December 28, 2009

Starting 2010 designing our new house

It's always great to start a new year with a life-changing project.  In our case, 2010 will be the year we'll start building our dream urban house.  In the past months, I focused on selecting as many design references as possible, interviewed with a few architects (both some of the cool names here in São Paulo but also some of the up and coming young talents)  and discussed a lot about the brief with my wife Aline.  

In case you're also thinking of building a house one day, here are a few websites I've been reviewing that will probably get you inspired...

Dwell is one of my favorite magazines and their website has a nice section on houses with a slideshow feature.

The Cool Hunter is another great resource with projects from around the world...

Try also e-architect...

Tomorrow, we're going to our year-end retreat to an island close to Paraty, off the coast of Rio.  
All the best in 2010!

December 15, 2009

Inspiration from potato chips

My good friend Flavio Maria just sent me a link to a fun article from Fast Company on how Iraqi Architect Zaha Hadid's love for snacks may be inspiring her fantastic work.

As a fanatic potato chip marketer, I loved the article, which is also a great reminder how inspiration for great design can come from anywhere.

"The sandwich came with potato chips, and Hadid examined one, turning it in her fingers, which were long and tapered and ended in bright-red nails, before putting it into her mouth. The twisty geometry of an ordinary potato chip, to say nothing of the curves in modern cars and phones, is a reminder of how few buildings look as if they belonged in the digital world. Hadid is devoted to helping architecture catch up."

Making scents of aromas found in a glass of wine

Last Sunday, my wife and I were invited to a barbecue at a friend's apartment overlooking São Paulo.  After a succulent picanha (one of Brazil's classic prime cuts) and wonderful wine, our host brought out a mysterious box and said we were going to play a game.  The box, contained the key aromas found in the world of wines encapsulated in little bottles.  Each person had to smell the aroma and identify what it was.  

Cinnamon, smoked bacon, peppermint, caramel, lychee, lavender, musk....  the game went on.  It was a fabulous experience having to concentrate and access one's memory bank and what a good feeling when you got it right.  I was surprised that our 8 and almost 11-year-old daughters, got a few answers right.  I guess keeping my wife company in the kitchen and learning and experimenting with a few recipes is paying off.

For anyone involved in product innovation, making scents of the different aromas found in a glass of wine is a very fun and educational experience.

This is our host Carlos Campos during our wine game.

December 13, 2009

Learning new chords

Somewhere I read that you should try to learn something new every year. So, at the end of last year, I signed up for weekly golf lessons and every Wednesday night I've been taking electric guitar classes.  Both activities have been extremely rewarding.  Golf has helped me focus, strategize, learn how to read the field of play, recognize that little details make a huge difference and meet some interesting people along the way.  Guitar has been a wonderful way to engage with my daughters through the joy of music since they are also learning how to play.

I feel like trying something completely new helps rewire your mind in different ways. It challenges you to be open to new concepts, forces you to practice, experiment, fail and try again. In many ways, there's a direct correlation with the innovation process, from having the intellectual curiosity to explore new ideas that lead to the formulation of hypotheses, and the discipline of researching over and over again to find the right insight.  

As I start thinking of 2010, what new skills will I be adding to my life experience?

December 6, 2009

Learning from the Seda Co-Creation Project

Last week we invited Erik Galardi - Unilever Brazil's Marketing Director Haircare - to talk to our internal team on how he is carrying out a major brand transformation for Seda.  The presentation was absolutely awesome, one of the best marketing stories I heard recently.  Seda is Brazil`s leading shampoo but has been losing relevance to smaller high-end brands which led to the Seda Co-Creation Project.  They partnered with seven hair specialists from around the world to develop a new generation of products.  Another great case of collaboration, packaging design, content generation and experiential marketing.