Thursday, December 27, 2012

Focus for 2013

Human Eye
Who's In There by Stuart Dootson
We are on the verge of a new year. The world changes at an increasingly faster rate. Do you have plans to change accordingly?

The beginning of a new year is traditionally a time for setting goals and making resolutions. The difficulty with defining specific goals and resolutions is getting the world to cooperate. I find it more helpful to define areas of focus. Focusing attention on areas for growth and improvement help me be better prepared for the challenges of the upcoming year and beyond.

Here are things that I intend to focus on in 2013:
  • Personalized Stationery -While the decline of offset printing continues, the demand for personalized items is growing rapidly. Beautiful printing on thick, deeply textured paper is a hot growth market.
  • Additive Manufacturing - I believe additive manufacturing has reached an inflection point where the growth rate is going to exceed almost everyone's expectations and have an unimaginable impact on the future of manufacturing, distribution and marketing.
  • Functional Inks - The deposition of conductive inks and other functional materials using aerosol jetting and similar technology is a very promising method for revolutionizing the manufacturing of electronic components.
  • Twentieth Century History - Think of how different the world was in 2000 compared to 1900. I want to understand more about the thought processes of the people who caused those changes.
  • Film Scores - I have appreciated the music of John Williams since Star Wars, but this year I want to get more familiar with the music of Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, John Barry and some of the other great composers who have contributed to the great films of the last 50 years.
Unless you have been doing nothing in 2012 or have discovered a way to add more hours to the day, your focus list is worthless without a matching not-to-do list.  The only way to make time for a new focus is to spend less time on something else. Are there fields where you have focused enough in the past that the law of diminishing returns has kicked in? There is always more to learn, but is the value of that knowledge worth the time to acquire it?

Time is our most valuable resource.  A little advanced planning can help make sure we use it in the most enjoyable and most productive way.

In what areas do you plan to focus in the upcoming year?


You might also be interested in:

Do Your Own Annual Review

Make a Not-To-Do List

3D Printing Crosses an Inflection Point



The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.




Thursday, December 20, 2012

In Vino Veritas

Beringer Vineyards founded 1876
Early this month, after attempting to divine the future of electronics manufacturing at a conference in the Silicon Valley, Terri and I decided to spend a day in the Napa valley. The Beringer Vinyards turned out to be ideal for enjoying the luxury of a far older technology.

Brothers Jacob and Frederick Beringer founded the vineyard in 1876, making it the oldest continuously operating vineyard in the United States. The tools of traditional wine making are preserved in the 19th century cellars.

Grape press at Beringer Vineyards
 
After the grape harvest, the grapes are pressed to squeeze the juice from the fruit.  The design of a grape press may have inspired the creation of the first printing press.

Fermentation barrels at Beringer Vineyards

 Sugars in the grapes convert to alcohol in these fermentation barrels. Today, the vineyard uses stainless steel fermentation vessels in a modern facility across the street.


Aging barrels in the cellar at Beringer Vineyards

Most red wines and some whites are aged in oak barrels. Over time, characteristics from the oak change the wine adding complexity in the flavor. For centuries, the aging took place in underground cellars to maintain a constant 58 degree temperature.

Dusty bottles in the cellar at Beringer Vineyards

The Beringer family's private wine collection is stored in these dusty bottles in the cellar.

Wine bottles lined up on a shelf in the gift shop

Before the wine bottles gather dust, they reflect and refract light in some very interesting ways.

The Rhine House at the Beringer Vineyards

The Rhine House is a beautiful 17 room mansion that was built by Frederick Beringer to recreate the family house on the Rhine River in Germany. Frederick and Jacob had emigrated from Germany in 1868.

Our day in the Napa valley was filled with wonderful sights and flavors.  Do you have a favorite valley?



You might also like:

Diverse Experience Drives Creativity

Brilliant Copy Writing

The Price of Canvas


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Changing the Odds

Ariel from Disney's Little Mermaid
Ariel wants to be where the people are!   © 1989 Walt Disney Studios
Many people believe that success is just a matter of luck. Some people just happen to be in the right place at the right time.

