Genius is a label, a shortcut that signifies the remarkable achievements and abilities of an individual. Thomas Edison famously quipped that genius was one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. But genius also hinges on the voices of the community, the support of the people.
If you unpack this centuries-old label, you might realize that the posture of a genius is already baked into your daily routines. Geniuses are exceptional at failing, learning from mistakes, and cross-pollinating insights from various domains. They’re working, not for money or fame, but because they’re compelled to pursue a particular craft or interest; they’re obsessed; they cannot look do anything else other than solve the problem, paint on that canvas, or breathe life into an idea.
Today, opportunities and resources to tame your talents and sharpen your skills abound. The real battle is less external and more internal—facing your fears, quieting your ego, enriching your mind, and dancing with failure. Perhaps Mozart got it right when he said, “Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.”
The July theme is all about Equality
We imagine a world where we’re seen and heard, respected and valued, not for our appearance and privilege, but for our work and character. A world where anyone, anywhere, has equal access to opportunities and resources to become the person they dream about. The formula for equality is a work in progress, and this work is not done from the few with power but rather through the power of community.
Equality is harmony. Harmony isn’t achieved through one instrument; it’s a collaboration, a symphony of sounds that adds richness and texture to the bigger picture. The pursuit of equality is a long-term game, an unraveling of outdated processes that no longer serves the future we imagine or deserve.
We’re thrilled to announce that we’re partnering with Adobe to stretch our collective mission in connecting and empowering creative communities around the world.
With Adobe’s indispensable tools and decades of experience in enabling creatives to bring their ideas to life, along with CreativeMornings’ unwavering commitment to unite and inspire cities with face-to-face connections, we’re honored to be partnering with another company that is eager to champion the future of creativity and add fuel to the engine of generosity. Read more about it!
Interview with Almondi Esco
- How did you get into content marketing work?
It all happened because of my wish to tell stories. It actually started about 10 years ago, when I worked at the Estonian Business Daily Äripäev in the creative news department. At that time the revolution of the web had just started and I fell in love with all the possibilities to tell stories in that new way. We created the first video news story in Äripäev and also the first complex multimedia story with videos and picture stories and everything. Today it’s, of course, nothing but at that time it was a totally new approach. But in terms of turning a profit, it was expensive as hell. So when the creative news department at Äripäev was closed due to the recession I was too far gone down that new media rabbit hole that I just could not go back to just writing news. Instead, I left Äripäev and started working on my own to find ways to bring my stories alive in the new media world. And it did not take me long to figure out that the only way to do that is with branded money. So for me, it was never really about marketing… it was always about the story.
- How would you define ’Survival?’ What does that mean to you?
I used to do jiu-jitsu when I was young. I sucked at it. Every time I sparred I was taken down in a matter of seconds. And yet at that unfortunate position, I found something paramount - the importance of the ability to survive. Although getting me down in a lock hold might have been easy, getting me to surrender… well, that was a whole different story. Today as the director and producer of a seven-figure animated feature film “The Survivalist - Danger Island”, I am often reminded of those moments lying face down on that sweaty sparring matt, as looking back at this journey it has been nothing less than a trail of lock holds, where the only way out is simply not to give up. And that is exactly how I define “Survival” - it’s simply not giving up.
- Was there a point in your career where you felt like you were just surviving? How did it impact your creativity?
Oh…if I look back at my life I don’t see a trail of success. I see a trail of failures. So much so that I can’t even measure my successfulness by what I’ve done right, but by everything I have failed in. And the only way I know I am on the right track is through my failures getting gradually bigger. Because if they get bigger, that means that someone has trusted me with a bigger project. So in regard of that, I am unable to point out a specific place in my career where I felt like just surviving because to me it’s always just surviving. There is nor there ever will be a safe harbor, a summit or a finish in life. It’s all survival until the very end. And that survival does not just impact creativity, it IS creativity. Because creativity can’t be or come from a point of standing still. Creativity is what happens in endless unexpected collisions inside the storm of life.
- What advice would you give to those, who want to build a career in marketing?
Well. I guess the best advice I could give them is not to ask that questions from me (laugh). In all seriousness, I have never seen myself as a marketer. I have always seen myself as a storyteller. And I don’t mean that in a cheesy “trying to make a point” way. I mean it in a way that I never wanted to become a marketer or a branded entertainment specialist. I just wanted to build worlds and tell stories. But in order to do that there was no other way than diving neck deep into branded entertainment. So yeah, I do feel very much at home when it comes to content marketing and I truly love content marketing and all of my dreams literally come to life thanks to content marketing, but still I am the wrong person to ask that particular questions, because my goal was never to build a career in marketing. It was to build a career in storytelling.
- Tell us something about yourself that we can’t find on Google.
From the day I went to kindergarten until I was about 17 years old I was rejected by every girl I ever liked. I believe that to be the most significant factor in the development of my character because it is both the birthplace of most of my creativity as well as most of my anxieties (laugh).
The June theme is all about Survival
The ability to overcome adversity and withstand waves of turbulent times is part of the human spirit. In our hardwiring, it is the oldest of threads that also fuels our creativity.
Stories of survival resonate because they remind us of our inherent power to adapt and change. A choice is always present, and survival is about choosing to move forward.
This month, our creativity will be empowered by the humbling stories of survival—from job loss, heartbreak, to life-altering moments. We must not forget that the necessity of survival imbues us. The fact that we’re fragile and complex doesn’t make us weak; in fact, it makes us stronger.
Serendipity with Dan Mikkin
In May we were talking about Serendipity in service design with Dan Mikkin - brand and service designer, one of the founders of the Brand Manual. The service design company is based in Tallinn and Stockholm.
Dan shared his secrets and experiences in service design, we also received lots of useful tips how to train your intuition in service design preparation.
“Serendipity is a great thing, but it never just happens. When you learn both the service provider’s and the user’s point of view, then things really click together. Good stuff happens to the prepared!”
Photo: Andra Hamburg
Find out more about Dan Mikkin:
May theme is Serendipity
The term ‘serendipity’ was coined in 1754 by the aristocrat Horace Walpole. While reading a Persian fairytale called “The Three Princes of Serendip,” he wrote to a friend to share his realization. “The princes were always making discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.”
When you hear stories about serendipity, they have an undertone of delight, pleasure, and sometimes profound transformation. These unforeseen, joyful accidents are often the opportunities we seek and cherish—and above all, they’re moments that we don’t forget.
How might we see, embrace, or cultivate serendipity? In 170 cities throughout 62 countries, we’ll hear about the unplanned moments that led to something new.
CreativeMornings Tallinn is a free, monthly breakfast lecture series for people interested in all things creativity. Each event is free, and includes a 20-minute talk, plus coffee!
Interested in being a volunteer? Tell us more about yourself in an email to tallinn[at]creativemornings.com - or ask us after an event :)