From the Editor: Turning down the filter

Posted: May 8, 2013 by
Linda Casey

I love technology and the way it makes life more efficient. Every day, I search and filter my digital world from notes to emails.

Technology might be helping streamline our lives, by enabling us to focus our energies at a time when we are all doing more in less time. But a recent conversation with Michelle Greenwald, a marketing professor at New York University Stern School of Business and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, has me taking the contrarian argument against too much focus. During my conversation with Greenwald, she shared one of her favorite Thomas A. Edison quotes: “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”

Greenwald and I agree that more “junk” in anyone’s lives might be taking the concept a bit far. (My teenage niece would disagree with us, as she has argued that watching reality shows on MTV is research on branding and POP culture.)

Greenwald has created a set of international tours, where the executives from all types of verticals tour the workplaces of world-renowned innovators. “I’m very into the notion of cross-pollination of ideas, how you can borrow from one industry to another,” she explains.

On her upcoming tour to Barcelona, Greenwald will be taking executives to Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli restaurant, with the hope that the haute cuisine chef’s deconstructionist techniques will inspire participants to rethink assumptions in their businesses. Greenwald’s group will also have a chance to hear Adrià speak.

Stateside, events such as the Fuse conference enables sharing between creatives from industries as diverse as chemicals, education, energy, entertainment, financial services, gaming, health insurance, personal care, health care, school supplies, transportation, travel and hospitality. This year’s Fuse offered inspiration from fashion writers to CPGs and their agencies, and I found one theme reappearing throughout sessions no matter what their vertical. Read what inspired this year’s speakers.