A new angle on thinking

Friday, 27 February 2009 by

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) has come up with a typically creative way to assess a person’s aptitude for working in the advertising and communication industries. Successful people in these sectors tend to have a skill known as Diagonal Thinking: they’re able to shift effortlessly between logical, rational thinking and creative or lateral thinking.

Naturally, this is a useful talent for the creative types (designers and copywriters) working in advertising and communication, but also applies to the account handlers, media buyers, financial experts and so on. Anywhere, in fact, where new ideas and approaches are needed.

So if you’ve got about an hour to spare and want to find out if you’re a diagonal thinker or not, work your way through the timed self-assessment test. It’s a really interesting exercise – and you get a score at the end too, for both linear (logical) thinking and lateral (creative) thinking.

P.S. I managed to score “High” in both categories, so I guess I am a diagonal thinker!

Improve your word power

Wednesday, 25 February 2009 by

Free Rice is a brilliant website that gives you the chance to build your vocabulary at the same time as feeding the world!

For every word definition you get right (and some are tough), this organisation donates 10 grains of rice via the UN World Food Program. Over 60 billion grains have been donated to date, which just proves how addictive the game is and/or how altruistic word-buffs can be!

And if words aren’t your thing, you can use the site to answer questions on art, chemistry, geography or maths, or even to learn words in a new language.

Choosing the best…

Monday, 23 February 2009 by

Seeing the results of last night’s Oscars made me think about how I choose which films to rent or buy.

An award from the Academy (such as the Best Actor trophy picked up by Sean Penn – left) certainly might encourage me to see something I’d otherwise overlook. But an alternative is to go on the recommendations of friends who’ve already seen the film (or by the same token, heard a new CD or read a great book). Why?

Because, if you know your friends well enough, you’ll have a sense of what they like and whether you usually agree (or not) with their critical judgements.

But this starts getting a little stranger when you think about how many times you’ve made a choice on Amazon (or similar) as a direct result of the comments made by complete strangers. Are we swayed by the sheer number of reviewers voting one way or the other? Or is something else at play? Perhaps you can shed some light on this? In the meantime, I’ll go downstairs and watch my DVD of Annie Hall.

Retro posters

Friday, 20 February 2009 by

The designer Shepard Fairey recently came to my attention (thanks to Creative Review) for his excellent posters – here are two of them – that captured the spirit of the Obama presidential campaign.
However, while his latest design (also highlighted by CR on a recent blog) is also for a cause that I favour, it looks too similar to the Obama/Vote poster to get my approval as a piece of original design.
What do you think?

First blip on the radar

Friday, 20 February 2009 by


Welcome to the Rich Radar, the blog by Richard Harrison.

This is the first blip on my radar, so I wanted to show you what I see whenever I look up from my desk. It’s a print by my wife’s uncle, Peter Knock, called “Bright Future” (of which more later).

In the meantime, here’s a flavour of the topics I’m likely to cover in this blog:

Words, Writing & Marketing
I’m a professional copywriter, which means that I create the words that companies use on their websites, in their ads, in their brochures… and every other type of communication. Not surprisingly then, I’m a lover of words and writing. And since I help firms to promote their products and services, I also keep an eye on the latest marketing news.

Books, Films, Music & Sport
These are just some of the things that entertain and inform me, and help inspire me too. So future blogs may well include my thoughts on the latest Ian McKewan novel, Sam Mendes movie or Death Cab for Cutie album… plus a lot of other great artists in their chosen field.

I mentioned getting inspired, and the latest business book by Ian Sanders that I finished recently did just that. From time to time, I might also write about football, rugby or another sport that I enjoy either doing or watching.

Business & Current Affairs
I enjoy getting info on politics and government, both here and abroad, and often use the Beeb as my starting point.

My company (RichWords Limited) offers its services to enterprises of all sizes, so I like to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in the business world. At the time of writing, there’s a lot of doom and gloom due to the recession in the UK, but I’m sure some of the talk and media coverage is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we could be more positive and upbeat, wouldn’t we be likely to come out of this dip sooner? I think so – and that’s why I look up at Peter’s illustration and believe the future’s bright (although not, necessarily, Orange).

OK, enough of the content lists. I’ll be back with some more thoughts later.