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Entertainment / Tips
Jan 26 - 2023
Reading time: 2'

Unsolicited advice

Look through all the Netflix shows and movies, scroll through your Kindle, search all you want: there always comes a time when you can’t find anything good to watch or read. And you give up. You decide to listen to music, but even your own playlists have started to sound ho-hum. It happens to all of us.
So here is a quick little selection of things that deserve to be seen, read, and listened to. Unsolicited advice, sometimes haphazard and perhaps questionable, but valid for one fundamental reason: they’ve left an impression on us. And, who knows? They may leave one on you too.

The technique and creativity of true innovators

Strictly unsolicited advice about things we’ve seen, heard, read or listened to since the start of 2023. Creative challenges that have led to unconventional techniques. Original ideas that have evolved into something amazing.

For those looking for inspiration, here is our short and practical list of things that deserve a “Wow!”.

MOVIE
Everything Everywhere All at Once
2022

Elusive and powerful. A drama-adventure slash science-fiction comedy with existential urges that kept us on the edge of our seat minute after minute as it transported us from a laundromat to the Alphaverse. Written and directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (pseudonym: Daniels) this jewel of a film seems to say that, if life has no meaning, then every moment is surely significant. Released last year, the film returns to the cinema in February 2023 thanks to its recent victory at the Golden Globes, Oscar nominations and other awards. A must-see!

GRAPHIC NOVEL
Asterios Polyp
2009

A professor, a fire, the choices of a lifetime in question. David Mazzucchelli’s first graphic novel is a masterpiece. The story begins when a lightning strike pierces the night on Asterios Polyp’s 50th birthday. From then on, it’s a journey toward destiny. To be devoured.

TV SERIES
Kaleidoscope
2023

Even if the plot is nothing extraordinary, this experiment produced by Netflix merits watching. It’s the first series consisting of eight episodes that can be viewed in random order. The title of each one is a color and, just like in a kaleidoscope, the colors can be combined every which way. Creativity for the viewer (there are 5,040 possible ways to discover the story!) and a remarkable technical-stylistic exercise. To study.

VIDEOGAME
The Last of Us
2013

While awaiting the release of the entire HBO TV series (January and February 2023), we highly recommend the original videogame: one of the best of all time (and one of the most awarded too). Plot, music, design: everything about its release in 2013 was a revelation. And everything remains, even today, practically unsurpassed. To play or re-play.

BOOK
The Extended Mind
2022

Rather than using your head to find creative solutions, at times, it might be more useful to use your body. Or at least, this is the advice of Annie Murphy Paul, a renowned science writer whose book explains how, to think better, sometimes you need to use your brain less. A must-read.
Translated by ROI Edizioni.

Utilities / News
May 16 - 2024
Reading time: 1'

How to make a convention engaging: our concept-event for Illumia

From Giacomo Poretti to Nicola Laurora: a plenary with special guests and immersive experiences inspired by new brand values.

This 2024 was a special edition of Give&Go – Illumia’s annual meeting dedicated to reflecting on corporate milestones and launching new goals. A time to celebrate the one million customers achieved, reveal the new brand values (the first piece of the ongoing rebranding), and inspire collaborators and employees to face the future with a positive attitude. For this, we worked in synergy with Illumia to create an event that could make everyone feel part of this change.
Speed, courage, beauty, trust, knowledge, gratuitousness: we presented Illumia’s six new values as six drivers for change; six useful tools for every employee to face future challenges with the right mindset.

Based on these, we designed and built several experiences that combined history, sports, and street art, with some special guests: Francesco Seveso (boxing coach and sports psychologist of a very young Charles Leclerc), medievalist historian Federico Canaccini, illustrator Nicola “Nico189” Laurora (who painted a mural, directly involving employees in its creation), and actor Giacomo Poretti, who closed the convention with his own monologue and interview.

In addition to the concept-event, we also produced all communication materials: audio content, video, graphics and gadgets.

We have been Illumia’s communication consultants for nine years: we are proud to also accompany the company in its ongoing evolution, and to have contributed to making this significant plenary a memorable, engaging and innovative experience.

Entertainment / Tips
Mar 28 - 2024
Reading time: 4'

Keep up with AI. Top Voices to Follow

Dive into the pulse of AI innovation with the top voices reshaping our future. Discover, learn, and… Stay ahead!

