‘Business is Boring’ is a weekly podcast series presented by The Spinoff in association with Callaghan Innovation. Host Simon Pound will speak with innovators and commentators focused on the future of New Zealand, with the interview available as both audio and text. This week: Eddy Royal and Jade Tang-Taylor of Curative.
How do you run a business that pays the bills, makes beautiful creative work, and changes the world?
That’s the question that Jade Tang-Taylor and Eddy Royal are solving with Curative. They run social change campaigns for agencies and clients big and small, while also helping to foster a community of thinkers and doers through the popular Creative Mornings series they run the Auckland chapter for.
Jade and Eddy are some of life’s good guys, with a commitment to quality, treating people well and making good things. I met them first when they were doing this with YMedia, a very cool project that hooked up communications and design students with not-for-profits and community groups to help tackle their storytelling needs. It was a project filled with great outcomes, clever ideas and intelligent humanity. They’ve extended this approach with Curative, and are fascinating on what it takes to change opinions, minds and the state of the world.
Either download or have a listen below, subscribe through iTunes or read on for a transcribed excerpt.
The biggest untapped resource in the world is people’s intentions, because people have all these good intentions, but they don’t necessarily go and actually change the world. So how do you guys help to funnel people’s good intentions and turn them into actions, because you’ve got such a great track record of making cool things happen?
ER: Everybody at Curative is a ‘something-something-doer.’ So our titles are not account manager or creative director, or anything. Every single one of us is a doer. It’s probably the single unifying point; we all love to get shit done. There’s too much talk, especially in the social sector. There’s a lot of…
JTT: There’s a lot of hui-hui and not much do-ey do-ey.
ER: Yeah exactly, and so, part of what drive us, part of what fuels us as creative people is seeing our work get finished, and be made and be out in the workplace. That’s a huge differentiation from a lot of other people who are playing in the social services space.
JTT: I think it’s really important to have those conversations first and foremost, but there comes a point where there’s enough talking and enough conversations that have been had, and it’s time to do something. The best way you can solve these problems is really collaboration, and not working in those silos. The country and budgets and funding is just too small, and you create the biggest change when you actually bind together to work together to solve these problems together.
ER: It’s so much stronger when you work together. You can use the strengths of the collective.
To kind of draw that out and talk a little bit about the way that you guys build community: Creative Mornings, which is a wonderful thing that lots of people listening would have been along to, or seen a video from one of the talks. Tell us about how you guys got that happening in New Zealand, and what you do with it.
JTT: Simon’s video is great too. Everyone should watch it on creative mornings, but Creative Mornings is global monthly breakfast lecture series. It started in New York about, probably, six or seven years ago, and about four years ago we brought it to New Zealand. Tina Roth Eisenberg, who is the founder of creative mornings, she kind of started it as, you know, she had a freelance agency, a co-working space where she just wanted to bring interesting people to come in and speak to her agency or her co-workers. It started growing, and interest started expanding within New York. She never really thought it would go anywhere further than that. A couple of her friends from Berlin said ‘hey, can start up a couple of creative mornings here’ – quite a similar format. We were the 10th chapter to start, and now there’s about 140 chapters around the world and we really look forward to see them all later this year at the Creative Mornings Summit.
That’s so cool. What kind of people do you have speak, and what kind of people come along? What are you trying to accomplish from it?
JTT: I guess the people we have speak are creative experts or creative practitioners in their field, and there’s a hundred odd creative professionals that do come along. The creative disciplines range from fashion design to advertising creatives to…
ER: …product designers, really anybody who is interested in having a creative profession is in the room, and sometimes other people come too. We even have bankers come along sometimes…
JTT: …or doctors.
ER: It’s about creating a moment of inspiration and also creating some connection. A lot of creative professionals work in silos all around the city: one and two man bands, and so it’s about creating a community of inspiration. We have some incredible people doing amazing things, and we can all learn a little bit from each other’s practice, from our failures, from our wins, from our connections.
JTT: Yeah, I think the beauty about Creative Mornings isn’t necessarily… it’s not a show and tell about ‘look at all the amazing things i’ve been doing, and i haven’t had any stumbles along the way’. We really ask the speakers to go deep, and actually what were the failures?, and you know, what worked, and what didn’t work, and what did you learn from it? And people are able to bring their full selves as opposed to just their shiny portfolio along. I think that’s really really important for every audience member to gain some sort of insight from.