A compendium of creativity

We are forever intrigued by the questions surrounding creativity: where does creativity come from? Can we grow our creativity? Can creativity be measured? Is everyone born creative? What happens when you run out of creativity? What role does creativity play in the workplace? (What are other words we can use instead of creativity? 😝)

Below are some great articles, resources or sometimes just thoughts and quotes we’ve come across over our years of creativity chasing. We will be adding to this list as we come across new musings and analysis.

From a George Monbiot essay:

“In her famous essay the Ecology of Imagination in Childhood, Edith Cobb proposed that contact with nature stimulates creativity. Reviewing the biographies of 300 "geniuses", she exposed a common theme: intense experiences of the natural world in the middle age of childhood (between five and 12). Animals and plants, she contended, are among "the figures of speech in the rhetoric of play … which the genius in particular of later life seems to recall".

Studies in several nations show that children's games are more creative in green places than in concrete playgrounds. Natural spaces encourage fantasy and roleplay, reasoning and observation. The social standing of children there depends less on physical dominance, more on inventiveness and language skills. Perhaps forcing children to study so much, rather than running wild in the woods and fields, is counter-productive.”

Hurry Slowly Podcast

An incredible set of topics that all link back to creativity and creation.

For example, “Philosopher Renata Salecl on how choice anxiety damages our creativity and why we need to embrace the idea of chance.”

A gathering in honor of the Creative Economy

Bali recently hosted the first World Conference on Creative Economy, where policy makers, industry leaders and creatives came together to share experiences and ideas from around the globe. At Elami we tend to be immersed in the world of practitioners, so it was an eye-opener to listen to discussions of our industry by high level government and private sector superstars like Grab and Bukalapak.

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The theme was one of the best we’ve seen in ages- Inclusively Creative. A perfect description of the event in terms of bringing together different sectors and an inspiring call to action. Standout speakers included architect turned West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil (who left us wishing we could clone him to develop Bali’s creative scene), filmmaker Lisa Russell, and Mileva Stupar of the Audiovisual Institute of France.

The conference also created an exhibition area where we spotted Make a Scene!’s gorgeous hand-woven life sized tree draped in beautiful indigo creations by local fashion designers.

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The Danish Embassy came armed with the power of Lego and we spent time creating some (interpretative) Lego ducks before heading off to see the Grab installation of painted helmets, a collaboration between the transport company and local artists.

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Looking forward to attending more events like this and watching Indonesia’s creative economy grow and develop in the years to come.

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An excursion to ART BALI 2018

Congratulations to ART BALI on their first art exhibition at AB • BC building, Nusa Dua. The event was held with the support of the Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy (BEKRAF) from 9 October to 9 November 2018. We closed the office one Friday and headed all the way to the end of Bali to explore the exhibition with a few of our friends.

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During the exhibition period, ART BALI offered a regular tour, with curators Rifky Effendy and Ignatia Nilu. We took the opportunity to join their final curatorial tour. The curators told us they picked the “Beyond The Myth” theme to explore phenomena and perspectives behind the socio-cultural framework of the artists’ empirical experiences and discourse in Bali and Java.

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The political is never far behind when we shine the light on the socio-cultural values of Indonesia so it was not surprising to see so many intense and relevant pieces. For example, Wayan Upadana created a poignant piece on the fantasies surrounding tourism and harmony here in Bali through miniature figures half- drowning under the waves of Bali’s sea. This was a firm favorite of everyone in our group.

The work from Syagini Ratna Wulan, featuring Bandu Darmawan, focused on the rise of hashtags in the public agenda. Jompet Kuswidananto’s installation took the form of a tent filled with chandeliers, in a reference to the stealing of curtains from the houses of colonial officers so that the villagers in Madiun in late 19th century could peek and see what the residents did, especially at night. According to work’s description, the chandeliers represented a looting of knowledge and culture, thus setting this foreign knowledge free.

