London, UK: running Think Tank designed to help funders find models that stay relevant as media and audiences evolve. Oct '14

The third time I've designed and ran the Power to the Pixel Think Tank. This year, situated at the swanky Quebec Goverment office in London, it's aim was to identify opportunities to innovate within support and funing for media. In Power to the Pixel's words "Bringing together the worlds leading funds, distributors, entrepreneurs and creators, participants of The Think Tank 2014 will work together to construct a new set of business models relevant to the current media climate. You can find out what the outcomes of the Think Tank are in The Think Tank Report, free to download from The Pixel Report – preregister for your copy here.

In the meantime, take a read of the new white paper Understanding Funders. Download your copy here."



London, UK: Pitch training lab participants for Pixel Market. Oct '14

OK, so there isn't a Power to the Pixel poster in the gents toilet of the Royal Society of Arts, but for the past three years, I've marvelled at the purest green decor when needing a break. This is the third time Power to the Pixel hase invited me back to coach the Lab participants through their pitches in preparation for the Pixel Market. Inspired by Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Black Swan, I took the casuality root - human beings like things that add up. There are two stories you should pitch, your story and the story of why you need to tell it.


Göteborg, Sweden: Revealing to film makers the place between the pen and the spoken word. Oct '14.

When we talk about out projects, we find ourselves adapting what we said an hour ago to fit with what we're saying now. When we write it down, we're confronted by having to concretise our thoughts, but forced into a  medium that's hard to open up around a table. Spent the afternoon with Västsvenska Filmdagarna showing film makers how visualising and mapping can help them develop their stories within their teams, how it enables collaborating and confronts the creative with their idea, mapped out in front of them.


Erfurt, Germany: Back 'home' running a workshop for Germany's leading children's media academy. Oct '14

Eight years ago I started working for the Akademie für Kindermedien as their Interactive mentor. For five weeks, spread out over six months the academy provides invaluable insight and practical input around media aimed at children – film, animation, TV series, books. Having left four years ago, it was fantastic to be invited back to provide a workshop during this year’s qualifying week.

The three-hour session started with some thoughts around Design Thinking and user-centered design, leading into group work. Four teams were created, with each receiving a video interview of a child recalling their media habits over the past week. The participants of the workshop were tasked with mapping these activities, extrapolating into the preceding and subsequent weeks.




Malmö, Sweden: 3 days mapping business models for SWIM LAB projects. Sept '14.


Three days to work on six projects: Bikes vs Cars, Land, Recho, Yabai!, Passionaire, Story Music. The focus was to map out their individual 'value chains' within a broader 'value system' context thereby helping the project owners see how to finance their projects. Participants included:

Elin Kamlert, Producer & Margarete Jangård, Producer
Glynnis Ritter, Junior Producer
Mads Damsbo, Producer & Åsmund Sollihøgda, Designer
Simon Klose, Producer 
Peter Eriksson, Director
Pelle Folmer & Kristian Sønderby, Director

Copenhagen, Denmark: Digging into the detail with Danish-Chinese start-up. Sept '14.

Without giving too much away around this hush-hush project, worked with young Danish entrepreneur Kristian Landerslev, to dig deep into target group habits and behaviours in order to identify the sweet-spot for this new app.


Copenhagen, Denmark: Pitch training for the third time for the Nordic's brightest's stars. Sept '14.

Two days to work on fifteen projects: Handling Ideas was asked back to the Danish Film School to work with the very best film makers that have recently graduated from across the Nordics. Working in parallel to DR's Karoline Leth, we set out to prepare the post-grads for their 'pitch & Q&A' to both a jury panel (Executive Director of Eurimages Roberto Olla, animation film director Kari Juusonen (FI), Director of Programmes at TV4 Åsa Sjöberg (SE), Executive Director - Promotions & International Relations at The Norwegian Film Institute Stine Helgeland (NO) and Director Annette K. Olesen (DK).) and to the great and the good from across the film industry at the Nordic Talents event, 2014


Selling the bleeding obvious - the first two years.


Tonbach, Germany: 3rd time back to work on Power to the Pixel's 'Pixel Lab'. July '14.

This time deep Germany's Black Forrest working with participants as they develop their projects. As their website says "Designed to give participants the skills and knowledge needed to create, finance and distribute stories across multiple platforms, The Pixel Lab is the ultimate cross-media workshop for European media professionals wanting to capitalise on the value of their intellectual property."


Fårö, Gotland, Sweden: Working on a small island with Pure Fiction. June '14.

