Weeknotes #243

This week I did:


I’ve been working on a developing a process for coordinating a product roadmap and delivery plan with the operations of the teams running the training courses for young people. I haven’t quite got the strategy figured out yet but as it shapes up the biggest challenge is going to continue to be how change and adapt quickly to deliver a good enough product just in time for the course delivery.

We discussed the difference between an operating model which explains how things usually work and a support model that explains how to respond when things go wrong, so now we just need to build out those models and make them work in practice.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

I started collaborating with an old friend on writing a children’s book to answer the question, Why did the chicken cross the road? I hand-coded the website in a couple of hours (it loads in 68ms and gets 99 performance grade) and want to use it to try out ideas around ways of writing a book iteratively. The plan is to not have a plan, but to explore and figure where the project goes at each step. At the moment it’s meant to be a read-along story with an adult reading to the child and the child pressing the buttons (which is why the website needs to fast, to avoid frustration), but it might evolve into a story for older children, or into a game, or something we haven’t even imagined yet.

Digital creativity exam

I did my Digital Creativity exam, which finishes the module and means I only have one module and my dissertation left. I really enjoy studying, even though it takes lots of time I get a lot out of the pressure it applies.


This week’s Service Design course was about prototyping. We talked about rapid prototyping of digital services which involves building only enough to test your idea, and then going right back to make an improved version once you’ve gotten the feedback you need. Quite timely, I think, as it’s pretty much the approach we’re taking with Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road.

Upgraded my office

I bought a wireless keyboard which means I can have my laptop monitor up at eye height rather than looking down and getting neck and back ache. If I was still writing about being a Digital Nomad I think I’d use this to talk about how people adapt their surroundings to fit their needs and what that means when your immediate environment is more limiting and changes regularly.

I read:

Human-Centered Design Considered Harmful

Donald Norma from NN Group writes about how Human-Centred Design can be harmful when it causes designers to create for a single idealised user and so excluded others. I’ve been thinking (a little) about how the approach of designing for the extreme user and so including everyone else might work in practice. And when I say design I don’t mean ‘what a web page looks like’ (although that is part of it also), I mean how we design systems and structures and organisations to work for everyone.

Computers and Creativity

This wonderful essay by Molly Mielke, a product designer at Notion, asks the question, “How can we push digital creative tools to their full potential as co-creators, thus harnessing the full power of creative thought and computational actualization to enable human innovation?” This idea is interesting to me as I’ve been studying digital media and how it affects creativity.

Welcome to the Experience Economy

The experience economy is where commercial activities move to beyond commodities, products and services. Pine says that the difference between service and experience is how the customer regards their time. When they are accessing a service they want it to be convenient so they spend as little on it as possible. But when they engage in experiences the customer wants to make the most of their time, and will pay more for it. I wonder if the same thinking could be applied to how charities approach how services are delivered?

Speed as a habit

I believe in speed. For the advantage it offers in almost all situations, and for the tendency towards taking action and getting fast feedback that it brings. In this article is Dave Girouard talks about how, “All else being equal, the fastest company in any market will win“. Speed of decision-making is the main topic the article covers, including some of those anxieties we tell ourselves exist as reasons not to make decisions, things like dependencies, perfect knowledge, and understanding impact, all things that apply if the default decision is to not make a different decision anyhow, we just choose to ignore it.

Plodding and Bursting

Plodding and bursting are two different strategies for getting things done. Understanding these two modes will help you in two ways. First, you’ll be able to identify your own default mode, so you can better take advantage of it. And second, you’ll be able to understand others who prefer your non-dominant mode, so you can relate to them more effectively.


Does digital creativity differ from non-digital creativity?


In order to answer the question of whether digital creativity differs from non-digital creativity we will explore the definition of the creative act as that of bringing together previously unassociated ideas from within or across domains (Koestler, 1981) and whether creativity is domain-specific (Baer, 1998) in order to understand how creativity in a digital context differs from the traditional. 

