July was my “oh boy vs. oh no” month. “Oh boy, they said yes, oh no, I hope I can get them done!” Two huge projects confirmed that will absorb my Sunday to Sunday work week through October. It is great to find companies that find strong value in what I do, while at the same time the scale of the projects can be somewhat daunting. It’s like a roller-coaster ride, so exciting, and so scary.


Announcing the Creativity Contest. One of my new projects is to help a company revitalize their creative process. In working towards that goal I have been collecting a wide variety of inspiring ideas and would like to enlist all of you!

Welcome to the CREATIVE WINE LABEL CONTEST. I am joining forces with the Mercy Wine Bar (www.mercywinebar.com) to collect creative wine labels. It’s a fun way to see what YOU think is creative. Here are the rules:

So bottom-line – find a cool wine label, shoot a digital photo of the label and send it in by August 31, 2009 at 5:00 PM (CST)

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun. - Mary Lou Cook

“Form ever follows function”
- Architect, Louis Sullivan

In the late 1800’s Sullivan laid out an axiom, “a rule that shall permit no exceptions” for approaching the architectural process. The rule also serves as great starting point for thinking about any project. I mean THINKING, not pondering or considering, but real, honest thinking. The problem is that thinking in your current model might not be enough for you to find the right answer or see a new opportunity. What if things aren’t the way you think they are?

One of my values to clients is that I can bring a new view to their issues, projects and problems. It is the classic Creative Ventures LawDon’t Ask The Fish About The Water. Being in the same fish bowl often creates a very limited view on key issues. In the fish bowl you follow comfortable thinking patterns.

We are often trapped by our patterns of thinking, unconsciously building a box that restrains our ability to look at an issue or problem with a different perspective. How impactful are our thinking patterns to outcomes? The late historian and Pearl Harbor scholar Roberta Wohlstetter wrote that one of the huge factors in the success of the Japanese surprise attack was, “We failed to fight against our urge to remain attached to our prior ways of thinking”. Embedded thinking patterns stopped us from a fresh approach to the data.

Let’s get back to Mr. Sullivan’s infallible law and see how that can help you with a new way to break down your approach to projects and problems.

If an idea, event, product, or service should perform a certain function then any design must support that core function.

So start with intent and allow that aspect of the project drive its form. In non-architectural terms, function is the desired impact. We are easily fascinated with what it’s going to look like before what it’s going to do. Simply start with intent and your thinking will drive a better result.

Extend this simple formula to the way you question impactful issues. Here are a couple of questions that find their basis in the school of critical thinking:

We all follow patterns of comfortable thinking often built on past success. But this success is not a guarantee that it will provide you future success.

Follow the simple path of Form Follows Function to begin forging a new way of viewing issues.

“Problems can’t be solved by the same thinking that created them” – A Einstein


ComicCon 09: San Diego hosted the 40th annual gathering of comic book geeks (yep, I’m one of them) and has become ground zero for the taste makers that define the likes and dislikes of much of the entertainment industry. The best known names in film, books, comics, and video would not think about missing this opportunity to put their hands on the “buzz” of the industry. It’s BIG. Most hotels were sold out, the entire convention center was fully used, and over 125,000 tickets were sold. No where else on the planet does the fan have as much power as at ComicCon. Just the hint of bad “buzz” can destroy a movie before it comes out. It’s no wonder as comic / sci-fi / fantasy and horror genres have driven movie revenue for the past 18 years. I hope to go next year!


The MIT CEO Conference: Cambridge MA was the host town for the annual CEO Conference held for the top corporate leaders across the globe. One of the conference highlights was the results of a key study identifying the three (I love these guys) qualities that make up a top CEO:

There it is, a simple three part formula – Risk, Measure and Scale.


Burguesa Burger: It’s been tough times in the food and beverage industry with restaurateurs fighting to stay alive, so to find a new idea launching is unexpected. Jeff Sinelli of Genghis Grill and Which Wich fame is hitting a new niche. The Hispanic burger market. This lucrative market already has heavy penetration in other food groups with Pizza Patron and El Pollo Loco so Jeff saw an opening and created Burguesa Burger. The test burger stand in Dallas needed only 388 sq. ft and is already making waves with rave reviews for the idea. It is a build your own burger where they all come with a slice of ham (a Hispanic burger staple). Fries are served fresh and hot in a cup with a special sauce. Even in difficult times there are opportunities for those who will take the risk.



CONTACT: Interested in these ideas?

You can contact Steve at steve@creativeventures.com or give him a call at 972-490-7717.