sparks & honey’s headquarters in New York City

Our Daily Briefing Is Going Live

Every day at noon, sparks & honey opens its New York City doors as we get together to discuss, debate and comment on how culture is changing at our Daily Culture Briefings.

It’s all part of a real-time pattern recognition exercise at the core of our five-year-old agency. The Daily Culture Briefing is a workout that trains us to recognize patterns of change in culture. The briefings are also part of a toolkit of techniques we employ to train our active learning system Q™ (learn more here).

We believe in bringing the outside in, and by that we mean welcoming a yearly roster of some 5,000 guests to our briefings: everyone from strategists to students, artists, CEOs, influencers and even a few known faces in the mix. And now, we’re taking the first 20 minutes live, every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. By streaming the session we aim to share what we do with an even bigger crowd.

This article offers an overview of the session as we open the doors of our shop to even more curious minds via Facebook Live.

Agency as studio

The magic of briefing every day

The primary goal of the session is to help us understand the nuanced, sometimes intangible shifts in culture that result in ever-evolving human behavior, ideas, and knowledge. These subtle shifts occur across industries, so we make sure to look at culture through a broad lens, or ‘across the horizontal,’ as we call it. By doing this every day we build a base of knowledge, hone our pattern recognition skills, and align as a team on the language and concepts that help us identify changes in culture as they happen.

Alongside guests, the whole team — the New York, LA, and Chicago offices and our global scouts — gather to discuss trending signals for an hour, some 30 to 40 every day, or 150 to 200 per week. A signal is a manifestation of culture (fast and slow) in our daily lives. It can be anything from a tweet, song, or meme that’s spreading fast, to popular news articles, research papers and patent files, to changes in public policy or emerging tech. We track it all.

As a collective, signals form a unique picture of culture as it evolves. Some signals end up on the cutting room floor, while others turn into the next insight, innovation, product or business model.

Visualizing the briefing’s ideas and discussion

Anatomy of a briefing

We think of the briefing as an active work session, where the staffers around the table, and around the world, all play a role. The data sciences team trains our active learning system, Q™ by ‘tagging’ all signals to our trend taxonomy, The Elements of Culture. At the same time, tagging captures the nuances in the discussion. This helps the system identify similar signals automatically, augmenting the scale and accuracy of our trend spotting abilities.

Other team members connect patterns to specific ongoing projects for clients and our own culture forecast reports, while the Human Network team identifies questions or insights that can be shared for validation with specific members of our different networks (such as Global Scouts and Advisory Board).

Training our active learning system, Q™

The open agency

It is precisely because we believe in being open (our manifesto is here) that we are now streaming this session live on Facebook three times a week. Our aim is to bring more people into the discussion, share with a bigger audience, and continue making good on our purpose: open minds and create possibilities.

Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on Facebook Live, at 12:05 pm Eastern Standard Time, we’re livestreaming the first 20 minutes of the Daily Culture Briefing. The remainder of the hour we’ll continue the discussion in studio with our in-house guests and staff.

To join our live studio audience on Madison Avenue in New York City sign up in our website — or catch us on Facebook, wherever you are.