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Creative Leadership NZ 2019 | Reflections & Insights

The continued adventure of establishing a bold event brand in NZ.

Last week was the third Creative Leadership NZ (and second time) at, NZ’s new Institute of Creativity, Te Auaha. It was another sold out affair hosting nearly two hundred humans exploring the intersection of creativity and leadership.

The feedback has been very positive with the general theme of ‘warmth’ coming through. The speakers modelled this in their talks and delivery plus openness to connect in the breakouts, as well as the eagerness of the delegates to embrace the opportunity to share their stories whilst participating in the sessions and / or conversations with others.

As with previous years (2017 and 2018), here’s my review as I continue to learn out loud:

Stats

As you can see from above, over two thirds of attendees have female names and anecdotally the average age is about thirty-five to fourty.

This year over eighty cross sector organisations and brands were represented, aiding the variety of discussions and connections made in this community of leaders. In theory, the experience and learnings will be taken back to the seven and a half thousand people managed by the delegates.

CLNZ truly bucks the trend of other leadership conferences, away from the pale, male and stale.

Speakers

What an amazing array of folks we had this year. Tried really hard to again balance the breadth of arenas in the two respected focusses of the conference and the delegate feedback has reflected that aim.

This year I put together a speaker guide which simplified communications of all the aspects of the conference whilst also outlining expectations.

Thanks to David, Emily, Greg, Kaila, Samantha, Sarb, Savannah, Selina, Topaz, and Trent—a pure delight to collaborate with.

As an aside, one of the overseas speakers pulled out with three weeks to go before the event due to a board meeting timing change which they had to be at. This added thousands to the costs with all the flight changes which had to be made. A fun little hurdle to get over although after a couple of days of panic it all came good.

Sponsors / Partners

This year was the first time CLNZ took cash sponsorship. The Institute Of Management New Zealand (IMNZ) was the founding sponsor and with that got featured heavily in all promotions, received a bunch of VIP passes to share to staff and clients plus also had the opportunity to run an interaction to engage with the delegates. The monies received enabled some additions to the conference (see below in ‘extra costs’).

The second sponsor was for our technical side of the event and enabled the recording of the main keynote talks for the first time (which will be released in the new year). NW Group stepped into this role and looking forward to releasing the videos early next year of the main keynotes.

The other partners contributed either cut-rate services and / or free plus financial grant support for specific speakers.

Finances / Extra Costs

As with previous conferences CLNZ19 was profitable and very pleased to again increase the profit margin from last years event.

All speakers were remunerated financially plus many of them had their expenses covered. When a significant promotional support didn’t transpire I had two invest in a third party agency to assist in the marketing and sales. Other costs included:

  • Reprint of event brochure due to design error (click the above for pdf version);
  • Banner for arrivals and video backdrop;
  • Massage therapists for interactions;
  • Carpet tiles to make speaker rug;
  • Recording / editing of all keynote talks.

Over half a dozen folks registered who then didn’t pay / attend which equated to over four thousand potential profit lost so next year will have to think how to manage this.

DIY

As with the first two years, did a lot myself, including: speaker curation, PR content (like the example above, here are the rest of them: David Bill, Emily Chang, Kaila Colbin, Greg Broadmore, Samantha Gadd, Sarb Johal, Savannah Peterson, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Topaz Adizes, Trent Yeo.), event design, partner / sponsor negotiation / management, website manager, majority of marketing and sales, delegate invoicing, event management, MC’ing etc.

Even though we sold out the week before, definitely need help in the area of ‘Sales’ as have no interest in this area (so feel free to reach out if you can assist for 2020).

Interactions

The video above played when delegates arrived into the main theatre and was crowdsourced from the registration process. It served to prime the audience and get them situated into the subject matter of the conference.

The massage therapists I have seen and done in previous events so was a lovely addition to this years offering and was constantly utilised.

