Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Women in Business

There has been an explosion of networking events for women in Ireland.  Two that I have attended are the Dublin City Enterprize Board Women in Business Network which has a huge variety of members and Irelands Geek Girl Dinners which focuses on Women in the tech industry.  There are dozens more as well as publications such as Women Mean Business, which featured an article on the opening of BelloBar, see below Shane accompanying his women who mean business myself and Ciara Coyne.

I am in the minority in Ireland who have never experienced a single gender environment. I was in a co-educational setting throughout my education in play school, at primary and secondary level.  In university the majority of my class were boys but the three other girls and I had no problem holding our own.  I have never felt the pressures of gender inequality on a personal level, so the idea of gender specific events sits a little uncomfortably with me. 

But the facts are that in Ireland women are still vastly under-represented in politics, certain high level jobs and in the entrepreneurial and start up world.  So the support is needed.  It is welcomed by all who attend, myself included, and most importantly it is having an impact. The figures are shifting, with more women being recognised every year across the sectors mentioned above.

And to be perfectly honest I’d say only 1% of time at these events is spent talking about the fact that we’re women.  The major reason that we are there is to hear from interesting speakers, meet people and discuss all the amazing things that people are doing and businesses thriving in Ireland.

Margeret E ward a founder of Women on Air, whose focus was on the challenges facing women in the business world, spoke at the April event for Enterprise Ireland Women in Business Network. A statement she made was that change occurs in organisations when the heads (be they women or men) state publicly that they want more women in the high positions as it is good for the company.  Not because it is the right thing to do, but because it is economically important to do so. Because having diverse management styles builds a strong culture in an organisation.  

I think the root of what makes me uncomfortable about women specific events is outlined above. The statistics change when everyone is working towards the same goal of a closer to equal split of genders in business. We need to be talking about these issues not just to ourselves, not in a female vacuum. Women only events by no means bar men from coming but it is hard to get them involved.

How do you get the gender balance right in a women’s event?

How can we get ‘Men in Business’ to the ‘Women in Business Network’, so they can hear these statistics and hear how they can contribute, not for the sake of women but for the betterment of organisations?

Friday, 25 April 2014


The DUBLIN JAZZ BOOK provides the city with a local collection of contemporary standards, 
giving international musicians an insight into the Dublin jazz scene. Volume 1 includes over 50 original pieces from 28 seasoned professionals and students, selected on an open-submission basis.  The launch will feature the contributing musicians performing pieces from the DUBLIN JAZZ BOOK and an open jazz jam session in BelloBar on the 11th May.

Steven McNamara, of ROJI Designs, saw the value in the project and helped make the book a reality; by designing the book, the cover, this website and offering invaluable advice on the legibility of fonts and sizes in different performance situations. To view Steven's portfolio visit

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Wearable Wednesdays

Wearable World is an innovative platform designed to expose and promote the newly emerging field of wearable technology which houses a diverse blend of technology, art and humanity. The platform hosts a series of events as well as releasing online news content, incubator and accelerator programs to encourage and educate the entrepreneurial community as well as 
establish the Wearable and IoWT (Internet of Wearable Things) ecosystem.

Wearable Wednesday, a product of the Wearable World, aims to provide informal events for industry, innovators, entrepreneurs, builders and investors to connect with like-minded, motivated people with the knowledge, vision and partnership that will move the IoWT innovation forward.

Originating in San Francisco, the event has spread throughout the U.S. with locations ranging from Dallas to New York and has recently shown international traction reaching design capitals, London and Barcelona. Ireland will be featuring this event in the Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin on the 28th of May 2014. The launch of the Dublin Wearable Wednesday
quarterly, following the success of the other European events; aims to bring together Ireland's leading authorities and global representatives on  wearable technologies as well as those with an interest in the solutions available to both consumers and business.

Presenting company categories include: Internet of Things - Wrist - Motion - tracking/3D - Health - Fitness - Retail - Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality - Components/ B2B.

BASK have been asked to contribute to this event by designing the 'Ireland specific' identity for Wearable Wednesday, we will post details of the 28th May event and speakers in the coming weeks.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Trailblaze Fundit

Trailblaze describe themselves as ‘a dynamic platform showcasing and promoting creative and socially engaged ideas, people and possibilities alive in Ireland right now.’

You can see and hear some of these engaging people on their vimeoMarie Mullholand spoke at the first Trailblaze event that I attended, and it was a moment that lodged in my memory. The recording is from a rainy winter night, in a beautiful little church on Stephens Green, where we were welcomed with music and stories; people recounting their ‘Aha moments’ and ‘acts of noncompliance’ in 6 minutes; condensed but powerful.  have four days left in their a Fundit campaign to raise money for their next project Rites of Passage which will be part of the Dublin Fringe Festival.


Kyrstin Healy Photography

The above is from our recent shoot with the outlandishly talented Kyrstin Healy who took the ‘about us’ photographs for BASK’s new website.
See her work here.


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Micro Copy in the Real World

I’m at a conference, there are pens with The Company logo on them everywhere, none work.  The pens are on every seat you sit on. They invariably find their way into you bag, back pocket and behind you ear.  Now they are all over the house, with The Company logo glistening in the sunlight, and still not one of them works.  All I associate The Company with is useless broken products.’  Bad microcopy.

Bill Beard wrote in Smashing Magazine about the importance of microcopy to a successful user experience. ‘Microcopy is the label on a form field, a tiny piece of instructional text, or the word on a button.’  While bad microcopy can actively drive users away, good microcopy may often go unnoticed. However, well executed microcopy can even be used to build branding moments ‘when you purposefully inject your brands tone or voice into what would normally be a straight forward user interaction.’ Like the image below from rosettastone.  (I also think this sentence from Beards ‘about me’ paragraph constitutes a personal branding moment - ‘Bill loves building brands and creating great experiences, but hates talking about himself in the third person.)

Beards discussion is all about the digital but there are thousands of instances of both good and over looked microcopy in the physical world; these can be equally influential to an experience and to a person’s impression of an organisation.

At my dinner table I often hear about a large pharmaceutical company (similar to many across the globe I’m sure) where very capable adults and PhD graduates are exasperated by a frequent barrage of patronising signs reminding them to hold hand rails and not to run with scissors etc. Health and safety; they have to be pedantic, but does it have to be infuriating? Much of modern comedy plays off the intricacies and idiocies of life in organisations, see Parks and Recreation. What if health and safety played up to this; exaggerated their pedantic ways and instead of infuriating employees, amused them?  Get your point across; but rather than making your employees irritated by their workplace, make them happy to be there… Stay tuned for our health and safety signage revamp.

During the useless pen conference, The Company representative talked about culture (i.e. happy employees) being the only real competitive advantage a company can have.  If this is true Its vital to pay attention to the microcopy of the real world. I hope the pens in their office work.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013


TED is an endless resource of internet video worth watching. If I were to post every TEDtalk I watch and enjoy this blog would simply be a direct copy of the entire  So I shall restrain myself.

Lesley Hazelton's talk is about an end to fundamentalism.  Heavy topic I know, but so beautifully spoken.  Even without her inspiring insights this woman’s voice could sooth the world into peace.