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In the past 2 years, there has been a mushrooming of creative platforms (such as studios, collectives, and galleries) and events (exhibitions, discussions, artist talks, workshops) in Bali. ART BALI contributes to this movement and has been met with great excitement by all in the creative community. ART BALI will be held annually and we’re looking forward to seeing how the artists continue to explore the cultural-social-political situation, and reflect it through their own visual language.

As Nina Simone said, “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”

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The Origins Dinner, October 14 2018

There’s a seat with your name on it.

The Dinner Series is about connection and immersion. We’re inviting our most creative friends on a string of dining journeys which shine the spotlight on Bali’s innovative flair.

Each meal, setting and decoration has a story of its own. Every evening takes a surprise turn. We want you to talk, learn and share—but most of all, we just want you to have a good time.

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Our very first Dinner: The Origins Dinner

We wanted to celebrate thoughtful ingenuity. The people and businesses who are taking sustainable practices seriously and transforming them into something beautiful.

The stars of this evening were Wayan Kresna Yasa, executive chef of Kaum and Ijen, Potato Head Family and Elora Hardy, founder and director of IBUKU.

Both Potato Head Family and IBUKU are strongly committed to working with, not against, the precious environments from which their businesses have blossomed. Elora has been instrumental in the growth of Bali’s ever-popular bamboo architecture. Her otherworldly designs have taken the architectural world by storm, proving to the skeptics that eco-friendly building doesn’t have to compromise on style.

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Potato Head Family incorporates sustainability into many facets of its operations – from the materials of its buildings, to the stages and art installations at its events and, now, the food at its restaurants. At Chef Wayan’s latest venture, Ijen, not a single piece of waste goes to landfill. His flagship restaurant Kaum, too, draws on traditional Indonesian cooking techniques that leave a minimal footprint on the planet.

Our inaugural Dinner Series event brought these two pioneers together under one roof – the spectacular leaf-shaped roof of IBUKU’s new Eclipse House, to be specific, where Wayan serving a host of his planet-friendly dishes, hand-picked from the menus of Kaum and Ijen.

In honor of the theme of sustainability and returning to our roots, we created table settings using traditional Balinese dulang trays sitting on hand-woven mats, naturally dyed napkins (with turmeric and onion skins), local centerpiece arrangements (starfruit, marigolds, banana stems, and torch ginger flowers) and served Isola wines produced here in Bali.

Krisna Floop serenaded us as the sun went down with his beautiful guitar playing. We enjoyed an evening of amazing conversation and hopefully generated lasting connections between the 15 guests! And there’s much more in the pipeline, but we won’t spoil all the fun – see you at the dinner table.

The Dinner Series is co-curated with Maya Kerthyasa.

Introducing: The Creative Refresh

After four years of planning and dreaming, we are ready to launch our newest creation: The Creative Refresh!

What is it? 

Bespoke experiences for creatives, inspired by Bali.

We design tailored programs for companies and individuals in the creative fields. We focus on two different experiences:

1. Customized whole experiences curated just for you and your team (anything from 5 to 10 days).
Request a group proposal here.


2. Three-day workshops for individuals (four times a year).

The whole experience is curated for you — all you need to do is turn up.

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We're calling all creators – from the writers to the designers, makers, entrepreneurs and everyone in between. If you make a living from your creativity, or the creativity of your team, it’s time to press pause, hit refresh and replenish your innovative drive. 

The Creative Refresh program offers your team an opportunity to relax, connect and grow. We house you in boutique accommodation, introduce you to local creative stars, feed you well (and often), and curate off-the-beaten-track activities based on your wants and needs.

Your itinerary might include anything from intimate studio visits to immersive discussions, hands-on workshops, unique culinary experiences and plenty of opportunities to put your feet up. In short, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at Bali’s fascinating creative ecosystem, with the goal of bringing your team some fresh inspirational juice.


Why Bali? 

Bali is like a magnet for creativity. The local culture is known around the world for its rich artistry, striking performances and craftsmanship.

