Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

Self Promotion that Screams “Hire ME!”

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Marketing, WEBSITES & BLOGS, Writing on May 31, 2009 at 9:25 pm

My friend Bobbie Soeder, from Catalyst Ranch, sent me in an email this advertisement from Peter Lloyd.

It is the best piece of self promotion I have seen in some time! Not only did I read every word of it, while laughing outloud, but I then spent at least 15 minutes reading through Peter’s website. If you want to see an “authentic” entrepreneur in action, read through Peter’s website and learn from how he uses his personality to create his brand and communicate his talents to his audience.

What can you do to express the work you do in your own authentic way that will scream hire me?

Peter Lloyd is a songwriter, author, ghostwriter, copywriter and content provider. Love this!
used-word-sale_2009

You’ll Never Work In This Town Again

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk on May 30, 2009 at 9:29 am

I was thinking about failure not too long ago. This is something that I do with a fair amount of regularity considering that I am an independent filmmaker during a recession. It occurred to me that failure should probably be on that list along with death and taxes as one of life’s inevitabilities. But if failure is inevitable, then why have I not embraced it? Why do I not fail with the same gung-ho commitment that I embrace success with?

Don’t answer that.

There are times when I wonder if I’ve failed enough to be a success. Edison invented how many lightbulbs before getting one that worked? “Harry Potter” was rejected from how many publishers? The Beatles had how many doors slammed in their faces? No one has ever told me “You’ll never work in this town again!” and sometimes deep down I wonder whether its because I’m not trying hard enough. Because no one makes a threat like that against mediocrity. Mediocrity inspires form letters and apathy.  Then I remember that in order to fail with such you have to have courage, commitment, and a belief that you are doing the right thing. It sounds easy, but it’s not. The only way to get these things is to sacrifice something else for them.

For Example: Last year I was collaborating with a guy I’ll call Jeremy that I met through Craigslist. I’ve met a lot of good people through Craigslist and I thought Jeremy was one of them. We got along great except that Jeremy always had to be in control. When we tried to mount a joint project he insisted that I do everything His way. In a rare moment of creative integrity (this is that “Courage” I was talking about) I took a stand. Things went downhill from there.

Jeremy felt, I think, affronted that I didn’t agree with him about how the film should be presented and that I had made my disagreement generally known rather than just saying something to him directly. I took a few anxious, sleepless days to consider whether I had been wrong. I didn’t think that I was. (Belief that what you’re doing is right). It began as a creative dispute but by the end it was all about power. The longer I stood my ground (Commitment) the more Jeremy tried to exert his dominance. The project fell apart, obviously and regrettably. We parted ways and I found a new collaborator and a new project and Jeremy moved west and by all accounts, is doing well.

In retrospect I feel bad that it ended the way it did. There’s always a price to pay. Our project was sacrificed over our respective beliefs; my belief that my opinions were just as valid as his and his belief that he knew best. The price of the courage to stand my ground came at the expense of our comeraderie. Because I committed to my position I lost Jeremy’s good opinion of me. It is very difficult for me to know that someone has a poor opinion of me. For one thing, it is a very small world, and frankly we all need as much help as we can get. But on the other hand there comes a point where you can have someone else think poorly of you or you can think poorly of yourself. You can fail, or you can be a failure.

To fail is a very personal and selfish thing. Inevitably it occurs when you look inward and are forced to choose between what you believe in absolutely and what you want out of life. One of them always gets sacrificed and it always hurts. But you know you’ve failed successfully when you know that if you were given the chance to do it over again that you would do the same thing.

The Organizational Actor: Presence and Peter Senge

In Author: Amy Frazier, BOOKS: Learn and Grow, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on May 29, 2009 at 6:21 pm

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear Peter Senge speak. This was a real privilege, as one of his books has been instrumental in helping me along my path as an (organizational) entrepreneur in the arts.

A few years ago, I had a big “ah-ha” that what I had learned through years of being a professional actor could be very useful to the non-acting (read: “organizational-slash-corporate”) world. The vision sprung up full bodied: take theatre skills into corporations.

Yet I had lived my entire professional life outside their walls.

So, while I possessed a certain amount of certainty that this new calling was useful, there was also a fair amount of uncertainty as to how I would face up to the faceless (as the artiste viewed them at the time) suits.

Upon doing a Google search for the hopeful name of my business (Stages of Presence), I happened upon Senge’s Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, which he co-authored with Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers.senge-presence

 The book is a soulful conversation among wise and canny businsess philosophes, who are working their way toward becoming (if they’re not there already) wisdom sages to the corporate psyche.

Their book has an attention to interiority, open-heartedness, deep dialogue and concern for life that asserts itself from the very beginning. It stood my assumptions of  “the business world” on their heads. I thought, if these sorts of ideas can find expression and purchase in the organizational world, even though they may not yet be commonplace, then I have a path into this work.

When Mr. Senge was in town, I took the opportunity to tell him the role his book has played for me. When I mentioned the basis of Stages of Presence, he reminded me of something I knew but had forgotten: one of the founders of the field of organizational development, Richard Beckhard, began his career as an actor.

Senge told me that Beckhard’s work teaching relational presence had made a big impression on him, and others, when they were in the formative stages of their work, which has become so impactful in its own right.

When I think back to my early days as an actor, remembering all-those-exercises where we were to do nothing more than be present to what was unfolding (and how hard it was!), I feel tremendous gratitude for having been shaped by that experience.

Now, many years later, to hear a leader in the field of organizational change recount the impact this type of work had on him—not in the guise of training to become an actor on the stage, but in learning how to act broadly in the world—was a blessing.

It feels like it comes full circle. The book has become a touchstone for me. A quote over my desk reads:

The entreprenurial ability is an expression of the capacity to sense an emerging reality and to act into it. This inward-bound journey lies at the heart of all creativity.

Here’s to being present to the journey.

The Arts and Creativity in Business

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Interesting Articles, The Idea, Writing on May 29, 2009 at 7:49 am

Fast Company just released their 100 most creative people in business list. What can we learn about the arts and creativity in business from this list? Here are a few things I learned:

Out of 100 individuals selected 22 artists ( or those from what is considered classic artistic disciplines) made the list– leaving the remaining 78 of the most creative people in business working very creatively without artistry. While the arts are often thought of as being highly creative, artists represent only 26% of Fast Company’s top 50 and 22% of the entire list. What does this say about the arts and its role in business? Are we not creative enough to impact business or are we not trained and skilled enough in the areas of business to make an impact?

Of the 26% in the top 50, all of these artists have developed a multi disciplinary approach to their art, using more than one artistic skill set, while intertwining business skill sets into the vision of what their art can produce.

Creative writing is the single most common unifying skill amongst the most creative artists in business and a couple of academics made the list!

Each of these artists have taken all of their passions in life and exploited them to their fullest in their careers.

The list includes 5 artists, 4 from fashion, film and music, 3 writers and 2 chefs.

5 Artists #22, 55, 70, 86 94
4 from Fashion #13, 24, 42, 92
4 from Film #14, 21, 31, 60
4 from Music #36, 47, 69, 83
3 Writers #10, 40 and 41
2 Chefs #44, 73

# 10, James Schamus, Chief executive officer, Focus Features
Perhaps the only person in Hollywood who can rival Meryl Streep’s versatility is James Schamus. In addition to being a CEO, he’s a veteran screenwriter, Columbia University film professor, producer, marketer, distributor, and sometime composer. “There’s nobody else like him in the entire industry,” says Bill Mechanic, former chairman of 20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment. “For a writer of his caliber to choose to be an executive is completely abnormal.” Schamus, 49, cofounded Focus in 2002. Known for its sophisticated and daring film slate, Focus produced Oscar winners Milk and Lost in Translation. Coming soon: Taking Woodstock, Schamus’s latest screenplay for director Ang Lee. — by Chuck Salter

Website:http://www.filminfocus.com/focusfeatures/

#13, Stella McCartney, Fashion designer
According to her boss, PPR CEO François-Henri Pinault, fashion designer and Beatle progeny Stella McCartney is the new face of responsible luxury. “Stella has set the bar,” he told Britain’s Sunday Times. Across the pond, the Natural Resources Defense Council honored her this spring for her “outstanding environmental leadership.” McCartney, 38, a PETA pet, uses no leather or fur; her skin-care line and ready-to-wear collection are both organic. Lest this sound too hair shirt to be stylish, consider Women’s Wear Daily’s review of the designer’s latest fall collection: “McCartney’s biker jacket in ‘nonleather sheen cupro’ can vroom with the best of them, and her thigh-high boots, in silk knits and perforated faux, strut the killer instinct she can live with.” — by Linda Tischler

Website: http://www.stellamccartney.com/

#14, JJ Abrams, Founder, Bad Robot Productions
J.J. Abrams warps Time at will. Past, present, and future coexist as a kind of fluid that cannot be contained. The camera jumps back and forth in time. Characters age and grow younger again. Time itself accelerates, then slows. “It’s intriguing to play with exactly when you learn elements in a story,” says the Emmy-winning writer-director-producer, referring to Lost, his biggest hit on the small screen. “It engages audience members in a puzzle where they begin to question everything. It makes them look for clues in what they’re watching in a way traditional narrative doesn’t.”

