Mr Jones was very good, as ever, and reminded us of the brilliance of this bit of James Burke. I tried to read his Connections recently and struggled with it as a book. Maybe he was just born for TV. This is arguably the best bit ever. Something only TV could do.
Ben wants blogging like the good old days. So here's one of those where you just take pictures of what you've been doing.
So, this week - I started as a Head of Planning at Ogilvy. I was issued with two pens. No corner-cutting here, I can tell you.
I've explored some of the back-waters of Canary Wharf.
I've been to one of those meetings in a hotel where too much coffee is provided.
I had a meeting with Ben who told me about his new 'blogging like it's 2004' philosophy...
..and helped me think about my presentation for The Media Festival Arts (doesn't it seem like one of those words is in the wrong place?)
This is my view from the panel on stage.
And this is my view of being explained to by Dan over lunch.
And tomorrow brings an historic week to a close with attendance at PSFK's London do.
Brilliant. It's like twitter never happened.
That Henry Ford saying "If I'd asked customers what they wanted they'd have said a faster horse" has always bugged me. Someone used it again at dConstrust yesterday to illustrate the importance of your own vision blah blah blah. A good point, important, etc. But as Matt points out - it often goes hand-in-hand with a dismissive attitude to research, thinking/caring about your customers etc. More importantly, it also suggests someone who's not actually looking for ideas. Because even if your customers are 'wrong' about a particular issue they are often a fertile source of new thoughts.
Imagine what horses might be like now if science/industry had devoted as much attention to improving them as we've devoted to the internal combustion engine and industrial production. Horses would be INCREDIBLE. If the Ford company had devoted a little bit of resource to that question back in 19wheneveritwas they'd be very well placed to thrive in a differently-carboned world.