Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit: Inspiring As Always!

"My Traits", Mixed Media Journal Page, January 1 2010.

"My Traits", Mixed Media Journal Page, January 1 2010.

Those of you who’ve been following my blog lately, know what a big fan of Art Coach Jennifer (Jenn) Lee’s I am.  Her Right-Brain Business Plan (RBBP) teleconference course a couple of years ago, helped me develop my visual business plan for Collage Your World.  Over the last couple of weeks, despite having an annoying cold, it’s been a real treat to set aside “me time” to “attend” her Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit via the Internet.  At first it took some getting used to watching a number of mediums addressing me on the screen simultaneously: the participants “chatting” up a storm via text ; Jenn (live) and her video guests as wells as their slide presentations!  But in no time I found myself enjoying watching my laptop screen spring to life with the group’s antics and thoughts.  A big congratulations in this regard to Jenn’s technician Jeremie Miller for designing such a warm, inviting and efficient virtual space in which we could all connect!

Even though I’ve attended Jenn’s RBBP in the past, there wasn’t a day that went by during the current summit that I felt I hadn’t learned some new things along the way.  In fact I felt Jenn had added even more life and excitement to the concepts she had taught before.  Taking part in the summit really boosted my spirits and reignited my fervour for continuing to develop my business plans and goals… you know, even when you have a decent plan going you still have off days when you need a lift or feel the need to refresh your ideas – listening to everyone at this summit really jump-started my creative rhythm!  So today, I thought I’d share with you a few crazy and wonderful ideas from it that made my artist soul sing!

You may know, my first visual business plan was a small 8.5 x 11 inch collage which I put together in Photoshop and transformed into wallpaper for my PC and Blackberry.  The following year, still having over 50 unused inspiring collage fragments left over, I created a new 16 x 20 inch visual business plan with them for my studio.  Now thanks to the summit, I’ve discovered many alternative ways to fashion my future visual business project plans…

I really admired Julie Stuart’s method of visual mind mapping to create a business plan.  What a fun way to use words and simple images to give shape to one’s dreams… I also loved the idea of using colour-coded stickies to further add different levels and dimensions to a plan (ie. goals, strategies, actions, etc.) … it’s an astoundingly simple technique that’s both an immediate and flexible way of organizing (and re-organizing!) your thoughts and plans!  This hands-on approach using stickies seems to work especially well for Jenn who integrates them into her yearly (and quarterly) calendars.  As a former secretary, I’m used to having documents saved on my PC, but now I’m realizing the benefits of also having my information open and visibly accessible to me – it’s a great lo-tech option.  I’m definitely going to give the mind mapping and sticky approaches a whirl for some of my projects. 

In my research on making alternative books, I’d run across some great ideas for transforming children’s books into art, but I certainly never considered putting my visual business plan into one like Violette Clark did!  I thought it was an outstanding idea – so much less intimidating then a huge blank page or board… fun from the start because as a substrate/medium, it already evokes a sense of child-like creativity and play.  I like that Violette not only added words and imagery that appealed to her but also included tactile items such as a feather and doll to bring out her plan’s spirit… I truly believe we need these kinds of personal talismans to keep alive that vital sense of creativity that keeps our business goals and dreams alive.  It got me wondering what kinds of sacred objects I could integrate into my own plan….

Similarly, I was blown away by the way Michelle Ward transformed a plain old cereal box into her “Box O Business Brilliance”: a RBBP file-like box containing card collages that fleshed the various themes related to the running of her business including the things she’s grateful for (something so important to remember as we run our businesses).  Michelle’s ingenuity reminded me we don’t have to buy expensive items in which to house our business plans – we can recycle things we find in our homes instead of running down to Staples! (okay, we can still go there for the stickies! :)) Equally zany and brilliant was Tori Deaux’s construction of a character, Emmit the clown (of Circus Serene), as her business plan.  I loved learning how Tori used Emmit (her alter ego) to connect with her clients over the internet.  I used a similar tactic during my art school days as a kind of “fallen angel” and found it to be a very valuable method in building bridges with audiences as well as overcoming my own shyness with the public.  Bravo to Tori for finding a novel way to transform a vulnerability into a something dynamic and successful!  Her creative courage inspires me to find novels ways of addressing my own areas/issues of vulnerability.

I could go on and on about the Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit but I feel I’ve given you a mouthful! … it was a fun and memorable experience.  I know I’ll be putting aside some “white space” time to further reflect on all the new concepts I’ve learned and wish to carry out in future creative business-related endeavours.  As well, dwelling and revelling on the right-brain creative side has also given me more courage in approaching the building of my left-brain plan for when I’m ready to take it to the next level, the bank!  Thanks to Jenn and her team for putting together such a great gathering … it’s such a privilege to be part of this wonderful virtual community – as a result, I’m so proud to share in Jenn’s values and ideals for building a successful creative business… there was a time when others scoffed at me for having such ideals… it’s finally nice to find a place with such kindred spirits!

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