The world as we rarely see it

Do you remember what you did next Wednesday?A letter to my emerging journalism students

Dear Lab journos

Something that may help you. The wording of the title: “Do you remember what you did next Wednesday?” appears wrong. We remember the past, but how can we remember something that has not happened, yet? Some cultures see a way of doing this.

In other cultures e.g. Western societies we might call this “determinism” or “futurism”. Otherwise as an attempt to do so, it would be “projection”, or even “visualisation” — imagining what will happen.

But first things first.

So far, we’ve spent time getting to know you and you, others in Week One.

Environments that induce creativity must be shaped by a sense of trust. You have to know you’re in a place where there’s no such thing as strange, embarrassing, or silly ideas. Having lots of ideas around a focused issue is the route to solving problems. Creativity fosters ideas. And we know we’re creative. You proved it pairing up three unrelated symbols with a theme in a matter of minutes and coming up with a new application for your invention.

Sharing ideas is a way of forming connections, where others see what you might have missed. That’s how the film industry works at its best. Startups too. TV journalism used to efficiently work that way. Technology has inadvertently suppressed that. Because we can hold a camera and edit, we rarely creatively share the idea with what was once with the camera operator, producer, and editor.

This chimes too with what I will say at the creative conference. Why does generally academia make us wait until we’ve graduated to become informed by the benefits of interdisciplinary approaches and behaviour, about how much too AI will disrupt. I digress

Another reason for being hesitant is in part down to our conditioning after kindergarten (pre school age) where we begin to feel conscious of what we say, less we might feel embarrassed. So, this is a safe zone. It isn’t a lecture room. We are an agency working to find and solve problems.

You heard from an amazing array of mentors, some of whom you would meet the next week, and a previous student. We mapped out the course structure. It’s likely you remember some of that but not all. Generally few people have a “memory palace” to retain all detail. I don’t and I’m part of the delivery team, so I’ll write things out in my notebook. Writing, research shows, aids memory. It’s also a record. Imagine if I hadn’t captured data delivering past courses, I could not share with you what others have done before.

If I can doodle my ideas as a mind map, it allows my brain to geographically, geo-spatially see something in its entirety before I organise it into coherent themes. When this happens, I’ll type and share, as I’m doing now. If you can write and share on-line, aware of the etiquette of safe-places or a phrase you’ll hear me say a few times over the course, “Chatham House Rule”, you can potentially bring others into your ecosystem and form larger connections. I’ve been a member of Chatham House for 25-years and still hold on dear to its rule.

In week one, you’ll recall my mention of the SACKED model and how it umbrellas, amongst others, Google’s approach to Design Sprints, which you can find here. We’ll be talking about SACKED, a lot — as its how we roll.

Week Two you met what will be your potential mentors, men and women entrepreneurs, whose experience resists being measured. Their life lessons alone are captivating; their associations and contacts to die for; their generosity and knowledge is immeasurable. They pitched. You pitched. You did yourselves proud and the mentors will have intuited early perceptions from you. We then, using a gaming approach, paired you up and in your team, you presented your “passion ideas”.

Passion ideas, are not like everyday garden variety ideas. They tend to be epic. You will have carried them with you for some time. And, they take time developing. If they were easy to solve, they would be done already. More ideas please, because our brains love “package switching” around different ideas, as opposed to one singular where you can place too much pressure on yourself. The workings of the brain tell us that as you scope these different ideas, you’re forming new Neuron networks. These networks are the thinking corridors to finding solutions.

In week two we mentioned how you might output these ideas. The first step is the creative treatment. It is a visually rich-on-the-eye presentation which ad agencies tend to use (see here ). This was the pitch of former cohorts towards one of their mentor’s companies.

Within your own creative treatment we’ll now guide you to build the seeds of your ambitious output: VR (which James spoke about), Data, Video, Cinema Journalism, web site and prep you for your presentation in week 6.

As Emerging journalists we need not stay in one lane, so we can combine anything and see where it leads us. That’s creativity. The text you read now emerged from the concept of bringing a wine press and metal alloys together to form the printing press. For Gutenberg, it didn’t happen overnight, but he pursued his dream.

With the SACKED model, we’ll come to many crossroads, but it’s the major one in week 4, where we’ll edit and see the delivery.

So where are we? We have ideas, using SACKED, we’ll look at how to shape them and the knowledge we require will be framed for you as a series of lightening talks or applied lectures, so for instance you have an overview of how VR works.

So what did we do next Wednesday? Yes that’s right! What did we do next Wednesday. Our expectations are guided by the module handbook on Learning Central. What do you need from analysing the systems? You can begin to Systems Analyse your idea by looking at the System. Who’s doing what? Post what you can somewhere and invite us to engage, to even give your potential mentors a heads up, and to push your creative thinking.

What happens when you bring emerging journalists, technologists and entrepreneurs together? You get you. I know this because as I showed at the presentation at USW this and you get to realise passion projects like this one I’m pursuing: Britain’s Talent from Diverse backgrounds .

See you Wednesday

SACKED — Systems Analyse. Get Creative. Uncover Knowledge. Edit, and edit. And then deliver.

Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.

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