Tag Archives: improvement

The Ben Franklin Method

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin, founding father of the USA, was once a poor writer?

Now recognized as an important politician, inventor, scientist and writer, Franklin was not always this way. In fact, he considered himself a poor writer but took an active interest in improving his writing capabilities. The poems and articles authored by Franklin are the fruits of his labor; he worked on his storytelling skills by deconstructing and reconstructing what he considered “great writing.”

He did this by taking a magazine of the time – The Spectator (equivalent to the modern day The New Yorker), finding an article he liked and as he read the article he would highlight arguments and write down key points and data. When he was finished, he would write the article himself using the notes he had taken. Later, he would compare his article to the original and see where his writing was weak, where it was better and what writing conventions he needed to work on.

After much practice, he soon got “better” than the best articles and went on to write poetry, prose, rhetoric etc.

The moral? The Ben Franklin method works – if you want to get better, consider looking at the best and deconstructing then reconstructing the work of art, project, plan,…whatever it may be. The term “neurotic spreadsheeting” has been used to describe this method but the story of Ben Franklin is always sure to inspire us to take action in actively improving our storytelling or other skills.

-EMC

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Savvy Saturday July 4th, 2015

Create the things you wish existed.

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Why there’s beauty in disruption

Disruption – “disturbance or problems that interrupt an event, activity, or process” – is not new but usage of the word disruption has increased in the late 1990s. It would be interesting to explore the correlation between “disruption” (word usage) and internet usage.

But today, I would like to explore something non-analytical. Something that sometimes we fail to acknowledge as a factor for why we do things, why we appreciate things, why we live. Beauty.

Is disruption beautiful? I think so:

1) it reveals novelty, new ways of doing things, new connections, innovation
2) it proves we live in a dynamic world – not static, but constantly changing, reimagining our lives and our role in the world
3) it means that we are not alone – disruption implies clashes (of ideas, of cultures, of beliefs) and is the mark of a society – two or more people interacting with each other.

I was at the Portada Latin America Marketing and Advertising conference last week where I witnessed some amazing campaigns that reach audience/community/clients in Latin America in new and exciting ways. I also heard about some disruptive technologies from keynote speaker Scott Dadich of WIRED magazine. The world is complex, dynamic and ripe for disruption. Traditional industries and sectors are being challenged by interruptions from outside (and inside) their organizations. “We are a monopoly” or “we have always done it this way” are not responses that are in line with our complex society anymore.

Disruption is beautiful. It reveals that we are not robots living in a matrix but rather human beings looking to create something that, sooner or later, may challenge the status quo.

EMC

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