You’ll notice subtle beauty almost everywhere — from the way an offering sits in a doorway to the gentle hum of giant kites in the windy season — which is why free-thinkers from all corners of the globe flock here for inspiration.

The expatriate community also contributes to the island’s creative bravado. Together with local inventors, they’ve helped spread Bali’s ingenuity all over the world, through products and businesses such as Green School, Gaya Ceramics, and Threads of Life. We’ll take you into the workspaces of these companies, and many more, to show you how the creative process flows, island-style.


Behind the Design: DUMBO Launch Invitations

When we started to work on DUMBO's branding we were spoiled for choice. Jono had a huge range of influences and many sources of inspiration for us to explore, including our personal favorite- his hand-illustrated notebooks chronicling every thought he had during the creation of the space, menu and feel of DUMBO.  It was an incredible period of growth and experimentation as we crafted DUMBO's visual identity. 

When it came time to create the invitation for the grand launch event, we wanted to create something special for each invitee, something physical they could keep if they wanted, hand delivered to their home or place of business. 


The striped element was taken from the main menu design with foil accents and metallic strips to seal each envelope. 

Inside each envelope was a simple invitation with Jono's signature playful copy and a customized name badge for each invitee and another slightly smaller badge for their plus ones. The badge design incorporated 80s design elements with neon accents and a custom bubble font. The idea of the name badges were a nod to the name badges worn by wait staff at DUMBO. 


The inside of the envelope and the back of the invitation featured the visage of the timeless Sophia Loren. At the very beginning of the design process, Jono mentioned he wanted to see this Italian icon make an appearance. Originally we created a series of physical collages using the gelatin printing process and classic black and white Sophia photos. These collages were then digitalized, enlarged and became part of the bathroom design at DUMBO. 


When it came time for the invitation design, we couldn't resist incorporating some of this artwork. 


Get to know: Jean Howe discusses material culture, sustainable design and workshops

Threads of Life has been our client for nearly 5 years. We've had the privilege of working with them to tell their story and the stories of the communities they work with, online and offline. We sat down with co-founder Jean Howe for a short interview about their work in sustaining the textile arts of Indonesia, impact and sharing knowledge. 

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What inspires you and your work?

The team. They’re passionate, committed, lots of fun, so it’s a great place to come into every morning. I love the puzzle of working with traditional communities. So many factors continue to change for them; there are environmental, institutional and other impacts—some positive and some not. But the passion of our partner communities to continue their culture and create textiles that represent their culture is strong. I feel excited about trying to figure out how to keep all of that working.

What was your vision when you first co-founded Threads of Life?

These cultural objects represent far more than just material things. In the 90s, when we saw these amazing artifacts, it was evidence of a material culture.  They are just so beautiful. We kept asking ourselves, “How can these textiles remain important to the community and how can they generate income?”

That’s where Threads of Life came in- we thought there had to be a high-end market for these textiles. It was about wanting to re-inspire community to keep making these important cultural artifacts, at a standard of the highest quality rather than dropping down to the lowest quality, and having a market that would continually support that. Over time, that absolutely happened. The sense of pride about these incredibly beautiful textiles was really reinvigorated, and today there is a good market for these products.  People value them and they value the story; without telling the story to the market about these communities, they are only still simply material goods. With the story, the textiles begin to have value to the buyers.

Why do you think gathering people and community together is important for Threads of Life? Not only in terms of events for the weaving communities, but also weavers and textile artists from around the world.

There was a time when the weaving communities were so remote. There was nobody that was representing them or paying any attention to them. In that time period, bringing local communities together was super important. And it made them feel not alone- that the same values and concerns they had in their community, other communities in totally different areas shared as well. Now there is a lot of infrastructure, a lot of push by the government to support intangible and tangible culture as they call it.  Central government even has a creative economy department which is bringing these weavers and materials to Jakarta and creating a bigger marketplace. This type of marketplace definitely separates the goods from culture though. It's become a kind of fashion statement. But the interest in culture is there as well, which is great.  

