This is the 2point5, a podcast that connects innovators through conversations.

My name is Klaus, I am located in the South West of Germany in the state of Baden-Württemberg. In the podcast I will talk to innovators from around the world about their motivation, ideas and creative passions as well as their favorite methods, tools and conferences. We will discuss the ups and downs, successes and failures on the way to put their ideas into reality. But foremost we will talk about their vision and what drives them to follow their hunches into unknown territory and to essentially shape the future.

This is also an adventure for me. So come along and join the 2pt5. Subscribe to the podcast to listen to new episodes „fresh” from the studio.

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M.

Music Producer Immex – about finding new beats, honoring tradition, Unbox Therapy and Mark Knopfler

The very first episode, enjoy!

Music Producer Immex - about finding new beats, honoring tradition, Unbox Therapy and Mark Knopfler

This time I am going to talk to musician and music producer Hristijan Ivanovski from Macedonia also known as Immex about his music and the process to create his work.
We are talking about his love for Mark Knopflers music, the influcence of Jedi Mind Tricks and music producer Gramatik on his development as a musician. Immex is a self taught guitar player, that started with passion for music and with the help of his community as he has a lot of friends in bands, a network he draws upon often.
He likes hip-hop and rock’n’roll and is situated in between genres. He actually prefers this sometimes uncomfortable place between two chairs and accepts it as a source of inspiration.

As an Innovator Immex is switching between classical Guitar and a Laptop as his favorite instruments to create music. Today he is multi instrumental, playing also drums, base guitar, keyboards and even sings. His beats are used on major Youtube channels such as Unbox Therapy with more than 15 mill. fans. He is a master of the computer as a complex instrument but he loves playing the guitar and keeps one around all the time.  

He again supports his friends bands regularly in their shows. He has build his own style as a musician and a producer and believes he is still on a journey with more to come. Immex is using the digital platforms to his advantage to address a global audience from his hometown in Macedonia.

In our conversation Immex also talks about the right place and time to be creative and about the Vision that starts his projects.

His dream is to play with Mark Knopfler from the Dire Straights.
Immex is also the creator of this show’s theme song.

the start

Starting the podcast with a conversation with a musician seemed appropriate. The bandwidth of the creative as well as the commercial process a musician has to cover is enormous and serves as a good example for innovators I think.

find Immex on

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/immexbeats

Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/immexinthehouse

Youtube https://www.youtube.com/immexbeatz

Twitter https://twitter.com/immexbeatz

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/immexbeatz/

Unbox Therapy https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsTcErHg8oDvUnTzoqsYeNw

influences

Mark Knopfler https://www.markknopfler.com

Jedi Mind Tricks https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedi_Mind_Tricks

Gramatik https://www.gramatik.net

Mark Knopfler Song mentioned in the conversation: “Boom, Like that”

Listen on Apple Music & Spotify

thank you to

Immex for his music and time

David Nebinski https://twitter.com/nebinskids

Alex DiPalma and Seth Godin from The Podcasting Fellowship https://podcastclub.link

Andreas Urra from the University of Konstanz https://streaming.uni-konstanz.de

Colin Gray from the Podcast Host com https://www.thepodcasthost.com

Niklas Leck von Start Summit St. Gallen

Peter Frischknecht und Timur Sagirosman von Startfeld St. Gallen

connect with The 2pt5

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/the2pt5/

Twitter https://twitter.com/the2pt5

Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/company/the2pt5/

Mailing list http://eepurl.com/gepMD1

D.

Designer/ideas man/brand expert/teacher Marty Neumeier – about his no BS approach to ideas, the purpose and limits of business books for innovation, achieving minimalism in creating and learning from The Grateful Dead

In this episode my guest is Marty Neumeier a Designer/ideas man/brand expert and teacher. We are talking about

  • that you don’t have to be a genius to be an innovator
  • about the importance of dreaming as an innovator as well as making and continous learning
  • about the importance of a vision for making to get to results
  • about focusing and leaving out the bs in business books
  • and about learning from The Grateful Dead.
Marty Neumeier in conversation with The 2pt5

Marty Neumeier is an ideas man and a teacher in the best sense of the word.

He has written several books about branding, creativity and innovation which became classics in their field. Marty is full of energy and ideas, and the conviction and hope that his ideas truely add value for the readers or his course participants (he just added Masterclasses to his line of focused business books).