In the fast-paced realm of artificial intelligence, staying abreast of the latest developments isn’t just important—it’s a non-negotiable element of professional growth. But with a multitude of voices and sources out there, finding the best is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

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Reading and listening: here’s our list

To answer that need, we seek out voices from various industries, cultures, and disciplines. We believe it’s crucial to diversify perspectives in order to discover fresh knowledge.

So here’s a curated list of public figures and podcasts to follow if you’re eager—like us—to explore the latest in AI innovation.

Global Visionaries Influencing the Future

Geoff Hinton: The Godfather of Deep Learning

Why follow him? Hinton’s groundbreaking work on neural networks and AI paved the way for contemporary machine learning. Ex-fellow at Google, Hinton remains at the helm of AI’s future.

Where to follow him? YouTube, X/Twitter feed, and Google Scholar publications.

 

Andrej Karpathy: At the Crossroads of AI and Society

Why follow him? Previously Director of AI Tesla, and part of the founding team at OpenAI, Karpathy’s role at the forefront of AI’s integration into the fabric of society offers a unique look into the technology’s expansion and challenges.
Where to follow him? His X/Twitter account, his website and YouTube Channel.

 

Fei-Fei Li: Championing Ethical AI

Why follow her? Li’s leadership at Stanford’s Institute for Human-Centered AI ensures a strong emphasis on ethical AI use, an increasingly critical area in the technology’s development.
Where to follow her? Check out her insights on ethical AI by watching her video interviews on YouTube, or connect with her intellectual rigor through her Stanford Profile.

Podcasts and podcasters worth exploring

AI Chats by Jaeden Schafer

Why listen to it? This podcast dives into the world of ChatGPT and cutting-edge AI news, delving into its impact on our daily lives through in-depth discussions and interviews with leading experts in the field. Jaeden Schafer, globally recognized as one of the top AI podcasters, combines academic rigor with practical expertise to lead the conversation in each episode.

Practical AI: The capacity for good

Why listen to it? Because it’s a podcast that explores the positive side of artificial intelligence. The series hones in on the intersection of AI automation, customer support, and customer experience, and features real-life stories of how AI has improved people’s lives.

The AI Breakdown by Nathaniel Whittermore

Why listen to it? This podcast is a daily news analysis show on all things artificial intelligence: from the explosion of creativity brought on by new tools like Midjourney, ChatGPT, and AutoGPT to the potential disruptions to work and industries. Whittermore is an independent strategy and communications consultant, and a seasoned podcaster.

Last Week in AI

Why listen to it? Because it’s a weekly appointment that summarizes and discusses the most interesting developments in AI, deep learning, robotics, and more!

Hard Fork by The New York Times

Why listen to it? “Hard Fork” is a show about the future that’s already here. Each week, journalists Kevin Roose and Casey Newton explore and make sense of the latest in the rapidly changing world of tech.

Navigating the AI WORLD

The world of AI is bursting with innovations and discussions. In this constantly evolving realm, the savviest voices can help us enrich our knowledge, guide our choices, and spark our growth. Whether you’re an executive, entrepreneur, or student, it doesn’t matter; right now, we’re all called upon to engage with something new, something unfamiliar. So stay curious, keep informed, and, above all, never stop seeking!

Innovation / Insights
Feb 14 - 2024
Reading time: 3'

Blossom AI HUB. What We mean by evolution

We are in the midst of a digital revolution, witnesses to a groundbreaking shift: something that will transcend technology as we know it and become part of our social and cultural fabric. Consciously or not, we are moving away from traditional methods as we embrace artificial intelligence, triggering significant changes in human interactions, industries, and power systems.

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THE LOCUS OF CHANGE

With life moving at an ever-faster pace in a rapidly evolving technological landscape, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The onslaught of digital novelties and the constant influx of information can be challenging to manage, even for the most experienced.
The new Blossom AI Hub was born for this reason. Our AI Hub doesn’t aim to be a center for technological advancement, but a place to help people understand this moment and cultivate a mindset open to change. Our purpose is to support and prepare businesses and individuals so they can face the future head-on. This is our idea of evolution: a shared attitude that embraces the future.