In exploring how digital media utilises ‘the double logic of remediation’ (Bolter & Grusin, 2000) we see how new media oscillates between immediacy and hypermediacy as it hides and reveals itself, and how it is digital media’s interactivity and multiplicity that results in it surpassing traditional media to become experience for participants.

And to consider how digital technology affects the production and consumption of new media we briefly discuss the foundational technologies and ‘proto-affordances’ (McMullan, 2020) that make new digital media fundamentally different from other forms of media.

The combination of this understanding of creativity in the digital context, modes of production and consumption for new media, and the underpinning technologies lead us to conclude that digital creativity is indeed different from a popular perception of non-digital creativity; different in origin, in format, in production, and in experience.

Defining creativity

In attempting to define creativity, Koestler speaks of conscious and unconscious processes which enact through the three forms of creative activity which he defines and have a basic pattern in common (1981). Describing that all creative activity falls into one or another of three categories: artistic originality, scientific discovery, and comic inspiration, or, more frequently, into a combination of them, we can consider creativity as a context-specific activity, that is to say that the way in which one is creative whilst making a scientific discovery differs from making a work of art. And in describing creative activity as having common patterns Koestler says, “The creative act consists in combining previously unrelated structures in such a way that you get more out of the emergent whole than you have put in” (1981). These definitions help us understand creativity as having categorically-specific and common characteristics.

General or specific creativity

How general or specific is creativity? Is it the same process for artistic creativity as it is for scientific discovery? The domain-specific view of creativity says that content matters, that no one is creative across all domains, that an artist has specific skills in visual arts that allows them to be creative in producing artworks, but wouldn’t be able to be creative in all domains. These domains are broadly defined as cognitive domains, for example mathematical, musical, and visual (Baer,1998). This raises the question of whether traditional arts and digital arts are fundamentally cognitively visual and so within the same domain, and so sharing the same creative processes. Or do we consider digital art to be a different domain to the traditional arts, perhaps less visual and more technical in cognitive processing, in which case we may conclude that digital creativity is within a different domain to the visual creativity that produces the traditional arts.

The computational bisociation of ideas

Creative activity does not create something out of nothing. It is an activity that, “combines, reshuffles, and relates already existing but hitherto separate ideas, facts, frames of perception, associative contexts. This act of cross-fertilization – or self-fertilization within a single brain – seems to be the essence of creativity. I have proposed for it the term bisociation.” (Koestler, 1981). The more unfamiliar and unconnected the joined ideas are, the more creative and original they appear (Koestler, 1981), which poses questions about collective creativity in the digital age. In new media artwork is it only the artist that conceived of the idea for the artwork who is being creative, or in the case of artwork that requires input from multiple people, are they all being creative? And if creativity in the digital age is the process of bisociation, then can computers be creative?

In considering the complex challenge of computational creativity, Dubitzky and Kötter (2012) utilise Koestler’s concept of bisociation to present a framework. They highlight a number of issues that require resolution in order for computational creativity to become a reality. The interoperability of the knowledge bases to allow ideas from one domain to be intersected with another, recognising usefulness and applicability of the idea, and deciding whether a new idea meets the definition of being creative, that is being new, surprising and valuable (Boden, 1994).

This attempt to discover how computers might be creative provides some insight into the complexities of human creativity in the realm of digital technologies. It highlights how the bisociation of ideas to lead to creative insight requires far more than simply joining two previously unconnected ideas together, the resulting creativity must be useful and new. As such, we can say that digital creativity must not only meet the criteria of traditional creativity but has additional criteria based on the limits of the technology being used.

How new media differs from traditional

If the digital creative act can be said to be different to the traditional act of creating something new, then how different can the outputs of those creative acts be? How different is new media from traditional media?

