"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
JAN 20 – 01


Collaborations are about relationships

“The foundation of all foundations, the base of everything is cross-pollination” emphasizes Drieke Leenknegt, Nike's former Global VP of Influencer Marketing & Collaborations when talking about the delicate art of collaborations with Jeff Staple in the latest edition of his podcast “Business of Hype”. After having spent the last twenty years in various roles at Nike, Drieke is about to set out to new shores and eventually provides unparalleled insights into what she believes makes art collaborations truly successful: The goal of each collaboration should be a so-called cross-pollination (the notion originally stems from botany where cross-pollination describes the transfer of pollen from the flower of one plant to the flower of a plant having a different genetic constitution) where the cooperating partners create something completely new together while mutually pulling each other into their distinctive, often disparate universes. The outcome or, to put it in Drieke’s words, the “seed” of this kind of collaboration will then possess characteristics of both partners, resulting in really aspirational products and unique brand experiences. We at Cc could not agree more with Drieke since, with our latest art collaboration service (, we pursue the exact same approach, as declared in our mission statement: “We build on the freedom, creative power and incorruptible perspective of the arts and provide support for joining forces with brands, corporations and institutions of all kind in a truly connected, cross-pollinating way.” But we are also simply proud, when listening to Drieke’s wisdom on collaborations, because she had been our very first client at Nike when we initially started to work for them in 2002. Back in the days, Drieke was based at Nike’s European headquarters and embodied a great inspiration to us: Under her guidance we not only developed the field of energy marketing, but also exported our concept for Nike’s Spirit Room to Milan, Paris and London. Go listen to the podcast yourself if you feel like deep-diving into the challenges of accomplished art collaborations:
"  Circle Culture
NOV 19 – 01


Showcasing the escape game “Breaking Through Impossible” for Leaps by Bayer at Boston Hub Week

We at Cc are excited to share that we have been assigned by our long-standing client Leaps by Bayer to accompany them to the latest edition of Boston Hub Week, a Boston-based festival eclectically fusing art, science and technology that, in 2014, was jointly founded by The Boston Globe, Harvard University, MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital. Leaps by Bayer constitutes the life science investment arm of the Bayer AG whose mission is to invest in paradigm shifting advances in the life sciences targeting the breakthroughs that could fundamentally change the world for the better. At Boston Hub Week, we were responsible for all communicative actions in relation to their reception event, their escape game “Breaking Through Impossible”, their discussion format “leaps talks” featuring Resham Sheety, co-founder and president of Ginkgo Bioworks, and Greg Shell, managing director at Bain Capital and co-lead of the Double Impact Fund, as well as for all other accompanying measures of Leaps by Bayer at Boston Hub Week. Special communicative attention was given to the escape room experience “Breaking Through Impossible”, an immersive environment that was built into a former shipping container and invited visitors to playfully deep dive into the Leaps by Bayer universe. Escape games, where the participants must solve a problem or mysteries within a specified time in an actual physical space, appear to become ever more popular for brands and corporations since they constitute a powerful communication format that helps substantiating brand values through emotions, entertainment and real interaction. We at Cc even believe that escape games bear the potential to replace conventional events, especially within the biotech and life science industries that are all about experimenting and exploring. Put differently, escape games enable laypersons to experience in practice what it feels like to be a scientist by applying the basic scientific approach of trying and failing, and trying again - to eventually succeed and, hopefully, make the world a better place. Head over to the film that was made on “Breaking Through Impossible” at Boston Hub Week and learn more about Leaps by Bayer’s fascinating interpretation of escape games:
"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
OCT 19 - 01