Marty Neumeier’s Books

Marty is no fan of business BS. He cuts straight to the point without oversimplifying things. “I have just tried to make it simple” is one of the hardest thing to do, dodging the irrelevant to focus on the important.

THE BRAND GAP (2003) and ZAG (2006) come to mind instantly. The phrase “A brand isn’t what you say it is—it’s what they say it is.” is common knowledge now. In his third book, THE DESIGNFUL COMPANY, he addressed how business leaders can build a culture of nonstop innovation. One of his secrets: “If you wanna innovate, you gotta design.”

Masterclasses

In his live Masterclasses, he is bringing his teaching to a next level: the classes are for professionals that put in an effort and want to evolve their knowledge, networks and careers. Find more information and enroll for classes here.


find Marty Neumeier on

read Marty Neumeier’s books

at Amazon

watch and listen to Marty Neumeier

  • on the “How Brands Are Built” podcast
  • Innovation Workshop Video


music by Immex – thank you!


The 2pt5 mailing list


Transcript

(This transcript was created automatically and still includes some typos and errors.)

Klaus
This is the 2.5 conversations connecting innovators Episode 2. My name is Klaus. In this episode my guest is Marty Neumeier a designer, ideas man, brand expert and teacher. We will be talking about that you don’t have to be a genius to be an innovator about the importance of dreaming as an innovator as well as making and continuous learning about the importance of a vision for making to gets two results about focusing and leaving out the B.S. in business books and about learning from the Grateful Dead. Marty Neumeier is an ideas man and a teacher in the best sense of the word. He has written several books about branding creativity and innovation. The Brand Gap, ZAG and the Designful Company among his books that became classics. He is full of energy and ideas and the conviction and hope that his ideas truly add value for the readers or his course participants. He just added master classes to his line of focused business books. Let’s start the conversation.

Klaus
Marty. Thank you very much for taking your time talking with me on The 2pt5 podcast. I’m very honored and I’m a big fan for a long time now. Welcome!

Marty Neumeier
My pleasure Klaus.

Klaus
Marty are you aware of the Neumaier station in the Antarctic near the South Pole.

Marty Neumeier
I am not. Maybe I should be looked at up. Is it spelled the same.

Klaus
No actually it’s not spelled the same. But Neumeier is is a German name actually. And and it’s the name of this the Antarctic station situated on some iceberg in the south. And experts have some sort of iceberg.

Marty Neumeier
Might my ancestors came over to turn to the US in probably 1880 something like that. My great great great grandfather and grandmother. I think they got married and then came here came to the US. And that’s kind of all we know because it’s like we don’t know about are past. It’s all been sort of erased by immigration.

Klaus
I like that you have kept your name new Maya which is kind of the German spelling. But kept the English pronunciation.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah we just give up trying to correct people right. If they want to call you knew my or you just nod and go. Yes.

Klaus
Yeah. It’s the same with with my name. Oh I was so happy when Star Trek introduced Commander Riker. His name is sort of spelt differently a bit but now I can say it’s like in Star Trek, since Reichert is just impossible to pronounce.
When everyone’s zigs. What do you do?

Marty Neumeier
You zag! Obviously.

Klaus
You zag. Why obviously? Is it about breaking rules all the time?

Marty Neumeier
I know not all the time but where it counts. You have you know you have to be different. So you know we are. We all have a tendency to follow the leader. That’s how we learn. But you can’t be a leader by following the leader. Eventually you have to break away and ask people to follow you. So the most successful companies are the ones that have followers that have imitators so imitators don’t do well in the marketplace though they always make their profit margins are less and so forth. So you want to be number one in your in your niche or your your marketplace your space and you can’t do that by copying number one OK.

Klaus
Basically what you could do is copying number one and reduce the price which is actually not a nice position to be in I think.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah branding isn’t about lower prices unless unless that’s your whole idea. That could be a strong brand but usually it’s about getting more people to buy more stuff. Higher prices for more years.

Klaus
Yes. Have some consistency in the the way you deliver a product that you build trust with with your customers and that people can know what to expect when when when they buy something from you. But that’s sort of sometimes in the wave for for innovators because if you do something really new people don’t know about this. They don’t know what to expect because it’s something that was not around before.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah it’s difficult if you have something completely new you have to teach people what it is and why it’s of some value to them and that’s difficult. So it’s usually better to to relate it to something they already understand.

