Digital Creative Spotlight: Josh Feldman

feldmanWhere do you live?

Los Angeles

What are you listening to this week? (music, podcasts, etc.)

A lot of an electronica group called Mum. It’s got a good vibe and is helpful in both productivity and life mindset. I also love the podcasts “Radiolab” and “On Being“.

What’s your current profession / project / passion?

I’m the director of the Springboard Fellowship, a project of Hillel International, which seeks to launch the careers and ideas of early career professionals, with 0-3 years of work experience post-college. Hillel is based in Washington DC, but the Talent Team that I’m a part of is spread out across the country, so almost all of our work is done remotely.

My passion is at the intersection of Leadership Development & Creativity. There are huge and exciting challenges that face human beings in the 21st century, and I really truly believe that helping all of us invest in our creativity — and invest in each other — is how we can solve those challenges. I believe that people are the experts in their own lives and that if we can be of service in helping them harness that, then incredible things are possible.

What are some recent examples of your work that you’re most proud of?

This July, we launched the Leadership Development program that I direct, the Springboard Fellowship. Twenty early-career professionals met at Hillel’s HQ to make prototypes, learn about human-centered design and explore what it would mean to create more inspiring and creative communities on college campuses across the country. I felt immense joy to be part of the trajectory of these emerging leaders of the Jewish community.

We hope and believe that Hillel investing in the creative potential of young professionals will create a whole new talent pipeline in the community.

Describe your creative process.

Design

  • I do a lot of pacing.
  • I then am a little bit of a cliché of design thinking work in that there’s a lot of Post-It notes
  • I engage in a feedback rich process where I speak to a lot of people and get feedback

Pondering

I try to live in the world of big “How might we?” questions as much as possible. I ask questions such as:

  • “How might we create experiences that are radically about rest?”
  • “How might we help create vibrant communities where everyone feels heard?”
  • “How might we harness the power of cultural specificity to create a more peaceful world?

Testing & Prototyping

  • Once I get through the above steps, I test the assumptions – I don’t want to use a hammer when the right tool is a screwdriver!
  • I make this all concrete – go from an open pond to a well-focused plan.
  • This plan then enters the prototype process, where we try something but acknowledge that we’ll probably need to change it.
  • Stir and repeat.

Creativity

  • Parallel to all of this…having a personal creative process is key to my professional work
  • I like to do “Creativity Pushups” — Seeing what type of creativity comes out in 5 minutes or less

Which tools, products and services do you use in this process?

ANALOG

DIGITAL

  • Slack is a really effective communications tool for our Hillel team
  • Zoom is just the best for video conferencing
  • Google Apps collaboration suite works great for our documents

What is one major benefit do you get from technology that you can’t imagine creating without?

I don’t have a great memory, so my smartphone is the keeper of my information, allowing me to be more focused and present on the tasks at hand at any given moment.

What do your colleagues / collaborators always want to do manually / analog that you wish they would automate / design a system for?

I’m going to re-direct my answer a bit…I really do believe that digital tools are constructive to our work…but one thing that I’ve yet to make stick digitally is To-Do lists. Paper is the best for me here.

What do you do when you need a break from screens?

  • I garden, hike, play with my kids, and try to learn the ukulele.
  • Also, sometimes I make a phone call or schedule an in-person meeting instead of relying on Skype for Business. There are some conversations that are better voice-only or face-to-face instead of video chats.

Anything you want to add on the relationship between creative work and tech?

We live in the most disruptive time in at least the last several hundred years, technologically. There’s huge room and space for creativity, but we all have to admit that this is a large period of experimentation. Books, in their current form, evolved slowly. Just like books, we need to give ourselves permission to allow technological tools to develop so that they serve us, rather than serving their makers. We need to ask questions like “What do we want life to be like?”, and influence design from that perspective, not the opposite.

Digital Creative Spotlight: Edward Do

For this edition of Digital Creative Spotlight, we spoke with our very own Eddie Do, who also runs Late Night Laggers, a creative production company that conceptualizes and executes experiences and events based around music and art. Operating out of Los Angeles, LNL uses technology to communicate, organize, and share concepts between its team, collaborators, and audience. Here, Eddie shares his views on technology and the way we use it today.

DJ ed

 