From the development of spoken language, to written language and the formalisation of an alphabet, the printing press and electronic media, to the world wide web, all were built on top of the previous media (McLuhan, 1964). The new media often fails to acknowledge the previous media (Bolter & Gromala, 2005) but arguably could not exist without earlier those versions. McLuhan’s assertions that the “content of any medium is always another medium” and “the “message” of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs” (1964) helps us conceive of the ways in which new digital media differs from traditional media. It is not only the contents of the message of traditional media that become the message of new media, in the way that a story in a book is made into a film, it is also the traditional media itself that becomes the message of new media, such as characteristic notions of narrative and sequential story-telling that are taken from the medium of printed books and become raw materials of new media to be explored, critiqued, disrupted and challenged as the new medium evolves.

Means of comparing media

It is degrees of definition that separates hot and cool media. Hot media are high definition, that is containing lots of sensory data, whilst cool media are low-data, low-definition (McLuhan, 1964). Although McLuhan’s idea of hot and cold media may lack empirical basis (Douglas,1970) it provides a means by which we can compare one media with another. Cool media require higher involvement from the viewer, expecting them to fill in the gaps in their understanding whilst hot media is usually linear, sequential and logical requiring less of the viewer in order to understand the message. (McLuhan, 1964). Writing in the sixties, McLuhan did not have any examples of modern digital media to consider in his definitions but it is useful to consider both of McLuhan’s concepts, that of ‘the medium is the message’ and that of ‘hot and cool media’, together in order understand how new media builds on existing media and may change its nature in comparison to the existing media.

We can consider, as an example, the remediation of the moving image in how online videos took from cinema. Online videos on platforms such as YouTube maintain and reference many of the conventions established by earlier cinema including the rectangular format of the image and the synchronised image and sound. Remediating moving images changed video from hot media to cool, taking the immersive and single-sense experience that cinema provides and replacing it with a low-definition experience that asks of the viewer far more participation in order to gain any value from the experience. YouTube, as a cool media, provides viewers with the means to pause, skip, replay, choose another video; all mechanisms for increasing engagement that do not exist, and are not required, as part of the hot experience cinema provides. YouTube did not invent watching videos but it has accelerated and enlarged the scale (McLuhan, 1964) of the production and consumption of video, making cinema the message of its medium.

New media converges in the minds of the viewer

The idea of convergence offers a contrast with older notions of media spectatorship (Jenkins, 2006) and passive consumption, transforming those who experience the media into participants each at the centre of their own network of multiple media platforms. The experiencers of new media have no choice in this. Convergence occurs within the brains of every individual consumer (Jenkins, 2006) as they interact with media generated by each other and every kind of organisation. Social media, as a pervasive, widely used, and culturally relevant (Appel et al, 2020) means of propagating content in various forms to billions of people, offers an example of the difference convergence suggests occurs from consuming television. Social media offers a multitude of points-of-view leading to what Appel et al refer to as how “digitally enabled social interactivity is shaping culture itself” (2020) by removing the trusted authority of a single source of media. New media, utilising network effects and not presenting itself with singular coherent narrative as in traditional media forces different patterns of consumption.

How digital changed consumption of new media

Having critiqued the position that creativity differs depending on the cognitive domain and that technology creativity may exist within a different domain to the visual, we can consider the medium by which those creative outputs are engaged with to understand how digital media may differ from traditional media.

In traditional media such as painting, artists have adopted the mechanisms of perspective, natural light and shade and the removal of brush strokes from the painting in an attempt to achieve immediacy and cause the viewer to forget the presence of the medium (Bolter & Grusin, 2000). In expressing this cultural need to reflect our reality through the media we consume, media producers have adopted these mechanisms to allow the viewer to regard the medium as transparent. This transparency, whilst not intending to fool the viewer into believing that the medium they engage with is reality (Bolter & Grusin, 2000) has sought to express that reality in ways that enable interaction. Perhaps an artist’s expression of the reality and their emotional experience of the reality can be felt more deeply by a viewer where the interface does not seem to be a barrier.

