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12Jun

Costumer engagement is key in marketing

Customer engagement is key in marketing

As a producer of fascinating films and VR experiences, I like to share a few tips and tricks on the evolution of video marketing. As isn’t likely to slow down in 2019. We can expect to see more captivating content than ever with the current rate of creativity and technological innovation. Marketers are putting more time and effort into their video content from live streaming to virtual reality.

See first our latest production, for Mr Miles.

Consumers can experience both the real world and fantastic otherworldly experiences that brands are creating like never before. The way users consume content and the way businesses produce them is likely to change considerably in the coming year. Here’s what we can expect to see in 2019.

1. Creating a video strategy will be a priority for brands
Most marketers agree that video content gets the best ROI. However, creating content blindly without an effective strategy may not deliver the expected returns. As popular as video marketing has become, many content creators don’t have a proper plan in place. But creating random videos without thinking about your strategy is futile.
However, during the remainder of 2018 we can expect this to change. Many businesses have discovered that video content gets the best results and returns only when it is backed by a well-planned strategy.

2. Live video streaming
Live streaming is becoming more accessible to every type of marketer with tools like Facebook Live, Wirecast and OBS Studio. For beginners, there are streaming apps like Zoom and BeLive. Live videos are an excellent platform to showcase events, behind-the-scenes, Q&A’s and interviews.
Expressing a more human side of a brand is a great way to connect with customers. Live videos are expected to get more interactive and intense in 2018. They will become immersive video experiences, where viewers can control the content and express their views by clicking on icons.

3. Video quality is taking precedence over quantity
As the video landscape becomes more competitive, the quality of videos that marketers put out will need to become more of a priority. People have short attention spans and are likely to click out of the video if it doesn’t capture their interest. Nobody wants to watch low-quality videos, and they will be unable to get the results that businesses are looking for.
As competition becomes stiffer, marketers will need to invest more time and effort into creating quality content. High quality, engaging videos, stand out from the rest, get better engagement and better results than other types of digital content.

4. Personalized video is used by sales and PR professionals
Customized videos are being used in the sales and PR fields as a way to build connections with potential prospects. Videos also stand out in people’s inboxes. The concept of video marketing is really simple. Customer service reps or sales people can record short videos with details of a products or service that they are offering and urge customers to take action. They can also introduce themselves as the point of contact for any follow-up questions the prospers may have. These “video voicemails” are becoming an effective way to build deeper personal connections with a business or brand and stand out among the clutter.

5. 360-degree videos are gaining popularity
More and more businesses started using 360 videos in 2017, and the numbers are likely to increase in 2018. These videos are considered to be another form of immersive content since, with 360-degree video, the viewer can decide on their perspective when viewing. These can be viewed simply on the screen of a computer or smartphone or with a VR headset for a more immersive experience. 360 video technology is likely to alter the way customers experience online shopping. Marketers are finding new and creative ways to harness this potential for their brands.

6. Higher proportions of ad budgets is allotted to video
It is estimated that the amounts spent on online ads will soon surpass TV ad spending. And most marketers have plans to increase their budgets for video ads in the coming year. Initially, video ads were dismissed as just a trend, but now most businesses have realized that they need to budget their money towards forms of media where people are actually spending their time. Many viewers are tuning in online to watch their favorite shows and big events rather than watching them on TV.

7. Engagement is key
Engagement is not just a buzzword, but one of the most important factors to consider when creating video content. Videos that can hold your audience’s attention are likely to rise to the top. Engaging videos will keep them interested and get them to continue the conversation. They may even take the next step and make a purchase.
One way to create engagement is through a call for action. For instance, you could ask viewers to share the video with a friend, leave a comment in the comments section or subscribe to your feed.

8. Videos are designed to be effective without sound
An interesting video marketing statistic is that 85% of the videos on Facebook are actually played without sound. This offers a unique challenge to video marketers. Those who are savvy have tapped into this and are designing more and more content that can be viewed without sound. Since many of these videos are auto-played, content creators will need to create their videos accordingly.
The use of on-screen graphics and captions to grab attention is becoming more common. This way viewers can enjoy these videos silently, whether it’s in the doctor’s office or on the subway.

9. Consumers expect video content
Creating video content has become a necessity rather than a luxury. Today customers are likely to lose interest in your brand if you don’t engage them with videos about your products and services along with other interest content. There is an expectation for videos to be a part of the purchase experience.
Apart from simply enhancing consumer experiences, videos can also help your brand start apart from the competition. With the intense competition that most brands face today, marketers need to do what they can to attract the attention of customers.

10. Video as a storytelling device
Combining storytelling with video is a great way to develop a video marketing campaign. This is a great way to get your message across to your customers. People respond extremely well to videos and nothing can generate as much excitement while creating awareness.
So, put together a campaign that expresses your brand’s story through video. If this is executed well, your video could even go viral, creating a lot of publicity for your brand. Weaving a story through video marketing is a great way to tell the world about your business.

Final thoughts
Today, visual and storytelling content is an important aspect of customers’ lives. In order to capture people’s attention, it needs to evolve continuously and become more engaging. Dutch Picture Industry is proud to help clients in making the video strategy and transform their excel forms, books full with words into captivating films. With a clear pay off to get their message to the potential client.

If you are interested to know what we can do for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch. www.dutchpictureindustry.com and www.vr-explorers.com

More tips (only in Dutch) can be downloaded here.

More video’s are on our youtube channel.