Website: http://www.badrobot.com/

#21,Tyler Perry,Owner, Tyler Perry Studios
He writes, directs, produces, acts, and scores — Tyler Perry controls an entertainment empire and moneymaking machine that includes the hit show Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and movies featuring his alter-ego Madea, a jumbo, no-nonsense granny with a knack for physical comedy. Perry’s creative impulse was forged in the crucible of personal pain. Channeling years of abuse by his father into writing plays with beautifully rendered characters, Perry bested homelessness and despair to transform black urban theater (pejoratively called the “chitlin’ circuit”), and expanded his audience as quickly as he released hit movies. His seven films, which rarely cost more than $20 million, have grossed upward of $300 million combined — four of them opened at No. 1 — and sold 25 million DVDs. And last October, he made history, opening the first black-owned film studio in the United States. — by Ellen McGirt

Website: http://www.tylerperry.com/

#22, Damien Hirst, Artist
Hate him or loathe him, Damien Hirst is an artistic and business provocateur. Who else could render a photo of Bill Gates standing in front of his own famous work (The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living) and turn it into a painting that sells for more than half a million dollars? Bill With Shark is a shrewd bit of philosophical and capitalist commentary: the once-voracious, aging Gates catching his own reflection and contemplating the work’s title. Of course, the deeper reveal came to the art world when Hirst sold this and other works at Sotheby’s last September for nearly $200 million, cutting out the middleman and raising the real possibility of the death of the art dealer. — by Mark Borden

Website: http://www.damienhirst.com/

#24, Jil Sander, Designer, creative director, Uniqlo
The high-fashion/mass-marketing movement seems to be reaching a new phase with Jil Sander’s new project: The German designer, who became famous for her luxurious if minimalist couture, has signed on as the creative director for Japanese retailer Uniqlo. Sander, who sold her namesake label in 2004, took on the clothing chain as her first consulting client, and then agreed to oversee its fall and winter collections — possibly including one of her own design. — by Abha Bhattarai

Website:http://www.jilsander.com/

#31,Hayao Miyazaki, Cofounder, Studio Ghibli
When Pixar’s animators need inspiration, they watch Hayao Miyazaki’s movies. The giant of anime has been elevating cartoons into epic cinematic events for more than two decades, with fantastic, award-winning films such as My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. The writer-director’s stories are mostly hand-drawn, with strong female characters and morally ambiguous plotlines that make his work a harder sell than, say, Shrek 10 would be. But this summer, Miyazaki may finally get his commercial due in the U.S. with Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. Disney/Pixar creative chief John Lasseter worked with megaproducers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy to build a stellar voice cast (Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson) and to secure Miyazaki his widest U.S.-theater release yet. — by Jennifer Vilaga

Website: http://www.studioghibli.net/

#36, Pharrell Williams, Musician
Pharrell Williams knows it all starts with a beat — he got his start on the snare drum in his high-school marching band back in Virginia Beach, Virginia. As half of the production duo known as the Neptunes, he has helped everyone from Britney Spears to Justin Timberlake to Madonna to the Hives find time on the charts. Williams also fronts the funk-rock band N.E.R.D., produces a clothing line called Billionaire Boys Club, hawks a line of shoes under the Ice Cream Footwear brand, and designed sunglasses and jewelry for Louis Vuitton. Most recently, Limelight, an updated version of Fame that he created with film director McG, was picked up by ABC. Tapping Williams’s own beat, the show is loosely based on his performing-arts experience in high school. — by Mark Borden

Website: http://bbcicecream.com/blog/

#40, Neil Gaiman, Author, screenwriter
“Writing is, like death, a lonely business,” according to Neil Gaiman. But the prolific wordsmith has made it a bit less so, building a global community of fans of all ages and in many media, including comic books (Sandman), novels (American Gods), TV (the BBC’s Neverwhere), and a children’s novella turned 3-D movie (Coraline). In January, Gaiman won the Newbery Medal, kiddie lit’s top honor, for The Graveyard Book, the enchanting, daringly dark tale of an orphan protected by the long-dead residents of a cemetery. Gaiman also blogs at neilgaiman.com, discussing everything from his computer setup to his success. “I liked the idea of a world in which I could feed my family by making things up and writing them down,” he wrote recently. “[But] I’m not quite sure how it happened.” — by Danielle Sacks

Website: http://www.neilgaiman.com/

#41, Maurice Sendak, Writer, illustrator, producer
The extraordinary Maurice Sendak has sold millions of copies of Where the Wild Things Are (1963) and In the Night Kitchen (1970); most recently, he collaborated with Tony Kushner on Brundibar (the book debuted in 2003, the play in 2006). Sendak, now 80, has designed operas, won myriad honors, spawned everything from stuffed monsters to lunch boxes, and inspired generations of dreamy kids. In October, the Wild Things feature film will premiere. An improbably hip, moodily gorgeous affair, it’s being brought to the screen by a formidable team: director Spike Jonze; screenwriter Dave Eggers; stars Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, and James Gandolfini; and Arcade Fire and Karen O (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs), who are providing music. Let the wild rumpus begin! — Anya Kamenetz

Website: http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/HarperChildrens/Kids/A…

#42, Marc Jacobs, Fashion designer, LVMH
Marc Jacobs has “made fashion hip, but not inaccessibly hip,” says Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Accessibly hip enough for him to build a $5 billion empire within LVMH that delights both the moneyed elite and the allowance-driven economy (his junk-store concept — $11 flip-flops, $55 rubber totes — is still thriving in the retail slump). Jacobs’s knack for forecasting trends (this fall, neon and ’80s nostalgia), anointing muses (hola, Anne Hathaway), and playing the media keep him in the spotlight. But it’s his endless inspiration that drives sales. “It’s very organic. We say, ‘Let’s make this happen and see what the reaction is,’ ” Jacobs says. “It’s not like a creative person sits down with a mathematician. That’s a hard thing for a lot of businesspeople to understand.” — by Mark Borden

Website: http://www.marcjacobs.com/

#44, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Chef
In this era of celebrity chefs and haute cuisine gone less haute, Alsace-born Jean-Georges Vongerichten is the rare talent who has grown his empire without resorting to the indignity of slapping his face on a frying pan or frozen pizza. He already has 18 restaurants — eight of them in New York, including Vong and his flagship Jean Georges, which has three Michelin stars — and for a sense of the size of his plate, consider that Spice Market alone rakes in about $15 million a year in revenue. His unprecedented partnership with Starwood Hotels has given the cuisinier license to unleash his creativity — and trademark Asian flavors — in 50 new restaurants over the next five years. That’s still not enough for him: “If I could have my dream,” he has said, “I would open a new restaurant every month.” — by Kate Rockwood

Website: http://www.jean-georges.com/

#47, A.R. Rahman, Composer
You might know A.R. Rahman as the Oscar-winning composer behind Slumdog Millionaire’s “Jai Ho,” which has been downloaded more than 100,000 times on iTunes and was re-recorded as a hit collaboration with the Pussycat Dolls. But Rahman has been writing Bollywood hits since 1992. His soundtracks have reshaped Indian pop, adding influences from jazz, reggae, and Western classical music, and have sold more than 100 million copies. Rahman also created the musical Bombay Dreams and has been testing new forms of music distribution; through a tie-up with Nokia, he recently released an album just for the company’s music-phone users in India. — by Dan Macsai

