A new curated monthly series of things which made me smile and think.
Why do so many animated films have great stories? One secret: storyboarding.
Want to be more artistic? Here are 33 rules to take you from clueless amateur to generational talent (or at least help you live life a little more creatively).
A survey of over 1,000 CEO’s uncovers 4 things every leader must do.
Download and read for free ‘The End of Trust’ from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
New research shows the average age of founders who start high-growth businesses is 45.
Got to spend an afternoon on Douglas Rushkoff’s stoop last September during my visit to New York, and here he is wonderfully illustrating why he’s one of the most provocative commentators of our times:
John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” since 1959 has been a rights of passage for all jazz musicians, and here’s why:
20,000 hours of Apollo mission audio from NASA.
The Art Institute of Chicago have made over 52,000 high resolution images available without copyright.
And finally, check out this database of paper airplanes designs / instructions.
Rounding off another rotation around the sun.
2018 was my first full year away from any digital service offerings and a pure focus on the analogue. A healthier year in many respects and one which has been defined by the quiet acceptance of limitations plus a gentler approach to myself and others.
Again, travel was a highlight along with the pleasure of collaborating with several clients on crafting delicious learning experiences, any chance I got to speak publicly plus the success of the second Creative Leadership NZ.
This year saw an extremely modest blog offering of:
- Creative Leadership NZ 2018 | Reflections & Insights
- #TeamKindness | Leading Leaders To Care
- BIF2018 | Connecting, Catalysing And Colliding Communities
- The Pauses We’ve Lost | The Cost Of Skippable Media
- It’s OK Not To… | Be Kind, Add Value
- Taking A TEDx Break | Resetting The Sights
- Post-it Note Quote | Found Wisdom
- Same But Different | The Minimalists Jazz Model
- Suction Media | The Death Of “Social”
- Venture Up 2018 | Finding Your Voice In Storytelling
- Chamath Palihapitiya | We Are Being Programmed
Here comes 2019:
“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
Wishing for you (and me) those ‘things that have never been’ are full of wonder, delight, majesty and growth. Onwards!
Building a community of creative leaders.
The mission is to build a network of pioneers who share the ability to respond to change, identify opportunities and act on them to better shape our collective creative future here in New Zealand and beyond.
To continue the process of learning out loud, here’s my review:
It was another sold out event with nearly 200 leaders attending from 85 entities (most represented above – in 2017 there were 150 leaders from 70 cross-sector organisations).
One third came from outside the Wellington region (in 2017 it was only 15%) and nearly two thirds have female names (similar to last year which was 65%). It’s also interesting to note the reach in terms of how many humans the delegates accumulatively lead: 7,295 (an average of 40 per delegate).
Taking the feedback from last years event, the intention was to create more reflection time and space to connect. Therefore we had nine speakers rather than the thirteen in 2017, simplified the workshop offerings and added in generous time for morning / afternoon tea and lunch (plus networking at the end of both days – click the above image to download the full event brochure).
What was amazing this year was having five volunteers / event assistants (last year I had two plus some venue staff). Was also more vocal about the aim of the conference beyond the usual learnings and networking, this was about building a conscious and hungry community of leaders who are seeking out creative insights, literacies and skills sets.
Probably one of my favourite parts of this process is finding / choosing / liaising with the speakers. Nearly all of the speakers I had a previous relationship with so the focus was ensuring diversity and nuance to compliment the ‘intersections’ theme.
All but one of the speakers were paid for their time and involvement plus all expenses were covered. This is a continued attempt to shift the culture in NZ of paying for talent at events (which is not the usual). Each speaker got a plus one also.
As with the first event last year:
- this was privately funded venture and delivered under the Creative Welly initiative;
- financial grant support was secured again from the US Embassy and Australian High Commission who provided funds to cover the expenses for Aaron, Butterscotch and Tim (respectively);
- further partner support came from Wellington Chocolate Factory who offered gift packs for the speakers / facilitators, MOJO in providing coffee / tea refreshments for both days for all breaks (plus an espresso coffee from downstairs in their cafe), QT Wellington Hotel donated rooms for our overseas guests (with a reduced cost for others), and finally a small but appreciated discount from our caterers, The Lab.