I believe there is validity in this point of view. It is good to be lucky. However, in a highly mobile society with compulsory education and an unlimited flow of information at our fingertips, all of us have tremendous opportunities to improve our probability of being in the right place at the right time and recognizing opportunity when it appears.

Knowledge and preparation are the first step in enhancing serendipity. It is important to spend time everyday learning and some of that time should focus on the following questions:
  • What industries and companies are going to be growing in the future? 
  • What skills are required to lead in one of those growing industry?  
  • What is your plan for acquiring those skills?

Ariel in Disney's Little Mermaid expressed the next step in these lyrics:

I wanna be where the people are
I wanna see, wanna see them dancin'!
I'm ready to know what the people know
Ask 'em my questions and get some answers

If you want to increase your chances for success, get out!  Get out of your office! Get out of your immediate circle of friends! Get out of your comfort zone!

Go find and meet the people who are creating the future.  Spend more time with customers, more time at trade shows, more time interacting with the thought leaders in your field.

What have you done lately to improve your odds of success?

You might also like: 

Do Your Own Annual Review

Circle Your Customers with Innovation

Collision of Ideas



The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.





Thursday, December 6, 2012

Closer to the Heart

Heart shaped stone at the Bay of Stoer
Heart shaped stone at the Bay of Stoer ©Ulrich Hartmann CCL


I have been listening to some classic Rush recordings recently and have found myself troubled by the opening line of the song Closer to the Heart. Overall, I like the sentiment expressed by the song and agree that each of us play a role in making the world a better place.


The phrase that bothers me is "And the men who hold high places, must be the ones who start." My concern is that the belief is naive and actually discourages action by ordinary people.

To me, "the men who hold high places" implies leadership in government. In a democratic society, those who get elected are those that embrace the beliefs of the majority of the population and offend the fewest members. This process makes it highly unlikely that any new initiative will begin at the top. Political leaders follow public opinion, they do not lead it.

Change begins at the bottom, usually with those neglected and reviled by the majority. Through hard work and time, justice is accepted by more and more people.  Eventually, support for change crosses a tipping point where those in governmental leadership positions are willing to risk lending their support.

If we wait for change to begin with government, we will never mold a new reality.  Change must begin with churches, businesses, non governmental agencies and individuals.

Change must begin with you and me!

I am not able to change the historic lyrics to classic rock songs, but if I could, I would rewrite the opening line of Closer to the Heart to:
And the ones who care most deeply
Must be the ones who start!
To mold a new reality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

The blacksmith and the artist
Reflect it in their art
They forge their creativity
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

Philosophers and ploughmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

You can be the captain
I will draw the chart
Sailing into destiny
Closer to the heart
   Rush
Rush Farewell to Kings

You might also like:

The Age of Creativity

Print Can Be Art

Looking Forward


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Impossible Movie

©
Life of Pi, Ang Lee's magical movie about a boy and a tiger trapped in a lifeboat together, surprised the pundits by topping $22 million in its first week. The movie features the most beautiful 3D cinematography that I have ever seen and a storyline that is as unusual as it is heart warming.

When director Ang Lee first read Yann Martell's novel ten years ago, he felt that making it into a movie would be "technically almost impossible" with the tools available at the time. However, he also "suspected that a new film language might open up the chances with this particular project."

3D Camera System from the Cameron | Pace Group
The Fusion 3D camera and workflow developed by James Cameron, Vince Pace and the Cameron | Pace Group along with advances in computer generated imagery made the impossible possible. "The 3D is an integrated part of the art form and I feel like the technology that we created has contributed to a masterpiece," Cameron explains.

The 3D imagery in Life of Pi rivals, perhaps exceeds, the beauty of Cameron's Avatar. Don't miss it!

What is your favorite 3D movie?