Website: http://www.arrahman.com/

#55, Gregg Gillis, Mashup artist
Gregg Gillis, 27, is the first truly postmodern rock star. The ex-biomedical engineer layers unlicensed song samples and “performs” them live, with him and his laptop center stage. Last year, he released his fourth album, Feed the Animals, online, using Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want model. So artful are his mashups — Feed the Animals’ 300-plus samples include unlikely pairings such as Nine Inch Nails and Kelly Clarkson, and David Bowie and 2 Live Crew — that even the notoriously litigious record labels have offered their ultimate compliment: silence. — by Jennifer Vilaga

#60, Josh Schwartz,Television producer, writer
Josh Schwartz has made his name chronicling the young, pretty, and privileged on TV, first with The O.C., then with Gossip Girl. But after his Girl found unexpected success online — new episodes routinely top iTunes’ most-downloaded chart — Schwartz, 32, pitched his latest beautiful brainchild, “Rockville CA,” to TheWB.com as a series of five-minute Webisodes. “Kids are going to college with laptops, not TVs,” says the former USC frat boy. “I figured, Why not?” Not that he’s swearing off old media: His as-yet-untitled Gossip Girl spin-off debuts this fall on the CW, and he’s directing a new film version of Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City. — by Dan Macsai

#69,Dave Stewart, Musician and record producer
You may know Dave Stewart as the Eurythmics cofounder and a singer’s songwriter — he’s written hits for Tom Petty, Celine Dion, and No Doubt. But it’s the rest of his CV that’s unexpectedly impressive. He started the consulting company DeepStew with Deepak Chopra, acts as U.S. creative director for the Law Firm ad group, serves as president of entertainment for fashion designer Christian Audigier’s brand-management unit, and is an official Change Agent for Nokia. “I’m willing to receive a smaller percentage and relinquish control, as long as the idea goes into the minds of a brilliant company,” he says. “I’m not going to run out of creativity or ideas, so I don’t hang on to stuff for dear life. If you’re terrified to release control, nothing gets made!” — by Mark Borden

#70, Brian Donnelly (KAWS), Artist and Designer
Brian Donnelly has been compared to Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, both of whom straddled the divide between street and institutional art. But Donnelly has arguably surpassed them with his one-man empire. Business at his Tokyo-based company OriginalFake, created as an outlet for his art and related merchandise, is thriving. During his February L.A. gallery show — just his second solo exhibition ever — the line to enter snaked seven blocks; Lance Armstrong bought the biggest painting. The guy who just a few years ago was hiding in bushes to evade anti-graffiti officers is now being courted by megabrands that want his signature graphic treatment on their products. Mostly, he’d rather not. “I only like to work with companies that are part of my life already,” says Donnelly, who has said yes to Marc Jacobs, Nike, and Levi’s. — by Jana Meier

Website: http://www.davestewart.com/

#73, Dan Barber, Executive chef and co-owner, Blue Hill restaurants
“Manhattan’s answer to the Farmer in the Dell,” as Dan Barber was called by a New York Times restaurant critic, is more than the foodies’ latest locavore darling. The driving spirit behind the two Blue Hill restaurants, Barber, 39, is a passionate advocate for regional farm networks. They’re the answer, he says, to big agriculture’s economic and ecological abuses. A 2009 James Beard Award nominee for Outstanding Chef, he practices what he preaches on his own family’s farm and at the Stone Barns Center, a not-for-profit that promotes sustainable agri-culture. One of his trademark dishes is This Morning’s Farm Egg, with hen broth and root vegetables — tasty proof that the farm-to-table movement is not just high-end menuspeak. — by Linda Tischler

Website: http://www.bluehillfarm.com/

#83,Brian Eno, Musician
Brain Eno, the father of ambient music, is still in the vanguard. Take his recent collaboration with David Byrne. Byrne wrote lyrics in New York to the instrumental tracks Eno had sent from Lon-don. Then they prereleased the album, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, online. Now he’s curating a lights-and-music festival in Australia that includes his own light show projected on the Sydney Opera House. — by Genevieve Knapp

Website: http://www.enoshop.co.uk/

#86, Cai Guo-Qiang, Artist
When not drawing — and detonating — pictures made from gunpowder or staging massive outdoor “explosion events” like the fireworks at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Cai Guo-Qiang is busy breaking records. His 14 gunpowder pieces sold at Christie’s in Hong Kong in 2007 for $9.5 million, an all-time auction high for contemporary Chinese art. He’s the first Chinese artist to snag a Venice Biennale award and the first living artist to have a solo show in a state-operated Chinese museum. The seven white sedans he suspended from the ceiling at the Guggenheim in New York last year left the art world chattering about American car culture. — by Kate Rockwood

Website: http://www.caiguoqiang.com/

#92, Simon Collins, Dean of fashion, Parsons
After 20 years in the industry, Simon Collins is grooming the next wave of Tom Fords to be as prepared for the boardroom as they are for the run-way. In less than one year, he has devised a new model for his 1,300 students to collab-orate with companies such as Ellen Tracy, Henri Bendel, and Gap. Collins, 41, who began his career as a bespoke tailor in London, designed for Ralph Lauren, Ermenegildo Zegna, Reebok, and Nike, and spent a brief spell opening a New York design office for Wal-Mart. Now he aims to trans-form Parsons — which produces some 70% of the designers on Seventh Avenue — into the breeding ground for the first generation of sustainability-minded designers. “If we taught our students it’s all about red, they’d go into their careers thinking it’s all about red,” Collins says. “Hopefully we can do that with sustainability.” — by Danielle Sacks

Website: http://www.parsons.edu/faculty_and_staff/faculty_details.asp…

#94, Kevin Adams, Lighting designer
Kevin Adams is on the leading edge of the post-incandescent age on Broadway, exploiting the potential of CFL bulbs, fluorescent tubes, glass and flex neon, and the latest LED technology. His work for Spring Awakening — brilliant white light for the 19th-century play’s scenes and saturated color from what he calls “electric objects” for the songs — won him a Tony in 2007. He picked up a second Tony in 2008 for The 39 Steps. Another Adams hit: a fabulous wall of light for the musical Passing Strange. One admirer said it looked “like Mark Rothko meets Japanese pop.” Adams also lit the current revival of Hair. — by B. Martin

Website: http://www.ambermylar.com/

The Classic Entrepreneurial Story of Cereality

In Author: Adam Shames on May 27, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Before we discuss Cereality, whose story was told by co-founder David Roth recently in Chicago, here are a few quick questions about your creative inclinations regarding food:
Do you prefer to cook by recipe or by seeing what you have in your fridge/cupboards and improvising?
Do you prefer a few favorite restaurants or would you rather experience new ones (despite their unpredictability)?
Do you cook/order the same few dishes or do you choose new offerings you never tried before?

Now, I respect people who like what they like or can produce a consistently winning dish via recipe, but your creativity quotient is higher when you seek out the new and are willing to experiment. I happen to be a variety junkie. My favorite meal is one during which I can sample many different tastes. My bias is to constantly create new combinations, try unusual pairings, and I appreciate opportunities to experiment, which is the general idea behind Cereality, perhaps opening a new store near you.

Here’s the scoop (or bowl): Roth and his partner Rick Bacher started with the somewhat questionable idea of having a retail location that would serve only cereal, and through an amazing array of creative decisions (and entrepreneurial perseverance), they created a brand and store that became a classic American example of entrepreneurship. (While Roth resisted franchising Cereality for as long as he could, multiple copy-cats and legal issues led him to selling it to franchise giant Kahala-Cold Stone in 2007.)

Like other quick-serve outlets who have innovated similarly, Cereality’s creativity began with customer choice, offering cereal your way in whatever combination of cereal, fruit, nuts and milk you desired. Creativity and playfulness were an indispensable part of the entire brand and culture: Employees wear pajamas, you use a sloop (a straw and spoon in one that allows you to slurp up that remaining milk), and the entire experience in the store is part of the pleasure.

The creativity extended as well to the entire process of building the business, which you’ll get some sense of in the video above. As Roth made clear in his talk, entrepreneurship is not for the easily discouraged. Starts and stops and “midcourse corrections” were constant, and he learned that the key was always to come back to their own original vision–the personality and culture they uniquely imagined from the outset. They tried a food service company to run the stores, but they ended up taking them back themselves. They hired restaurant industry executives but got rid of them.