Klaus
I understand that teaching is really an important thing for you. You’re not a university teacher you’re not a teacher at school and stuff like that. But you write business books you picked up the business book as a medium for teaching and you have a very different approach to business books. I think your books are very different. There’s always not a lot of pages. There’s always a worksheet there might be a video and they are always shopped to a point or to the point that they want to make. There is no B.S. involved at least from my point of view. How come you don’t like B.S.?

Marty Neumeier
Well you know it’s it just took time consuming for people. Why not just get to the point. That’s the whole idea of of being a communicator. Right. Is to get to the point quickly and make it stick. And that’s a skill that I’ve honed by being a graphic designer for many years early in my career and then a copywriter and the whole idea of being a copywriter is you grab somebody with a headline with some sort of promise and you buy it.

Marty Neumeier
After about 100 word you you’ve got them to buy something or at least be open to buying something. And I don’t see why a business book should be any different. I don’t I don’t think more is better business but whether it’s why just throw you know hundred thousand words at people with you know you know ten thousand ideas when they can’t remember more than four or five in any way. So I just think stick to a couple of good ideas make sure people remember them and can unpack them over time.

Marty Neumeier
In other words every time they think back about a principle they find a way to apply it. So so simplicity doesn’t mean simple mindedness it means compression. That’s why I look at it you take a big idea and you compress it down to something small enough for people to get their heads around. And but all the information is still in there. And so that that thing that they remember reminds them of all the other things they need to know rather than treat all information as equal. You know because in a business book some things are more important than others other things so you need to make sure people understand the hierarchy of importance.

Klaus
But everybody else or many other authors are taking a different drought. And so what do you do basically is you’re not taking the safe route that everybody else is doing.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah that’s right I’m differentiating OK. Takes guts. Yeah. Well yes it does but it’s almost the other way is almost guaranteed to be to be a failure. So by just doing what other people are doing you have no reason to be in the world. We need you. So that me that’s that’s dangerous. It’s much safer to strike out at least Bill you know be a little bit different and try to try to find an audience a constituency for what you’re doing than it is to just be a pale imitation of somebody else or copy someone else and make a few superficial changes to what they’re saying to me that’s that’s a waste of time. And and you know it’s dangerous to your career because you spent all that time doing something that nobody is going to care about.

Klaus
Well there’s still a lot of books that aren’t. Let’s put it that way famous but probably also end up on the couch table have a being read for just a few pages or the first chapter. And and you know you could you could argue you’re just plain lazy because you don’t write a lot. Sorry. But I’m also quoting or paraphrasing you I’ve just tried to make it simple. And but from my experience it is much harder to make something simple and to come up with something minimal than to sort of elaborate yeah yeah.

Marty Neumeier
That’s where the work is is continually polishing it to you get it to the simplest possible expression. That’s true and useful right. I mean something could be true and not useful. So you want it to be both. And you know I arrive at these I call them conceptual toys they’re just little ideas that you can play with that are fun and don’t demand too much. You know cognitive work to understand and you know I spend every morning in the shower just trying to figure out how can I explain this to somebody you know whatever point I’m thinking of what’s the best way to explain this. And so I put a lot of work into it. Hours just for one sentence sometimes but those sentences are all pieced together into one integrated whole. And so that that make it even a little bit harder so everything I hope that everything I say in all my books makes sense with everything else I’ve said in books that I don’t count myself.

Klaus
So have you encountered that situation that you contradicted yourself in a later book.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah early on. Yeah not so much anymore because I’m aware of it now but the thing is once you read a book it’s there forever. Yeah. Yeah.

Klaus
Has in my from my PhD research I spent a lot of time in the libraries looking at really really really old books like a three 400 year old books and that’s quite scary. If you think about that that things can be around for such a long time.

Klaus
But even then let’s wonder if there will be like an e-book reader far into a hundred years that will be capable of reading today’s books but still I have the problem with this book that I’ve got from you it was the first book that I got and it’s the innovators innovation toolkit sorry and it’s a combination of video and and a book and I am running into the problem that I don’t have a DVD player anymore. That’s why me so I can still read but the stuff on the electronic stuff on the on the silver silver disk is just not accessible anymore.

Klaus
But I’ve seen that you have you’re also offering this video as a download on the web which is why I don’t even think it’s available as a product other than a download. Yes you know that that whole technology is gone so.

Klaus
You can see that you contradict yourself sometimes in later books which sort of is a thing that is connected to learning also so well for you.

Klaus
As a person as a designer as a human being is it very important to have be such a lifelong learner.

