Welcome to Urgent Genius, a collection of found and created content from around the globe. If it's trending we're on to it. At iris we've been tracking the trend of real-time creativity and Newsjacking since 2010. We call it Urgent Genius.

Every day our Editors trawl the planet for the best examples out there. And we're constantly creating new work of our own. The content that we have discovered or have conceived on this site demonstrate the principles of an Urgent Genius mindset. Urgent Do it swiftly. Genius create powerful social ideas. If you've created or stumbled across any Urgent Genius work then send it to us at

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The Editors

Grant Hunter
Grant is the Regional Creative Director,
APAC for iris Worldwide. He co-created Urgent Genius in 2010 with Jon Burkhart and spoke at SXSW interactive 2011 and 2012 on the subject. He set up and co-authored the Urgent Genius Book with Jon. Grant is responsible for iris’ creative output across India, China, Indonesia, Singapore and Australia. He blogs for Campaign Asia and contributes to industry titles such as Contagious, Marketing and Campaign Brief. He has work published in the books Guerrilla Advertising and Advertising is Dead, Long Live Advertising.


Jon Burkhart
Jon is a Social Media Creative Consultan
t and Innovation Director. He coined the term "Urgent Genius" and co-created the social media HQ of the same name in 2010 with Grant Hunter. The pair also spoke at SXSW interactive 2011 and 2012 on the subject. He is now co-authoring the Urgent Genius book with Grant. He helps global clients like Sony Ericsson, Philips and adidas create shareable content and find ways to have a voice in the hot-topic conversations going on right now online. His work has featured on and offline in places like The Guardian, The Telegraph, Campaign and Rolling Stone. He also works with BBC Comedy as a social TV consultant. He tweets at @albinoriotman usually while commuting to work on his Kickped, the world’s fastest adults-only push-scooter.


Sean Reynolds
Sean Reynolds is the Global Creative Dir
ector of iris. As one of the founding partners from 1999, Sean has been responsible for the iris creative vision, it’s creative model and build of all the iris creative departments across the globe. Sean has been based in New York since 2007, where he has built another three creative offices in the region. In his role as Global CD he has also developed the creative product in other regions such as India, China, Singapore, Australia and Latin America. Sean studied at Central St. Martins, graduating in 1995 and has won a wide range of global awards across all disciplines. Sean’s opinion is regularly sought and he has talked at numerous events and seminars within the industry and he also sits on a number of adjudication panels for creative awards.


20 UK Panels to Vote for at SXSW 2012

The British are invading SXSW Interactive this year, and they’re bringing all their best ideas with them. With over 80 different competitors from the UK in the competition, we’ve picked out the best and most exciting from this year’s Panel Picker, ranging from off-beat traditional storytelling, to full-blown live experiments in comedy, to talks by industry insiders on some of the nation’s best creative exports. Take a look at our top 20 and let us know which one gets your vote!

1. Dude where’s my bike? Tracking cycle theft online

Speakers: Jamie Unwin – KitsiteLars Bortfeldt, BikeShd

Why is it that bike theft is accepted as an inevitability of life? Why has technology not yet come to the rescue? This UK panel discusses how by tracking theft and introducing ID databases and physical tracking devices for bicycles (we’ve been electronically tagging our pets for years, why not our inanimate objects?) we can cut down on crime and live in a happy cycling world…

2. Online to Offline Fame: A Comedic/Scientific Study

Speaker: Jon Burkhart – Iris Worldwide’s Urgent Genius HQ

Can online fame ever be equal to offline recognition? Can one be converted into the other? And if so, then why are all the web celebs so weird and funny-looking? An elaborately verified, scientifically-correct, infographically backed-up look at how you too can be RICH AND FAMOUS (!!). Or at least get laughed at by a lot of people on YouTube.

3. Storywarp! Telling tales in ads, journalism + film

Speaker: Sara Williams – Made by Many

Though there are said to be Seven Basic Plots, a story can be boiled down to one basic, central framework. One which is oddly recurrent in modern life, in news stories, brand stories, the narratives of websites… This talk divides daily life into a series of tropes, and looks for the place of the latter-day storyteller.

4. Blogsurdity #1: “What __Teach Us About __” Posts

Speaker Jed Hallam – VCCP

Everything we know about taxation, we learned from Eagles of Death Metal. And Harry Potter taught us all about community management! If you too are tired of ludicrous comparisons used to dupe the idle surfer, this funny talk might be for you.

5. The Not So Allied Forces of Social TV Comedy

Speaker Will Saunders – BBC
The Brits invented the sitcom (this comment is open to debate...) so why on earth can’t they get a grip on social TV? Talk, TV pilot and crowdsourcing experiment in one, this panel attempts to bring the British up to speed and put new viewing technology to chaotic good use.

6.Hey you! Get off of myspace!

