Thursday Thinky: Cinema, Disruption, + Electricity

Last week, TechCrunch Disrupt was held just a block away from our San Francisco office. Over the years, the 3-day conference has evolved into one of the most important event for the tech industry. Keynotes speakers are sharing their wisdom, while startups battle to show how their product can disrupt markets. For 72 hours, status quo is being challenged left and right.

If innovation is often linked to Silicon Valley, it also thrives in places you may overlook. So in today’s Thinky, we’re shining lights on Non-profits playing the role of the disruptors. We’ll look at how World Vision is turning the sponsorship model on its head or how the UN World Food Program is using cinema to raise awareness about its work.

Happy Thursday!

Non-Profits Tackling Big Issues


World Vision – Flipping the child sponsorship model on its head–letting kids pick their donors instead (Vox)

With its latest campaign, World Vision has disrupted the child sponsorship model. And, if feels so good because when you think about it looking through pictures to find one person to help is kind of weird. By reversing the role, World Vision shifts the balance of power to the individuals in the community actually being served, rather than the ones doing the servING. And, it also makes the experience more meaningful for the donor since he was chosen. Bravo!



UN World Food Program – Heading to the movies to raise awareness (and funds) (The Drum)

When I was younger, I used to love watching ads and previews at the cinema before the movie started. When you think about it, where else do you have such a captive audience who can literally do nothing else besides either watch your ad/short film or look at their phone and annoy the person next to them with the ambient backlight? UN WFP is using this to their advantage by creating a full campaign designed for cinematic viewing. The spot is beautiful and works perfectly because… it was crafted with the help of a neuromarketing/neuroscience agency called Neuro-Insight, that “measures brain activity to look into the subconscious and find what people are thinking to help companies better interact with customers…and change behavior.” Well done.



Brand That Caught Our Eye


Old El Paso (yep, the salsa people) – Creating a pop-up restaurant where dinner is literally powered by conversations (Little Black Book)

A recent study of 2,500 families in the UK found that one in ten admit they never sit and share dinner together.  Old El Paso believes that meals are meant for conversation and connection, so they decided to do something about it. With their agency Grey London, they created a pop-up restaurant that employs some cool technology to turn talking into actual electrical energy to power the shared experience. This is not changing the world. But it is a pretty cool and unexpected use of an action to trigger another action, even if it’s also super gimmicky.



The Many Facets of Design & Creativity


Breast Cancer FoundationTargeting younger women through clean, smart design (Elen Winata)

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so thought it’d be relevant to share last year’s campaign from the BCF in Singapore, as it just recently resurfaced on the interwebs. The series, which was commissioned from a local artist, earned a Merit recognition at the One Show for print and outdoor, and IMO, are more visually striking than this year’s. Making visual parallels between objects/habits/activities that are top of mind for this audience is a clever way in. Only one question remains: how impactful was that campaign?



Yahoo! – The legendary Pentagram team gives yahoo! a new visual identity (Creative Review)

Wait, yahoo! is still around? I’m kidding. The design refresh here is pretty interesting. It feels like yahoo! of old, but better. Less goofy. More respectable, but still playful. There are some wonderful subtle design choices that Michael Beirut and his team made in crafting the typeface, which are so easy to miss on a surface level, but work really hard subconsciously. Beyond the brand/personality/purpose refresh, there’s a functional aspect to the redesign, too–adaptability and scalability. With that being said, I still have a little voice in my head that wonders if it matters since Yahoo! definitely became the dinosaur in the room over the last decade. What do you think?



Bonus: The Power of Bad Ideas

Why your worst idea could be (or lead to) your best  (Creative Review)

“Bad” ideas often lead to really good ones. We’re all so under-the-gun to be efficient and focused on being productive and “right” that we often forget that our best ideas aren’t born out of rigidity and perfection, but out of room to breathe, to think, to goof around, to have permission to be dumb. So, the next time you need to come up with a smart solution to a problem, try to spend some time being dumb first. Preferably with friends, it’s always more fun 🙂


That’s it for today’s Thinky. See you next week!

PS: If any of the above made your wheel spin, we’d love to hear your thoughts–get in touch with us!

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