Transperia Group, Inc.
Transformational Experiences That Drive Business Results

Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Creativity vs. Innovation

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

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 Artistic Collaboration

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

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.

Hot 5: Filling the Creative Tank

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

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.

Sony Walkman Project

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Talk about a cool experience. Sony has taken a risk in promoting their latest Walkman media player.

Their website says, “The Walkman Project is an incredible musical collaboration that lets you make and share music with other people around the world.”

Sony has created a vehicle where people can collaborate on a piece of music together—each one adding his/her own part. You can sing, play or mix tracks. You then upload your contribution. Little by little, the musical piece grows, morphs and changes as each part is added. A very, very cool idea.

To promote this collaborative project (and their product), Sony created a video highlighting how even the most seemingly insignificant contribution makes an impact on the whole.

It’s brilliant.

The video features 130 musicians, all gathered in one place, performing a musical composition where each musician plays only one note at a time. The piece moves by beautifully as you watch each musician playing their one note, but the whole coming together fluidly and flawlessly.

It’s amazing.

I can’t imagine the immensity of the challenge of wrangling 240 microphones, handling 130 sensitive artist egos and juggling the logistics of such an endeavor.

Watch the video. It will blow your mind (at least it did mine).

Sony could have just done a regular product launch for their new Walkman. But instead, they created an experience for people to jump into, and also created a cool experience for the 130 musicians who played on the video, and then shared that experience with us.

Sony reminds us of the need to break the mold on our status quo events, projects or media. How about you? Is it business as usual, or are you creating an experience that will involve and impact your audience and not soon be forgotten?

Let the Sun Shine… or The Best-Case Scenario Rarely Is

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Age of AquariusMost of the clients I work with approach a project, event or media with big plans and high hopes.  After all, unlimited ideation, creative thinking and dreaming big are great ways to approach a new project.  Some of our clients, however, become a bit deflated when they realize that those big plans often come with corresponding resource requirements and challenges.

Great ideas and wonderful new creations usually require funding and human resources commensurate with the idea.

I’m not just talking about the costs for things we charge for.  In many cases, it’s the costs or situations that are unrelated to us (or outside our scope) that bring the most drain or frustration.

“Hmm.  Is it really going to cost that much, or take that long?”  I’ll often hear.  “Yes, that’s what it’s going to take to do this,” I’ll reply.

The client then sometimes enters into a theoretical bargaining of sorts with us.

•    “Well, what if we could get a vendor to agree to this.”  They’ll say, hoping they might find some as-yet-undiscovered bargain.
•    “By then, travel costs will probably have come down.”
•    “Hopefully the economy will have turned around by then.”
•    “What if we did some of this internally?”

We are often backed into a corner and asked to create guesstimates based on these hopeful, yet improbable, scenarios.  It’s what I call, “Best-Case Scenario Planning”.

And it’s dangerous.

I hate to even enter into it.  I explain to my client that it’s highly unlikely this and that will go our way, but they often twist my arm and ask me to create schedules or show them numbers based on such assumptions.  These unrealistic estimates then morph into the deadlines and budgets they plan for.

Here’s the catch:  “Best-Case Scenarios” almost never happen.

•    Shipments get lost in transit.
•    Unions go on strike.
•    Someone, somewhere drops a ball.

The planets rarely align in our solar system (either every 200 years, 5,000 years, or never, depending on your definition) and there’s no Age of Aquarius.

And the actual best-case scenario is more rare than a Kevin Costner blockbuster.

Regardless of how many disclaimers I list or try to prepare the project manager, anything that falls short of this new best-case scenario expectation becomes a disappointment, or even worse, is looked upon as a failure.

“Remember, we said that it would only work this way under a best-case scenario,” I remind them.

Doesn’t matter.

All they know is that they got their heart set on things happening a certain, albeit unrealistic, way and then got their heart (or budget) broken.

Moral of the story:  Next time you’re dreaming up a great new project, forget about the best-case scenario.  Plan for the most-probable scenario, and then budget a little more or set a realistic deadline.  Then, if the planets do happen to align, you’ll be a hero, everyone will be happier, and you can all join in on a chorus of “The Age of Aquarius”.

My Fellow Americans…Vote for Me

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Okay, I know this is going to come across a little narcissistic, but when I saw this, I couldn’t help but laugh.  I never thought I’d get into politics, but hey, you never know where the path of life might lead you.

–Your humble servant, Mark Bennardo.

Seriously, though, I think this is brilliant. And, you can try it yourself (it’s fun and it’s free–see below for link).

The real brilliance is in how the company PalTalk has apparently created this viral marketing tool to promote their instant message & video chat business. What a great way to create and use something that is fun, engaging and highly shareable to create some buzz for your product.

Also notice the subtle, almost subliminal product placement for PalTalk in the video.  Fantastic.

Well done, PalTalk!

PS: To try it out and throw your own hat in the ring, go here!

In The Beginning…

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Earth from SpaceOur world changes at a rate that’s no longer possible to measure or adequately describe (“speed of sound”, “speed of light”, etc. don’t seem to cut it anymore). And it’s becoming more and more difficult to distinguish our message and products in a culture/marketplace/business environment that is constantly in flux.

The competition for our attention and affections is getting tougher by the minute. More and more, what is required to differentiate a product, event or service is the experience that we create for people.

It used to be that our offerings would stand out if they were of excellent quality, were highly creative, or unique in some way. No longer. Today’s economy requires us to go beyond these expected qualities and provide an experience for people that transcends the status quo, engages them personally, excites their senses and becomes, in a word, memorable.

The Art of Experience is an ongoing dialogue in how to create experiences for our audiences (customers, employees, conference attendees…) that will not only engage them, but also change and transform them, and bring about the outcomes we’re hoping for.

Transperia Group (the sponsor of this forum) gets its very name from the concept of creating “transformational experiences” to drive the results we are after.

So, what creates a “transformational experience”? What does it take to move beyond the status quo and enter the realm of “experience”? That’s what we’re hoping to discuss in this blog. Some categories that we’ll cover are:

  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Communication
  • Technology

The topics may vary, but in general, we’re looking for things that will help us move beyond the normal and mundane, and will inspire us in the art of creating effective experiences.

Of course, we want this to be a multi-way conversation. Please join in. If you have new ideas to add, great. If you disagree with opinions stated here, great. If you want to share your experiences with “experience”, great. We’d love to have you join in the fun.

Thanks for dropping by. Here’s to some stimulating conversation.

Mark T. Bennardo
Transperia Group, Inc.