Week of August 24, 2009


Hey everyone, here we go. . . . . .

 

IN OUR WORLD

 

Remember that I always talk about planning being a key skill set, a manifestation of thinking?  Well, keep in mind that flexibility is a key element of that planning model.  This week was scheduled for DESIGN work – focused concentration on turning content into an experience.  Some of that “planned” time flew out the window as unexpected client needs hit the fan.  Oh, well, that keeps things interesting.

 

You need to be nimble to stay on top of opportunity!

 

Three brand new projects hit the calendar this week with two more getting ready to go from “pencil” to “ink” on my calendar.

 

The most interesting part of what I do is the volatility of my calendar.  In a blink of an eye I can have a month that I planned to do “inside” work vanish into a series of airports, hotels and cabs.

 

Man, I love the energy and can not begin to tell you how honored and blessed I am by the opportunity given to me by my clients!

 

LAST COUPLE DAYS TO ENTER THE WINE LABEL CONTEST!

 

 

Enter the Wine Label Contest!  Simply send me a digital photo of your most creative wine label to win.

 

 

 

 

 

HEY, YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER –CREATIVEVENTURE

 

AND ON FACEBOOK – STEPHEN HARVILL!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

I have recently had the honor of getting to conduct a number of interviews with my client’s best customers.  The idea is to continue the development of my Repeatable Successful Acts platform adding buyer’s behaviors.  I used the same methodology, The Narrative Arc, to gain insight into why buyers buy.  It’s interesting stuff and will form a fantastic bookend to my work on the patterns of behaviors found in million dollar producers.  Here is a sneak peak at a few interesting findings:

 

  • Seeking:  Buyers have a sense of discovery around their buying. Psychologist Dr. Panksepp named this “searching” characteristic as seeking.  Most buyers, even in a good buyer/seller relationship are going to look around.  Get used to it, in fact, figure out a way to help them and they will see you as a valuable asset.
  • I have no idea”:  It is probably no surprise to you, but most buyers have no idea where or when they heard about your product.  Sit down a bunch of 25-35 year old mothers of 2-3 year old children and ask them when they first heard of Charmin Ultra Soft or even WHY they buy it and will say “I have no idea.”  Might want to rethink your marketing. 
  • I like you:  People do business with who they like.  PERIOD!  With this huge fact, it’s surprising that more people don’t spend time on identifying their likability scale and leveraging more with their EXISTING clients.  The like factor is found in EXISTING relationships.  Why do people like you?  Figure it out, it’s important.

 

There you go, some interesting stuff.  Contact me for some more ideas or info on the Repeatable Successful Acts platform.

 

 

 

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT

 

 

MOVIES:    Taking Woodstock:  I’m not a big Ang Lee fan (the director) but this looks fun!

 

NetFlix Fans:  Tyson:   Great documentary on boxer Mike Tyson – weird, but interesting.

 

TV:    This is the final season of Monk and the Friday night episodes are really good.  Check your USA Network listings.  The US Open starts Monday with EPSN2 getting ready for a ton

 

BOOKS:  1000 CEO’s   By Davidson:    Interviews with some great business leaders.

 

MUSIC:   Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds always create magic when they play together.  Dave has a very spiritual side to his music and here is his cover of the Daniel Lanois masterpiece – THE MAKER.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCur6KJB6BA  

 

 

WEB SITES:   Sorry about the name, but a way cool web site!

 

 

http://www.foundshit.com/     

 

 

SOUTH OF NORMAL

 

In honor of the US Open starting on Monday, here is a little trivia test.  Send me the correct answers and the first person to get them all will win a subscription to Fast Company Magazine:

 

  • The playing surface has changed two times at the Open.  It was first a grass court tournament, then clay and now hard court.  Who is the only player to win on all three surfaces?
  • Who is the only player to win the US Open singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles in the same year?
  • Who is the only male player to win the US Open singles title without dropping a single set?
  • Who is the only player to win the US Open singles titles in their teens, 20’s and 30’s?
  • Who is the only player to win US Open titles in 4 different decades?
  • Who is the only player to knock off 5 seeded players in route to the US Open singles title?
  • Who is the only man to win 8 combined singles and doubles titles?

