Put Some Play into Your Day

For a long time I have been a fan of the concept of “play”. It brings a great deal of creativity into what can often be a very serious approach to business. In fact, I used PLAY as a metaphor for brand engagement, precisely to provide a creative nuance not only to “kids marketing” but to what we now call social media marketing.

But how can we take this further? How do we bring this sense of play and creativity into all aspects of our lives?

Leslie Bradshaw suggests going back to the beginning – to our childhood. It’s about using the lessons of our childhood to unleash our creativity and find balance in our work and life. Now, I am off to feed my inner child. Enjoy.

This Weekend, Join Me in Twitter Poetry

I was excited to receive a message this morning from Beth Wellington that more and more poets are starting to use Twitter.

This article, published in The Independent, talks about the way Twitter is allowing poets of all shapes and sizes, find new audiences and test out new technology at the same time.

Back in 2007 I setup an account called @TwitterPoetry where you could login and contribute a line to a collaborative poem. The last entry seems to have been 2010 – but perhaps it’s time to be collaboratively creative again. Here is how:

  1. Log into the TwitterPoetry account: Use the username TwitterPoetry and password wr1tetwitterpoetry and contribute a line to the growing poem (note there is a 1 in the password).
  2. Follow TwitterPoetry: Become a “follower” of TwitterPoetry and see how the poem grows as and when someone else contributes to it.

To see the whole poem, go here.

Let your creative juices flow … I look forward to reading your/our work!

Yürüyelim Seninle İstanbul'da Adnan via Compfight

Vibewire’s #fastBREAK – Take Action

On the last Friday of every month, Vibewire in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum, hosts fastBREAK. Now in its third year, fastBREAK has become an essential part of the Australian creative industries scene – providing a vital showcase for young innovators, artists, creatives and entrepreneurs. The event attracts an eclectic audience, with artists mixing with business people, ballerinas rubbing shoulders with bankers and social entrepreneurs sharing breakfast with venture capitalists and investors. And most importantly of all, it is an event that encourages cross-generational conversations – where people of all ages are inspired to network and engage, fuelled by powerful ideas, great coffee and a creative breakfast from the Black Star Pastry.

Join us for fastBREAK: Technicolour

The next event is scheduled for 26 July and will have the theme “technicolour”. It promises to be provocative and stimulating:

Since the invention of Technicolor in 1916, the world of cinema and television have been brought to life with vivid contrasts and saturated colours, infusing both life and character into the film reel and captivating the imaginations of both adults and children around the world.

By injecting their own character and perspective into real life scenarios, some have been able to bring more colour into the lives of others. Now, that same passion and imagination is being brought back to life through the efforts of this month’s fastBREAK speakers.

You can pick up your tickets here – it’s the best $10 you’ll spend in Sydney.

Don’t Give Up

Creativity is hard work. Actually, work, life, everything is hard work.

For every 100 good ideas that you put up, you’ll be lucky to see one take root.

For every “yes” that you get, there’ll be dozens of “nos”.

And for every spark you ignite in others, there’ll be whole audiences of blank faces.

Remember, too, it all takes time.


Resistance to the resistance.

But your time will come.

If you hold tight.

Push through that last mile of indifference.

And self-defeat.


Be humble.

And generous too.

But most of all.

Don’t give.


Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Inspired by Stan.

Creativity and the Practice of Empathy

I can remember seeing a friend after university holidays – and asking “how was your break?” It’s the natural conversation starter. But when he answered, it was not what I expected. Rather than the polite “great thanks … yours?” response, I was delivered a bombshell. There was no seaside holiday or relaxing overseas trip. There was only unspeakable loss and grief.

A single question had taken us both into an unexpected place. Even today I can still remember feeling my mouth opening and closing, grasping for words that would not come. I didn’t know what to do.

So we went, my friend and I, to site silently in the university cafe. Hours passed, and finally, buzzing from the caffeine, he said goodbye and left.

The following week he thanked me. I hadn’t rushed in to solve his problem. I hadn’t offered advice. I didn’t really DO anything.

This great presentation by Evgenia Grinblo on the practice of empathy reminded me of this story – and of the care that we should take when working with our clients. Don’t rush to conclusions. Don’t think solutions. Sit and figure it out.

Book Now for Creative Innovation 2012

ci2012 For every wicked problem there’s a great opportunity. But it takes leadership and courage – and that’s the theme for the upcoming Creative Innovation Asia Pacific conference this November.

Held in Melbourne, Australia, November 28-30, 2012, is setting a transformational agenda for business and organisational leaders alike – how do we adapt flexibly and rapidly to a world that is constantly changing. To address these challenges, founder Tania de Jong has curated a program of international leaders such as Baroness Susan Greenfield and Wade Davis to business leaders like CSIRO’s Megan Clark and Telstra’s Steve Vamos, innovators such as Ruslan Kogan and a cast of creative connectors from Katie Noonan to Gavin Blake.

There are many more speakers worth seeing – far too many to list independently. I’d encourage you to take a look for yourself.

But more than this … I’d encourage you to book now using the code WICKED to receive a 10% discount.  And if you do so before SEPTEMBER 16 you’ll be able to take advantage of the EARLY BIRD pricing for the conference AND workshop packages.

And if you need some help to justify your attendance – take a quick look at the reasons to attend. You’ll be glad you did.

