Creative Anatomy

 

Just went to a ‘Creative Anatomy’ Class yesterday from the London Drawing Society – the same place where I do my usual Monday life drawing classes. I majorly enjoyed looking beneath the outer layer and into the structural systems that shape the human body. I definitely make the mistake of drawing the shapes and lines I see in front of me rather than treating the body as a 3-dimensional mass. This was a great class and I can’t wait for the next regular Monday Life Drawing class to apply this to my art practice.

For me, life drawing is very similar to YOGA. By calling the process of joining the mind and body systems into one wholly integrated mind-body system a practice”, Yoga reiterates that perfection is relative and not a specific end-goal. It’s an ongoing journey that evolves as you do.

I also approach ‘Figure Drawing’ as a continuous practice rather than a means to an end. It’s a calming activity that feeds my creativity and curiosity. It’s constantly evolving depending on my present focus, mood, art materials, and environment. This anatomy class was a great addition to my practice to push me outside of my usual drawing approach. I find that if I stick with the same medium or model, I can easily enter an autopilot mindset. (but I guess that’s a general rule about going through life…)

If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.
– Les Brown

VegFest London 2016

I should probably start by saying… I’m not a vegan (despite having been to two vegan festivals in different countries in October!) I do have a few close friends/flatmates that adhere to that lifestyle and I’m quite health-conscious and sustainability-minded. But my favourite thing about the vegan community is their innovative and inventive spirit. Plenty of small business owners I met today said, “no one was meeting my needs, so I decided to make it for myself and others.” Who knew you could make blue cheese from cashew nuts? Or filling tacos using jack fruit?

Here are my top discoveries from today’s adventure:

1 . Black Seaweed Pearls (aka Vegan Beluga Caviar) from Cavia.

caviar

2. Hazelnut & Carob Spread (tastes exactly like Nutella, but has only 3 ingredients) from Nutural World. 

3. Organic Chufa de Valencia Tiger Nuts from The Tigernut Company . What on earth is a tiger nut? That was my question as well! It’s not actually a nut, it’s a small root vegetable, grown in a field and harvested in pretty much the same way as a potato. Known in Spain as the ‘Chufa, it’s a super little tuber, nutrient dense and packed with superfood qualities.

4. Soap Nuts by Living Naturally. It’s the 100% natural hypoallergenic alternative to laundry detergent. Clothes also come out soft and fresh, so no need for scent boosters or fabric softeners!

And for the branding – I’ve added:

5. Pepo Papa Pumpkin Seed Oil. This product screams ‘OCTOBER!’ and Autumn. A Hungarian-founded company just starting to get distribution in the UK.

pepo-papa_owler_20160229_165258_original

TableCrowd Dinner – learning from DN Capital Investor

For this particular investor, the sweet spot for making investments was in series A for UK-based companies that were looking for amounts between 1 and 5 million pounds.
If you’re a start-up looking for an investment, he recommended asking yourself two fundamental questions:
  1. Do you even need to raise money? (Is there potential to scale? Can you realistically return a profit to your investors? Are you diluting your shares without a necessary purpose?)  
  2. What is the best source to raise money from?
There are many different groups to go after when raising money:
  1. Family and Friends
  2. Angel Investors
  3. Family offices that diversify from their main industry.
  4. Accelerators and incubators – who are used to helping start-ups
  5. Crowdfunding – good idea if you need user acquisition and have brand advocates
  6. Strategic Pots of Money – VCs within multinational corporations (like Unilever)
  7. Grants – R&D credits, government funds, etc.
Ways to think about each group:
  1. Amount they can give you varies (frame who you go after otherwise you’re wasting 95% of your time)
  2. Due diligence process is different for each group
  3. Terms – shareholding, join the board, have veto rights, etc.
  4. Value added. Crowdfunding adds marketing scale, VCs add more strategic vision and various business connections
  5. Time – how much can your investor commit to you? What if an angel investor has 200 companies?
  6. Speed – corporate and crowdfunding takes longer than a couple of months
  7. Return/Exit – What does success look like for your investor? Put it into context? How high is their bar?
 Our speaker also brought up two very good points:
  • Be very aware of the fact that raising and accepting external money sparks behaviour change. Companies typically shift its criteria, vision, scale, and business models when raising capital, which has an impact on the work culture.
  • 90% of the decision for Venture Capitalists is the TEAM – how passionate are the founders? Who have they decided to hire? Are they capable of executing their vision? Have they experienced and learned from past failures? Do they understand their product’s marketplace?
Another interesting dinner from Tablecrowd… if you’re in London, you should check us out! Who knows – I might be your host :)

TableCrowd Business Dinners

What is Tablecrowd you ask? It’s a start-up founded by Kate Jackson in London that creates networking events around London based on specific topics. Watch the video for more information from Kate herself:

I’ve known Kate for over a year now and was delighted when she asked me to be a part of the  company. I’m now at the 3-month mark of being a dinner host for the company! And I’ve met everyone from Angel Investors to SEO experts to someone starting a company for hosiery subscriptions! If you live in London and enjoy sharing conversation over good food, check out the upcoming dinner:

https://www.tablecrowd.com 

#MeetandEat

MAFE…

… stands for ‘Mentor A Female Entrepreneur’. It’s a program that pairs managers and directors in our media agency with women who have founded a start-up. My inspiration for our opening session was Sheryl Sandberg:

“Presenting leadership as a list of carefully defined qualities (like strategic, analytical and performance-oriented) no longer holds. Instead, true leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.”

mafe2

Our mission statement builds off this idea of leadership and raw conversation:

Create a prolonged authentic conversation between two women that are similar enough to relate, but different enough to inspire each other and fill knowledge gaps.

Open Innovation + Digital Catapult

I recently met some people form Digital Catapult UK. I was blown away by their core value of ‘open innovation’. The ‘openness’ comes comes with inherent risks and benefits that both sides must understand, but it is designed to encourage ‘serendipitous innovation’. In a world of patents and trademarks, they believe: “You can benefit from ideas that you do not own.”

He had a beautiful quote that I think describes what innovation teams within large organisations should do:

“We are here to start movements that will grow on their own. We are here to create self-sustained ripples.”

ABOUT Digital Catapult: a not-for-profit organization with a trading division. They have been tasked with a target of growing the British Economy. They started from scratch 18 months ago and are primarily funded by Government, but their goal is to have a third of their income come from the industry to balance out their dependency on any one body.

  • Industry needs to “bring challenges to them”
  • Connected to 2,500 innovators (new name for start-ups and entrepreneurs)
  • Digital Catapult run about 1-event per day and their target is innovators
  • They can also doo proof of concept/product prototyping
  • They are located in the R&D quarter (King’s Cross)

Their Innovation Focus is on how companies get value from their data (including secondary/tertiary value from data) in these four areas: 

  1. Personal data (Banking, browsing)
  2. Closed corporate data (banks, new value)
  3. Licensed data (Creative content, IP)
  4. Machine generated data (IOT)

You should check them out and their work in the UK innovation space!