3D Culture: A multidimensional approach to better storytelling.

How 3D Culture Works

Three-dimensional experiences can be traced to the early 1900s, experimenting with 3D-filmmaking. Around the same time, the concept of “Culture” as we know now, started to shape up. Both disciplines were trying to create a vivid representation of an object, a situation or a behaviour in order to understand it. Scientists use mathematics or physics, while anthropologists use  social concepts. More than a 100 years passed already and we still trying to figure things out.

Virtual reality, 3D experiences and three-dimensional selfies are part of the normal, so it’s organic to think about culture in a three-dimensional way, or what I like to call, 3D Culture. Borrowing from concepts from 3D modeling, we could say that its possible to create a model of an object (situation/moment). We should be talking about a “multiverse” approach, but lets move in little steps. I worked plenty with 3D artists, experience designers and collaborated with researchers and analyst on multicultural projects, so inadvertently I became a 3D Cultural Analyst, rendering situations into models, creating a mental sculpture to have a 360 understanding. We model culture using our own algorithms (thoughts and perceptions) shape and texture our objects (experiences) and look at it from many angles (situations). Don’t worry if this doesn’t make sense, keep reading, we are almost there.

Our brain is an organic 3D living scanner, we collect information and data from many sources. We model situations, ideas, actions and behaviours based on new input and within our own archives and mental 3D library of emotions, thoughts, memories, sounds, smells and flavors. We give this objects meaning through texture mapping and create high poly experiences. The result is a beautiful, amazing 3D model of who we are and how we see the world. All in real-time.

This mentally interactive, three-dimensional cultural model reflects and shapes our story and how we behave, on a daily basis. Our ideas, thoughts and beliefs, even the music we listen, the food we like or the books we read are part of our 3D cultural model, shaping our identity and framework to our ‘why we do things the way we do’. And it’s passed down from one generation to the next one.

Culture is wide and filled with many layers, and naturally we tend to simplify things pre-modeled objects, royalty free-ideas of what something means. Words come with a significant amount of conceptual baggage. For example, think of the word “Argentina”. Did your mind conjured images of tango, gauchos and delicious steak?…and what about California…Hollywood and golden beaches? or India (colorful dances, spicy food and Ganesha). Or in reverse, the words ‘fiesta’, ‘nachos’ and ‘5 de mayo’ in a single phrase invoques the idea of Mexico. So wrong on many levels. The reality is that words convey powerful notions of “Argentinean” or “Indian” qualities. How people dress and eat is just part of it, and really a very small indicator of all the symbols, traits, diversity and depth that each amazing and unique culture. Also, culture exists beyond its ‘Wikipedia’ country description. Office buildings, universities, shopping markets, public transportation, coffee shops, anywhere people interact and share the same language, slang, interests and values creates culture: a subculture. They can be united by a music style, a game or a concept, food or sports, uniting complete strangers from around the globed, with opposite cultural into a single hearted vision.

Spoiler Alert!  you can’t design for everyone.

But we can focus on a subculture and inspire culture from the inside-out, enabling ambassadors. This shift build space for growth, mixing innovation and design with relevant insights into the deeper layers of cultural behavior. Its an opportunity reinvent and a vibrant playground for talent to make better products and services.

 

People are people no matter which country you are, and you’ll find interests and tastes as diverse as their inhabitants. From gender identification, tradition, decision-making process and concepts of self. We could try to isolate subcultures using this parameters. Spoiler Alert!  you can’t design for a whole culture. Appealing to everyone is a waist of resources and time. What we can is to focus on a subculture, inspiring culture from the inside-out as ambassadors. Become and real influencer. A 3D cultural approach allows us to take a fresh look into situations from various directions and views -like a 3D camera moving around a virtual scenario-. so we can identify opportunities and challenges and had a quick understanding without investing much time. 

Subcultures thrive within culture and sharing similar values, beliefs or behaviors, but “updated” to reflect their current life experience. Happens a lot with expats for example, were we adapt our ‘mother-culture’ re-significating to continue cultural survival and cultural evolution. “Tex-Mex”, “Chinese-American” “Techno-Jazz” “Newyorican” are everyday simple examples. You can be Argentinian, speak spanish at home, polish with friends, and english at work Italian father and Argentine mother, raised in Buenos Aires, lived in the US half your life and living in Poland. That’s my crazy 3D cultural model.

