Clarity First Newsletter, August 4, 2017

Clarity First
A notebook about how we work and learn and love and live.

Next week will mark the fifty-second weekly issue of this letter. Every week it gets a 30% open rate (the creative industry’s average is 11%), and I get regular emails that say things like “The last thing  I needed was something else in my in-basket, but I find myself reading and learning from Clarity First every week.”

But, some of these comments contradict each other: “I was put off by the red text and mix of fonts.”  “With the simple red and black colors you’ve found the sweet spot of simplicity and clarity.”

A smart brand is a learning brand. My goal is to make this letter as informative and inspiring as possible. What do you think? What do you like about the letter? What don’t you like?

Thank you for reading. And thanks in advance for sharing your opinions about how I can make it better.

We are not machines. We are living systems.

While we tend to define ourselves with metaphors such as “working like a well-oiled machine,” machine metaphors frame our challenges and opportunities inaccurately. The realty is that while machines die and stop working, the world is alive and always at work. The reality is that all living systems are regenerative. In turn, an understanding of regeneration offers us a paradigm for apprehending our best potential. Carol Sanford, and the Regenerative Business Alliance, has been working on how we can learn from nature to build more humane systems. Here’s a primer of seven foundational First Principles.
Video: The Regenerative Paradigm, Seven First Principles

“We have regularly seen businesses grow at 10X rates.”

Once a year the same Regenerative Buisness Alliance hosts a three day gathering to  “focus conversation on innovative, enlightened disruption in business and industries”. This year participating businesses include IDEO, Babson Executive Education, Kauffman Foundation, Google Food Labs and Penn State University. In Seattle, September 25 – 27, 2017.
Conference: The Regenerative Business Summit 

Unproductive meetings are demoralizing.

So stop having them. Start by making meetings really short.
Article: The Benefits of Agile Approach to Meetings 

Recognize when you have creative energy and use it to make stuff.

Then rest.
Notebook page: Following This Creative Cycle Could Save You From Burnout.

Since the change process cannot be “managed,” a new way of leading change is needed.

When people choose to change themselves from the inside out, their personal changes are real and lasting, and resistance is minimal. What the B schools call change management is insufficient to support such transformational change. Enter conscious change leadership.
eBook: Awake at the Wheel: Moving Beyond Change Management to Conscious Change Leadership

Sigh. We need these ads.

More than 30 social media video ads about equal opportunity for the sexes.
Collection: Gender Equality in Advertising

How to invest in innovation for social impact

Design thinking has delivered an impressive creative boon. But to tackle our most complex social challenges design methods must be augmented with systems thinking. The RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) has some ideas about that.
Report: From Design Thinking to System Change

Tests show that shorter ads are better ads. 

Wow. 30 seconds is long form now.
Article: Facebook Gets Brands Ready for 6-Second Video Ads.


Last week I told the story of how after telling Spotify that I really like guitarist Bill Frisell, the app rewarded me by introducing me to guitarist Julian Lage. Regular reader Brad Morse responded with an email that said “You must be aware of Frisell’s Tiny Desk Concerts?”. No, Brad, I wasn’t. In one he plays supporting guitarist to multi-instrumentalist and genre wrecker Sam Amidon. Just look at the smile on Frisell’s face every time Amidon smashes another boundary. In the other, Frisell covers some Beatles songs solo. He admits to how difficult it is, and reveals that he’s improvising off of the sheet music, without a net. The guy is freaking fearless. He’ll try anything.

Thank you, Brad. Keep those cards and letters coming, folks.

Images of the week

Slovak photographer Maria Svarbova has produced a new series of images of swimmers and a swimming pool, entitled Origins. You can see more of the work at Fubiz.

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, or, better yet, think of us when you sense that your company needs a little clarity.

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