Inventive PR campaigns and strategic, cross-industry partnerships were essential, but perhaps the most innovative idea helped them get a needed sponsor: They offered to provide data on the habits of customers in exchange for financing. Quaker liked that idea and the whole enterprise so much that they paid even more cash and signed on as the sole provider of hot breakfast choices.

The process from idea to implementation is a long one, and less passionate entrepreneurs may have given up long before they opened their second store, not to mention sold the brand for a hefty sum. But the constant flow of creative ideas–even with failures along the way–helped Cereality become a reality and great American business story.

Want to read more of Adam’s posts? Check out his main blog: Innovation on my Mind

*606 attempts to make this work

In Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on May 24, 2009 at 10:47 pm

It took 606 attempts to make this work.  How many attempts are in you to make it work?  And do you know that there is going to be that one that does work?  There is!

Oh, by the way, this is not digitally enhanced.  It’s done the old fashioned way, one bump at a time.

 

Craving Voice Art Project for Social Change Part 2

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Approach
One might assume, with all the previous supportive literature, that it would be easy to document exactly what makes an art project created to effect social change healing, and with this information to be able to develop and enhance this process in a way that is of benefit to the psychological community. However, this is not the case. Scholarly thought is highly structured; this is its strength and weakness. Academics from different areas, in whose hands the responsibility falls for theoretical documentation of ideas, frequently have a difficult time communicating them to others. For example, artists rarely discuss with psychologists their findings in the field, so that both might more deeply understand the implications of their work. Although much progress has been made with regard to research on creativity and the expressive arts, one must still span multiple academic disciplines in order to discuss the topic found within this paper. Yet, this is just one small part of a much more involved issue. One factor is that artists are frequently unwilling or unable to document their actions in a way that is useful to psychologists. Many people in the crossover area of the expressive arts are not at all interested in doing research because, for them, tacit knowledge is enough. And many psychologists find it difficult to deal with topics such as art because it is not easy to measure or even discus in a way that sounds intelligent to the rest of their peers.
In this project, I used what I will from now on be calling “informed artistic inquiry” to gather information both about participants in the project and about the nature of the project itself. If there was a definition for the expression informed artistic inquiry it would most likely be: Aan open-ended approach to data collection based in curiosity and a desire to know (similar to heuristic research), where the intent of the researcher is to translate the information collected into both an artistic creation (i.e. dance, painting, song) and research narrative, while recognizing that all known information prior, during, and after the inquiry develops the final outcome of anything produced. As an artist studying psychology, I believe that artistic inquiry has much to contribute to the psychological community. In addition, art is able to break through conceptual boundaries. Informed artistic inquiry could be of incredible benefit in finding new and beneficial ways to deal with social problems.
An additional benefit is that as an artist, I do not need to have any other objective with my interviews other than to understand deeply. As I sit here, the overturned book on the table says: “Artists, with their humanizing holistic approach, are challenging the specialists, the tunnel-vision experts who have put humankind on the brink” (O’Brien, 1990). Because I can remain truly open to the individuals that sit in front of me, because I do not need to have my research questions prepared, I am in a better situation to understand them. Informed artistic inquiry is paralleled in psychology by phenomenological and heuristic research; however, these methods require that the topic being researched is determined before the interviews or observations take place. This prioritizes the phenomenon being observed before the event prioritizes them for the researcher. Therefore, these methods are still directive and imply a failure at understanding the entire person.
There are additional reasons, as well, to continue on with this approach. The community of humanistic psychologists might benefit from hearing phenomenological accounts of artists’ work which facilitates social change and healing so that it can develop the much-needed documentation and methods of research necessary to account for such phenomenon. Eugene Taylor and Fredrick Martin in their article, “Humanistic Psychology at the Crossroads,” state:
The single most important contribution that humanistic psychologists can make to modern psychology is to bring the attention of experimentalists to focus on the phenomenology of the science-making process and, once the attention of the discipline is focused on that point, to articulate a phenomenological rather than positivistic epistemology as the basis of new experimental science (Martin &Taylor, 2001, p. 26).

Although it is not at all the intent of this paper to refocus the attention of experimentalists, it remains in my power to support a method of inquiry that has a phenomenological orientation, thereby creating a knowledge base on which a new type of experimental science can be based. This appears to me to not only be a means of promoting humanistic psychology, but also a potential means of creating peace.

The Population
Before continuing the discussion about the project, “Craving Voice,” it is important to create a general profile of the population with which it was done in order to be able to clearly understand the context in which the following observations were made. The predominant characteristics of the population of the clinic at the time of the project were the following: there were approximately 500 clients. They had a high-school education or less. They were at or below the poverty line upon entering the clinic. They were frequently between the ages of 30-50. They predominantly came from rural areas. They had been using opiates heavily for 5-10 years. They were mostly white.
While these characteristics were probably the most common of the community, the program contained people from all different backgrounds. However, the population was all over the age 18, with the exception of two members. Since approximately 60% of the population was receiving state funding because they were below the poverty line, 40% of the population was not receiving state funding, which implies that they were above the poverty line. In addition, two population characteristics were on the rise: the number of younger people between the ages of 18 and 25 years old with reported significant histories of substance abuse, and the number of pregnant women attending the clinic.

Create Bold Action…Come to CPSI

In Author: Whitney Ferre on May 21, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Whitney Ferre' PACE Presenter at this year's CPSI!

I am so excited to attend this year’s CPSI Conference, the annual conference of the CEF, Creativity Education Foundation.  Since I first learned about CPSI, only in Feb. of this year (!!!!), I have connected with several “superstars” in the CPSI world.  First, Sarah Caldicott-Miller, of How to Innovate Like Edison, agreed to speak with me on the phone.  She is so generous and inspiring.  She introduced me to John Cimino whose Creative Leaps and “Concert of Ideas” have serenaded CPSI many, many times.  Then, Gregg Fraley and I got introduced, somehow, and it turns out his U.S. home is in the same Michigan small town outside of Chicago where my parents live and where I just spoke at a library fundraiser!  There are no coincidences!  I believe that.  I am currently devouring Jack’s Notebook by Gregg Fraley and encourage all of you to order it right away!  It is a business NOVEL and is fascinating and full of great info.  John Cimino and I are meeting with a fun group in NYC next Wednesday for lunch, including a gentleman who is the Director of Arts Education at the Lincoln Center for the Arts.  So, before I have even set foot at the CPSI Conference, I am already creating such meaningful connections and look forward to the evolution of my relationship with this dynamic, forward thinking, sincere organization.  Join us in Boston June 21-24!  Go to www.cpsiconference.org .

Check out the blogs below of other CPSI leaders.

Creatively yours, Whitney Ferre’

CPSI Conference

 http://innovationblogsite.typepad.com/newandimprovedinnovation/

 http://segami2.blogspot.com

www.greggfraley.com/blog

 http://www.innosight.com/blog/

 http://filedundermissylaneous.blogspot.com

SENSE MEMORY (making stories vivid and memorable)

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on May 21, 2009 at 2:48 am

An important acting tool and an essential story telling tool is SENSE MEMORY.

Do you realize that every feeling we have  comes from our sensorial interaction with the world around us? 

What if you have a wonderful story to tell (and I’ll get to story writing in another blog)?  One that supports (and it must) your message  –  something people will walk away remembering for a long time.  Because, as you know,  you remember images and feelings more than facts and power points.  How do you make sure your audience remembers your story?

You have to make sure they see it, smell it, taste it, touch it, hear it.  That means you have to before you speak. 

I tell my clients –  actors and public speakers, “If you see it they will too”.  It’s a given. 

If you see, smell, taste, touch and hear the elements of  your story, you will react to them honestly and your audience will go along for the ride.

So here’s the sense memory exercise.  If you can, get together with a few people and have one person read it out loud as you go along.

 Simply stated, “sense memory” is the remembering by the five senses of the sensory impressions experienced by the individual organism in everyday life. 

  THE EXERCISE:  Begin with a coffee cup as your first exercise. 

IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THIS CUP BE SIMPLE – THE STYROFOAM OR CARDBOARD WHITE CUPS ARE PERFECT.  TOO MUCH PATTERN OR COLOR WILL BE TOO DIFFICULT TO FOCUS ON IN DETAIL AND DETAIL IS VERY IMPORTANT.

