Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’

03 AUGUST, 2010

OpenIDEO: Collaborative Design for Social Good


A global drawing board, or what your DQ has to do with making the world a better place.

We’re big fans of design thinking pioneer IDEO here at Brain Pickings. We’re also fans of cross-disciplinary collaboration, so we’re thrilled to see IDEO’s latest venture, OpenIDEO — a highly collaborative, visually-driven open online tool for building an actionable creative process aimed at design for social good.

OpenIDEO is a global community that will draw on your optimism, inspiration, ideas and opinions to solve problems together for the collective social good.

OpenIDEO invites people to tackle big issues by sharing expertise and insight — be that in the form of creative sketches, business acumen, inspirational photos and images, or snippets of code — essentially building a patchwork of collective intelligence about the pressing problem being addressed. The community provides feedback every step of the way, and IDEO offers guidance by framing the challenge, prototyping and kindling the conversation.

One particularly interesting concept is the introduction of a metric for creative contribution. Dubbed your ‘Design Quotient,’ or DQ, it reflects your participation in the three development phases of problem-solving — inspiration, conception and evaluation — as well as the common thread of collaboration that binds all three, helping you you better understand where your unique strengths lie across these different domains.

Barely a week old, OpenIDEO is already working with TED Prize winner Jamie Oliver, harnessing the problem-solving power of the community to help him ignite the Food Revolution he envisioned. Another challenge is sponsored by Enterprising Schools, aiming to increase the access to low-cost learning tools for affordable private schools in India and, eventually, around the world. Upcoming challenges will feature projects backed by Sony and WWF.

While a number of idea-generation crowdsourcing platforms have emerged over the past couple of years, what makes OpenIDEO intriguing is that it adds an element of expert guidance, essentially combining two of the most powerful forces of creativity — collective intelligence and curatorial vision. We can’t wait to see what it blossoms into.

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30 JULY, 2010

13 Most Beautiful: Songs For Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests


From Nico to Sonic Boom, or what black-and-white silent film has to do with pop art.

In 2008, the Andy Warhol Museum commissioned ex-Luna band members Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, now performing as Dean & Britta, to write and record 13 original scores and classic covers for Warhol’s little-known silent films, black-and-white portraits of cultural icons like Nico, Lou Reed, Edie Sedgwick, Ann Buchannan, Freddy Herko and Dennis Hopper, shot between 1964 and 1966. Dean & Britta promptly complied and, for the next 18 months, toured the world, performing the pieces in more than 50 venues, from New York’s Lincoln Center to the Sydney Opera House to a 15th-century cathedral in Paris.

This week, Dean & Britta are finally releasing their masterpieces as a two-disc record. 13 Most Beautiful: Songs For Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests is a deluge of rich guitar strums and dreamsome, melodic honey-vocals, with a kick of head-bobbing beats in just the right places. The album also features a handful of priceless covers, including The Velvet Underground’s Not a Young Man Anymore, and instant-classic remixes by Sonic Boom, Scott Hardkiss and My Robot Friend.

And while the music itself is already an absolute treat, the ultimate cherry on top is the accompanying limited-edition DVD, where you can ogle Warhol’s original screen tests — a haunting record of a cultural era that shaped modernity.

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28 JULY, 2010

The Geometry of Pasta: A Minimalist Design Cookbook


Canestrini, canestri and what design minimalism has to do with the perfect sauce.

When you think pasta, you don’t immediately think design. But a new book out today, The Geometry of Pasta, is out to once and for all confirm every chef’s conviction: That food is art.

The unusual volume pairs London chef extraordinaire Jacob Kenedy with award-winning British graphic designer Caz Hildebrand, exploring the science, history and philosophy of Italy’s most iconic pasta dishes through more than 100 authentic recipes accompanied by stunning, artful black-and-white designs. And any book that comes with a trailer, a minimalist motion typography one at that, is a winner in our book.

In addition to the delicious aesthetic treat, The Geometry of Pasta promises to help you develop an intuitive skill for matching pasta and sauce to maximize taste and texture, a skill the authors — and pretty much all Italians — firmly believe is linked to the ability to choose the right shape of pasta for the sauce.

For a taste of the contents, sample some drool-inducing recipes and ogle some stylish pasta shapes on the book’s website. Then, grab yourself a copy of this wonderful intersection of the arts diguised as a cookbook and amp your kitchen’s hip factor definitively.

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26 JULY, 2010

Peace Through Music: The Voice Project


Participatory peace, or how cover chains are unshackling an imprisoned community.

A few months ago, we helped nonprofit Invisible Children fight the child soldier epidemic in Uganda — a country plagued by a tragic number of social ills fueled by a decade-long war — through music. Now, another music-driven effort is aiming to empower another one of the country’s severely victimized populations — the many women who live as widows, rape survivors and former abductees.

The Voice Project is an effort to support these brave women, who have come together in groups around the country, singing songs of hope and regeneration. The lyrics of these songs let their sons, former child soldiers, know that they have been forgiven and can now come home. Circulated via radio and word of mouth, these songs are actually working, bringing young men back home and giving a war-torn country a chance at peace for the first time in 24 years.

Inspired by these women’s songs, The Voice Project is bringing well-known artists together into “cover chains,” each covering the music of another. The videos are posted online and all proceeds from donations and sponsorships go towards peace programs and rebuilding efforts in Uganda.

Part Invisible Children, part Record Club, part Levi’s Pioneer Sessions, The Voice Project is a music-lover’s mecca. From indie dreams-come-true like Brett Dennen covering Citizen Cope to iconic intersections like Peter Gabriel covering Tom Waits to unlikely yet priceless pairings like The Submarines covering The Beatles, the effort uses the universal power of music to amplify a critical humanitarian message, allowing artists — and, in turn, their fans — to become a part of a cause best fought for by relinquishing the notion of “the other” and harnessing the power of community, a global community, in reconstructing the broken identity of a nation.

For a taste of The Voice Project‘s brilliance, grab a free download of Home by one of our favorite bands, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, featuring the Gulu Women’s Choir.


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