Three new subversive treats for the eyes and the creative mind:

The Take: Occupy. Resist. Produce. There have been several movies made about the anti-corporatism movement, but The Take, a new documentary from Naomi Klein (nologo) and Avi Lewis (son and grandson of the former NDP leaders, and producer of Counterspin), is different. Its heroes don’t just protest, they take charge. The website intro says it perfectly):

In the wake of Argentinaís spectacular economic collapse in 2001, Latin Americaís most prosperous middle class finds itself in a ghost town of abandoned factories and mass unemployment. In suburban Buenos Aires, thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave. All they want is to re-start the silent machines. But this simple act óthe take óhas the power to turn the globalization debate on its head. The directors take viewers inside the lives of ordinary visionaries, as they reclaim their work, their dignity and their democracy.

What they mean by “turning globalization on it’s head” is that, instead of striking, withholding services, the people’s best response to corporatism is insisting on working, not allowing the government-corporate hegemony, what Lewis’ grandfather called “the corporate welfare class”, to deprive workers of their right to decent jobs. Watch the trailer. And if you can’t see the movie in your theatres, you’ll soon be able to buy it on the website. Think of it as an investment in the movement, and in Canada’s venerable National Film Board, a wonderful example of the value of government support of independent media.

I’ve realized that this is what is missing from by book Natural Enterprise, perhaps the ‘hook’ it needs to attract a publisher: A manifesto for how taking the economy into our own hands, and wrenching it away from the conspiracy of thieves who run it today will benefit the vast majority, and perhaps save our world in the process. As Klein says puts it: “Argentina is supposedly this heavily indebted country that owes everything to the world. What people in Argentina are saying is ‘actually, you owe us, weíve been subsidizing you.’ And theyíre not just saying it, theyíre acting on it. And to me thatís the future of activism.”

On the Day the World Ends: Here’s a stunning example of poetry combined with film, brought to you by Adbusters. I’ve got to learn to do this. Just watch.

Free the Genie: Creative thinking from a small partnership of innovation consultants called Idea Champions. Fifty-five hints to stimulate creativity and lateral thinking are posted on cards. You can deal one out online (like the one pictured above). You can buy ($20) the whole deck and deal yourself a hand to provoke your thinking in real space. You can even have the deck installed on your corporate intranet so everyone can use it to get their right brains moving. I’ve read through quite a few of the cards and the quality is uniformly excellent. A great deal of thought and work has obviously gone into their development.

The Idea Champions website is one of the finest sites I have ever seen — cleverly designed, well laid out, aesthetically attractive, content-rich, stimulating, and it makes full use of the visual and interactive aspects on the online experience. I’ve been exchanging e-mails with Idea Champion Mitch Ditkoff, and I’m really hooked. There are hours of useful and fascinating guidance on their website, all of it smartly written. The free downloads are great fun, and having fun at work is clearly a hallmark of the group’s philosophy. The FAQ is hilarious, and you actually feel you’ve got to know the people at Idea Champions by the time you finish it. And one of their products, Innovator 2.0, includes a ‘collaboration space’ to allow shared creative activities. Readers will know I’m a skeptic about whether an ‘online collaboration tool’ is even possible, but if anyone can pull this off, they can. I’m also astonished that they can make ends meet in today’s anti-innovation business climate.

I’m hoping to get a peek into the inside workings of Idea Champions, and an opportunity to meet with their team. If I can, I’ll report more here on How to Save the World. Meanwhile, if your company recognizes the value of creative thinking and innovation, check these guys out.

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  1. SB says:

    Thank you for ‘On The Day The World Ends.’

  2. Jon Husband says:

    The “Idea Champions” site is indeed great !The content reminded me of, and made me go look for, the site of MG Taylor (who created a process called “Group Genius”), which was taken over by the Knowhere Store … workplaces, spaces and processes for innovation …. Group Genius is a hybrid, I guess, of Open Space, fyuture search and brainstorming with high-touch whiteboards, tinkertoys and stuff all moshed together.I’ve been wondering what this whole area of mgt development meets innovation and creativity workshops has been going for the last two or three years. As you learn more about idea champions, i’ll look forward to learning more from you.

  3. J.D. Hollis says:

    ‘Free the Genie’ reminds me of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies- I have a copy installed on my Palm. Check out the original(s) at They’re much more, well, oblique-

  4. Supplementary to the Argentinian factory workers: there’s a great little radio doc to be found at the Public Radio Exchange. Great resource by the way.

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks, everyone, for the links and comments. Brian: The PBE piece is excellent, showing how difficult the ‘occupation’ of the factories continues to be (challenges from the owners who abandoned the factories, policed harrassment, and difficulty of selling products when the old market in Argentina is ‘broken’. It also shows how important and valuable community support it. But boy it’s a heartwarming story. These are true entrepreneurs creating a new economy out of the ruins of one of the most pronounced class systems in the world.JD: The links to the Eno decks are all broken; could you give us a few samples, now you’ve got us so intrigued?

  6. joe says:

    hey, stumbled across your site from .. really liked some of your entries, keep it up!

  7. Cyndy says:

    I found the card I pulled from a game at the Idea Champions eerily related to something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, reliance on intuition.The card I got was “Suspend Logic””Logic, rationality and analysis are all essential to the future success of your project. But not at this particular moment.”In what ways can you let feeling – and only feeling – guide you for the next few days?~*~*~*~I think much of the time we’ve forgotten how to listen to ourselves and the environment, society and business have all paid a price. I’m keeping the link to the Idea Champions on my desk at work as you suggested! The other links are exceptional too! Thank you.

  8. Hey Folks! Glad you like the FREE THE GENIE tool. Thanks for your kind words. FYI: We have just published the actual decks themselves (a set of 55 cards), so you can actually play with them, real time, in your hands.. .alone or with friends. Yes, they are still available as an online tool, but they can also be used as real time card games or something to catalyze a breakthrough off line. You can order them at the link below. $19.95 plus S&H. And feel free to contact me directly, as I am learning a lot about how people actually benefit from FREE THE GENIE. All the Best!Mitch Ditkoffwww.ideachampions.com

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