There is a vast world of knowledge, experience, stories and wisdom out there. Should we choose to access it, we can be inspired, think new thoughts, be better informed and hopefully, understand life a little bit more.
Steve Jobs said that a new idea is nothing more, than a combination of old elements and our ability to make new combinations from them, which depends on our ability to see the relationships between them. Therefore, what makes some people more creative than others, is their ability to spot the connections. The more dots we have, the better chance we have, of connecting them.
But a word of warning, role models, guru's and other people's experiences are not there to replace our ability to think for ourselves, or to give us an 'off the shelf' solution - that's an inside job.
I develop 'crushes' on people all of the time, some are passing, but some stand the test of time. Those that survive, are not the latest fad's, but much deeper than that. They resonate somewhere within my soul, they help to change me in some way - "simple, timeless, human truths" as Bill Bernbach would say.
Below, is my personal library of inspiration - my 'crushes', that endure, no matter what the latest fad is.
Enjoy, Nik x
Dave Trott is a creative director, copywriter, and author.
Dave studied at the Pratt Institute in New York City, majoring in advertising before going on to found the advertising agencies Gold Greenlees Trott, Bainsfair Sharkey Trott and Walsh Trott Chick Smith,
In 2004 he was given the D&AD President's Award for lifetime achievement in advertising.
He has a number of amazing books on the subject of creativity and is one of the most engaging and amusing speakers I have heard on this subject.
His core philosophy includes: energy over talent, function over form, principles versus formulae, corkscrew versus straight line thinking, two negatives make a positive (take two problems to form a solution), strategy is sacrifice - reduction, reduction, reduction, competition breeds success and break the rules, to name but a few.
A truly inspirational, engaging, highly informative role model, who will inspire you to action in some way.
The Do Lectures is an encouragement network for people who 'do'. The calibre of talks, workshops, retreats and reading tips, is quite simply, one of the best I have found.
"The idea is a simple one. That people who Do things, can inspire the rest of us to go and Do amazing things too." David Hieatt
They are also an engaged and supportive team, who see you and hear you.
We urge you to sign up to their newsletter, watch their talks and attend an event if you can!
Sir Ken Robinson is a British author, speaker and international advisor, on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education and arts bodies. He was Director of the Arts in Schools Project and Professor of Arts Education at the University of Warwick, and is now Professor Emeritus at the same institution
The embodiment of the prestigious TED Conference and its commitment to spreading new ideas, Sir Ken Robinson is the most watched speaker in TED’s history. His 2006 talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity” has been viewed online over 40 million times and seen by an estimated 350 million people in 160 countries.
Sir Ken Robinson works with governments, education systems, international agencies, global corporations and some of the world’s leading cultural organisations, to unlock the creative energy of people and organisations.
In Sir Ken's words, his mission is " to transform the culture of education and organisations with a richer conception of human creativity and intelligence."
From my perspective, he is a wonderfully engaging speaker, with content that resonates deep inside your soul.
At the heart of us all is creativity, in some form or another. I love the way Sir Ken talks about creating the climate, to enable us all to flourish, as opposed to a command and control culture, which only enables us to wither.
Whatever your interests, job or ambitions, listening to Sir Ken cannot fail to enrich your views and knowledge.
"Ideas, inspiration and practical tools to help make the messy business of being human just a little bit easier" Katie Elliot
I'm not sure we have much more to add to that! An inspirational and humble role model - we discovered Katie through the Do Lectures and can highly recommend the talk she gave there and the inspiring work she does.
Do lectures talk:
Dr Kathryn Mannix has spent her medical career working with people who have incurable, advanced illnesses. Starting in cancer care and changing career to become a pioneer of the new discipline of palliative medicine, she has worked as a palliative care consultant in teams in hospices, hospitals and in patients’ own homes, optimising quality of life even as death is approaching.
She is passionate about public education, and having qualified as a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist in 1993, she started the UK’s (possibly the world’s) first CBT clinic exclusively for palliative care patients, and devised ‘CBT First Aid’ training to enable palliative care colleagues to add new skills to their repertoire for helping patients.
She is the author of the best selling book 'With the end in mind - how to live and die well' and a personal role model of mine for her pioneering work in this area.
Without mortality and thinking about death, we cannot embrace life to it's fullest. Kathryn's work is a fundamental building block to enable us to have this conversation and ultimately, empower us all, to live more meaningful and authentic lives.
Her video for BBC ideas on 'dying is not as bad as you think' was a turning point in our society, for bringing this subject out into the open.
BBC ideas video:
Marjorie Kelly is Executive Vice President and a Senior Fellow with The Democracy Collaborative.
Her recent book, Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution, released in 2012 by Berrett-Koehler, has won a Nautilus Book Award.
