December 18, 2013 / ALWAYS BE LEARNING
December 18, 2013
“Brands are People and People are Brands Today.” -Shawn Parr, Bulldog Drummond
Today more than ever people are brands and brands are people meaning what people seek working inside your company is also what the people you are serving on the street seek. While the big company seeks reinvention and the internal workers seeks reinvention, the customer is seeking, doing and being ‘reinvention.’ Time to join in.
On the coattails of books such as Seth Godin’s We Are All Weird: The Myth of Mass and the End of Compliance and The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? people around the world are finding themselves empowered by reinvention. From personal and professional recalibration to the re-mastering of entire industries, categories and educational platforms, people, no matter how young or old, are sharing creative avenues of reinvention. The time is nigh and the marketplace is heating up with people’s new ideas of engagement motivated by how they wish to live.
With such change at hand we see larger ships and brands having trouble turning on a dime; smaller, agile startups, entrepreneurs or solopreneurs are better able to create in “beta.” The startup mentality is touted as a major influencer in business today as it addresses a landscape in flux with evolutionary iterations of active versus reactive engagements. What does this look like in practice?
“The world is a better place and companies thrive when the worker is inspired, connected and able to understand and contribute at a higher level.” –Yvonne Perez Emerson, Founder of WeMake Portland, Oregon
Innovation through lifelong learning
I spoke recently with Yvonne Emerson Perez, a design studio owner in Portland, Oregon who eats, sleeps and breathes agile reinvention. She has turned her studio into an inspiration engine for the community she serves.
WeMake is a creativity-based community, curating inspirational experiences based on do-it-yourself inventiveness, old world craft and new world thinking. Through programs, gatherings and experiences, attendees leverage their own assets, knowledge, skillsets and motivations in a side-by-side environment known as the WeMake community. Yvonne has established herself as the content facilitator, while the community drives the direction it takes through group contribution, engagement and response.
Passion fuels contribution and growth
Brands can learn from Yvonne’s business principles by fostering an open environment for innovation, inspiration, group collaboration and contribution, challenging the way things have seemingly always been done. Yvonne describes branding and design as a community responsibility: “In order for me to be a good brand creator/leader and designer I am responsible to explore and push myself beyond my comfort zones, beyond my periphery and into the world at large. Whether it is learning real life skills such as making chocolate, leather-crafting, sketching or building a bird house; whether it’s sharing creative processes together with other thought leaders and doers or engaging in give-back benefits for art education, engaging in evolving ourselves ups the game for everyone.”
As time goes by, people within the platform not only educate each other but are becoming more willing to contribute to group and personal reinvention overall. This challenges their embedded feelings to compete and be the best at all costs, resulting in a collection of creative individuals building upon and competing through healthier roads of contribution.
Today people are overworked, overwhelmed and over-consumed and seek simpler, more potent ways to live, connect and contribute. Communities like WeMake are paving the path for companies to assume responsibility in creating amazing experiences, teaching creatively what they know to the world and accelerating everyone involved. These self-styled innovation and skill-set platforms are the new ways and means that enable us to rebuild, reeducate, reinvent, and design lives, professions, and careers, and ultimately our society as a whole.
In a world in which education is expensive, not yet retooled or up to date, living life in beta can mean relying on each other to educate and inspire—groups such as WeMake play a vital role.
In challenging times it can be important to remember the adage: If my town does well (town meaning company, industry, community, family, state, nation, etc.), we all do well. With this attitude in mind, imagine the possibilities.