Category: Joined Up Thinking

Sanj Suran of Tiger Heart knows what it takes to pull together an interesting conversation.

What an honour to join Amalia Agathou of 18 Havas UK, Sel-Vin Kuik of Smack Digital, and Marija Butkovic of Women of Wearables in conversation about the ever-evolving relationship between Humans and Technology.

Our conclusions:  The convergence of tech from all sectors is creating new opportunities for Retail (operationally and external facting). Consumers will always make tech their own.  Data is the new gold dust.  Retailers are struggling to move as quickly as consumer expectations change.

What a day, what a conference!

Delighted to have had the opportunity to share insights on BioMetrics, Big Data, and IOT from Hitachi’s arsenal of global tech, now aimed at improving Retail Operations and Customer Experience.

Maureen Hinton provided GlobalData’s insights.  Shell Oil delivered an illuminating insight to mobile tech for the busy driver.  Holland and Barrett explained how customer insights drive loyalty.

If only the San Pellegrino folks had been present to really understand this!



Oh What a Night!

Last night the 2017 annual Apps For Good awards took place at the Barbican London.

The finalists were as enthusiastic and energetic as ever! 

I was thrilled to be involved with the judging of The Internet of Things (IOT) category, the newest addition to the competition.

“It’s very hard to come up with good ideas for the IOT,” said fellow judge Christopher Histed, Master of The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.  “A lot of people try, and I was very impressed at how good all of the ideas were,” he told me after the judging was complete.

Four ideas vied for the win:

  • Keep fit Determination—an app for gamers that promoted physical fitness by shutting games off at regular intervals to force gamers to leave the screen
  • Self Register—using the fingerprint as secure id, this team sought to capture college class attendance, student coursework and grades across multiple devices through a campus
  • SafeStep—sensor enabled mats to alert caregivers and family members of the elderly when someone has fallen or gone missing via a mobile app.
  • Micro:gate—GCSE science practical equipment made easy and cheaply.

Each of the four teams that made it to the finals, had 5 minutes to pitch to 5 Dragons.

Pitches included prototypes, powerpoint presentations and lively demonstration!

And the winner in the IOT category: SafeStep!

After judging, I then moderated a panel discussion with the Impact Award nominees.

Fellow of the Year finalists Adam Lee, Holly Dyson and Tasneem Rahman, graduates of the Apps for Good Programme who are still involved in mentoring and career related programmes, shared their insights on how the programme inspires, motivates, and prepares them.

“Even though my app didn’t win, I never stopped learning and pushing myself,” Rahman said.  “The programme has really helped my confidence and my public speaking abilities.”

Maria Parkes, Educator of the Year from The St Marylebone CE School, Michael Bristow Barclays’ VP/Head of Marketing Wealth & Investment Management and Apps for Good Expert of the year, and Colin Spark from School of the Year Dunoon (Scotland) Grammar  School, were equally enthusiastic about the programme.

“When we try to innovate at work, we often do so within the constraints of the companies we work for,” said Bristow.  “We can’t help it. We’re conditioned.  But the participants in Apps For Good have no restraints in their thinking, and their approach to problem solving.  It’s because of this, we get the best ideas,” he said.

“Try not to lose your innovative approach,” he said to the students.  “We must all remember to think like children,” he said to the audience.

The evening continued with all finalists pitching to guests via the marketplace.

Winners were then announced at the evening’s awards ceremony.

What an honour to be asked to judge this years textile competition.

Students were challenged to showcase their skills in business, marketing, and merchandising by creating a business concept of a hypothetical new apparel line that redesigns apparel items (leggings, t-shirts, etc.) for children (ages 2-10) with special needs and/or a disability. See the full competition guidelines for more details.


It wasn’t easy choosing a winner, but here they are.



AATCC would like to extend appreciation to the following developers and judges. Without their expertise and assistance, the Competition would not have been possible.



Muditha Senanayake, Associate Professor at California State Polytechnic University Pomona

Mary Ruppert-Stroescu, Assistant Professor, Design, Housing and Merchandising Oklahoma State University

Sandy Johnson, Director of Sales at Color Solutions International/Dystar

Kerry King, Vice President, R&D at Spoonflower, Inc.