Marjorie was previously a Fellow at Tellus Institute, and cofounder/President of Business Ethicsmagazine.
For five years she was a lead consultant on the Ford Foundation’s WealthWorks initiative.
Marjorie's book is unique, in that it is probably one of the most fundamentally transforming reads published to date - what could the world look like if we changed the basis and model upon which we build organisations?
Oh the question we so need to address........
This organisation is truly helping to shape the future - with insightful, evidence based information on doing business differently - better, stronger and bolder.
They publish cutting edge research and work with truly inspirational organisations. Their articles share a wealth of knowledge, critical for navigating our brave new world.
The fourth industrial revolution is about so much more than technology. It’s a human, ethical and morale revolution too. The world is changing, it needs to, it has to.
Corporate rebels are leading the way in terms of re-defining consulting and producing far more rounded, fit for purpose methods and approaches, based on real life experiences and evidence.
A top role model for me.
Frederick Laloux wrote a book on management, then self-published it with no PR and pretty much changed the world!
The management philosophy 'Teal' was born.
His book 'Reinventing Organisations has sold more than 400,000 copies and speaks to our hearts - about a more soulful and conscious way to run organisations, as communities not machines.
There are not enough words to explain the connection this book and Fredericks ideas, made with people, desperately searching for a more meaningful way to be.
You just need to read it!
James Victore is an author, artist and designer to brave clients.
As a creative thought leader James is a sought after speaker known for his timely wisdom and impassioned views about creativity and it’s place in the world.
He teaches how to illuminate your individual gifts in order to find clarity and purpose. His work is represented in the permanent collections of museums worldwide.
I read his new book 'Feck Perfuction in less than a day - it is nothing short of genius.
Creativity is a vastly under-estimated skill, that all organisations will need to find a way to unleash, if they are to stand any chance of survival, as we move forwards in an unknown and unpredictable future.
Simon is an unshakable optimist who believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together.
Described as “a visionary thinker with a rare intellect,” Simon teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people. With a bold goal to help build a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every single day feeling inspired, feel safe at work, and feel fulfilled at the end of the day, Simon is leading a movement to inspire people to do the things that inspire them.
Simon is the author of multiple best selling books including Start With Why, Leaders Eat Last, Together is Better, and Find Your Why. His new book, The Infinite Game, will be released in June 2019.
I love his amazing style of telling stories, that really get to the heart of the matter.
Youtube talk on the 5 lessons to remember (my favourite):
Another inspirational person for us. Dan's work on people, motivation and purpose is ground breaking.
Believe it or not, it's not just about the money. Autonomy, purpose and mastery plays the most significant role in people's motivation.
It is really so surprising to learn that we all want to actually make a difference in the world and leave a legacy?
As Larry Fink, CEO of Black Rock, a multinational investment management corporation has commented "Purpose unifies management, employees, and communities. It drives ethical behaviour and creates an essential check on actions that go against the best interests of stakeholders. Purpose guides culture, provides a framework for consistent decision-making, and, ultimately, helps sustain long-term financial returns for the shareholders of your company."
The old ways of doing business are just that old - motivation and employee engagement is key to running a sustainable and successful organisation in today's world. Dan's work is critical to understanding how this can be achieved.
A definite yes for Dan from me.
What can we say - a revolution in her own right. The need for human connection is needed now more than ever.
Human connection first, purpose next, then a community and structure, capable of delivering these principles, will sustain us all in our brave and unpredictable world.
Brene's research and approach to leadership is nothing short of a revolution. We call it 'showing up and owing up', Brene calls it 'dare to lead' amongst other things.
An organisations lifeblood is their culture. A good culture requires an environment of safety, courage and vulnerability. Although these are hard skills, Brene believes they are teachable.
At the heart of daring to lead, there are 4 key components:
1. Rumbling with vulnerability
2. Living into our values
3. Braving trust
4. Learning to rise
Brene has started to change the narrative and behaviours which have forced so many people to 'armour up', to protect themselves, live with shame and ultimately, unfulfilled potential.
I believe her work is critical to enable us all to be whole and live far richer and engaged lives.
Brene has a number of bestselling books, all linked together by her work on human connection, shame and vulnerability:
Braving the wildernesss
The gifts of imperfection
Dare to lead
The TED talk Brene gave which started the revolution:
Hannah Gadsby is an Australian comedian and storyteller. She uses comedy, to tell truths - often uncomfortable, sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes hilarious.
Her tenth solo show was Nanette and it re-defined comedy. Hannah stood on stage, completely took off her armour and brought in a new age of raw, unfiltered truth, we are all so desperate for in our lives,
She is perhaps, one of the most highly intelligent, intuitive, courageous people I have ever had the honour to listen to.