James Cameron and Vince Pace on Life of Pi

Life of Pi Official Trailer

You Might also like:

Disney's 3D Philosphy

3D Rocks

Hugo - Visually Stunning 3D


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Quotations sourced from:
http://www.denverpost.com/movies/ci_22005587/life-pis-ang-lee-talks-3d-casting-and
http://www.iamrogue.com/news/movie-news/item/7706-life-of-pi-featurettes.html

"suspected that a new film language might open up the chances with this particular project."

Read more: "Life of Pi's" Ang Lee talks 3D, casting, and adapting the impossible - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/movies/ci_22005587/life-pis-ang-lee-talks-3d-casting-and#ixzz2DGl40EmK
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse
"suspected that a new film language might open up the chances with this particular project."

Read more: "Life of Pi's" Ang Lee talks 3D, casting, and adapting the impossible - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/movies/ci_22005587/life-pis-ang-lee-talks-3d-casting-and#ixzz2DGkummkP
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse
"suspected that a new film language might open up the chances with this particular project."

Read more: "Life of Pi's" Ang Lee talks 3D, casting, and adapting the impossible - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/movies/ci_22005587/life-pis-ang-lee-talks-3d-casting-and#ixzz2DGkummkP
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse


Thursday, November 22, 2012

November in Columbia

Jesse Hall in the Fall
November 10th was a beautiful day in Columbia so I grabbed a camera and went for a walk around the MU campus and downtown.  Here are some images I captured.



















Memorial Union Surrounded by Color

Yellow Leaves and Red Bricks at MU's Lowry Hall
Looking Up!
Red and Green
Jesse Through the Columns
Enter and Learn
The Quadrangle and Columns at MU from Jesse Hall
Framed by Pines

You might also like:

Mizzou in 3D

Hartsburg, St. Augustine and Daytona in 3D

Camera Glasses


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

3D Printing Crosses an Inflection Point

A few days ago, a major inflection point occurred in the history of manufacturing and the progress of 3D printing. For the first time, a consumer company has started offering replacement parts for its products as 3D CAD drawings that can be printed on demand at a 3D service bureau or on a 3D printer at home.

Teenage Engineering, a Swedish company that produces electronic music synthesizers, has posted the models on Shapeways. Any customer can download the model for free or order the part to be manufactured on-demand by Shapeways.

The production of replacement parts on-demand with a 3D printer has been predicted by manufacturing experts for years including Scott Crumb, the CEO of Stratasys, one of the primary companies building 3D printing equipment. Now that it is beginning to happen, I expect the trend will accelerate and transform the way companies produce and stock parts.

3D printing creates parts by building them layer by layer based upon a 3D computer model. Each layer is added to the layer below until the part is completed. This additive process is completely different from the way most items are manufactured.  Traditional machining processes start with a block of material and remove material until the part desired is completed. The additive process can be much faster and easier for creating prototypes and small production runs.

The term 3D printing is seldom used by its practitioners.  The process was originally called "stereolithography" which is the name of the first method used to manufacture additively. As other types of technology were introduced, the term "rapid prototyping" became popular because that was the most common use for the machines. Currently, the preferred term is "additive manufacturing" because the method is used increasing for short run manufacturing and producing highly specialized products.

Whatever you choose to call it, the speed and costs of the additive process are continually improving and the technology will be highly disruptive to traditional manufacturing.  Teenage Engineering's new approach to parts support is one of many inflection points we will cross over the next decade.



You might also like:

To Think Different, Read Different

Freemiums are Frenemies of Creativity

Your Business Model is Broken


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Recreating Classic Black and White

Early Eastman Kodak Camera
It has been 120 years since the Eastman Kodak Company introduced the first consumer cameras and film. For the first half of that period, most consumer photography was limited to black and white. Classic black and white prints have a crisp, clear quality that is seldom matched by contemporary printing methods.