We've been doing workshops and bringing other people here to our dye studio who want to learn about these kinds of techniques- the dye process, weaving, batik, etc.  I think the most important part is that participants are taught by the local people. They aren't being taught by ‘the western expert’ but are instead with the local, very humble people, who know deeply what they are doing. These workshops are a lot of fun. Teaching styles are quite different from westerners, who teach from A to Z,  but by developing other media we are trying to fill that side in for participants, so they can experience being taught more organically, rather than in an intellectual way. But for us, we believe it’s really important to let the teachers from these cultures lead the process.

What does sustainable design mean to you?

Sustainable design means having the awareness that things are constantly changing.  If you think sustainable is getting from A to B, you’ll find that by the time you get to B, factors have changed and nothing is sustainable anymore. You have to be able to shift again. It’s about having personal and business values about societies, culture, environment, livelihood, and continually re-examining these values. Be willing to keep shifting with the impacts that are coming at you and the community—whether that is a drought, climate change, government change etc. It’s about how do you respond to those changes, but still hold your values, allowing the values to be ‘massaged’ into something else while being realistic.

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What does sustainability in event design mean to us?

One day we were caught up by the thought of what do events mean to us? Why are we creating events and focused on doing it sustainably? If you read through the ‘our story’ section on Elami website, you will know that we never set out to start a business. We simply started collaborating while producing TEDx events for our mutual love of “ideas worth spreading”. Basically, we love to make things happen and to welcome attendees as part of an extended family coming from backgrounds; these aspects of events allow us to see the world and learn in different ways.

 Photo by Krisna Dewa Putra at TEDxUbud

Photo by Krisna Dewa Putra at TEDxUbud

Every year, we build experiences for people who love to connect through TEDxUbud; we create smaller events like a fundraiser for Begawan Foundation and their work saving the almost extinct Bali Starlings; working with Threads of Life to help Indonesia’s traditional weavers and their cultural wisdom be preserved and promoted; and supporting IBUKU Architecture to elevate their profile and talking about the issues around bamboo, sustainability and environmental impact in Bali.

The core of what we do is sustainable event management. We always work with reusable or recyclable materials to reduce our event waste and the impact of single-use plastic. That is why it has been always an honor for Elami and Co. to work with people who care about sustainability as well. The more we work on it, the more we learn and can help spread the message to our wider audience.

When one of our friends asks why Elami and Co values environmental sustainability, the answer is simple- there is no need for more waste on this island if it can be avoided.  For us, living in Ubud is helpful as so many people and organizations based here support this mission and collaborate on building better lives through ‘acts of going green’.

 Photo by Krisna Dewa Putra at TEDxUbud

Photo by Krisna Dewa Putra at TEDxUbud

Speaking about sustainable event management is also to speak about economic and social issues. From site selection, source of supplies and services, to working with the people who live around the venue, thinking of the community and natural impact, these are parts of the whole cycle of sustainable event design.

In the end, we want to make sure these extraordinary experiences continue to be felt and shared during and after every one of our events.

Words by Ajeng Anggrahita. 

Behind the Design: Attendee gift bags for TEDxUbud

Our attendee gift bags are one of our favorite things to put together for our guests. When we start the process of thinking about what we want to give our attendees we want to make it as practical, beautiful and durable as possible. The last thing we want is for the attendee to get home after the event and throw everything into the trash.  

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Starting with the bag itself, we ensure it's something people will want to use again and again. Some of our 'frequent flyer' attendees still use all their editions on a weekly basis. This year we created a backpack style, perfect for both men and women and for people on motorbikes every day. We also design the bag itself to have minimal branding; no one wants to be a walking billboard. 

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Then we turn our attention to curating the contents of the bag. Everything is chosen to be useful at the event itself or to be something the attendees can use at home to remember the day by. We are very lucky to be in Bali- home to some of the world's most talented artisans and creators. 