Find a simple coffee cup at home, fill it with coffee or your favorite morning drink, and explore every sensory aspect of the cup in minute detail. Let your mind ask the questions, and your senses provide the answers.

BE SURE TO PUT THE CUP ON A SIMPLE BACKGROUND.  YOU MIGHT PUT DOWN A ONE COLORED TABLE CLOTH UNDER IT SO YOU’RE NOT DESTRACTED BY A PATTERN OR TOO MANY COLORS.

 1) First, get in a chair and do some relaxation exercise. Stretching, tensing, relaxing, etc.

 2) When you are relaxed explore the cup with the sense of sight:  DON’T TOUCH THE CUP – how tall is the cup? what is the diameter of the cup?   what color is the cup?  of what material is the cup made?  are reflections from  the lights in the room visible on the cup (where, what color?)?  when do I first see the coffee inside the cup as I approach the cup to look in?  are there flaws in the cup (what kind, what size?)?

 3) AFTER ABOUT 20 SUCH OBSERVATIONS, PUT THE CUP ASIDE (WHERE YOU CAN’T SEE IT) AND SEE IF YOU CAN RECREATE IT BY ASKING THE SAME QUESTIONS.  BRING IT BACK TO SEE WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED AND CONTINUE ON TO THE OTHER SENSES.

 3) Repeat this process for each of touching, smelling, tasting, and hearing so that you should be able to ask the same questions and get the same answers when you no longer have the cup to refer to. 

Notice what muscles you use to move your hand towards the cup.

NOTICE HOW EACH SENSE SUPPORTS THE PREVIOUS ONE. While you are moving towards tasting the drink, sight, smell and touch may come into play and you cannot ignore them.

In other words, as you pick up the cup to your mouth, realize that touch and sight are involved and record them.

 That’s the “art” of acting.

Discipline Gets a Bad Rap

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2009 at 9:37 am

If you play “word association” and ask someone what mental connotations “discipline” conjures up, you’re likely to get some bad, potentially even kinky things; people think of their third grade teacher’s semi-sadism, organizational policies serving to maintain order, and so on. Discipline is what gets done to you when you don’t do what you’re supposed to do. It means punishment and the enforcement of rules.

A not-at-all new trend in the debate surrounding university administration is criticizing disciplines. The argument is: The world is too complex for the antiquated structure of academic disciplines; we need interdisciplinary (some go so far as to use the word transdisciplinary) solutions to real world problems; in order to keep up with this demand from society at large, public research university need to change and adapt; they should scrap the tradition of discipline-based departmentalizing. No more Department of English or Department of Mathematics.

This line of reasoning was recently given a voice and a lot of attention when professor Mark C. Taylor, chairman of the religion department at Columbia University, wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times titled “The End of the University as We Know It.” Professor Taylor proposes six action items for university reform. I agree with four of them: 1) restructure the curriculum, 2) Increase collaboration among institutions, 3) Transform the traditional dissertation, and 4) Expand the range of professional options for graduate students. I disagree with the remaining two: 5) Impose mandatory retirement and abolish tenure, and 6) Abolish permanent departments. The former, the one about tenure, receives a compelling rebuttal from a friend and colleague of mine here. So let me respond to the latter (given the constraints of a blog forum):

Discipline can be a good thing. If you don’t like the mental image of corrective punishment, think of a ninja. Or a samurai. Martial artists train long and hard to practice their craft and observe their philosophy with absolute concentration. Considered from this angle, discipline means rigor. And carefully executed action directed toward a specific goal. Academic disciplines, I say, can be thought of in this way. To be sure, Professor Taylor’s criticism is well-taken. In their worst instances, academic disciplines are silos where scholars in adjacent offices don’t talk to each other. Little or no collaboration happens within some dysfunctional departments, much less among them. But, as Taylor points out, problems can be solved by smart people. And I disagree with his contention that the best solution is to de-discipline the academy.

Let us instead make disciplines more disciplined. Give departments the resources they need for “carefully executed action directed toward a specific goal.” Departments should be like ninja training camps, where methodological and epistemological rigor is taught and practiced with absolute focus. Then, when such a habit is firmly reestablished in academic culture, let’s start the Water Program that Taylor suggests. I think it is a fantastic idea, and I will be the first humanist to sign up for such an initiative. But not when it is presented as the Other in a false dichotomy where disciplines are unfashionable. I absolutely cannot wait to be part of the university where disciplinarity is the resource and the vital raw material for interdisciplinary problem solving. Because on some level, I agree with Taylor: “Through the intersection of multiple perspectives and approaches, new theoretical insights will develop and unexpected practical solutions will emerge,” he says. Yes indeed! But if I were organizing the Water Program, I would want the researchers to come from the very cores of their respective disciplines. I would seat a diehard physicist next to a diehard rhetorician next to a diehard psychologist and watch the sparks fly.

It is not the critic that counts

In Author: Barbara Kite, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on May 18, 2009 at 5:02 am

It is not the critic that counts.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marked by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasm and great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
                                                                                                                                          
                                                            
                                                                                                                   ~Teddy Roosevelt

The Best in the World

In Author: David Cutler, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on May 18, 2009 at 3:10 am

Practice makes perfect. And heaven knows, you need to be perfect. How else will you become the best in the world, and therefore earn the work and opportunities you desire? So you lock yourself in the practice room (or art studio, or wherever you work), and “shed” 12 hours per day. Problem is, no matter how hard you try, there’s always someone better.  Actually many, many people.

Come on, did you really think you had a shot of becoming the best composer, ballerina, sculptor, bassoonist, actor, or _________ out there? For most of us, the answer is obvious: NO!   The bar is simply too high, and there aren’t enough hours in a day (or lifetime) to catch up.

Can you have a successful artistic life even if you’re not the best? Absolutely!  But that’s fodder for another post. My message today: become the best in the world!  (Huh? But you just said…)

 The problem is that too many of us are trying to become the best doing exactly the same thing as everyone else. Our categories are too broad, and creativity too narrow.

Instead of asking “which steps must I take to outshine the competition?” try another approach:  “With my unique personality, interests, talents, training, background, and skills, what could I potentially do better than anyone on the planet?” This is a very different kind of question, eliciting a very different response.

I knew a decent pianist. He wasn’t winning competitions or anything (the nice way to say he was losing them), but he was respectable. He also liked to sing. No Pavarotti, mind you, but he had a fine operatic tenor voice and could even hit some “money” notes. So he lived a dual life: some days a pianist, other times a singer. People who heard him in each setting had no inkling about his supplementary talent. They just thought he was pretty good.  Not the best in the world, though.

I encouraged him to find or create opportunities to combine both together. Could you imagine being at a pretty good classical piano recital where the soloist unexpectedly broke out into song?  It would be memorable, newsworthy, and remarkable. That was his ticket to becoming the best.

Another approach entails developing broad expertise on a particular topic. Perhaps you love dancing French ballet. Of course, many others do that as well. But you become the world’s leading expert in “all things related.” You study the culture, master the language, learn the trivia. Maybe you spend a few months or years travelling France, and visit every ballet theatre. In addition to dance gigs, you teach French history seminars (always incorporating dance, of course) and write a cookbook on the favorite cuisine of French choreographers. Pretty soon, even films are consulting you about authentic performance practice.  After all, you’re the leading authority!

 Consider some of the many potential ways you can become the best:

1)      Combine skills within one art form (i.e. harpist-bass trombonist (I know one!))

2)      Combine skills from various art forms (i.e. artist who dances while painting)

3)      Combine artistic and non-artistic aptitudes (i.e. actor with excellent marketing prowess)

4)      Combine artistic skills with hobbies (i.e. clarinetist-swimmer doing pool-side concerts)

5)      Find a niche/specialize (i.e. sacred music composer for amateur musicians)

6)      Become an expert (i.e. Balinese dance, music, culture, and all things related)

7)      Take a unique approach (i.e. sculptor who incorporates found art from natural disaster sites)

8)      Form unique collaborations (i.e. violist who pairs with mimes, magicians, chefs, etc.)

9)      Champion a cause (i.e. world’s leading tap dance advocate for cancer research)

10)  Invent an approach (i.e. your own teaching method)

Everyone has the potential to become the best in the world at something! Determining your area may require soul searching, but I guarantee this is possible for you. Please note, “world” doesn’t necessarily mean the entire globe. Your world might translate to a particular region or community.

