Faithful – Creativity and Hope from L-FRESH the LION

Still waiting for you!

I stay faithful

Though tomorrow may never come

Still I wait for the day

We can return to the sun.

I grew up in a different age. In the age of collections and artefacts. Where the dusty smell and the near transparent pages of old books seemed to corral the imaginations of every person who had ever read them.

On weekends, my friends and I would meet at the local Record Bar. We had befriended the owner, Ken, who would share his love of music and musicians. And stories. He’d worked in radio and had met touring musicians – some bands that we knew, and many we hadn’t. He had a glint in his eye and a spring in his step. And in a conservative, seaside town, he’d wickedly roll out some Birthday Party to open the store or subversively blast Culture Club across the empty courtyard pavers towards the shiny, sliding doors of K-Mart.

Ken would also introduce us to the music of his youth. There was plenty of 70s rock, some Country and even a little Western. His taste was wide and his interest knew no bounds. He was able to show us the path from his music to ours, connecting the dots, enriching our appreciation with his own. And creating a great conversation between generations.

And even as we fell, through our teenage years, into the darker, more gothic expressions of The Cure or The Smiths, Ken would find light and promise in every song. He celebrated the creativity and art in the music and helped my friends and I to see, hear and feel it too. He was faithful to the creative impulse that brought music to life.

For some time, we were slaves to the music charts … the flyers that would magically appear each Tuesday, setting out the Top 40 singles and Top 10 albums. We’d look for what we knew and what was coming. We’d order the latest and then wait for the single to arrive. Some kids, the cool kids, would pick up the UK music magazines and only buy “imports” or limited edition vinyl. It would arrive months later, way after the rest of the world had moved onto the next, next thing. But from where we sitting, those expensive, rare, imported records came laden with street cred and were well worth the wait.

When visiting with friends, I’d check their collections. What were they listening to? Did they have a limited edition? What about the flame yellow vinyl of U2’s Unforgettable Fire? Now that’d be brilliant. Maybe a limited edition, picture single – featuring the band on the vinyl. Or a special fold-out poster. More often than not, I’d just read about these rather than see them. Or touch them.

And it was this collectability that was as inspirational as the music itself. It somehow brought the music closer to us. We could own it. Take it with us. And even show it to our friends.

With every purchase, we were building not just social proof, but marking out the limits of our identities. We were using the music and lyrics to announce to the world the ME within that could not yet articulate itself. We were borrowing a word, a lyric, a feeling and owning it. And in many ways, these small collections somehow grew to tell the story of our adolescence.

These days, that feeling of ownership of the music feels long forgotten. But sometimes I hear something that reconnects me. And it’s not about the beat or even the lyric. It’s the soul. It’s the story. And it’s the connection with history and tradition. And then I can almost hear Ken explaining what to listen for and how to interpret it. And then I know I’m home. There in the music.

Take a moment to listen to L-FRESH the LION’s latest. You’ll have done yourself a favour.

Still waiting for you! Pulpolux !!! via Compfight

MotoCorsa Portland Show Us How to Sell Ducatis

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When I sold my last motorbike, I almost cried as its new owner rode into the cold, afternoon sun. Ever since I started riding as a teenager, I had dreamed of owning a Ducati – and here I was, many years on, relinquishing my much-loved Ducati Monster. But once you have owned one Ducati, it’s in your blood.

As a result, I am constantly on the look out for my next (future) bike. Now, this may never eventuate – but most men live under the constant and unyielding delusion that hope springs eternal, and that the old man staring at them in the mirror is some alien imposter. Old Spice got it right – in our mind’s eye, we all look like Isaiah Mustafa. And in my mind, Ducati is the bike that brings that imaginary world to life.

But the marketing of motorcycles is a relatively unadventurous sport. It largely revolves around the big philosophic binaries – sex and death. On the one hand, we know that motorcycling is dangerous, but the experience pushes us closer to the edge of some other form of being. It’s that futurist convergence of man and machine and all the libidinous energy that it can muster. It creates a gravitational pull that draws us in. And motorcycle advertisers play this for all it is worth.

The end result is that what was once James Dean-level thrilling, is now formulaic, with as little as three key narratives played out over and over across any and all brands:

  • The outlaw: you may be have an honest, humble day job, but the moment you throw your leg over your bike, you’ve left that world behind. It’s you, your bike and the open road. And the only thing between you and the future is the aura of danger that emanates from every pore
  • The master blaster: they say that speed kills, but that’s only for novices. What a bike needs is a master – a MotoGP pilot – and under your firm hand, it’s all under control
  • The rear view mirror: motorcycles were part of your youth. But there’s part of your soul that has never changed. And you can recapture that spirit of adventure – in a modern, more comfortable way. [Side note: I’m selling myself in on this narrative alone.]

The visuals for each of these narratives similarly run to a formula. Edgy typography. Short copy. Aggressive, angled photography laced with scantily clad women.

As a result, there is very little that catches my attention. Sure there may be different bikes, different angles – and even different girls. But we’ve seen it all before.

Or have we.

In support of the release of the new Ducati 1199 Panigale, Portland-based Ducati dealer, MotoCorsa decided to mix it up. They started out with the standard girl-on-a-bike. But then they followed it up with another series. This time, the model, Kylie Shea Lewallen, was gone. And in her place was a series of MotoCorsa workshop blokes, striking the same poses with the same great motorbikes.

Brilliant. Fun. And just check out the calves on the guy in heels. Check out the full photoshoot comparison at ashphaltandrubber.com – but be warned, there can be some things that cannot be unseen.

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Put Some Play into Your Day

Who dressed YOU?

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

Yürüyelim Seninle İstanbul'da

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

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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

Beginners

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.

Effort.

Resistance to the resistance.

But your time will come.

If you hold tight.

Push through that last mile of indifference.

And self-defeat.

Learn.

Be humble.

And generous too.

But most of all.

Don’t give.

Up.

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.