A VIBRANT COMMUNITY

Sharing is a fundamental element of this attitude towards change. That’s why we’ve chosen to create a HUB, because we aim to build a broad community capable of encompassing employees and entrepreneurs, experts and enthusiasts, all driven by the desire to seek new solutions, learn new things, and exchange ideas that redefine the boundaries of innovation.

AN INVESTMENT IN TOMORROW

At the center of everything, of course, are people. Without people, there is no innovation, let alone evolution. That’s why continuous learning is key: in the last year at Blossom, we have significantly invested in internal training, completing over 960 hours of AI training in less than four months, involving all of our collaborators. A mission that goes beyond Artificial Intelligence, because continuous education stimulates people and creates an environment open to transformation.

TOWARDS THE FUTURE

By integrating AI into our work and investing in training, we have gained strategic awareness of its best uses, limitations, and possibilities. With the launch of our AI Hub, we are now ready to offer a wide range of services to accompany clients on their journey to deepen their knowledge and the application of AI in their work.

For us, change is not an abstract concept but the concrete result of a series of choices and actions that can be learned and applied anywhere.

The AI HUB has been created with the aim of sharing our vision and our latest findings. Because for us, evolution is – above all – a shared mindset, a real approach to change.

Culture
Oct 6 - 2023
Reading time: 5'

The Static Force of Photography. An Interview with Giulio Di Sturco

The winner of the three-time World Press Photo on his current work: “I don’t care about the photography. I care about what a person discovers beyond my photos.”
Read the interview.

READING TIME 10′
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Aerotropolis© Giulio di Sturco

Giulio Di Sturco is one of Italy’s most prominent documentary photographers. Through his lens, he’s told stories from around the world. His “gaze” possesses the extraordinary ability to make viewers pause and ask themselves, “What am I looking at?”

We meet with him via video call. He’s connected from his studio in Arles, the European capital of photography. The encounter is digital, but with Giulio, the conversation feels instantly genuine and grounded. Perhaps it’s because it’s August. It’s hot, and we’re all a bit more relaxed, or perhaps it’s his Ciociaro accent. Either way, we feel immediately at home. And not just any home, but the home of a master in international photography. We take advantage of the moment and delve right in with a question that leads us catapults us into his life.

Aerotropolis© Giulio Di Sturco

Q. What did we interrupt with this call, Giulio?

A. I’ll give you two answers, one less formal and one more formal. The first is that my wife and my 4-year-old daughter went on vacation, so I was enjoying the silence and solitude (he laughs). No, actually, I’m editing a book on a project I’ve just finished… Well, I’m not sure if it’s really finished, but it needs to be organized. It’s a project about airport cities (note: the project is Aerotropolis) I started it in 2014. Now I’ve printed all the photos and I’m selecting them. Then, a contemporary art curator will help me piece it all together. You know, on long-term projects, an external perspective is crucial. It always seems to me that something is missing, but that’s not necessarily the case…

Q. That’s great news! But before we talk about the future, let’s go back to the very beginning. When did you realize you would become a photographer?

A. I come from four generations of photographers. I’m from Roccasecca near Cassino, a town in the lower Lazio region. During the famous Battle of Monte Cassino, my great-grandfather took photos of soldiers fleeing the war. Then, my grandfather and my parents continued the tradition: they had a portrait studio in town. But in those days, as per the norm, I ruled out the possibility of following in their footsteps. Then I went to study at IED in Rome, and that’s where I met Angelo Turetta. He’s one of Italy’s most important documentary photographers and a renowned scene photographer. He has an energy, a way of immersing you in stories, in a reportage, that I really liked. He was the light that illuminated everything.

Q. Do you remember your first documentary project?

A. Of course! After school, I moved to Canada. Back then, “city portraits” were in fashion. I wandered around and took photos, while also working with an Italian wedding photographer in Toronto. I saw these absurd weddings and explored the city. But instead of “city portraits,” I was essentially documenting my own experience… When I returned home, I put the work together and, quite unexpectedly, sold it to “Amica,” a magazine that featured a lot of reportages at the time. From there, I said, “Cool!” And I started going back and forth between Canada and the USA: I would go, take photos, come back, and sell the reportages. That’s how I eventually joined the Grazia Neri agency.

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Ph. Giulio Di Sturco

For me, a photographic project is like a movie: it needs a plot, it has to tell a story.

