think differently

What Ideas Are Keeping You From Your Big Opportunity?

Thinking outside the box means challenging things you’ve taken for granted. In the case of Benjamin Shine, it meant using tulle (that fabric used for tutus) and an iron to create stunning art. Such an unexpected medium—and yet so beautiful.
What ideas are locking you up and keeping you from discovering an entirely new way of looking at your work?

View video here

Source: Creative Market

Film Brings the World to Kids With Cancer

Dreams can happen—even in hospitals. Take, for example, the St. Jude Dream Adventures, where people act as tour guides to adventures around the world—and have real-time interaction with these experiences. Film can open up a whole new world for your clients.
How might you think of new ways to reach your business goals with film?


How to Boost Your Creativity

We know some of the enemies of creativity—fatigue, stress, long days at work. We’ve all been at the place where even the Jaws of Life couldn’t extract a creative idea from our brain.
But creativity is something anyone can nurture. According to The Energy Project, we can train our brain to be more creative by accessing the “big picture” mode. This happens when we set aside uninterrupted time that allows day dreaming rather than analytical thinking. Think exercise, drawing, music, cooking for pleasure, gardening—or any other restful hobby.
In other words, we need free space for our mind—the kind of thing some of us grew up thinking of as wasted time. We need unproductive moments where the mind is free to explore without the pressure of a deadline or a specified outcome.
The rewards of creativity are energy and great ideas. So go ahead. Schedule some time in your week to let your brain wander and see what happens.

Give Your Audience a Reason to Reflect

It’s the end of an all-day meeting, where substantial, important ideas have been shared and discussed. This organization worked with us to create this video that invites the audience into a moment of personal reflection at the end of the event. Not only did it provide visual variety, it created a mental oasis for those attending.
Pairing inspiration with information is a successful way to convey strategy and build culture. Give people time to personalize strategies and messages, and see what happens.

The Unskippable Geico Ads

Every now and then really creative people find a way around people’s finely-honed abilities to skip ads. These hilarious Geico ads are a stellar example.
Humor doesn’t work in every industry, perhaps, but the plethora of cat videos on YouTube tells us that people want to laugh. Even if it’s an ad.
What ads have you decided not to skip?

A New Way of Thinking about Banking

When Baker Boyer, the state’s oldest bank, launched their rebranding effort, they called on us to help them introduce their team of D.S. Baker Advisors—a concept that represented an entirely new way of thinking about banking. We worked with them to produce this print piece and a video which explain how their elite team of financial consultants helps clients build financial legacies.

Look at Things Differently

Relying on assumptions is an efficient way for our brains to operate. But sometimes we make assumptions that can limit creativity. In this brief video, you’ll see that the underlying assumptions about how to build a structure were challenged—and resulted in a church made from living trees.
What assumptions are holding you back today?

2015 Cultural Trends Business People Should Know About

If you’re in the business of communicating or marketing, then you’ll want to know about cultural trends.  
Here’s a quick little slide show that can give you a snapshot of trends—from lifelogging and cardboard products to The Alternet and moodgeisting (technologies that read emotion). While many of these may not take off, some will. So strap yourself in and take a glimpse into the year ahead.
Do you see any trends here that suggest business opportunities in your industry?

Why Leaders and Communicators Should Lead the Talk about the Good Things

There’s an oppressive cloud that hangs over humans—often without their permission. And that’s how we’re hard-wired, says Bryan Sexton, Ph.D., reflecting on research at the Patient Safety Center of Duke University Health System.
It’s because we have to remember the bad things in order to not repeat them. The hissing of a snake reminds us that danger is near and we ought not have to relearn that lesson in life. So the bad stuff tends to stick more than the good stuff.
Unless, he says, we can make a more concerted effort to remember the good stuff. And that’s where their research gets practical.
By writing down three good things that happened to us—and our role in them—at the end of each day, we cultivate the habit of looking for the good. This helps develop resiliency and address exhaustion, stress, burn-out and even depression. Their results are rather striking.
You can see the 11-minute summary of the research here—if you’re curious.

And now let us link this to the world of communication and leadership.
Employee engagement and performance is surely linked to burn-out and stress. It’s the nature of most of our work to be resolving problems. The communicator can play a vital role in restoring the balance and organizational energy by reminding us of the good things, like:

  • The impact of our work on other humans
  • Successes
  • The reasons behind our work
  • The benefits of navigating difficult passages

Leaders and communicators play a vital role in restoring balance and focus to the workforce by what they talk about.
Perhaps we can start with logging our own three good things each day.