 

 

I’M NOT A STRANGER IN THE EYES OF THE MAKER

DANIEL LANOIS

 

 

 

Drop me a note with your comments at steve@creativeventures.com

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by and until next time, Adios and Aloha.

 

Week of August 17, 2009


Hey everyone, here we go. . . . . .

 

IN OUR WORLD

 

Spent most of this week in Atlanta.  Great set of planning meetings for huge strategic launches scheduled for September.  When you have a meeting plan, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.  By the way, nothing and I mean NOTHING can beat “face time” for building creative energy.  I know that face time is expensive and time consuming, but the results are immediate and powerful.

 

I also had the opportunity to teach interpersonal communications to a group of 16 fantastic producers.  This team was unbelievable in their interaction, questions and engagement in the material.  FANTASTIC!

 

Next week it’s a quick trip to Houston and then on to a full week of design!

 

Lots of stuff in the hopper including an England client project and a keynote presentation in California!

 

 

Enter the Wine Label Contest!  Simply send me a digital photo of your most creative wine label to win.

 

 

 

 

 

HEY, YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER –CREATIVEVENTURE

 

AND ON FACEBOOK – STEPHEN HARVILL!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

I thought I would use this section this week as a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) piece.   I get asked the same series of questions and thought I might answer a few of those here.  So, here we go:

  • What do you read?   This is a really common question.  It boils down to where do you get your information?  I read a lot of monthly magazines, but only two do I read cover to cover – Fast Company and Wired.  I subscribe to a number of web bulletins that are really informative including Springwise (great news on emerging businesses), Knowledge @ Whartons and Knowledge @ W.P. Carey.  Both of these are college business school letters. I read a lot of business and science books as well as a number of book summaries.  Since I have a weekly blog and a monthly newsletter I am ALWAYS studying trends and new ideas.
  • How many weeks do you travel?  I am usually on the road about 47 weeks a year.  What I do is about bringing my ideas to my clients and that means airports, taxi cabs, and countless hotel rooms (not to mention club sandwiches from room service!).
  • How many programs do you have?  I have over 30 core programs and presentations.  I usually only have 5 in play at any given time.  I update the data, images and content every quarter to keep the ideas fresh and current.
  • How many people are in your company?  Well, that’s a difficult question.  I have been big and I have been small.  I am now really small.  I have lots of strategic alliances.  These are people I always work with, but on a project basis.  Think of my organizational set up as a “hive” with lots of buzz going on connecting lots of people in an informal way.  Weird, I know, but it works!
  • How did you get started?  That my friends, is another story!

 

 

 

 

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT

 

 

MOVIES:    Inglorious Basterds:  Tarentino and Pitt – I’m THERE!

 

NetFlix Fans:  Pete’s Dragon:   Disney is finally releasing this FANTASTIC movie again – SEE IT!

 

TV:    Traveling has put me behind on TV stuff.  I am doomed to watch CSI and Law and Order reruns on limited hotel TV coverage.  Where’s a House MD rerun when you need it?

 

BOOKS:  The Kill Artist   By Silva:  My Kindle has yielded up my first Silva book and I really like it.  Launching a new hero in Gabriel Allon.  Yea, its spy stuff!

 

MUSIC:   Here is a great live version of Paolo Nutini singing “rewind”.  Sometimes a little hard to understand, but the song makes me smile every time!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11T8qRgum0g&feature=channel

 

 

WEB SITES:   Damn, I love design stuff!

 

 

www.whatisblink.com

 

 

SOUTH OF NORMAL

 

Sometimes the South of Normal section takes a look at the ordinary, made extraordinary.

 

Nothing is quite as boring as a business card.  So, here are the Top 65 Creative Business Cards.  You will really dig these, so click and have some Friday fun!

 

http://blogof.francescomugnai.com/2008/12/the-best-65-business-cards-of-the-year-the-final-collection/

 

 

 

Can’t we just remind?

