Crowdfunding: The Creative Activist

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The first time I heard about crowdfunding and crowdsourcing was at Steve Olshers’ Internet Prophet Speakers conference from Jake Nickell, founder and CEO of Threadless.  I was so intrigued that I contacted both Steve and Jake and interviewed them. Little did I know several years later I would be using crowdfunding to raise resources for The Creative Activist: Make the World Better, One Person, One Action at a Time and my initiative to build a community of creative activists. It’s a beautiful concept: have readers/friends fund your book directly in exchange for access to the process as well as exclusive gifts and goodies available at various pledge levels.

My publisher, Amy Quale of Wise Ink Creative Publishing suggested I speak with Pubslush. Run by mother-daughter team Hellen and Amanda L Barbara, this company is focused on providing crowdfunding services tailored to the needs of authors, agents, self-publishers and small presses, which aren’t necessarily the same as those of technologists, filmmakers and musicians.

 

There are two main differences between Pubslush and other crowdfunding sites, the first of which is that Pubslush offers its project owners “personalized, one-on-one advice, targeted for books,” said Amanda L. Barbara. For a fee you can hire a coordinator who will help you with levels of gifts to marketing ideas.  The second difference is that once a crowdfunding campaign is successful, the ‘fund’ button morphs into a ‘buy’ button so that anyone late to the project can easily find out where the book is for sale, hooking into Amazon, Itasca or Barnes & Noble.

 

I think what clinched it for me was their commitment to global literacy. Their cause is “for every book sold a book will be donated to a child in need.” I believe in giving back and collaborating with community partners.  Ten percent of the proceeds from bit.ly/CreativeActivistsPubslush campaign and all book sales are going to http://www.nwcasa.org/. The Northwest Center Against Sexual Assault. They provide counseling services for survivors and their families and outreach into the community.

 

The Creative Activist: Make the World Better, One Person, One Action at a Time is an inspirational toolbox to help clarify your passion and purpose and to develop effective strategies to be the change maker you wish to be. It contains thirty-six stories form change makers who are dedicated to using their imagination and creative expression to make a positive difference for individuals, communities and the world.

 

I have a big dream to have creative activist’s communities/clubs in the workplace, on college campuses, and around the globe. Too often I watch the news that is so horrible and devastating and I feel helpless like everyone else, I often wonder, Why should I try? What can one person do to make a difference, anyway? I am here to tell you one person does make a difference. You have more influence and impact than your think. You have a sphere of influence—your kids watch you, you have friends and coworkers, etc. We are all more creative than we think. Creativity is not just for artists and designers—creativity is the way you think and the way your unique mind works. It’s different for all of us. Ideas are the most important currency in solving world problems today. Everything you say and do matters. We need new voices and visions to open door and create changes.

 

The Creative Activist Community on Facebook  bit.ly/CreativeActivists and the Creative Activist Retreat: Be the Change You Wish to See in the World being held at Catalyst Ranch in Chicago, September 25th, 2015 are places that encourage inventiveness, originality, and creativity to teach, bridge gaps, foster understanding, build self-esteem, and solve problems.  It is where you can find a tribe of like minded people who can be your partners in believing. The spirit of The Creative Activist is found in kindness, compassion, and every act of paying it forward.

 

Imagine what the world would look like if we all made a commitment to improve the quality of life for all. We each have a dream, an inherent drive to make our mark on the world and leave a lasting legacy.

Supporting bit.ly/CreativeActivistsPubslush   is your opportunity to leave a lasting legacy. Be a role model, mentor or volunteer. Thank you for your generous donations.                                                                                                                                        TCA-3D-mockup

Cultivate Creativity and Fun in the Workplace…Priceless

Cultivate Creativity and Fun in the Workplace…Priceless

Imagine yourself working in a place bursting with energy and vitality. The people around you are happy all day long. They love what they are doing and are committed to your vision and mission. They are laughing and smiling.

