Be prepared

The idea of being a scout has always seemed romantic to me, all Davey Crocket and Dan’l Boone (no doubt influenced by the corny black and white TV shows of my childhood). I guess in a way a great deal of the stuff I do in business is scouting for clients and students who seem eager to have a map of this thing we’ve described as the creative economy.  I wrote a speech the other day and wrapped it up with a list of 10 things to prepare yourself for life in the creative economy, inspired by a new book called Mavericks at Work. It was intended for a general audience, but you might find some themes worth considering ...

1. Be distinctive and have a clear sense of purpose.
To find out what to do with your life you need to know what matters to you.

2. Don’t let short term thinking distract you from the big picture
Whether it is a taking a failure personally or the chance to earn good money now in a job you hate, short term thinking can divert you from the way forward. Neither will be the end of the world.

3. Be proactive and provocative (but watch out for the backlash)
Looking for 100% approval and acceptance is a mission that is doomed to fail. Helen Clark may not appeal to everybody, but her style is distinctive and she only needs 40% of the vote to win the big job.

4. If you weren’t here tomorrow would you be missed?
This has to be the ultimate measure of the contribution you make. When you are innovating, inventing new ideas, will they enrich people’s lives or simply be another choice in a world overpopulated with choice.

5. Believe in your ideas, stay focused…get them done
If you have clarity of purpose, you’re on the road. How you react to negativity and competition will be the critical success factors. Even the most experienced people in the world might find it hard to understand your ideas, or be threatened by them. Stay on track, do the work. Get it done.

6. Develop networks of people to help you achieve your goals

None of us is as smart as all of us. The idea of the rugged individual, going it alone can work, but forging networks can help you solve problems faster. To compete in the 21st Century speed is the key.

7. Share
The more you give the more you get.

8. Challenge yourself to be open to new ideas
Change is scary but inevitable. ’If you don’t like change you will like irrelevance even less.

9. Keep learning
We will never have all the answers. I teach design research methods at Massey University and the most important construct I hope I get across is that purpose of research is not to reach conclusions. Every question we ask should reveal two more worth pursuing. I thought, when I left school at 15 that I was done with it. Next year I plan to complete a masters degree. Our education never ends, either formally or informally. Enquiring minds are essential in every occupation.

10. Have fun
Whether you become a lawyer, a teacher, or a graphic designer there will always be an opportunity to make things work better. Never assume that how things are done today is how they will be done tomorrow.

The magic words are….what if…..

The complete speech is available here. 

Coffee Morning is Wednesday 8 a.m at Strawberry Alarm Clock cafe in Parnell. The details are here.

Hope to meet you there.


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