Give Bullying a Kick – Start with Dandelion

As anyone who has experienced bullying will tell you – it’s not only an unpleasant and humiliating experience, it can leave a lasting footprint on your memory and change the way that you relate to even the most important people in your life.

But bullying can be stopped … as long as other know about it. The challenge is getting kids to talk to their parents about being bullied, or seeing bullying behaviour.

At the recent FailCon conference in Sydney, I had the chance to hear about Dandelion – an interactive story that encourages kids to talk to their parents about bullying. Built for iPad helps to build a way into difficult discussions in an imaginative way.

The Dandelion project is currently seeking funding through Kickstarter – with the App + Wristband pack great value for only $14. You can back the project with as little as $1 or take out the Wish Come True Pack at $5000 with benefits including lunch with the author and a day’s creative direction workshop from the folks at Protein One.

There’s only a few days left to get behind this great project. Give bullying a kick and start with Dandelion.

Thriving in Uncertainty – A Workshop with Viv McWaters

In the corporate world we talk a lot – a lot – about innovation and creativity. There are conversations and plans to “unleash” creativity within our businesses and to empower our employees. Sometimes we even start using language from the world of startups – suggesting that some innovation projects may need to “fail fast”.

But one of the great challenges with innovation is that it’s often inwardly focused. We rarely draw in people and ideas from beyond our line of business let alone others in our industry. And when economic conditions change – and they do with regularity – our efforts become increasingly myopic and doomed to failure.

In these conditions we need the skill and capacity to navigate the changing business conditions. We need superior communications, creativity and agility. And we need to ensure that work remains fulfilling – that there is a shared sense of purpose.

A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to attend a workshop with Viv McWaters. She blends business thinking with facilitation and theatrical improvisation – to address many of these challenges. And on July 12 and 13, Viv is running her Thriving in Uncertainty workshops in Melbourne. In her words:

Participant outcomes include improved communication, better collaboration, increased agility, harnessing others’ strengths and building motivated and enthusiastic teams.

But, to be honest, her workshops go well beyond this. They teach you a deep sense of capability that stays with you well after the event. If you can, take a small team along – you’ll be glad you did.

You Are Not the President of the Communications System

I often think we misunderstand the moment in which we are living. Sure technologies are transforming the way that we work. Sure these fancy mobile devices are making us more connected and connectable. And yes, all this data is allowing us to find, engage and even predictively sell to our customers.

But where are YOU in this moment? What is happening in your present moment – there between breaths and tweets?

When you work for a brand or an agency, you often spend a great deal of your creative energy on “cutting through” the noise of our everyday lives. It’s as if it is possible to excise your experience of life as a professional from everything else. But what if you were able to dissolve that distinction – and what if you were to open the imaginative floodgates between your different lives?

My view is that it is inevitable – and that it is happening whether you like it or not. It’s what I call The Social Way. But rather than being something to be feared, it’s something to be embraced.

To succeed in The Social Way we need to rethink a few things. Like customer relationships. And what it means to be innovative or creative. And we need to think about respect.

But don’t take my word for it – listen to Dan Wieden – founder of creative powerhouse Wieden + Kennedy. As he says, we need to rethink the way we use communications systems – after all, you’re not the president. Respect and storytelling – they go hand in hand. They both start by listening.

And thanks to Martin Weigel for sharing.

Creative is Back – Conversational Topics with Responsys’ @simonoz

As I sat bleary eyed in the audience at the Ad:Tech Sydney breakfast briefing this morning, three words sailed over the heads of the audience and slapped me awake – “creative is back”.

He said it again for added impact – creative is back.

The speaker, Responsys’ Simon O’Day, was part of a panel focusing on email marketing – but his interest was broader. He was talking lifecycle marketing, multi-channel and data.

I caught up with him after the panel for a quick conversation and to get a greater sense of what he was hinting at. Here are some of the themes we discussed:

Creative is back: there is a clear opportunity but also a challenge in the years ahead – after all, we are now all receiving vast amounts of email every day. The opportunity and challenge is to invest in creative and bring it into the heart of our campaigns and use that to cut through.

Data drives insights: there is a vast amount of data now at our fingertips – but rather than delivering insights, most marketers are drowning. Increasingly we need to look to technology to help us sift through the information that is available to us. My view was that we needed some creative partnering to take place – between the marketing teams, agencies and companies like Responsys. To make this data work for us all, we need the deep expertise and the maturity to collaborate. Of course, that’s easier said than done!

Data is everywhere: We have our mailing lists and our databases – and that is all goodness. But social networks are now delivering additional data points that can deliver fantastic insights – as long as you know where to look. We should be looking for these opportunities beyond our own organisations – and tapping into the networks of value that already exist.

Imagine a world of 100% plus open rates: This is where it got interesting. As we spoke, Simon became more and more animated. He explained that hidden deep within the data – what Responsys call “profile extensions” – is information that allows you to engage people in a highly relevant way. The way I understood this was that a new piece of data – like a status update or a change in profile information (whether in your system or on Facebook or Twitter etc) could trigger an engagement – like an SMS alert, an email or an @ message. And because it was highly targeted and relevant, it generates 100%+ open rates.

So what we are seeing, really, are micro-segmentation capabilities that are based on people’s behaviours rather than demographic or other forms of segmentation. It’s pretty exciting – slightly spooky – but also the way of the future.

So what do you think? Is this deep level of targeting, when coupled with a focus on permission a way for us to deal with email overload? Is this a new way of understanding trust or is it going in the opposite direction? You tell me.