Transperia Group, Inc.
Transformational Experiences That Drive Business Results

Creativity vs. Innovation

September 10, 2011
Posted by Mark Bennardo

There is a difference between having an original, creative idea and truly being innovative. The two are often assumed, incorrectly, to be synonymous. There are many people, companies and organizations that have (or have had) an original, creative idea and assumed, by default, that they were “Innovators.” Not necessarily the case.

AOL gave America access to the Internet.  Microsoft made it possible for the average person to have an affordable, productive PC.  MySpace ushered in the era of social media.  They all had great, new, creative ideas that made a substantial impact on the world.  But where are they now?  I’m not suggesting these companies have nothing left to offer, or can’t eventually regain some of their original, creative greatness.  What is clear is that they have all been eclipsed by others in their respective fields that understood the importance of reinvention and true innovation.

It’s one thing to have a creative – even innovative – idea, but true Innovators continue to reinvent, design, develop and create new ideas and ways of doing things; the others often hang on to their “original” idea and try to replicate it in perpetuity. A true Innovator does not desire to hang on to one idea or way of doing things, regardless of how cool, amazing or groundbreaking it was. True Innovators are continually driven to bring about change – and change the world in the process.

The Power of Person

August 12, 2010
Posted by Mark Bennardo

Personal connection is powerful. And it’s foundational, if not the cornerstone, to creating a great experience.

I’m always amazed at how much my experience at a store, restaurant, with a vendor, or wherever is affected by how I’m treated by the front-line person. It can literally make or break the experience for me (and determine whether or not I do business there).

I refer to it simply as “the power of person.” People want to be treated like a real person, by a real person. Not a number, not an interruption, not a nuisance, not a means to a sale. A person. It’s shocking how much we’ve lost sight of that in our culture.

Creating transformational experiences for people does not always have to be a huge endeavor. Simply put, our people are one of the biggest keys to creating a great experience for others.

I try hard to create a good experience for my clients, vendors and employees every chance I get. And the formula is really pretty simple. Here are some things we strive to do at Transperia:

  • Treat people like they matter. And authentically care about them.
  • Value their time as equally important (or more so) as your own.
  • Be kind and polite…even if they are being rude or disconnected (you never know what might be on someone else’s plate, or what burden they might be carrying).
  • Help them reach their goals (which, in turn, almost always helps you reach yours).
  • Be real and authentic. You don’t have to spill your guts inappropriately, but let them see the real you.
  • Have some fun/bring some joy in the midst of the interaction. I’m not suggesting telling jokes or not taking things seriously. Rather, look for ways to bring joy, if possible. Sometimes this requires a little bit of established trust or relationship, but if you authentically are looking for ways to bring some joy, it will go a long way.

These are just a handful of things that help a client feel like they are a “person” to you. You start by being a real “person” with them and letting them know how much you value them. If you can authentically do these things, your customers/clients will look forward to interacting with you—and doing business with you.

This isn’t rocket science and it isn’t a costly program to implement. If you (and the people on your team) simply employ “the power of person” you will stand out from the crowd. You will already be enhancing the experience. Best of all, others will begin talking about you.

Do you have any other ideas of how to fuel “the power of person?” We’d love to see your comments.

The Power of Artistic Collaboration

April 30, 2009
Posted by Mark Bennardo

As an artist and creative professional, I believe so strongly in the power of collaboration.  I’ve learned through experience that there is so much more potential and creative horsepower when the right group of people come together to create something beautiful, effective or important.

I now find myself moving away from projects that require me to be a creative “lone ranger.”  If I can’t do the project in the context of the community of my trusted partners and creative associates, I’ll sometimes decline the project.  Even if I’m confident in my own abilities, I know that the end result will be so much better if there is more than one creative mind in the mix.

I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but I was both moved and inspired by it.  The power of art and collaboration is truly amazing (even when you can’t see or stand next to the people with whom you’re collaborating).

This was apparently recorded one track at a time, with the producers using minimal equipment and moving from country to country, finding local artists and layering each instrument and part upon the last. The end result is an international collaboration that is both raw and beautiful.

At my core, I think of myself as an artist. It’s stuff like this that makes me so thankful for the arts and for the people whose talents eclipse mine.

Why I Recommend Twitter: 140 Characters is All You Get

March 20, 2009
Posted by Mark Bennardo

Twitter Logo

It’s been interesting to me to see how much national attention has been put on Twitter lately.  While it’s been around for a couple years now, it’s being fully thrust into our cultural mainstream.

