Better Than New

Introducing The Most Innovative Game of 2008 by morepete
January 8, 2008, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Innovation Humor


Pitchfork: Yet another Prince Paul and Automator joint. This time, though, the joke’s totally tired out.

It’s only the eighth day of the year, but the game that will define early 2008 has already come out. It’s not Halo 3, it’s not Super Mario Galaxy, it’s not even Rock Band. It’s the Create Random Album Art Game. Haven’t played it? That’s OK. You’ll be great. All you need is the Internet, a sense of humor and basic layout skills. Here are the instructions, along with samples of my creations. With huge thanks to my friend James Wilkinson at the V, who stole it from “Ronnie the Raincoat” at Cook’d and Bomb’d

Cat Fancy: Horrible patriot-rock in the style of Ted Nugent. He uses the phrase “Boot up your ass” no fewer than 9 times on the opening cut, “Practice Squad.”


The first article title on the page is the name of your band. You can remove bits in brackets – eg. “(Seinfeld epsode)” – if you like, or you can leave them in.

The last four words of the very last quotation is the title of your album. You can use the last three or five words if it sounds better.

The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover. If it won’t let you save the pic (if this is the case, it will call the file “spaceball.gif”), press shift and print screen to take a screenshot, then paste it into the program.

4.Use your graphics programme of choice to throw them together, and post the result. You can get fonts from

5. Write a blurb about your album’s musical content (optional). [Editor’s note: But this is the most fun part!]


Swedish electro-pop duo that opened for Loney, Dear once. They blew those sentimental bastards off the stage, chirpily.


1. No partial re-rolling, eg: you don’t like your album cover then you have to get a new band name and album title too. You can fully re-roll as much as you like.
1a. Exceptions: when you have randomly selected the title of an existing band, or a band name/album title/image that someone else has used.

2. You can crop your picture to fit CD dimensions and resize it in either direction ’till it’s the right size, but it’s don’t drastically change the base image. You can add a border or something outside the image if it’s small or not square, in order to fit the album cover dimensions.

3. Feel free to break any of these rules, I suppose. It’s not like anyone can tell. But that does kind of spoil the whole exercise. If you cheat, have the decency to tell us!

I think this is all about the excitement of mash-ups. Make a bunch of ideas collide at random and see what you learn from their interactions. It’s a method I favor for ideation prompts — some of the best lateral connections and new-to-the-world ideas start this way — and it’s even more fun when it can be this visual. I found that as I made these and looked at those by other people, I felt more than anything that I had actually heard these records. What does that say about the implicit knowledge we all have about music, album art and the resonance of titles? My thoughts aren’t fully formed on this yet, but there’s something really compelling here. Who wants to play?

Rolling Stone: Third, “childhood trauma” record from the hopelessly lame goth-pop trio from York. For reasons we can’t possibly fathom, all of their songs sound EXACTLY like the chorus of Placebo’s “You Don’t Care About Us.”


NBC Claims Video Piracy Hurts Corn Growers. Um…No. by morepete
June 25, 2007, 11:12 am
Filed under: Failure to Innovate, Innovation Humor

By Pete Mortensen

The entertainment industry’s continual inability to grapple with the realities of a world where legal and illegal digital downloads are a click away has reached an appalling new low. NBC filed a brief with the FCC that claims digital piracy not only hurts the entertainment industry, it HURTS AMERICAN GROWERS OF CORN.

“Because of our nation’s interlocking economy, two-thirds of the lost earnings and lost jobs are in industries other than motion picture production. For example, in the absence of movie piracy, video retailers would sell and rent more titles. Movie theatres would sell more tickets and popcorn. Corn growers would earn greater profits and buy more farm equipment.”

Ahem. No, I’m not making this up. I would dismiss it as pure marketing spin if it weren’t so outright insulting to the people who buy movies, music and TV content. As Art Brodsky, the writer who brought the absurd claim to the world’s attention notes, corn growers are doing reall, really well right now.

According to the June 20 Wall Street Journal, corn sold at $3.83 per bushel this morning, up from $2.08 a year ago. Corn futures are even higher — $4.03 for the December crop. And don’t worry about the popcorn guys. According to the Popcorn Board, Americans consume 17 billion quarts of popcorn each year. Of that total, 70 percent of popcorn is eaten at home, and the remaining 30 percent is divided up among all the other places – movie theatres and sports stadiums, among other venues.

Guess what you can do while watching tons of ill-gotten movies and TV shows at home? Eat a bunch of microwave popcorn. And that’s maybe the most shocking thing about this baldly facetious filing: The entertainment companies don’t actually have a natural ally in the snack-food industry. The snack makers don’t care where you got your entertainment – they just care that you want to munch their treats while you watch.

And here’s the thing: If the entertainment companies had spent a tenth as much time figuring out what people really need from their entertainment as these companies and associations have spent in demonizing the pirates and launching lawsuits against little kids, any one of them could be light years more successful in the digital era than they are now.

But don’t believe me if you don’t want to – I might just have it in for the corn industry.

Via Engadget.

What Innovation Means to Most People by morepete
May 21, 2007, 6:29 am
Filed under: Innovation Humor


By Pete Mortensen

Maker Faire was in San Mateo over the weekend, and I had a fantastic time. I uses salad tongs to control a PC game, I bought a plastigami jumping frog, made a foam print of a drawing of said plastigami frog, rode home-made bicycles built out of scrap and even answered a phone call from a plant.

And then I saw the sign above, and I had to laugh. My! A two-hour class in innovation! Sounds great! Will glitter and pipe cleaners be provided? And it’s perfectly timed, right between creativity and prototyping!

Kidding aside, I think this display is oddly indicative of the cultural barriers and misconceptions all of us in this field have to overcome every time we use the word innovation. People think innovation is wacky creativity or novel solutions to well-understood problems. It’s putting on a silly hat and thinking outside the box. And in reality, innovation encompasses a lot more: Operational excellence, the discovery of new questions to answer, even slight improvements to existing products and services.

Innovations are any creations based on new knowledge with a social or economic benefit. And it’s serious business. It’s really hard, and it takes incredible teams to do it on even a somewhat consistent basis. You’re not going to learn it in a two-hour class in the middle of a craft and tinkering fair.

Here’s the crux of the problem. The services and capabilities offered by the best innovation consultancies have almost nothing in common with the creativity exercises and “So You Want to Be an Inventor?” activities offered by folks like Think Solve Do, Inc., the company that was running the innovation workshop. And yet the messages of creativity consultants and people in Jump’s peer set end up sounding exactly the same. It’s a problem that doesn’t have a solution yet, but it’s always fun to be reminded of the state of the discourse at random.

Some more pictures of the astounding innovation seminar follow.