Marty Neumeier
Well of course it is. That’s been that’s the advantage of living long. You have more time to learn things and get better at things and be more yourself. All those kinds of things. It’s a gift if you can. You know the longer you live the more chance you have. Although I don’t think I’d want to live forever. Big fan of a nano life’s lifespan but some people do you know there are people that really want to live forever and would if they could they could take a pill and live forever they do it.

Marty Neumeier
They’re all in Silicon Valley.

Klaus
So I understand that that might be a nice possibility. There’s also vampires that live forever and I understand. It doesn’t really appeal to me to lead such a life away from everybody else.

Marty Neumeier
I’m not really that person either.

Klaus
Me too. I like the mornings. But actually to be able to see these things and to to you have to be sort of knowledgeable of a lot of things you have to have made a lot of experiments. You have to have. I have talked to a lot of people. And then there’s this big phrase and I don’t remember from whom this is. That’s the more you know the more you wonder about what you know. It’s that sort of a problem for you always.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah it’s true the more you know the more you question everything including yourself. I’m threatening to write a book someday called Confessions of a brand man. As a sort of tribute to David David Ogilvy who wrote Confessions of an advertising man back in the 60s when you read his book The Confessions aren’t really confessions. They’re basically stories of how great idea. But I haven’t those stories like that. I have no stories of greatness about me. But I think it might be interesting to see what a struggle it is to to learn this kind of thing and be successful in a an area like branding which is fairly abstract branding or communication or strategy. These are all fairly abstract disciplines with a lot of failure and the only reason I can write about this at all is because I’ve failed so many times. I don’t think there was any other way. I used up all the ways of failing. So I’ve tried them all and I’m the kind of person that always does the wrong thing first.

Klaus
OK so you hit you. You hit your knees a lot and it hurts a lot and left your marks on the legs. That sounds like you. You don’t think you’re a genius yourself.

Marty Neumeier
I do not. Well let me take that back. I think everybody’s a genius at something almost everybody or at least they have the opportunity to be a genius at something but probably not everything. I really believe that people should in the course of their lives specialize in something fairly early to master it and get a feeling for what you know what that’s like to master something and then spread out from there as opposed to learning everything a little bit and then find the thing that you don’t know anything really very deeply. I think that experience of going deep into a subject is really important. It’s also important to know enough about the world that you can bring other ideas into your specialty. And from there you can leap over to another specialty and add that on. You can go laterally but that’s what I’d like to see people learn. I think it works better but that’s maybe that’s just me.

Klaus
Does that mean that you focus on the strengths you have or focus on the weaknesses and build on that?

Marty Neumeier
I think you want to neutralize your weakness does while you build on your strengths. And eventually maybe some of those weaknesses turn around or they become strengths but I think you know the problem we all have is we have to compete in the world. We have to find a place to stand that where we can do something better or in a new way to liberate ourselves from everybody else. Otherwise we’re not very valuable. We’re just you know interchangeable parts in a in a business world. So we want to have something we can say like this is the thing I do better than anybody else and I want to be paid for that right. I will be paid more than someone else. So if you don’t have that it’s just more of a struggle. And so that’s what I wrote a book called meta skills that talks about that many skills are skills that lets you learn other skills like if you’re a good learner that helps you learn about other things you know that’s that’s gotten similar to meta cognition. It’s knowing what you need to know or feeling what you need to feel. These sorts of things five of them I think are important in a world where innovation is crucial. And the book was really a watershed for me because I learned a lot from the research I did. It’s unlike my other books it’s you know it’s big it’s three hundred and fifty pages 30 pages of notes you know tiny type where all this stuff came from. So I really started to think about how how much we need to change education to be in tune with the world that requires more problem solving more creativity more human interaction and because because the old way of learning and the old schooling system just doesn’t work doesn’t work as well. Much like it’s built on a factory model where everybody learns the same thing and they come out at the end with the same time they stop in time. The end at the same time they learn the same things. Everything they learn is already known you know. So how do you teach people to learn things that aren’t.

Klaus
No I I think it’s really interesting that you coming from the US say something that everybody in for example Germany which I have a better grasp on on what is going on is also saying and and from what I understand you say is something that it starts with feeling. It goes on with scene and there’s dreaming making which sort of is the opposite of dreaming. And then again learning and I was quite fascinated by these seemingly different things are contradictory things in this list.

