From moving between the different domains of my clients disciplines to some explorations of my personal creative agency, storytelling has been the thread between all the activities, along with the desire to add value to the world through collaboration. It’s been a year of internal revelations and a renewed hunger to try new things in a future which is starting to glisten with potential.
To enable me to pay the rent, services were delivered to the following superb array of entities:
…plus individual speaker coaching sessions took the total to 35 clients for 2021—an honourable haul in current climes and very much appreciate deeply each and every opportunity.
In terms of what services were delivered, it comes out something like this (‘speaking’ includes talks as well as my ‘purposeful storytelling’ beginners and advanced full-and-half-day masterclasses for leadership groups):
How that equates to monies earned:
A couple of the choice highlights have been:
MC’ing the monthly online Teulo Talks whereby I get to interact plus learn from internationally renowned architectural and construction industry talent. Hearing how these leaders are exploring new computational approaches plus putting the climate crisis at the heart of their designs is wonderfully hope inducing.
Producing a three-day ‘purposeful storytelling’ learning experience with the good librarians of the Christchurch Libraries was a joy. Spending a repeated amount of time with clients is rare so it’s very much cherished when it occurs. And hearing after about the positive impact of aiding those to embrace their stories with the skills to share them makes me soul sing.
And here’s what a few folks said about me in other realms of my delivery (which makes me shift in my seat and feel odd although am trying to get better at celebrating myself more):
“I recently had DK run the ‘presenting engagingly online’ session at a virtual conference I was managing for our organization. We had many great speakers, but based on the feedback (and my opinion too!) DK’s was the highlight. The session included tangible take aways that I use daily while presenting and was fun and energetic. Coordinating the session with DK was a breeze (even with the time difference), and he tailored his approach to fit the group I was working with. Could not recommend enough!” June Kinloch, Lead, Digital Products, The HIVE at IBI Group
“When in lockdown, at Pharmac we asked DK to deliver a zoom presentation on ‘presenting engagingly online.’ Our objective was to give staff an opportunity to connect virtually after we had all shifted to working from home and we had few opportunities for a shared experience. We used DK’s prepared session to shift from presenting in this new medium (zoom) to how we adapt generally, with shifting mediums as a metaphor for the broader pressure on all of us to adapt and change in response to our external environment. The latter part was progressed via a moderated Q&A session. Staff really enjoyed the session – both parts – and I consider DK’s role as catalyst to have been really helpful.” Mark Woodard, Director of Corporate Services/CFO, PHARMAC NZ
“I have had the great pleasure of inviting DK to work with our team for 2 enjoyable and valuable sessions so far: an in-person (those were the days!) public speaking and storytelling workshop; and a virtual Presenting Engagingly Online session. These were both very highly rated by our team and we’re looking forward to having DK come and share more magic with us to help us continue to hone our skills and confidence. On top of that, DK is one of the kindest, most compassionate and generous people I know. He builds an environment of trust, confidence and care, role modelling respectful feedback and gently supporting people to build confidence and strength with public speaking, storytelling and presenting. I cannot recommend DK highly enough.” Kimberley Gilmour, People & Culture | Health & Wellbeing, Uneeq
The above was my first pass at the ‘delegate experience’ which was a result of a few sessions with the interactions team which I was leading this year. My aim was to inspire and guide the group to craft a creative experience for the 2,000 attendees which surprised and delighted whilst tapping into the subjects explored by the speakers and also literally recording plus increasing the nature of the chosen theme of the event, which was ‘hope’ (the speakers were already chosen by this stage as well as the theme, and after the event was cancelled were ‘gifted’ over to a new license and event TEDxPipitea to continue with).
TEDxWellington was so aligned to my purpose and I gave nearly a decade of pro bono time to it. Even though it nearly broke me a few times and constricted my ability to explore paid work, what an amazing 9 years selling out every event, giving many an opportunity to speak on a TEDx stage to catapult their stories into the world and a chance for many more to volunteer on a world-class initiative (many of which have leveraged in their own personal / professional journeys). I feel blessed to have had the experience which included:
Have been taking the time to go inwards and explore spirit versus ego, values and character, trauma and healing. It’s been long overdue and I know will never be a completed exercise as my ‘bastard brain‘ still pops up and does its usual thing. But there’s an emergence state occurring as a wider range of literacy regarding my emotions are being accessed.
There remains a deep reverberating ache for companionship, and that’s okay. I have a high level of trust in this longing which sparks an odd but familiar hopefulness in me. I have bared my calon and the outcome was the opposite of what was hoped for but I am proud of me for making the it known:
CURATED / CREATED
As evident in the 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36 digital breadcrumbs offerings—the good stuff I tweet collected into cohesive and more snackable monthly blog posts—my curiosity is still sharp and I delight in having a wide view on the world. Between those and a modest blogging offering this year I will continue to seek out a wide-ranging media diet and delight in the brilliant intersections I see in most things:
This year I continued my Creative Welly activities along with my collaboration partners, and produced fourteen episodes featuring 28 bold humans (read the end of year review here). It continues to be a unique visual approach to the medium and keen to build off the wholly independently produced venture as still have a big list of people to get to.
Earlier in the year I got to making—have designed and developed a working prototype focused on amplifying human connection (born out of a failed attempt at an ebook on the same topic which I’m revisiting for the new year in a different form).
After lots of cardboard cutting and glue gun fun, a friend helped with the final ‘cut file’ to get it fabricated, and over a thousand bucks later I had the chance to fit it all together and… it works!
Have pitched the concept to a couple of agencies for use in the New Year (fingers crossed).
Extrapolating from the types of services plus financials more speaking opportunities will be sort along with consulting, however, I’ll be dropping the in-person MC offerings (as actually know better practitioners out there I can pass on my inquiries to).