Paolo Nutini

 

 

 

Drop me a note with your comments at steve@creativeventures.com

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by and until next time, Adios and Aloha.

 

 

Week of August 10, 2009


Hey everyone, here we go. . . . . .

 

IN OUR WORLD

 

Just one of those fantastic weeks that comes along every once in a while!

 

Spent the early part of the week in New York, getting valuable face time with the team as we plan a huge company-wide leadership initiative.  When looking to create impact NOTHING is more valuable than face time.  The interaction and exchange of ideas can not be duplicated by conference calls or even video conferences.  Think about it in terms of sales.  Great relationships are created in time together.

 

We also had time with the entire NY office to continue a sales initiative that was recently launched. 

 

Fantastic Italian and then Sushi!  WOW!

 

Thursday I was honored to get to present my Repeatable Successful Acts sales platform at the new Cowboys Stadium (  http://stadium.dallascowboys.com/ ).  I had top financial advisors as the audience.  What a spectacular venue and a truly memorable experience.

 

I am getting ready to head out to Atlanta to teach Interpersonal Communications.

 

The next three months are a blur of high level activity!

 

If you missed it, here is our August newsletter:  http://www.creativeventures.com/Newsletter/200908.html

 

 

Enter the Wine Label Contest!  Simply send me a digital photo of your most creative wine label to win.

 

 

 

 

 

HEY, YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER –CREATIVEVENTURE

 

AND ON FACEBOOK – STEPHEN HARVILL!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

I was recently in a client’s office where I asked to use a whiteboard or a flipchart.  They brought me a flipchart and as I looked at the pages that had been turned over I realized they were MY notes and drawings from the previous time I had been there!  They had not used the flipchart ONCE!

The idea of visualizing problems as well as projects is a critical step in finding solutions and opportunities.  I was stunned to see no one was “seeing” their journey.  Here are a few hints in the use of whiteboards and flipcharts:

  • Start writing and drawing at the very beginning of the meeting.  You don’t have to be Picasso, but you will find a visual connection is a strong lead in to your creative process.
  • Don’t think of it as sketching, but instead as visual note taking.
  • Messy is OK.  It is all about seeing the issues.
  •   When something goes on the board that you don’t agree with or understand ask for clarification right away.  This mitigates confusion.
  • Number and label the pages so you can create the journey of the issue.
  • Hang completed sheets on the wall using masking tape so everyone can continue being part of the visual journey.

 

Simple but powerful to connect the visual impact of problem solving.

 

 

 

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT

 

 

MOVIES:    District 9.  This movie was the buzz of ComicCon 2009!  Produced by Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson it should be a great Saturday afternoon ride!

 

NetFlix Fans:  The 9th Gate:   Pretty good little Johnny Depp mystery.

 

TV:    It’s the last major of the year for golf with the PGA Championships as well as the big Rogers Cup Tennis Tournament in Montreal, so sports will dominate the weekend.  Our friends are back in town so I’m sure the Friday Night Monk Watching evening will follow the traditional Friday Night Mexican Feast! 

 

BOOKS:  The Female Brand   By Kaputa:  An interesting book on the differentiation of gender branding.  It shows that the effort to define markets has strong returns.

 

MUSIC:   I am a huge O.A.R. fan and thought this gave a great feel for the impact they have live.  It’s a little long, but hey, its Friday so take a little music break!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKo9Sj1Ndr8

 

WEB SITES:   OK you Mac users (like me), here is a new way to think about productivity.

 

 

http://minimalmac.com/  

 

 

SOUTH OF NORMAL

 

Read an incredible article about the strange phenomenon’s of the human mind and thought this is REALLY South of Normal.  These phenomenon’s of the brain can hit anyone and are basically unexplainable by existing science:

 

  • De’ja’ Visite’:  This is when you have, for no known reason, an uncanny knowledge of a place which you have never visited.
  • Jamais Vu:  When you look at something you absolutely know but you can not recognize.  To test this one, try writing the word “door” as often as you can in 60 seconds and somewhere in this process you will doubt that the word “door” is even a word.  That’s a small example.  It can hit big time where you look at a pencil and have no idea what it is.  It is short term but, as you might imagine, really freakin impactful!
  • Capgras Delusion:  OK, this is really weird.  You SWEAR that someone you love has been replaced by an identical imposter.  This is more on the side of mental disorders, but according to the article can also hit anyone.

