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Welcome the New

Tokyo: resolve

Kicking off the year with a couple of days downtime in Tokyo, enough breathing space to reflect on the last, and plan for the new.

2010 started in Los Angeles and a +1 to the family. A hazy time for sure, wonderfully warm memories on new years eve of tiptoeing out of the hospital and driving to a vantage point in Beverly Hills – to sip on a cocktail of distant fireworks and the sparkling magic that is LA at night. Mountains and even modest (Beverly) hills invite reflection – it’s one thing to know that life will be a little different, another thing entirely to know how it is going to be different.

Vive la différence.

As Los Angeles’s ambient winter shifted into an ambient spring resigned from Nokia and joined frog design, a process a number of folks assume happened quickly – but in fact it took about 6 months of mulling options and conversations with the senior frog team. In the past year Nokia has lost a lot of good talent, and is going to have to fight hard (and pay through the nose) to retain and attract what it needs to stay in the top tier.

Not having a formal resume or a portfolio continues to be a good thing.

Having reluctantly left behind a very talented Nokia team in Los Angeles (led by guvnor and gent Rhys Newman) I was drawn to frogShanghai by the start-up smarts and diversity of a studio that has grown organically from 3 people working out of an apartment/office only three years ago, to ~45+ now, with another ~450 in our global studios. (If you want to work on a world class roster of design, innovation and strategy projects across centered in China, working across Asia then ping your resume to info at janchipchase.com).

One of the upsides of switching jobs was a three month break – a time spent relocating family from LA to Shanghai, and an around-the-world-trip-or-two.

The year included a number of speaking gigs – including a CES Keynote, dropping in on the State Department, back to back slots in London and NYC for the Economist and memorable night with a packed-to-the-rafters talk on design research here in Shanghai. Whilst its a secondary motivation – its always nice when the research is covered by the media – from the Economist, Business Week, Wired, Fortune plus a recent tidal wave of Chinese press. I’ve also started a new monthly print/online column in the Economic Observer (China’s FT/WSJ), which is syndicated across many sites, with another for M-Style coming soon. Come to think of it, there’s a piece about the research in Afghanistan going up on National Geographic tomorrow. Crikey.

Travel highlights for the year included trekking out to the gates of hell in Turkmenistan, running guerilla street interviews in Afghanistan, working alongside the frog team in Nanjing/Taipei/Tokyo and unlikely as it sounds, experiencing Munich for the first time. It’s difficult to put a value of family downtime in Kyoto, so I won’t.

Two confirmed events for the coming year: keynotes and on the judging panel at the Mobile World Congress in Barcalona, and looking forward to diving back into TED community in Long Beach.

Today’s office? The Corner Cafe, the Narita Express and seat 4A on NH921 to Shanghai.

Tomorrow? Back in the out of office.

Follow the interesting, inspire others to do the same and the rest will fall into place. See you on the other side.