Creative Ventures Newsletter
Volume 89, July 2013

When you have a small, nimble, creative company, you have a tendency to be drawn towards the gravity and mass of your clients and the projects on their table.  There’s nothing wrong with a laser-like focus on your clients!  But internally, your own improvements and projects start to build up and you soon discover that what has made you popular with your clients actually needs your attention.   So, I took to the road for just two trips in June, and with Colin’s incredible help focused on some long-postponed Creative Ventures projects.

New Programs:  We have just completed the new look and feel for THE IDEA FACTORY and THE ONCE UPON A TIME PROJECT.  All our strategic platforms will be getting customized logos and new looks and feels.  We have just completed a fantastic multimedia template with embedded video about each of these programs.  Drop us a note if you would like to receive it.

Existing ProgramsDAZZLING BLUE, ELEGANT SIMPLICITY, THE CHAOS CONSPIRACY, THEY SHOOK THE WORLD, and REPEATABLE SUCCESSFUL ACTS ALL received new content, ideas, applications, and visual impact.  This creates an entire new dynamic around these powerful strategies.
Our First eBook:  We are now putting the finishing touches on our first eBook, THE DNA OF CREATIVE VENTURES: The 21 Building Blocks of Success.  We should have it available by the middle of July.

Those are just a few of the things going on around here, and when you couple that with the major projects we are working on for clients around...

  • The development of a leadership institute and customized curriculum.
  • The evaluation and redesign of the client experience for three of our customers.
  • The launching of a simplicity strategy that will impact the entire sales process for one of our top clients. can see how busy things are!


In the realm of ideas EVERYTHING depends on enthusiasm. In the real world all rests on perseverance.



There is something magical about garages.  Oh, sure, there might be mystical attics or wondrous second bedrooms, but apparently the real magic, the magic of bringing ideas to reality, seems to reside in garages.

In 1901 William Harley and Arthur Davidson piddled around in what was really just a shed (as no one in their Milwaukee neighborhood had a car) with the idea of adding a small engine to a bicycle.  Yep, it was the birth of Harley Davidson Motorcycles.

In 1923, two brothers bummed some garage space from their uncle to follow their idea of creating an animation studio.  Yep, Walt and Roy Disney launched what would become the Disney entertainment empire.

In 1939, two guys in a garage in Palo Alto messing around with a Craftsman drill press and their idea of electronic machines developed the first audio oscillator.  They then flipped a coin to see whose name would go first on their fledgling company, and Bill Hewlett guessed better than Dave Packard…and Hewlett Packard was born.

Everyone knows about the Steves’ (Jobs and Wozniak) garage birthing of Apple.  Then there’s Amazon’s humble garage where Jeff Bezos sold his first book in 1995.  Maybe you didn’t know that you can add Mattel Toys and Zappos to the successful, germinated in the garage ideas list.

So what can we learn from the mysterious impact of small spaces and the smell of oil and gas?
Everything Starts as Nothing:  Ideas have beginnings, and these beginnings become fueled by excitement.  Don’t sell short the need for your company to focus some strategic attention on the creation and development of ideas.  There is a lot of potential in ideas.  You never know what can come from your “nothing.”  We recently created an idea process for one of our medical clients, and they were shocked at the number of good ideas that erupted.

Creative Restriction Works:  Most people yearn for “creative freedom” when it comes to a project:  “Remove the barriers and we will have an unlimited flow of ideas.”  While in some cases that is true, there is also a powerful reality about how ideas get challenged—and strengthened--when they are surrounded by restrictions.  Maybe it’s simply limited space (garages are kind of small); maybe it’s few resources or time restrictions.  When you are restricted, you are faced with the need to be very creative.  Try using intentional restrictions as a creative device.  It works.

Enthusiasm is real energy:  You can measure calories and BTU’s (British Thermal Units) as forms of energy, but enthusiasm is just as real as any quantifiable form of power.  An idea can be driven past failures, criticism, and disaster by excited people.  In fact, nothing of significance gets done without passionate energy.  It pays to stoke the flames of zeal and get the heck out of the way.  Leadership in the development of ideas needs to feed encouragement to something new.

Where is your commitment to ideas?  What’s the address of your garage?  When will you unleash the dogs of enthusiasm to discover how your marketing, client experience, sales process, or latest product will change the world?  Here’s a hint – START NOW!


LET IT RIDE IN VEGAS:  US Thrill Rides, Inc. has an application in to the FAA to build the world’s tallest rollercoaster on the strip in Las Vegas.  The Polercoaster would be at the Tropicana (south end of the strip for you Vegas aficionados) and would be--I kid you not--650 ft. tall, so tall the FAA has to determine how it impacts landing aircraft.  At a mere $100 million it would wring out every ounce of adrenaline you have, leaving nothing for the thrill of losing all your money at the tables.


“ONE FOR ONE:”  This spring Blake Mycoskie and his company, Tom’s, gave away their 10 millionth pair of shoes to someone who actually needed a new pair of shoes.  Tom’s is a company that has married honest-to-goodness capitalism to philanthropy to create a unique hybrid enterprise.  Two years ago they added sunglasses and have sold over 150,000 pairs and have provided free eye care to over 150,000 people.  It’s a “one for one” simple and powerful mantra that is chanted in 59 countries.  It’s such an influential idea that it is being copied in everything from “dog treats to cups of coffee.”


LET THE CHIPS BE WITH YOU:  L.A.-based crowdsourcing expert Tongal just finished an open source campaign to create a 30 second commercial marrying Pringles with Star Wars.  There was $75,000 at stake for the seven finalists out of over 1,000 entrants.  The “Force for Fun” idea is another example of how opening doors to the creative process can uncover a staggering amount of talent just waiting for a chance to show their imaginative chops.  In fact, Lucasfilms was ready to add production value to the winning submittals but was stunned at the high visual value they received.  Tongal has doubled growth every six months over the past five years by proving “ideas are everywhere.”

Interested in these ideas?


You can contact Steve at or give him a call at (512) 712-5279.
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Steve Harvill • Office: (512) 712-5279 • Cell: (972) 345-9480
109 Top O The Lake • Lakeway, TX 78734