01Jul

Life Cycle Stories

There are few things that possess such duality in our everyday lives as food: it is a necessity, it is a luxury, there is an overabundance of it, there is a lack of it, it is healthy, it is unhealthy. However, one of the most overlooked aspects of our food is its origins. Questions like where does our food come, how is it made, who produces it, and what impact has it on our environment, are rarely asked or even thought of. Recent years have shown a rise in conscious consumerism and awareness about our meals, however it is still something that is not adapted by many.

This is not the case with Anne Pekelharing. Anne has always been fascinated by food. Since her childhood she has her mind set on food, cooking and creating new dishes. The underlying thought for her has been that food is more than just eating or drinking, it inspires, connects, and drives us forward. From her love for food and desire for adventure Life Cycle Stories was born.

Anne was inspired by the questions we usually do not ask about food. It was essential to approach food as something that has an extensive impact on our everyday lives and our environment rather than something that is always available and possesses limited value. She felt that to understand and witness the journey of our food, it was essential to track it to its origins. However, our meals come in many different forms and from all over the world, so it is imperative to get out and explore the different regions, people, production, traditions, and environment where the food comes from. Life Cycle Stories focuses on sustainable food production and the small, personal stories about the people behind these endeavors.

Life Cycle Stories follows Anne on her journey through Europe, 8 countries in 6 months. It takes courage, discipline, and clear vision to leave your everyday comforts and tasks behind to travel across Europe on your bike. It also takes a special kind of spirit to be concerned enough about a specific problem and acting upon it. This kind of journey does not have to be realized by travelling to distant destinations, it can be achieved by looking up your local food producers. Anne’s adventure is inspirational not only, because she decided to concentrate on different countries in Europe and their specific ways of making food, but also because she is determined to create awareness and shine a light on the issue that is close to her heart. It is about passing on the knowledge that you gained and by doing that having a positive impact on the society and the environment that we live in. Life Cycle Stories is also a story about the people. Inspirational individuals who, like Anne, chose to have a specific mindset when it comes to food. These stories are as much about the people and their culture of producing the food in fair and passionate way. It is an in-depth look of their everyday struggles and successes.

For us Anne and her hosts are an inspiration and we are very much looking forward to the fascinating tales that are Life Cycle Stories. Meanwhile you can follow her adventures on Instagram, Facebook and lifecyclestories.com

09Mar

Society needs to take a fresh look at difference

It´s time for society to wake up. We should stop looking with suspicion at the one who has skin too black, or not enough white, the one who is too old or disabled… At the same time, we shouldn’t ignore our differences either. And stop saying that difference is automatically good thing. To become a strength difference should come from a strong desire to succeed together. To have a common goal.

The French skipper Eric Bellion is the instigator of COMME UN SEUL HOMME (“Like a single man”) which claims that difference is a strength. After 15 years of sailing adventures with teams composed by valid and disabled people, Eric Bellion came to the conclusion that together we can push the limits of difference and reach summit, “like a simple man”.

His message: our differences are an added value, diversity is strength and handicap does not mean incapacity. With his project he promotes the value of differences in a European context, in a time where nationalism sentiments are vastly growing.

Bellion has decided to take the floor to counter the spread of fear and rejection of diversity and to bring a new perspective to diversity. He said: “This extreme situation has allowed me to realize just how far this message about difference has taken me. Thanks to this adventure, I have reached more people in a year and a half than in fifteen years of crewed sailing.”

THE UNKNOWN IS NOT A GREY AREA 

By nature, we are suspicious of people which are different. We are gathering with people who look like us, this is without a doubt more reassuring than the unknown. However, difference is neither a weakness nor a threat. This could, conversely, be transformed into an advantage, or an inestimable strength. It is to defend this crazy dream that Eric Bellion decided to launch the #APPELPOURLADIFFERENCE (Call for difference) and embarked on the adventure of the Vendée Globe 2016.

Eric and his team have been creating projects that beat common preconception about visible differences like handicap, but also gender, differences between generations, cultures and social backgrounds. The idea is to convince people that diversity is strength and a wealth.

But for difference to become a strength, we must be patient, benevolent and persistent. We have to go beyond the times of doubt and despondence, be confident and have the certainty that difference could be positive. Difference between people stimlulates creativity and opens new opportunities. We must have a strong desire to succeed.

THE INITIATORY TRAVEL

With the tetraplegic adventurer Laurent Marzec, Bellion embarked on the Défi-Intégration (Integration Challenge) to form a crew composed of three disabled athletes and three valid athletes. They set the record for sailing in sixty-eight days. It is the only mixed team to have a world record. A challenge in the challenge…
“I discovered the value of difference with a teammate named Oliver. Oliver was a blind person. At the beginning of the travel, he was not the best sailor but at the end, he was our best helmsman. He was the fastest, as is disability forced him to feel the wind and it became an asset. His difference becomes a strength.” said Bellion

“’Trying new things has always been the driving force of my life, until now I have always succeeded.” Eric Bellion

 “TAKING CARE, IS KNOWING THE OTHER”

Weakness in a team often creates a kind of rejection or contempt. Do you remember at school, where you had to create sport’s teams? There was always someone chosen in last. Why? Because their visible frailty made them a less competitive person.

