Where has “honor in public service” gone?

I started my working career as an aide to politicians. I was proud to be involved in politics and government because I believed that I could make a positive difference.

It’s been a week like few others north of the border in Canada. Thanks to Rob Ford, we’ve garnered an unwelcome share of both national and international media attention. And that’s produced some remarkable moments. And all of them have been passed along through social media.

1. Vulgar Rob Ford

The raw video. Really raw video. You won’t believe the language he uses.

2. CBC’s National coverage of the day

Leading the nightly newscast.
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Be creative by listening like a jazz musician

Spontaneous creativity is the beating heart of jazz music. Fans of jazz delight even more in the live performance than they do the studio recording. Why? Because no two jazz performances are alike. Jazz musicians are constantly improvising, building new ideas into what they play, finding inspiration in the moment.

How do great jazz musicians create something coherent and fresh each and every time they step onstage? In a recent TedTalk, Jazz vibraphonist Stefon Harris illustrates how attentive listening by individual players can spark creativity in an ensemble.

Business can learn a great deal from the spontaneous improvisation of jazz. All too often, we pay lip service to listening. In fact, many apparently skilled managers have made a fine art of the seemingly sincere, but ultimately empty acknowledgment of  others’ ideas. Harris and his group drive home that actually acting on the new and different idea can lead to something remarkable.

I’d recommend showing Harris’ TEDTalk to your team at the beginning of a brainstorm. It’s a great message that will surely put an end to the “yes but” mentality that can stifle creativity.

 

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Also worth reading: Dannielle Blumenthal approaches the importance of being open to listen to different perspectives in her post, Are you secure enough to handle an engaged employee? Good advice for anyone leading an employee meeting.

The way video is produced today

What does the picture to the right convey? Of course, it immediately shouts out video production. For years, we’ve seen cameras like this toted by professional news videographers. You see them at every news conference and at major events.

But that image of video production is becoming as outmoded as the image of the rotary telephone.

Take a look at this picture of Kevin Rose interviewing  Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey for his Foundation video blog.

Kevin Rose interview Jack Dorsey

The tradtional video camera is totally absent from this picture, replaced by a trio of DSLR cameras. Producing top quality video. At an affordable cost.

The future of video production is here today.

Work I'm proud of: Next is Now

Every once in a while a project comes along that lets you stretch and do your absolute best work. The Next is Now video project was one of those opportunities for Thornley Fallis.I was reminded of this project when Richard Bloom included it in his favourite videos of 2010 list published on the Rogers RedBoard blog and when Keith McArthur pointed to it in a year end post on his own blog.

Keith approached us in the springtime about creating a video for Rogers Annual General Meeting. The product of this was assignment: Next is Now.

Clearly, people found it told a story they could relate to. It was passed around on Twitter, generated blog coverage and, looking at the YouTube stats, held viewers attention right through to the end.

And while it worked well online, I got an even bigger kick out of the fact that Kevin Newman, the Chair of the University of Waterloo’s Canada 3 conference, showed the video during his opening for the conference. Having someone like that use your material for a purpose beyond which it was created suggests that you truly hit on something genuine and worthwhile.

Thanks again to Rogers for giving us the chance to stretch and do some of our best work 2010. That’s a chance that I truly appreciate.