Upgrading the motivational operating system: A conversation with Daniel Pink

The world of work has changed, but in many ways the model of motivation hasn’t. Are the traditional rewards of today’s organizations up to the challenge of motivating people to complete creative, complex tasks in creative ways? And can the open source way offer inspiration?

Daniel Pink is a bestselling author and one of the country’s top business speakers. His latest book is Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. You can watch him deliver an insightful and entertaining introduction to Drive at the TED Conference.

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Meeting our business challenges with creativity

A tide is turning for the state of business. We have come to realize the old ways of innovating and competing are no longer moving fast enough. We’re looking for new answers, and more importantly, new ways of finding them.

This past week I had the pleasure of attending the 25th annual Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh. The forum brought together business and government leaders from across the state to discuss the challenges facing our economy as we race to compete in a changing world.

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Giving creative projects a community kickstart

The project was called Kind of Bloop. An 8-bit tribute to the Miles Davis masterpiece “Kind of Blue”. Yes, the same sound you remember from first-generation Nintendo games.

Re-imagining “Kind of Blue” was an idea Andy Baio always dreamed about. Baio is a journalist, programmer, and also the CTO of Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects.

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Reflections on the Coach K Leadership Conference

dukefuqua This week I had the pleasure of attending the Coach K Leadership Conference at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

The theme of the conference was leading in times of uncertainty. I won’t try to summarize points from all of the presenters–mostly because that’s already been done, and done well: Just go to the Twitter stream to follow the discussion as it happened.

Instead I’ll share what I took away from the experience. Speaker James McCaffrey, EVP and Chief Strategy Officer of Turner Broadcasting, said leaders need to take the time to reflect–on the changes happening in the world and what it means to your business, and on your own experiences so you can learn from them. I agree.
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Building brand through storytelling: Seven elements great stories have in common

Here’s a quick story:
A friend of mine and I had stopped at a gas station for a soda on a summer afternoon. I was probably about 10 years old. As we were drinking, I was mindlessly tearing the plastic label off my bottle and shredding it into pieces. He watched me do this for a few minutes, then said, “I hate tearing off the labels because it makes the soda taste bad.”

This was my first lesson in branding.

Few ways of communication are more universally human than storytelling. Stories give full-color context to black-and-white facts. They’re designed for sharing: Easy to tell, easy to remember. Simply start at the beginning and let the story unfold.

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My rule of thumb for delivering a message? Less prose, more poetry

We all know how fast the world is moving. Attention spans are short. Our mission is to get our ideas read, remembered, and retold. It doesn’t matter whether you’re crafting company strategy or writing marketing copy. When you need to inspire change, you need to make your message stick.

Which means the communicator has to do the hard work of organizing, curating, and designing the message–so the reader doesn’t have to.

In other words: less prose, more poetry.

Case in point: Last weekend I picked up the book 52 Rules of Thumb a smart, well-written book that compiles and curates some of the best business advice the author, Alan M. Webber, has collected in his career.

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Mixtape as metaphor for creativity

Mixtape is the traditional term. Today we call them playlists because there’s no more tape. Mix CD just never felt right.

But whether mixtape or playlist, the idea is the same. You’re choosing songs from one context, placing them in another, and arranging them carefully to create an intended effect.

If you do your job right, not only will individual songs speak to the listener, but the entire playlist as a whole. It will create a single cohesive idea, a story that begins in one place then takes you to another–each song creating a bridge to the next.

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