I’ve been using Twitter for over a year now. I’m not a massive user and don’t have a ton of followers, like some people, but I would consider myself “active”.

There are several reasons why I use Twitter, but I won’t get into that in this post.  I’d rather discuss one of the best benefits I find to using Twitter.  Here it is:

Limiting posts to only 140 characters makes us better communicators.

As a culture, there is so much clutter in the way we communicate.  And we’ve become lazy in our communication.  I believe that we’ve dismissed the need to be concise and set aside our need to develop our vocabularies and conventions of speech.

Being a clear communicator has become somewhat rare anymore.  People are forgetting how to make a clear statement and then make a cogent point about it.

As I produce events all over the country, I have the privilege (or curse?) of listening to a lot of different speakers.  Overwhelmingly, I find myself bored and distracted by their lack of clarity and inability to make a solid point without meandering rabbit trails.  Tangents, vocal pauses, verbally cluttered illustrations and unfocused talking points confuse the audience and make for a dreadful presentation.  I’m convinced that most speakers think that the longer they speak, the more value they give to the listener.  I couldn’t disagree more.

I’ve written before about the need for brevity in communication.  That’s why I love Twitter.  It forces you to make a clear and (hopefully) compelling statement in 140 characters or less.

That’s not always an easy task.  If you’re like me (and you use Twitter) you’ve probably found yourself starting to cringe at times as you see your available “character count” start to dwindle before you’re ready to end your tweet.  I really get nervous when I’m in the “red zone” and haven’t finished my thought.

I often find myself having to go back and restate my tweet so that it fits in the allotted space.  It forces me to be concise, creative and clear.  My tweets are almost always better because of it.

It didn’t take me long to realize that this discipline is making me a better communicator in general.  This exercise to my “communication muscle” is making me a better communicator in my business, in my telephone skills, with my friends and with my wife & kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting we all start talking in tweet-sized nuggets in every area of our lives.  I am suggesting that the more we focus on being clear, brief and concise, the more it will force us to cut the clutter, find just the right words we need, and be more compelling communicators.

If you’re on Twitter and would like to follow me, I’d be honored.  Let’s keep the conversation going.  You can find me here:  http://twitter.com/markbennardo

Hot 5: Filling the Creative Tank

November 12, 2008
Posted by Mark Bennardo

WaterdropAnyone in the “creative business” understands the importance of inspiration.

If you’re one of those people who is a prolific, never-ending wellspring of creative ideas, good for you. You’re rare.

For the rest of us who have to crank out creative ideas day after day, there are times when the well can begin to run dry. I’ve found that, for me, in order to keep the innovative and creative ideas flowing, I have to make a commitment to fill my creative tank on a regular basis. If I don’t, I inevitably find myself lacking in the flow of new ideas.

Here are five ways to help fill that creative tank. I’m sure there are many others (and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the “comments” section), but here is a handful to start with:

1. Absorb Stuff That You Simply Enjoy: When I buy a new book, go to a movie, see a play or buy a new album, I often limit myself to the types of things that I think I might be able to use in upcoming projects. I’m searching for elements I can pillage for another application.

I’m trying more and more to simply drink in the kinds of movies, music, theatre, etc. that I enjoy—that fill me up. I may not find a killer song to use in a video, or an inspirational clip to use in my next event, but it stimulates my general creativity—and that’s what drives innovation for me.

2. Create a Coffee Group: Find other Creatives in your area and get together on a regular basis to share ideas. I often meet with other musicians, artists & producers to talk about what is currently exciting us. The more diversity in the group’s creative disciplines, the better. It’s amazingly stimulating.

3. Exercise: I know this sounds simplistic, but the more I exercise, the sharper my mind works. I also tend to get great, new ideas when I’m working out. And try exercising without the iPod for a change. If you allow your mind to be uncluttered for a few minutes, you’ll be surprised what starts to happen.

4. Cross-Train: If you are a little stuck in your discipline of choice, try learning something new that is totally unrelated. Want to become a better musician, take up Tae Kwon Do. Hoping to increase your Photoshop skills, learn to play guitar. Then look for ways that the new skills or discipline might have a crossover application to your other area. It’s uncanny.

5. Do the Opposite: As George Costanza taught us, sometimes doing the opposite can be the best strategy. If you’ve always successfully done things one way, try approaching your next project by looking at it from the opposite perspective. It can be very enlightening.

There’s a starter. So, what do you do for inspiration? Please, please add your ideas, and let’s keep the conversation going.

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