Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Farewell Being Unchained

Farewell Being Unchained.

Hello Feeling the Fear and Dictionary of Specific Generalities.

We've been running this blog for about a year. And now that Unchained is up and running with a life force all of its own we've decided to wind it down.

If you're still interested in news about Unchained Dave and I will share all the ups, downs, ins and outs on our own blogs Feeling the Fear and Dictionary of Specific Generalities.

Thank you all for following and subscribing, it's been a great year.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

I've seen the future baby

Yesterday was conference and lecture central.

The great Greengaged came to a close yesterday afternoon and from there we wasted no time at all in skedaddling from the Design Council to the RSA where we spent the evening listening to a lecture about the future, given by Richard Watson, author of Future Files The 5 trends that will shape the next 50 years.

I'm not a big futurology fan. It's only fair that I say that up front. There is something incredibly passive about the predictions of futurists which I find unsettling. They don't use their findings to tell us about what our objectives should be for a nicer world and what routes we should take to achieve them. This bugs me. It also bugs me that the only use trendspotting has is for businesses that want to profit from identified patterns. To my mind, it could be argued the whole premise of futurology is flawed because it is based on an economic and political paradigm that is (as we live and breathe) deeming itself redundant.

Now, having said all that, it's always great to hear ideas and theories - and I'm a big fan of some decent diagram action. I also absolutely adore the way future-folk contract two words into one. I remember with fondness such phrases as glocal and and the like. All good brain fodder.

Moving on, let's talk about last night. There was a lot to take in - but don't worry, I'm not going to share it all here. Instead, I thought I'd share some soundbites. And here they are:

  • People are increasingly experiencing time and sleep starvation. The future will cater for this with hotels/hospitals that allow guests/patients to sleep and recover from their strenuous lives.
  • Japan is the home of robots. They already have robots looking after the elderly, because there are too few young people to do the job.
  • Retirement will retire. According to Richard's extinction timeline retirement will be extinct by around 2018. As you can see in the pic above, blogging will be extinct by about 2022, so I'd best write my face off while I can eh?
  • The future will see flexible working patterns within a 14 hour work window
  • Women have introduced empathy into the workplace
  • Business development patterns have changed from: create>research>send to market to: create>send to market> hone or kill
  • If you make something of high quality people will buy it
  • Forecasters forecast a greater appetite for forecasting
  • There is a natural human desire for connectedness
  • The future is more honest, because when you lie it's no secret
  • Communities are redefined and are no longer about geography but about interest
  • Voluntourism is going to get huge. As the name suggests, this is where people go on holiday by volunteering for a worthwhile cause or trying something new.
  • Travel will increasingly polarize - economy class will get shoddier and business class will get awesome(r).
  • GenY is not the audience with the most opportunity, the aged are. GenY= no time or money whereas retired folk have lots of time and money.
  • China challenges democracy as contingent for capitalism
  • Religion will flourish because it offers certainty

What do you think? Is it a case of "No shit Sherlock"? Or "Wish I'd thought of that"?

I've love to know your thoughts, so please share.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Greengaged at The Design Council

Picture stolen from Dan Lockton - thanks Dan.

On Tuesday I was delighted to be invited to speak at The Design Council as part of Greengaged. Joining me in our session were More Associates' Luke Nicholson, IDEO London’s Andrea Koerselman and Fiona Bennie from Forum for the Future

Greengaged is the sustainability hub of the London Design Festival, organised by fellow London United members Sophie Thomas and Juhi Shareef.

We were invited to talk about Behaviour Change and thought it would be nice to share the contents of my presentation with you all.

The title of my presentation was "Behaviour change is easy and I can prove it". My evidence was a film clip that my friend Sam posted to Facebook a couple of weeks ago. It's really fun, but makes a great point.

I wanted to share the three principles of behaviour change that we use every day with Unchained:

Behaviour change requires behaviour - social proof is the easiest and fastest way to get ideas and behaviour to spread. The behaviour of the people around us is far more convincing than advertising will ever be. Do you think the dude in the video would have changed his position if there was a poster inviting him to do so? Yeah, me neither.

Behaviour and motivation are two different things and one of them is easier to change - if you understand, respect and work with other people's motivations it'll be easier to change their behaviours. Getting people to do as you want is much easier than getting them to think what you want. Even if you're right.

Desire is all very good and well, but it's not enough - how many people do you know that want to be famous? Or thin? Are they? Well, same goes for other kinds of behaviour change. If you want the change you have to make it easy for them.

If you'd like to know more about the speech or the lovely people that spoke in the session with me then get in touch.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Mini-guide to Northcote Rd

Our third mini-guide has gone live on Londonist and this time we went to Battersea's Northcote Rd.

I spent an entire day there last week, talking to shopkeepers and meeting the characters of the neighbourhood.

I had a great time and as always, met some very interesting people.

Sadly though, everywhere I went I kept overhearing conversations about shops closing down. Apparently the charms of Northcote Rd have made it a victim of its own success, attracting big money from chains, which in turn make the landlords put the rent up. It's a story we've heard many times before at Unchained.

Hopefully our mini-guide will encourage more people to enjoy the road and the amazing selection of Unchained beauties it has to offer.

Happy shopping people.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

La Cave à Fromage

The before and after of my delicious cheese selection last night.

Last night Unchained enjoyed a delicious cheese tasting with a bunch of Qypers at La Cave à Fromage in South Ken. The shop has a really interesting approach to selling cheese - no counters or cashpoints, it's all clean, modern, personal and very chic. With literally thousands of cheese to choose from, the owner was delighted to inform us that we could try a different cheese every night for the next 75 years without running out of options.

We likey.

You can find out more about La Cave on Qype and of course on Unchained too.

Big, big thanks to Qype and La Cave à Fromage for a brilliant night.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Qype's first birthday

Our team, The Sake Six, anti-clockwise from Dave's foot we have AnnieMole, LJRich, James, Me and Pedro.

We were very pleased to be sharing the fun at Qype's first birthday bash at Offside last week Thursday.

Qype celebrated with a pub quiz. As you can see, I brought the teeth.

Big thanks to the guys at Qype for yet another smiffy evening.

And a big thanks to AnnieMole who organised our team and got us all fired up. Though we didn't win, we did name the last British Prime Minister without a wife. And (my personal favourite) which underground station is an apostle's erection.

(That's Margaret Thatcher and St John's Wood in case you're wondering.)

Happy Birthday Qype, may the force be with you.

Cupcake action - we love Chris

In amongst all the craziness of last week came the sweetest, most awesome(est) email ever.

The subject line was: Free cupcakes. My flat. Friday morning.

Ahhh. Yes please!

The lovely cupcake people at Faircake sent Chris a whole bunch of their delish samples for him to err, sample. And we were invited to feel the love. Boy did we.

You can read Chris' write-up here. Or visit to do some sampling of your own - I had the lemon cupcake with a big blob of curd in the centre. Needless to say it comes highly recommended.