This year we had a mixed nut and dried fruit snack by Bali Buda, a health food institution in Bali; Utama Spice's all natural and highly effective bug spray for dusk; Krakakoa's amazing Indonesian sustainably grown and fair trade chocolate; a beautiful bangle by Aum Rudraksha; a traditional Indonesian ikat sachet of cloves and screen printed bookmark with a prayer of creation by Threads of Life; and a set of wooden reusable cutlery to use at the event and then during ongoing travels. 

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We chose to create a set of cutlery because while we could buy bamboo disposable cutlery for the event, we thought it would be a good way to also remind attendees of their impact on the environment and the role 'single use' anything plays in that. 

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Why our team takes time off for 'Creative Day'

As a team, we take a day off each month to go on a creativity refresh adventure we call Creative Day. We've been to local museums, learned how to throw a bowl in a local ceramics studio, explored the process of printing with gelatin and more. Each time we've explored something none of us is particularly good at. The benefits of getting off our computers and up close with real materials is priceless. 

Sometimes our Creative Days have led to us adopting some of the skills learned into our work. 

 Our limited edition Elami and Co mugs created with Sari Api Ceramics. 

Our limited edition Elami and Co mugs created with Sari Api Ceramics. 

 Tests for a collage requested by a client featuring Sophia Loren and gelli prints. 

Tests for a collage requested by a client featuring Sophia Loren and gelli prints. 

Our most recent Creative Day had us diving into the world of skills surrounding Balinese offering making with the team from Make a Scene Bali, also behind the TEDxUbud stage design this year. 

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Instead of making offerings we created some wild and wonderful flower crowns. 

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For an interview with Chloe, the creative force behind Make a Scene, head over to  Make A Place

Get to know: Jono Russell discusses vinyl love and earth friendly food

We've had the pleasure of working with Jono to launch his brand new baby- a bouncing two-level modern Italian restaurant called DUMBO in Ubud, Bali. We'd love to introduce you to this DJ turned restauranteur. 

 Photo by Arley Mardo for TEDxubud

Photo by Arley Mardo for TEDxubud

What was your vision in building these 3 restaurants in Bali?

The underlying brands or concept between all three of them (The Elephant, Green Ginger Noodle House and DUMBO) is called 'earth-friendly food'. And the meaning of that is that we try and create good food for people that is good for the body and spirit, but also good for the environment. As good as we can be. So we try to reduce our environmental impact through the production- whether making sure that the restaurant uses the right ingredients (local, organic), to recycling and composting, and not using disposable packaging. People come for holidays in Bali, they look at the garbage problem and think it's terrible, but they don't actually take responsibility for their own garbage. They are on holiday and creating garbage, but out of sight, out of mind. We want to make sure at least we are trying to take care of that and be responsible when serving people.

These 3 restaurants, do they share special characteristics?

The main characteristic of these 3 restaurants is that they are all vegetarian because that's my professional preference and my professional philosophy, but also because it’s more environmentally and ecologically sustainable. Vegetarian food is more efficient and less carbon intense, so in the future the planet is going to need more people who eat vegetarian food. There are more vegetarian and vegan people already and we want to make it easier to change by making delicious vegetarian food easily available. Some people in the past had the perception that vegetarian is boring- too healthy, not crunchy, not salty, not delicious. We try to change that perception and also targeted this niche in the market, for people who want to eat responsibly.

You have a background as DJ. Does that affect the mood of the restaurants?

Yes, for 20 years. I DJ'd in Sydney, and then Byron Bay and then Bali. But I used to travel a little bit, I wasn’t an international DJ going around the world, but I played in Tokyo, in Italy or in London. I just had records and traveled. Then I moved to Bali and I was DJing at Kudeta, Potato Head, anywhere that was cool.

