We had a great kick-off event, featuring the ever inventive John Bielenberg. Special thanks to event sponsors Clampitt Paper and This Land Press. In case you couldn’t make it, here are a few of the highlights.
John is the founder of Project M. Project M is a place to drive positive change, challenge the status quo and to “think wrong”. So what is this thinking wrong? Thinking wrong allows you to open up your mind and come up with new solutions you otherwise wouldn’t have seen.
John outlined the process of thinking wrong in five steps.
1. Get Out. Get away from what you are used to. Project M takes young people to places unfamiliar and sets them free to think in new ways that aren’t in the current “file folders” in their head.
2. Conceive the Inconceivable. You can’t just mine thru your brain for ideas. You need to start somewhere fresh. At Project M workshops John has his crew of young people go around the first day and reveal their hidden talents. Ideas can come from something as simple as liking pie. PieLab, for instance, is a place for people of all kinds to come and sit at one table, chat, and eat pie. John says, “We infuse these projects with design and I think they are more successful because of that.” It is safe to say he’s right: PieLab’s design came in 2nd for a James Beard award for “Best Restaurant Design” in 2010.
3. Fail Faster. Authentic gestures, even if they fail, are better than nothing happening.
4. Build Stuff. Sometimes you just have to make stuff.
5. Make Little Bets. One of John’s students achieved this with NadaBike . This project started with just a few metal frames that sold out quickly and turned into a sustainable bamboo bike frame making cottage industry at BikeLab.
Besides Project M, John Bielenberg worked with Greg Galle to find a way of thinking wrong for corporations. This spawned their company Future. Currently, Future is working on a campaign with SodaStream to go up against the traditional soda corporations. “We are SodaStream and we are here to set the bubbles free.”
Most recent veture: What would happen if a brand could share value? COMMON.
We’ll leave you with a few memorable John quotes:
On leaving the traditional graphic design field, “Graphic design is like a jacket you try on and everyone says “it fits, it looks great”… but didn’t fit right.”
“I take what I like to do and apply it to what matters. ”
Speaking about what happens to young people when they experience thinking wrong, “Injecting these young people with a virus, like herpies, and it will come out in them later in life.”