Flash Header
Volume #73 - March 2012

Geez, I thought January was hectic!  In February I had the honor of launching the Elegant Simplicity platform in three different cities, Miami, Las Vegas, and Dallas.  My client base continues to look for strategic advantages through simplifying their core sales processes and their client experiences.

In Las Vegas I had the opportunity to work with one of my favorite clients on their International sales meeting.  This marks the sixth year of my involvement, and every year the meetings get better!

Dazzling Blue hit the strategic playbook for two clients, as I introduced the idea to one and we officially launched the strategy as a core filter for idea development for the other.

One of the really fun experiences I had this month was the debut of a non-business program Why We Love The Movies, a multimedia program full of audience interaction, famous movie scenes, and a visual journey into our emotional connection to cinema.  More than 250 people spent a Tuesday evening with me at my favorite movie house, The Studio Movie Grill, for this charity event for the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure.  Thanks go to Chris Ryan for his work and to Bob Vincent for his directorial and production work.  I did the program for fun, but now have two clients who are interested in having me present the program at a client value-add event!  We will have video of the event soon!

The Repeatable Successful Acts platform just received its first update, with new data around the power behaviors of top producers and leaders.  I returned to my original group of interviewees and added two new groups from two new industries, real estate and advanced technology.  There are also new RSA’s in the platform, and  I had the chance to share some of the latest sales strategy with a new client in Scottsdale at the end of the month.  My concept has always been that the RSA platform will be dynamic, with information updated on a regular basis.  

Next month I have the opportunity and honor to return to teaching one of my learning platforms, a three-part educational program teaching interpersonal communications.  I love to teach!

March will be capped off by the wedding of my older son Dylan to the lovely Amanda!  We can’t wait!


"To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advancement."

-Albert Einstein

I spend a great deal of my time involved in problems and opportunities.  The two often get confused due to an age-old organizational problem:  I’ve been inside the issue so long that I act like the only tool I have is a hammer,  making every problem look like a nail.  Often the solution to an issue walks the fine line of perspective.

Recently I was engaged to take a look at the organizational difficulties a client was having in the formation of their sales teams.  They found the positive leverage they had anticipated to achieve by separating the duties of sales and service was not only missing, but was replaced by new problems they never anticipated, impacting their client experience negatively.  They had spent numerous internal resources and tons of time trying to find the right answer before offering me the chance to give it a look.  One of my advantages is that I can bring a powerful combination to the table:

VIRGIN EYES:  This is the idea of an outside opinion.  I am not burdened by the culture or a finite view of an issue.

WIDE EYES:  In 2011 I had the chance to work on over 55 completely separate projects for 22 clients in 17 different industries.  In 25 years as a strategist I have seen a vast number of cultures, problems, systems, process, and--most importantly--solutions.  Problems, solutions, patterns, and innovations are repeated across industries and can create staggering leverage when applied to a specific situation.

Problems fall into three (There’s a surprise!) categories:

  • Physical:  This involves materials or environment.
  • Human:  This involves people.
  • Organizational:  This involves systems and process around culture.

Think about the problem/opportunity issues that face you and your company.  Which category do they fall into?  Once you define the area code of the issue, you can begin a strategy that results in solutions or new ideas.  The categories create focus.

Look to involve a set of VIRGIN AND WIDE EYES.  It can come from an internal source.  Aircraft company Lockheed Martin has turned this idea into an art for problem/solution and opportunity-based strategies, using Advanced Development Programs, or skunk works.  They form small teams with members from a variety of divisions, so the team has both VIRGIN AND WIDE EYES.  They provide perspective, a high degree of autonomy, a tasked focus, and permit work outside the existing bureaucracy.  The results are staggering.  The U-2, SR-71 Blackbird, the F-117 Nighthawk, and the F-22 Raptor are only a few aircraft born of this process.   IBM’s Emerging Business Opportunities idea is an entire division based on the idea of VIRGIN AND WIDE EYES in the form of a skunk works structure.

Domain experts are important, but it is often hard for them to imagine someone else might provide a perspective that can bring a strategic advantage to the issue.  Ideas from outside your division or even your industry are vital in today’s markets.  

In a world changing at an indescribably fast pace, the issue of opportunity disguised as a problem is most quickly leveraged through this idea of collaboration, of sharing, of letting creative ideas flow from multiple sources.  VIRGIN AND WIDE EYES are great assets to doing this.


OSCAR AND THE SOCIAL CRAZY: Never before did YOU, the viewer, get to play such a large role in Hollywood’s biggest night.  Throughout the entire show, people were chatting about what was going on, and Oscar was listening.  Tweets were posted to Oscar.com and the social chatter drove which online video clips from which movies were shown.  Heck, even the huge Vanity Fair after-Oscar party brought the action to the world in real time.  More and more ideas are being driven by the end receiver.  The more you know about your audience, the more you can create a relationship, and relationships build EVERYTHING in our changing world!


MICRO LOYALTY:  A new company, BELLY, funded by the folks that started Groupon, is all about helping small businesses create unique loyalty programs that go beyond rewards and punch cards to create relationship.  A small sandwich shop will name a sandwich after you when you hit a threshold number or a boutique pet supply store will post a picture of you and your dog on the huge “loyalty wall.”  The idea is that as a small business, you can attack loyalty on a totally personal level that eludes the big guys, due to the sheer volume they have to deal with.  Make it personal, and it makes an impact!


OK, OK, I CAN’T RESIST ANOTHER APPLE COMMENT:  Everyone knows my prejudice.  They are a client and I’m a shareholder and a user.  Putting my love affair aside, damn, they are doing well!  Apple’s earnings per unit sold could defy the laws of gravity.  In Q4 they sold 73 million units of computers, iPhones, iPods, and iPods.  We know this because Apple has an eerie transparency about sales.  They averaged $241 of operating income per unit sold, up from $74 in 2007.  Apple’s competitors saw their own average cut in half, while Apple’s tripled.    Can Apple continue to do this?  Is there a ceiling they will eventually hit?  Most thought it would be Steven Jobs’ passing, but with Tim Cook they seem to be doing better than ever.  What can the competition do?  The unfortunate answer is….. nothing.  It would be a better use of their time to start making things Apple doesn’t make.

Interested in these ideas?


You can contact Steve at steve@creativeventures.com or give him a call at 972-490-7717.
See more at creativeventures.com and stephenharvill.com

Steve Harvill • Office: (972) 490-7717 • Cell: (972) 345-9480 • Fax: (972) 386-9569
15615 Regal Hill Circle • Dallas, TX 75248