7 Tips on Engaging Employees in Your Strategy

Without employee support, no strategy—no matter how brilliant—gets executed. Aligning employee behavior is one of the most important tasks of leadership. Here are seven tips that can help you achieve this:

  • No CEO can speak personally to every employee. So be sure to deliver the message in a format that can be shared and spread organically. Generally, video is the medium of choice because it engages all of the senses.
  • Give employees a reason to believe. Help employees move from fear of change to acceptance and implementation, by showing how it will impact customers.
  • Make it relevant to their world, their concerns. Skip all the technical details and show how it will benefit them.
  • Make it speak to the heart, as well as the head. People don’t change behavior because they get a list of reasons to do so. They change because something has stirred within them a desire to change. To be successful, your strategy needs both the detailed action items and the visionary, inspirational component.
  • Make the destination as real and compelling as you can. You are, after all, asking them to make a journey to an unknown destination. There are no travel brochures except the ones you create—so invest in making them well.
  • Use the best tools available. This is no job for the predictable PowerPoint presentation. To move people, the communication tool should engage all of the senses with sound, visuals and words. It should reflect the same level of quality that your workplace does.
  • Coherence. And finally, words matter. But actions talk, too. Make sure that there’s coherence between what you say and how you live your talk throughout your organization.

Need some inspiration? Here’s a video we just produced for a large, nonprofit health care system to launch their new strategic plan.

Adventist Health Strategy Video

Adventist Health Banners

When to Use An Infographic

An infographic depicts information using graphics and text. If you search for “infographic” you’ll get more than 15 million results—some that are very effective and some that are explosions of bad ideas. So when should you use an infographic?

  • When your message can be illustrated (visuals and words) better than described (words only)
  • When you need to show relationships or flow of information
  • When there’s data to explain that is meaningful to your viewer
  • When you need to make something simple
  • When you have a short time to deliver a complicated message

Like any communication tool, the key to making an infographic work is clarity, great design and spare but effective use of words. In this example we produced, the infographic provides an easy instruction for a new process. It lets the viewers decide how deep to go and where to start. Do they want to know why? What? Or just how?

Have you seen any infographics that you think worked well?

Get Noticed

We’re all overwhelmed with information, so first impressions matter. They determine whether the recipient will go deeper—or walk away.

Sometimes you have to break out of the pack to get noticed—before you can make your case. This can be done with humor, arresting graphics, interactive features or by delivering content that’s designed to be kept.

 Need some inspiration? >> 


Next time you want to create a brochure, think creatively about format. In this piece, individual cards increase engagement and deliver bite-sized messages that aren’t overwhelming—all in a package that uses novelty to pique the reader’s interest.

There’s no media buy with this print calendar, and its petite size makes it ideal for a tack board and a year-long reminder of the sponsoring organization.


This handsome centennial direct mail piece defied being thrown away, by including a gift pen and beautiful note cards featuring regional icons.

In this video designed to recruit new businesses, see how powerful words deliver a message that couldn’t be sent by words alone.

We helped a national association promote their website digitally by developing this short video that highlights the site’s benefits.

Put Your Walls to Work for You

Invest in your culture by using your own facility to deliver stories, iconography and imagery that supports your mission. There’s no media buy—and it takes advantage of free and well-trafficked real estate that reaches visitors and employees.

We worked with Walla Walla University to develop this wall feature that puts faces on their mission and celebrates generations of student life on campus. Photos from today and yesterday draw the viewers in to shared student experiences that depict the vital spirit of this organization.
Wall displays aren’t just for museums. Where else have you seen these used effectively?

Is there a Cost to Rudeness at Work?

Rudeness in the workplace is up dramatically in the last 14 years, according to this Harvard Business Review podcast (click below to listen) by Christine Porath, associate professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. And there’s reason to believe there’s a cost associated with it.

As professional communicators, we can help set a tone of civility in our corporate communications and by our own behavior. After all, good manners, at their best, aren’t about being stuffy or pretentious, but about being respectful of our fellow human beings. Living together in a home, community or nation means that our ideas and behaviors will inevitably impact those around us. Civility and common courtesy can act as a lubricant for social behavior—making life more pleasant for everyone.

I say it’s time we buck this trend, and decide that civility isn’t just good for corporations, it’s good for neighborhoods, communities and cities.

The High Cost of Rudeness at Work

Digging for Words

When one of our employees—a young writer—shared this poem with me, I thought of you—our readers. We, too, use the metaphorical pen as a tool, but my own father’s love for a shovel, though not his vocation, shaped my own love for the beauty of life as it spills from the earth.

What is your pen—or shovel?


By Seamus Heaney

Between my finger and my thumb

The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound

When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:

My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds

Bends low, comes up twenty years away

Stooping in rhythm through potato drills

Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft

Against the inside knee was levered firmly.

He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep

To scatter new potatoes that we picked,

Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.

Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day

Than any other man on Toner’s bog.

Once I carried him milk in a bottle

Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up

To drink it, then fell to right away

Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods

Over his shoulder, going down and down

For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap

Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge

Through living roots awaken in my head.

But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb

The squat pen rests.

I’ll dig with it.