Tom Uglow is the creative director for Google and Youtube in Europe. He talks about the importance of trying, even if you fail: It has never been possible to succesfully pull something off 100 pct.. Rather, making mistakes is a part of the process – often you don’t know what the answer is, so you have to explore. And often it goes wrong.
Tom Uglow works in the creative labs of Google and Youtube. He puts an emphasis on “lab”: They are exploring and making experiments. In short, his job is to think like a user and make sophisticated tools. Making (beautiful) mistakes is a part of the process.
One example is the Androidify app. The app allows you to make yourself into a android avatar. Google didn’t really know what to do with it and just sat on it for a while. Then, at a mobile conference, they decided to release. It was an instantaneous success and everybody at the conference loved it. These kinds of beautiful mistakes are natural parts of the creative lab.
Tom Uglow compares innovation with children’s’ play: It often looks like fun and play. In companies, the innovation process is a lot similar: If you’re not having fun, it’s impossible to generate excitement for your project.
Often, internet phenomenon just sort of happen: Charlie Sheen became an overnight internet meme with his bewildering “Winning”-song. He got 1 mil. followers on Twitter 24 hours after he created an account. The Charlie Sheen effect shows that information is an uncontrollable wave – no one is in charge and everyone can chime in with their own representation.
Tom Uglow thinks the future of digital is really physical. Actual things are nice: Augmented reality is awkward. He lists 7 ideas that are not that hard to imagine in the future:
1) Eye-tracking as targeting: Relevant content is being loaded when the user is moving his eyes around the web page.
2) Function-led display advertising: HTML5 makes banner advertisements into user-oriented microsites. The best ads will actually be useful to the user.
3) Ad network loyalty programs: Ads become more personal and limited.
4) User-led advertainment: Ads become stories that can unfold at the users’ pace.
5) User-focused microdonations systems: Even small donations like 1 USD can become substantial if it is easy to donate and a lot of people do it.
6) Data streams will be personal: Your gadgets will provide you with automated information like your pulse, temperature, location, blood sugar etc: Instead of looking up the information, the information comes to you.
7) Geo-location/time-based arts: Arts using mobile participation and iterative dramas. Theatres using NCF and GPS.