Bellion: “A few years ago, I had the opportunity to participate in survival training to learn sea rescue. I was in a pool and I had to escape from a false helicopter frame. Several disabled people were with me and they were all comfortable with this training because they all practiced swimming. Conversely, a camerawoman, who was valid, but claustrophobics, failed the training. She was the one who needed help, and not the disabled people which were with us. This demonstrates that our vision of weakness is often wrong.”

This is when all the members of a team are able to accept their weakness that the performance is coming. Each person complements one another and weaknesses become strengths.

“We are looking to protect people but this is a mistake. Protecting and taking care are two different things. When we protect someone, we isolate them; however, taking care is knowing each other”. Eric Bellion

THE VISION OF PROMOTING THE WEALTH OF DIVERSITY SUGGESTED BY ERIC BELLION BREAKS WITH THE  THE GROWING NATIONALISM IN EUROPE…

Nowadays, the world is becoming globalized and people tend to be more and more scattered and mixed, but at the same time societies are in the way of becoming more self-centered and some people seem not to accept diversity.

The world has seen a sharp rise in support for authoritarianism, jingoism and racism, with a pro-Brexit vote in the UK, Trump coming to power in the US, Erdogan and Sisi further clamping down on their citizens in Turkey and Egypt, Marine le Pen and Geert Wilders making prominent gains in France and Holland, and far-right parties in Poland and Germany suddenly rising to the fore. In a global situation where ordinary people seem to be losing trust in their leaders or even traditional government structures, the risk is that they will opt for authoritarian leadership…


“Even if I am currently on the open seas, the news of  Donald Trump´s election has come to me. For me this means to curl up and to build borders, when we should, on the contrary, take risks and go toward the others. This is the price to get rid of our fears, and believe me, this is fabulous.” Eric Bellion

Through his projects, Eric Bellion is promoting the idea that diversity brings dynamism and wealth in a group, and this wealth is the key to success. His message: we should stop focus on our visible differences and start concentrates us on our invisible likeness.

At DUTCH PICTURE INDUSTRY, we create concepts born from our personal experience, our vision to create inspiring content, building cross media concepts and innovative media productions to make a difference in the world around us. Our productions are based on the unique story behind human beings, their experiences and their spectacular surroundings.

 If you want to read more about the project, visit COMME UN SEUL HOMME

 

24Nov

Triggering Empathy with Virtual Reality Storytelling

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

Arousing empathy has almost always been at the core of storytelling. In Virtual Reality (VR), storytellers have found a new tool with which to give viewers an even closer physical sensation of another person’s lived experience. In other words, VR has the possibility of most fully realizing a second person experience of a story: YOU transform into a character in the film, experiencing their visual and auditory sensations in 360 degrees. Director Chris Milk has dubbed virtual reality films “empathy machines” that move and stimulate viewers to social action more than any other media to date. The art world has been exploring this claim in performance pieces and virtual reality films. Meanwhile, scientific researchers are investigating the quantitative and qualitative evidence for and against the empathetic effects of virtual reality. Critics remain skeptical of virtual reality, citing a confusion between immersion and empathy.

Much furor and fuss is being made over virtual reality – but the energy and attitude towards VR is overwhelmingly positive. The most compelling consequence of these studies and experiments is the multi-layered conversation which reveals that VR is no simple subject. Virtual reality is, after all, a part of the complex chain and tradition of storytelling that dates to the beginning of culture and humanity.

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FILM AND PERFORMANCE ART 

Along with director Gabo Arora, Chris Milk and VRSE production company joined the United Nations in making the 2015 VR film Clouds Over Sidra, which tells the story of a young Syrian girl living in a refugee camp in Jordan. The film debuted in January 2015 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, making a strong emotional impact upon the audience. Based on the response to the film in Davos and elsewhere (at a fundraiser in Kuwait, the film raised 3.8 billion USD, nearly double the amount anticipated), Milk believes that VR films can change the world, connecting human beings and altering their perceptions of one another. In a March 2015 TED talk, Milk explains, “So, it’s a machine, but through this machine we become more compassionate, become more empathetic, and we become more connected, and ultimately we become more human.”

In The Machine to Be Another, an experiment run by the art collective BeAnotherLab, VR is the foundation of a live performance piece in which participants virtually exchange bodies with the performer, who mimics their movements.  The purpose of the experiment is to better understand the Self by embodying the narrative of the Other. The collective collaborates with neurologists and neuroscientists. They aim to measure empathy in their future projects.

SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE

Psychologists are also examining how effective VR is at generating empathy in viewers. The Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford Lab investigates how test subjects change their behavior after experiencing specific scenarios in virtual reality environments. Lab Manager Shawnee Baughman explains in a February 18, 2016 interview how they have found that virtual reality has the potential to positively influence test subjects’ behavior after experiencing staged scenarios in a VR environment.

In one scenario, participants became Superman and save a child lost in large city. The point of the experiment is not that the participants save the child in the VR scenario, however, but how they were more proactive and helpful to other people in their real lives in the period immediately following the video. The same principle follows with another scenario in which one test group chops down a tree in VR with a haptic device that mimics a saw, and another group chops the tree but without the haptic device. The group that uses the haptic device to “chop” the tree used 20% less paper immediately following the event in a staged, real-life water spill.

