Pure Content

Look at more stuff. Think about it harder.


WNET Channel 13, the New York PBS station featured a series of shows all afternoon and evening reviewing performing arts in the late 20th century and since, based on the offerings of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival over the years, featuring the Kronos Quartet, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, the Bang on a Can festival, Gospel at Colonnus, Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson...I’ve got most of these in my CD collection, and they have definitely formed my middle-age taste, so it definitely grabbed me for the day. And, IMHO, they hold up well.

In the course of the show on Cunningham, he was describing the problems he had with some early choreography software and said something...

”It wasn’t really a mistake. I just didn’t know better”. -- Merce Cunningham

hmmmmm . . .

(Cross-blogged by Frank Patrick on his personal, non-work blog.


read this

If you read one thing this month, read this. Bruce Mau wrote a 43-point manfesto on growth, and it fits in perfectly with Play's philosophies on creativity. Go read it. Now.


the universal business model

I haven't had the time to investigate this, but here's an online version of Dowding's Universal Business Model. It looks pretty in-depth. If you get the chance to investigate, comment below.


playshare - greenlights and black holes

Yesterday saw the "Second Annual Sending of the October 1st Playshare." Enjoy. If you'd like to receive Playshares (like the one that follows) in your Inbox, send us an e-mail. If you want to receive Pure Content (this blog) in your Inbox each day, just enter your e-mail address in that box on the right.

In every organization, there are people with key information. Most of the time, these are the people who are on the front lines -- they know what the customer is feeling, what the client is thinking, and what the market receptivity is for a specific initiative. For some reason, these people are often given the least authority and the least respect within their organization.

Take, for example, nursing homes. In the typical eldercare model, the employees with the least power are the Certified Nurse’s Aides. These individuals often have the least stimulating work, receive the least pay, and get the least respect of the nursing home's employees. At the Wellspring group of nursing homes in Wisconsin, however, the nurse’s aides are given the ability to collaborate with one another, to develop new ideas, and -- most important -- to implement their ideas without requiring a greenlight from a superior.

For example, the nurse’s aides learned that elderly people with Alzheimer’s perceive a large black spot on the floor as a hole. Not wanting to fall into the hole, they’ll move away from it. The nurse’s aides took the initiative to paint “black holes” onto the floor in front of the boiler room and other dangerous areas. Through the decentralization of the decision-making, the Wellspring homes increased the residents’ quality of life, increased the job satisfaction of the employees, and reduced job turnover by 93% per year -- all without increasing the homes’ operating costs.

Similarly, the University of Virginia recently completed the second-largest fund-raising campaign in the history of higher education. They did this by giving power to all 300 of the officers within their department, and not limiting the decision-making to the top-level officers. By collaborating and making decisions at all levels of the organization, they exceeded their original goal of $750 million by over $675 million.

The shift to a decentralized power structure can be hard. The head of the Wellspring group first responded to the black patches on the floor by saying “what did they do to my floor?” When the value of the spots was proven, though, she realized that her concern was misplaced. It can be hard for a top-level executive to release their grip on the day-to-day operations. The onus, then, is on the teammates on the front lines to prove that they have the ability and the willingness to care for their projects as much as (or more than) their bosses.

We’ve heard that knowledge is power. What can you do to turn the “knowledge” people into “power” people? By not needing greenlights, what black holes will open up in your organization?

let's play.


on the road again

Just got back from a speaking gig, and I'll be posting up my notes from it here. So everyone from ACHRA can catch up with any stories they missed, and everyone else can wish they were there to see it live. Won't be able to post it until tomorrow, but check it then.


Rolling Stones do gather moss

"The thing that we all had to learn
is what to do when the passion starts
to generate money"

Keith Richards - Rolling Stones
Fortune - September 20, 2002


Myself along with a couple of teammates were out ‘looking at more stuff, thinking about it harder’ last week endeavoring to generate some cool ideas for our corporate United Way campaign. In doing this, we ended up at Fredericton’s landmark Christ Church Cathedral. After we had been inside for about 5-10 minutes I noticed something: Despite the fact that we were the only people inside the church, we were whispering.

I guess we’ve all been conditioned to think of a church as a place of relative quiet (with the exception of participation in an actual service I suppose…).

In what ways does business whisper due to past conditioning?

Speak up.



who / what / why

At Play we create brands, strategies, new products, and better cultures for Fortune 100 companies. Our formula for creativity: "Look at more stuff. Think about it harder." Pure Content is one place where we do that, daily.

the cool kids' table

Ben Domenech
(politics, football, and a boatload of know-how)

Creative Generalist
(if Pure Content had a doppelganger ...)

Heath Row
(punk + business
+ creativity = Heath)


go go gadget google:

stuck in an airport

A Pattern Language

Creative Company
Orbiting the Giant Hairball
The Ultimate Book of Business Creativity

The Little Prince

Wittgenstein's Poker

The Dancing Wu Li Masters

The Tipping Point

new to you

04/27/2003 - 05/03/2003 04/20/2003 - 04/26/2003 04/13/2003 - 04/19/2003 04/06/2003 - 04/12/2003 03/30/2003 - 04/05/2003 03/23/2003 - 03/29/2003 03/16/2003 - 03/22/2003 03/09/2003 - 03/15/2003 03/02/2003 - 03/08/2003 02/23/2003 - 03/01/2003 02/16/2003 - 02/22/2003 02/09/2003 - 02/15/2003 02/02/2003 - 02/08/2003 01/26/2003 - 02/01/2003 01/19/2003 - 01/25/2003 01/12/2003 - 01/18/2003 01/05/2003 - 01/11/2003 12/29/2002 - 01/04/2003 12/22/2002 - 12/28/2002 12/15/2002 - 12/21/2002 12/08/2002 - 12/14/2002 12/01/2002 - 12/07/2002 11/24/2002 - 11/30/2002 11/17/2002 - 11/23/2002 11/10/2002 - 11/16/2002 11/03/2002 - 11/09/2002 10/27/2002 - 11/02/2002 10/20/2002 - 10/26/2002 10/13/2002 - 10/19/2002 10/06/2002 - 10/12/2002 09/29/2002 - 10/05/2002 09/22/2002 - 09/28/2002 09/15/2002 - 09/21/2002 09/08/2002 - 09/14/2002 09/01/2002 - 09/07/2002 08/25/2002 - 08/31/2002 08/18/2002 - 08/24/2002 08/11/2002 - 08/17/2002 08/04/2002 - 08/10/2002 07/28/2002 - 08/03/2002 07/21/2002 - 07/27/2002 07/14/2002 - 07/20/2002 07/07/2002 - 07/13/2002 06/30/2002 - 07/06/2002 06/23/2002 - 06/29/2002 06/16/2002 - 06/22/2002 06/09/2002 - 06/15/2002 06/02/2002 - 06/08/2002 05/26/2002 - 06/01/2002 05/19/2002 - 05/25/2002 05/12/2002 - 05/18/2002 05/05/2002 - 05/11/2002 04/28/2002 - 05/04/2002 04/21/2002 - 04/27/2002 04/14/2002 - 04/20/2002 04/07/2002 - 04/13/2002 03/31/2002 - 04/06/2002 03/24/2002 - 03/30/2002 03/17/2002 - 03/23/2002 03/10/2002 - 03/16/2002 03/03/2002 - 03/09/2002 02/24/2002 - 03/02/2002 02/17/2002 - 02/23/2002 current

see our neighbors
Comments by: YACCS