Digital media requires and creates a different relationship with its viewer. It also intends to make itself disappear and so enable a direct “confrontation with the original” (Bolter & Gromala, 2005), but recognises that this can never be possible. Digital media is interactive and multiple in nature, which requires that it reveals the interface to the viewer. Hypermediacy is a reusing and refashioning of traditional and contemporary media to offer a more authentic experience (Bolter & Gromala, 2005). McLuhan’s point that the, “The business of art is no longer the communication of thoughts or feelings which are to be conceptually ordered, but a direct participation in an experience. The whole tendency of modern communication… is towards participation in a process, rather than apprehension of concepts.” (1951, p.73) expresses a recognition of the difference in intention between traditional and new media. Experience rather than expression is the aim of digital media. In participating, or converging as Jenkins would describe it (2006), the viewer becomes part of a digital artwork, fundamentally challenging conceptions of originality and creative ownership held as essential aspects of traditional art.

The oscillation of media

This oscillation between immediacy and hypermediacy, hiding the medium and revealing it, is what Bolter and Grusin refer to as the double logic of remediation (2000). It expects of the viewer a shifting between interacting with the media through a transparent interface and knowing that the interface is mediating that experience. Bolter and Gromala argue that “remediation is a defining characteristic of the new digital media” (2005) and as such guides us to consider how remediation takes place within a medium and between mediums, in often contradictory ways.

Stories, the mobile-device full-screen vertical video format introduced by Snapchat in 2012 and adopted by many other products, including Twitter, Spotify and LinkedIn since (Moriarty, 2017), is an example of the remediation of the portrait format from painting and an attempt by digital media to achieve immediacy by enabling viewers to use video in ways that are more natural to their use of the mobile device. Despite the initial barriers to adoption (Glove and Boots, 2012) vertical video has become mainstream and can be expected to shift towards hypermediacy, making viewers aware that their act of viewing is not reality. “If the ultimate purpose of media is indeed to transfer sense experiences from one person to another” (Bolter & Grusin, 2000), then vertical video will experience the oscillation of remediation as the technology that replaces it emerges with increased immediacy. 

New media attempts to surpass old media, to replace it with something that better meets the promise of immediacy (Bolter & Grusin, 2000). It attempts to create the belief that digital technologies have passed beyond mediation, that they have achieved such immediacy of experience that the interface no longer exists and the viewer is interacting directly with reality. In many respects new media is on a continuum with old media. All expressions of creativity are remediations of other mediums and digital expressions are no different (Bolter, & Gromala, 2005). But where new digital media deverges and differs is in its interactivity and multiplicity leading us to adopt a position that creativity expressed through digital media differs from creativity expressed in traditional media.

The foundational technologies of new media

McMullan goes even further, suggesting that digital media is not merely a continuation and remediation of older media but that it is based on different foundational technology and so is fundamentally different. This difference is explained through the concept of proto-affordances (McMullan, 2020) which define a technology’s relationship with a culture. The predominant foundational technology in play prior to the digital age was ‘electronic’ from which we see media that is instantaneous in nature and associated with technologies such as television. The proto-affordance of the foundational technologies of digital media is computability, that is, McMullan says, that all digital media has in common that it was produced by computer and as such is determinable by mathematical means. It could be considered counter-intuitive to speak of mathematics when discussing creativity but this only serves to further reinforce our earlier conclusion about the cognitive nature of digital creativity.

Artificial Intelligence has been used to create music since the 1990’s (Deahl, 2018). If any creative endeavour lends itself to being mathematically determinable, then music with its formalised language and relationships must be it. A wide range of methods have been successfully used in music composition including heuristics in evolutionary algorithms, neural networks, stochastic methods, generative models, agents, decision trees, declarative programming and grammatical representation (Lopez-Rincon, 2018) with results indistinguishable from that of human composers (Barbican, 2019). This remediation of music by software into data where production can be automated (Manovich, 2003) is indicative of the effect digital technology has and will continue to have on media production.