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VR is not only positive in the context of its impact on human relations, but also between humanity and the earth. Jeremy Bailensen, Associate Professor of Communication at Stanford University, shares this positive outlook: “With concepts like climate change or deforestation or even pollution, we can use virtual reality to make the relationship between human behavior and the impact on the environment less abstract and more concrete.” By immersing viewers in environments in danger of destruction or industrialization, perhaps the viewer will better appreciate the need to preserve the environment and our resources. Another example we might consider is an audience experiencing the world in VR from the perspective of an animal in the endangered environment – the hope is that by sharing an intimate perspective with the animal in nature, that the viewer will develop a greater capacity to empathize with the natural world.

NUANCED SKEPTICISM

The nuances of virtual reality come to the fore in myriad questions that surround it. In his New York Times article “Want to Know What Virtual Reality Might Become? Look to the Past,” Steven Johnson suggests, rather than Milk’s all-encompassing view of virtual reality films as “empathy machines,” that virtual reality offers the possibility of different kinds of empathy: “perceptual empathy” or “sensory immersion.” It is true that empathy is aroused by our recognition of facial muscle movements, as Johnson points out, so that if we as the viewer cannot see the face of the protagonist whom we are inhabiting, then we lose this traditional key to empathizing with this person’s experience. However, we gain a sensory and immersive experience of the character whose point-of-view we inhabit. Not seeing the person’s face might make a viewer more open as their preconceived notions based on the character’s appearance will not be provoked. Even the omission of the inhabited character’s face can be played with via the use of a mirror that could “reveal” the physical identity of the character after the viewer has been immersed in their story. Additionally, we do not lose the ability to see the faces of the other people featured in the film.

Other critics, such as adjunct professor Sam Gregory of Harvard University, do not believe that virtual reality necessarily equates to empathy. Jennifer Alsever quotes Gregory: “It’s confusing immersion for empathy.” Viewers might become distanced from the subject of the VR film if it’s too violent, and virtual reality’s potential for motivating social action might instead corrode into “poverty tourism.” Meanwhile, Adi Robertson wonders in her article “The UN wants to see how far VR empathy will go” whether VR’s apparently superior effectiveness in motivating social action results not necessarily from VR’s inherent qualities, but its novelty.

Meanwhile, in her article “The Limits of Virtual Reality: Debugging the Empathy Machine,” Ainsley Sutherland points out, “This is the central critique of VR as a successful medium for ‘increasing’ empathy: that it cannot reproduce internal states, only the physical conditions that might influence that.” In response to Sutherland’s criticism, I wonder if she makes an inaccurate division between internal and external states, devaluing the impact of physical conditions on the emotions. If we can experience the physical conditions of living in a refugee camp, would the very conditions not move us, knowing that the young Syrian protagonist is living what is but a simulation for us the viewers? Additionally, the physical conditions elicited by VR can make the story lines and relationships between people within a film more intimate because we physically have the impression of being beside them, and are thus psychologically more able to identify and empathize with them. Physical and emotional conditions are more intimately connected than we might realize.

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COMPLEX POSITIVE POTENTIAL

Despite dimming the potential of virtual reality to increase empathy, such criticisms shed insight on VR’s complexity and further substantiates its potential to effect change. That VR entails a consideration of multi-layered technical, scientific, aesthetic, and theoretical perspectives evidences the vastness of VR filmmaking’s uncharted territory. Can theatre, literature, or cinema more effectively stimulate empathy in an audience for a subject’s internal state than virtual reality? To isolate virtual reality from the tradition of storytelling is simply false. VR is a continuation of the tradition of storytelling, but in a new medium. And as virtual reality filmmakers develop new tools and refine their skills, virtual reality might well evoke the same complexity of inner states as poetry. At DUTCH PICTURE INDUSTRY and VR EXPLORERS, we embrace the newest innovations and are eager to explore the possibilities of virtual reality and its potential to effect positive change in the world. We look forward to evoking empathy in our viewers for the issues and stories that we tell in our films.

03Nov

Breaking Out of the Comfort Zone

“Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way… you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.”

  Aristotle

People are their actions, and a story is only worth telling if it is about people who act outside of their normal behavior. Entrepreneur and innovator Edwin ter Velde of Zero Waste Center is a person whose story is well worth documenting. His story is an ever-evolving effort to breach the boundary between comfort and discomfort: he is a man of focusededwintervelde action, an innovator who believes that social innovation reigns highest in the hierarchy of innovation.

“I have studied together with my old friend and cofounder of the Zero Waste Center Cees Hebing human behavior (to start with our own behaviour) and the way you can change it, and I understand that your behavior is not how you are, but how you behave. So, why is it that in companies or in people’s everyday social behavior, we are not playing with our behavior? We think that’s how we are. No, it’s an instrument you can use,” believes ter Velde.

As human beings, we can experiment with our actions to change for the better. However, most people would rather not admit that their routine behaviors are just that: routine. The opposite of innovation. Stories that no one wants to read or watch.

Ter Velde wants to rouse people from their stagnancy to experiment with actions that force them outside of their comfort zones and to transform themselves. The problem, of course, is that most people are not as comfortable as ter Velde is with questioning the routines that make up the foundation of their everyday lives.

solar voyager edwin ter velde

We’re sitting in a spacious nook in the Zero Waste Center production facility in Amsterdam-Noord, coffee in hand as 3D printers whir silently along one wall, and we chat facing the several meters high mock-up of the Solar Voyager. Ter Velde has found a way to inspire people to change their behaviors towards plastic waste, but elegantly framed in the concept of Zero Waste and in the story of the Solar Voyager Expedition.

