Creative Collaboration

Quotes from Flow: Living at the Peak of Your Abilities, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Ph.D.

Quotes from Flow: Living at the Peak of Your Abilities, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Ph.D.

Wouldn't you like to experience the state of flow? To answer that question, you might need first to understand what flow is. This post includes quotes that highlight a few of the concepts behind the general term. As a classically trained fine artist, many of these ideas are familiar to me as art is an area of study that started the research. However, as you will see, the concept of living in flow applies to all areas of both personal and professional activities.

Digital Marketing Tips and Hootsuite Analytic Reports

Digital Marketing Tips and Hootsuite Analytic Reports

I wanted to share one example of drilling down on the analytics to get some insight into how to leverage social media. It take a little creative thinking to make sense of the data and a systematic approach to seeing what strategies get results. Also, it’s different for each audience and industry.

Automation Apps, Leadership in Sales, and Free Information

What are automation apps?

Automation apps are internet-based technology platforms designed to do things autonomously. The free automation apps I use now are for customer service and involve email newsletters, calendar events, progress reports, and help chat. I use apps that work with my Squarespace website and implementation was relatively quick: Acuity Scheduling, Pure Chat, MailChimp, and Google Sheets. I like automation applications because they give customers an immediate response and enable people to take action while also saving administrative cost that means more billable hours.  

Leadership tools, free and paid options

What you might notice is that many of these automation technology platforms are free to use. This is the case for all of the applications I have listed above. (Paid options, for businesses that need more support and use.) The idea that the basic services should be free in low-income brackets aligns with the transition going on to stabilize infrastructure and promote sustainable community development.

We need more people who have leadership skills to meet the needs of the future as changing economies and ecologies impact large segments of the population. Sharing information and resources is key. The transition has been taking place, like it or not. We have seen the impact of an internet of things in music industry CD sales, newspaper sales, and other digital media products and services. 

Building automation for the future 

What these kinds of new technologies share is distribution and visualization of data in real time based on a persons activity and interaction. While tracking technologies are tricky, they do play a significant role in visions of the future, as explained in a documentary by VICE on the internet of things and the third industrial revolution.

Reflecting on automation and the future

How do you use automation in your daily life? You might use automation several times every day like when you pump gas at the station, take cash from the bank machine, book your yoga class online, or purchase something on Amazon.

What do you imagine the future to look like and how do you see leadership? I imagine a future where the quality of life is optimized for all being on the planet. That requires a great deal of collaboration and communication to distribute the right things at the right time. Making the best of the work at hand is an art, a creative life is an adventure with many free and intrinsic rewards!


FestForums Santa Barbara

FestForums in Santa Barbara was held at the Fess Parker Hotel right on the beach and I was invited as part of the Nature Track Film Festival team. As a first-year film festival, attending the FestForum was really helpful. I highly recommend this event to anyone who is interested in event related technology, entertainment and management.

FestForums® is a conference for ALL FESTIVAL industry leaders that takes place biannually in Santa Barbara, CA and New York City.  Addressing cutting-edge technology, talent, ticketing, sponsorships, scheduling, merchandising, operations, sustainability, charitable work, innovation and safety, FestForums® brings together festivals and events of all sizes for collaboration and professional development.
The large screen made it easy to watch the speakers from any distance in the room.

The large screen made it easy to watch the speakers from any distance in the room.

Top marketing examples and takeaways from FestForums

The event industry is meeting cultural and business needs to provide lucrative and valuable experiences that last a lifetime. Many industries collaborate to pull off big events with economic impact and although the rewards are big but so is the investment!

A big topic at the conference was ticketing and infrastructure challenges related to the demand for Internet-based services at locations that might not have reliable electricity. Another major topic was about the cultural challenges like security. Security is a concern on a large scale, like mass shootings. It was also a topic because of the #metoo movement and sexual assault

Link to more info on my top takeaways:

Graphic Design for Emergency and Disaster Relief

You might not think that a graphic design career has anything to do with emergencies and disaster relief, but I do! During the recent Thomas Fire in California I evacuated and worked from a safe distance. The power outages and toxic smoke were motivation enough for me to relocate during the 14 days this fire was going strong. 

