This week, we interview Jonathan Fraser, Senior Associate at Fahrenheit 212.
What do you do at Fahrenheit 212?
I’m a Senior Associate in Idea Development at the London office. My role is broadly a mix of insight gathering and inventing. Depending on where we are in a project, my day-to-day work can vary from following consumers around to coming up with a bunch of new ideas.
When do you feel most creative?
When the heat is on! I find a bit of pressure is really helpful in pushing me to be inventive. I kind of wish this wasn’t the case, as it does mean my best stuff can come a little closer to the deadline than I would prefer.
Do you have any rituals for the innovation process?
My morning cup of tea is my daily ritual, but it stems more from practicality than ceremony. Innovation without caffeine is literally impossible (and I assert that that is not a misuse of literally.)
Where do you call home?
I’m a northerner by birth– my hometown is near Liverpool. But I’ve been living amongst southerners for several years now, and feel like they have accepted me as one of their own.
What do you never leave home without?
I never leave home without a grappling hook, because it’s incredibly useful in everyday situations that require a grappling hook.
When did you first get into the field of innovation?
I’ve been in Innovation Consulting for 3 years. However, I’ve always been motivated to invent new solutions to problems, which is why I chose engineering as my undergraduate degree. However, solving for just the technical side of things didn’t cut it for me – I wanted to invent the bigger vision. So I took a pivot several years back and pursued a Masters in Innovation, which set me on the course I’m on today.
What innovation are you most proud of?
In the run up to the London 2012 Olympics I worked on a project to help create an immersive experience for their Olympic pavilion. It was a particularly rewarding experience as it was part of an incredibly exciting event, and I saw it come to reality very quickly.
What is your go-to reading source?
I am a heavy podcast user, so I get most of my information via audio (it’s much easier to consume when you’re crammed into a London tube). A couple of regulars I would recommend are ‘the A16Z podcast’ for tech and business, or ‘99% Invisible’ for art and design. I can read as well though – it says so on my CV.
What is your favorite innovation in the last decade?
As a bit of a tech nerd, I am big fan of smart devices, even if the dream of the ‘internet of things’ hasn’t quite been realized yet. The standout success for me is the Nest thermostat – I have one at home and really like it. I think it’s the benchmark for connected devices, because it solves a real pain point with fantastic user experience and design.
What is the best advice you’ve received at Fahrenheit 212?
I think the most important thing I’ve learned from my colleagues is the importance of story telling when sharing ideas. A great idea can completely die when you explain it to other people, unless you have a compelling narrative to shape it. So it’s really important when you’re wrestling with the details, to take a pause and ask yourself ‘what’s the bigger picture?’
Do you have any side projects, hobbies, or a previous life you would like to share?
I have a slightly unusual start-up side-business with a few other Royal College of Art graduates: we make food products made from edible insects. Insects are very healthy and sustainable source of protein, but are generally considered disgusting in most western countries. Our brand: ‘Ento’ aims to overcome that taboo by making delicious insect foods that look as good as they taste. For example: our ‘honey caterpillar croquettes’ look just like normal foods and have a subtle, nutty flavour. We’ve had some great successes so far – our team recently hosted a pop up restaurant in partnership Grey Goose vodka for instance – but we are still wrangling with some of the supply chain challenges of working with a completely new ingredient. Watch this space for Ento products in the supermarket!