Creative Ventures Newsletter
Volume #94 - December 2013

The end of another year is just around the corner and 2014 is on a short horizon.

As I write this, our first grandchild, little Charlotte Grace (Charlie), is taking her time making her big world debut and is about three days behind schedule!  By the time you read this, I’ll be living the grandpa life!

November was another great adventurous month with the newly updated version of Repeatable Successful Acts (RSA) playing a huge role in helping a number of our clients get ready for an aggressive 2014 sales year.  By focusing on implementing key RSA’s within their sales process, they’ve made a strategic decision that a focus on the skill sets and best practices of their sales force will be a determining factor in meeting their production goals.

Here are a few other highlights:
  • Strategic Planning:  Colin completed the most comprehensive strategic review of Creative Ventures in our entire 30 years of bringing our ideas to the global business community.  His insight and analyses have provided the foundation for our 2014 strategy.
  • The Beyond Series now has a full identity with the new logo and will be a significant element in our 2014 strategy.  More and more clients are interested in leveraging the multitude of ideas that are happening outside their industry, and have asked us to help them develop a customized view of how this perspective can provide leverage on their 2014 goals.
  • Why We Love The Movies:    What started out as a really fun project for a charity has turned into a real and true strategic platform.  In December we will bring this platform to over 1,000 people!  We have created a dynamic and fun way to look at our love affair with movies and the key strategies that translate to any business.
  • 2014:  Wow!  We have such fantastic projects on the calendar, including three completely customized programs that clients have entrusted to our creative and dynamic processes.   In addition, the push toward the power of real story as a strategic focal point has provided a ton of momentum for our Once Upon A Time Project, which is built around the crafting and telling of story.

I want to take this time to say how grateful and honored we are to have built great relationships of value and friendship that allow us to have a smile on our face every day!  May you all have a grace-filled Holiday season!

No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.

[Alfred North Whitehead]


Movies are something people see all over the world because there is a certain need for it.

[Wim Wenders]

In December I get to present our Why We Love The Movies program to over 1,000 people and I thought I might share with you a couple of ideas that Hollywood knows intimately and how those ideas deserve a place in your thinking and, in turn, in your strategic planning.

Let’s begin with a simple question:  Why do we go to the movies?

  • Lots of folks go to the movies and spend lots of money, not only in America but all over the world.
  • In 2012 the global movie industry made +/- $35 billion.
  • In North America alone, over 1.36 billion tickets were purchased.  Think of two out of every three people hitting the theater.
  • Hollywood ALWAYS asks this question and it KNOWS the answer.  The problem is, the answer is kind of complicated.  We go for escapism, to be surprised, to be scared, to laugh or cry, for social impact, and we go to become immersed in a story.  The bottom line:  we go because of emotion in all its forms and glory.
So…do you really know why people do business with you?  You should.  You should be asking this all the time, defining it, refining it, leveraging it, and planning around it.  Want to test it?  Call a meeting of five to ten teammates and ask them, “Why do people do business with us?”  Hollywood knows their customers, and so should you.

Next, nothing, and I mean nothing, is as important as story, and movies are a near perfect medium to tell a story.  They blend visual and auditory elements, taking advantage of the two main highways to our brains.  The idea that story should be just as important to you and your business as it is to Spielberg, Scorsese, Bigelow, and Ridley Scott is an ultimate truth.  More and more companies are focusing on the crafting and telling of their stories.  Heck, we are involved right now with three clients who are spending a good chunk of resources and strategic focus on story in 2014.  What does story need?

  • Just like a good film, it needs a beginning, a middle, and an end.  That’s the classic narrative arc.
  • It needs emotional content.  Stories make us “feel,” and feelings are the catalyst to connections.   Screenplays have plot points and character development written around emotion.  People get deeply involved at movies, they scream, bawl, and belly laugh.  To involve people in anything, to get to a deep level, a movie needs a good story.  So do you!

Now take those same people that you invited to the meeting to see if they knew why people do business with you and ask them this:  “What is our story?”  You might be surprised at the variety of responses and it might provide some strategic direction on this critical element of your business.

The film industry is not unlike your business.  They have a product.  They work on supply and demand, separation and differentiation in the market, risk and reward, budget and financial projections.  Most of the time they are pretty good at it and the rich history of the industry’s success should provide some fundamental ideas, ideas that have leverage way past the time we share in the dark.  Look for ideas beyond what you do!

Movies teach us a lot and there are universal lessons not only about life, but about business and the connections we are all looking to build between what we do and those who use our products and services.



WELCOME TO THE HALL OF FAME:  I was excited to see this year’s inductees to the Toy Hall of Fame.  The TOY Hall of Fame, located at the Strong in Rochester, New York, welcomed two new members, chess and the rubber ducky.  This brings the number of toys holding this place of honor to 53.  Included in this prestigious group are alphabet blocks, jump rope, scrabble, and my favorite, the stick (yep, stick as in a piece of a tree).  Those disappointed at being excluded this year include The Magic 8-Ball, bubbles and little green army men.


ON A SUPER HERO HIGH:  No surprise to those who know me, but the big deal between Disney and Netflix got my superhero mojo going!  They announced a deal to bring four heroes to the Netflix family, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage.  Each will get 13 one- hour story arcs, with Daredevil being the first to start filming.  This is a HUGE deal and will allow these gritty heroes to get an adult treatment.  The success of the great Netflix series House of Cards gave Disney (who owns Marvel) the confidence that Netflix will be a good home for these Hell’s Kitchen heroes!  Disney and Netflix said, “This is an unparalleled commitment in scope and scale to deliver the Marvel brand.”  BRING IT ON!


HEY I WORK HERE:  A recent study on work spaces came up with some ideas to help productivity.  It’s OK to personalize your space.  In fact, workers are about 30% more productive with their stuff around.  A messy desk is OK as long as you don’t have an old tuna sandwich hidden in that stack of files (check out Einstein’s desk).  Finally, the #1 thing to optimize your space--add a green plant.  Plants make us feel better and we work better when we feel better.  What are you waiting for?  Get your ficus tree and stuffed bear, and let’s get to work.

Interested in these ideas?

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Office: 512-712-5279

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