The most fundamental of digital technologies; the internet, has and stands to continue to have a profound effect on the remediation of traditional media. The internet combined with other modern technologies such as 3D printing and artificial intelligence has the potential to remediate all other mediums (McMullan, 2020) and generate entirely new, new media (Manovich, 2003). No other technology in the history of our culture has had that power.


Digital creativity differs from non-digital creativity. It differs in the nature of the creative act, in its definition of creativity, in its outputs as digital media, in how new media is experienced by its participants, and in the technology that underpins new media. 

Taking Koestler’s definition of the creative act as “combining previously unrelated structures in such a way that you get more out of the emergent whole than you have put in” (1981) and his notion of the bisociation of ideas across domains, we developed an understanding of creativity having common patterns and categorical specificites. Baer’s work on the domains of creativity (1998) builds on Koestler and provides insight into the creative act leading us to conclude that when digital creativity stems from a different cognitive domain to more traditional visual creativity then we can consider this a fundamental difference in the source and nature of the creativity, especially as it pertains to the production of new and digital media. 

McLuhan’s oft quoted, “the medium is the message” (1964) began our understanding of the difference between old media and new media, and how new media references what has been before but generates a change of scale or pace for that message. The nature of this change is particularly important for understanding how different digital media in the 21st century is from traditional media in previous centuries as the internet has enabled a speed of change that has been impossible in earlier decades. The ways in which we understand new media as different from old media continued with McLuhan’s definition of hot media as high definition whilst cool media requires more viewer participation (1964). Using this perspective we considered cinema as old media and online videos such as those on YouTube as cool media, showing that for the medium of online video the message of the moving image had undergone a change in scale and pace from how viewers experience cinema. Also, in appreciating the difference between new and old media we looked at the concept of convergence (Jenkins, 2006) which described how old media is consumed in a passive spectator mode whilst new digital media is more of an experience participated in by individual consumers at the centre of a network of media content. New digital media differs in these many aspects from traditional media.

Finally, in considering the effects that foundational digital technology (McMullan, 2020), artificial intelligence and the internet has on new media production we conclude, as McMullan (2020) and Manovich (2003) do, that new media is fundamentally different from traditional media. 

We can also put forward the opinion that digital creativity will continue to diverge from traditional creativity as technology becomes more embedded in more creative endeavours.


Appel, G., Grewal, L., Hadi, R. & Stephen, A.T. (2020). The future of social media in marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 48(1), pp.79-95.

Baer, John. (1998). The Case for Domain Specificity of Creativity. Creativity Research Journal. 11. 173-177.

Barbican Centre. (2019). 12 songs created by AI – How musicians are already embracing new technologies. artsandculture.google.com

Boden, M.A. (1994). Pr´ecis of the creative mind: Myths and mechanisms. Behavioural and Brain Sciences 17, 519–570.

Bolter, D.J. & Gromala, D. (2005). Windows and Mirrors, London: The MIT Press.

Bolter, D.J. & Grisin, R. (2000). Remediation: Understanding new media. The MIT Press.

Deahl, D. (2018). How AI-Generated music is changing the way hits are made – The Future of Music, episode 2. The Verge.

Douglas, G. H. (1970). The hot and cold media principle: Theory or Rhetoric? A Review of General Semantics , September 1970, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 339-344. Institute of General Semantics

Dubitzky, W. and Kötter, T. (2012). Towards Creative Information Exploration Based on Koestler’s Concept of Bisociation. In book: Bisociative Knowledge Discovery (pp.11 – 32.) Eds: Michael R. Berthold. Springer Verlag.

Jenkins, H. (2004). The cultural logic of media convergence. International journal of cultural studies. SAGE Publications. London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York University Press.

Koestler A. (1981) The Three Domains of Creativity. In: Dutton D., Krausz M. (eds) The Concept of Creativity in Science and Art. Martinus Nijhoff Philosophy Library, vol 6. Springer, Dordrecht.