I worked on two projects related to the Thomas Fire. I published announcements in social media for the Sandbox Coffeehouse, launched a website VenturaFire.Info, and created a Facebook page and group for the Ventura area. We wanted to let people know what was going on and where to find official information during and after the fire.

Photos by Jeanne Hughes

Photos by Jeanne Hughes


  • People
  • Printed Signs
  • Phones
  • Radio
  • TV
  • Email
  • Social Media
  • Websites

The more, the better

I lost my home in a firestorm, and I was eight years old. The experience impacted my drive to create a mobile sustainable lifestyle. Thanks to laptops and mobile devices it's possible for people to zip around and work from anywhere with electricity and cell phone reception. I'm not the only person who is doing this. An event like the Thomas Fire highlights the extensive collaboration possible. All forms of communication technology were used and needed in response from both volunteer, amateur, official, and professional sources. The public incident report lists the following agencies: 

CAL FIRE, Ventura County Fire, Ventura County Sheriff, Santa Barbara County Fire, Santa Barbara County Sheriff, City of Ventura Fire Department, City of Ventura Police Department, USFS/Los Padres National Forest, CAL OES, Red Cross, Southern California Edison, CHP, California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, SoCaGas, Crimson Pipeline, Wildfire Defense Systems, CA Resources Group, Santa Paula Police, Santa Paula Fire, Ventura County OES, Santa Barbara OEM

Group Genius

In my studies on innovation, it is clear that group genius is where it is at. Witnessing the spontaneous community mobilization during an emergency is nothing short of numinous. Emergency situations like the Thomas Fire are not desired, they can and do lead to amazing innovation. 

After decades of disaster research, we know that improvisational groups are often the fastest and most efficient in the uncertain and rapidly changing conditions caused by natural disaster. (P.23) Sawyer, K. (2008). Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration. Basic Books.

Everyday Creativity

We don't need to wait for a natural disaster to benefit from the creative potential of groups. Sawyer lists out the elements for us to follow. The seven key characteristics of effective creative teams are: 

  1. Innovation emerges overtime
  2. Successful collaborative teams practice deep listening
  3. Team members build on their collaborators ideas
  4. Only afterwards does the meaning of each idea become clear
  5. Surprising questions emerge
  6. Innovation is inefficient
  7. innovation emerges from the bottom up

We don't know yet what the Thomas Fire will mean for our community. It's still burning today and 100% containment is not predicted for another few weeks. Whatever it means, it is big! The Thomas Fire is already the third largest fire in California history and the largest mobilization of firefighters in history. Hopefully the outcome will include better innovation in fighting wildfires in California.

If you would like to help with the recovery in the community, consider getting involved with a Facebook group. There are many:


    Creative Commons and Sharing

    What can you do to protect your digital assets online? With digital materials on the internet, it is super easy to copy and reuse materials without consent. It is, perhaps, the most courageous thing a content creator can do when they publish their hard earned art to the world online. While they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it does not pay the bills if someone else is profiting from your art. 

    Creative Commons aims to help solve this problem by standardizing the license for materials. 

    "What is Creative Commons? Creative Commons helps you legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world. We unlock the full potential of the internet to drive a new era of development, growth and productivity. With a network of staff, board, and affiliates around the world, Creative Commons provides free, easy-to-use copyright licenses to make a simple and standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work–on conditions of your choice."
    Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 11.49.48 AM.png

    In this sense, their solution is similar to posting a 'Private Property' sign in real life, only the opposite. Online it's safe to assume that the material is not free unless otherwise indicated. However, as Creative Commons has pointed out, there are a few fundamental differences in sharing that need to be addressed. They make it super easy to create a license for your site so that anyone who visits understands what they can and can not do with your content. 

    Example of the Creative Common License

    Below is an example of what the creative common license looks like. If you go to the website and fill out the form, it will generate code that can be pasted into a website as I have done here. It is free. Have you seen these before? If not, keep an eye out for them from now on. Sharing drives innovation and many creators, like myself, are happy to see our work used and to know what is most helpful. Together we can make things better.