Clarity First Newsletter, March 24, 2017

A notebook about how we work and learn and love and live

We are a learning species. Just look. It’s easy to see millions of people who are changing the world for the better. Yes, of course we need to acknowledge and account for our mistakes. Perhaps even more importantly, we also need to celebrate that we are, albeit fitfully and painfully, learning to live as one species on a very finite planet. We can do this. We’ve only just begun.

There are more potential connections inside your brain than there are stars in the sky.

Our experiences, the things we pay attention to, provide constant feedback loops that change the structure of our brains.
Article: We Can ‘Rewire’ Our Brains for Creative Thinking

We have to talk and listen to people we disagree with. 

The incredible story of how a member of the Westboro Baptist Church was transformed from hate monger to peacemaker by people she met on Twitter.
Article: Four Practices That Facilitate Conversation Between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’.

There is no such thing as best practices. Context matters. We need to be skeptical of things that worked elsewhere.

Risk = probability of failure.
Uncertainty = you don’t know the probability of failure.
We’re at a time when we’re dealing with more uncertainty than risk. But governments are built to deal with risks. Enter designers.
Article: Build the New Thing – Marco Steinberg on Design for Social Innovation

“My heart beatin’ rhythm, and my soul keep-a singin’ the blues”

This week Chuck Berry passed. As they say, good artists borrow ideas, and great artists steal them. Chuck Berry was one of the master weavers who took the weft of the Chitlin Circuit and the warp of the Grand Ol’ Opry to create rock and roll. We’ve been stealing and we’re going to be stealing his ideas for a long time. Thank you, Mr. Berry. Rest in peace.
Video: Roll Over Beethoven 

Do we respond in ways that create the world we want, or do we end up creating more of what we don’t want? 

I have the privilege of knowing John Kinyon as both a teacher and a client. One of the big lessons I’m learning from him is that conflict is not just a threat. Within conflict is the potential for reaching new and great possibilities.
Article: Self-Connection in the Midst of Difficulty: Mindfulness, Nonviolent Communication, and The Power of Conflict

What really matters?

A reminder that this the last week for early bird discounts to the first ever DIY Digital Marketing day camp. Dan Green and I are cooking up a delicious stew that will nourish those who want to be smarter about how they manage and execute modern communications programs.
Workshop: DIY Digital Marketing Camp, the Survey Course


Why I love Spotify: part three. I’ve been struggling for years with how best to funnel music into listenable playlists. We are, after all, dealing with a constantly expanding and constantly improving bank of source material. The harsh reality is that when it comes to understanding and contextualizing this very, very big bang my little ol’ wet brain doesn’t seem up to the challenge. This is one reason I am loving Spotify. It’s brain is much bigger than mine. And when I play with it my brain learns. Hallelujah. Here’s a playlist that Spotty, my robo DJ, and I made this week: Love Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.

Images of the week

My friend and collaborator, Gayle Kabaker, (I’ve talked about her here), just returned from a trip to Cuba. She was commissioned to paint CD cover art for the Hartka-Lezcano Duo who was performing there as part of a week-long cello festival. She says “Usually, when I draw musicians in performance I am quietly drawing in a corner, trying to be away from curious eyes looking over my shoulder. Since I was traveling with the duo, I was able to paint them during rehearsal. This was especially cool because I could sit with my paints sprawled out, and stand close to them as I sketched, and ask them what colors THEY saw when they played each piece. I painted their concert, as well as other professional musicians in other concerts. It was a real stretch for me to draw so fast – trying to capture the essence of what I was seeing and hearing.” See more at her website.

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by Clarity, the consultancy that helps mission-driven companies use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as powerful tools for transformation. Learn more.

If you get value from Clarity First, please pass it on, refer a colleague to the DIY Digital Marketing Camp, the Survey Course or just think of us when you think about reaching more of your audience.

Leave a Comment