Working with several repeat clients in one: Film i Skåne, BoostHbg, Film Stockholm on the beautiful, far away island of Fårö, sitting pretty off the north coast of Gotland; Sweden. 

Amanda Kernell,Therese Ahlbeck, Maria Eriksson, Emelie Lindblom, Jonna Nilsson, Lovisa Sirén and Fanni Metelius. 

La Rochelle, France: Out in the open market with Sunny Side of the Doc. June '14

Sitting pretty out in the open, a first for Handling Ideas as we set up 'shop' in the corner of a media market. Sunny Side of the Doc invited HI down to work with a six documentaries to help them map out their interactive offerings.


Copenhagen, Denmark: Magic Hour Films records session with view on investment. June '14.

Second time around for Handling Ideas to be asked to work with the talented Cecilia Valsted and Lars Brask Frederiksen from Magic Hour Films, Copenhagen. Last time we unfolded the outreach plans for a documentarty around events in Hungary, c.1989, this time it was Sirrea Leone. The session was recorded with the intention to use parts of the morning's work within a kickstarter campaign. 


Øverbygd, Norway: Sticking LEGO where the sun always shines with Sources2. June '14

Back with Sources2 for the fourth time, this time well above the artic circle to their annual retreat at Filmcamp to work on their script development workshop. Thirteen projects in two days provided a variety of themes, topics, characters and challenges.


Copenhagen, Denmark: Handling a session for team developing content authoring tool. June '14. 

Got to work with the talented and visionary Bjarke Myrthu and his team on their latest project 'Blindspot', here in Copenhagen. Fascinating project that's targeting the needs and expectations of users currently let down by what’s possible around content authoring, curation and sharing on the web.


Rhonda, Spain: helping to accelerate the careers of film and TV producers. June '14

Not a bad place to be working. Invited down to the beautiful Andalusian town of Rhonda to work with the prestigious Media Business School on their Mega Plus programme.

"mega plus is a nine month, project-based master’s programme that provides specialised training in audiovisual company management and content production. It’s geared to young producers, recent film school or university graduates who wish to accelerate their careers, and to film executives who want to update their skills to face the radical changes that are taking place in the audiovisual business."


Stockholm, Sweden: Going back to the core with the Swedish Film Institute. June '14

The set-up to a three hour session involving fourteen representatives of the Swedish Film Institute (SFI). The objective was to map out the activites and stakeholders of the SFI in order to explore ways to support new forms of content through the Film agreement. Those present, included:

Anders Wilhelmsson, Andra Lasmanis, Andreas Fock, Annelie Juliusson, Antonio Russo Merenda, Baker Karim, Hjalmar Palmgren, Josefina Mothander, Magdalena Jangard, Pia Lundberg, Ramon Reismüller, Susanne Tiger & Theo Tsappos.


Vilnius, Lithuania: Presentation for Cross Media Zen plus workshops. May '14.

The plane from Copenhagen doesn't turn when it flies the straight line out across the Baltic. Invited over by Ruta Boguzaite, MEDIA Desk Lithuania to speak at the 4th annual Cross Media Zen, "an interactive conference and workshop dedicated to cross-platform storytelling", with a "special attention will be given to audience engagement and interactive storytelling, illustrated with leading case studies from across the world as well as Lithuania." Day 2, and the LEGO was out as we worked through five projects that had been selected for development.

Photos by Kristina Sereikaite, commisisoned by CROSS MEDIA ZEN 2014

Projects and their owners were:

“The Neighborhood” from Lukas Trimonis & Gailė Garnelytė at iNSCRiPT
“Milk Bar” from Agnė Adomėnė & Urtė Budinaitė at Art Shot
“Blured Border” from Andrius Lekavičius and Gabrielė Vaičiūnaitė at Prime Field
“Perfect Match Architects” from Jurga Zabukaitė at Trumas
“Face of the Sun” from Ieva Bužinskaitė at Apricot Films

Stockholm, Sweden: Mapping for Filmregion Stockholm-Mälardalen Debut. May '14

Two days up at Filmstaden Råsunda, Stockholm, working across seven projects to help map out their stories and in some instances, their outreach through cross media.  Both fiction and documentary, we dealt with themes and topis from conflicts of love, trolls, detention centers, Swedish trailer parks, Iraqi refugees and what happens when we want to find work.

Photos by Claudia Fried


Copenhagen, Denmark: Handling a session for leading communication agency, Advice A/S. May '14. 