Q. You’ve always told stories with your photos. Why?

A. Yes, that’s right. I’ve never focused on pure news or events. I’ve never been able to think about a single photo. I’m not interested in the beauty of the photo itself. I’ve always wanted to piece together photos so they tell a story.

Q. Over the years, your stories have become increasingly “involved.” As a photojournalist, you’ve worked for many NGOs, various United Nations agencies, and numerous humanitarian organizations. How did that happen?

A. It happened because at a certain point in my life, I moved to India. For me, that’s where my real career began. At that time, India was experiencing a massive economic boom. Everyone wanted stories about India, and I had become somewhat known as “the Southeast Asian photographer.” I started working with The New York Times and National Geographic, and from there, collaborations with Médecins Sans Frontières, Amnesty International, Save the Children, and some United Nations agencies began. It was through some of those projects that I met Blossom, by the way… Back then, I was shooting in black and white with a very dramatic style.

Q. Today, your work still revolves around social issues, but you’ve completely changed your approach to photography. Why?

A. While in India, I began to feel like I was telling the same stories over and over again. It might have worked for me, as I already knew which photos resonated and how to support the work of many NGOs. But I was afraid of going on autopilot. So, at that moment, I decided to look for other ways to address the same issues.

At a certain point in my career, I decided to seek a different, more metaphorical language.

Q. Is that how your Gang Ma project was born?

A. Yes, exactly. At the time, I was interested in climate change, and the Ganges River forced me to change my approach to reportage. Before, I would be in the midst of Kashmir during a war, where everything (too much!) happened right in front of me. In this case, I was positioned on the Ganges where nothing was happening. It wasn’t enough to set up the camera and capture everything going on around me. I had to find the right way to tell my story, my idea.

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Gang Ma© Giulio Di Sturco

Q. Why did you feel such a strong need to find a new aesthetic?

A. Because I felt that new images were needed to shake up people’s thoughts. When talking about water pollution, for example, all the photos used to show plastic bottles in the water. I felt like that approach was no longer effective. We needed a more delicate, less explicit way to convey the message. Or rather, that’s what I wanted to do. So, Gang Ma was born, where pollution is what makes the photos aesthetically beautiful. Anyone can be drawn to these photos because of their colors and compositions, but it takes a moment to realize that the beauty of the colors is due to pollution. It’s certainly less immediate photography, but for me, it’s more powerful. Because it’s not finished; it leaves room for interpretation first, and reflection later.

Unfinished photography is not disposable. It takes more time, but for me, it’s more powerful.

Q. From the way you describe it, it sounds more like contemporary art than documentary photography. Do you agree?

A. I’m not sure… Perhaps now my photography lies somewhere between documentary and fine art photography… But these are just definitions. In any case, I come from documentary photography, from “real things.” I always want to show you something real. The difference is that today, I want to take something real and transport you to another dimension. But that doesn’t mean it’s not social or political photography.

Q. Is this what you’re pursuing in your current projects as well?

A. Yes, for me, that’s still the focus. The thing is, I don’t want to say whether something is right or wrong anymore. We’re surrounded by people passing judgments without real knowledge, and today it’s impossible to know everything. That’s why I prefer unfinished photography. Because it represents a “reality” that may be unknown, perhaps is still in its infancy, and brings it to people’s attention.

Let me give you an example: when I exhibit my airport city projects (the most recent one was in Padova), some people react very strongly, saying, “This is hell on earth!” Others are attracted and fascinated by them. That’s because they’re fake, constructed cities, but their architecture is futuristic, so they hold a certain beauty, giving the idea of a functional city. Opposite reactions to the same photo.

Q. How do your current projects come about? What sparks your curiosity today?

A. Well, looking at my projects with a bit of perspective, I realize that I’m working on the future and on solutions that might become the norm in twenty, thirty, or a hundred years. Airport cities are places where we might live in the future: cities where the airport is at the center, and everything revolves around it; a structural change that is anthropological. The pediatrics department in Bristol, where I’m about to shoot a documentary video, saves premature babies at 22 weeks who had no chance of survival twenty years ago. Then there’s the space project, and on standby, another one about transhumanism featuring a series of photos of humanoids I shot in China… Anything that pushes the boundaries of the foreseeable future, in other words. I would say I’m doing science fiction, but with photos of real things.

