Letter from John: August 2011

The problem with ideas? Sometimes they just keep coming...

An example: In July, my friend John Bryan from CultureWorks headed out to Powhatan County for a little tour. He met a local farmer who started talking about the importance of floricanes in the cultivation of blackberry bushes.John immediately told her about Floricane, the business, and suggested that she and I meet.

The minute John mentioned it to me, my mind took a plunge: 24 of my favorite clients on a walking tour of a Powhatan farm, getting schooled on floricanes and raricanes and the art of cultivation. Lun ch on a plank table in a barn, where we connect the dots to the cultivation of people and cultures within our organizations. Everyone leaves with their own blackberry cutting, and a new perspective on leadership.

These things literally write themselves.

Ideas are a dime a dozen, of course, especially when you're an entrepreneur. When I worked for someone else, the ideas came just as easily. Sometimes more frequently. But they had to navigate bureaucracy and politics. They were often subsumed by or integrated with other people's smarter ideas. They simply took more time.

In any world, ideas should add value. And the best ideas still come from collaboration; the different perspectives of other people clarify and strengthen even the best ideas.

When the June launch event for i.e.* was finished, I found myself in conversation with brand architect Peter Fraser and designer Ansel Olson about collaborating on a follow-on event. Within two weeks, we had a six-week workshop series designed and 10 talented #RVA creatives lined up to engage 240 people in hands-on creative experiences.

The idea we're cultivating in Powhatan and the SHOP CLASS workshops that launched in early August won't add a nickel to Floricane's bottom line, but they'll change the way people connect and create, and learn and lead.

We know that when ideas strengthen our community, they also serve our small company's brand.

We also know that while ideas still have to add value, the bottom line doesn't have to drive our creativity and passion.