So for today, and maybe the next month, why don’t you cut your practicing short by an hour? During that time, figure out what it will really take to become the best.

 

David Cutler balances a varied career as a jazz and classical pianist, composer, arranger, educator, and conductor.  Visit www.SavvyMusician.com, “Ground Zero for Music Careers,” for information about his upcoming book The Savvy Musician: Building a Career, Earning a Living, & Making a Difference, a Resource Center with 1000+links, and much more.

a spoonful of sparkles

In BOOKS: Learn and Grow on May 17, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Together with a colleague, we’re developping a new concept ‘a Spoonful of Sparkles’. It’s a process to make your messages contagious. What kind of message should you spread to make sure that people will hear the message and that they will remember it. A lot of our inspiration comes from the book Made to Stick from Dan and Chip Heath (two brothers). They have done some research why some urban legends stick in your mind and other, very important messages don’t survive longer then a day. They found 6 principles that help to make your message sticky:

  • Simple
  • Unexpected
  • Concrete
  • Credible
  • Emotional
  • Storystick

The principles are very clear and they don’t look very special but the combination of the principles makes an idea special so people will remember it. Sometimes it isn’t necessary that an idea complies to all the principles but the more principles are covered, the bigger the chance that the idea will stick.

Now the interesting part (the principles are already interesting by itself ;-)) is that we have done several brainstorm sessions to explore different kind of methods to answer the HOW question. It’s very good to say that something has to be unexpected or have a story but how do you do that? We have come up with hundreds of ideas and worked out 3 or 4 methods in detail. So far so good and we thought that we were ready for our first real client (last Friday). What happened that there was still a bigger gap between ‘our theory’ and ‘the real stuff’. It went well but we had to improvise quite a lot and noticed that the audience reacted quite different on some techniques then our expectations. We are both experienced facilitators and I had some presuppositions that it would be an easy job. But we had to work quite hard to get a good process and a happy client at the end.

For me the biggest lesson is that entrepreneurship is something you have to do in the ‘real world’. You can make the most beautiful business plans and foresee all kind of reactions of the market (audience) but the only proof of the pudding is doing it in the outside world.

BREATH (from Mark Westbrook’s Blog)

In Author: Barbara Kite, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on May 17, 2009 at 7:57 am

Breath

From our first breath to our last,  breathing is an instrinsic part of that each and every part of our lives.  The breath is both instinctive and expressive, it is a vital part of our physical functioning as a human being, but it is also an essential part of our emotive capacity to express ourselves.

There are two types of breath, the inhale and the exhale, the in-breath and the out-breath.   Breathing in prepares us, it fills us with the oxygen vital to thought and to fight or flight survival.  The outbreath is how we communicate, it is the expressive breath.  We ‘inspire’ on the in-breath and we ‘express’ on the out.

In times of stress or pressure, when we exert, many times, we hold our breath.  Yet it requires a natural and relaxed breathing cycle for the actor to both inspire and express themselves, we have to learn to breathe thorugh toughest experiences.

When we breathe in, the 3-dimensional barrel of our breathing apparatus should become fully inflated, whilst remaining free from tension.  Likewise, when we release the breath and all the air to travel out of us, we should allow the deflation to be entirely unimpeded.   It is common for many beginning actors to have not considered their breathing when they begin taking classes.  Many people think the belly button should be sucked in with the in-breath and pushed outwards with the out-breath.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  On the in-breath the barrel inflates, on the out-breath the barrel deflates.  This process should be a cycle and not feel like two separate oppositional forces.  The breath is an endless circle of in and out, inspire and express.

Breath is expression, breath is spirit, when we breathe no more, we live no more.  It is ever present in our living existence, but we take it for granted.  Each and every actor, no matter their level or experience should take the time to learn more about the ‘breath of life’.   Breath is one of the few outlets for the actor’s inner expressiveness and feelings, without deeper knowledge, experience and exploration of the part it plays in acting, the actor is missing something vital.

Breath is projection, breath is tension, breath is relaxation, breath is articulation of thought and feeling, breath is  inspiration and expression.

Mark Westbrook is a Professional Acting Coach and runs Acting Coach Scotland, a private acting studio offering classes, masterclasses, workshops and audition coaching for actors at all levels. His acting studio is based in Glasgow, Scotland, although he teaches all across the United Kingdom.

Is Creativity Really The Answer?

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, The Idea on May 16, 2009 at 1:35 pm

As much as I hate to admit it, I am not convinced that Creativity is The Answer. This is heresy, I know, but when you get right down to it just how useful is creativity anyway? Creativity is like gunpowder; incredibly powerful- and dangerous- stuff, but largely  useless without a structure to contain it, a system to measure it, and a culture that respects it.

Structure

I didn’t learn me no grammar in grammar school. There was a movement during my grammar school years in which creativity was emphasized over structure.  In essence, we were taught that it was more important for us to write creatively than it was for us to write well. I didn’t know what a participle was until high school when I elected to take college grammar. It wasn’t the most boring, tedious, mind-numbing class on the electives list and the books we used were so old they were out of print. (When the class was over we had the option to buy them. I did.) Of all the classes I took in high school, College Grammar was, without a exception, the most valuable.  I have always enjoyed creative writing but it wasn’t until I took a grammar class that I learned how much my writing sucked. No one cares what you have to say if you can’t structure a proper sentence. Creativity is all about content, but content needs to be contained. The rarest and most exquisitely complex wine in the world is useless without a glass.

Measurement

In the real world what we really care about is how much we produce, not how creatively we produce it. When it gets right down to it we care more about quantity than quality. Given $100 for food we’d rather eat three square meals a day of boring cafeteria food than eat one five star meal once a month. As a natural extension of this we measure our success by our productivity. We ask “what have I done with my life” much more than we ask “did I do it well”. What does Creativity produce? In itself, not much. Can we quantify it? Not really. How do we prove that Creativity is useful if we can’t quantify its usefulness? Creativity is useful when we apply it to how we work; a creative workspace can make a job easier, faster, or more pleasant  even though the product remains unchanged. A prime example is the assembly line: the model T that was produced on an assembly line was no different from the model T produced  by hand except that now it could be produced faster, more easily, and became so affordable that even the workers on the line could eventually buy one.

Culture

In the end, though, it isn’t about money, it’s about culture. Returning to the gunpowder analogy, where one culture sees it as a weapon another culture sees it as a tool and another sees it as festive entertainment. Largely, Americans tend to see creativity as festive entertainment; a luxury rather than a necessity. As an artist I have lamented that no one buys artwork unless it “matches the couch”. When I use my creativity to produce fine art (because production = key to success) I create a pretty commodity. Fine art, like entertainment, is not considered a necessity. So is all creativity doomed to uselessness? Not necessarily: even our western culture recognizes that creativity can be an effective tool when trying to communicate (ex: a commercial illustrator creates drawings to illustrate an art director’s concepts to a client) and is useful problem solving (ahem, Henry Ford).

In the end, the question remains: is Creativity “The Answer” to becoming successful? No. Not by itself. Creativity has the potential to make life easier, richer, and more successful but it is only a tool. Like all tools, the key is how you use it.

What Does Authenticity Have To Do with Entrepreneurship Anyway?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Health & Wellness, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea on May 15, 2009 at 7:41 pm

What does it mean to you to be authentic? Do you have days where you feel really connected to who you are and others where it feels like you cannot find the “switch” to flip on your authenticity? I know I certainly do!

Being authentic is what brings to center stage the Real You and Me, our true Self. By definition when we are authentic we are tapping into “those qualities that establish truth and correctness; Genuineness; originality, sincerity, and not a copy or forgery.” And it is our true self that is required to be fully present if we ever hope to begin to discover the entrepreneur within each of us. This is why our state of mind so quickly must become an integral part of evaluating our entrepreneurial readiness.

I know that it is only when I am in touch with the real me that I actually am able to truly be my creative best and expand my thinking and views of what my world can hold. In those moments where I am afraid, upset or withdrawn I have distanced myself from my authentic self and have lost sight of what it is that is really amazing about me. It is only when I am in touch with my uniqueness, and am myself experiencing it, that the highest level of ideas flow through my mind that begin to shape my entrepreneurial vision.

Do you know what those moments or hours of your authenticity looks like?