A classic black and white photographic print is produced by exposing an image on a sheet of paper coated with a light-sensitive silver halide emulsion. Where light reaches the silver halide crystals, they are converted to metallic silver. Chemical processing then develops the metallic silver into the dark areas of the print and washes the unconverted silver halide away.  The silver that remains in the image generates the crisp image that we expect in classic black and white prints.

In the 1960s, consumers began capturing images on color film and receiving color prints from their labs. While the color photographic process is also based upon exposure of silver halide into metallic silver, the final result is different. Color print processing activates color dyes that are coupled with the silver. Once the dyes are activated, the silver is washed completely out of the color print. Initially, the dyes in color prints were not very stable which is why color prints from the 1960s and 70s are often faded and off-color.

In the early years of color photography, consumer labs offered both color and black and white processing. During the 1990s however, black and white had become such a niche product that many consumer labs began printing black and white images using color materials. Now, instead of one layer of crisp metallic silver, the black and white image was reproduced using cyan, magenta and yellow dye. The black areas were seldom black.

I am excited about a new method for printing wall decor that recreates the crisp clear quality of a classic black and white print. The metal prints offered by Black River Imaging and other professional labs are made with black ink and the metallic background brings out the timeless character of black and white photography.
Black and White Metal Print from Black River Imaging

Would some of your images be more interesting in black and white?  Have you tried having them printed on metal?


You might also be interested in:

Five Trends in Professional Photography

Trends in Professional Portraits at Imaging USA

Hartsburg, St. Augustine and Daytona in 3D


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What's Your Pinball




If I told what it takes
to reach the highest high,
You'd laugh and say "nothings that simple."


 Pete Townsend





In 1969, more than a decade before Mihály Csíkszentmihályi's experiments on Flow, Pete Townsend and the Who explained the phenomena quite accurate in their rock opera Tommy. Frightened and abused into a catatonic state, the apparently "deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball." The enlightened state induced by the game sets Tommy free.

He stands like a statue,
Becomes part of the machine.
Feeling all the bumpers
Always playing clean.
He plays by intuition,
The digit counters fall.
That deaf dumb and blind kid,
Sure plays a mean pinball!

He ain't got no distractions
Can't hear those buzzers and bells.
Don't see no lights a flashing,
Plays by sense of smell.
Always gets a replay,
Never tilts at all.
That deaf dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball!


Whether you call it "flow", "in the zone", or "in the groove", all of us have been so absorbed with an activity that nothing else seems to matter. This feeling of total involvement, when ego falls away and time flies, brings a sense of elation unlike any other.

For Tommy, that sense of elation came from playing pinball. For others it might be playing golf, skiing, building a website, writing a blog post, quilting, playing the guitar or questing in Worlds of Warcraft.

To reach the flow state, there must be a balance between the challenge of the task and the skill of the individual. The skill level and challenge level must be matched and high.

When do you feel the joy of total concentration?  What's your Pinball?


I'm free
I'm free
And freedom tastes of reality
I'm free

I'm free
And I'm waiting for you to follow me



 You might also be interested in:

 Creating Happiness

Camera Glasses

You Are What you Tweet


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.




Thursday, October 25, 2012

To Challenge, Teach and Tailor.

Selling is one of the least understood activities, even by those doing it. The most commonly taught sales methods focus on building a strong relationship with customers and helping them find solutions to their problems. However, most decision makers feel this process is simply a waste of their time.

Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson have identified a more powerful way to build business in The Challenger Sale. The most effective salespeople are those who understand their client's business well enough to challenge decision makers with problems and opportunities they didn't even know they had. Sales people with the insight and communication skills to help their clients see things in a new way are valued and welcomed by those clients.

Communicating new insights requires the ability to teach and the ability to tailor the message to the interests of each individual. Most complex decisions impact people from many parts of an organization. People from finance, engineering and manufacturing will have different points of view and different concerns. The effective sales person addresses the needs of each person and tailors the message so that it resonates with each person.

While the focus of The Challenger Sale is on sales technique, I believe it has value to anyone who works with other people to get things done. The ability to identify and communicate new insight is valuable in any field.

