Thursday, June 28, 2012

Crowdsourcing Solutions for Reinventing Currency

Spark In 60 is a series of 60 second video interviews that capture the inspiration and experiences of NYC creatives. My good friend Sean aka Four Ones Media just launched the site full of videos he stitched together using an iPhone. The site was created by IDSA NYC.

Mine features an idea I was kicking around at the time I was in NYC (no, I'm not a New Yorker). I am intrigued by a crowdsourced solution by which everyone, in the action of possessing money, would be able to participate in creating a money system that would be more accessible to visually impaired people. It only has 1 rule. Clip the corners of your paper bills in correspondence with the unit of currency. Watch...

Beau Trincia from Spark in 60 by IDSA NYC on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Back From Hacking

It's been quite a while since my last post in January. Alas, several side projects have kept me preoccupied, most of them centered around social media as means of activating public space. More about that in the coming weeks!

In the mean time I want to share some the experiences I have had collaborating with some talented people at my office IDEO and the weekly Hack Night and at a recent hackathon, ArtHack SF sponsored by GAFFTA and The Creators Project. Exciting things to come from the increasingly intersecting worlds of the physical and the digital!

Hack Nights at IDEO from IDEO on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pop-Up City Part II

As a follow up to the Pop-Up City post that runs a bit further with the idea of a large scale development or city that capitalizes on the benefits we are seeing in pop-up retail, I thought I would share another realized version of this phenomenon. PopUp Hood gives local craft retailers access to highly visible retail space in an underappreciated part of downtown Oakland. It helps kickstart the careers of these small companies and it draws new opportunity and value to the neighborhood. Best of all, unlike a lot of the shipping container projects we've seen this one is taking advantage of existing commercial real estate stock.

This video is really well done. It depicts the entire process of how various forces came together to make this project happen.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pop Retail for Startups

Foodzie Tasting Room

My brother Nick and I, aka Nick & Beau, completed a pop-up retail space for the San Francisco online marketplace, Foodzie. It was a quick project to install a multi-modal public experience in the front of their SoMA startup studio. We took a 25' x 14' loading dock with a glass garage door and converted it into a tasting room/class room/product showcase utilizing branded furniture, lighting, shelving and graphic treatments that translate their online presence into a real life experience worth sharing with new and existing customers alike.

In most of our retail strategy and design experience recently, I find that the role of brick-and-mortar retail is to evolving to be one of inspiration and an opportunity to bring enthusiasts and new customers together face to face. Last week I co-wrote an article that goes into detail about some these shifts, which you can read here. The role of inspiring experience can really be quite complimentary to the efficiency and reach that are possible with an online channel and reinforce a lot of what people love about an online brand.

Retail is also becoming a constantly evolving participatory exchange between customers and the brands they love. Foodzie is always encouraging an engagement with their community and this space will be the epicenter of that exchange of stories and ideas that make the relationship with the brand more powerful over time. Events like classes, special guests and tasting sessions will keep people coming back to the store.

We also see retail as a place where brands learn by doing. It's a great format for prototyping a brand experience and refining it with your customers. The days of designing a top down brand experience and then pulling the cover off it are gone because customers are very suspicious of that type of branding and they want to get involved in brands they believe in. The Foodzie Tasting Room won't be a static space, it will evolve out in the open as the Foodzie community refines it. Emily and Rob embrace that spirit with the same do or die startup energy that has gotten them to where they are today. It will be interesting to come back and visit over and over again and see how it has changed.

Foodzie Tasting Room

Foodzie Tasting Room

Foodzie Tasting Room

Foodzie Tasting Room

Foodzie Tasting Room

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stop SOPA and PIPA

No dount you are aware of the blackout but I just want to make sure everyone sees this video. It tells the story of what's at stake with SOPA very clearly. Afterwards go to Google who has blacked out their logo today! Click on the logo and sign the petition!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Future of Retail

Dana Cho and I recently wrote an article about a few early indicators we have observed in our recent retail work which we believe are suggesting the future of where the industry is headed. It recently came out in the Rotman School of Management's Rotman Magazine and it just came out today! So I thought I'd share it here. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Guerilla Grafters: Hacking Our City Streets

I've made no secret of my belief that online behaviors are a major driver in how we are reclaiming ownership of our streets and public spaces in real life. So it was exciting to see in the San Francisco Examiner a group right here in San Francisco taking ownership of the trees along our many sidewalks by grafting thousands of fruit bearing branches into the otherwise ornamental trees.

The Guerilla Grafters are apparently engaging in illegal activity since this is considered vandalism. But the Grafters claim that each tree they graft has a caretaker who will assure that the fruit doesn't become a mess of sidewalk mush or an attractive meal for rats, two of the reasons that raise concern.

More and more, we are hacking into the existing "code" of our daily street life and the infrastructure that provides for it. This code is available and visible to all, and we continue to make modifications that question the value it provides and how it might be improved.

There are a lot of tactical urbanism projects these days that emulate a hacker mentality. Rats are probably the worst outcome that's likely to arise from the Guerilla Grafters' efforts, and that's far less invasive than stealing confidential information or someone's identity the way some hackers online have managed to do. But the behavior is still performing the same value to all of us. By questioning the status quo of a support system we all enjoy, in this case the shade, greenery, and, delight the Guerilla Grafters are making our city streets a better place. I for one am all for this type of manipulation of our public space. We should continue to question who owns these elements and how they can be improved for the benefit of the public.