Creativity and imagination are key to the success of organizations today. In stimulating, fun and playful cultures, employees are more productive. They have 51% lower turnover (Gallup) They have 125% less burnout (HBR), 43% more productivity (Hay Group) and 33% more profitability (Gallup).                                                                                googles-workspace19

Here are five ways to make your workplace more creative and fun.

  1. Invest in imagination. Allocate time to day dream and play with possibilities. At Google employees are given one day a week to work on a project of their choice that doesn’t fall within their formal job description. Google reports that they get many ideas that can be applied to the rest of their organizations’ core work.
  2. Have fun. Get the office together and have a white board scribble and doodle contest, dress up as your favorite superhero or crank up the music and dance and watch how the creativity begins to flow. Children laugh an average of 400 times a day and that number drops to only 15 times a day by the time people reach age 35.  Laughter releases endorphins which make you feel good. Laughing increases oxygen intake, thereby replenishing and invigorating cells. It also increases the pain threshold, boosts immunity, and relieves stress. When you are less stressed you are more creative.
  3. Cultivate curiosity.  Regardless of where or how we work, the best creative minds are the most curious.  One of my favorite movies growing up was Auntie Mame. Mame implores her young nephew Patrick to avoid dullness by “soaking up life, down to your toes.”  Take a class. What have you always been interested in learning? Try a new recipe or restaurant. Share it with your colleagues.
  4. Do your brainstorming offsite. Go to the amusement park and take a ride on the roller coaster or get in a hot air balloon. Go to a museum and see things from a new perspective.
  5. Design an inspiring and flexible work space. Google again had been a leader in this arena.  Employees glide around the building on razor scooters and climb ladders between floors. They design their own workspace with treadmills and tinker toys while writing on walls. You can start small and rearrange the furniture. Hang art work on the walls or cover them with black board paint. Bring in fun things such as Nerf balls, a basketball and hoop, or party blowers.

One of my favorite places to go for meetings is Catalyst Ranch in Chicago. Nestled in a building that dates to the 1880’s in the old meatpacking district,  there are 6 rooms all furnished with vintage furniture, ethnic artwork, toys, books, magazines, colorful walls and filled with natural light.                                                                   catalyst ranch

The creator is Eva Niewiadomski, who I had the pleasure of interviewing for The Winning Adventure.

“When I started Catalyst Ranch in 2002, it was with the thought that there was a different way to enable creative thinking. There are better processes and better outputs versus sitting in a hotel room or a conference room back at the office and trying to force people to come up with better ways to do things or to think differently when you are constantly in that same sort of space. I had created some of those sorts of different spaces when I was at Quaker Oats,  a couple of  innovation hallways and a creativity room as of sideline to my day job.  I decorated my desk, I had a lot of art  work around, people loved coming and having meetings at my desk. There was a different energy in how we approach things because there was a different physical environment. Many people take for granted the importance of physical space. They don’t really understand how important that element is in enabling better things to come out at the end of the day whether it be you are training someone or whether it is a strategic planning meetings or whether it’s a product ideation. If you can help people’s brains engage in a different way, then you are going to come out with better results than if you just sat them in a plain conference room and say “Okay, now I want you to come up with a whole new process” or “I want you to learn something” and before you know it, people are zoning out.” For more information and an opportunity to play with slinky, pipe cleaners and play doh go to http://www.catalystranch.com/

Striving to create a fun, exciting, dynamic workplace where imagination, curiosity, collaboration and play is encouraged should be the goal of any company. Looking at creativity as a most valuable asset and treasure has been embraced in the corporate world so eloquently by Zappos’ core value “create fun and a little weirdness.

Rae Luskin is the owner of The Winning Adventure
http://thewinningadventure.com  Author of two books : Art From My Heart and the recently released Learning from Failure: 11 Sure Ways to Turn Your Worst Failures Into Your Biggest Success. Rae is known for her ability to make creativity and innovation easy for anyone to achieve.