Are you a challenger or a relationship builder?


You might also be interested in:

The Paradox of Excellence

Retweet or Retire

Ask Nice, Ask Twice


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Circle Your Customers with Innovation

Upward spiral
Upward Spiral by Gerriet
One key to successful innovation is creating products or services that customers want.  You do this by creating a circle of innovation that revolves around customers.

When a potential customer suggests a new idea, ask yourself and your team how you might implement the concept. In the process of solving a specific problem for a specific customer, you will develop new competencies and capabilities.

After you have delighted your initial customer, look for other customers who may be interested in your new capabilities. Use your new expertise to challenge those customers to implement your new product also.

By keeping your innovation circling around real customer needs, your capabilities and your customer list will spiral steadily upward.


You might also be interested in:

Innovation at Eric Scott

Collision of Ideas

Your Business Model is Broken


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

To Think Different, Read Different



Fans of Apple often identify with the company's original advertising campaign for the Mac which encouraged users to "Think Different". However, choosing a particular type of computer isn't really enough to change our way of thinking.  To think differently, we need to read differently.  We need to expose ourselves to people with an unusual point of view.

Here are 10 Twitter accounts that share original and curated content that will make you think:

@bakadesuyo - Eric Barker, at Barking Up The Wrong Tree, wants to understand why we do what we do and use the answers to be awesome at life.

@carr2n - David Carr is a reporter and columnist who covers pop culture at the New York Times.

@mistygirlph - Misty Belardo will teach you one little thing you can do, how small positive actions can help you improve the quality of your life.

@margaretwallace - Margaret Wallace is passionate about tech, media, gaming, gamification and pop culture.

@vincefavilla - Vince Favilla shares interesting psychology news, fun facts and other great stuff to educate, inspire and motivate.

@avantgame - Jane McGonigal makes and plays games. She also shares why games make us better and how they can change the world.

@harvardbiz - The latest Havard Business Review blog posts, management tips, daily stats and more.

@htollvr - Heidi Tolliver-Nigro is a print industry analyst specializing in digital, 1:1, and web-to-print technologies.

@nadraangerman - Nadra Angerman evangelizes 3D printing, 3D imaging, Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing.

@toughloveforx - Michael Josefowicz is a retired printer committed to improving education.


Who do you follow who encourages you to think?


You might also be interested in:

University on Four Wheels

Diverse Experience Drives Creativity

Gateway to the Artistic




The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wide and Wonderful

Panorama of the Flint Hills
Panorama of the Flint Hills Captured by Martha Dameron
Last week I was in a meeting with Elise Ellis, Black River Imaging's Social Media Guru and a professional photograher and iPhoneographer. I was admiring the thinness and lightness of her new iPhone 5 when she picked it up, slowly turned in a half circle, then showed us a panoramic image of our entire conference room. I was hooked. I was even happier when I realized that iOS 6 had added the panoramic capability to my iPhone 4S also.

Panoramic photography, a method that captures an image with an elongated field of view, dates back to the 1840s. The earliest patents describe a hand cranked device that could capture a 150° field of view on a Daguerreotype up to 24 inches long. After the invention of flexible film in 1888, a number of Panoramic cameras were introduced. Typically, these cameras used a lens which rotated around a curved film plane as the image was captured. The negatives from these cameras were typically larger than a standard 35mm frame, often 24 by 58mm.

Georgia Pass Panoramic
Georgia Pass by Martha Dameron

School photography companies, including Inter-State Studio and Publishing, used Panoramic film cameras to capture large groups through the end of the 20th century. As it became more difficult to maintain the older panoramic printing systems, we would cut the negatives in half, scan both halves and stitch them together digitally to be printed on our digital photographic printers. A few years ago, the improvements in the resolution of our professional digital cameras allowed us to retire the panoramic film cameras completely.