Lopez-Rincon, O., Starostenko, O.,  and Martín, G. A. (2018). Algoritmic music composition based on artificial intelligence: A survey, 2018 International Conference on Electronics, Communications and Computers. (CONIELECOMP), Cholula, 2018, pp. 187-193.

Glove and Boots. (2012). Vertical Video Syndrome. YouTube.com. Retrieved 11/02/2021.

Manovich, L. (2003. New Media from Borges to HTML. Introduction to The New Media Reader, edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort, The MIT Press, 2003.

McLuhan, M. (1951) Letter to Harold Adam Innis, published in 1995, edited by Eric McLuhan and Frank Zingrone.

McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding Media. McGraw Hill Education.

McLuhan, M. (1969). Counterblast. New York NY Harcourt Brace and World, Inc.

McMullan, J. (2020). A new understanding of ‘New Media’: Online platforms as digital mediums. Convergence, 26(2), pp.287-301.

Moriarty, T. (2017). A Brief History of Vertical Video (So Far). Medium.com. Retrieved 11/02/2021.

Walker, E. (2020). 100 art-world Instagram accounts to follow right now — Artists. christies.com. Retrieved 14/01/2021.

Weeknotes #238

This week I did


It’s easy to leap to solutions without understanding what the problem is that you’re trying to solve. This week was busy with trying to get an understanding of what problems we’re actually trying to solve with the products we’re being asked to build quickly for projects with tight timelines. I heard someone say (on a podcast, I think) ‘make the right things to make things right’, and it stuck with me. I also talked quite a bit about us trialing products purely with the intention of learning. I feel like we have lots to learn, so the sooner we start the quicker we’ll figure out the things we need to in order to help young people get effective training online.

Does digital creativity differ from non-digital creativity?

I finished my assignment ‘Does digital creativity differ from non-digital creativity?’ Spoiler: It does. I’ve learned about lots of interesting things in this module, and for this essay, about digital media. I’d really like to have time to go back over some of the ideas and write blog posts about them but that’s going to have to wait until after my dissertation is finished.

I read:

Digital Scotland Service Standard

The service standard aims to make sure that services in Scotland are continually improving and that users are always the focus. I like the idea of service standards. Although they seem quite aspirational and a little immature at the moment with few real-life examples of how standards have been implemented effectively, they are a great way to help others understand what it means to be ‘digital’. I know it’s a very different thing, but the standard that explains how to manufacture a bolt is very specific about measurements, tolerances, etc., but maybe it that’s just my understanding of the word ‘standard’, which isn’t the point here. The point is that even though some of the standards in the Digital Scotland Service Standard feel a bit context specific, overall it’s brilliant.

Climate impact of digital

Don’t watch this video 😉

Our digital world

I feel Like, Swipe, Click, Repeat & Change by Peter Trainor and New Public – For Better Digital Public Spaces complement each other and should be read together. One is about the effects social media sites have on us and the other is a about creating better digital spaces.

Reading list

My notes contains lots other things I’ve read this week.

And thought about:

Measures of influence

I had a thought that maybe a measure of influence is how many times someone has to say something for people to take notice of it. I could repeat the same message time and time again and no one would take any notice, because I have low influence. Seth Godin says something once and thousands of people listen to it, because he has high influence. On a smaller scale, it might be an interesting way to measure your influence at work.

Play jazz

After some conversations with Jonathan Holden on Twitter, I’ve been thinking a bit about how our use of militaristic (and so masculine) language relates to our mental models about work and groups of people organised to achieve common goals. Do creative/artistic endeavors offer a better way to think about it? Musicians can play alone, in perfectly in-sync large orchestras, and improvising in jazz bands.

