Politics & Government

    Trump: Learn to Steal Smart

    StealSmartStealing Smart and Stealing Stupid

    Melania Trump’s speech last evening at the GOP convention, and today’s subsequent media uproar and fiasco, is symbolic of several things in my view. Summarizing my themes here: Competence, Theft, and Ideas (or lack of them).

    I’ll take flack for writing this post, but understand, this is not about politics. It involves politics — but my comments have more to do with creativity and innovation. As most of you know, my interests are in those areas, so, I’m looking at recent events with that lens. Not as a lefty, not as a righty. I’m looking at this with the green tinted shades of the artist and the black and white lens of a professional innovator.

    Trump’s campaign, by all accounts, does things their own way. They are spending less money, hiring less staff, are relying on media and not on a “ground game” in their run for the Presidency. It’s a bold experiment in innovating how a campaign is conducted. He’s leveraging brand and marketing and media skill in order to do this all on the cheap. It worked in the primaries.If it works in November we’ll look back at this shift in campaign strategy as a sea change, yes, as true innovation.

    The Trump campaign, clearly, has competency in some areas, but it would appear, is lacking them in others. This could make all the difference in November. They might be making history, or, they might be showing us exactly how Not to do it.

    The Speech Eff Up (Lack of Domain Knowledge)

    It’s hard to believe they made this mistake with Melania’s speech. A competent speech writer would have “borrowed” ideas from Michelle Obama’s speech, but not directly lifted whole phrases, sentences and paragraphs. Make no mistake, despite the denial, this was direct plagiarism. Somebody should be fired, this is a Big Mistake. I don’t blame Melania Trump, I blame those working for her and The Donald. She did not write this speech, it was written for her to read. She read it well, even very well, especially considering English is her second or third language. It would have been perfect except for the plagiarism. No, the blame for the SNAFU goes to the campaign organization. Trump is, in my view, running with a team of people who do not have domain knowledge and skill about how elections work, how this should be done. Domain knowledge is under-rated in innovation, but actually knowing your field matters a great deal. Yes, breaking rules can be innovative; but I would argue that you need to know the rules very well before you strategically choose to break them. Otherwise, you’re innovation is an accident, and, highly unlikely to work.

    The Kennedy’s would never have made this particular mistake — because they knew politics up and down. They were politics wonks from day one, they talked it over at dinner every night. The Donald is a Real Estate wonk — this is the domain he knows. The Kennedy’s had teams of people around them who were brilliant specialists. They knew enough to hire the exact right people to hire to write speeches. Trump’s team needs a conservative Ted Sorenson. The Kennedy’s had extensive domain knowledge — they would never be beat because they didn’t know the system, the people, the rules of the game. Trump’s team screwed the pooch on this one, and that is not innovation, it’s incompetence, plain and simple. Innovation often fails at the implementation stage, often due to a lack of domain knowledge. Trump needs real political operatives that have that domain knowledge, in my view. It might also be arrogance in the sense they think they can get away with anything without even disguising it. Or by simply denying factual things that have happened. Which takes me to my second theme, Theft.

    Stealing ideas from others is highly creative. And if done properly, it’s not wrong or unethical. In copyright law they say “you can’t protect an idea, you can only protect the implementation of an idea.” The trick, as my old copy writing teacher Jerry Galvin once said, is to “steal smart.” When I was a senior at the College Conservatory of Music (University of Cincinnati) Jerry talked about his challenges writing and designing for his ad agency. He said when he was really stuck for an idea he would look at old catalogs of winning ads and borrow concepts. Stealing smart was looking at catalogs from 15 years ago, AND, not doing a direct copy, but to one-off it and make it just different enough to call it your own. This is what Melania Trump’s speechwriter did not do. He (or she) stole stupid. Stealing an idea is okay, IF you re-do the implementation. Which brings me to my final point, Ideas.

    Where were the fresh ideas in the talk? Where was something brand new, or at least refurbished, that could put a cool new Melania stamp on things? I didn’t hear any did you? I understand her dress was original! One of the shortfalls in the Trump campaign staff is simply fresh ideas. There is The Wall, okay, there’s one big idea (that by all accounts is not implementable). I’ve not heard anything else new. It might be possible to win by pandering, innuendo, name calling, or by creating an atmosphere of fear, and through racial and class divide. Maybe. I tend to think that a few of those fence-sitting independents are going to look at actual ideas and see if Trump or HRC has something they can believe in. But I could be wrong about that.

    So, to sum up, hello Trump Campaign. If you want to win, you’ll need to learn to steal smart.

    Comments

    Damaged Pure Michigan Brand Impedes Economic Development

    Pure Michigan is a Damaged Brand As a Michigan resident I’ve followed the developments in Flint with a mixture of horror, sadness, outrage, and confusion.  This post is not about political blame. Having said that, I don’t deny the political element to the problem; it’s a sad tale of bad decisions on top of bad decisions, and some of those made for purely political reasons. Fact seeking people on both sides of the aisle need to take a very close look at what’s happened. The focus of this post is about the damage that has been done to the state of Michigan’s brand, Pure Michigan.  This is not being talked about, but it’s as damaging in the long run as




    Read More..
    Comments

    Graphene Application Challenge Prize?