Overall, the event profit doubled from 2017, a result of applying learnings, smaller venue cost and having less speakers to pay.
Audio and visual (AV services), catering and venue hire are always chunky fixed costs, and this year, there was the addition of some ‘CLNZ’ letters to ensure the stage looked great.
There was also the speakers / partners meal the night before plus everyone who attended got given a printed brochure / agenda, notebook, pen and badge (plus espresso coffee voucher for the cafe downstairs – see ‘partners’):
Again with last year, as a solopreneur all aspects of the event are produced by me, which includes:
- website design / copy;
- speakers curation / negotiation / support;
- invoicing delegate registrations;
- partner / venue / catering liaison etc.
The design of the brochure / agenda was a trade with a local supplier for a couple of delegate spots.
Marketing & Sales
Other activities were time intensive in terms of taking time to reach out specifically to folks in my network although it yielded results. The event details got featured in about half a dozen email newsletters of other networks which definitely raised the profile as well.
My interest definitely lies in crafting and curating the experience rather than promoting and selling it.
As the focus was on creating a community through conversation and connection, there were no exhibits or distracting activities other than one: at the beginning of the event the delegates were asked to write down a creative or leadership challenge they are currently dealing with. These were collected in and stuck on one of the walls which became the ‘wall of wisdom’ where throughout the rest of the event, others added their responses to the questions posed.
Also, during the final reflection session delegates were asked to write a ‘letter to self’ – these will be posted early in the new year as a reminder of the experience and commitment they made to themselves.
This year I decided to MC the event. Was very overwhelmed and will be doing things differently in 2019 to ensure the pace is kept solid whilst freeing me up from most of those duties.
As it was the first time in the venue there are lots of opportunities to hone the experience from dressing the spaces and ensuring the flow of delegates are positive. Still gathering delegate feedback although wonderful to see some offering their insights and creative reflections:
- Gina Rembe: “One interesting take-away was that a few of the speakers all spoke to the importance of reading widely from people who don’t look like them.”
- Sarb Johal:
Photos – Day One
Photos – Day Two
Am going to be working on three things to ensure legacy:
- sponsorship – looking for one major financial sponsor whose brand values align with CLNZ;
- videos – capture and editing of main keynotes will allow further reach (which the sponsorship will allow);
- ongoing community opportunities – already working on a February satellite event (invites will only be available to CLNZ delegates to continue to build the community).
Onwards to Creative Leadership NZ 2019!
Have you registered yet?
So excited to finalise the impressive humans speaking / taking workshops / masterclasses at Creative Leadership NZ 2018:
- cofounder of Masterclass
- world’s first female beatbox champion
- senior director from Weta Workshop
- industry leading foresight practitioner
- associate prof in innovation management
- international gender and diversity consultant
- innovation officer for one of the largest iwi’s in NZ
- president of LIANZA
- CE of NZTE
With 3 out of 4 categories already SOLD OUT and just 30 spots remaining:
Feeling lucky to be a citizen of a country when the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, says stuff like:
If I could distill it down into one concept that we are pursuing in New Zealand, it is simple and it is this: kindness.
In this time of hollow nationalism and fracturing distrust, a call for compassion, togetherness, thinking of the other truly is unusual and all the more important as we struggle forward in these dark times.
Sign me up for ‘team kindness’. Who else is with me?
Reflecting on my first Business Innovation Factory Summit (BIF) in Providence, Rhode Island.
Just spent the past two days surrounded by a few hundred ‘innovation junkies’ at BIF2018. The eclectic mix of 32 storytellers echoed the TED format in their variety and structure (each had about 15/20mins to share), and was hosted wonderfully in the Trinity Rep, Providence, Rhode Island.
The broad time given for networking during the breaks and lunch along with the encouragement of MC / Founder Saul Kaplan to add value to each in conversations really amplified into action.
Networks colliding into other networks is crucial in igniting fresh thinking, creative potential and releasing positive energy – just like HATCH and many other TEDx and other events I’ve attended, BIF2018 ignited the desire to stretch myself and also trust my voice in my current efforts.
