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‘I’m convinced that Pinterest can teach me to build my dream house with nothing but foam wreaths, ladders, wine bottles and a glue gun.’

For some years now I have harbored a secret interest for decorating and designing homes in creative ways, without burning a big hole in the pocket. In fact, at one point I was thinking of starting a small business as an amateur interior designer catering to young people looking for spunky ideas within limited budgets. Although I never really got around to starting a business, I did manage to experiment with small projects at home, in Rotterdam, Hyderabad and Bombay. The last few months have completely changed my outlook towards DIY or Do-it-yourself decorating projects – all thanks to Ben Silbermann, who decided to found Pinterest! Pinterest has given me the inspiration and confidence to be ambitious with my experiments and implement cool design ideas. I might even think of using Pinterest as the basis for an off-beat interior design consultancy at some point.

After quitting work last month, I decided to make use of my free time and take up a few DIY projects for the new house we were moving into. Here are some of the results – 

Wine Corks in Glass Jars and Frames

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Upcycled Ladder Bookshelf

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Wine Bottle Lights – Yellow

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Wine Bottle Lights – Pink

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Life Size Wall Decal

Painted Wine Bottles

Crates Upcycled as a Bar

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Seth Godin, marketing guru, entrepreneur, author and change agent is in our neck of the woods this week. Word on the street is that he’s in India to make a film on marketing to low-income communities. On Wednesday, Godin spoke to a captivated audience at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad about the transformation of marketing and the art of leading a tribe to create change.

A decade ago, the image of an Indian farmer standing in the middle of a chaotic village market holding a shiny mobile phone was unimaginable; today, this is reality. These shifts and juxtapositions in our world are demanding a change in our role as doers and entrepreneurs and the nature of marketing. The marketing model of branding a cute mascot to death, interrupting people to push average products, and “spam-a-lot” is dying. It’s fast being replaced by marketers who give communities value, something to believe in, respect, and the dignity of choice. This transformation is the start of a second Industrial revolution.

“Tribal” leadership lies at the center of this revolution. Connecting a community or tribe of like-minded people and working with them to create change—like Jacqeline Novogratz has done with Acumen Fund or Anant Kumar has done at Life Spring Hospitals—is the new marketing. Trust, value and choice are the foundation of this movement.

Do you need to be a genius to invent a tribe or to find a tribe and lead it? Not really; not a genius like Einstein anyway! In fact, it all comes down to “Art.” Art is about doing work that matters, the act of creating human activity that changes people for the better. The factory model of interchangeable parts and replaceable people is being swapped for a focus on design, service and people. The opportunity is huge – the laptop is now the means of production and the internet has brought down the wall between products and the market. Replacing the fear of failure with curiosity and the courage to take on “emotional labor” (potentially tough challenges) are the two skills an agent of change needs today.

It is this tribal leadership and transformation of marketing, which will catalyze the movement of market inclusion at the base of the pyramid (BoP) in countries such as India. The end of poverty through market integration will come by supporting choice, not charity, and embracing dignity, not dependence.

Beyond Profit had the chance to sit down with Godin and find out more about his thoughts about marketing at the base of the pyramid (BoP):

Beyond Profit: What has the world overlooked when marketing to communities at the base of the pyramid, considering not a lot of multi-national companies (MNCs) have succeeded up until now?
Godin: So far we have treated people at the BoP the same as regular customers. It is only now that we are beginning to understand the different mindset and buying approach of customers at the BoP. The distinction between a need and a want is very clear to them. They will not just buy a product because it is INR5 (US$.09), they need to be extremely sure of the value it brings to their lifestyle. More than anything, they need to be given a choice to decide what product to buy.

Beyond Profit: Do you see conflicts with marketing products to the BoP that they don’t need or shouldn’t be spending their money on?
Godin: It is easy for marketers to trick people into buying a product, especially at the BoP where customers have maybe a year of buying experience whereas an urban middle income customer who has a lifetime of buying experience. In this age, marketers who give communities value, something to believe in, respect and the dignity of choice are the ones who will build successful organizations.

Beyond Profit: How is the role of technology evolving when marketing to the BoP?
Godin: The important factor is how technology is being used. The farmer with a mobile phone is a good example – he uses the mobile phone purely to connect for business and make a living, not to spend endless hours chatting with friends. Customers at the BoP will use technology to grow and attain success as long as it is affordable and available to them.

By Deepti Chadda for Beyond Profit

What happens when a Greek, Brazilian, American and Indian come together to work on a business idea? Apparently, nothing short of a miracle! Artoujours is an idea developed by four such minds, so alike yet so different. This paradox creates a spark of innovation.

The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind – A Whole New Mind (http://www.danpink.com/wnm.html). Left brain dominance is a thing of the past; right brain qualities of empathy, inventiveness, and expression create the landscape of our times.

How many young people today have the opportunity of free expression? How many women around the world could live a more secure and happy life by choosing art as a vocation? How many cultures are watching their art forms fade away into history? How many children have never held a paint brush or a musical instrument?

The need of whole new minds, some haunting questions and our passion for creativity gave way to Artoujours, art forever. Artoujours is a dynamic center of arts, where people have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of creative expression, through classes, experimentation, production, performance and connection with art forms and artists from around the world.

At Artoujours we are passionate about arts of all kinds, we believe in the power of art to transform lives, inspire creative thinking, cultivate expression and develop character. Art is for everyone, and artistic talent can be found in every human being.

Our way of making this real is through six approaches –
1. Art School for everyone
2. Art foundation running projects addressing specific social risk groups
3. Art Production connecting themes from across the world
4. Art gallery promoting artists
5. The Art shopping experience
6. Casual Arts where people can explore their creative side through different art forms over a cappuccino and applie pie

Annika, Mauricio, Sophie and I are working on feasibility studies in different parts of the world to see where we want to start up the first Artoujours. Mauricio already runs an art center in Santa Maria Brazil called Musiartes (http://www.musiartes.com.br/) which he will build further.
The feasibility study includes these elements:The legal framework of setting up an organization; overhead costs; competition; grants and Government policies; supporting network; market; local business culture; financial prospects; social inclusiveness; and the education system and arts.

Here is a brief presentation on Artoujours – If you have any ideas, feedback or contacts that can support us in starting up please write to us at artoujours@musiartes.com.br

Art is not just painting or playing the guitar or dancing. Art is a way of discovering who you are, what you want, expressing your feelings and thoughts, your life. Sophie said to me – toujours is a very strong word, it means forever. Art for us is forever, and everywhere in everyone. A person can create as he/she can destroy. Everyone connects with feelings, ideas, and thoughts to be able to share these with someone else, with the world – visualize, hear, express. And this happens in every corner of the world, throughout the years of human existence. Art is natural, nature is art. It is human evolution.

I find myself constantly thinking – Based on India’s reality, where and how can Artoujours be most relevant?

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