Posts tagged “atlanta”

Out and About: Tamara in Atlanta

While attending and presenting at the CPSI conference last week I managed to find a few moments to get outside of the hotel and take in some of the sights, sounds and flavors of Atlanta. The conference was dedicated to creative thinking and innovation so perhaps it’s no coincidence that I kept running into examples of my favorite creativity catalyzing tool: forced connections (also referred to as combinatorial creativity). Essentially, it’s the mashing up of seemingly different things to create something new.

Take this sign, a great forced connection between Italian and Southern hospitality. In my opinion this is considerably more successful than the Collard Kimchi dish I ate the night before. Curiosity got the best of me, I had to try it. And I was pretty sorry that I did.

What happens when you cross a cotton mill with a condo? No, that’s not a joke. It’s actually an amazing example of urban revitalization with a factory that had ceased serving its purpose. My hats off to the developers – they maintained architectural authenticity leaving many elements intact (as seen in the background of this image), and honored the rich history of this place through its rebirth as a hip place for urban dwelling denizens.

I came across this little poem in the window of a coffeeshop. All of the windows had clever sayings printed n them. Rhymes are fun examples of forced connections. I also like the play here between transparency (i.e. looking through a window) and translation (i.e. looking at words for meaning).

 

The sign here reads: Sister Louisa’s CHURCH Of The Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium, Come On In Precious!! Below the arrow on the left it states (it’s a bar). So, yes, it’s a forced connection between bar and church with some ping pong and living room thrown in for good measure. Other signs on the building simply read CHURCH and (it’s a bar). It’s funny to see that, clever as the name is, it still requires qualification that this establishment is, in fact, a bar.

 

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Chinese Comedian Gets Laughs in U.S., But Puzzles People in China [WSJ.com] – Chinese-American comedian Joe Wong draws from his experiences as an immigrant to get the crowds laughing. China Central Television, the biggest TV network in the country, deemed his success in the U.S. curious enough that it dedicated a special program to him in December. The peg: He's the Chinese scientist who makes Americans laugh. While CCTV declared that Mr. Wong's success proves "humor has no boundaries," it concluded the program without showing any of his jokes. Mr. Wong's first live gig in Beijing, in late 2008, was "not successful," he says. In America, he says, it's funny to poke fun at yourself. But in China, there's no humor in misfortune. Back home, Mr. Wong's dad is among those puzzled by his success. Huang Longji, who lives in an industrial city near China's border with North Korea, says he is proud of his son, but a career in comedy isn't what the retired engineer expected for his son. "It's just like a black hen lays a white egg," he said.
  • Atlanta transit system MARTA changes “yellow” line to “gold” [Gold Dome Live] – Moving to tamp a controversy that has reached the national news, MARTA CEO said in February that the transit agency would change the name of its “yellow” train line, which goes to Doraville, home to a large Asian-American community. She said MARTA had never intended to offend anyone with the re-naming, which went into effect Oct. 1, along with other color names for the rest of the system, and that it was making the change out of “an abundance of caring for this community.” A MARTA employee who dealt with diversity issues warned the agency a month before the change that it could offend some in the Asian-American community.

Where I’ll Be Speaking

I’ll be teaching a one-day class on Design Research Methods on March 1, in Sunnyvale, CA. There’s a couple of spots still available, so if you want to contribute to a sell-out, it’s not too late!

You can see a longer version of my talk about improv and ethnography at the IDSA Southern Conference in Savannah, GA, March 6-8. See a previous talk here.

I’ll also be in Atlanta, en route to Savannah, and would love to meet up with people in that area to chat about the work we do and look for ways we might help you.

I’ll be giving a presentation called The Listener’s Journey at the Computer Market Analysis Group meeting at Intuit in Mountain View, CA, on March 13-14.

I will talk about international market research at the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association Morning Forum on March 18, in Burlingame, CA.

I will be giving a workshop on best practices in analysis and synthesis at the Second Annual eBay Visits Event on March 21, in San Jose, CA.

I will be giving a talk and hosting a workshop at a design research symposium at the College of Design at Arizona State University, April 11-13 in Tempe, AZ. I’ll be spending a day in Phoenix beforehand and would love to meet with people there explore ways we might be able to help your business.

Let me know if you’ll be at any of these events!

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