“Talking about behavior is not a nice thing. Because people think, why are you talking about my behavior? It is uncomfortable. And I learned that if you put it in a concept that’s not directly related to yourself, but at the end it is, then it’s more comfortable ultimaker_3dprintersto talk about it and to teach people,” explains ter Velde. “And this is the reason I founded Zero Waste because throwing things away is a behavior, not respecting materials and thinking it doesn’t bother you, is also behavior. If you’re talking about the zero waste concept, then we think it is all related to waste, but after a couple steps you understand that the concept is all related to you as a person.”

EXPERIMENT IN ACTION

The Solar Voyager is a solar powered vehicle partially made of recycled plastic. For one year now, ter Velde has been collaborating with renowned adventurer Wilco van Rooijen on the Solar Voyager Expedition. He is busy all day every day working on the project.

Edwin ter Velde is a sailor, but he is not a professional explorer. Nevertheless, come December 2017 he will embark with van Rooijen on an expedition to the geographical South Pole aboard the Solar Voyager.  Their mission: to show the world that it is possible to journey to the center of Antarctica based on the concept of Zero Emission and Zero Waste.

The construction and expedition of the Solar Voyager is an experiment in behavior. Ter Velde not only wants to challenge himself to go outside his comfort zone, but he also wants to inspire people to change their behavior towards plastic waste. By creating a story and a community around the Solar Voyager Expedition and the zero waste concept, ter Velde hopes to encourage people to change their behavior by taking action to change their daily lives.

“We are showing that it’s all a matter of doing. Just do it! Stop talking about the world and sustainability and things like that. Act. Act. Directly, and that’s it,” emphasizes ter Velde.

The completed Solar Voyager will testify to ter Velde’s message of individual action and social innovation. If the Solar Voyager can make the journey to the South Pole, the most extreme climate on earth, then the expedition will set an example, challenging even the most average person to make radical changes in their daily life – to eschew comfort for the sake of preserving our environment and resources. To act, and by acting, to transform not only the world for the better, but themselves.

NOT WASTE, BUT PRECIOUS MATERIAL

The Solar Voyager will be made partially out of discarded water bottles, leftover packaging, disposable forks and spoons – what many of us regard as plastic waste. But not ter Velde, who doesn’t see plastic as waste, but as precious material that demands our respect and innovation.

“Why is it waste? Has one molecule in the material changed because you call it waste? I don’t believe that. It is still plastic, so it’s still material. In nature, everything is important. So, materials are also important. So, respect it. Take it up from the street, and let’s make the freshest thing you can imagine. Now for instance, the Solar Voyager, there’s a high added value. So, we learn – children, but also organizations, everyone – that it’s all in your mind. It’s all in your mind. We think it is waste, no it isn’t. It is material. And you can do such nice and precious things with those materials.”

At this stage, ter Velde is busy calibrating the 3D printers that will print the plastic material into pieces that will make up the body of the Solar Voyager. He hovers over his laptop, monitoring the printers. It’s easy to be swept away by the project there in front of the Solar Voyager mockup and listening to ter Velde. When he fits several plastic samples together and holds them up against the mock-up, you become infected with his fervor. And then there is still the most important aspect of the expedition to discuss: Antarctica itself.

edwin_with-hexacore

INNOVATION SHOULD BE UNCOMFORTABLE

Journeying through Antarctica will not be luxurious – it is the driest continent on earth, with low temperatures and wind speeds of 350 km/h. But for ter Velde, the physical challenge of the journey is just as important as the technical challenges: if there is no discomfort, there is no change. Living sustainably and without waste will not be comfortable.

“If you want to change, you must change your standard behavior. And that’s a difficult thing for people. We like to have a comfortable situation. But if it is comfortable, you are acting as you always have. So, if it is uncomfortable, you know that things are changing. That you are moving forward, or back. It’s just a matter of testing and seeing what it will bring. It should be uncomfortable to innovate, to make a real innovation,” believes ter Velde.

When asked why Antarctica should be the site of the Solar Voyager’s route, ter Velde replies: “It is the most extreme. It is the most unknown continent.” For if there was a continent that would host a journey meant to assimilate the goals of zero waste and radical behavioral change, it would be Antarctica.

EVERY PIECE HAS A STORY

edwinterveldeTer Velde’s strength is not only in his motivation or his ability to realize ideas, but in his storytelling. When he describes the communities of schoolchildren, or stadsjutters (or urban miners in English), and their efforts to gather discarded plastic material, he lights up. His excitement at having motivated a community of people to act, to effect change is more fervent than any other aspect of the Expedition.

He explains to me how every individual piece of the Solar Voyager will have a numbered certificate that will document the people who helped collect the plastic for that piece. “Every piece has its own story,” says ter Velde. “So, this car is very precious because the energy in all those pieces is being shown to the world.”

The story of the Solar Voyager, he tells me, isn’t about him. “I do not want to have a notation in the Guinness book of records. It’s not about me. It’s about the fact that we can create things, and we should do it all together,” says ter Velde.

Despite what he might say, ter Velde is one of the main actors in this real-life story. His drive and his energy to act drives the story of the Solar Voyager. He inspires each of us to act outside of  our comfort zones– to do. For it is only by doing that the we can transform, innovate, and grow. DUTCH PICTURE INDUSTRY believes in stories like ter Velde’s, helping him to share his story so we might accomplish our own goal to inspire people to create, to innovate, and to challenge themselves – to cross the boundary between possible and impossible.

 

Have a look yourself and be inspired by the Solar Voyager test drive.