In 1996, a consortium of film manufacturers and photo processing companies greatly damaged the reputation of panoramic photography with the launch of the Advanced Photo System. Despite its name, the system was not very advanced and created a panoramic image by simply cropping the bottom and top from a normal format image. People quickly discovered that these had a narrower field of view than they expected and insufficient negative area to produce an acceptable enlargement.

Camp Hale Panoramic
Camp Hale by Martha Dameron

Fortunately, in 2010, Sony began adding a Sweep Panorama mode to their consumer cameras that allowed the user to capture high resolution panoramic images with a wide field of view by rotating the camera. These cameras capture multiple standard format frames and automatically stitch them into a single wide format panoramic image. The Sony system was used by photographer Martha Dameron to capture each of the panoramas included in this post.

The addition of panoramic capture to the iPhone is exciting because the iPhone is the camera many of us carry with us all of the time. Now we can preserve the memory of the scenes that unfold all around us everyday. These images make ideal content for Panoramic photo books and wide format wall decor.

Panoramic stretch of road
A stretch of road by Martha Dameron

Earlier this year, Elise's iPhoneography was featured in an exhibit of metal prints at the OTC Fine Arts Gallery in Springfield Missouri. Elise exhibits her iPhone images on metal because the "dye sublimation process fuses the image to a piece of metal, creating incredible visual depth and luminosity."  Since the metal prints can also be ordered in custom sizes to fit the aspect ratios of panoramic images, I will be surprised if her next showing doesn't include a few elongated prints.

If you would like to learn more about iPhoneography from Elise Ellis, she will be talking about the ins and outs of smart phone photography at the Gillioz Theater in Springfield Missouri on Saturday October 20th. The event is a benefit for the historic theater organized by the OTC Fine Arts Department.

Eclectic shop panoramic
An eclectic shop by Martha Dameron

You might also like:

Cellphone Array Camera

Photography in 3D

Sincerely Social




The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.









Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shave, Shower and Link In!

Razor and Brush Stand by Improbable Roach

Social media activity on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are an extremely effective way to build market awareness and sales leads. But they only work if you stay engaged every day.

Whichever social network you choose, reading and posting needs to become as much a part of your daily routine as showering or brushing your teeth.

If you skip showering for a week because you are too busy, you probably won't smell very good.  Haphazard social media marketing stinks too.



You might also be interested in:

Be Interesting and Interested on LinkedIn

The Blogosphere and Twitterverse

Your First Impression

Retweet or Retire



The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Survival of the Most Creative

Products from R and R Imaging. Creative and Thriving!

One of the perks of my job is showing new specialty substrates to printers and photo labs. In most cases, these products allow the printer to offer their customers a new and improved product. Some people immediately see an application for the paper, but I frequently hear "this is a beautiful product, but I don't see how we would use it."

While pondering this objection, I stumbled upon three interesting articles:


The first article presents the results of recent scientific research by Cornell, Penn and the University of North Carolina that supports the conclusion that people have a bias against creativity. The article observes that anything truly creative has to depart from the status quo and that departure makes people uncomfortable.  In my experience, that discomfort is sometimes a genuine fear of change.

The second article tracks trends in the printing industry that will lead to an industry dominated by a few large successful profit leaders and a large number of flailing small companies. The profit leaders will enjoy higher margins because they offer services that are more relevant to their customers.

Not only do the profit leaders operate more viable businesses they appear to be more relevant in the market and to their customers.  They display better adaptiveness in terms of their ability to change with the market and the environment.  They have built into their DNA an ability to endure hardships, perform at consistently high levels, and keep on going.
Wayne Lynn
While Lynn's article did not use the word "creative" to describe the successful profit leaders, I believe that appearing "more relevant" and displaying "better adaptiveness" requires creativity. The leaders of these organizations will need to be the first to see and understand new opportunities and have the courage to experiment with new products and processes.

The final article serves as an example of survival of the most creative. R and R Images is a major customer of Convertible Solutions and has historically embraced new technology, processes and products long before the rest of the printing industry. The fact that they need to add two Indigo 7600 presses to handle their growing volume is proof that innovation and creativity work.