Ran a session for Advice A/S. Focused in on one key project, centering around a fairly meaty client. With three of the project team members around the table and around twenty or so Advice folks watching, it made for a great session - with the following reactions:

"What you did in the session, conveying the essence of the project. others struggle to do with a 300 page strategy report. It forced people to make decisions - that's what makes it so powerful."          Ralf Lodberg, Executive Director and Partner


"By seeing everything out on the table, it meant for the first time I could see the narrative unfold."          Nino Dedenroth, Senior Concept Developer.


"Companies need tools to translate strategy into something meaningful - your tool does exactly that."          Pernille Ernstved Rype, Senior Advisor.

Innovation happens when you bring critical & creative thinking into the same space.

Bringing critical and creative thinking into the same space reveals our justifications and shortcuts the one thing we’re always lacking when we innovate – time.

There’s so much talk of holistic solutions and co-creation within the product, service and media industry, yet such talk is hot air if we ignore the weak links within the concept development chain. I believe that it all comes down to our inability to deal with large amounts of information within the creative space and hidden motives. We’re throwing away the very thing that makes us creative, context.

The Handling Ideas method solves this by creating a single place for critical and creative thinking to come together. By visualising, mapping and prototyping we’re able to handle much larger amounts of input and see the rational for our innovation, and this is the why and how.

A right Royal Affair

In 1999, Peter Mechels, a man ahead of his time, said ‘if content is King, then context is his mistress’. Maintaining the monarch’s role appeased the content makers and yet a nod to the royal lover revealed where the real influence was growing. Forward wind fifteen years and understanding context has shown itself to be vital if storytellers, content makers, designers, communicators and marketers are to gain attention around their content and stay relevant.

It’s all around you

Critical thinking gives us context, by breaking down what’s happening in the world around us: how do audiences respond to a theme, how do travellers move through an airport, when do shoppers switch from high street to online. Irrespective of whether you’re an artist, designer, developer, commissioner, financier, communicator or marketer you explore the situations that both reinforce old needs and generate new ones. You take the trends, patterns, cultural shifts and social norms that arise from the adoption of new technologies, policies and practices and turn them into strategies. Such strategies in turn give creative thinkers a direction to generate content: the stories, concepts, projects, products, campaigns and services, that want to make an impact.

So where’s the problem?

Teams often struggle to handle the insight that is gathered around audience behaviours, attitudes, motives, goals etc. within the creative space. Documents are great containers for such data. They’re light and travel quickly and easily, but all too often, the stuff they contain, is ignored. Rather than incorporate this rich source of inspiration, it remains buried within the written summaries and conclusions. There doesn’t appear to be a natural fit within the more open and creative blank canvas of the creative thinking stage. So how can we create a single space in which critical thinking and creative thinking can come together so that the things we create are shaped by the insight we’ve gained? How can content be created as a response to context? How can we expose and manage the variety of motives for how a concept is developed? The answer? We visualise, map and prototype everything in one single space.

Horse and the cart

Let’s start moments after we’ve had an idea or received a brief. If we start with critical thinking rather than simply building on the idea, we can explore and map context. Here we can capture our assumptions e.g. how we imagine someone might interact with an existing service, say an ATM machine or an audio-visual historical guide to a museum. We can map out where they’ve come from, their goal, and their motive for that goal, their expectations, desired outcome, the way they navigate the existing service and their exit route. At any stage, we can replace our assumptions with genuine insight, modifying our map as we research and tighten the journey. We might even map in the competitors, their products and alternative services etc. The journey becomes a frame, containing both hypotheses and real data. It reveals context. We can also map in the little that we know of our new service. Even if it’s not yet formed, we can still represent us, the owner of the service, our goals, motives, stakeholder needs, desired outcomes etc. Our concept starts to form alongside the insight, exploiting various touch points between the behaviour and actions of the user and our new service; our content is forming alongside context.

Shortcut to the gold

But what makes the Handling Ideas approach so special is that when we choose one object from amongst hundreds of other objects to map, we expose the justification for each choice, thereby revealing our rationale at that point within the development. Understanding rationale is gold dust because it speeds things up by getting to the essence of the work.

It doesn’t have to be complicated

By mapping and justifying each of the elements that make up the concept, including tangible ones (user, product, output etc.) and intangible ones, (motive, conflict, goal etc.) we ensure that everyone understands what lies behind the work and can retain much more information as they co-create. If someone says “I’m going to represent the user with this small dog because it reminds me that the user is very dependent at this stage”, people will both remember that it’s there to represent the user and that the person choosing the object believes that one key aspect of that user is that they are dependent. Suddenly critical and creative thinking combines, as everyone is able to express, hold and understand a greater amount of information. It’s that simple.