Ph. Giulio Di Sturco
Ph. Giulio Di Sturco
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Ph. Giulio Di Sturco

Q. Do you have a photo you are particularly attached to?

A. One? No, no… Because photography bores me…

Q. Can I write that down? Watch out, Giulio, I’m going to use it as a headline if you say that…

A. (laughing) And that’s how I stopped working… No, but it’s true! Photography itself is just a tool. I’m much more interested in the concept, the idea, the project. And you know what else? Every time I shoot, for example, for the space project, I think I’ve taken the best photo of my life. Then I come back, take more photos, and I like those even more. In short, when I take the perfect photo it will be time to retire.

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Ph. Giulio Di Sturco

Q. What do you enjoy looking at instead? Where do you find your inspiration?

A. Can I make another strong comment? (he laughs) I’m not interested in photography. I don’t look at it anymore.

Q. Getting better and better, I’d say… What do you mean?

A. No, seriously, I look at very little photography because I know it stays in my mind, and then, even unconsciously, I might end up reproducing things that have already been done. So, I prefer to look elsewhere. I read a lot of science fiction, watch a lot of TV series, view a lot of art: the surrealists, the futurists, and De Chirico are a great source of inspiration.

Q. Does photography have power for you?

A. Well… that’s one of the big questions about photography. If you had asked me ten years ago, I would have told you that photography changes the world, that we reporters give a voice to those who don’t have one, etc… The truth is, I don’t believe that anymore. Now I don’t want to change anything.

Q. So why do you do it, if I may ask?

A. Because photography gives me the opportunity to enter places that would be inaccessible. Because it allows me to bring out an idea and engage in a dialogue with the people who view it. Because, in any case, photography has great value, what I call “static force,” because it demands time from those who look at it and forces them to reflect, to ask questions. For me, today, this is stronger than saying, “Look, there’s a war here: these are the good guys, and those are the bad guys.” I believe a photo can say (or not say) much more than that.

Q. Your future dream?

A. To continue doing what I do, with the freedom with which I’m doing it. Because I do have to say, I’m happy with everything I’ve done: the awards, the people I’ve worked with, the works, the books… I can only be happy because I’ve been truly fortunate in life…

To be a photographer, you need a lot of curiosity and intelligence, and a lot of luck.

Q. When were you lucky?

A. The first World Press Photo was a total stroke of luck!

Q. You really didn’t expect it?

A. Absolutely not. I was 25 years old. I only submitted the entry because a friend had insisted. I didn’t want to send it… And yet, I won. Back then, such a victory was the equivalent of an Oscar; so, it certainly changed the course of my life… I’d be ungrateful if I said otherwise.

Luck or not, what’s certain is that since that day, Giulio Di Sturco has won many more awards. Over the years, he’s never stopped seeking new stories and different ways to tell us what’s happening in the world. Amid light and dark, problems and innovations, his perspective is a precious one that enlivens curiosity and understanding. Because sometimes, communicating isn’t about providing the answers, it’s about asking the right questions.

Talks
Oct 6 - 2023
Reading time: 1'

Communication makes a difference. A short video inside the life of an advocate

Jon Lidén seems to have lived a hundred lives. From anthropologist to war reporter and journalist, speechwriter for WHO, and Communications Director for a major NGO, Lidén has experienced the profound effects communication can have on the world over and over again. Today, he is Senior Strategy Advisor at Blossom, and in this extraordinary interview he shares his incredible story.

READING TIME 2′

In the world of social communication, when a strategic campaign succeeds, it can unleash extraordinary power. Convincing policymakers, mobilizing civil society, and securing crucial funding for social causes can literally alter the course of history. Sound like an exaggeration? Just listen to the words of Jon Lidén, and you’ll quickly realize it’s not.

Born in Norway but a global citizen, Jon Lidén now serves as Global Health Senior Strategy Advisor at Blossom. He is also one of the foremost international experts in mobilization and fundraising campaigns for humanitarian causes, especially in the field of health.

During the interview, Jon takes us from his couch in Geneva to the Philippines, traveling through Africa, Cambodia, wars, conflicts, politics, pandemics, WHO meetings, and major charity events. He shares countless instances where the right combination of meaningful messaging and action triggered positive chain reactions and tangible results for the common good. In other words, he tells us about all those times when communication became a means to create a real impact and, at least in part, made the world a better place.

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