Only in America?

Only in America.

Rama Allen pic
Mixed reality by Rama Allen

Or wherever you are.

Rama Allen is a man, who has a job you think is kind of impossible. It’s all about being what he himself calls a ”futurist weirdo”. And that is an understatement.

I listened to Rama Allen at the Festival of Digital Narratives, organized by Nordvision in Helsinki in March. Rama Allen was invited as a key note speaker, to inspire us working in Public Service media with something out of the ordinary.

Rama Allen makes the impossible possible, by adding something extra to what already exists. He showcased his work in showreels that were like a hallucinatory travel into existence.
One impressive piece was an installation that merges pop music, news, twitter feeds and emotions in a circular space, where Allen and his crew have built up a fabric wall. Projections of the human emotions created by the music, news and tweets make the person standing inside the installation find insight about society today – on an emotional level. Interesing, to say the least.

IBM Watson – The color of emotion

Of course, Mr Allen has a lot of backup. A lot of money to make his visions come true.

So, what to do if you don’t have that kind of resources?
What I got out of it, working at a public service broadcaster* is that it’s all about being good at combinations. Your own thinking is the core of being a visionary. And if you can put one, two and five together and make a ten – well then you’re on the right track. The trick is to see the combinations. Rama Allen does that. He keeps track of what is happening around him – in very different fields. Then he puts them together and creates something entirely new.

Rama Allen actually defines creativity as:

connecting things

If we look around us, we don’t have to be futurists to see that there are many combinations of even the most common pieces of everyday life, that would be much better off put together.

And isn’t that just how creativity works? You get snippets of information, you know something really well, you see something that inspires you and you talk to someone, who is a positive force…. And there you go – you have an idea that is simply fascinating!

Now, your only obstacle is making it happen. Realising your idea. I find, this is where most ideas die. Because realising them, forces you to prioritize. To put other things aside. To actually commit to the idea. And that is pretty hard if you are on your own, if you do something else for a living or if you simply have a busy life.

I have tons of ideas- They just pop up wherever, whenever. Someone recently told me, a great lesson is to learn to not give your ideas away. Yeah, easy to say, hard to do. I also happen to think that ideas are there for everyone. Ideas are just floating around. It often happens that the same idea is uttered by different people in different parts of the world around the same time. Who actually makes something out of the idea is the one able to profit from it. Thus, making your idea happen is more important than acutally having the best idea.

Rama Allen is a person who makes it happen. He is a pioneer in many things. He creates stuff before it becomes mainstream. Sees the future. But we could do it too. Maybe not as big or expensive, but in our own way. And the trick is to prioritize.

I read a book recently, where the whole idea was the ”To don’t list”. You write down your ”To Do’s” and then you cross everything out from the bottom up – you only leave the three top ones – those are your real to do’s.

Everything else is secondary.

I think that’s pretty smart. You can’t focus on too much at the same time, and you do need to do things well, if you decide to do them.

Some points Rama Allen made, talking about creativity:

  • The invisible starts becoming visible now – we need to go beyond the laws of physics
  • Now, it’s not going to be about augmented reality or augmented virtuality – it is going to be mixed reality – everthing will be integrated
  • A key ingredient is fearlessness
  • Then you add technology
  • Don’t get stuck simply doing one thing – dabble in everything and then you start putting it all together

Check him out here:

* PS-companies are, rightly so, very conscious of how to use the resources available. Always with the best interest of the public in mind.

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