Speaker Hermione Way – The Next Web and Newspepper
Why do we no longer care about Bebo (aside from because it was, well, kind of rubbish..?)? Why have we suddenly moved towards more specified, ‘narrower’ platforms like Instagram and Foursquare? We’re not sure where that leaves Google+, but we’re interested in where this talk will predict networks move to next.

7. Freud, Duchamp and art of UX
Speaker Nicolas Roope – Poke
Absurdism might have switched from urinals in art galleries to an onslaught of silly videos of cats, but that doesn’t mean that the insights of the original ‘avant-garde’ set are no longer relevant. This panel applies the creative practices of Duchamp and Freudian psychoanalysis to human behaviour in the digital world.

8. Open Art, Open Audiences – The Edinburgh Festivals

Speaker Kath Mainland – Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

The team behind Culture Hack Scotland explore how technology can play a role in staging festivals, and how data gleaned from a festival’s use of social platforms can enhance the experience and help the traditional arts to thrive in the age of digital.

9. Your Story Sucks! Saving Story In The Digital Age
Speaker James Mitchell – BBH Labs

Panellists double as stand-ups in this ‘three-man show’, which illustrates how multiple mediums can benefit if we approach them from the perspective of an author. ‘In-field storywriting’ as applied to marketing, comedy, digital narratives.
10. Can SXSW Become An Internet Meme?
Speaker Jon Burkhart – iris Worldwide’s Urgent Genius HQ
Memes rarely happen ‘organically’ these days, do they? A call to action for SXSW’s web community, this panel puts the audience to the test to create a meme in the space of one talk.

11. Why Karl Keeps his shades on: Style and Social Media

Speaker: Angela Buttolph, Grazia

Nothing against web-democratisation, but for some elite industries, like the haute-couture world of Karl, Roberto, Valentino and co, accessibility just won’t cut it. A talk analysing where fashion’s social media approach has gone wrong, and how it might be corrected.

12. What’s the holy grail of social/mobile/local?
Speaker Kim Lovely – Lonely Planet

Lonely planet’s Kim Lovely sets off in search of the perfect app, one which is user-friendly but innovative, ambitious but never intimidatingly geeky. How much needs to be curated? And what is ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’? Give her your vote to find out.

13.Skynet vs Mad Max: Battle For The Future
Speaker: Mel Exon – BBH Labs

Far, far off in the future.. Do we really want to know just how much things will progress? Will the open web have turned into ‘Wild West 2050′? Will corporations chip away at our privacy til we willingly give up our lives to their eerie artificial intelligence? And will we ever overcome the dark force of email Spam? This talk takes a peek into the online crystal ball to find out.

14. Playing the City London’s Gamified Transport
Speaker: Toby Barnes – Mudlark / Chromaroma

Chromarama makes the commute a little more memorable, a 10,000-strong game which makes London transport that bit more fun. But how can it be further developed into a profitable, functional take on ‘location/ambient gaming’? And more interestingly, how can this model turn transport into a new way to tell stories?

15. How Independent Publishing Can Change the World
Speaker: Danny Miller – The Church of London!/TCOLondon
Danny Miller of The Church of London profiles the new breed of independent print media, a decidedly niche platform with an emphasis on design, intelligence and collectibility. Seeing as he’s one of the creatives behind Little White Lies, we’re inclined to believe this guy when he says print isn’t dead…

16. Self-hacking: self-knowledge & data literacy

Speaker: Adriana Lukas – London Quantified Self

How do you ‘hack’ your ‘self’? Socrates claimed that the unexamined life was not worth living; this talk takes the statement to surprising extremes. What do we stand to gain from daily behavioural monitoring, detailed tracking of social interactions and even regular checking of one’s own heart rate? Hack this talk, held by the London branch of the Quantified Self society, to find out.

17. The Ad Agency Versus The Kid In The Bedroom

Speaker:Jonathan Plackett – BETC London

What happens when you pit an ad agency against one solitary Memester? Can the underdog take on the experienced? Can resources and expertise match the appeal of pet cats and tuneless singing and unintentional idiocy? Amateur creativity takes on the big league in this experimental talk.

18. The Jet Stream Methodology
Speaker: Roger Jones – Roehampton University

Roger Jones boils web-marketing down to it’s essentials in this talk, detailing his three pillars of search, social and content. The most digitally efficient engagement programme in the world? Vote this talk in to find out.

19. Creating The Code: A BBC transmedia documentary

Speaker: Adrian Hon – Six to Start

A behind-the-scenes look into the BBC’s most ambitious experiment in transmedia, The Code. Stretching traditional broadcasting across multiple platforms and transforming it into an ARG, this panel will reveal, with viewer and participation figures, just how successful the experiment was.

20. Building Digital Products with Passionate Users
Speaker: Matthew Hawn – know all about passionate users. As do Soundcloud and Etsy, for whom the speakers on this panel work. This talk looks at why staying small isn’t always a bad move for an online brand, and how a small but ‘rabid’ fanbase is that bit more likely to endure.

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