Eric Schmidt’s view on engineering biology

At the latest edition of the biotech industry event SynBioBeta this past October, the conference’s founder John Cumbers interviewed Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO who is today primarily active as a science-focused philanthropist. In the conversation with Cumbers, Schmidt shares his view on the ever-growing industry of synthetic biology and explains why it is the right time to invest into this dynamic segment. Since government funds to support basic health-related research have been substantially cut under the current administration while – ironically – the number of people who are getting older has increased as a percentage, Schmidt believes that it is his civic responsibility to become involved, through the Schmidt Family Foundation, by pumping his own money into several areas of biological research. But Schmidt does not only endorse the advancement of synthetic biology out of pure social responsibility. He is rather convinced that many key learnings from digital technology are also applicable to synthetic biology. To put it concisely, Schmidt strongly believes that, in order to make synthetic biology deliver its full potential and to speed up the product development cycle, the industry needs to enter into marriage with machine learning, as prominently promoted by his venture fund Innovation Endeavors. Still referencing the internet’s early success, Schmidt argues that, to significantly grow, synthetic biology must embrace open standards and collaborative benchmarking: “Instead of hoarding results – as is often done in biopharma and biomanufacturing – shared protocols and common date formats allow for faster development of new products […] [and thus for] a quantum jump in acceleration.” We at Cc would have loved to listen live to Schmidt’s visionary words, but were not able to attend this year’s conference since being involved with a project at Hub Week Boston. We thus look also the more forward to visiting SynBioBeta in 2020.
"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
AUG 19 - 01


Making scientific topics both easier and more fun to digest

Originally stemming from the already widely known poetry slams, science slams are currently enjoying an ever-growing popularity, especially at German universities. Being defined as a kind of a tournament of scientific short lectures where professional scientists present their proprietary research projects in a given time frame – that commonly does not last longer than ten minutes – in front of a non-expert audience, science slams aim at transmitting current science to a diverse, usually lay public in an entertaining way. The underlying idea is thus to teach complex scientific issues in a both easy and light way, thereby hoping to reach the critical mass. Thoralf Räsch from the University of Bonn is convinced that “it is absolutely possible to openly discuss scientific topics – even if one does not understand them to the very last detail”. The only aspect the slammers should pay close attention to is the delicate balance between making their presentation entertaining, yet not too much so on the one hand, and keeping the scientific focus, yet without overloading the public with too many expert details on the other hand. We at Cc find this modern format of science communication not only very exciting, but also highly relevant as we have been observing, in recent years, a rising necessity to turn scientific themes more relatable and sexier for a larger audience. We as the world population are facing huge structural problems (e.g. hunger, epidemics, terminal illness) that only scientific break-through discoveries may find viable solutions for. Against this backdrop, it becomes all the more important for the research world to make their voices heard among the general public. We have great hopes that science slams may contribute to this crucial job!
"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
DEC 19 - 01


Our proprietary approach to gaining unique insights

We at Cc are proud of our proprietary approach to gaining relevant, meaningful and actionable insights, which sets us up apart within the creative insights industry since our beginning in 2001. When commissioned to name, position and design a new company, we always start by researching, identifying and recruiting powerful experts that ideally work themselves at the intersection of art/culture, commerce and technology/science and are therefore able to deliver both unique and global insights into the industry the upcoming company will operate in. Detecting significant, resonant insights is only possible in this day and age if we successfully integrate worldwide trends and opinions and especially if we are capable of decoding and truly understanding them. Only by doing so, we can guarantee genuine sense and purpose, a strong foundation of shared values and a design that gives the new company a fresh and modern appeal while echoing with all relevant target groups. A perfect case in point for our distinctive research approach constitutes one of our latest projects for an upcoming vertical farming venture. In order to come up with a name, logo and overall CI design that inspire both modernity and tangibility, we spoke with renowned experts from Europe, Asia and the United States. They included amongst others one of the top 20 most successful investors in consumer products according to Forbes Magazine, a Director’s Fellow from MIT Media Lab, a goal keeper for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a Young Leaders Circle member from the Milken Institute, an aerospace engineer as well as a design anthropologist trained at Harvard and Stanford.
"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
OCT 19 - 02