We have a pretty good reputation for good music in the restaurant.  If we didn’t then I would be embarrassed. It bothers me at the moment.  I don't like using streaming services because I really like to curate music- every song that gets played on the playlist at The Elephant and Green Ginger and DUMBO, I have picked personally. So in a month, there are 31 playlists that never sound the same. There are maybe some songs repeated, but the playlist is different every day and it changes from morning to middle of the day, through to the night, when it takes on a different energy, different vibe.

In DUMBO at the moment,  we are going for more a mixture of funk and hiphop and electronic music. At The Elephant and Green Ginger, it is a very eclectic mix. We have 80s music, we have some classical music, we have dub and reggae, and pop and folk. It is really eclectic but all carefully chosen to suit the mood in terms of time of day. 

Are you still actively DJing?

Only here at DUMBO. I appear as my alter ego DJ Rocco Stromboli. At DUMBO, we also do Aperitivo hour every Friday afternoon. I'm looking forward to curating a vinyl listening night once a month with some other vinyl junkies.

What's your sound system like at DUMBO?

There are 3 components of our sound system—a really old 45 year old amplifier and tuner and the turntable, which is actually from 2017. It’s new but nothing changes in the technology really. It’s still just playing records. Behind the bar, we have two speakers from the 80s. It’s not the greatest sound you’re going to get. They are not high quality, but it’s definitely enough for this space. I don’t think you’re going have audiophiles coming and going “wow”.  We’re going to make a queuing system, where people will come and put the record aside—like a jukebox playlist sort of thing.

 Photo by arley mardo for TEDxUBud

Photo by arley mardo for TEDxUBud

Inspiration: Pop up dance performances in Ubud market

In late April, we caught a glimpse of an upcoming Ubud dance event across our Instagram feed, not necessarily an unusual occurrence for Ubud. But in this case, how the organizers described the event caught our eye and we headed to the market on a Sunday to see what was happening. With seven 'stages' in total, in various parts of the market that would never be considered as suitable for a dance performance, the dances were progressive.

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As one finished, the next began without any warning or fanfare, dancers often just appearing from within the crowd and melting back into it when they finished. Some dances were performed entirely in silence.  Eight dance groups participated in the event, organized by Karang Taruna Sadha Jaya of Ubud. 

The market sellers and tourists paused their activities, often looking slightly perplexed. Motorbikes navigated to avoid collecting dancers. 

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Jasmine Okubo brought her beautiful contemporary dance to the stairs of the market, followed by her little noodle bowl attendees and the bakso seller. To see more of Jasmine, watch her gorgeous 2017 TEDxUbud performance

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We all moved into Puri Saren, led by the dancers. After a few minutes wait and wondering if the event had ended as suddenly and quietly as it began, all the groups came together to perform the last piece, dancing on every surface of the Puri. 

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On the main stage, a completely conventional legong performance with a full gamelan took place, holding every tourist's eye.

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But as you looked around, you realized the legong dance was being performed in three other places, by dancers dressed in old-fashioned costumes.  Often the dancers were dancing without an audience as only the performers on center stage captured the tourists' attention. 

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Behind the Design: Lighting the way

In our quest to reduce waste in our events, we no longer print our speaker biographies to give to TEDxUbud attendees as we found too often that people were just throwing printed material away.

This year we designed and built our own blocks wrapped in printed cloth which doubled as lanterns after dark, helping attendees to navigate the space. 

We also included some of the optical illusions that originally inspired us and the logos of the sponsors who helped make this event possible. 

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A waste report for TEDxUbud 2018

We've always worked with Eco Bali Recycling to manage our waste from TEDxUbud and make a strong commitment to reducing use of plastic and single-use items. However, this year was special as Eco Bali co-founder Paola Cannucciari helped us to plan a more assertive waste sorting system for attendees.

For the first time, we had an organic and food waste bin and a goal to divert as much trash as possible into recycling and compost instead of adding to Bali's horrible landfill problem. 