Mark Sunderland, Director Academic Operations/Textile Engineer+ Strategist, Philadelphia University

Mary Brannon, Apparel Technology Coordinator at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising



Alyssa McNamara, Research & Development at Spoonflower, Inc

Claudia Romero, Managing Director at CAPR-STYLE LTD

Craig Crawford, King of Creative at Crawford IT

Emily Coleman, Designer/Merchandise Manager at Jeffries Socks

Kristie Rhodes, Manager, Product Development at Cotton Incorporated

Lauren Dalton, Product Integrity Manager at Zulily

Susan Matter, Product Integrity Manager at Nordstrom Product Group


What a swell party it was!

I was terribly honoured to host the SalesForce/Ceturna roundtable for London’s Savile Row last

Over dinner in the elegant Mayfair Browns Hotel, we discussed how digital and craftsmanship can partner to drive brand growth and customer engagement.

Digital CRM and meaningful relevant digital communications from London’s bespoke tailors to their global consumers is now expected brand behaviour, however traditional product creation is.

Successful digital storytelling requires authenticity to be effective
at creating brand awareness and sustaining customer loyalty

Savile Row’s authenticity is the stuff digital storytellers dream about.

The partnering of traditional craftsmanship and modern technology is a winning combination.

It was standing room only in Camden tonight at the swell Tom Dixon designed Interchange Triangle for UAL and Centre for Fashion Enterprise‘s 9th Fashion Tech meet up

All of us glamour nerds mingled before and after some thought provoking presentations that included:


Matthew Drinkwater, Head of LCF’s Fashion Innovation Agency: The Impossible Cheeseburger (made from plants) Changing perceptions and exciting people through tech

Irene-Marie Seelig, Stella McCartney Sustainability Officer and Kering sustainability award recipient: the Amadou Mushroom “leather” (it feels super soft — like moleskin. Read more in my forthcoming AATCC piece)

Amy Lee, Head of Trends and Insights at Avery Dennisen: transparency and efficiency in the supply chain with RFID, QR codes, and the IOT platform Janala

Dr Kate Goldsworthy of LCF: From paper jackets to regenerated fibres to Bespoke Digital–Collaborative projects produce amazing new Business models


But my personal highlight was taking “my new best friend” Nancy Johnston, founder of Tengri (sustainable Yak as an alternative to cashmere)  thinking I’d introduce her around — only to have nearly every presenter cite her as one of the best examples of today’s new closed loop sustainable, environmentally and socially responsible businesses in textiles.

Well at least I know all of the right people!

The most exciting thing about the June 2016 Product Innovation Apparel conference in NYCy was the maturity of 3D simulation tools. These are finally finding their place at the beginning of product concept–moving upstream from the consumer end.

Craig Crawford - Product Innovation NYC

Historically these technologies have been used at the end of the product design cycle–used to sell without samples.

Craig Crawford - Product Innovation NYC

But in just a few short months, 3D simulation tech has matured to be easier to use and is, therefore, finding its rightful place at product concept. Why wouldn’t designers and product developers simulate product prototypes BEFORE sample making?

Craig Crawford - Product Innovation NYC

Other exciting showcases included:

-In store Pop-Up Product Customisation tech that lets consumers create one of a kind custom product (think smartphone cases, handbags, t-shirt, water bottles) with an easy and fun to use CAD step-and-repeat software that drives dye sublimation printers to print onto product while the consumer waits.
-Manufacture New York’s incubator that is making Brooklyn the new innovation hub giving Manhattan’s garment centre a run for its money.
-A Mobile PLM platform that is independent of the enterprise PLM mothership. Integration and ingenuity enabling the product and textile design and development teams to be true mobility at work.

Last week (June 20-26) was London tech week and it all kicked off with a Fash tech curated exhibit near Old street, at The Yard in Shoreditch.

Digital knit wear designer Brooke Roberts was curator.