Dustin Yellin encourages cultural collaboration for the sake of nature’s rescue

If the world population is going to outlast the climate change, New York-based artist Dustin Yellin is convinced that we all – across all possible disciplines and segments – will desperately need to join forces and bring our collective skills at one big table. Yellin’s belief in this kind of mass collaboration is materialized through Pioneer Works, a transdisciplinary cultural center based in Brooklyn that Yellin initiated in 2012 and has grown, ever since, into an open access innovation center. Pioneer Works thus serves as a platform that artists, scientists, businesspeople and philanthropists can leverage to enter into a common dialogue and come up with collaborative ideas of how the climate change might still be averted. Despite the hub’s explicit interdisciplinary character, art and culture play a very crucial role in Yellin’s hopes for Pioneer Works: “Culture is the best glue that can bring us together, start conversations and create an open and inspired world.” We at Cc could not agree more with Dustin Yellin since we share his conviction that both arts and sciences should be dynamically used as both a lens and catalyst for societal and environmental change. The Arts and Nature Social Club (ANSC), where our Head of Insights forms part of the advisory board, tackles the exact same issue by trying to find possible resorts from the imminent climate crisis. “Dedicated to reconnecting human culture with mother nature”, the association around Johann Haehling von Lanzenauer attempts to do so through the peaceful reconciliation of the arts, culture, science, technology and business. Please check out the initiative’s Instagram account to learn more:
"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
AUG 19 - 02


The North Face and Spiber launch the first “biotech” down parka

We at Cc discovered with great excitement that The North Face has joined forces with the Japanese biomaterial company Spiber to produce the world’s first outerwear jacket that is made from proteins designed to be similar to natural spider silk. Yet, instead of spiders producing the parka’s silk, precision-engineered microbes make it. This innovation can be considered as downright spectacular for the manufacturing fashion industry since the unique qualities of natural spider silk have long been considered as unparalleled, to say the least: It is said to be tougher than Kevlar, lighter than carbon fiber and warmer than the densest down, depending on how it is made. But the innovative material also stands out because of its thoroughly sustainable qualities: The textile used for the so-called “Moon Parka” by The North Face x Spiber is produced via a renewable process that meets the demanding The North Face performance requirements, which would commonly involve non-natural, petroleum-based materials to comply with. To put it in a nutshell, the American outdoor giant masters - thanks to its Japanese partner - once again to mark a case in point when it comes to perfectly reconciling innovation and sustainability. We at Cc find the collaboration noteworthy for two primary reasons. First, ever more fashion brands deliberately wish and especially feel the urgent necessity to align their manufacturing processes with the requirements of sustainability, resource preservation and recyclability. Yet, second, such intentions are – particularly within the fashion industry – often measured in terms of scalability. With the Moon Parka successfully satisfying both desires respectively requirements, and with The North Face being a large multinational company who dares to leverage totally new materials, we have great hopes that in the near future ever more fashion brands realize the tremendous potential – in terms of both sustainability and commercialization – that the biotech industry and its seemingly never-ending innovations hold for them.
"  Circle Culture
JUL 19 - 02


New visual identity for Century Therapeutics

We are proud to share with you an insight from one of our latest design projects that we have been trusted with by Century Therapeutics. The Philadelphia-based start-up is dedicated to democratizing cancer therapy by developing both induced pluripotent stem cell-based therapies and novel allogeneic living drugs for oncology that overcome the limitations of first-generation cell therapies. With the mission of developing a relevant brand platform and appealing visual identity for Century Therapeutics’ website, we organized and led a comprehensive stakeholder workshop in Philadelphia. In order to best fuel the creative flow during the workshop, we designed beforehand three visual identities and brought them as a groundwork for the actual ideation process to Philadelphia. One of these routes was then chosen by Century Therapeutics’ team and further elaborated during the workshop itself. We at Cc especially value a common acceleration workshop with all stakeholders concerned to kick-off a joint project in order to create a precise hierarchy of information for an optimal digital communication flow during the entire project and to guarantee a deep understanding of the visual leitmotif of the Century Therapeutics brand. By doing so, we are able to ensure a sustained common ground for the desired brand expression across the whole team, thereby enabling highest levels of quality within short deadlines. Our very successful workshop thus laid the foundations for a differentiating corporate identity as well as for the visual language of the brand’s website. As a result, the latter stands out from competitors in a new and refreshing way by focusing its imagery not exclusively on laboratory pictures – as commonly known within the segment -, but by highlighting the human dimension of the company’s great purpose through the usage of people and community pictures. We at Cc are thrilled to be part of this beautiful brand and to be able to further make Century Therapeutics shine.