Creative Innovation is when individuals, duos, or whole wild packs of creatives make novel, meaningful contributions to their fields. Who’s doing it? How do they do it? What are the factors?

Tracking Wonder - Brand and Innovation

Brand & Innovation Digest – March 2017

Tracking Wonder - Brand and Innovation

Once again, over this past month, Tracking Wonder’s research assistant Gianna Kaloyeros and I have gathered and curated some of what we deem the most relevant studies, stories, and news that will help you and your team excel at having the most impact and influence via storytelling, brand and innovation. I wanted to share some of them with you.

Jeffrey, Chief Tracker & Lead Consultant at Tracking Wonder

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The Freedom Project – Getting Started on Writing Your Book

Image : Unsplash

Image : Unsplash

How do we stay productive each day and each week while still feeling spacious with presence, delight, purpose? This comes up a lot when we discuss the process of writing your book.

“Productive” here references the quality that you’re moving forward on the projects and ideas that matter. And by “that matter” I mean the projects and ideas that light you up, that come from your own key drive (whether that’s novelty, mastery, impact, accomplishment), and that contribute in some way, great or small. Read more

Image: Unsplash

Brand & Innovation Digest – February 2017

Image: Unsplash

Image: Unsplash

During the past month, Tracking Wonder’s research assistant Gianna Kaloyeros has curated some of what we deem the most relevant studies, stories, and news that will help you and your team excel at having the most impact and influence via brand building, storytelling, and innovation.

– Jeffrey, Chief Tracker at Tracking Wonder

Four Reasons Every Startup’s Brand Needs Attention

From Forbes.com
With a personal account and wealth of advice from an entrepreneur and investor, Kumar Arora nails down the four biggest priorities for startups building their business. Don’t wait to start building the brand culture, he says, even in the infancy of the business. Among the four priorities is making sure your brand has a carefully considered name, builds customer loyalty, remains a source of inspiration, and sets your business apart from the competition. Kumar Arora @karora007

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To Envision Your Best New Year, First Focus on the Inner You

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Alison had published three books, delivered a talk at a renowned conference, and advanced her distinct brand enough to garner gigs around the world.

So, what was the problem?

“I’ve kind of run this thing to its end.  I’m ready for what’s next, but I don’t know what that is. And whenever I get an inkling, it seems radically different from what I’m known for.” She wanted to start off her new year with a whole new “thing.”

She wanted to Break Brand.

And sometimes, most times, that’s fine and necessary. But this kind of situation raises profound doubt. The kind of doubt the Alisons of the world experience has a different hue than the kind of doubt, say, of someone just starting out with his first venture ever. Alison’s kind of doubt comes post-success, post-mastery. She’s already accomplished in one field. So, for her to arrive again at uncertainty makes her think she’s a failure or a fool for surrendering success in that one proven arena. To become an uncertain apprentice again who must ask for guidance feels, to the accomplished professional or creative, kind of vulnerable.

But this junction of doubt turns out to be profoundly normal for successful people who excel in creative and entrepreneurial fields.

The hard part for Alison and others of us like her is staying in the confusion long enough to let something real and true germinate. When we cannot endure the unknown next horizon, we often respond in one of three ways:

  1. Stick with the safe thing.

  2. Leap to another safe thing.

  3. Get stuck in paralysis.

Not fun. Read more

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Who Do You Take Your Biz Story-telling Cues From?

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Let’s assume that one thing you do for your business is you tell stories about your business. You or someone on your team tell stories about how your business originated and why, why it matters to your customers, and why it matters in the early-21st century. You tell stories about your customers and other related people who illustrate what your business does and about your business’s larger message.

Now let’s assume you want to excel at what you do, and one thing you do is tell stories.

Who are you going to take your cues from when you want to excel and how? Are you going to learn from your competition and from your peers? Or are you going to learn from examples way outside of your field and industry?

Your inclination may be to assume the former – the land of the familiar. That’s the assumption of a colleague of mine. A friend of mine offers marketing services to service providers – coaches, online teachers, consultants. He complained to me that much of the advice being given to this audience for content marketing drew from strategies that corporation-sized brand agencies and venture-backed start-ups use.

“Why is that a problem?” I asked.

“Because service providers don’t need those big concepts from those outsized companies,” he said. “They need to understand how to tell stories to their potential customers more intimately, more genuinely.”

Maybe. Maybe not. Read more

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Why Poets Have All the Fun

rain-me-voila_flickr

rain-me-voila_flickr

Rain falls on her parade, and she cries and curses.  Rain floods his garden, and he swears he’ll never plant again, a farmer’s folly. Rain clouds hover over her head, and she settles into the nooks of her familiar despair.

Those are three responses.

To excel, we often need a wide repertoire of responses when faced with challenges. Sometimes we need surprising sources to shift our responses.

Again, those are three responses, and then there are these:

1.
The rain returned.
It didn’t come from the sky
or out of the West:
it came straight from my childhood.
Night split open, a peal of thunder
rattled, the racket
swept every lonely corner,
and then
the rain came,
rain returning
from my childhood,
first
a raging gust,
then
a planet’s
soggy
tail.
– sung by Pablo Neruda, from his “Ode to Rain”

2.
All night the sound
had come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.

Love, if you love me.
lie next to me.
Be for me, like rain,
the getting out

of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
Be wet
with a decent happiness.
-sung by Robert Creeley, from his “The Rain”

3.
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain, has such small hands
– sung by e.e. cummings, from his “somewhere i have never traveled gladly,beyond”

These three guys sing rain. They get to have all the fun with rain. Why?

