Creative Ventures Newsletter
Volume 83, January 2013

2013 Calendar
Happy New Year!  Yep, it’s already here, a brand new year, a tabula rasa, a blank slate available to shape and mold to meet your strategic vision.

At Creative Ventures I start the new year in a brand new location, Austin, Texas.  I continue to drive my business around three core fields.  These three areas have long been the foundation of Creative Ventures’ success as I enter the 26th year of my “long strange trip.”

  • PRESENTATIONS:  These are the multimedia, interactive programs that introduce our ideas, strategic platforms, and methodologies to audiences around the world.  I have a ton of content divided into a number of these programs, but have only about half a dozen in play at any time while others are receiving face lifts and new content.  I launch a new strategic platform every 12 – 18 months.  The last was Dazzling Blue, and the newest is The Idea Factory. And we cannot forget the Why I Love The Movies presentation that became a reality in 2012 as a result of my annual Top 10 and Bottom 5 movie list.  My 2013 calendar has a number of presentations already scheduled.
  • EDUCATION:  This is the home for my curriculum, the classes I teach based on my original material.  Most of the presentations are available in class or workshop format.  They center around the fields of thinking, simplification, and communication.  Many times the classes become part of company training programs.
  • APPLICATION:  This is the consulting side of Creative Ventures. The projects are as varied as our clients’ needs.  In 2012 some of these included: simplicity projects around design, product lines and organizational structure; designing internal training and leadership development platforms; facilitation of strategic planning using my Elegant Simplicity planning platform; idea development plans; and new market penetration planning, to name a few.

My December, which had been set aside for key development work, took a major left turn when three client projects jumped onto the calendar and took me to Dallas, Atlanta, and St. Louis.

January will start the journey into 2013 with projects in Dallas, New Jersey, New Mexico, and old Mexico.

Remain focused, pay attention, and take some time to look around the next corner.


ATTENTION:  The Annual Top 10 and Bottom 5 Movie list for 2012 is ready to go.  Send me a note if you want a copy!


A company and organization should always be in the process of "becoming".

germinating baby plant in soil

The competition is for client value.  The battlefield is around how you create, sustain, and improve value.  Do you attack strategy with value as your weapon?  Are you building goals around value development?  Can you even define the value your clients “feel” they receive from you?  If not, let me encourage you to start in 2013.

In the last two quarters of 2012 I have had the opportunity to help four of my clients with major strategic pushes around the Dazzling Blue idea of becoming extraordinary.  They have used the principles of Dazzling Blue to begin internal goal setting, goal setting around a single filter: EXTRAORDINARY VALUE TO OUR CLIENTS.  You control every inch of your value-based client experience, and it is one of the two fundamental strategy elements, along with skill enhancement (training).

Since every client is different, but all share the same desire, a systemic approach to value is needed.  There are myriad methods of approaching strategy and goal setting, and I have written about my approaches a number of times, but I am able to adapt certain of my methods to match a client’s culture and history. Here are a few ideas to help you with your value strategy.

TIME TO THINK:  I am always surprised at what little value is placed upon the process of thinking.  When a manager observes an employee not moving (thinking?), a frequent response is to tell them to “get back to work.”  Geez, thinking, when done properly, is the best kind of work.  With the average workweek eating up more and more hours (85% of men and 66.5% of women work more than 40 hours a week), companies have the ability to dedicate actual work time to thinking about their “value proposition.”  With one of my clients, we created a one hour time block each week to think and discuss their value-based services.  We call these blocks “value jams.”  The design has a simple, but fundamental structure so as not to waste time.  Each week the results are reviewed and opportunities are defined.  If you don’t think and plan around value, how can it be a defining aspect of your market strategy?
people with thought bubbles
INVENTORY INTERVIEWS:  You would be surprised what you can learn when you ask.  I asked a client how well-received their inventory of value-based services was to their clients and received a wide variety of answers from the leadership team.  The bottom line, they simply didn’t know.  To address this strategic weakness we used a two-pronged attack.  First, we designed a questionnaire to be sent to key clients.  Second, we created a series of lunches at the clients’ offices for face time to ask questions about how they felt the level of our value was in what the client was doing.  The results will form a template for eliminating and modifying existing elements and creating new platforms.  The key is to keep both the questionnaire and the interviews simple, so the design is critical.
MORE IS NOT BETTER:  This is an internal strategy.  Using your new value “think time” create a master list of all the various services you provide that you consider part of your value proposition.  Then take a few moments to rank each item against the others.  If you have ten items, give a 1 to the best and a 10 to the worst, based on how often they are used as the first filter.  Now rank the same list with value as the criterion instead of use.  An item on the list might look like this:
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE Use = 5    Value = 1

The variance between the numbers creates a score card and shows you where the best leverage for enhancing, modifying or eliminating value-based services lies.  The core concept to remember is MORE IS NOT BETTER AND BETTER IS NOT BEST!  Design only for BEST!

Value drives all great client relationships, so spend time where your time is best spent:  VALUE!


BIG MOTOR NEWS:  Toyota Motor Corp announced a bold sales forecast for 2013, projecting sales of cars and trucks to surpass 9.91 million, which will exceed great 2012 sales of 9.7 million.  The 2012 sales were up a whopping 22% over 2011, when Toyota was still suffering from the damage and challenges created by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.  It’s fortunate sales are going well, because Toyota is going to need it for the $1 billion payout to the class action suit that resulted from that pesky sticky accelerator problem a while back.


IDEAS EVERYWHERE:  Seth Priebatsch is the head honcho at LevelUp, the company that uses QR technology to facilitate mobile transactions, and he’s a huge fan of the instant brainstorm.  Ideas can come from anywhere at any time, so to take advantage of this, Seth has turned every wall into a whiteboard.  Employees can stop at any time during any conversation and start sketching on the walls.  Creative spaces create opportunity.  Look for places to hang whiteboards, or better yet, use my idea of attaching glass sheets to walls, which make much better surfaces than those dirty whiteboards!


CHRISTMAS AND THE MOVIES:  Christmas Day has always been a big day for Hollywood.  People go to the movies on Christmas Day. I know this because this is a Christmas tradition in the Harvill family, and every year we see packed theaters.  Big movies get released and have big box office takes.  The single all-time Christmas leader is the 2009 release of Sherlock Holmes with $24 million, followed by Avatar’s $23 million.  The 2012 Christmas  combination of Les Miserables and Django Unchained gave Hollywood a very jolly Christmas with a combined $33 million.

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