Intentional Design to Dr. Seuss: Embracing the Creative Ecosystem

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Photo credit: Gerry @ Flickr

As a branding firm specializing in creating compelling corporate events, the wet paint group has been wowing attendees with unexpected event amenity experiences for the past 20 years.

CEO Doug Chorpenning points to wet paint’s “creative ecosystem” as the foundation of their success. In this shakedown, Doug draws on everything from intentional meeting design to Dr. Seuss to indirectly define this ecosystem and how planners can use it to their advantage.

What’s different these days than just five years ago about creating engagement at meetings and events?

The bar has definitely been raised, and many clients and vendors are racing to enhance their events and offerings. I think the industry is heading in the right direction, but many event producers don’t know what they don’t know. We need to be intentional in our design and engagement strategy. It doesn’t just happen. We have unprecedented access to ideas and inspiration. There is no excuse for not implementing innovative ideas! The only thing that typically holds people back is fear and uncertainty. Be bold and experiment.

There are insightful authors like Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Malcolm Gladwell and, of course, Dr. Seuss. They can all provide a context for how and when to blast through anything limiting. 

There seems to be more being written everyday about innovation, another word for experimenting. Would you agree?

Yes, unlike five or 10 years ago, there is a more widespread understanding of the possibilities and a language to describe the possibilities of innovation. It is always helpful to have a vernacular to support your vision. There are insightful authors like Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Malcolm Gladwell and, of course, Dr. Seuss. They can all provide a context for how and when to blast through anything limiting.

How can event designers not be afraid to go out on a limb where the fruit is when there is so much intolerance for risk in meeting planning in general?

The fruit is out on the limb! I encourage people to read a wide variety of books, mostly nonfiction to gain an appreciation and respect for the heroes of innovation and risk taking. Our world would not be as it is if everyone waited for others to create great things. The joy needs to be in the willingness to fail. Unfortunately, many corporate cultures are behind the times with this and put too much emphasis on not failing versus pushing forward by experimenting with new ideas.

Actually, failure is the only way to gain. Lifting weights at the gym, your greatest muscle gain occurs during the last repetition of your set—at muscle failure. Use this metaphor to push beyond your comfort zone and basic expectations. Remind yourself that you only live once and what do you want your legacy to be. Have the courage to fail and fail big.

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