Affordances and proto-affordances

I’m intrigued by the idea of affordances. An affordance is an object’s sensory characteristics which imply its functionality and use. The idea allows designers to “design for usefulness by creating affordances (the possibilities for action in the design) that match the goals of the user“. It seems like the missing gap between what a product is intended to achieve for a user and the design of the user interface.

Some people tweeted:

Positioning product management

Scott Colfer tweeted, “What do product managers like? No, not Venn diagrams. Quadrants! This one shows the range of what product management can look like (in my experience). Helps me when someone asks ‘how do I become a PM?” It’s a really useful way to think about how product managers move around in there role on the axis between tactical and strategic, and between generalist and specialist. So at the daily stand-up a PM might be a tactical generalist talking about UX decisions for a web page and later that day might be acting as a strategic specialist on the digital safeguarding.

Tweet-Syllabus: Prioritization 101 ⏱

Nick deWilde tweeted, “The most successful people I’ve met aren’t the ones who work the hardest. They are the ones who prioritize the right things to work on. These 7 concepts & resources will help you decide what to prioritize in your work and life” I found this interesting because I’ve been thinking about what we really mean when we casually talk about prioritisation for a few weeks. I’m not convinced by some of the tweets, for example that value is only measured by money, but the one about how every system has constraints and that when projects put pressure on a constraint it causes chaos is interesting. Considering bottlenecks in that way helps us think about the knock-on effects rather than just that one constraint in isolation.

Remote work research

Eat Sleep Work Repeat tweeted, “A lot of people saw that viral thread about remote work last week, chock full of unattributed opinion claiming that the office ‘was over’. Let’s try and use some evidence… what does published research tell us about what’s going to happen to our workplaces?” It’s interesting how the pendulum of remote working has swung between ‘the end of the office’ and ‘get back to normal’ and is finding the middle position between home and office. It’s also interesting how much of the discussion about the future of work centres around the location of people. Is that really the most important aspect about effective working, or is it just because its the most obvious and easiest thing to talk about it?

Weeknotes #233

This week I did:


Team scoped an MVP aligned with organisational objectives and funding obligations, confirmed technical feasibility, designed wireframes and got stakeholder approval in two weeks. Absolutely awesome people! Next we move into deep levels of definition and get set up for development.

Lessons from managing products in charities

I had an idea about creating a ten-part automated email campaign based on some of the things I’ve learned from developing products in charities. I don’t know why they couldn’t just be blog posts other than because I like experimenting with different media. I started making notes and figuring out the structure the emails would have. I don’t know how I’m going to get the time to finish them but I guess there’s no rush.

Digital creativity and new media

Although I didn’t attend the lecture (work call. Priorities, you know) I already think it’s a really interesting topic. I’m going to cathc up on the lecture, get into the reading and start thinking about the assignment ‘Does digital creativity differ from non-digital creativity? Develop a critical argument and illustrate with examples’.

It also turns out that the lecturer for this module is my dissertation supervisor so I’d better be on my best behaviour.

I read/watched:

Not-for-profit vs For-impact

I watched Simon Sinek’s video ‘Stop Calling Yourself a Not-for-Profit‘. He suggests using the term ‘For-impact’ to describe the kinds of organisation that refer to themselves as not-for-profit to focus on what they do rather than what they don’t do. It’s a fair point, if not particularly original.

Hwang and Powell said, “In recent decades, the nonprofit sector has evolved from informal activities of charitable do-gooders to highly formalized endeavors by enterprising individuals. In such areas as health care, higher education, social services, and the arts, nonprofits are major service providers.”. In this sense “Nonprofit” is professional term used to convey credibility and influence society, almost a badge of honour and a moral stance. ‘For-impact’ might seem more appropriate from Sinek’s ‘start with why’ point of view but in fact the sector is more complex than can be understood by a single axis or characteristic of not aiming to make a profit.

Morris talks about how “Institutions which are neither statutory, nor profit maximising, have been collectively and variously called the voluntary, third, non-profit, or more recently, civil society, sector.” and looks at the definition of the sector from a range of perspectives including the types of goods and services the sector provides and “the positive externalities that they create for society”.