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Likes: Micheladas, mariscos, and music.
  • What are you listening to this week? (music, podcasts, whatever) Lately, I’ve been listening to a band called Hundred Waters. I heard them for the first time at a festival that they curate called FORM Festival and heard a few tracks, but this week, I’ve delved a lot deeper into their albums.
  • What’s your current profession / project / passion? I’m a Junior Technician and Service Coordinator at LA Creative Technologies. When I’m not doing IT work, I’m rehearsing or playing bass with my band, Model Soul, or I’m DJing a party as word54, or I’m putting together an event with my Late Night Laggers team. We’ve currently got 3 monthlies out in LA: Calentura at Los Globos, Plugged In at Union, and Sunset Club at the Fuego Lounge.
  • What are some recent examples of your work that you’re most proud of? One example is Sunset Club. It’s a summertime series that LNL created when we started 3 and a half years ago. The series has a groovy, sexy, daytime vibe that evolves into a high energy dance party at night. Along with DJs, we have live performances, artists, and vendors to give the event a mini festival feel. I’m proud to see how the event has progressed from its inception, pushing the boundaries with our venue and artists. Another example is my band, Model Soul. We play indie/alternative rock and it’s rad to see how people react to our music. When you’re writing songs with your buddies in a little studio room, it’s hard to know if it’s good. I mean, we all like the music, but I have to admit that it’s nerve-racking when you’re on-stage and about to play something you’ve created to a bunch of people who have no clue who you are or what to expect.
  • Describe your creative process.   My creative process always includes my team(s). There’s a concept that is laid down and then we collectively build out from there. With Late Night Laggers, some parts of the team contribute with ideas based in an ideal situation with limitless budget, others contribute with realistic boundaries, but all thoughts are considered so that our foundation is built to with the capability to expand in any direction. With Model Soul, the process changes with every song. Sometimes, someone will bring a riff they’ve written and we all just jam until we find a groove and build the structure of the song from there. Sometimes, we’ll make out the structure to a song and work within those confines to lock up the melodies.
  • Which tools, products and services do you use in this process?  For communication with all of my teams, I use Slack. It’s great because all text is searchable. I also really like the way we’re able to organize channels and pin important posts. Google Drive is another great tool we use to create, share, and organize our assets like to-do lists, calendars, budget sheets, and inventory. Technology has made playing music really accessible too: my bass amp is solid-state; we record on an iPad; all of the effects on our instruments are digital; DJing no longer requires bringing a crate full of records. It’s actually pretty insane now that I think about it.
  • What one major benefit do you get from technology you can’t imagine creating without? .. I’m able to stay on top of everything happening within several teams and sub-teams, share ideas, and continue WIPs anywhere I’m at.
  • What do your colleagues/collaborators always want to do manually/analog that you wish they would automate/design a system for? Well, there’s already Google Calendar for this, and I’m guilty of it also, but for some reason, people always forget to add to the calendar… doh!
  • What do you do when you need a break from screens? I’ll usually get a good stretch in or take a little walk if it’s a short break. When I have more time, I’ll get a cheap massage or get my groove on with the band.
  • Anything you want to add on the relationship between creative work and tech? With music, 20 years ago, living in LA, you may never have heard the sounds of a band or music producer from Mexico or Peru or Portugal or Italy, but now those tracks are just a click away. With goods, some weeks, I’m so busy, I can’t make a trip to the market or pick up that prop for the next show, but now, I can use Amazon Prime to have it delivered in 2 days! Technology has put products, sounds, and solutions at our fingertips and made the world much more accessible.

Digital Creative Spotlight: Valeria Riera from Run & Hop

LA IT SUPPORTFor our first Digital Creative Spotlight, we spoke with Valeria Riera from Run & Hop, a brand strategizing company that focuses on bringing the shiny little beast out from their clients’ business concepts. Based in Bali and the Netherlands, Run & Hop uses technology to work across borders to build brand architecture, concepts, and visual assets for their customers all across the globe, including LA Creative Technologies.

We were excited to speak with Valeria and learn her thoughts on technology and the digital world.

  • Location: Jordaan, a neighborhood near Amsterdam city center
  • Likes: Big color boxes, triangles and to have complicated conversations through hand shadow puppets.
  • What are you listening to this week? (music, podcasts, whatever) Lately I’ve been lazy looking for music, so I enjoyed some “mood” playlists from Spotify. My mood was pretty happy and chill =)
  • What’s your current profession / project / passion? I’m an Art Director. After working several years for a big digital advertising company in Argentina, I started working for myself (together with Daniela) designing conceptual visual identities for small and medium companies.
  • What are some recent examples of your work that you’re most proud of? Even though I’m not equally passionate about each project I work in, I’m proud of all of them. I love doing  branding, I love working from scratch. Between those projects I can name you Aire, Pik and The Jewel Box; we are still working on these last 2.
  • Describe your creative process.   First we get a good feeling of the client’s brand and company; understand what drives them, what they love and where they need to go. That part of the discovery is done by Daniela, together with some creative and cool concepts. Afterwards I create a visual mood board that reflects those findings. It serves as an inspirational and reference tool and, at the same time, helps me check if the client is in line with us and if we are on the correct path, before the design process starts. Then we create first drafts, we get feedback on them, do some tweaks, sometimes start all over again. Of course, some days I’m feeling more creative than others. Getting away from the project and coming back some hours/days later helps a lot.
  • Which tools, products and services do you use in this process?   For the mood boards I like to use Google Drawings, I can share the results with my client and we can edit and collaborate together. Pinterest is another cool tool for that. For the drafts I use pencil and paper! Yes, back to the basics and lots of sketches! Then I digitalize the chosen ones using Illustrator and Photoshop with my Wacom in hand.
  • What one major benefit do you get from technology you can’t imagine creating without? Easy, being able to work from anywhere in the world. That’s a unique possibility that technology gives me. I can work while I go back to Argentina to visit my family, when I am home back in Amsterdam or while visiting Daniela in Bali, where everything started.
  • What do your colleagues/collaborators always want to do manually/analog that you wish they would automate/design a system for? Maybe I’m one of those. I’m the one doing things manually: organizing my calendar, planning, sketching. I love pencils, pens and colors. I have so many things on my desk!
  • What do you do when you need a break from screens?I do sports. I brainstorm and doodle on a paper. I go for a walk. I do administration or accounting stuff.
  • Anything you want to add on the relationship between creative work and tech? Technology changed everything. It gave people the possibility of getting out; out of the offices and into the world. People are changing their mindset about working their asses off from nine-to-five for big corporations. They started choosing to become their own bosses and sacrifice their stability in order to follow “their dreams” and gain independence. It also catapulted lots of creative new concepts and big ideas (that can now come to life despite low budgets).
    The way we shop, bank, travel, interact with each other, etc is also changing. There is a big creative challenge out there!