Important in and of itself, a craft education isn't just about creating beautiful objects. It has a vital role to play in wider industry, helps with problem-solving (as Matthew Crawford illustrated in his best-seller The Case for Working with Your Hands), and contributes to general cognitive development.
So we feel that providing a way of linking the talent around us within the local community with the experience and opportunities that both large and small companies can offer is extremely important. That's why we are supporting Connecting Tech City and why we think initiatives like these are vital if we are to nurture the skills base companies like ours will need to prosper and grow.
Despite superficially positive figures regarding unemployment coming out in the past few months, let's be clear, there is a massive employment crisis in the United Kingdom. We have unemployment at 6.8%, with a further 500,000 people in work being underemployed and a shocking 2% of the workforce on zero hours contracts with no certain earnings from week to week. This is not a stable situation for the nation, for working people or for the economy.
When people think about publishing, they tend to think about content, and assume that the technology challenges in publishing are about transferring the printed page to screen. For many consumer publishing businesses such as newspapers, magazines and trade books this is mostly true, but in science and education publishing the challenges are much greater as we are increasingly in the software business.
Beyond established hotspots such as the US and UK, there's a whole movement of other digital and creative hubs, from Nairobi to Recife and Jakarta to Cairo. Less obvious pools of ideas and talent: growing markets of youth consumers and the originators of new creative ideas, social innovation and cultural leadership.
Working environments have become more pressurised. With obtaining and retaining business now incredibly competitive, clients are becoming ever more demanding for their cash. However increased workloads in conjunction with reduced response times (further exacerbated since e-mail went mobile) means that employees are rarely given the necessary freedom to produce their best work. Overall, whilst the advertising industry naturally holds innovation and creativity as paramount importance, client pressures typically prevent such a culture from being entrenched into working life, and is instead an all too often an unfamiliar luxury. But what's being done and how can we all make room to be more creative?
When it comes to video production, advertising, marketing and branding there are certain tropes and ideas that tend to get banded around and eventually overused. Much like in the fashion industry when an idea can be so good and so attention grabbing that it will be lifted from obscurity and the alternative into the moronic ubiquity of the mainstream.
Technology has a lot levelled at its robotic feet. Well, scratch below the headlines and you'll find that a) you'd be hard-pressed to avoid technology given that pretty much anything man-made counts as tech and b) there are oodles and oodles of examples of apps, games, websites and hardware helping kids to channel and explore their creativity.
Pro-Fox Hunting, Pro-Censorship, Ex-Tory MP Louise Mensch featured heavily in the papers last week. Why was that? Has she solved world hunger? Slashed the deficit? Invented self-removing socks? Nope, she's come to the stunning realisation, in her blog, that not drinking is better for you than drinking a little bit.
The music video is alive and kicking. There are few art forms that can reach that many people that quickly, and while MTV may no longer be broadcasting wall-to-wall music videos, YouTube has taken its place. The combination of a good track combined with great visuals seems to resonate globally, and the great thing about YouTube is that it's totally democratic.
KitKat Australia have taken a very different approach recently, taken a break perhaps? [pause for laugh] They have produced an ad which looks like it belongs on the Staff Picks selection of Vimeo. Illustrator Mike Watt was drafted in to create artwork to celebrate the finale of the white chocolate incarnation of everyone's favourite four fingered treat.
All of this hype and the dynamic nature of the media industry means that it attracts thousands of creative minds each year. In fact, the UK's creative industries are a real success story; they employ around 1.5million people and according to the official stats, generate £70,000 every minute for the UK economy.
Is there any merit to this kind of shock viral advertising? This rather disturbingly titled viral - 'ça sent le sapin' (Smells Like Pine) was removed by Cuisinella themselves who branded it as 'Sick' - not before racking up a few hundred-thousand views and gaining the attention of viral ad fans everywhere though.