One, I suspect they keep priming that capacity to love the world, especially the parts that other people curse. Where others gripe about wet shoes, these guys find puddlicious days to romp through.

Two, they find music in the sky’s heartbeat.

Three, their rain woos their lovers.

You can sing it anyway you want, but whatever your circumstances or creative challenge or frustration today, try to find the music, however faint.

 

To Envision Your Best Year, Get Clear with Yourself

VisionQuest_AlicePopkorn_FlickrAlison had published three books, delivered a talk at a renowned conference, and advanced her distinct brand enough to garner gigs around the world.

So, what was the problem?

“I’ve kind of run this thing to its end.  I’m ready for what’s next, but I don’t know what that is. And whenever I get an inkling, it seems radically different from what I’m known for.”

She wanted to Break Brand.  And sometimes, most times, that’s fine and necessary. But this kind of situation raises profound doubt. The kind of doubt the Alisons of the world experience has a different hue than the kind of doubt, say, someone just starting out with his first venture ever. Alison’s kind of doubt comes post-success, post-mastery. So, for her to arrive again at uncertainty makes her think she’s a failure or a fool for surrendering success. To become an uncertain apprentice again who must ask for guidance feels, to the accomplished professional or creative, kind of vulnerable.

But this junction of doubt turns out to be profoundly normal for successful people who excel in creative and entrepreneurial fields.

The hard part for Alison and others of us like her is staying in the confusion long enough to let something real and true germinate. When we cannot endure the unknown next horizon, we often respond in one of three ways:

  1. Stick with the safe thing.
  2. Leap to another safe thing.
  3. Get stuck in paralysis.

Not fun. Read more

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Intensity Not Relaxation Inspires Creative Courage

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“It was clear…that what kept [top performers in flow] motivated was the quality of experience they felt when they were involved with the activity. This feeling didn’t come when they were relaxing, when they were taking drugs or alcohol, or when they were consuming the expensive privileges of wealth. Rather, it often involved painful, risky, difficult activities that stretched the person’s capacity and involved an element of novelty and discovery. This optimal experience is what I have called flow.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

Real transformation comes not from luxury or wealth or even deep relaxation. It comes from intensity punctuated with emotional relief and delightful surprise.

They came from every coast to climb a ridge, enter a castle, and make magic happen.

Entrepreneurs, teachers, an architectural designer, writers, consultants, therapists, a mountaintop farm owner, professionals, artful parents – every single one of them pow – er- ful – had arrived at Mohonk Mountain Resort. Mohonk is a veritable 19th-century castle-like structure perched on the Shawangunk Ridge in New York’s Hudson Valley that boasts awe-inspiring views of the Catskills Mountains.

But this pack didn’t come mostly to soak in the views. They didn’t come mostly to soak in the top-rated spa waters.  They didn’t come mostly to loaf and lean along the languorous trails.

They came ostensibly for an author’s intensive called Your Brave New Story. They sought to learn how to shape their books, break through blocks, own their larger brand possibilities, consider their best path to publish.

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But they really came to taste bravery. What they gave back was the formidable alliance necessary to live bravely together.

It’s one thing to feel brave for a moment. It’s another to become brave and stay brave upon returning home.

That kind of change rarely comes from deep relaxation. It often comes from a certain kind of intensity and a certain kind of bonding.  Read more

Courtesy of Monica Holli (Creative Commons)

Is Obsessive Genius Your Model for Mastery?

Courtesy of Monica Holli (Creative Commons)

Courtesy of Monica Holli (Creative Commons)

I know you can get fixated on advancing your book, your business, your brand, your art – your whole business artist life. And you might think you’re not “the real deal” in part because of the images of geniuses you see and read about.

I’ve noticed something lately, and I’m not the only one.

Films and pop psychology lit on creativity steep us on models of obsessive geniuses.

Think of the young character in the Oscar-winning film Whiplash, Andrew Neiman. A first-year jazz student at a New York Conservatory, he compromises his relationships and health to chase after his mentor’s approval and to become a jazz “great.”

Think of the character Max Cohen in Darren Aronofksy’s film Pi in which the brilliant number theorist shuts off everything – love, money, religious intrigue – in devotion to his pursuit of truth. 

Think of the portrait of Walter Isaacson’s portrait of  Steve Jobs as the mean-spirited, conniving obsessive genius.

What’s the story? Are these stories your model for mastery? Read more

Your Brave Medicine poster

Own your brave medicine (poster).

Your Brave Medicine poster

It’s not enough these days to stay in your creative studio or thought leadership laboratory and create your art.

It never has been, actually. Walt Whitman and James Joyce found alternative means to get their disruptive medicine out into the world. ManetMonetPissarro, and Cezanne couldn’t get into the prestigious Salon to sell their art. So they forged their own society of artists, sculptors, and painters, took over a series of rooms, and opened their own show.

Thomas Edison was not the inventor of the light bulb, but he was the inventor who figured out how to keep experimentally and then get word out about the value of this then-frightening low-wattage thing.

If not enough people know about your business or your books or the value of  your hard work as a service provider or artist or professional, if you are not yet reaching the people you yearn to reach with the return your yearn to earn, then take this poster as a reminder of what you can do this year. And check out the link below to learn how you own it.

This is the Year of Business Artists – for the people who can navigate the artist’s messy interior life, finesse the business of engaging customers and audiences with integrity, and leverage the unprecedented resources to produce and publish elevating goods and services – the new art.

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