Monday, 16 April 2007

Book Draft Part 5

This is now online for those still remotely up with this hectic reading and commenting schedule.
part 5 link

Do feel free to jump in at this point of course. In many ways the book gets more interesting/radical as it goes on.

Also I am shortly taking down the introductory part 1 anyway, to respect my publishers wishes that I dont have too much of the book online in draft form at once (there are 7 parts in total - or 7 chunks I have divided the book into for convenience) and also because my friend James just gave me a ton of good editing notes for that section on top of the ones I already had.

If anyone wants a draft of the whole book in word format to browse & feedback on they are welcome, I just cant put it all up here at once, not that I'd personally mind that much if it was pirated and went on to have a huge impact on Chinese student populations etc. But John Wiley certainly would mind!


john dodds said...

Ok - here's what i'd like to see. At start of each grid section - in addition to the two examples you put in the graphic, a three or four line exposition of the marketing thrust of this grid section. Done in non product-specific terms - something along the lines of what sort of idea youre wanting the user to buy into. I think that might anchor each section well (even if anchors should go at the bottom).

Oh - in keeping with the Chinese piracy motif, I appear to have been designated a non-person with respect to part 1 which i cannot access. Can that be remedied?

John Grant said...

Yep, working on the grid, I am going to do a whole suite of versions/info etc. and use them throughout, will fwd to you next few days

Meanwhile JD you are all set, hopefully. Just use your email address and they should let you in :J

john dodds said...

Just in case it wasn't clear, I meant at the start of each exposition about a grid section - not within the grid itself.

Charles Frith said...

A few comments. You write, 'for instance nearly everyone recycles'. Not sure if that's the case quite yet.
It also occurs to me that one of those trigger issues for greenormal are light bulbs. I heard that Cuba is going to make it mandatory to use the energy saving bulbs. Wouldn't it be in Philips interest to lobby government to make it mandatory elsewhere too? Seat belts weren't always compulsory and so on.

While walking down Croydon high street at the weekend I came across animal rights activist highlighting the welfare conditions for pigs that M&S buy and sell. It was quite emotive stuff and it struck me that nobody is without sin, but those that like to project their green credentials the most are most definitely the most visible targets. There were some admissions in the leaflets being given that M&S were improving conditions but it got me wondering, despite thinking less about this issue than climate change, that it's all very much interrelated. Uphill task thinking I guess.

On the subject of packaging. I'm always reminded of the German supermarket system which is very much about the produce and less about the packaging because the stores, I think by law, have to leave an area where excessive packaging can be taken off and left at the store. So for instance those lovely M&S meals (i just had a chicken/Yorkshire pudding thing tonight) they come in the foil tin, plastic wrapped and then cardboard wrapped. Once you know how to cook them, the cardboard isn't necessary. That can all be left behind and it spurs the supermarkets to encourage their suppliers to cut unnecessary waste out. Always interesting to see people taking off the fancy colours, like an all round sensible protest vote/action. Hmm yes. Excessive packaging. Another nail in the coffin for pointless consumer culture as indeed I think Christmas cards are.

I understand that Sainsburys are going to introduce a durable shopping bag designed by Anya Hindemarch. My test the water vox pop says that they should give them away free and then charge a ridiculous amount for the plastic bags. Another target for legislation I say!

Hurrah.. Noam Chomsky just made it into the book. He's the man :)

Hah.. And George Lakoff. ^5 :)

I think if there is one word which I see used in this chapter which I think represents all that is good with greenormal and is instinctively a common sense word for most people, it's frugality. No coincidence I guess that Froogle could easily tie into those ebay/craigslist distribution ideas aired at the beginning of the chapter. The whole disinter-mediation thing should theoretically still be in it's infancy and be a driving force for how our needs are met in a responsible manner. Yes, frugal is good. Only a fool would argue against it and if they wish, they can stand rounds in the pub and contest otherwise, to make the point. I'm always happy to listen to the case for extravagance protagonists in that kind of environment :)

Love all the humanisation observations of technology stuff. Really good read. Philosophical overview on historical analysis. I was watching a TED talks video of Jeff Bezos earlier today. Time saving devices seem to be seen as saviours. Increased productivity as a panacea for economic health when a cheeky suggestion I have is that if China, India and the U.S. could readopt the siesta it would probably be enough to slow climate change without changing a thing. Idealistic I know but there's something quite horrific with all this time we save ourselves. Slow foods being one example of a small trend that is emerging against relentless efficiency. Efficiency that is clearly not in the end effective.

One of the big thoughts that I'm struck by is how to diminish luxury lust. You talk about how people are culturally resistant to cutting back on luxury or ease of use with washing machines or using public transport after the ease of personal car travel. I can relate to this hugely on a transport level. The first time I flew transcontinental business class I never wanted to go back. It's almost an affront to the senses to go coach after that. I'm over it now, and it's not really a green issue in this instance but the lessons are. I kind of know the secrets of a better flight. Stretching the legs often, choosing an aisle seat, if possible an emergency exit aisle seat for the long legs to relax, taking frequent stretch walks, befriending the flight attendants (not always possible), taking the tray back after meals (a meaningless but welcome gesture, and an opportunity to get up instead of being pinned down by by a meal tray), actually I have a bunch of ideas that I'd like to run past an airline one day but I guess my point is that I use ideas to overcome restrictions. It becomes a pleasing game to buck the system each time. Maybe there is something of this in the necessary downshifting to frugality. It is actually more fun in much the same way that public transport is a brilliant way to 'breath' in humanity. Hopping off a bus is so much more fun than circling Soho looking for a parking space isn't it. Not sure if I've conveyed anything here. Waiting for a bus in the cold rain isn't fun but it's certainly so much more humane. I've noticed that cyclists are appreciative to do that nodding thing to each other on the road now like people who drive similar quirky cars did a while ago. That's where greenormal living needs to be. Great chapter. Enjoyed it!

John Grant said...

JD - got it
I think its the grid which will help you navigate & I like the idea of zooming into sections/using descriptions as you say. I've got to slightly watch it with space use is the only thing, but it may add so much in navigability its worth it

Charles - I actually think we should publish an online edition with an anthology of your comments, they're brilliant as always

Andy said...

I'm seriously loving this!

The reference to design reminded me of some of the work profiled in Massive Change by Bruce Mau et al under the heading of Cycle to Cycle. "Instead of disposing of waste, think about how to use it as an input. The goal is no waste generation at all. Apply the intelligence of nature to human needs. Waste=Food".

Seems there are some parallel's in the thinking too... Mau's book is largely posited on the fact that design "is changing its place in the order of things" and that it needs to reconcieve itself into a broader social context, be less fixed by the boundaries of traditional disciplines.

Sound familiar?

Righto. All this has re-invigorated me. I want to do marketing and planning stuff again. Off to change the way marketers here look at the world...

On second thought maybe a cup of tea and a bit of a think required first ;-)