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Volume #71 - January 2012

Here it is, a brand new year.  I hope you’re ready.  Here is a guarantee – it will be full of opportunity and hazard, the question is will you be able to recognize each and respond with the right strategy?  It’s a BIG question.

For me, the New Year starts with the continued work on projects launched in 2011 and the beginning of new ideas for 2012.

STRATEGY -  I have three clients working on revisions to their client experience.  We are creating a method of separation and differentiation around how the methods of client interaction both with product, services and people.
STORY – We are building multimedia stories around ideas and products as clients look to simplify their story to create impact. Your story is the heart and soul of your strategy.
REPEATABLE SUCCESSFUL ACTS – This platform remains the most active of my strategies and will be the main sales strategy for many of clients.  In fact, I have clients modifying their existing sales processes to incorporate the RSA’s that best suit their culture.

DAZZLING BLUE – Though this strategic platform was put into play ahead of its 2012 scheduled release date, it is a big player on my calendar in the first quarter of 2012.  I also had a client request a design for hats and t-shirts that they will use to launch the platform internally.  If they come out as good as the design I will make them available to everyone!
ON THE WAY – I have a brand new presentation  in the works – THE HALF LIFE OF IDEAS.  It’s all about the value, timing and expected lifespan of ideas!  The IDEA section will give you a quick preview.

January has me in Mexico, Miami, New Mexico and working two big projects in my home town of Dallas. Also, the 2011 Top 10 and Bottom 5 Movie list is now available. Send me a note if you want a copy.


The Power of Ideas

"He who lights his candle at mine receives light without darkening me." -Thomas Jefferson

Over the past 25 years there is no subject I have ever entertained more than ideas.  I have written, presented, taught, designed, developed and consulted about ideas.  Product ideas, service ideas, marketing, sales ideas, growth and contraction ideas, and just about every kind of idea you can think of.  I have developed my own and listened and observed others.  I have seen the depths of failure and the heights of success.  All this time and thinking I realize more than ever I remain fascinated by ideas.

I began working on a new program THE HALF LIFE OF IDEAS last June with the challenge of making the development and potential abandonment of ideas more accessible for my clients and perhaps gain access to a new audience of idea folks.  So, here is a preview with some steps that I hope you can apply today.

HALF LIFE:  This term is usually associated with chemistry and physics and used to describe the time it takes for the amount of a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half.  BUT it can really be used with anything that follows a state of decay and not only can ideas be created but they can also lose their potency to impact, just like an isotope.

THE LIES:  Nothing seems to develop untruths faster than ideas.  It begins with; “there is no such thing as a bad idea”.  Inherently people know this is wrong.  There are enriching, impactful ideas and there are toxic ideas.  Thomas Edison, father of the light bulb, phonograph and motion picture camera (as well as 1089 additional patented inventions) also gave us the concrete house and a ghost finder machine.  There are good and bad ideas though the difference is not always immediately visible.  The key problem is the amount of emotion we put into our ideas. This emotion can highjack our brains and weighs heavy on our objectivity.  It is best to have more than one set of eyes and ears on an idea.  Expand the fraternity of idea reviewers to give you a well-rounded look at something new.  Thank goodness for this since I spend a lot of my time looking at ideas created by others.
COMMITMENT:  Companies that push forward in difficult markets have a strong commitment to ideas.  They encourage involvement using everything from anonymous suggestion boxes to full idea launching meetings.  They examine existing ideas to discover where transformation can help them and actually launchideas instead of discussing them to death.  You can find their commitment in their mission and value statements.  Dabur India, the largest manufacturer of Ayurvedic medicine sends employees to idea “jam sessions” twice a year.  Samsung gets 6,000 to 7,000 ideas from a single manufacturing plant.  Proctor and Gamble hosts two Innovation Tournaments each year.  The pressure to generate ideas, to develop innovative insights into the connection between an idea and its impact is never ending.  Companies that encourage idea development embrace diversity in their thinking.  Walt Disney, no slouch in the idea department, said “ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere.”
CATCH AND RELEASE:  Ideas are kind of like fly fishing.  You work hard, become creative in the fly you choose to entice the fish, and then know that sometimes it best to let the fish go.  Ideas have a life span.  They come and then they go giving way to a new idea.  There is an art form in knowing when this timing is right, when the idea has reached its pinnacle and it’s time to transform it or watch it harm the company.  From buggy whips to shag carpeting, ideas have a half-life and are waiting for the smart companies to use this as an advantage.  Sometimes an idea just needs a nudge to gain a new life.  The Amazon Kindle, which has created almost as much book innovation as Guttenberg, needed just a small nudge to become the Kindle Fire, Amazons first foray into the iPad space.

Ideas live in the world of the unknown.  There is no “I’m sure”.  But their value to the growth of any company is undeniable.  Make a conscious decision to make ideas strategic!

FedEx Disaster & Recovery:  It is every 21stcentury company’s nightmare.  A horrible service incident is caught on the ever present cameras of our time, goes viral and is shown by worldwide media.  PR disaster.  The FedEx box hurler is an international reminder of how fast our reputation is harmed.  The FedEx folks within 48 hours went on YouTube to tell the world “this was absolutely, positively unacceptable”.  They apologized to the customer, replaced the item and built the video into their international training program. They reminded the entire company; “With every delivery we are earning and keeping our customers trust.”
New FedEx Disaster:  Video has surfaced showing a FedEx employee opening customer boxes!
Starbucks Gets Juiced:  Starbucks purchased California juice company Evolution Juice for a cool $30 million in cash.  Guess what?  2012 will bring a new Starbucks venture – Juice Bars!  Evolution Juice produces super premium juices that go through a revolutionary pasteurization process that uses pressure instead of heat.  This makes for a Starbucks type quality of fantastic flavor.  

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