Minds@Work, Big Empathy, Coaching & Mentoring, Seasons

"Big Empathy"

Along with some others from Made by Many, I was in Malmö in August to attend The Conference which, yes, is a conference about complexity in the digital era. There was a lot of talk about empathy at this event, which moved me to write this piece looking at how (and indeed if) empathy should be commoditised into business, as it is, increasingly, today. Are we reaching “peak empathy” and will “Big Empathy” be a thing soon, like Big Oil, or Big Data? It’s a question worth asking.

One evening in Malmö…

One evening in Malmö…

 

MINDS@WORK

Speaking of empathy, under the auspices of my work at Made by Many I’m also volunteering as storyteller with a project called Minds@Work, which aims to break the stigma attached to mental illness in the workplace. Minds@Work is led by Geoff Macdonald (ex- of Unilever) and MxM managing partner Georgie Mack, along with my colleague Camilla Upson. The group meets every couple of months and is fast turning into a really effective network-cum-working party dedicated to making positive change in the place where it often matters the most – the workplace. At the last event, I invited the author Amy Liptrot (whose memoir on addiction, recovery and the natural world “The Outrun” is deservedly a bestseller now) to be interviewed by my friend the writer Emma Warren. Amy and Emma proved to be the star turn of that particular meetup. If you’d like to know more about Minds@Work, or get involved, take a look at the site I built, with no small thanks due to the blisteringly hot web design skills of Made by Many’s Adam Morris.

Minds@Work Movement in the Made by Many office earlier in 2016

Minds@Work Movement in the Made by Many office earlier in 2016

 

Commercial Break

Over July and September I also worked as coach for personal and professional development with the young people at James Hilhouse and Susie Burdekin’s Commercial Break programme, pulling apart (and then reassembling) ideas around success, DIY creative, responsibility, proactivity and so on, with Stefan, Esther, Nai, Zahrah, Violet and Charlie. I’m sure these talented young people will go on to do great things, in the advertising industry as well as outside of it. We all went for lunch at the end of the programme, and Stefan (third from left in the picture, who is also a rapper and American football player) easily won the eating competition.
If you are interesting in my coaching & mentoring work, get int touch via kb [at] permitfullexpression.com

Esther, Nai, Stefan, Violet, Susie, Charlie and Zahrah

Esther, Nai, Stefan, Violet, Susie, Charlie and Zahrah

Innovation Labs

Earlier this year at Made by Many, I edited a report on innovation labs: departments in big businesses which are trying to turn their legacy-shaped ships around to embrace innovation in the digital era. Many companies are trying to do this, with limited success. This report raises some of the important questions in the field. A sequel to the report, to be published by Made by Many, is in the works. Download the first volume here.

 

Seasons

Lastly, here's a visual diary of the last four seasons, showing photos from some of the places I have visited in the last 12 months, including Somerset, Shropshire, Dartmoor, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Snowdonia, Malmö, Le Gers and the Pyrenees. 

Look at that snowline... Carnedd Llewelyn from Glyder Fawr

Look at that snowline... Carnedd Llewelyn from Glyder Fawr

Hole & Corner

Over the past year or two I have been writing some stories for Hole & Corner, the magazine launched (with a sizeable sum of crowd-invested money) by art director Sam Walton (who I worked as a sub with on Vogue) and Mark Hooper, ex of The Face, Arena, iD and just about every other style mag. I’ve posted one of them below, an interview with the head parfumeur of Hermès, the extraordinary Jean-Claude Ellena, whose book “The Diary of A Nose” is really worth reading. Meanwhile, below is a screen shot from the story I wrote this summer about the furniture maker Stephen Kenn, whose workshop I visited in Los Angeles. It’s in the current issue of the magazine.

In The Realm Of The Sensualists

For Hole & Corner issue no. 8

Among the thoughts contained in “The Diary Of A Nose”, which Hermès' master perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena published in 2012, the following is perhaps most lucidly resonant of his worldview, while also being perfectly congruent with the visitor's experience him. 

I try to avoid the sun, and favor shady woodland,” writes Ellena, now 68. “I find the langour of beaches boring, but am drawn to creeks and reefs. I love the sea and its horizon. Where my gaze gets lost as the blue of the sky and that of the sea merge… I have never been able to truss myself up in suits; their restrictiveness denotes a rigidness of mind and disenchantment with life. In believe in happiness, in man, in a lay spirituality; I do not trust religions. I would rather have eye contact for a long time than chatter for a long time. And, although I like to seduce, I have a sense of propriety with words… I have never sought to impose anything. My research is driven by a constant desire to find a balance between what can be felt with the senses and what is intelligible to the mind.

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Hackaball for Made by Many

Currently I am working part-time at product innovation consultancy Made by Many in London as Embedded Storyteller – helping this company tell the stories about what they make in the combination of code, design and business strategy. One of the most interesting stories is Hackaball, a connected toy and throwable computer all in one. Hackaball CEO Seb Potter was at CES last week presenting this intriguing object.   
I enjoyed working with Seb on the script for the presentation video for Hackaball by filmmaker Paul Wyatt, below. The script itself does a good job of explaining what Hackaball is, but the expression on the kids' faces is what really tells the story.


Find out more about Hackaball here

What is Success?

