Nike Plus – The Creative Edition (v.2.0)


After my initial Nike Plus – The Creative Edition V.1.0 post, we at the Knot Collective managed to get the ball rolling on turning it into a reality. In a world of ‘what-ifs’ a few of us felt that making this concept tangible would be more than worthwhile for the simple reason that this could help make many other ‘what-if’ ideas become real. The running joke so far (perhaps I’m the only one that finds it funny) has been that we need a tool like this in order to design… a tool like this. This Inception-like situation of ‘creating and perceiving our world simultaneously’ has also been helping to drive the creation of ideas. By meeting remotely between Boulder, Chicago and Dublin we’ve already managed to identify a lot of what a virtual collaborative space might need, simply from stumbling around iChat and various forms of web-based communication. But what’s left to be desired in the growing need to share ideas and be inspired and motivated is not a lack of technology, it’s something that binds relevant elements together in a way that is a nice, thoughtful experience and comfortable enough to become useful on a daily basis, while creating a space that you want to keep coming back to.

If you’re coming in late and wondering what the hell I’m on about, the idea is this: to build a web-based platform that operates like the Nike Plus system, but to instead motivate and enable creativity. This would include an ability to track progress on projects, compare results with others, share playlists and to create a sort of virtual studio space.

So what happens next will be a bit of alchemy; it will involve leveraging the existing in order to make the new. There are a hundred and one ways to talk, watch, share, sync, opinionate and collaborate over the web but for now this is a haphazard mess. Not that there aren’t a few things on the horizon that attempt to pull some of these strands together; the new Rockmelt browser aggregates social networking to a certain extent allowing you to keep sites like Twitter and Facebook running on the side and access them instantly when wanting share something. Google Wave also attempted to pull multiple tools into one space but it seemed to confound more than to connect.

The bottom line is that we’re at an unprecedented level of connectedness and a lot of potential is going to waste. Social networking aside, now is a perfect time to embrace this connectivity and leverage it for good. The core element of this ‘Creative Edition’ system is collaboration amongst creatives – but not always necessarily with a collaborative end goal. It’s a way to organize personal projects, create goals and checkpoints that can be shared and compared, providing the spark of motivation to start, continue and execute those ideas that brew at the back of your mind but never make it out. But crucially, it’s a way of occupying the same space that crosses the borders of distance, time and discipline.

Now to business. After a few multi-time zone meeting  here are a few of the points we found it important to focus on:

The Project Manager: Yes I know what you’re thinking…’I f**ing hate project managers’. But what if you could program them to motivate you in the right ways & to understand how you work? Goal setting isn’t really a problem for a creative because often we can see the whole idea in one burst, start to finish. Getting there is the challenge and this is where phases and checkpoints come into play. We envision the project manager showing up as a scalable timeline of sorts, allowing you to zoom in and out, monitor your own progress, and throw in thumbnails & thoughts allowing a public view of where you’re at in a project

The Pin Board: A way to collect and organize inspiration, the pin board would also serve as a quick way to share sketches and thoughts & collaborate on ideas, arrange story boards, and generally build a layouts for each project. Pinterest is an interesting site to reference, and there’s also some interesting functionality with Evernote that allows you to tag and push snippets of information without having to copy/paste or forward.

The Notebook/Archive: Many of us keep sketchbooks that turn out to be important archiving tools that we can go back and reference at a later date. But so often these pile up and it can be hard to track. The Notebook feature would auto-save progress in a project & allow you to tag important ideas or sketches for later.

The Chat Room: Instead of group conversations in iChat that require coordination, or conference calls in Skype or other online meeting software, the chat room is an always-on feature. As well as status notifications that have a bit more personality than simply ‘away’ or ‘busy’, the chat room creates the personality and presence to bind everything together.

The Playlist: We’ve all been there – the right music (or even movie playing the in background) keeps the feet tapping and the energy flowing at all hours of the night. Music for me evokes imagery and ideas that otherwise wouldn’t be coerced out. Quite often we’ll post what we’re listening to on Twitter or Facebook in the hopes we can share that feeling with someone else. Tying in the with the physical presence created by the chat room, the playlist would be like the old-school boombox playing in the studio while people work, and allow everyone to contribute their favorite tracks.

These core elements as well as a few others, would be bound by a desktop of sorts, with a central pane allowing each feature to be enlarged as a focal point while the other features remain present at the edges. Each feature would be movable allowing each person to have their own unique customized desktop. See our first mock-up below:

The applications of this idea go beyond just creating a sense of community. It could be a way to filter out all those little ideas, to throw them out into the ether in a more effective way than as a ‘what-if’ question or a scribbled note in a sketchbook. A little idea might inspire someone else and spawn new projects which is how we got to this concept in the first place. While this is a way to work together yet on separate projects, there is of course great potential for it to spawn cross-disciplinary efforts that could work toward a singular outcome.

Because this idea started in an open forum, and is about a more transparent way of being creative, we’re again opening it up to your feedback, input and suggestions as we move forward with design and functionality. But what I find to be one of the most pressing questions today is this:

What do we call it?

*Special thanks to my fellow Knot collaborators Caprice (@capricey) and Ciaran (@formeandu)

Article Info
Posted by: Leon Fitzpatrick
Thinking About: Collaboration / Creativity / Culture / Digital / Interactive / Platforms / Social
Location: Chicago
Twitter: le_professional
  1. Fritz

    Hey Leon,

    I was told about the Knot Collective through Marc, as I am studying here in Milan with him. Its a very interesting blog and I have been following your Nike ID Plus – The Creative Edition closely and its nice to see it develop!

    I had a similar idea, however it was more directed toward helping create a community of creatives in any specific locale. I feel, with the aid of the internet, everyone is able to see what the creative heavyweights are doing, however the internet also makes us lose touch with the local creatives which I feel plays a large role in creating identities and movements.
    Maybe a section of the Nike ID Creative Edition would be to help creatives in different locations organize local meetings and social events where new ideas could be born. I was thinking something along the lines of having a location tab or field which shows other creatives in your area and possibly what they are doing!

    Let me know what you think.

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