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Articles tagged “creativity

Creative Hub PMQ is a gem in Central, Hong Kong

Posted on July 18, 2014

Every morning, a barber shop sitting at the foot of a flight of granite stairs leading to the Police Married Quarters (PMQ) opens its shutters for business. The elderly shop owner inspects his equipment and cleans his adjustable arm chairs in a two seater shop fitted within a narrow back alley. At a time when Hong Kong island has been modernised with skyscrapers and rows of luxury fashion brands in Central, this tiny shop still hangs a framed menu of services written in Chinese calligraphy and is deck with arm chair designs that feel like they’re from the 60s.

Just across the barber shop on the side of the granite steps is the remains of rubble from the Central School built in 1889; the alma mater of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the first president and founding father of The Republic of China.

PMQ has exhibits which showcases the building's rich heritage

PMQ has exhibits which showcases the building’s rich heritage


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How a Creative Team Loses Steam

Posted on February 25, 2014

It seems like almost everyone today has a job that involves making content and attracting an audience.

The age of social media, brand journalism, content marketing, self-publishing, self-promotion, idea-preneurism, etc, has turned many of us into professional creators. Unlike the old days, you also have to be your own proofreader, photo editor, publisher, video producer, digital strategist, and more.

It’s just a matter of time before you hit a wall and feel overwhelmed. When an entire creative team experiences this, the situation can quickly evolve into a new level of hell for everyone.

While it’s a crazy way to make a living, I’ve managed to get by with a code of creative conduct. I call this The Way of The Writer, because that’s what I spend most of my time doing, but it could work in other creative fields. It’s just five simple ideas that help me keep a project from going off-track. Hopefully, the ideas below will resonate with you too.

1. The way is inside you, not anywhere else.

Creative teams lose steam when they get busy working on something they don’t really care about. They justify the reward and bully themselves to finish the work. That’s always when people start overdosing on coffee, cigarettes, junk food, etc, because their natural sense of motivation has shut down. Eventually, this may lead to a ‘shut down’ or burning out.

Creative teams can keep moving forward when they commit to something they feel is worth making, because they genuinely care about the outcome, and this gives them a quiet power to see things through. This is why creative teams should value honesty: it actually translates into real energy.


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Photo by Daylon Soh

Death to Brainstorming

Posted on October 21, 2013

“Creativity is dead.”

Carl walked out of another fruitless brainstorming session feeling despondent with more questions than good ideas that address the clients’ brief. Carl, an award-winning creative director at an upstart advertising agency, had been mulling over the brief with his colleagues, some of the most brilliant minds in the industry.

“Those mental blocks get to even the best of us,” Carl lamented to himself as he left the office for a quick smoke.

He understood well that the quantity of ideas matter more than the quality of ideas — at least at the beginning. “Perhaps we just need to give the team more time to crack the brief.”

Times are changing as we live in an attention deficit culture. The audience craves instant gratification and quick fixes while their brains unconsciously filters anything that resembles an advertisement. According to the latest statistics verified by the Associated Press, a modern audience average attention span has decreased from 12 second in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2012.

The average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds.


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Co-working: Making Space for Collaboration

Posted on August 15, 2013

Japan is a country comprised of 146,000 square miles (or 378,000 square kilometers) of land, just 4% of the total land area of the United States of America (USA). Despite having limited land, Japan houses a population of more than 127 million, a figure slightly over 40% of the population in USA.

In the last few decades since post-war Japan, the Japanese have proven the value of making the most out of their land. Mistakes become costlier as there is very little spared to waste. On this land, perfection is the end pursuit and quality became synonymous with the words, “Made in Japan”.

When major city-centers around the world become epicenters of concentrated economic activity and continue to attract immigrants in droves, centralized real estate becomes a premium. The ability to fully maximize the productivity of every inch of working and living space seems like a sound approach to moving forward.

Yet, as cities grow and become increasingly populated, the opportunity to address this challenge by transforming our living and working spaces should not come at the cost of human liveability or workplace productivity.

In land scarce Japan, each dining-in patron only has 50cm-wide seating space at a McDonald’s restaurant in Tokyo, Japan’s capital city. | Source: Flickr, cabon33

In land scarce Japan, each dining-in patron only has 50cm-wide seating space at a McDonald’s restaurant in Tokyo, Japan’s capital city. | Source: Flickr, cabon33

“Space is the ‘body language’ of an organization,” says Chris Flink, a partner at global design consultancy, IDEO, and associate professor at Stanford University. The quote appears in the book, Make Space, by Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft, with the following sub-header:

“Intentional or not, the form, functionality, and finish of a space reflect the culture, behaviors, and priorities of the people within it. This suggests that a space designer is simultaneously a cultural translator and a builder. That said, space design has its own grammar that can be tweaked to bolster desirable habits.”


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A glass of art and science, please.

Posted on July 29, 2013

Ronald Ramirez

Mixologist, THAILAND

When did a drink get so complicated?

Gone are the days when my idea of a mixed drink was a rum and coke or a gin and tonic. There’s a new bar in the ‘hood and mixology has been spreading faster than you can say, uh, mixology. The term itself eludes me. I mean, the last time I checked, the person behind the bar mixing me some rum, lime juice, and mint leaves was called a bartender. So, when does the guy behind the bar earn a license to be called a mixologist—if there’s a license at all? To be a professional bartender, the one responsible for managing everything behind the bar and ensuring that customers are happy—and behaved, often entails completing a bartending course.

Many professional cocktail mixers are uncomfortable with the label mixologist. Regardless, the fact remains; mixology is complicated. And no mixologist in their proper mind would say, “I’m just mixing things along, I really have no idea what I’m doing.” Nobody just takes the classic margarita and hands it over in foam/gel/mist form without trained calculation and a creative imagination. Mixologists go beyond the aesthetics of a pretty drink; they dive into the human experience by digging into the chemistry (especially in molecular mixology) of spirits, playing with flavour, touch and texture, and provoking a myriad of senses that are often roused by memories and emotions.



On top of the world’s highest open bar and the tallest in Bangkok, I had the opportunity to learn about the art and science that goes in a glass. After years of honing his craft all over Europe and Dubai, Philippine-born Ron Ramirez is back in Southeast Asia and is the resident mixologist of lebua’s Sky Bar at Sirocco. As he blended one spirit with another and traced glass rims with herb-infused salts, Ron shared his creative inspirations and gave a peek into a regular workday of a mixologist.


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