Our main sponsor IMNZ installed a Christmas tree and invited delegates to write a future message to themselves along the lines of the event theme of ‘nurturing courage’:

At the opening of the second day, I ran an exercise exploring where delegates ‘stand’ on certain topics and get them in the interactive and exploration mindset for the masterclasses:

Lessons / Future

Last year the three future aims for the 2019 event were to gain sponsorship (tick), record videos (tick), build an ongoing community opportunity (ongoing).

For 2020, the focus will be on:

  • Building out the interactions both in the main theatre and break out spaces to promote connection through conversation;
  • Been approached to explore hosting the event in Auckland by an attendee who is from a major institution up there so will explore that;
  • Further financial sponsorship which amplifies the conference values and offer.

Due to the positive feedback specifically relating to the venue have already booked in next years event which will be Monday 30th November & 1st December 2020, put it in your diaries now!

Photos – Day One & Two

So did you attend and if so how was it for you? Are you a creative producer who can answer some of the challenges I have above? Any other observations for me?

Related posts: Creative Leadership NZ 2017 | Reflections & Insights plus Speaking with Purpose 2017 | Reflections On Running A Successful Conference
AI face

#12 December 2019 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

AI face

Stop a while, looks around, explore, digest, reflect, apply.

READ

This Guardian piece on a rare piece of hope in the climate emergency.

About a Cryptoqueen scammed the world, then vanished.

How after 15 years the browser Firefox is leading the privacy-first renaissance.

Why it’s not too late to save the planet from someone who is doing more than their bit.

WATCH

If this were our last conversation…

10 random questions answered through music…

The 1999 future as envisaged from 1967…

EXPLORE

Beautiful News for uplifting stats on the world.

The “Unlocked Recordings” category on Internet Archive has over 750 digitized LPs available in full.

NASA’s image of the day.

The Derek Sivers podcast (for short inspirations).

All monthly digital breadcrumbs posts.
Image Credit from the this AI face generator..

#11 November 2019 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

Pearls for your human form.

READ

About Copenhagen’s race to be the first carbon-neutral city.

How technology flatten the rich texture of urban life.

A study of 2.7m startups found the perfect age to start a business is much older than you think.

The biggest lie tech people tell themselves — and the rest of us.

WATCH

For your brain.

For your heart.

For your soul.

EXPLORE

Feed Flipper – a free service which extracts the source #RSS URL from iTunes audio.

Listen to WETA Digital’s first ‘Unsupervised’ podcast.

This free font inspired by climate activist Greta Thunberg.

All monthly digital breadcrumbs posts.
Image Credit from the John J Audubon’s ‘Birds of America’ which are free to download..

The Process Of Remaining Innocent | Building Creative Literacies

Lessons on the creative approach.

Learned so much from this chat / discussion / interview with the great Frank Oz, Actor, Director, Storyteller and the equally amazing Derek DelGaudio, Writer & Performer recorded at the EG Conference this year.

This is both an example of superb panel / interview approach for events laced with so many insights and applicable takeaways:

In what we do knowledge is not that helpful… I have to be in the position of not knowing, because once I know there is no discovery.

frank oz innocence quote

WONDERFUL!

A challenge to unlearn and relearn so many things and an invitation to explore a more creative mindset.

Data Dignity | Fixing The Interwebs

A way to tidy up this messy and immoral tech / data world.

You should have the moral rights to every bit of data which exists because you exist, now and forever.

From the lips / mind of Jaron Lanier (the kernel of the idea was explored in his ‘How we need to remake the internet’ TED talk) via NY Times and also here’s a similar call by Will.I.Am in the Economist at the beginning of the year:

Personal data needs to be regarded as a human right, just as access to water is a human right. The ability for people to own and control their data should be considered a central human value. The data itself should be treated like property and people should be fairly compensated for it.

Thoughts?

CLNZ19 logo and speakers final small

CLNZ19 Update | We’re All Walking Each Other Home

CLNZ19 logo and speakers final small

Building momentum.