Convertible's sister companies, Inter-State Studio and Publishing and Black River Imaging have also added several more HP Indigo 7500 and 7600 presses this year in preparation for an extremely busy photo gifting season. We work very hard to continually generate and explore creative ideas and launch new products.

How do you feel about the changes in the printing industry?  Do you feel that "Survival of the Most Creative" applies?

R and R Images in Phoenix, Arizona


You might also be interested in:

Your Creativity is Scary!

Your Business Model is Broken

The IDE3A Process

A Tale of Two Offsets


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Every Image Possible

Focus on the Face?
Or focus on the blade?

Look at any image captured by a traditional camera.  What you are seeing is a two dimensional representation of the scene captured from one angle. What if your camera could capture every possible image from the scene?  How would that change photography? At SIGGRAPH last month, Kurt Akeley, CTO of Lytro, explained how this happens in his company's light field camera system.

This image from Lytro shows the path of the light field.
The light field is a mathematical function that describes the amount of light faring in every direction through every point in space. Light travels in rays and the primary measurement of a ray of light is radiance. The Lytro camera captures radiance values in a scene in a way that allows the computation of the entire light field in front of the lens. This allows the user to adjust the point of focus and other image parameters after the image is captured.

This diagram from the Lytro web site shows the inside of the camera.
Lytro achieves the light field capture by using an 8x optical zoom lens to focus the scene on a micro-lens array adhered to a standard digital image sensor. The micro lenses allow each area of the sensor to capture the image from one view with a total capture of 11 million rays. From these rays, a two dimensional or three dimensional representation can be computed for any view and these can be recalculated based upon input from the viewer.

Lytro calls the images from their system "Living Pictures" because the viewer can adjust the point of focus on their own computer.  Their camera system was released in February of this year and the Living Picutres must be viewed in special Lytro software for your PC or Mac or in a special Lytro plugin on a website.

The ability to change the focal point of an image after it is captured has profound implications on the very definition of photography. Is the photographer the person who captures the image, or the person who determines the focus parameters after capture?

You might also be interested in:

Cellphone Array Camera

It's About Time

Photography in 3D


The images at the top were captured with a Lytro Light Field camera at Comicon 2012.  To see more images in this gallery visit https://pictures.lytro.com/echeng/stories/54291#.


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.




Thursday, September 6, 2012

Twitter Guilt

When I first discovered Twitter, I was in awe of the way I could learn from reading the articles curated by the people I chose to follow. After carefully selecting a group of people I could count on to post links to interesting and relevant material, I linked my Twitter feed to Flipboard on my iPad and conscientiously read every article.

It was not enough to passively absorb this information. I also retweeted favorite articles from my feed and Tweeted new links to articles I found though my RSS feed and Google Alerts. Not long after blogging about how to Tweet to Expertise last October, I discovered a problem with the process.  As I gained more followers and followed many back, my feed gradually grew too lengthy to follow closely.

Initially, I allocated more time to following Twitter, but that time also filled up. Eventually, I gave up and focused my reading on the blogs in my RSS feed. I continued to generate Tweets and respond to mentions, but otherwise ignored my Twitter feed.

Creating Tweets, but not reading anyone else's, gave me a strong case of Twitter Guilt. It seemed hypocritical.  Even though I often Tweeted content from the blogs I follow most, I never saw or retweeted any of my friend's posts. I also discovered that the variety of my reading had dropped because many of the people I follow are better at curating content than creating their own.

The best cure for a case of Twitter Guilt is a Twitter List!  I have created a short list of people that I will follow closely.  These friends and sages are the people that share information that is interesting to me.  I will add and subtract from the list from time to time, but I will keep the list short enough that I can actually follow it and read the links in the time I have available.

Who is on your favorite Twitter List?


The Creativity Paradox is sponsored in part by Convertible Solutions which supplies specialty paper substrates to digital printersdirect marketing companies and photo book fulfillment companies.