Marty Neumeier
Yes they are there. I think they’re complementary. So so feeling and seeing our complementary feeling is about intuition and emotion and that sort of thing and then seeing is more about systems understanding systems. So it’s more logical those two things need to be together they’re sort of opposites but they need each other. And then making and what’s the other one. Dreaming dreaming dreaming is kind of wishing or thinking to yourself wouldn’t it be cool if what if what if and you can work yourself to death and never achieving anything. You know I mean you have to make stuff. So yes dreaming is no good without making it. And if you don’t know how to make money so you need you need those skills design skills making skills but making without having a vision is not going to get you anywhere either. And then learning is really a possible farm of the five things learning is just kind of accelerates all the other for that kind of learning and talking about there is really more formal learning either by reading or going to school or taking classes going to workshops or formal things. And some people are good at that and somebody bored so it’s but it’s good to be good at those things feed off of each other. They all relate to each other and make each other better.

Klaus
For teaching or for learning this several mediums to do that. And you talk a lot about all you have written a lot of books and you talk about books and books are a great way an accepted way for several hundred years to learn something new and also get into some bring the reader in some sort of transformation to do his or her job better for example to learn something about something that this person has never been exposed to before some new point of view or a new skill. But a book also has boundaries. Now we have video we have courses courses that were around for thousands of years but we have online courses for example and stuff like that. So what is not teachable via a book or what is best teachable by a book.

Marty Neumeier
Well that’s a good point. I think what’s teachable by a book is we’re writing so you can learn to be a writer from reading books. You don’t even need to take a class. Although I still think having a class and having a mentor would help anybody. Yes. And having peers who could review each other’s works all that’s really important. They all have their advantages. I think people overvalue what video can teach as opposed to books. I think books just pack a lot more inside but you need to be able to unpack it. You need to be a good reader a critical reader. You need to be willing to take those ideas and try them out. So people who don’t have that sort of they’re not self-propelled into doing that might do better if they’re in a group where there’s some peer pressure to do the work right. So that would be school. Yes classes. But I think they’re all you know everybody has their own way of learning and I think I think they should gravitate towards those things that work for them. But I certainly wouldn’t rule out reading. I’m not counting books on the on the endangered species list. Oddly enough I mean I think they’re just they’re under appreciated in the US because we have so much technology we’re doing so many cool new things that people are distracted from from books. And that’s one of the reasons I prefer Europe. People read that bookstores here. It’s great it makes me feel great. So I’m actually thinking of maybe moving my publishing activities to Europe where there’s there’s more effort going into the production of books and there’s more readers making the centre by centre of gravity. So I’m looking into that on this trip. Among other things and I probably will do video courses someday if I should live long enough. But right now I’m focusing on live masterclasses. Yes. For people who are really serious.

Klaus
So what do you started to do is offering these live master classes and what I understand is is that one of the first ones or second year now is is happening in Europe in this October.

Marty Neumeier
Yes. Well we. We did the first one in London and that was in March and that was a big success. So we decided to do more cities with the same class. It’s the level one class. There’s gonna be five levels. Level one is the basic you know branding one or one. It’s a great class in a lot of people that’s all they need is that first level and they’ll be transformed their whole idea of branding will be transformed. So we’re bringing it back to London and also Hamburg and Glasgow Bordeaux is now closed. But those five. And then we’ll be coming back again in probably April. I think something like that with the second course and so you can take two if you want. If you’re very ambitious you could take one then two things might be too much for people to do that.

Klaus
But it would be for the genius amongst us.

Marty Neumeier
It’s one of the on geniuses only for that. Yeah. So yeah the second the second masterclass will be focused on strategy. It’s a brand strategy goes deeply into that. There’ll be a very fascinating classic and I’m loving these classes because the people who come are very very motivated. They’re pros already they’re already in the field working in the field or at least the graduates of a of a program in marketing or strategy business something like that. And and they just bring a lot of energy to it and it’s for some of them. Some of them it’s the first time they’ve worked collaboratively with other people in other disciplines. So you know we break into teams and we take a fictitious. We can we create a project for each team and then they take it in two days they take it from beginning to end and a prototype that brand. And what’s really kind of surprised me is how much people bonded over the first one. I mean it’s a little business to start it up after people met in this class. They started working together and collaborating either sort of unofficially or even creating new business to business relationships with each others and other people got better jobs after this really better jobs. Thumbs up thumbs up. The idea though is that if you take all five at one end you graduate from all five levels in the program you are able to take on the role of CBI chief brand officer in a large company which is a new role that’s just emerging. And it’s a very it’s a role of high responsibility and high compensation higher than anyone ever thought. I mean it’s it’s almost up there with CEO status so that’s not for everybody. We’re not going to have a lot of graduates but we’ve already got people from the very first class taking those kinds of roles just from the first class. Amazing. So I can’t explain why I think they were already very talented before they took the class but I think it just gave them probably a better understanding of where they fit and what their value is. Other people reported that they just landed huge clients that they never thought they could handle and now they have a really better understanding of how to structure the work. So I’m really encouraged just to keep doing this and I hope that some of some pros from Germany come to the Hamburg class it’s October 29 and 30.

