Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Creativity of Evolution

I know what you're thinking.

He's stepping into dangerous territory now. After years of telling us how from his training and experience in the sciences that innovation is driven through evolutionary and revolutionary paths, Jim's going to weigh in on the greatest debate of all: Where did we come from? How did we get here? Who or what is responsible it all?

I can summarize the answer to your thoughts in two words: Advertising Agencies

(more on that later...)

Today's posting really gets back to what this blog is about. It's a place where I like to chronicle ideas, events, and things that capture my attention. A lot of times it involves my professional interests, and sometimes it reflects something more personal. On rare occasions, I come across something really unique that blends interests and ideas from both sides, and today, I want to share something I stumbled across the other day that fits in that category.

I focus an extraordinary amount of each work day thinking with my clients about evolutions of systems of all kinds (mechanical, electronic, biological, thermodynamic, the list of systems is open-ended). How machines are put together, how and why they function, and how they can be improved are my bread and butter. I also have a passion for the arts, especially fantastic art - visions of possible futures and pasts as realized in oils, watercolors, computer graphics, wood, metal, television, film, stage, and just about any medium for creative expression.

The word "evolution" of course has a sociological context, and immediately conjures up images of primordial soup, dinosaurs, primates and humans engaged in a battle against time and the elements. Each organism is locked in mortal combat, striving to survive, and (consciously or not) is trying to better itself for the promise of an unknown future. Imagine then, my reaction to this advertisement for Saturn Consumer Electronics I recently came across from the Scholz & Friends Group. Is this robotic evolution, or Deus Ex Machina?

Within a few minutes of seeing this ad, I happened to stumble across another which addressed a similar theme, but where the evolutionary flow of time was reversed.

It also happened to feature another one of my..ummm...passions.

This advertisement, created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, won a top award at Cannes in 2006. I'm sure my colleagues in Great Britain will recall it, but I think I can safely say it never aired during the Super Bowl, or else Budweiser would have suffered record losses that year.

So, you see? I really wasn't going to unleash a charged debate on the origin of humanity. Evolution can co-exist with all kinds of design. Pre-determinism and free-will can find balance in the universe.

Now, where did I put my remote?

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