 

 

 

 

23Jun

Heroes of Antarctica

Heroic Age of Antarctica Exploration (late 19th-early 20th) is marked by famous expedition and leaders; characterized by great triumphs and tragedies stand out as exciting example of heroic endurance against incredible hardship. During this period, 17 major European and American expeditions took place following on from European conquests of this time. Antarctica represented a way to prove nations’ power by land and scientific exploration.

Explorers of this era were more than scientists and sailors, but also remembered as poets, photographs, artists and most of all dreamers. Each expedition was a feat of endurance and limits testing, these explorers made it before big advances in transport and communication technologies that had revolutionized the work of exploration. Making them more that simple scientists or sailors but real heroes of their nations.Shackleton8_Hurley.jpg.CROP.original-original

These explorers were seen as true adventurers; leaving their homeland on a ship for years to accomplish one mission. Facing isolation, wait, extreme cold in Antarctica without forgetting that it was more than 100 years ago and means were not the same. Then, these sailors had to explore their imagination and creativity in writings and photography making them even more inspiring figures.

And for everyone thinking that time of exploration is over, is mistaking. In January 2018, Wilco van Rooijen and Edwin ter Velde hope to reach the South Pole. The Clean2Antarctica’s expedition; Taking the challenge to realize the cleanest expedition ever; they will cross Antarctica on board of a self-designed and partly made out of waste plastic vehicle powered by solar energy!

The way in which it will be done matter, once again, as much as what will be done and why.

Are they the heroes of the 21st Century for Antarctica exploration’s history? This time, this is not for their nation that they will live this adventure but for the world and for next generations! They will carry with them a message for the planet: prove that clean energy and zero waste are possible. Like explorers of the previous century, they will make an expedition with technologies that are not totally established yet: they will have to show endurance and mental strength to realize this journey. Mixing up technique´s exploit and willingness to inspire the world.Antarctica’s exploration

If they make it, it would be a proof that fossil energy era is over and that wastes are much more valuable that we think. No need to pollute air, lands, ocean anymore: progress is still possible thanks to sustainable solutions!

What if recycled and clean powered vehicle can become the vehicles of tomorrow whether it is for expeditions or more common use?

On top of that, Antarctica represents the perfect place to send such a message of hope to the world today. This continent bigger than Europe is also the land with no nation and no population.  With 90% of the world’s ice and 70% of world’s freshwater its conservation is primordial for the planet. That’s why it is now protected by international treaty. Impacts of climate change on the continent (due to global use of fossil energies among others) are a disaster for its wildlife and for the world; its melt would be enough to raise world-sea level by more than 60 meters!

Tracing the history of Antarctica’s exploration illustrates how impressive it is to see how the world evolved within only a century! Technology incredibly evolved and geopolitics’ stakes are totally different now. Climate change is threatening this continent that was barely known 100 years ago. Hopefully, explorers of the modern time are here to go beyond the limits of the last century.

09Jun

“Buy a phone, change the world”

I also realized how much waste is produced with all these mobile phones. As they are one of the world’s most widely used devices, their disposal contributes to tons of e-waste each year. The consequences on the environment and populations are devastating. Most of the time, our e-waste ends up in developing countries. All the minerals present in the phone spoil soils, water, air… with consequences on populations’ environment and health. As a result more minerals ,need be extracted to build new products; which means more mines and more environmental damage and exploitation of workers… an infinite circle.Schermafdruk 2016-06-09 15.47.24

In my research for a new phone…again… I discovered the Fairphone. This innovative young brand created by a Dutch company, in Amsterdam; is the first creator of an ethical phone. Fairphone already sold more than 100,000 smartphones in Europe, with that they started a new hope that their innovations can be a start for fair electronic shopping.

But what is an ethical phone like? It’s nothing more than an ordinary smartphone working on an Android system; you can call, send text, emails, take photograph, download apps… However, what differentiates this phone from others is its social responsibility, transparency, durability, recycling values at the core of the company’s work.

To reduce the impact of waste to a maximum, Fairphone has a circular view on the production of the phone. That means in the stage of design, it think of how to reuse and recycle parts of other mobile phones. As all minerals can be extracted and reused, this way they use the older phones as materials for the new ones.

In addition they raise awareness and participate in programs to reduce e-waste. And of course they are working towards the goal of using recycled materials for their future products.Schermafdruk 2016-06-09 14.21.15

Environmental and social costs of smartphones production are huge; from mining to manufacturing, transportation and wastes; all this process includes pollution and social issues (workers safety, rights…). Fairphone is pushing the limits by proving that it can be done differently and more responsibly; I hope it can give the example for others brands. Thanks to Fairphone’s transparency you know what every cents you spend are for… For example, for each Fairphone produced; 5$ are invested in a Worker Welfare Fund to enhance safety and good development of workers. You know also that they try to extract minerals (gold, tantalum, tungsten…) in conflict-free areas and are involved with NGO to tackle these problems. Indeed, most of minerals present in your phone are from Congo, an area touched by armed conflicts…Armed groups revenue are basically from minerals.Schermafdruk 2016-06-09 15.49.34
On top of that, the Fairphone is modular; changing a part of your phone is like playing with lego. If a part of your phone is broken you can easily order a new piece and replace it. Fairphone plans also to upgrade its elements, for example, if one day they commercialize a better camera or battery you just have to order this part and don’t have to buy a new phone for better performances. It is created with the intention of durability and not only selling you a product. This is an innovative idea.

