Questions to help you get better, quicker.

How can you resolve what’s keeping you up at night, today?

Can you now afford to do it for love, not money?

How can you create your own luck?

Have you booked ALL your annual holiday entitlement, in February?

Have you met an Independent Financial Advisor, way before you need to?

Have you thanked all the people who made you, you?

Do you work somewhere different, to help you think different?

Is your company investing in future you?

Have you checked to see if it’s been done before?

Where do you really, really, really want to work?

Have you asked your boss to let you work how you work best?

When did you last wander off to switch back on?

What should you stop, so you can start?

Have you found the courage to meet your greats?

Could you make what makes you live what you do for a living?

Are you building a network by giving, not bragging?

Have you asked for a pay rise?

Have you discovered how much you save by focussing on needs not wants?

Who’s having fun out there?

Can you join them?

 

Cultural-counter-terrorism…

I was lucky enough to catch U2 inToronto, where they plucked Stephanie out of the crowd and she jammed with the band.

It made the crowd go even wilder.

Then the other night they invited Eagles Of Death Metal onto their stage as a cultural act of good will and a restoration of a concert that was tragically stopped due to the recent tragic terrorist act.

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The more the creative industries create beautiful acts, the less tension there is in the world.

So make a Christmas tree out of an old magazine.

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Or a concert venue out of a back garden.

Or the next social platform for good out of a garage hack.

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Then you too can be like U2.

Making the world a more joyful place.

Holly & …

  
…the Ivy.

…cropped, placed on a pudding and ignited with fine Brandy.

…go lightly.

…I name my beloved Holly…

…best left alone for ramblers to enjoy.

…a bright colourful addition to a fine winter’s landscape.

…a risqué nibble for a naive Robin.

Again, on seeing this during my walk, I was reminded and reassured by the late, great Mr. Paul Arden’s creative catalyst tip:

“When stuck, look at the first thing that catches your eye, and make that the beginning of your idea.”
Oh look, there’s a piece of broken twig…

Sweetning the art cuts.

  
With all the cuts in the arts, it makes you so thankful that great people like Sir Henry Tate gave some of his hard earned profits back to the people with free culture.

Turning power stations into cultural monuments.

In a time when Governments are cutting the art budgets, we need brands to step in a fill in these cultural voids, more than ever.

Culture allows us all to switch off and enjoy our down time.

And brands that support that are liked more than those that don’t.

So if you run one or work with one maybe try and combine the CSR, R&D budgets with a bit of the marketing one to create something that leaves a legacy by giving back and sharing the cultural love.

Every time I put a sugar in my tea, I like to think the sweetness will resurface in a gallery or museum where the arts have been funded and kept alive.

Thanks Sir Henry Tate for your generosity.

Long may you keep us all culturally sweet with your exceptionally generous legacy.

A little change can make a big difference.

  
Sometimes the solution to a big problem is tweaking the genius of one idea.

By simply applying a tweak, you’ve done your job.

It takes great balls and confidence to do this, but my old bosses Mike Hannett and Dave Buchanan at Abbott Mead Vickers, unearthed this nugget for me.

“It’s not lazy. It’s just right. Don’t mess it up with any clutter.”

TOMS shoes seemed to have tweaked the classic Buy One Get One Free retail offer to make their revolutionary movement of Buy One Give One Free.

Another great old boss of mine Al Young, has just done a master tweak over at FCB Inferno.

He’s done a Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen to coffee shops with his brilliant Change Please movement.

Thanks Al, Mike&Dave Jamie and Tom for your brilliantly simple tweaks.

What will you make of it?

  
In Brockwell Park there’s a ring of tree trunks around a cluster of fine mature trees.

I love walking there with my dog and he loves weaving in and out of these trunks.

It’s what he’s genetically meant to do and his tail goes off the wagometer!

I often wonder if the tree surgeons put it there to recycle as there was no room on the Lordy?

Provide picnic benches for urban hikers?

A wooden homage to Stone Henge?

Horses for kids to mount and ride into battle with sabre like branches?

Or a slalom route for wannabe working dogs?

What ever the reason, I think when folks DO something really simple, it allows others to join in and play.

What creative play catalyst could you start for the people in your life?

Going against the wind.

  
Justin McCurry wrote a great piece (in Yesterday’s Guardian, page 23) about how a Fukushima art gallery has grown organically in the radioactive wasteland of the previous nuclear power plant disaster.

He tells us how, when most folk panicked and just ran, a few wiser ones stopped for a beat to see which way the wind was blowing. Then went the opposite way. Avoiding the fallout.

The answer my friends was blowing in the wind and it is a great tip should you ever find yourself in such an awful predicament.

The gallery was set up and word spread without fanfare.

Just word of mouth from curious folk who had ventured,again against the grain, and discovered inspiring grass route art.

It got me thinking again of the importance of starting something cultural to counter big negative geopolitical issues.

On my thinkabout this morning I spotted this beachcomber and captured the above shot.

The person was looking for treasure on the banks of the Thames.

A stones throw from parliament.

Maybe finding driftwood which could be whittled into a piece of art and left to raise awareness for passing MPs as they hit the park for a pie or a stroll.

By beach combing whilst most were commuting this person was no doubt enjoying themselves. 

And judging by their still hair do, able to avoid the gales too.

By seeking shelter from the storm on a beautiful beach in the heart of the great city that is London Town.

So be wise and brave.

What stormy situation could you use your creativity to improve?

Creative freedom not genius.

I nipped into Damian Hirst‘s new Newport Street gallery last week.

John Hoyland is on, and I was pleasantly inspired by his free exhibition.

Afterwards whilst flicking through the great books on sale there, one in particular made me think again of the importance of free culture in society:

FREEDOM NOT GENIUS by Damian Hirst.

In it, Mr. Hirst writes about how artists have always thrived by being free to do their thing. And it is this freedom that lets them create their unique work, not some kind of genius.

With the few that are lucky enough to earn a crust from it, in most cases, avoiding fame so that they can continue to create.

I have always loved the notion of creative freedom.

It is imperative our kids play before society and education condition them.

And have always tried to think like a kid, as I work.

Trying to get into that wonderfully playful state of naivety to crack a brief.

Then when running departments, I have always encouraged my teams to do the same.

It is only by being truly free, that we can we create out best work.

Not hindered by fear.

On digesting all the terrible news on the recent events in Paris, it struck me how important it still is, to create and defend places where we can do our best work.

So that people can enjoy and share together.

The arts are essential to counter negativity and acts of aggression.

By filling our lives with inspiring culture, we go on to be inspired and cultural.

This peace logo with the Eiffel tower in was inspired

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And makes the point better than this post.

Again, how telling is it that the artist, Jean Jullien, doesn’t want the fame. (He was just doing what he felt would help.)

Here’s to never-ending creativity and culture.

The world needs it now, more than ever.

Thank you Mr. Hirst, Mr. Hoyland and Monsieur Jullien.

Long may you shine.