Paola and her team took all our waste away after the event and promised to send us a full report after they sorted and weighed the waste. True to her word, we received some great data back from the team and a renewed commitment to beating the benchmarks set this year in the future. 

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Over a period of 7 hours, 650 people produced over 400 kilograms of waste! Over 85% of that was recycled or composted by the Eco Bali team.  It was also very encouraging to see plastic only made up 2.6% of the total waste generated. 

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Behind the Design: TEDxUbud Speaker announcements

The theme for TEDxUbud for 2018 is Seen/Unseen. When we started casting around for ideas for this year's visual identity we kept coming back to the idea of optical illusions: images that appear and disappear; spectrums of light and what is invisible to the naked eye; and tools that let us see into and past the surface, like MRI and Xray machines.  Our exploration and research took us down some amazing rabbit holes. We found a pack of these cards featuring classic optical illusions that every graphic designer learns in their first year of school and we keep finding them all over our desks as we discover another card we love. 

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We also made a choice to bring as much color as possible into the design for 2018, pulling on inspiration from infrared and ultra violet images. 

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The speaker announcements came alive with a fun and dynamic vibe. We incorporated the iconic X in the background and the TED red in a few of the flyers. 

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Behind the Design: Launching TEDxUbud 2018

Updated: In April 2018 we were very saddened to hear of the sudden passing of this very talented artist. We extend our condolences to his friends and family. 

The theme for the 2018 edition of TEDxUbud is Seen/Unseen. When we saw Gentur Suria's work, we immediately knew how we wanted to announce the TEDxUbud date and theme for 2018. 

The event itself will be exploring topics related to the visible and invisible, the tangible and intangible, of the world around us so it was interesting to explore a 'hidden in plain sight' announcement on TEDxUbud's social media. When we started to get feedback regarding how long it took people to understand what they were looking at, or when they told us the images disturbed them in some way, we realized it had worked perfectly. 


Working with a designer (four paths)

This is a repost from Seth Godin's blog—one of our favorite blogs. We keep it here for reference.

Most of us want to look good online, need a website, maybe even a logo. More and more individuals and organizations are discovering that they need to hire a professional.

It comes down to doing your homework. Be clear with yourself before you spend a nickel or a minute with a designer. This difficult internal conversation will save you endless frustration and heartache later.

Here are four postures to consider in working with a good (or great) designer:

  1. I know what I want. Bring your vision. Bring in your folder of typefaces, images, copy. Be very, very specific. The more you paste it up and sketch it out, the more likely you'll get exactly what you were hoping for.
  2. I'm not sure exactly, but I know what it rhymes with. Put together a scrapbook. Find examples from other industries. Do you want your website to look like one from Apple or a direct marketing diet book site? Don't tell the designer what to do, but be really clear what you want to remind people of. Originality isn't the primary goal of design, effectiveness is.
  3. I'm not a designer, but I understand state change. Do you want this work to increase trust? Desire? Confidence? Urgency? Who's it for? What's it for? If you can be really clear about what the work is for, then hire someone you trust and give them the freedom to find a way to cause that change to happen.
  4. I'll know it when I see it. Please don't do this unless you have a lot of money and a lot of time (and a very patient designer). This demand for telepathy is for amateurs.

Simple Ways to Make Your Event More Green

Living in Bali, every day we come face to face with the consequences of bad waste management. We've always made a huge effort to make our events as ‘trash free’ as possible. One of those ways is to make sure our attendees don't need to bring or buy the dreaded one-use plastic Aqua bottle. 

We do this by providing each guest something to drink from, like these glasses below from Bali Recycling, and free refills of water using Kopernik's Nazava water filters throughout the venue. 

TEDxUbud Glass

For past events, we've also given each guest a metal water bottle...

TEDxUbud Water Bottle by Zurich

...or provided them with a bamboo cup—freshly cut bamboo gently sanded so it was ‘lip friendly’. 

