Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Eating Should Be Simpler -- Thoughts on Michael Pollan and "The Omnivore's Dilemma"

I just finished Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and am grateful to him for removing yet another of the veils that industry attempts to cast over us through clever marketing:  that all eggs are the same, that all meat is the same, etc.

The design of food systems that are hurting (some might say destroying) the health of a civilization that lacks a consistent, traditional food culture (i.e. the U.S.A) is surely design -- and power -- placed in the wrong hands.  What the book did for me was to deliver the design of my own eating and drinking and consuming back into my own hands.

I marvel at the widespread impact Michael Pollan's work has now had on our society -- the benefits that thoughtful journalism can still provide.  And yet, after all his work and all his reporting, one of Pollan's most lasting contributions for me is his newer book, "Food Rules", in which he summarizes his philosophy on food and eating in 7 words:  "Eat food, mostly plants, not too much."

Here's a really entertaining, short interview from the Daily Show that encapsulates much of what's both wrong and right with food today:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Michael Pollan
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Open Innovation at Frog, IDEO, and GOOD

I'm sure there are plenty more, but IDEO, Frog Design, and GOOD are really darn, uh... excellent at doing open innovation and crowdsourcing.  Truth be told, I'm not entirely sure if I can call them excellent at this, since I don't know the actual outcomes yet.  But here's some info on them:

OpenIDEO sources ideas from the crowd on how to make the world a better place:

Introduction to OpenIDEO / OpenIDEO.com from IDEO on Vimeo.

FrogMob solicits ethnographic data from the crowd to "gather a quick visual pulse on behaviors, trends and artifacts globally."  It aims to give a rich visual description of how products are used globally.

GOOD gathers ideas and content for their magazine issues from the crowd on topics ranging from Work to New Orleans to Water.  Fascinating what they come up with.

Who else does this well?  I'd love to hear about the groundbreakers in this space that I'm surely not aware of.  Thanks!

Monday, August 9, 2010