All posts tagged creative leadership

Creative Leadership NZ 2018 | Reflections & Insights

Building a community of creative leaders.

My little conference, Creative Leadership NZ 2018, was last week. The second year in a new venue, NZ’s new Institute of Creativity, Te Auaha:

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:

Stats

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).

2017 Learnings

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.

Speakers Curation

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.

Thank you Aaron, ButterscotchJo, Melissa, Paula, Paul, Peter, Te Aroha, Tim full bios here.

Finances

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.

Extra Costs

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’):

Other costs were the bar tab for the networking drinks at the end of the first day, We Do (for photography) and Empire Films (for the review video).

DIY

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;
  • budgeting;
  • 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

As with last year I produced these little ‘teasers’ as way of promoting the talent on offer. Here are all the Linkedin versions: Aaron, Jo, Melissa, Paula, Paul, Te Aroha, Tim.

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. 

Interactions

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.

Learnings

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:

Photos – Day One

Photos – Day Two

Future

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!

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

Three Little Words Which Spark Creativity | Foundational Thinking Of Creatives

i don't know neil degrasse tyson

Every creative act starts with an act of vulnerability evidenced by three little words:

I.
Don’t.
Know.

Many state the above as line in the sand, a closing down of conversation, a refusal to explore further.

Others get excited, and lean forwards, hungry for adventure, ready to fail forwards.

These are the creatives!

Whether it be composing an orchestral piece in 10minutes from nothing:

Collaborating on a dance piece when you can’t speak each others language:

Drawing blind to spark an abstract drawing piece:

…this is the imaginative mindset at work.

When mixed with curated ideas and experience plus audacity and mad curiousity, its forms the most delicious path to potential.

Whether you’re starting a business, leading a team, beginning at a new organisation, figuring out the next steps in life, or shaping a city-wide initiative to infuse a city with creative literacies

…saying “I don’t know” more often is a rallying cry to creative action.