    The Graphene Challenge Graphene is a new material that is just in its infancy in terms of commerical usage. It’s from graphite, the stuff in pencils. It’s magical stuff — 150 times stronger than steel, flexible like rubber, and potentially usable in electronics, water filtration, energy, building construction, medical, and more. It’s the thinnest material known to man at this moment. It’s 250 times more conductive or “mobile” than silicon. It hit the news again recently as scientists have discovered a much cheaper way to produce the material. This is a market that is about to explode. It’s frustratingly hard to work with. But that’s the fun part.  Unfortunately for the USA, it would see the prime early movers in




    Read More..
    Comments

    Paying Lip Service to Developing Entrepreneurs

    There is a very frightening trend happening in the USA. We are not growing entrepreneurs. See my “Seven Ways to Grow Entrepreneurs” below! What is it we believe in our capitalist country? Isn’t it something like this: Anybody who works very hard, has a bit of talent and a good idea, can start something, grow it, and do well.  Isn’t that the essence of the entrepreneurial American dream? Yes, there is more to it than that. Yes, you can fail. Yes, it’s a market driven meritocracy — or it should be. I’ve always taken this entrepreneurial spirit for granted – it’s who we are! I’ve always assumed that as the years go by, more and more Americans (and this extends




    Read More..
    Comments

    Domain Knowledge Matters Donald Trump

    Call me king of the obvious but I’d like to remind folks about something related to leadership, innovation, and the upcoming election. Domain Knowledge Matters I’m not taking political sides here but I’m going to make a point about Donald Trump’s candidacy. Let’s face it he has captured the attention of a large group of people. This is factual — the polls have him leading the GOP field. My opinion on why he’s doing so well is this: Trump says things that are bold, straightforward, non-PC and they echo the sentiments of many Americans. People love this approach because it’s just not what they’re used to hearing from a politician. I’ll put aside the notions and accusations that he’s racist,




    Read More..
    Comments

    GOP Debate: No Mention of Manufacturing

    A short post to make an observation. Say what you will about the GOP debate last night — and there is much to say — there was no attention paid to manufacturing. Search the transcript, you’ll not find the word mentioned a single time. Wow, it’s a very big point to miss. In related topics innovation was mentioned once, and infrastructure, a huge problem, was not mentioned at all. Why is it important and a big missing that manufacturing wasn’t mentioned? Manufacturing, and the middle class jobs that accompany renewed manufacturing, are absolutely essential to sustained, healthy economic growth. Our growth right now is anaemic in large part because of this missing element. We are not going to be a




    Read More..
    Comments

    “Open For Business” is a Promise Made

    Open for Business  It’s a real joy when a business opens its doors for the first time. “Open for Business” sounds and feels like hope and possibility to me. Starting a new business is where creativity blossoms and where innovation is made real. You’ve created something and you want to deliver that value for a fair payment in return. That’s what an entrepreneur does. Why would the government put anything in the way of a win-win business transaction? The law recently passed in Indiana (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) is being fiercely debated. I really don’t want to comment, much, on the moral aspect of the law, I want to comment instead on what it means to open your doors for business




    Read More..
    Comments

    The Flaming Lips and Economic Development

    Consider Attending the Creativity World Forum 2015 As many of you know I’ve participated in the annual State of Creativity Forum in Oklahoma for several years. I’ve written here previously about how effective their model is in getting broad-based involvement, participation, and attendance. This is arguably the most successful creativity conference in the world right now. Those interested in the creativity and innovation field should attend Creativity World Forum 2015 if at all possible. It’s affordable, the content is superb, and it’s a great networking opportunity. It’s in just a few weeks, so register, and make plans now to arrive in Oklahoma City for the March 31st one day event. The illustrious Sir Ken Robinson is  returning as a keynoter (he




    Read More..
    Comments

    FAQ Re: Dr. Alan Black

    Greetings from gray and chilly Three Oaks, Michigan. As gloomy as it is, I’m grateful to be here and free. Freedom is not something we should take for granted. Later this morning I’ll take a walk outside around my pond and say prayers for my friend Alan Black. I might take a photograph. When he’s released I hope he’ll come visit me here so we can enjoy a walk outside together — and photograph whatever catches our eye. Below is the latest information from Friends of Alan Black. The FAQ pretty much says it all. Much of this has been covered in news reports, but FAB thought it would be helpful to put all the facts into one document. Alan’s




    Read More..
    Comments

    Help Detained USA Citizen In Abu Dhabi

    This is a departure for this blog. While there is a direct connection to creativity and innovation it is essentially a press release written by concerned leaders in the creativity and innovation international community. One of our own, Dr. Robert Alan Black, has been detained in Abu Dhabi. The details are below. My request is that if you are so moved, please contact the offices of your elected officials. USA citizens can find contact information here.  Press Release For Immediate Release Contact:                     Rosemary Rein Phone number:       239-910-3354 Email:                         rosemaryrein@rosemaryrein.com   American Creativity Expert Detained In Abu Dhabi Friday October 31, 2014 – Athens, Georgia. Dr. Robert Alan Black, an Athens resident, is being held in Al Wathba prison in




    Read More..
    Comments