Tech should be transparent, she explained while waking me through her digital produced knitwear that take their patterns from MRI brain scans and CAT brain wave images.


The first truly drapable 3D printed dress by Modeclix was on display. Made of polymer, the dress is assembled by snapping each tiny printed piece together — a modern day chain mail. Swarovski crystals snap onto some of the parts allowing the dresses to me creates i. A variety of styles, colour, patterns and sparkle.

IMG_2680 IMG_2645


For me the best blend of physical and digital was the hologram topped mannequin by Headworks. The bottom is a standard visual merchandising mannequin, but the top is a hologram that can be programmed to recognize faces and response. Additionally it can collect data on shopper interactions within the store

Augmented Reality by Village took viewers onto the runway in a completely immersive 360 way. “Being there” storytelling in a very chic way


The first 3D printed robot ‘InMoov Robot‘ donned a Muslin dress that a variety of different gowns were projected onto. The robot can react to voice commands and is interactive with consumers

But by far singer song writer Beatie Wolfe stole the show when she took the stage and performed in her musical jacket.

The jacket was made by the same Saville row tailors who stitches for The Rolling Stones and David Bowie and the bespoke woven fabric literally took its pattern from the sound waves of beatie’s recording of “take me home”. An NFC chip embedded in the back of the jacket triggers the song to play on anyone’s smartphone lucky enough to be near her!

Her album montage square is an homage to many of rock and rolls greats and was recorded in the former residence of John Lennon. Each cd is packed with a deck of cards “liner notesl also embedded with NFC chips that when touched to a smartphone triggers the song to play.

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 15.23.30 Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 15.25.42 Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 15.24.55 Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 15.26.38

Physical and digital beautiful blended with art and storytelling.

I can’t help it. I get teary eyed with pride every year when the finalists compete in the apps for good marketplace and pitch their app concepts

Look at these 8 – 18year olds who as teams identified a problem that they felt could be solved with technology, researched the market, conceived and designed the app, pitched it to executives in true “dragons den” fashion, and then pitched it to executive guests from all industry sectors in an evening marketplace


The team who produced The School Council App–helping kids stay in touch with school issues and participate in local policy making


Pitching for My Allergy Basket. At 8 years old, these guys developed an idea to allow allergy sufferers to scan as they shop in supermarket to avoid hazardous allergic reactions to food


Helping you find your way–team Destination for You


Team Yum–promoting healthy eating


Torr–these Scottish girls propose an app aimed at helping hikers find trails and mountains to tackle

This year marks the 5th year of this not-for-profit’s work: creating nurturing and sustaining the educational curriculum that makes it all happen with the support of individuals, educators and corporate sponsorships.

For a complete list of winners visit the website.

I didn’t try to find Augmented Reality; it just found me!

This week’s theme has been Augmented Reality–All randomly

Which means to me, AR is coming of age and increasingly important

It started Monday at charity:water’s UK launch. I love this American based charity. charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. As they enter their 10th year, they have funded 19,819 water projects in 24 countries helping 6.1 million people.



At the UK launch, oculus rift was used to provide a 360 immersive experience into 13-year-old Selam’s village life in Northern Ethiopia. More than a glimpse into her village and life there, you are transported; to empathize with her and her people. In the end, you feel the thrill of the water geyser rising up as the drill taps Into the underground water reserve.

Wow, who knew AR could be an empathy machine!

On Tuesday a Shea Collins, a marketing and branding colleague and I played with Interactive AR at Somo.

We manipulated objects in 3D–Pretty cool

And then Thursday I had lunch with Charly Leven of the agency Happy finish and via AR I was fully immersed in a world that few until now can understand. I could feel what it’s like to be Autistic.


Later we romped through Rihanna’s bedroom!

It appears to me that AR has finally found a use case: Immersive storytelling. AR is indeed a gateway to emotional storytelling

PS that day ended at the Worship Street `Whistle Shop were I was served—wait for it: the Augmented Martini! A dry martini with a gelatine ball that as it melts it augments the dry into a dirty martini. Ahhhh.