Become a cultural creator.
The highly awarded OlsonKundig (@OlsonKundig) architects was founded on the simple idea that buildings can serve as a bridge between nature, culture and people, and that inspiring surroundings have a positive effect on people’s lives. A key factor of the company’s success has been creating an environment that allows every member of the team to function at their absolute highest level. Architect Blair Payson joined us to talk through some of the work and give an insight into the how the company has achieved this.
The owners of the company have incredibly diverse backgrounds in terms of the range of projects they’ve been involved with. The benefits of this are two fold. Firstly the different styles often inform one another, leading to unexpected and innovative results. Secondly, it allows everyone within the office to find a path. Having such a varied range of skills and approaches opens up the processes and gives opportunities for even the most junior member to contribute. OlsonKundig actively nurture this culture, building creative sharing sessions, internship programs and in-house presentations into the fabric of the company.
A space below the office that had originally been rented for interns led to [storefront], a project that has allowed the company to experiment with creativity in new ways. Partnering with local individuals and businesses, they transformed the space into different installations for a month at a time, the first of which was a record store. During lunch people would flick through the albums and listen to them on to them on turntables. At night the space became a live music venue with performances and parties almost every night. It gave OlsonKundig an opportunity to bring all of its employees together, to share an experience outside of work and reconnect with people. The success of the record shop lead to a series of installations that included a mushroom farm, art installations and gallery spaces. It allowed the company to experiment in a safe way, testing new project management methods. Externally it opened up doors through the partnerships it created. Ultimately it showed them that by bringing together the right people they could create something bigger than themselves.
The biggest risk is not to risk anything.
Ryan Payton (@RyanPayton) is on a mission to change the video games industry. He grew up playing Zork and Monkey Island, fast forward a few years and titles like Final Fantasy 7 and BioShock had developed his passion for immersive story telling games into a carrier within the industry. Ryan worked on some of the biggest games of the last decade, including blockbusters franchises like Metal Gear Solid and Halo.
In 2013 Ryan made the jump and set up his own company Camouflaj. He saw that mobile gaming was the way that he could tell stories around the globe and touch millions of people, it allows accessibility on a unprecedented level, and a format that pushes for experimentation and innovation. The simplicity of touch controls compared to complicated console controllers makes mobile gaming appealing to even the most inexperienced gamer.
Inspired by Infinity Blade, his first project was an ambitious one, creating console quality stealth game released in episodes was never going to be easy. Ryan used Kickstarter to raise the $500k needed to develop Republique, it went on to receive huge acclaim and earn an army of fans, not to mention a spot on the App store Editors Choice over Christmas last year.
To Ryan the most important driver has been to seek creative freedom, which has allowed him to make the game that he wanted to make. Sometimes we have to be brave enough to take risks to get to where we want to be going.
Follow your own dreams, not someone else’s.
Chase Jarvis (@chasejarvis) has had a many highs and lows along the road of life. As a youth he attended university on a soccer scholarship, but a burning desire to be creative created a conflict within him. After graduation he packed up the cameras his grandfather had passed onto him and walked the earth for seven months. This experience confirmed in his mind that he wanted to be an artist. Quitting the studies that were expected of him he headed to Colorado and self-publishing his first book, Stephens Pass.
There has never been a more interesting time to be a creative. Today we don’t need anyone’s permission from anyone to share what we want to do at scale. When Chase began his career things were very different and he was often shunned by the photography industry because he was self-taught and trying to hack the strict progression ladder set out by the profession. He found another way by sharing the journey he was on through online video. The first one he put up was watched 35k times and a light bulb went off in his mind. He went on to share his way to a successful photography career, keeping control of his future and steering the direction he was moving in without relying on the standard means.
An avalanche accident made Chase reassess his situation and question how big he was thinking with his life. He moved back to Seattle and began experimenting with video and TV formats. This boost in confidence led to Chase developing the first app that allowed people to share images to social networks. Best Camera came out of his insight that everyone would soon have a camera built into their smart phones with them at all times. Although the app was incredibly successful, Chase felt conflict within himself again, being torn between the worlds of artist and entrepreneur. At the time he felt like the two couldn’t work together and decided to walk away from Best Camera to preserve his artistic freedom, a decision that cost him $100m. Today he seesthat combining these two worlds would have actually been walking towards something, and that founders don’t find companies, they build them.
Shortly after, he started a live internet TV show called Chase Jarvis Live where he invited interesting people from the surrounding areas into his studio to talk about what they were doing. The idea of broadcasting live over the web sparked off thoughts which lead his latest venture, Creative Live. The mission was to make the world a more creative place by connecting the audiences he’d build over time to the amazingly creative people he had met. It worked, the first broadcast was watched by over 50k people from around the world and the venture became instantly profitable. Today Creative Live is 24/7 broadcasting, with 2 million users in 200 countries. It connects the world’s top creatives with a global audience of aspiring creative professionals. For Chase it’s all about creating communities and championing creativity, and it’s this mission that keeps him moving forward aggressively and chasing his dreams.
Big thanks to our event partners Microsoft.
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