3D cultural models are a multi-method approach using traditional tools, ethnographic observation, media investigation, data research, social behaviours and sub-cultural pointers to create a playground to analyse key and relevant findings. highlighted by cultural heritage, geographic momentum and social influences to generate a valuable framework to capitalise cultural-data opening new avenues for further research under the cultural-technological evolution umbrella. 3D cultural modelling gives flexibility to change angles quicker without re-formulating the scene, can easily help us calculate effects and behaviours, and get a subculture estimate with a 360 experience perception. This is not overriding classic techniques but a supportive framework to play with those variables, a view of the world through multiple lenses, from the individual to the collective, creating a storytelling that empowers, encourages and represents people transcending time, culture and language, and finally understanding that diversity is the one true thing we have in common.


Transforming Anxiety into Creative Energy

Fast-paced enviroment, calendars max-out with meetings, full inbox, and 4pm calls leave us with very little time for strategic activities. Even the best jobs and the best teams experience this pressure in one form or another. The harder you work and the more motivated you are to succeed, the easier we feel we have no time to accomplish what is important to us and also to the organization advance. A week goes too fast and too furious.

Time constraints can get the better of you, and this anxiety bleeds over into how we interact with people. We want to inspire our team, but we literally don’t have the time.  How can we find the precious balance, be a good leader and still get things done? The answer maybe a bit hidden in between of meetings and dayly routine.

Small moments, big opportunities

Every day is a combination of smaller moments. So if we take those moments apart,  into smaller, more manageable situations we can make more sense of our busy schedule. With this deconstruction process we can take any situation apart and then assemble it back together in new and unexpected ways (my partner specializes in fashion pattern deconstruction and was the inspiration for this idea). Elements on a situation may have been intermingled and the way you deal with one will impact on other parts of the problem. 

How we use the small moments and brief interaction in our day? Small gestures and invisible situations can bring out the best leadership inspiration. We cannot fix everything, but we can make a difference. It makes me think of the small pebble creating big ripples in the water. I dont think even the pebble knows what is creating behind. Leading and inspiring is something you get better with practice and its done in step by step.

The first thing is to identify what these small moments in our everyday conversations and interactions at work, and even at home. We are too busy to take time but with little attention you’ll see them very clear as Neo sees the ‘Matrix’. You can seize a small moment into a learning opportunity.

Finding the ‘smaller parts’ can be a challenge, but once you identify this, everything becomes much easier and more productive.

Making space in our busy schedule is a challenge, but this terraforming creates an opportunity to growt and a vibrant playground for talent to make better products and services. Creativity is an energy and whether you realize it or not, you emit and receive energy. We have an electromagnetic field in which creative energy flows naturally, but when the polarity is disrupted our team creative energy system is affected. Is vital to pay attention, because is subtle but escalate quickly.

Become a power converter that change anxiety into creative energy

One of our focus, besides deadlines, meetings and product development is to motivate team members to grow, encourage intelligent dialogue, infuse confidence, and empowering the reach their best of their skills.Everything we do is fueled by it and foster creative energy is vital to the team and the work.  

Find quick opportunities to grow a creative playground

  • Don’t try to solve the problem, listen first.

  • Create a space for dialogue and growth.

  • Give specific, constructive feedback.

  • Take time to know people.

Don’t try to solve the problem…first listen: When someone comes to you for help, we rush giving people suggestions when they ask for help. Ask them what they think would be a good solution and then create a space to implement it or try it out. By this, the team member can develop ownership of the solution, as they learn how to seize the opportunity and make a change.

Create space for dialogue and growth: People are afraid to admit a mistake because of the consequences, understandable. But when someone comes and says, “I think I made a mistake.” Don’t jump at it with all your artillery. Create an environment for growth and show them you trust them, even when there’s a mistake in the middle. We all make mistakes, remember. Think about the time you screwed-up and how you’d liked to be treated. This is a critical moment, especially in the process of innovation where failure is essential to the exploration process.

Give specific, constructive feedback: Concentrate on positive and specific suggestions on the situation and behavior. Not the person. Kindness and accuracy are important. Finally, what was the impact of the conflict or situation? Feedback is not criticism or praise, it is about observation. It’s timely and specific. It describes but doesn’t judge, and brings an understanding of the situation or issue. It’s one of the simplest yet most effective ways to develop others, creating a pattern of learning and growth.

Take time to know people: teams are made of people, personalities and attitudes. Recognize the diffences and look for ways to connect similar interest. A quick ”How are you, how’s everything? can open up a dialogue. Kindness is never out of fashion, and a bit of empathy can overcome frustrations and give you understanding on and how to offer support. It’s about build connections to inspire growth. Especially with creative teams, artists, designers, developers, well…everyone. Strive for authenticity, not perfection. Remember that conversation is with people, not to people.

Photo by Curtis MacNewton on Unsplash