Since announcing back in August, Creative Leadership NZ 2019 has sold out three of the four categories of registration options and there’s only 26 spots remaining (at time of pressing ‘publish’) of first day only (as second day has all sold out also).

Am never happy until it’s sold out and this month is both focussed on promotional activities along with the delegate experience design of the event.

This is the third iteration of the event (check out the 2017 & 2018 write-ups and reviews) and even though some things are easier (just due to familiarity) other things have been very challenging.

Producing events (by yourself) is a Herculean task with so many elements to be aware of on top of the multiple human considerations, so something which is helping me keep the energy flowing through the positive lens is the following:

“We’re all going to the same place, and we’re all on a path. Sometimes our paths converge. Sometimes they separate, and we can hardly see each other, much less hear each other. But on the good days, we’re walking on the same path, close together, and we’re walking each other home.”
– Ram Dass

#10 October 2019 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

Move those hand-toes and journey around the internet superhighway.

READ

Facebook confirms 419million phone numbers were exposed.

Greta Thunberg is right to panic.

The inaugural C2 magazine — big ideas for creative business leaders!

WATCH

(Marvel) Avengers | Journey’s End – more goosebumps from @slyfer2812:

A fan made video from 400,000 images taken from the Rosetta probe:

This:

EXPLORE

Interactive weather platform.

A fun Virtual Typewriter for those who dig the digital / analogue cross-over.

Let AI and machine learning design your logo.

Free to download and use copyright free are 100,000 faces generated by AI

Eddie Butlers speech from todays Wales independence march in Merthyr:

All monthly digital breadcrumbs posts.

Greta Thunberg (Plus Harrison Ford) | The Voice(s) We Need

A truly momentous and one of the most historic speeches of our time.

Such an important and informed message shared with emotional resonance and superb poise:

My message is that we’ll be watching you.

This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!

You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.

The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius], and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.

Fifty percent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist.

So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences.

To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the best odds given by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] – the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.

How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just ‘business as usual’ and some technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8 1/2 years.

There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.

We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.

Thank you.

If you prefer to take your instructions from older white men how about this chap:

You are here, I’m here, because we care, not just for today, but we care passionately for the future.

We know that we only have the possibility of avoiding a looming climate catastrophe if people like us refuse to give up. The future of humanity is at stake. While you work to meet the challenge of climate change, I beg of you: don’t forget nature. The destruction of nature accounts for more global emissions than all the cars and trucks in the world. We can put solar panels on every house and turn every car into an electric vehicle, but as long as Sumatra burns, we will have failed. So long as the Amazon’s great forests are slashed and burned, so long as the protected lands of tribal/Indigenous people are allowed to be encroached upon, so long as wetlands and bog peats are destroyed — our climate goals will remain out of reach, and we will be shit out of time.

If we don’t stop the destruction of our natural world, nothing else will matter. Why? Because protecting and restoring forests, mangroves, wetlands — these huge dense carbon sinks — represent at least 30% of what needs to be done to avoid catastrophic warming. It is, at this time, the only feasible solution for absorbing carbon on a global scale. Simply put — if we don’t protect nature, we can’t protect ourselves.

This is what we need to do — we need to: include nature in every corporate, state, and national climate goal; put in place the plans, the timetables to meet those goals; invest in mangroves and tropical forests; in the same way, invest in renewable energy; work to end the destruction of these ecosystems, and commit in the next decade, to secure them for the future; pursue research in reforestation, like we pursue research in carbon capture and storage; set a goal to cut costs and increase scale dramatically; empower Indigenous communities to use their knowledge, history, imaginations, our science, to save their heritage and lands — respect and ensure their rights.

Stop, for god’s sake, the denigration of science. Stop giving power to people who don’t believe in science — or worse than that, pretend they don’t believe in science for their own self-interest. They know who they are; we know who they are. We are all — rich or poor, powerful or powerless — we will all suffer the effects of climate change and ecosystem destruction.