She will make you laugh, cry, feel anger, feel happiness, but above all - she will bring you alive in a true reality.
Please do watch her amazing show Nanette (on netflix), and watch out for her new tour 'Douglas'.
The world needs more Hannah Gadsby's, thats for sure.
Johann Hari is the New York Times best selling author of 'Lost Connections - why you are depressed and how to find hope'.
His messages are quite simply, revolutionary. His book is a game changer, when it comes to understanding depression.
It's about so much more than our chemical make up.
Perhaps, for the first time ever, we are starting to get some clarity on why, so many of us, are living with depression and what we can do to find light at the end of the tunnel.
As a sufferer of depression and a fellow human being, I highly recommend this book - whether or not you have suffered with depression.
Business with purpose - it's no longer about being the best in the world but being the best for the world.
"without a sense of purpose no company can achieve its full potential" Larry Fink, President of Blackrock
And so we now have Certified B Corporations. Certified B Corporations are verified by the non-profit B Lab who stand for a positive impact on society and the environment.
Effectively this means that people and the planet now sit equally at the table with profit - although I would argue that people and planet come first driving value then profit. But I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I'll take this equality as a massive step forward from where we are right now.
B lab compile a list of the top 1,000 companies who achieve the highest scores within their B impact assessment. They are referred to as Honorees. Click the link below to check them out - but before you do, ask yourself:
Is your organisation on this list?
Is your organisation aspiring to be on this list?
Is your organisation a certified B corporation?
Has your organisation heard of certified B corporations?
Does your organisation care about being a certified B corporation?
The fundamentals of capitalism are changing, don't get left behind.
inspired by Jay Coen Gilbert - thank you
Some new ‘rules of the road’ for a truly modern organisation:
1. ‘Transactional transformation’ is simply repeating what has already been done which means you are probably in an ‘over fished’ sea. Stop doing it
2. ‘Seemingly impossible’ transformation is the real deal and the only true chance you’ve got for real growth. Find the passion and guts to do it
3. Transformation is evolution not revolution. It needs to happen as a matter of course, it’s just the new business as usual. If that’s all you offer there is no resistance to change as there is nothing to resist
4. Attracting the right people is predominantly about a ‘can do’ mindset, ability to self manage, empathy to get the best from others and being able to truly ‘see’. Technical skills and experience are the support act
5. Shareholder return is just one outcome for success. Doing something that is purposeful, adds real value to the way we live and allows people to experience work as a something they want to do are critical ingredients to attracting customers and employees
6. Ego’s, power bases and political manoeuvres are out. Competency, trust, innovation and being a ‘whole’ person is in.
Intriguing view on crypto currencies and bitcoin.
Why Everyone Missed the Most Mind-Blowing Feature of Cryptocurrency.
A blueprint for 'seemingly impossible' transformation - a common and purposeful goal, a culture built on trust and 3 distinct but related groups of people: Visionaries, Translators and Inventors:
a) Visionaries are unafraid of failure, truly 'get’ the customer and are not constrained by reality or only what has been done before
b) Translators have a 'can do' mindset, are fantastic communicators that help people to understand abstract concepts and they instinctively know how to make the abstract a reality
c) Inventors have great technical knowledge only surpassed by their thirst for more, they are driven by 'how' and live in an alternative universe.
These groups cannot be managed or led, they are conducted like a finely tuned orchestra and mentored as emerging prodigies. Welcome to the organisation of the future.
We always talk about 'organisational transformation'. Well, we believe that this is a misnomer. It is not the organisation that needs transforming but the people that bring the organisation to life.
We can re-model, re-structure, re-engineer processes and come up with ingenious technological solutions but without the hearts and minds of people, true transformation is simply not possible.
In a world where transformation is now the 'norm' and 'business as usual' the exception, it is absolutely vital that we harness the passion, belief, motivation, imagination and sheer determination of people. Without it, we can only deliver 'transactional' transformation based on what has already been tried and tested, with it we can deliver the 'seemingly impossible' transformation based on imagination and the sheer guts to give it a go.
I think this seems a more intuitive way to think about organisations - creating ripples that flow inwards and outwards, to steer direction, create purpose and harness the passion and creativity of people, to deliver a far richer set of outcomes than simply profit.
Profit is only as good as the value it can create.
Value only counts if it adds something positive to someone’s life, in some way.
Neither profit, value or outcomes can become a legacy if they are not accessible to the people, who can benefit the most from them.
Re-defining capitalism therefore becomes a way, whereby you do the best for others rather than simply being the best only for yourself.
And it feels a hell of a lot better than climbing the corporate ladder alone, with armour and without purpose.
We all have a chance to leave this world in a better place than when we entered it.
That’s the opportunity of a lifetime, don’t squander it. Who is prepared to be the bright spots to start to drive this change?