For me I know I am being authentic when I feel calm, clear headed, speak with authority and ease, feel playful yet curious all at the same time. When I am authentic my feelings and behaviors are consistent with one another and I feel the most content and at peace with life. This is when I usually am able to say ” Thank God I am alive” and “What a wonderful day today is” as well as ” I have a great idea!”

So, how do we reach this level of fulfilment and possibility? According to Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist whose theories have been influential in 20th century thought, we reach fulfilment, or the expression of our full potential, through reaching a state of self-actualization.

According to Abraham Maslow, we have a hierarchy of needs that must be fulfilled in the following order to be able to reach our own self-actualization, which we must reach to achieve to successfully begin an entrepreneurial venture.

These needs beginning with (I) basic needs for food, shelter, then (II) needs for safety and security, (III) needs for love and belonging, (IV) the need for self esteem, and (V) the need for self-actualisation. We cannot meet the higher-order needs until the lower ones are met.

maslows-hierarchy

How do we characterise Self-Actualised (SA) people?

SA people are realistically oriented with an efficient perception of reality extending into all areas of their life.

SA persons are unthreatened and unfrightened by the unknown. They usually have a superior ability to reason, to see the truth.

SA people accept themselves, others the way the are. They have rid themselves of crippling guilt or shame and enjoy themselves without regret or apology, and have no unnecessary inhibitions.

SA people are spontaneous in their inner life, thoughts and impulses and are motivated towards continual improvement.

SA individuals focus on problems outside themselves. SA people tend to have a mission in life requiring much energy, and their mission is their reason for existence. They are usually serene and worry-free as they pursue their mission with unshakeable determination.

SA individuals have a need for detachment, the need for privacy. Alone but not lonely. SA people are self starters, responsible for themselves, own their behaviour.

SA’s rely on inner self for satisfaction. Resilient and stable in the face of hard knocks, they are self contained, independent from love and respect of others.

SA’s have a fresh rather than stereotyped appreciation of people and things, living the present moment to the fullest. SA’s experience what Maslow described as peak experiences. “Feelings of limitless horizons opening up to the vision, the feeling of being simultaneously more powerful and also more helpless than one ever was before, the feeling of ecstasy and wonder and awe, the loss of placement in time and space with, finally, the conviction that something extremely important and valuable had happened, so that the subject was to some extent transformed and strengthened even in his daily life by such experiences.” Abraham Maslow.

Here are Eight Ways to Work Towards Self Actualization:

#1 Work towards meeting and satisfying the lower-order needs (food, shelter, then safety and security, then love and belonging, and then self esteem). Once you have done this, and I acknowledge that it may be difficult and time-consuming, you will be able to make progress with the following:

#2. Life is a moment-by-moment choice between safety (out of fear and need for defence) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth): Consciously make the growth choice many times a day.

#3. Let your true self emerge. Try to go beyond socially-defined modes of thinking and feeling, let your inner experience tell you what you truly feel.

#4. When in doubt, be honest. It may take some courage, but look honestly at yourself and take responsibility for who you are and what happens to you. Self-delusion or self avoidance is the enemy of self-actualisation.

#5. Listen to your own tastes. Be prepared to be unpopular if necessary.

#6. Use your intelligence, work to do well the things you want to do, no matter how insignificant they seem.
Make peak experiencing more likely: learn what you are good at and conversely what you are not good at.

#7. Know who you are, what you are and what is good and bad for you. Where you are going, what is your mission? Opening yourself up to yourself in this way means letting go of your judgement and accepting who you are as you are. Self love is true mastery of self!

#8 Step up to the opportunities that present themselves by embracing your courage to evolve and grow.

I hope this post has helped you better understand what needs must be met in your life to develop the level of emotional intelligence you need to thrive. Life can be an amazing adventure or a nightmare depending on how committed you are to reaching your own level of self-actualization. Adding Entrepreneurship into your self-actualized life will transform your 2D adventure into 3D! I could not live my life without this level of dimension.

I hope you come to feel the same way too.

TONGUE TWISTERS for Actors (and Speakers)

In Author: Barbara Kite, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on May 15, 2009 at 7:29 am

TONGUE TWISTERS FOR ACTORS (and Speakers)

Good speech is an essential part of being a good actor.  Exercising your mouth with difficult tongue twisters keeps your mouth fit for purpose.

Here are TEN new tongue twisters to work on at home.  Do each tongue twister EIGHT times, getting quicker with each recitation.

  1. Mommala Poppala Mommala Poppala
  2. Peggy Babcock
  3. I carried the married character over the barrier
  4. Honorificabilitudinatibus (From Shakespeare’s Love’s Labours Lost)
  5. A regal rural ruler
  6. Green glass grass gleams
  7. A proper pot of coffee in a proper pot of coffee pot
  8. You Know New York, You Need New York, You Know You Need Unique New York (This was hard just to type out)
  9. Wrist Watch Wrist Watch
  10. Get Grandma Great Greek Grapes

Practice! Practice! Practice!

 

 

Producer Is Chosen to Lead the NEA

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Interesting Articles on May 14, 2009 at 4:12 am

Although a friend of mine, former Dean of The Eastman School of Music, Robert Freeman, was under consideration to run the NEA, I think this could be a very interesting and productive appointment. Let’s pray it is.. we need someone to be outspoken and determined to shake things up for the benefit of the arts.

By ROBIN POGREBIN, May 13, 2009, The New York Times

Rocco Landesman, the colorful theatrical producer and race-track aficionado who brought hits like “Big River,” “Angels in America” and “The Producers” to Broadway, has been nominated as the next chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, the White House said on Tuesday.

The appointment, which is expected to be announced on Wednesday, surprised many in the arts world. It ends months of speculation about who would be selected to lead the nation’s largest and most important arts organization.

The White House declined to discuss the appointment before the announcement. Mr. Landesman, whose appointment must be confirmed by Congress, also declined to comment.

“It’s potentially the best news the arts community in the United States has had since the birth of Walt Whitman,” said the playwright Tony Kushner. “He’s an absolutely brilliant and brave and perfect choice for the job.”

Choosing Mr. Landesman, 61, signals that Mr. Obama plans to shake things up at the endowment. While a major source of money for arts groups around the country, it has historically been something of a sleepy bureaucracy, still best known to some for the culture wars of the 1990s.

Since then, the agency has been trying to rebuild its image on Capitol Hill, along with its budget. The current allocation stands at $145 million, and though Mr. Obama has requested $161 million for 2010, that is still short of its high of $176 million in 1992.

Mr. Landesman, who would fill the post vacated by Dana Gioia, is expected to lobby hard for more arts money. But he is not famous for his skills as an administrator or diplomat. Rather, he is known for his energy, intellect and irreverent – and occasionally sharp-elbowed – candor.

In 2000, for example, he caused a stir by accusing nonprofit theaters of being too much like their commercial counterparts. And, as a producer of “The Producers,” Mr. Landesman created the controversial $480 premium ticket to combat scalpers.

“Rocco speaks his mind, which is probably one of the reasons he was chosen,” said Robert Brustein, the founding director of the Yale and American Repertory Theaters. “Rocco does not defer his opinions.”

As the president of Jujamcyn Theaters, which owns five Broadway houses, Mr. Landesman is accustomed to calling the shots, not working within a bureaucracy. Arts executives say this is a plus. “He is a great entrepreneur and producer and it indicates to me that the administration wants to have somebody in this position who will be much more than simply a distributor of funds,” said Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera. “The relationship between the government and the arts needs to be energized. It
needs someone like Rocco.”

Mr. Landesman is expected to resign from his position at Jujamcyn, but to retain his ownership stake in the company.

His directness may prove refreshing to official Washington, and his affinity for country music, horse racing and baseball may help grease the wheels in his conversations with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.

While Mr. Landesman has spent his career in the commercial theater, he earned a doctorate in dramatic literature at the Yale School of Drama and stayed on there for four years as an assistant professor. “It’s an odd
choice,” said Mr. Brustein, who taught Mr. Landesman at Yale. “It’s certainly not one that I would ever have thought of because Rocco’s always been associated with the profit-making world and the N.E.A. is nonprofit.”

Though a creature of the for-profit theater, Mr. Landesman has put his force behind work that other producers might have considered too risky for Broadway, like Mr. Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Angels in
America,” and the musical “Jelly’s Last Jam.”

