Mediterranean Inspiration

Wednesday, 24 December 2008 09:49 by kpotvin

For me, cooking is a form of creativity.  I love trying new recipes -- and I don't mind the pressure of serving these new creations to a table of guests.  Some flop but most are a fresh addition to a special meal.  This year, I'm going Mediterranean, inspired by my work with Oldways (and recent Barcelona trip). The Med Diet is thousands of years old and high level studies show countless health benefits but I love it because it espouses eating simple, delicious food in the company of friends and family.  What could be better than that?  I'm raising a virtual glass to you (wine is part of the Med Diet) and wishing you a very happy holiday and unbeatable New Year.

helping consumers make wise food choices for life! 

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What?! No BlackBerry!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008 10:23 by kpotvin

When was the last time you were completely disconnected?  And we mean from every form of communication besides that old fashioned one -- live conversation.  No phone, no cell, no BlackBerry, no Internet.  Thanks to the New England ice storm of '08, that was my situation late last week and over the weekend.  At first, there was a lot of scurrying -- driving an hour for Internet access, scouting the area for cell phone coverage.  But then came focus.  Without email checking and phone calls, my brain relaxed and new ideas started pouring in.  Ideas that could help my clients.  Ideas that could help my business.  Ideas that could help my family.  So take a brain sabbatical.  Retreat to a place where your brain is not cluttered by outside interference.  Take a walk in quiet woods, go to the climbing wall, or simply gaze out the window.  Soon you may have a whole new perspective too.  (Believe me, there are better ways to do this than living with no power for five days...and counting.)

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Word of Mouth - A Test

Wednesday, 10 December 2008 09:15 by kpotvin

We've all seen it happen -- the video that travels around the world, gathering viewers as it is passed from person to person.  This can happen with an inspiring call to action like Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture" or a tongue-in-cheek battle cry like Sarah Silverman's "The Great Schlep."  A friend sent me a video yesterday that moved me enough to forward it to five other friends (an action typically banned by this group!) and I started to wonder if others felt the urge to pass it along too.  So I did a little test and here's what I found:  After just 19 hours, viewership of the video on YouTube grew from 4,000 to 16,000.  In less than half an hour this morning, more than 1,000 people viewed the piece.  Here are the stats:

Dec. 9, 2008, 4:15pm - 4,070 viewers on YouTube

Dec. 9, 5:04pm - 6,004 viewers

Dec. 9, 8:54pm - 8,110 viewers

Dec. 10, 7:41am - 14,514 viewers

Dec. 10, 10:31am-15,535 viewers

Dec. 10, 10:57am - 16,692 viewers

So how does this apply to marketers?  It shows once again that you need to create an emotional attachment with your audience and you don't do this by just talking about your product.  In this case, author Kelly Corrigan doesn't mention her book in the video clip but you can bet sales for "The Middle Place" will shoot up.  In your own business, what is the greater connection to your product?  How can you help busy mothers provide nutrition to their kids?  How can you educate consumers about gasoline so that they see it as more than a commodity?  So, talk about more than your product's specs.  Offer information that educates or entertains and you just might have the next viral video.

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The Whole Vs. The Part

Monday, 8 December 2008 10:15 by kpotvin

As we tell our kids, the whole in stronger than one part.  In a recent article, reporter Janet Rae-Dupree reinforces that innovation requires a team of diverse minds.  She quotes Keith Sawyer, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who said:  "Innovation today isn't a sudden break with the past, a brilliant insight that one lone outsider pushes through to save the company," he said. "Just the opposite: Innovation today is a continuous process of small and constant change, and it's built into the culture of successful companies."  One interesting tidbit, according to Ms. Rae-Dupree, is that brainstorming may be not be the most effective way to produce breakthrough ideas.  In fact, research shows that individuals working alone generate more ideas than groups due to fear of failure (worry about criticism of an idea) or because workers want to leverage their best ideas to fit their own interests.  So, how do you get your teams to share knowledge?  Businessman and blogger Drew Boyd suggests that instead of starting with a problem and brainstorming to solve it, break down successful products and processes into separate components, then study those parts to find other potential uses.  This can lead to expanded innovation.  How do you generate ongoing innovation?

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