 

The brain is actually one of the great undiscovered territories!

 

 

 

We walked along lonely streets and got to know ourselves.

OAR

 

 

 

Drop me a note with your comments at steve@creativeventures.com

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by and until next time, Adios and Aloha.

 

Week of August 8, 2009


Hey everyone, here we go. . . . . .

 

IN OUR WORLD

 

What a great week.  I had the opportunity to work with leaders in the telecommunication industry in Lake Tahoe.  Hard to get any better than that!  We worked on the idea of that to achieve different outcomes we have to start with how we think.  To change outcome we have to change the way we think.  Start small, ask different questions.  By asking different questions we can change our core perspective on how we view issues and problems.

 

Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places in America.  The lake is shared by both Nevada and California, surrounded by towering mountains and easy to get to from Reno. 

 

Heading to NY on Sunday to work on sales strategies for one of my favorite clients!

 

If you missed it, here is our August newsletter:  http://www.creativeventures.com/Newsletter/200908.html

 

 

Enter the Wine Label Contest!  Simply send me a digital photo of your most creative wine label to win.

 

 

 

 

 

HEY, YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER –CREATIVEVENTURE

 

AND ON FACEBOOK – STEPHEN HARVILL!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

I had the chance to do some work with a creative agency (marketing and advertising) and became interested in how they work.  Not what they produce, but HOW they work.

We think of scheduling in terms of how we build our day and most of us do this around the traditional model of the hour.  We create our schedule in small blocks of time, where scheduling a meeting is as simple as finding an open block of time and adding a task to it.  We want a meeting, we hunt through our hours find an opening, then discover if whom ever we want to meet with has a similar opening.  We think in terms of these blocks of time.

A creative person working a creative job thinks differently.  They think in terms of big blocks of time.  Most use ½ days as their measuring tool.  Their work requires a different type of focus and concentration. 

The problem occurs when these two ways of dealing with time collide.

A 1 hour meeting destroys ½ a days work for the creative job.  Their stop and start button gets completely out of whack.  Traditional meetings are a disaster.

My client combats this by scheduling most meetings at the END of the day.  This simple but powerful concession allows for the creative types to maintain high levels of focus while being able to share project progress.

Time is impactful to everyone, but simple adjustments can allow for traditional and creative to find common ground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT

 

 

MOVIES:    Julie and Julia.  Yes, though this is what might be commonly referred to as a “chick flick”, it is a very interesting idea for a movie.

 

NetFlix Fans:  The Soloist:   If you missed this at the theater, see it now!  It was really close to being a great movie.  In a year of mediocrity, it sits above the field.

 

TV:    New and last season of Monk starts on tonight.  Great, quirky little show that I will surely miss! 

 

BOOKS:  It’s Our Ship   By Abrashoff:  A book about the captain of a Navy shop and the similarities between leading a large team of sailors and leading a team in corporate America

 

MUSIC:   The great Paul Simon with Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.

 

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OafqYNCzq5U

 

WEB SITES:   Great creative web site.

 

 

http://www.artofthetitle.com/  

 

SOUTH OF NORMAL

 

Those incredibly creative guys at DARPA (Defense Advanced Defense Project Agency) have been rumored to have developed the “underwater express”.  They can take the high speed of a submarine, about 30 knots and accelerate it to about 100 knots!

 

To do this they use a hydrodynamic effect called “supercavitation”.  When the sub achieves enough speed, a gas bubble envelops the vessel reducing drag.  Basically, the submarine travels inside a self-created bubble.  This gets the sub going at underwater warp speed.

 

Though a military technology think tank, much of their research has high impact civilian use also.

 

 

 

Yes, everyone knows exactly what I am talking about, Diamonds on the soles of her shoes.

Paul Simon

 

 

 

Drop me a note with your comments at steve@creativeventures.com

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by and until next time, Adios and Aloha.