Toward the end of 2015 I did some coaching & mentoring for personal development at James Hilhouse and Susie Burdekin's Commercial Break programme, which offers six young people per programme experience working as creatives and strategists in the ad industry. The photo on the left shows the flipboard we worked on for the final session, considering ideas of responsibility, proactivity, giving, mistakes, values, priorities, DIY, permission, control, dreaming and so on. Some of this year's graduates have gone on to win placements in some of the big agencies – I'm sure they will all do great things. Meanwhile, a former Commercial Break graduate, the talented writer Shane O'Brien, recently interviewed Goldie for the cover feature of an edition of the CALMzine I was editing – quite a big assignment (which he took in his stride).
If you are interested in my coaching & mentoring work for your organisation (or yourself), drop me a line at kb[at]permitfullexpression.com

Enhanced CALM

I worked with Its Nice That's Jamie McIntyre, Bruce Usher and incumbent designer Silvina De Vita on a redesign of the quarterly CALMzine for CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably), which aims to prevent male suicide. We added some new navigation, sectioning and design and editorial craft, along with some fab illustration content from Braulio Amado among others. Neil bedford photographed Goldie for the cover feature, and the drum & bass progenitor spoke about his recovery from addiction through yoga to Shane O'Brien (one of my mentees). The redesign attracted some interesting comment, including from Fast Co.Design
CALMzine is distributed across the UK through TOPMAN. Grab a copy. 

New Work: Velo London for Oakley/Rouleur R13

I worked with Bruce Sandell at R13, the bespoke content grupetto of Rouleur magazine, to conceive and edit this attractive fanzine-style publication, Velo London, to support Oakley's new cycle cafe which launched on Exmouth Market earlier this summer. Oakley are doing a series of worldwide pop-ups this year, and this one was focused on the bike boom in the British capital. The photography in the mag was done by Michael Blann, art direction by Rouleur's Rob Johnston, and it features submissions by rouleurs Simon Mills, The Ride's Philip Diprose, Jack Thurston, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Paul Maunder, and features Ned Boulting, Matt Barbett and Wiesia Kuczaj, plus some thought-provoking text on London's cobbles, the revenge of hi-viz and gameified cycling. Grab a copy.

Arty Stuff

I am working in partnership with Warren Jackson to produce  some creative publications, curation and artworks exploring masculinity, contemporary attitudes, media and society. 

Coming Soon 
• Jackson-Braddock Volume I: Nocturnal Plant Photography, excerpts below:

Forza Flaneur

I have been peripherally helping and mentoring the team who make the excellent Flaneur magazine, which encapsulates the experience of one street in each issue. They began their project in Berlin, on Kanstrasse, then went to Leipzig, Montreal and Rome, and are now working in Athens on their fifth issue. I like the magazine not only because of the energy they put into each issue, but also because it's so lateral and strange and unlikely in terms of the final object, yet firmly methodological in its making. The team go and live and hang out and flaneur along each street to make the issue, and what they finally present could only be made through close proximity, by actually being there. The opposite of remote Google-able content creating.
Some shots of their Rome issue below. 

I asked the Flaneurs if they would write me a testominial, and they did.It says: “as an independent magazine that had just launched, it was invaluable to the team, not just from the editorial and publishing side but also just from the basic human perspective, to receive Kevin Braddock's guidance. He supported the team through his very unique skills as a mediator and moderator during a very crucial turning point for the young magazine. Kevin Braddock's experience in both non-commercial and commercial endeavours also proved invaluable. The team feels extremely lucky to have someone so dynamic and expressive by our side.”

Mankling

A visual diary of Mankling instances here and there in the past couple of years, in Paris, Berlin, Valencia, London and North Wales. The original article in Esquire about the subject is here

Naming and Believing

When I started working at Sleek in December 2011, the magazine’s explainer/tagline/sub-line was “Magazine for Art and Fashion” which sounded a bit unspectacular and literal to me. One of Sleek’s problems was that it was a bit anonymous; it was difficult to understand what its position or belief in the world was, apart from being “for” art and fashion (its covers were also quite anonymous. At the time I did a test where I went to the Do You Read Me?! mag shop to see how long it took to find it on their big wall of fashion and art mags. It took quite a long time, mainly because a lot of the other mags had much more attention-grabbing covers).
My idea was to give it a new explainer, a bit more of an exciting or emotionally appealing one, and I suggested “Art Now – Fashion Forever”, which sounded more like, This is the stuff this magazine believes is good and now, yeah? The Fashion Director suggested changing it to “Fashion Now – Art Forever” which was better, because fashion is always changing and is about what is hot (right) now. So, we used that for two and half years.


I left the editor’s job Sleek at the end of August 2014, but before that the deputy editor and I had been doing some work on the Sleek brand, on the instructions of the publisher who wanted the magazine to be more art-focused. My suggestion here was to change this “believer” device to “the visual contemporary”, and I see the team used it as the explainer on the new issue (yellow, right), plus repeated as the main coverline (although the line is obscured by the cover image). The word “contemporary” is split over three decks and I’m not sure if that’s a deliberate decision on the part of the creative director.
I think it’s important for things (mags, companies, people) to be clear about what they believe in today, when there so much confusion and information around, and even though there’s a lot of cynicism around the idea of belief itself.

Kemmler-Kemmler #WEARSHOES campaign for Zign

I worked with Kemmler-Kemmler (Berlin) on copy for their campaign for Zalando’s shoe sub-brand, Zign, which was turned into an outdoor campaign across Germany and other territories. The gallery below shows some of the claims I wrote accompanying photography by Jamie Morgan and styling by Tamara Rothstein. Subsequently, the agency called me and said they were looking for a boxing commentator for an event they were putting on for Zign and the fashion press at the ISYGYM Boxing club on Potsdamer Strasse in Berlin, where fighters would go toe-to-toe in the golden ring wearing Zign shoes. Would I be interested in compering?

YES.

…WHY NOT
I helped write the script for the evening and did a Harry Carpenter impression. The  event was a big success and a lot of fun. The gallery below shows the campaign plus a few shots of the Fight Night (that's me with the microphone). Maxime Ballesteros took the event photos.