The self-care and self-awareness values have been ignited after being in dormancy which has sparked so many cognitive and emotional reactions in me that I know it’s important. Tenderness, kindness and grace have become often cited and lens by which to navigate this crazy life.
2022 ACTION STRATEGY / THE NEXT 8,760 HOURS
We’re all grown-ups and know that planning is guessing, shallow attempts to manifest best intentions, action is key.
Throw in a layer of doing things which serve my spirit and purpose, plus creative collaborations with other impressive people, then that’s an action list I want to chase down.
My purpose remains the same:
“I’m driven to enable people find and have voice.”
Beyond continuing to offer my current speaking / coaching services, my desire is to give attention to projects which raise eyebrows, both individually and in collaboration with others (centered around the above purpose statement). This will manifest in the following actions (no particular order):
as described above regarding the prototype, been researching for about 9 months and developing out a product around augmenting gathering experiences, so intending to go live in the first quarter with a few paid service offerings and one free informational offer;
also in the first quarter, will launch a series of online course offerings relating to presenting online (a deeper dive from what I’ve been delivering this past year or so to many clients);
Creative Leadership NZ (which ran in 2017, 2018, 2019 then paused due to the pandemic) will make a return at the end of 2022 to “connect visionary humans and creatives into a community to solve contemporary challenges” and is already in development mode (venues, curating speakers, exploring partnerships);
artistic expressions through sound, artifacts and visuals (not NFTs because they are mainly a ponzi scheme which hurts the world);
and finally, have an audacious moonshot documentary project brewing which is titillating the senses and aiming to close the deal this year.
Also want to throw a big hope and that is to visit the family back in Wales and then other friends in other countries during the trip. With the current state of the virus who knows, am doing my best not to miss people / places and recognise in gratitude where I am and what I have also.
As for the more personal side of things, am keen to craft a ‘theme’ for the coming year and have settled on:
Radical creativity responsibility.
Towards the end of the year I unfollowed a bunch of people and entities on Twitter / Linkedin which were constantly creating a negative response in me and it triggered the realisation that it is up to me to define my state (or at least do my best to react to the world in the positive). Integrating traumatic experiences and sad-inducing moments I will take personally and treat them like adventures to be grateful for.
So, how was your year and what guesses / actions do you have for 2022?
Current thoughts on producing a unique, beautiful and independent video podcast.
In 1176 the then Prince of Wales, Rhys ap Gruffudd, invited a wide range of learned folks to Cardigan Castle to participate in the first ever Eisteddfod—Eistedd means “sit” and Fod means “be”—a cultural festival with the aim of sharing and learning from each others artistic expressions.
Creative Welly‘s model is simple: bring together two souls from different disciplines whom have never met, and then through a modern-day fireside situated discussion, we uncover the person plus lessons behind the projects / initiative / companies / organisations / approaches.
The dinstinct visual concept of the final video form is all about creating intimacy for the viewer, to offer through the peripheral, the sense of being connected deeply in to the discussions (check out the latest two episodes to see what I mean if you haven’t already seen):
For the participants themselves, nearly all comment on the wonderful sense of space it offers, simply having the time to explore ideas and experiences in unhurried conversation. This is how it’s filmed:
As for the financial model of such a creative endeavour: it’s independently produced which means we rely on the generosity of David Hamilton at Flashdog Studios who hosts us (for free) and the technical talents of Jono Tucker of Empire Films who produces the video offerings (for free). I work hard on curating the participants plus make it all go live to the world via creativewelly.com (for free) as well as pay for the video / domain hosting. There is no funder or advertising involved which ensures no agendas being pushed, so in essence we lose money although we gain so much in offering the world a totally original way to ‘sit’ and ‘be’ (as a viewer or participant).
She is the founder of The Mediated Matter Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology plus originator of Material Ecology: exploring / teaching at the intersection of technology, biology and sustainable design. The above is a retrospective of sorts relating to her work and an invitation to explore what is being done beyond ones own level of literacy.
I watched the short documentary hanging on by my cognitive-fingernails, as the conceptual and material potential shared realigned with something precious which has been lost of late when speaking to local leaders and industry professionals about their approach to city planning / building / construction industry practices, and that is, hope.
There is a vast amount of latent possibilities in the projects explored: whether it be 3D printing optically aligned glass with a molten calligraphy pen for high-efficiency solar-energy capture, adaptable bio-based structural materials with programmed decomposition, co-designing with silk-worms to inform future architectural forms and processes, synthesising pigments to enhance structures with their embodied properties, plus building autonomously at large-scale for urban settings; one ends the viewing experience seriously considering either retraining into this emerging field or at least supporting the best way one can to allow it to shape future discussions plus positively rebalance the world back to bio-equanimity*.
It’s all about making nature your / our client.
Thank you, Neri!
*my work as MC and podcast producer for the wonderful teulo.co platform is playing some small part in this.
For many, battling the debilitating monotone internal narrative is too hard to even start: that nasty voice in your head reducing you down, limiting your potential, constraining your joy, crushing your confidence, opening the doors to anxiety, igniting your loathing of self / life, feeding the dangerous black dog.
And due to the direct link from mind to heart, cultivating strategies for dealing with the bastard brain needs to be prioritised to experience fully this living experience. Unlearning where our precious attention goes is the key to unlocking the melodies which rounds off positive aspects of existence.
For most of my life this wicked voice held the reigns and defined the journey, complimented by the learned repression of any verbalised ’emotional’ state.
I’m starting to relearn the roots of my operating system and in doing so, rerouting many of its commanding protocols, releasing the energy for a more rounder me.
Recently, I sent the following to a friend who was asking how I was:
My heart is a beautiful mess of things, like an Hieronymus Bosch painting: full of magic and weird characters plus brilliance and terror!