Seth Godin has probably transformed my innovation practice more than any single person alive. I don’t know exactly when I discovered his work, but it was long enough ago that it served as a significant contributor to my choice to leave academia and enter private consulting. Among the reasons were the themes that Seth deftly covers in his writing and (now) podcasts, talks, and interviews.
Back when I first discovered his work it was his books and his blog that kept me going. Seth’s written somewhere close to 8,000 entries in his blog, including a post every day for more than a decade. He’s published more than 20 books, led experiments in publishing and marketing and founded educational programs for young and old.
He’s the closest thing to a professional role model I have. His biggest lesson is simple: persistence.
The Struggle to Live the Art
It might be said that innovation is an event|business. The event part is the theatre. It’s the one-day retreat, the keynote speaker, the guidebook and toolkit for doing innovation. It’s all about things like design sprints, hackathons, design jams, and the like. This is innovation theatre.
The business part is the entire enterprise of self-promotion, uncritically-used buzzwords (disruption, hacked, scale etc..). Seth cuts through all of this. Of the many pearls of wisdom I’ve gleaned from him, it is that real success on something worthwhile - defined by you — is nearly always achieved through persistence. Sometimes it’s luck, but mostly it’s persistence.
That’s the regular writing, posting, and publishing part of what it means to be successful in what I want to do and achieve. It’s also about the habits of practice in my consulting work to make sure that my clients are getting my best on time when they need it — not just when we agreed to have it done.
In 2021, that has never been a more exhausting set of propositions. In a strange way, we’ve never had it so ‘regular’. The memetic parody of these days is the film Groundhog Day, where everything is the same each day. Our lives — my life, certainly — lacks contrast. In February, in Canada, it’s snowy and cold. And were it not that getting out into the snow is about the only thing I can do to create contrast in my life in any noticeable way, I’d almost wish I could abduct a groundhog and drive like a maniac around a small town just to break things up.
The message below (borrowed from Dan Pink - no pun intended) is the utter truth to creative success. It’s also the most paradoxically difficult right now for me, my peers, my clients, and just about everyone.
All I feel I can do is just listen to Seth and get to work.
I hope your creations are going well. Cameron