Make Your Mark: The Creative’s Guide to Building a Business with Impact

A few years ago, I was the lead on a project developing a youth empowerment network with young Indigenous people in Australia.

The external design team I was working with invited me to attend a talk by Scott Belsky. I had never heard of him. I was in the midst of a steep learning curve, discovering the world of design, including human-centred design, service design and design thinking in general.

Belsky is a true leader of the creative and design world. He started Behnace, which basically has the mission of empowering creative people to get shit done. He also founded the awesome conference and resource 99u,which is all about the 99% of work which is execution or perspiration (rather than the 1% of work spent on idea generation or inspiration).

99u, recently acquired by Adobe along with Behnace, just released a new series of edited essays in a book called Make Your Mark. I have generally loved the content coming from 99u, but I admit being a little hesitant when seeing the book. I have been getting into reading longer books by single authors  (books I read last year) rather than articles online. I was worried this book would be just like reading a bunch of shallow articles online. I was wrong.

Make Your Mark, packs a real punch and really gets the creative juices flowing. I was endlessly flipping between the book and Trello noting down my ideas to implement at High Distinction. If you’re interested in leadership in the creative industries, I highly recommend it.

Thank you to Jocelyn K. Glei for putting the book together.

While I was familiar with many of the concepts and ideas in the book, reading it kicked me into action, to review our work and implement some of those ideas. A couple things we were reminded of doing at High Distinction include:

·      Being transparent – we published our application to the Big Venture Challenge with all our projected financials. We will continue to be transparent about why, how and what we do, we are keen to share our journey and hear peoples thoughts about how we are doing.

·      Communicating better – we have implemented an app stack that is going to allow us to communicate effectively internally and externally now and well into the future as we grow. It goes: Slack, Trello, Google apps (gmail, calendar, docs), Squarespace, Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo, and YouTube.

·      Asking ourselves ‘how cool would it be if…’ and seeing what we say. E.g. how cool would it be if……one of our participants won an Oscar… how cool would it be if…we had a space in London which was home to a thriving community of emerging and established diverse filmmakers collaborating and creating epic content.

·      Thinking about ‘small kindness’ – thinking about all the details and the subtleties. The tiny considerations.

·      Asking why we are doing something more often and more times in a row.

I hope you enjoy the book.

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