Clarity First Newsletter, January 6, 2017


The Bully in Chief seems to have knocked more than just his political opponents off of their centers. I’ve never known so many bright, self-directed and naturally motivated people to feel so utterly unsure of what to do next.

Yet, I’m also noticing that a lot of conversations that do start about feeling unsure turn, often very quickly, toward the hopeful, productive and doable. What I’m hearing is often a take on: “Im starting right where I am, in my own community, my own family, my own business, my own ….

It’s reminding me that all politics are local, and that community is the true capital. It’s reminding me that we’re all stronger when we share a common vision. And, it can’t be common if we don’t know each other.

Together we can build a community of caring rather than one of fear.

After the election in November, Karim Sulayman, an Arab-American, stood in front of Trump Tower on the upper west side of Manhattan and tied a blindfold over his eyes. He stood in this vulnerable state with a sign that read, in part, “I am afraid. Will you shake my hand and/or hug me and/or take a photo with me and post it as a sign that I am safe here with you?” This short film of his experiment is gloriously affirming and heartwarming.
Film: I trust you 

How to create a PSA that actually changes hearts and minds.

Remind me why I care. Touch my heart, not my mind.
PSA Spot Review: How to get someone to change their behavior? Rule 1: don’t preach

Communicating Impact, a special DIY Brand Camp for non-profits

Last summer Suzanne Beck at the Northampton Chamber told me that a recent survey of their non-profit members revealed that 94% ranked “communicating impact” as a very important priority for their organization.

It is with great pleasure that she and I announce a special session of the DIY Brand Camp. This one-day workshop will focus on communicating impact for non-profits. The session will be held on Wednesday, February 15 at the Smith College Conference Center. Registration is open and early-bird pricing is available now. Chamber members get an additional $100 off.
Workshop: Communicating Impact with Brand Clarity

Learning the skills necessary to be a good web citizen

Knowing how to read, write, and participate in the digital world expands access and opportunity for more people to learn anytime, anywhere, at any pace. Mozilla, makers of the open source browser Firefox, publishes a wonderfully accessible and complete framework for entry-level web literacy & the 21st Century skills of problem solving, communication, creativity and collaboration.
Directory: Web Literacy, 21st Century Skills

The logic we use to understand the world as it is can hinder us when we seek to understand the world as it could be.

To get organizational support for something new, the designer needs to pay as close attention to how the new idea is created, shared, and brought to life as to the new idea itself.
Article: Use design thinking to build commitment to a new idea

The blurring of work and home life is messing us up.

In a bid to restore some semblance of work-life balance, French companies with more than 50 employees are now required to guarantee workers the “right to disconnect” from technology when they leave the office at night.
Article: How to enjoy France’s right-to-disconnect law without living in France

Every element of the design and delivery of a service or product is part of an integrated whole.

Article: Why getting your message straight is good for your whole company.


Over the holidays I discovered BROOKZILL! and fell in love. Critics call them a NYC supergroup, but the member I’m most intrigued by is Ladybug Mecca, the daughter of two Brazilian jazz musicians, who was also at the center of Digable Planets. Old school hip-hop meets cool Brazilian Afro-beat. This Brooklyn quartet had me at hello. Their first album is called Throwback to the Future. Here’s a delicious cut: Saudade songbook (feat. Count Bass D).

Images of the week

The smaller painting in the headers is named Expecting You (2016). The larger is named Atmosphere No. 3 (2016). Both are by Laura Radwell. Laura is a dear friend and colleague. She is a co-founder of Clarity and we’ve shared more projects over the years than either one of us would want to count. Amongst her many and incredible talents she is a visionary colorist. While she’s painted for years, recently her work has taken on a calm and very confident assertiveness. I love it when color tells me what to do. Follow her on Instagram.

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.

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  1. Bruce Stedman says

    One other thought: The Existential Trump Trifecta: Expansion of Nuclear Weapons & Military Threats; Crony Capitalism & Fascism; Climate Change Denial & Hyper-Carbon Economy.

    This portends a generation-long set-back. Thus our stance each morning should be:
    Resilience and Resistance

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