Creative Ventures Newsletter
Volume #92 - October 2013
September was a very interesting month for Creative Ventures, as a great deal of our activity was built around relationship growth and the development of our 2014 calendar.  Here is what the month looked like:
  • THE IDEA FACTORY:  We had the big stage debut of our latest strategic platform, The Idea Factory.  This strategy is all about the value, genesis, connected nature, and disciplined approach to the formation of ideas.  Think of it as a template for creating an idea development movement in your company.
  • THE DNA of CREATIVE VENTURES:  We published our very first book, highlighting the philosophies and business practices we employ on every one of our projects. You can get it as an eBook or a small paperback on Amazon.
  • BUSINESS BUILDING:  Steve took a couple of trips to establish relationships around business development and introduced Creative Ventures to new industry segments.  We also had new friends into our Austin office for exploring, developing, connecting, and expanding our sphere of influence.
  • MULTIMEDIA PROGRAM SUMMARIES:  Colin has created spectacular new electronic templates for all our current strategic platforms.  We can now respond to inquiries with summaries of the programs and videos that give a flavor of their content.
  • THE BEYOND SERIES:  This is a brand new series whose sole purpose is to introduce companies to all the ideas that happen just beyond their vision.  Organizations develop tunnel vision within their specific industry, while just outside this perspective are ideas that can be leveraged to create a staggering advantage in the market space.
October has Steve hitting the road again with projects in Dallas, Minneapolis, and Miami.

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.

-Robert Frost

I am often asked about the Creative Ventures commitment to simplicity in our strategic planning models.  I begin by a short response:  faced with a choice in almost anything, which would you choose, simple or complex?  Which do you think your clients would choose?  How about your team?  EXACTLY!  Simple is better than complex.

Let’s start with one of our beginning points, the power of three.  This is (I know, you already have guessed) a simple way to look at the removal of complexity.  No plan, strategy, system, or project should exceed three parts.  There are many examples of this, but I thought I would give you an easily understandable perspective, the use of only three words to create significance.  Poet Robert Frost demonstrated this in his quote (above).  Here are a few more examples:

Make It Great:” In the early years of Pixar Animation, when Steven Jobs was on the outs with Apple, he dedicated both time and resources to what was a fledgling creative studio.  He had the inspiration to bring along John Lassiter, the creative genius whose vision of computer animation resulted in Toy Story, A Bugs Life, and Cars, just to name a few of his triumphs.  In the beginning John would go through regular meetings with Steven, explaining the intricate journey the stories were making through a complex animation process.  At one meeting Jobs held up his hand and gave Lassiter this direction:  “Make it great.”  That three word mantra has been rewarded with 27 Oscars and continues to drive the creative and strategic direction of Pixar.
Don’t Make Crap:” Steven Jobs again contributes this rather blunt and simple suggestion.  In 2006 Carmine Gallo was made CEO of Nike, and, being new to the position, he called his friend Jobs for advice.  Jobs said, “You make some of the best products in the world, products people lust after.  You also make a lot of crappy products.  Don’t make crap.”  That was the sum of his sage advice.  Gallo realized Jobs was right and began a process of simplifying Nike’s product line by “learning to edit our decisions.”  Within a year of the product reduction, Nike’s revenue was up $1.5 million.  It’s no coincidence that the longest running marketing line in history is simply three words:  Just Do It.
“Do Good Work:” Milton Glaser is the American graphic artist and pop culture visionary who almost missed his calling.  In high school Milton was quite the science student, and as the testing for entry to the science magnet school was approaching, his science counselor was excited about his star student’s becoming the next Galileo.  But the arts magnet was offering their admission test at the same time.  Milton took the art test and was admitted.  When his science teacher called him into his office the next day, Milton was ready for a blast of disappointment and recrimination.  Instead, the teacher reached into his desk, gave Milton a set of expensive French crayons, and told him, “Do good work.”  Those words have resided in Glaser’s mind every day since 1946. From co-founding New York magazine to art shows spanning the globe, for over 60 years Milton Glaser has fulfilled that simple three word mission:  Do Good Work.

It’s strange, the impact of three words…how a simple turn of a phrase can open opportunity.  At Creative Ventures our mantra is Simple, Powerful, Elegant.

Try the three word test with your team.  What three words can create a simple summation of significance for you?  Need a little help on your simplicity journey?  Give us a call.
IT’S PRETZEL LOGIC:  In the food biz the pretzel is becoming the player for bread of choice.  The pretzel roll, launched in the fast food wars by Wendy’s with their wildly successful Pretzel Bacon Burger, is becoming the star of many menus.  From Sonic to 7-Eleven the buying public has made pretzel bread the fastest growing sandwich bread in history.  Hey, it’s yummy, crunchy, and not loaded with the fats of other breads.  So what’s the future of the pretzel?  Fine dining with pretzel encrusted mahi mahi, a pretzel crusted chocolate custard pie, and yes, pretzel doggie treats.
AN ELM TREE S.O.S:  Dow Chemical has been studying the scent trees give off when they are in trouble.  Dow scientists have discovered a kind of “tree bat signal.”  When harmful insects attack certain trees, the trees emit a faint scent, kind of like what you smell after the grass is mowed. Only this tree scent is detectable by birds.  I know you didn’t know birds can smell.  In fact, they’re not famous for their sniffers, but they can detect this special aroma.  The scent acts as a homing beacon attracting birds to feast on the bugs in the tree.  Dow is trying to discover if this phenomenon can be replicated to decrease the need for pesticides.
WOW, THAT’S HEAVY:  40 years ago Bernard Sadow had had enough of lugging his heavy suitcase on trips.  So after a little tinkering, he marched into Macy’s with a piece of luggage on wheels, towed by a small strap (remember when they had straps?).  The buyers at Macy’s laughed and said, “No one will pull a suitcase on the end of a strap.”  But two weeks later a senior VP at Macy’s summoned Sadow back.  When Bernie arrived he found the VP gleefully pulling the bag around the store.  He turned to Bernie and said, “I love it!  And so, my friends, was the birth of what would appear an obvious idea to any traveler, and one for which both yours truly and Mr. Sadow, whose royalty checks keep rolling in, are most grateful.

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