Good news is that other brands are already following Fairphone´s example. Google is developing its modular phone: Ara, built to last. As Legos, you can build your own personal phone. This phone is still in development but it can be promising if these kinds of innovations became the new normal in electronic market.Schermafdruk 2016-06-09 16.02.01

But then, what justify the price of a smart phones? Nice design? Cool brand? A big screen?.. There is no other company that is paying for the environmental damage that they cause. The last version of the Fairphone can compete easily with smartphone of this price range in term of performances. So the only justification that I see is that those other brands are just looking for more profit by so-called innovations in performances, design but nothing concerning the production process. Can we accept that?

Fairphone’s goal is not only to commercialize a new phone.“Start a movement” and “Join the community” are its motto. So what movement are we talking about? Which community?

A part of the population is aware of all these sustainable issues and cannot just accept it. This community believes of our power as simple consumer. The way we consume can also be a way to express ourselves by supporting positive initiatives and boycotting others. And obviously, it has power, if more and more people behave in this way, brands won’t have other choice to change their behaviors and strategies.

Being part of this “community” for me is a way to show I disapprove the behavior of ordinary brands… I want to be part of the people who don’t follow new trends because it’s cool but care about the way they are made and is willing to make things change…

Even though it is not the cheapest, I decided to join the movement and buy one. I believe in the positive changes that responsible purchase can have. Supporting this initiative meant 3 months with no phone. As a start-up who chose to not commercialize its phones in a normal circuit. They produce their phone according to orders and only through internet. Victim of it success, there was a 3 month-delay when I ordered it… But thanks to Fairphone, during these 3 months I realized how much we were connected to our phones but also how easy and liberating it was to live without being connected all the time…

Finally, when you decide to buy your Fairphone don’t forget to recycle your last phone, you can even earn money from it!

14Apr

You must never stop

It´s always seems impossible until it´s done – Nelson Mandela

Of course, no matter what you want to achieve, you will be confronted to many obstacles, you will doubt and be afraid to fail. However, don’t be afraid of failure, successful people often describe failure as a condition to succeed. You can learn a lot from failure. Failure is a need to go further. And that’s clearly true; you’ll never know how far you can go unless you try one more time. If people keep failing it is only because they give up at some point… Because at the end, when you try again, you only have two possibilities, fail again or succeed. And if you keep going, you will certainly find the path to success.

Don´t wait this moment of your life when you´ll realize that nothing will never be like before to fulfill your deepest dreams and desires as long as you can. As long as you have the physical capabilities, do not let yourself being stopped by any obstacle.

Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm – Winston Churchill

We dreamed about a new Mt Everest adventure, and were working on it for the last 1,5 years. But no financial partner was really willing to take the risk, neither a broadcaster. In February we launched a Kickstarter campaign. After this failed we felt like giving up. It wasn’t meant to be. Was it not the right time? Is it not possible? We could only answer this with no and we decided to just GO! Not giving up and make it happen anyway. We had already spent a lot of time and money on this project, so not going there was not an option for us. We just had to find different ways to do it.

I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have – Thomas Jefferson

So here we are, last Sunday our cameraman and sound engineer left for Kathmandu. There they teamed up with Lynne and Noel Hanna and will spend 2 months on Mount Everest together to realize this incredible production. We still don´t know if it will be a success or not, if people will like it or not, but at least we didn´t stay on a failure and kept going. And we believe in it!

With never giving up you have to keep believing and hoping. It goes hand in hand with failure’s acceptance. You are the only one that can put limits, barriers to yourself. If you keep believe after failures it will bring you further…and then, you’ll learn to never give up. You cannot give up on something that counts for you only because you failed at it once. It would avoid you to torment yourself with those “What if…?” that we all know. These “what if?” will prevent you to fully enjoy and appreciate your life. And guess what? I believe that the best way to prevent them is … to never give up!

Don´t worry about failures

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas A. Edison

It is funny to think that this production is in a way to giving also others the opportunity to experience an Everest’s expedition, a true experience of perseverance. It makes you suffer, doubt so you can go beyond your limits to achieve what you want to achieve. You’ll see that once you crossed all obstacles: face extreme cold, adapt yourself to the low oxygen level,… standing on the top of the world make you feel more alive than never. You will forget all you have been through to arrive there so you can fully enjoy the moment; the relief, the beauty around you, immensity. You’ll see that all your efforts, sweat, fears can lead to something that really worth it. That is why we hope we’ll be able to share with you all these unique sensations through virtual reality.

Meanwhile, you can follow how the production is going on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram the team will keep you informed on a daily basis of the expedition’s progression in real time!

Never stop until you reach the Top

Fall seven times, stand up eight – Japanese proverb

Working to fulfill a dream gives energy to your life…

Nothing should stop you to build the life that you want. Make projects that make you feel alive and never giving in on them. Never let a place for regrets and complaints in your life, it’s too short and fragile for that. Nothing is impossible, the best like the worst, keep that in mind.

31Mar

Future of banking

Recent documentaries and movies dismantled the hidden face of finance and banking sector and showed how they truly are. The wolf of Wall Street, the big short, Inside Job unveiled some complex and scary pieces of info about this “big money industry” on which we have no influence but can have so much impact. Speculation, hedge fund managers, private equity fund managers, real estate fund managers, and future and shorts… The industry is often depicted as a dehumanized world in which the only goal is to make more money.

