Entries by James Allan

Do you suffer from mob mentality?

In 1895, Gustave Le Bon published a book titled Psychologie des Foules (literally “The Psychology of Crowds”). In it, he claimed that characteristics of crowds included:  “impulsiveness, irritability, incapacity to reason, the absence of judgement of the critical spirit, the exaggeration of sentiments, and others…“ Le Bon believed that once in a crowd, humans lost the […]

Why Data is Dumb

It’s no secret that the First World War had almost unimaginable casualty rates amongst both combatants and civilians. This was mainly due to major advances in weapon technology, especially artillery. Science had got much better at killing people. However in 1914, at the beginning of the war, not one army equipped its infantry with steel […]

Why criminals make terrible brand ambassadors

This year heralds a dubious centenary – the invention of the notorious M1 Thompson sub-machine gun or ‘Tommy gun’ as it became known. If you picture a 1920s gangster like Al Capone then he’s probably holding one. However, its origin was rather different to the now infamous association. During WW1, infantry soldiers of both sides […]

Snatching Defeat

Imagine you’re having a drink with a friend and a stranger walks up: Stranger: “Thanks for your order. You’ll be notified when we ship along with a tracking number” You: “Sorry?” Stranger: “Your order for that stuff. You know.” You: “Erm. Yeah I think so. But who are you again?” Stranger: “I’m Dave although you […]

How to be Brave

No one expects to get rich or famous writing a business book. Today, that’s probably truer than ever.  People apparently have less time and too many other demands on their attention to plough through a book about work stuff. So naturally they don’t buy one to read by the pool. Unless they’re a total weirdo. We really […]

Waitrose Make Braver Soup.

Supermarkets are incredibly noisy places from a design perspective. Packaging has a really tough brief to fulfil. It needs to contain the product, keep it in good condition and be useable. Above all, it needs to get noticed. Waitrose have recently introduced a new soup pot design. Yes, really. While you pick yourself up off […]

Liar liar.

Many people believe it’s possible to quickly spot a liar through eye movements, nose touching or some other ‘micro-expression’. In fact, these methods are quite inaccurate and can be very misleading, particularly across different races and cultures. Numerous studies have shown that even trained police officers fail to spot lies this way any more than […]

Pokémon Go: 5 Reasons Why It’s Brave

There’s just a chance you may have heard of Pokémon Go by now… The new, reinvented mobile app game based on the 90s pocket hit, was downloaded so many times from launch, it became the number one app within just 5 hours. It’s a great example of a Brave brand. Everything is in place to […]

Getting emotional about BREXIT

I wrote a post earlier this week that considered the way the BREXIT/BREMAIN campaigns had been fought here in the UK. It’s now the day after the night before and I’ll come clean – I didn’t honestly think we’d vote to leave.  I called it wrong. Oops. I believed that people would follow normal tendencies to […]

Why BREXIT and BREMAIN need to be more human.

Us Brits are a rather suspicious, insular lot. You don’t avoid invasion for a thousand years without cynicism and fear of foreigners. If truth be told, we’ve never really understood the EU and are at best rather begrudging members. It’s EU referendum week in the UK and the debate between BREXIT and BREMAIN camps is […]

Sparks 8

Welcome to Sparks – our regular digest of thought-provoking ideas and thinking from around the world.  This month our theme is disruption and upsetting the status quo.  Don’t get comfy…   CREATE DISCOMFORT Why real disruption must be uncomfortable.   CONSENSUS STAGNATES Lessons learned in innovation from an ex-Apple insider.   BETTER PRACTICE Why best […]

Stop waiting for perfect

February 21st of this year saw the passing of one of the greatest pilots who ever lived, aged 97. Eric Brown – or Captain Eric Melrose ‘Winkle’ Brown to give him his full name – was an extraordinary man, even for the heroic wartime generation. During his career he flew 487 different types of aircraft, […]

Do it on purpose

When my eldest son (3 years old) whacks his little brother (18 months) with something plasticky or fist shaped I quickly have to decide “Did he do that on purpose? Or was it an accident?” It usually doesn’t take more than half a second to realise when it’s deliberate. There’s a look in the eye. […]

From Fat to Finn

In Japanese culture, the martial art of Aikido uses the energy of an attacker to the defender’s advantage. Try and punch an Aikido master and you effectively throw yourself on the ground.  You do most of work. Contrary to popular belief, Finland had a massive problem with coronary heart disease. In fact, Finland had the […]

Lemon squeezy

I recently bought myself a winter hack. A (very) cheap car for the really nasty days when riding my motorbike to work stops being fun or easy – which isn’t very often. Usually, this means something spartan and tedious to drive. Usually, it means finding an old car that isn’t on its last legs or […]