The small things: Bulgarian Edition

Almost every summer, I go back to see my friends and family in Bulgaria. I always end up doing the same trip around the country – starting with Sofia, going to Plovdiv and then Krichim (a little farming village where my grandparents live). This time, I managed to also take a day trip to Пазарджик.

And there are a few moments that made me appreciate the life and people here as I’ve experienced it over the years:

  1. Sitting on the curb in front of my grandpa’s house and eating sunflower seeds. Some of the best pointless, but meaningful discussions have happened over sunflower seeds. Did you know we have a very specific verb in Bulgarian for the act of opening a seed with your teeth? ‘Aс чопла семки!’
  2. Watching a Turkish adaptation of the OC show with Bulgarian voices dubbed over and having to explain that my life in Orange County is nothing like it’s represented on the screen!
  3. Nature – when driving around Bulgaria, I’m always overwhelmed by the beauty of the countryside. In fields of roses, wheat, and tomatoes, I find the most interesting shapes that are cast by the puffy clouds above. Somehow my thoughts also seem to wander, between the rows of cherry trees and mountain ranges, as the car calmly passes by a small tractor on the road.
  4. Fighting to pay the check – it’s an honour to pay the bill. At the end of the night, There’s always a critical act of theatre in which each protagonist defends their family honour. (I managed to win last night, but only because I snuck in ‘to go to the bathroom’ and paid before my cousins could slip the waiter cash for the whole table!)
  5. Hospitality – within seconds of walking into someone’s home, the table will be filled with biscuits, chocolates, roasted peanuts, and fresh fruit.  Just as it’s a rule to never go over to someone’s house empty-handed, you must also be ready to accept guests  into your home at all times.
  6. Eating so much fresh watermelon that your stomach hurts, but your taste buds are satisfied with the taste of summer.

Чао! До скоро!

The Innovator Theorist: Clayton M. Christensen

In case you haven’t read The Innovator’s Dilemma, here’s a four-minute video version with the key themes:

I am hugely inspired by Clayton M. Christensen’s work – especially around disruptive innovation. His thinking has influenced some of the biggest managers and leaders in modern business by making his idea frameworks applicable for all sectors. He teaches you how to think, not what to think. I also love the fact that Clayton focuses on innovation rather than entrepreneurship. The start-up culture currently dominates the media press and the market growth theories; however, large organisations that pursue ‘disruptive innovation’ alongside ‘sustaining innovations’ should also be praised and examined.

Plus, here’s one of his TED talks based on his book, How Will You Measure Your Life? 

Plus, I encourage you to check out his website. 

My MBA Word Map. And some ‘Design’ Thoughts.

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As I research further and further into my future career aspirations and possibilities, I’ve realised how important the element of ‘design’ is to me. As a teenager, I attended a visual arts conservatory: I spent hours animating by hand, arguing over fonts, and painting oil landscapes. More than merely a hobby, art has impacted the way I understand the world. I’m a visual and tactile person who still needs to draw diagrams, flowcharts, and word maps to process complex concepts. As above, I still spend endless hours in coffee shops, allowing the caffeine to flow through my pen to form arrows, circles, and spider webs. As Han Hoffman says, “Design is the intermediary between information and understanding.”

Through my MBA research, I’ve  discovered design consulting firms that advocate ‘Design Thinking’ around innovation and business – that perfectly aligns with my creative soul:

  1. IDEO 
  2. DOBLIN 
  3. FROG DESIGN

From Doblin, I love their  Ten Types of Innovation framework – which provide a way to identify new opportunities beyond products and develop viable innovations.

Creative Confidence by IDEO founder and Stanford d.school creator David Kelley and his brother Tom Kelley is DEFINELY being added to my ‘need to read’ bookshelf!

 

New Medium: Ink + Water

Recently bought Water Brushes with Ink for my Monday Figure Drawing classes. Really struggling to control the weight of each stroke, but it’s great for thinking about volume and shadows.

Best piece of advice my high school figure drawing teacher gave me:

The fastest and easiest way to change your perspective and habitual drawing style is to switch mediums. So if you’re stuck or having a bad art day, don’t give up – just switch from a pen to a paint brush. 

FABER-CASTELL PENS.

 

I’m going to be a Brand advocate for Faber-Castell today because I love my 4 PITT artist pens. A few reasons I like the brand:

  • Exceptionally high quality and long-lasting
  • Targeting and understanding of artist community
  • Traditional branding/product design
  • And I love the Sepia – it’s ideal for sketching
  • The set of 4 has the right mix of brush width