Creative Ventures Newsletter
Volume #100 - January 2014

WOW, what a month May turned out to be!  Here is a quick update:


  • Why We Love The Movies was a big success for a charity fund raising event.

  • We began a training strategy for one of our clients with a focus on their point of contact, front line team members, concentrating on their interpersonal communication skills.  This type of strategy is how you can impact your client experience at the core level of customer contact.
  • I had the honor of creating a customized “faculty training” program that was centered on intent and the use of visual teaching tools.
  • The Once Upon a Time Project received a standing ovation from over 1,000 conference attendees as they were introduced to a new way to view the power of story.
  • Our A Step Ahead strategic platform was customized for a meeting for one of our client’s top customer’s meetings to show the steps to engage clients beyond standard customer service ideas.
  • The Idea Factory was chosen as the keynote presentation for a meeting of marketing professionals.  This is the newly updated version of our program on the value of focusing on the creation and development of ideas.

Of course, it’s springtime in the Southland, where travel is an adventure during thunderstorm season.  One example, it took me four airlines and 14 hours to get from Austin to Orlando! 


The person who is intent on making the most of opportunity is too busy to bother about luck.

[B. C. Forbes]

I’m kind of a professional meeting-goer.  I attend LOTS of meetings.  After a recent clients meeting that had eight participants and lasted a little over an hour, I asked the person in charge, “What was the intent of that meeting?”  “What do you mean?” was the response.  “It was to update the project.”  “Really, that was the intent?”  “Yep.”  We then sat down over coffee and I made a couple of observations:

  • Of the eight people involved only four said anything.
  • Only three people took any notes or wrote down anything. Three people didn’t even bring any writing materials.
  • The written agenda was  “Training Update.”  That’s it.
  • The client thought the meeting was a little more than an hour, but it was actually an 8+ hour meeting as it removed 1-hour per person (probably more) from their productive time.

What was the INTENT of the meeting?

The idea of INTENT is a key driver of desired outcome.  You have to have a conscious idea of what you want.  You have to plan toward that idea.  Without a clear plan of intent being communicated, most participants wonder, “What am I doing here?”  It takes thinking to have intent become strategically significant.

In addition to meetings, I participate in lots of client conference calls.  Yep, conference calls.  Conference calls are where intent goes to die.  They are huge black holes from which intent seldom emerges.

At Creative Ventures, intent is a key aspect in how we approach every planned interaction.  We actually have a series of simple forms that we call Before I forms (meaning, “Before I do anything, I fill in this simple form.”).  Before I forms force us to plan interactions with intent.  We ALWAYS have 1 to 3 desired outcomes in any client interaction, and we won’t end the interaction (meeting, call, or conference call) until we have accomplished these goals.  We engage in these simple, regular connections after thinking about the intent. If you want a PDF of these forms, drop us a note and we’ll be glad to share.

At the chemical giant DuPont, when they had financial woes, they developed a plan with intent:  find new and inventive ways out of our financial crisis.  By thinking differently, they decided to find something new and inventive by adding the scientists that developed their unique product line to the problem solving team.  By thinking with intent they formed a very different plan to develop solutions.

Intent drives all great outcomes.  American master artist James Rosenquist was conducting one of the episodes of HBO’s phenomenal series Master Class, in which great masters mentor small groups of young artists.  One student asked him, “Do you ever paint without context?”  “Why get up?” he answered.  “I NEVER paint without intent, NEVER!  Even a fence painter has intent.”

There are tons of books, papers and studies on strategic intent, but I’m talking about a simple approach that doesn’t require much effort to get started.


  • Start small.  Look for opportunities to change the way you approach daily activities.  Choose meetings, client calls, or conference calls.  Find someplace to start.

  • Pause and think.  In order to have an intentful approach you need to think about desired outcome(s).  This doesn’t take as long as you might suspect.  Spend just a moment to decide what you want from the opportunity.  This will allow you to develop a simple plan.

  • WRITE IT DOWN!  Intent develops results when you write it down.  Forget about just the concept of intent.  To make it real, write down your goals, your plan.  It provides an intent roadmap.

US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was always mindful of intent.  He built his law career around beginning his strategy with his intended outcome.  It allowed him to prepare with goals in mind.  One of Justice Marshall’s favorite quotes sums up the idea of intent in one simple statement:


What is the quality of YOUR intent?

COKE – NEW IDEAS A MUST:  How can one of the most recognizable brands on the planet stay ahead of global trends?  The numbers aren’t that good.  Their stock is down around 10%, global consumption of sugary soda is in its 12th year of decline.  The company already has diversified with Dasani water, PowerAde, and Minute Maid juices.  Now Coke is taking advantage of the new wave of vending machine sales by introducing Free Style, a new fountain machine that can mix over 145 flavors in any combination you want.  The consumer becomes the creator of flavor, and Coke can track the flavor mixtures to help with future flavor choices.

THE NEXT TOMORROW IDEA:   With resources getting more scarce, the next innovation may be centered on the home appliance business.  This multi-billion dollar industry is looking for sustainable, zero waste products.  On the table are toilets that use shower and sink waste water to flush and HVAC systems that recycle heat from the fridge and oven.  Among the leaders of these types of ideas are US appliance manufacturer Whirlpool and innovative giant Dyson.


DIGITALLY IMPROVE YOUR GAME:  We are on the cusp of sports data gathering that will take up even more of your sports improvement time.  Swingbyte has an ultralight sensor that clips on your golf club that monitors your swings acceleration and arc.  Babolat Tennis has a Bluetooth sensor in one of their rackets that will track where on the strings you hit the ball, the speed of the ball strike, and the amount of spin on the ball!  94Fifty has a sensor embedded in a basketball that will track the shot speed, arc, backspin, plus dribble speed and force.  Not only can you struggle in your weekend warrior mode, you can now add the statistics to your woes!

Interested in these ideas?

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Office: 512-712-5279

Steve Harvill • • Cell: 972-345-9480
Colin Harvill • • Cell: 214-794-1777