Bamboo Cups at TEDxUbud

We've also teamed up with Jenggala Ceramics to do a limited-edition mug for each guest to use at the event and then take home. 

Jenggala Cups ar TEDxubud

We recommend looking into the Avani line of products, including compostable paper cups for hot drinks and wooden spoons and forks. They go perfectly with the traditional Balinese ingke we use as plates, which are lined with fresh banana leaves. 

Balinese Ingke Plate at TEDxUbud

If you'd like to work with us to go even more ‘radically green’ for your next event and help save this beautiful island we call home, get in touch!

8 Favorite Tools to Coordinate Event Communications

It all boils down to good communication, whether externally with attendees or internally with the team and our partners. We have a few apps and tools we swear by to minimize the chaos and crossed wires of event life. And of course, they're all mobile-friendly because our phones are our lifelines. 

Team communications for events

1. WhatsApp

Such an amazing tool for both pre-production and event day. You can send files and photos, locations, voice notes and more. We create different groups based on tasks and needs. It's a brilliant and fast way to get volunteers onto a problem quickly on the day and to share pictures from different areas of the venue. And you'll never have the 'missing email' problem with this app. 

2. Wunderlist

For assigning tasks and checking them off. Great for core team duties and keeping track of what's left to do. 

3. HelloSign

This one is a must for contracts and making sure both parties have copies and details of their obligations. 

4. Zello Walkie Talkie

Zello is a free push-to-talk application for smartphones and tablets. It's lightweight, easy to use and extremely fast. Just push the button to talk. You most likely won't have to configure anything to start using it.

5. Airtime

Airtime is another great way to communicate within teams. It’s like Apple’s FaceTime but with the added bonus that you can have up to six participants on one video call.

The screen is split so you can see everybody who’s on the call and you can set up named groups with pre-defined members. When you need to consult your team, simply hit the Signal button to bring everyone together. (via Eventbrite)

6. Dropbox

An obvious one, but we couldn't leave it out. Great for sharing assets like logos, promo pictures, site plan, sponsor package, speaker package, and rundowns. Everything lives in our team folder and gets accessed within seconds across devices. 

7. Ummo

Coaching speakers is a big part of job of a TEDx Curator. This app helps our speakers to hone their presentation skills.

It acts like a virtual speech coach, analyzing the speech as you talk for pace, word power, clarity, and filler words like “ums”, “ahs”, “like” and “kind of”.

Speakers can press the record button, deliver their speech and then see how many words per minute you were talking at on average. Then drill down and see how the speed altered throughout – kept a steady pace or started rushing? Ummo also gives a percentage score for clarity and lets the speakers set their own filler words and phrases for tracking.

8. Thumbly Keyboard

A phone keyboard that can be used one-handed! The app uses fast, gesture-based, controls to help you navigate the keyboard and autocorrect with one hand, and it’s really efficient.

Behind the Design: The TEDxUbud Badges

Badges hold a special place in the design heart of our Co-founder and Creative Director, Daniela Burr. She says it's a perfect way of making an attendee feel special from the moment they step in through the door. This year the search for the perfect TEDxUbud badge began with the idea of laser-cut. 

In a nod to traditional Balinese shadow puppets and our venue, The House of Masks and Puppets, we created a badge that attendees could play with using a light source and project their names onto other surfaces once night fell. 

Designing for laser-cutting (handled by the wonderful team at 9Box) brought its own set of challenges. The only font suitable was a stencil font. We settled on Rufina. Rufina was created from dark-text on light-background combinations, making it sharper and arguably better for quick viewing in such a dark environment. Most of its letter strokes are separated on the hairline, which allows the same kind of “invisible” readability, and is sort of a pattern among well-designed stencils.

The lanyards were gorgeous strips of handmade batik silk using leftover fabric from the masterminds behind Quarzia. We threaded the silk through two holes for added stability and to stop the badges from flipping over. 

The big and very visible name badges are an important part of any TEDx event—they help people to get to know fellow attendees and build a sense of community.