“He’s really smart and he’s really savvy and will really fight if he believes in something,” said George C. Wolfe, who directed both productions.

Born and raised in St. Louis, Mr. Landesman had his undergraduate education at Colby College and the University of Wisconsin. In 1977 he left Yale to start a private investment fund, which he ran until his appointment as Jujamcyn’s president in 1987. In 2005 he purchased the company.

Rocco is married to Debby Landesman and has three sons.

All of Jujamcyn’s five theaters currently have shows running: the St. James (“Desire Under the Elms”), the Al Hirschfeld (“Hair”), the August Wilson Theater (“Jersey Boys”), the Eugene O’Neill (“33 Variations”) and the Walter Kerr (“Irena’s Vow”).

In recent years, Mr. Landesman has stepped back from active producing, although Jujamcyn still occasionally invests in shows. This year, the company made a $250,000 investment in the revival of “Desire Under the Elms” to help transfer the play to one of its Broadway houses from the Goodman Theater in Chicago.

Mr. Landesman’s nomination means a potential loss for Broadway underscored by the death, in November, of Gerald Schoenfeld, who had been chairman of the Shubert Organization since 1972. Mr. Landesman was among those who had begun to fill the role of elder statesman during this theater season.

Joe Allen, the theater district restaurateur, said that Mr. Landesman would be missed on Broadway, but that the industry would be lucky to have him in Washington. “To have a member of the club running the endowment is a good thing,” Mr. Allen said. “He knows the theater world. He knows how artists
work, what their concerns are, what their personalities are like.”

Mr. Landesman met Mr. Obama before he was a presidential candidate and was a strong supporter and contributor to the campaign.

If confirmed, Mr. Landesman would be the 10th chairman since Congress created the endowment in 1965. Other names circulated as possible candidates included Michael M. Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center; Michael C.Dorf, a lawyer who served on Mr. Obama’s arts policy team during the campaign; and Claudine K. Brown, the program director for arts and culture at the Nathan Cummings Foundation.

Mr. Gioia officially stepped down on Inauguration Day. Patrice Walker Powell, the endowment’s deputy chairwoman for states, regions and local arts agencies, has been serving as interim chairwoman since Feb. 2.

While previous chairmen have tried to argue the case for a stronger agency, this task will fall to the next chairman in an even tougher economic climate. “The day of the N.E.A. being this political football of the right – maybe those days are over and we’re going to start to take it seriously,” Mr. Kushner said.

Mr. Landesman is expected to be a vigorous and provocative face of the agency.

“Rocco is bored,” Mr. Brustein said, “if things just go routinely.”

Can Chicago Innovate Now?

In Author: Adam Shames on May 13, 2009 at 6:21 am

Chicago has been showing some serious gumption these days. We’ve sent a new crew to lead the country–Obama, Emanuel, Jarrett and Axelrod–and are the leading candidate to bring the Olympics back to the U.S. in 2016. But given that changes are often a bit slow to hit us here in the middle of the country, the question remains: Can Chicago be a leader of innovation?

“I strongly believe that creating an ecosystem that supports and encourages widespread adoption of innovative practices within our businesses will become the single most important thing we can do at this time in our history,” says James Tyree, chair of Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and CEO of Mesirow Financial. He recently made the case to business leaders that an Innovation Czar is needed to transform Illinois.

Geographical hubs and regions, as Richard Florida makes clear, are essential for a prospering United States of Creativity, and Chicago is making its move with its Innovate Now initiative, dedicated to transforming Chicagoland and all of Illinois into a global center for innovation. This unique collaboration among business, academia and the public and nonprofit sectors was created over three years ago to create a new model to spur economic development in the new global economy. Innovation leaders will be gathering for the 2009 Innovation Summit (tickets still available) next Thursday, May 21st in downtown Chicago. The theme is “design + innovation = sustainability.” The Summit asks this question, among others: How can the interplay of design and innovation assist individual businesses and organizations in achieving growth while at the same time contributing to sustainability objectives?

Let’s be honest. Getting the Midwest to embrace innovation is not a simple task. I spoke last week with Lance Pressl, president of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Foundation, one of the key Innovate Now partners, who shared some of his challenges, which includes the sometimes hard-to-change culture of Chicago.

Here’s my two cents. For creativity to thrive systemically, we have to encourage risk and bring together people and ideas that don’t often intersect. Right now there are too many meetings and conferences here where primarily white men in suits talk at you. Chicago needs more challenges to the status quo, more diversity in our conference rooms, more breaches of convention, more unusual partnerships, more appreciation of failure and, I’m not kidding about this one, more dancing.

I’m looking forward to hearing from a range of world-class speakers at the Summit–but also will keep my ears peeled for the in-between conversations, the openness to the new and the evidence of the crazy, which adds just a little extra fuel to the engine of creativity.

Do you have a suggestion to help Chicago become more of an innovation leader? Post a comment (or contact me) with an idea or two) and you’ll have a chance to win a ticket to the Innovation Summit on Thursday…

On Apologies

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Risk on May 12, 2009 at 7:21 pm

The second most important thing that I have learned in life is how to apologize, and it’s the kind of thing that is so important that I wish they taught it in schools. Life is a risky business, and with all risk there is as much potential for mistakes as there is for success and sometimes more. The greater the possible success, the correspondingly huge the potential failure. So for this blog I am offering a quick “how to” on apologizing.

The first part to apologizing is recognizing when one is needed and being clear about what you are apologizing for. Sometimes this is easy, especially when I realize that I have done something wrong, and sometimes it is difficult, as when I can see that someone feels they have been wronged, but I am unable to take the steps to make that wrong right. To my mind, it is always appropriate to apologize to someone who feels they have been wronged, whether or not you agree with them. Now I’ve been told that a simple “how-to” isn’t effective unless I can show a personal example of how it actually applies, so by way of example: I once was working with a woman on a project when we had a misunderstanding about a contract and when payment was due. It turns out that she expected payment at the time we were working together instead of as a deferred payment which was written in the contract. She felt wronged because she wasn’t able to get money in hand and I felt badly, but couldn’t legally offer her payment sooner than was written in the contract. It was one of those times when an apology needed to be made even though I couldn’t make right what had gone wrong.

The second part to apologizing is to recognize the wronged party’s feelings without getting your own feelings involved. An apology is not the time to lash out or to point fingers. It is not the time to make excuses. It is not the time to make accusations. An apology is not about you it is all about them. An apology is a way of saying that even though things did not go well that you still respect and care about the other person and their feelings and that you are sacrificing a portion of your own pride to say so. So back to the story of my coworker and I and the contract misunderstanding; she felt she had been wronged because her expectations were broken. I could have written “Well, if you’d read the contract thoroughly then you’d know the payment was deferred”, but that would have been counter productive. The last thing I wanted to do was to add insult to injury. She’d made a mistake by not reading carefully and I’d made a mistake by not emphasizing that payment was deferred and while we were both upset, neither of us needed to hear that we were to blame.

The third part to apologizing is doing it. This is the hardest part because invariably it needs to happen during or after a moment of conflict, when the only thing that you want to do is to run away from the problem and to hope it will go away on its own. For myself, I find it is best to apologize as quickly and early and sincerely as possible. In the co-worker incident I sat down and wrote an email to her that very night. Conflict makes me agitated and anxious and the only thing that reliably calms me down is taking action even if that action is just typing an email to say what needs to be said.

The last part to apologizing is up to the recipient: whether or not to accept the apology and whether or not to forgive the person who is doing the apologizing. Some people accept apologies with supreme grace and move on quickly. Some people refuse to accept the apology until they feel they are “even” with the other person. Some people never accept the apology at all. This is up to the wronged party in the situation. When you are receiving an apology it is important to remember that someday you will be the one apologizing to someone else and it is important to respond in the way that you would want your own apology responded to. It turns out the episode with my coworker ended up with her leaving and us letting her go. It wasn’t an ideal situation but we both preferred to part company rather try to work with that kind of tension between us.

Once you’ve apologized, all you can do is wait, but you can wait knowing that you’ve done everything possible. The proverbial ball is now in their court and they will either accept the apology or they won’t. Apologizing is a humbling experience, but it is so for a reason: to remind both yourself and the person to whom you are apologizing that with risks comes mistakes and that no one is perfect. It is a way to recognize that other people are human beings even though you differ from them. And it is a way to work through differences in order to build a stronger whole.