What do I know about banking? Not so much, I hope the bank keeps my money safe but don’t try to understand what is behind this complex system. However, is it okay to know so little about what are banks doing with our money? As an individual always looking for ways to make this place on earth more pleasant and better, I believe that we SHOULD be aware and interested of what our banks are doing.

why-should-investing-money-real-estateWhat if the bank invests in the nuclear arms industry industries or very polluting industries, as many of them do?A recent Belgium’s study revealed that our money placement, were at the top of our carbon footprint with 100 tons of CO2 per year. That is so much more than our consumption and production footprint so we should care about the banks investments. We can make a choice by choosing a bank that doesn’t do this kind of investment. Big improvements have been made in this direction, particularly by the DIVEST movement; an international movement which only goal is to put away investment from polluting and fossil energy corporations through petitions and campaigns. I believe that these kind of initiatives are necessary to build a better world. Finally, changing our behaviors, sharing our beliefs and international movements of this type have all the same common purpose to influence the settled globalized system runs by big corporations.

Luckily some “ethical banks” are emerging; these banks are working according to the same model as the usual ones but with a different guideline: transparency and trustful policies. Their first objective is not to make profit and enrich the elite but invest and support actions and companies with social and environmental purposes; letting their customers aware of the bank’s activities. Then, choosing a more responsible bank can be a way to show that we don´t agree with the current system and would like to make it change. They are more and more present and popular in Europe.Coins and tree - Ethical Banking

But still they are part of the financial sector and work on the same model. I would like to explore if we can do without them? So what are our possibilities?

Alternatives to the current banking system exist; new currencies are emerging with communitarian monetary systems. A good example is the district of Brixton in London which has its own “Brixton pound” with its own printed bills and coins. I see these initiatives as a clever way to break the globalized consensus settled in the world today coming with a lot of advantages but some undesirable effects too. It reconciles communities, reduces the production circuit and proves that pull ourselves away from the usual national and international bank system is possible.  On top of that, they personalized their money appearance and its 10 pounds bill has the face of David Bowie printed on it; which is much more fun than the Queen! Those solutions are more sustainable as the economy doesn’t only profit to the elite but encourage local economy and small businesses, while limiting environmental impact.

Brixton pound

But what to do with your savings? Today, interest rates are so low and economy so fragile that it´s difficult to trust banks for our savings. Savings that we want to make for our children to have an education or to save for a nice holiday. Some people would just take out their money from the bank and hide it under their mattress. But actually, our possibilities are wider today. Crowdfunding platforms and projects like ‘kickstarter’ and ‘kiss kiss bank bank’ for example are a good way to place your money in projects that you believe in. However, you will not be able to send your children to university through crowdfunding invests. So, if you keep looking, there are still other solutions to  make profit from your invests… Going in this direction, new crowdfunding platforms like www.oneplanetcrowd.com allows you to invest in some startups and businesses’ projects with the possibility to get good percentage from it in return. Or, invest directly in renewable energy for example seems like a responsible option too to make profit if you’re concerned about the environment and sustainable solutions to fossil fuels and want to slow the bank industry’s power.

So, making businesses, profit, investments, savings without banks is possible; collectivity and sharing have a lot of promises.

03Mar

Share your ideas

Without knowing we take advantage of others people ideas’ every day. Whether it is as simple as a fork or as elaborate as a major scientific breakthrough as the last discovery at CERN with the particle Z(4430). It ALL started with the conception of an idea. We can imagine that someone in ancient Egypt or the Qijia culture (2400-1900 BC in China), had the brilliant idea for a fork and courage to speak out. He thought that the idea would make life better if we would have a fork, and he spoke with his neighbor…and he or she found the concept of a fork a great idea and gave some suggestion of what materials to use or how to make it. And so the first fork was made. Maybe not the best….but it was the start of an evolution, to make something better.shutterstock_146133539-680x400

Many philosophers have given their input of ideas and how to understand the world around us, and this is still needed to interpret the actualities of the present daily life. Idea has the power to have impact for the future in the positive sense. Ideas although it is something untouchable can be very powerful.

This power is only created if the idea is shared, and transmitted and communicated in some way. If it is not shared the idea keeps imprisoned in its concept chamber. Ideas need to be shaped and nourished, as anything that grows in this world. Indeed, evolution is not about protecting ideas, it is about connecting them together. Like bees pollinating flowers, people spread ideas to grow something new.o-FRAME-WITH-HANDS-facebook

What is incredible today is that we are more and more aware that the whole world forms one global entity in which we are more and more connected to each other. Technology and innovation bring us endless possibilities of sharing ideas; and that’s for our best.

One of the possibilities is by participating or following TED.com. A place where you can read that Ideas are like a virus but with inspiration instead of sneezing. Through the diffusion of short talks, this platform offers people coming from different places in the world and having different backgrounds the possibility to share their ideas to the whole world. And the unique purpose of this is to spread ideas to inspire people. We can never have enough inspiration; inspiration is the cradle of new ideas and creativity.

In short, ideas cause ideas.

gerecycled-notitieboek-met-pen-721c

And March is the International Ideas Month, so let’s just celebrate and appreciate all those ideas burgeoning all around the world. I challenge you to use this month to listen to people’s ideas, get inspired and finally, share your own ideas. Coming spring is a good time to explore your creativity. So grab your notebook everywhere you go because as we all experienced it, ideas often strike us like a flash and then just go away.

 

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