Pallotta suggest calling it the Humanity Sector. His arguments against the other terms aside, he says, “What brings us to this work is our humanity. And what makes the work happen is the generosity of countless people from all socioeconomic levels, who make donations out of their humanity. Moreover, it is for humanity that all of this effort is undertaken. To call it by another name is at best to miss the point, and at worst to betray it.”

Clearly the reason no one can agree on what to call the sector is that no one can agree on what axis to analyse organisations in the sector.

Last Year in the Creator Economy

“Collectively, Gumroad creators earned $142 million in 2020, up 94% from 2019. This post discusses the forces that shaped Gumroad’s role in the creator economy in 2020 and will direct it going forward, as well as what you can do, today, to become a bigger part of it yourself.” This is so much more useful than obscure tweets that attempt to present themselves as insight.

Digital economy report 2019

“The digital revolution has transformed our lives and societies with unprecedented speed and scale, delivering immense opportunities as well as daunting challenges. New technologies can make significant contributions to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals, but we cannot take positive outcomes for granted. We must urgently improve international cooperation if we are to achieve the full social and economic potential of digital technology, while avoiding unintended consequences.”

And thought about:

Leaning into difficulty

There are always lots of problems to solve, lots of difficulties to face. Picking which ones to focus on isn’t easy, but once we know which difficulties we want to tackle leaning into them, getting serious about them is the only way to affect them. Heads in sand doesn’t help.

Communication over coordination

Work needs coordination too, but it needs more and better communication more.

Right or wrong

Everyone is doing what they think is right, it’s just that we all think different things are right. It’s easy to think that some people are right and some are wrong, and usually that those who agree with us that are the ones who are right.

People tweeted:

People like me

Ethan Mollick tweeted “Homophily is the principle that we like people who are like ourselves, and it is a powerful force in explaining how society is structured. This paper shows it goes deeper than skin: You are more likely to be friends with people who literally think like you”. If, as the paper suggests, we are more likely to be friends with people who perceive and respond to the world in ways similar to us (which makes intuitive sense) then how do we get diversity and the benefits that come with it? Maybe work is the answer.

The shape of a product manager

Ravi Mehta tweeted, “Most PMs, even peak PMs, excel at only a handful of these competencies. The difference between the average PM and the peak PM is an understanding of gaps and the ability to unite a team that fills those gaps.”

Rules to live by

Jon Yates tweeted, “After 40 years, I’ve begged and borrowed a few “rules to live by”. Often mess them up! but here they are … What are yours?” The latest rule I’ve been thinking about is ‘Don’t shop hungry’, by which I mean don’t make decisions based the immediate situation you are in. Always try to step back, think about what you are trying to achieve and whether this will help you do it.

Convergence culture in the creative industries

Convergence culture in the creative industries

This article maps the emerging practices in media
professions like journalism, advertising, marketing communications and public
relations in adapting to a new global environment, characterized by an
increasingly participatory media culture. Among creatives and brand managers
in ad agencies ‘interactive advertising’ is at the center of the contemporary buzz.
Marketers in the cultural industries brainstorm about the potential of upstream
marketing, while in public relations the opportunities of two-way symmetrical
communication are explored. Editors of news publications increasingly jump on
the ‘citizen journalism’ bandwagon. All these trends are part of the same
phenomenon: a convergence of the cultures of media production and
consumption. In this essay, these developments are discussed in terms of their
potential impact on consensual assumptions about the nature of media work,
seen through the lens of the combination of individual creativity and mass
production, also known as creative industries.


Media convergence

Media convergence

This informative resource is key reading for media studies students, researchers, and anyone with an interest in media industries, policy and regulation.


Welcome to Convergence Culture

Welcome to Convergence Culture

Reduced to its most core elements, this book is about the relationship between three concepts – media convergence, participatory culture, and collective intelligence….