Truly hoping some of the participants and attendees will also make the trip out to Creative Leadership NZ 2018 at the end of the year (as made an juicy offer through the network).
Grab your space (or spaces) now!
A couple of hours ago I opened the public registrations for Creative Leadership NZ 2018:
A two day conference connecting visionary humans into a creative community to solve contemporary challenges.
Just like last years sold out effort, the mission is to build a network of pioneers who share the ability to respond to change, identify opportunities and act on them to better shape our collective future here in New Zealand and beyond.
Held at the new NZ Insitute of Creativity, Te Auaha, on 3rd and 4th December 2018, the line-up is already looking stellar, and includes, cofounder of Masterclass, world’s first female beatbox champion, senior director from Weta Workshop, industry leading foresight practitioner, associate prof in innovation management, president of LIANZA plus CE of NZTE.
This will be another independently produced and financed event delivered under the Creative Welly banner which is “an independent collective – globally minded / locally focussed – providing leadership, action and connections across sectors, with the aim to build the most creative little capital in the world.”
Feel free to share the image above through your networks and channels please.
Hope to see you there!
A two day conference connecting visionary humans into a creative community to learn how to solve contemporary challenges.
Here we go again:
CLNZ18 brings together CEOs, senior executives, emerging leaders, experts, and aspiring entrepreneurs, for two days, to access experience, insight and new processes to realise their own projects and potential.
The mission is to build a network of pioneers who share the ability to respond to change, identify opportunities and act on them to better shape our collective future here in New Zealand and beyond.
Sign up to receive the announcement details on July 10th and grab the early bird rate plus other registration categories (like good bird and group options).
Related post: Creative Leadership NZ 2017 | Reflections & Insights
Why waiting was / is a good thing.
There was a time when the height of technological superiority was how slow the tape deck opened. The smooth, deliberate action hinted at a deeper level of sophistication and created a moment or two of heightened expectation.
All media was slow and on its own timetable, like TV programmes, magazines and newspapers, to consume them meant waiting for their delivery. These pauses in our consumption related directly to the increased intention to savour the outcome.
As we know, the cassette went on to become one of the first portable mediums which influenced a whole set of other disruptive technologies; minituarising hardware which would enable us all to eventually take our music, then media, and now, our online and networked world, with us.
Three decades later, nearly all media is now transient. Fleeting. Immediate. Skippable. Waiting times are mere milliseconds, and even then we guffaw at any buffering icons working to serve us another video of a kid falling off a piano or a cat running into a tree.
If we lose those quiet spaces, or fill them up with “content”, we will sacrifice something important not only in our selves but in our culture.
Nicholas Carr via the article ‘Is Google Making Us Stupid’
Maybe it’s nostalgia relating to being of a generation who knew that watching movies meant putting on a coat and getting out money and the house due to a trip to the cinema or the video store. Or when recording television programmes meant running up or down the stairs and pressing the record button when they were literally ‘on’. Or from the experience of having to wait up to ten or twenty minutes for games to be loaded into my ZX Spectrum etc.
These delays were inherent. Built in. Welcomed even. There was space. Time. Time to create. Reflect. Be.
Technology has decreased patience along with the capacity to accept any empty length of time as a positive factor in the equation of the experience—waiting simply creates another opportunity to gaze into another screen and skip again. Our whole media interaction to the world has become skippable but what have we lost in those moments? What is the cost?
Social media (the industry I gave up this year after being in it for over a decade) has become diluted with “experts” throwing around words like connection, transparency, authenticity, engagement, but there’s fewer voices championing trusting the consumer with making balanced choices, framing content which situates us into the now and championing taking time offline or with others.
This isn’t a one way deluge. We produce more than ever before. We are saturating each other with our requests for attention and validation that our meal or view or opinion means something beyond our own experience of it. The cloud has given us immediacy although it only fogs our view to the importance of discernment. Of choosing better.
All brands and organisations care about is eyeballs. Attention. But it’s the lingering that matters. That’s where the impact is. The video or blog post which creates space and reflection are the ones folks remember.
It’s time to take time back again. To focus on the pauses. To stop hurrying and start living in the conscious(ly created) delays. To start appreciating the slow openers again.