We are facing what is quickly becoming the greatest moral crisis of our time — that those least responsible, will bear the greatest costs. So never forget who you’re fighting for — it’s the fishermen in Colombia, the fishermen in Somalia — who wonder where their next catch is coming from and why the government can’t protect them from factory fishing from across the world. It’s the mother in the Philippines who’s worried that the next big storm is going to rip her infant out of her arms.

People on the East Coast are facing the worst storms in recorded history. It’s our own country, our own community, our own families. This is the core truth: if we are to survive on this planet, the only home any of us will ever know, for our climate, for our security, for our future — we need nature. Now, more than ever.

Nature doesn’t need people, people need nature. Let’s turn off our phones. Let’s roll up our sleeves and let’s kick this monster’s ass.

#9 September 2019 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

Time to get clicking and fill your eyes / brain / heart.

READ

Boris Johnson’s threat of a no-deal Brexit will not break EU unity, says the the Brexit coordinator for the European parliament.

Seven of the top carbon emitters are being sued for their failure to protect New Zealanders from climate change, in a new High Court proceeding.

Facebook launches ‘clear history’ tool – but it won’t delete anything.

Electric scooters aren’t as eco-friendly as they seem, study finds.

WATCH

“For the first time in a thousand years, I have no path”:

Official 10 Hour Version of a track which is scientifically proven to chill you out:

The hope generator that is TEDxWellington (full 2019 event review here):

EXPLORE

Outlier.org: the world’s best for-credit online courses (from the cofounder of masterclass.com).

This online collaborative effort to name every color in the RGB/web space.

2019 Montana HATCH Experience will take place in Paradise Valley, October 13-16th, at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch! Take a tour of their facility (gutted not to be there this year).

All monthly digital breadcrumbs posts.
Image credit: Photo by Alfonso Ninguno on Unsplash

TEDxWellington 2019 Review | A Chance Which Paid Off

My eighth TEDx event as licensee.

Am still reeling from the TEDache which comes from running a TEDx event, although, still smiling.

Everything we tried this year worked, even though we had no cash sponsor and had to cut the livestream option plus be very creative with the budget, all whilst going from a 1,000 speaker venue to 200 (as currently St James Theatre is undergoing earthquake restrengthening).

There’s a full write-up of the whole event on tedxwellington.com but here are the choice cuts relating to the experience (we’re still waiting on the final videos of the talks to be edited):

  • treasure hunts: with the first clue being handed out by our MC’s, this interaction provided an opportunity to gamify building connections between delegates. There were five clues that enabled the team participating to journey through the space, experiencing ‘chance’ encounters with TEDxWellington team members and the installations around the venue;
  • photobooth: creating digital takeaways to share through social channels;
  • head / neck / shoulders massage: because sometimes you need help in getting those ideas into your brain plus to shake off the emotions a little from the challenging talks of the previous session;
  • speaker stations: allocated spots for delegates to both find and connect with the speakers to dive deeper into their shared idea;
  • toilet interactions (yes that’s right): on the back of the cubicle doors we had a matrix of the speakers with an opportunity to mark how the talk made them feel.
  • silent disco: again utilising the colours related to the wristbands so that participants were grooving to tunes by ‘chance’.

Check out all the event photos on our Flickr stream.

The lessons learned from previous years were hard learned but oh so precious:

  • keep the leadership team small
  • outline (via ‘job descriptions’) the specific expectations for each role plus interview for these key positions
  • highlight this is not volunteering but actioneering (professionalism and quality is key).

Again, none of the above would’ve been possible without a dedicated group of humans (volunteers, leadership team, speakers alike plus our partners), devouting their free time / products for nothing (or a reduced rate) but feeding on the hope generator that is TEDx:

Related post: TEDxWellington 2019 Details Announced | Chance Is A Fine Thing