Klaus
I will provide a link in the podcast show notes and the episode’s description.

Marty Neumeier
You can go to https://levelC.org to see what it’s about.

Klaus
Yes. So that way you you introduced another way to interact with the brand education let’s put it that way it’s not a good word. I’m just lacking some words. Another way also to interact with you because in the book it’s just it’s there’s the personal voice on the pages but you will be attending these classes you will be hosting the classes. Yes. No it’s the it’s the most fun thing I do is interact with everybody and.

Marty Neumeier
Just get in the playpen with them you know and you know we can learn to gather and I have my partner Andy Starr who helps you help set them up and runs the business part of it. And he also is a great teacher and helps the teams. He goes around it helps the teams compete with each other. Okay. It’s really fun and very learning the full learning that we’re learning from.

Klaus
It’s a good word. You referred to that brand office on that new role that is sort of upcoming. Does that have anything to do with the popularity of design thinking.

Marty Neumeier
It would definitely include design thinking because branding is depends on the design design thinking which means design thinking is essentially thinking with your hands you know. So you you imagine something that wasn’t there before you you prototype it you see if it works you make changes to it you prototype it again you test it in the marketplace. That’s the process for creating anything new so. So I would say the Chief Brand Officer is the most important person in an in teaching the company how to do this at every level. I mean I think design thinking isn’t just for designers it’s just a way of approaching a problem where you don’t know the answer in advance know there’s no formula for finding out the answer you have to the test. You have to try other things you have to imagine a solution. And if you haven’t been taught how to do that. That’s pretty scary. So I would think that chief brand officer would be running classes or making sure that people understood the process of design thinking because it applies to anything in the business really it’s how honest a salesperson persuades a nice client and a good client to come along with with the program you know with to buy something from the company. It could be how strategists think how all that all the the elements of branding are put together. New processes in the company how do we work together. That’s all design thinking can explicate that too.

Klaus
And it introduces the idea of creativity that people can be creative even if they themselves don’t really think of themselves as being creative.

Marty Neumeier
Now we’re all creative here. We don’t think so often and often we’re not consciously creative but we don’t we don’t understand the process of creativity and so I think that’s something everyone could could learn from. I think they’d be really surprised at how key they are if they’re doing it deliberately and they’re actually you know there ways to to get at that. And you know I’ve taught workshops on that too. And I can say that almost everybody surprises themselves when they know how to do it.

Klaus
So you don’t need to be a genius to be an innovator?

Marty Neumeier
No you don’t. I do believe in genius but I believe that everyone’s. Everyone has the ability to be a genius in something if they can find it and develop it. And what happens is a lot of people don’t realize they have that potential or are afraid to to explore it because maybe it doesn’t exist already. Maybe there is no category for that kind of genius that they would fit into. They have to create it. And so now we’re all learning how to express ourselves in the best possible way and make the most of our lives. And I think there’s a lot to learn from design thinking processes about that and the fact in fact there’s at Stanford that they’re running classes on using design thinking to to to envision your career and to to to to guide you along your career.

Klaus
I think it would be a great help for young people. Sounds strange but I’m 50 to have such a course done by you because you come to the point. Straight to the point you would you could help a lot of young people with doing such a course.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah I hope I am going to do and cause I’m writing books about it and giving workshops where I’m where I have a sponsor but I don’t have a way right now of running design thinking workshops on their own but it’s it’s folded into my brand workshop. So it’s part of those. OK. We’ll hit the wall. We’ll hit that pretty hard in the level three. I think it hasn’t been designed yet. So we’ll see.

Klaus
OK great. Maybe there’s a small spin off far especially aimed at the young people trying to find that certain thing in their lives.

Marty Neumeier
Well I hope it’ll just be taught in that university should be it should be.

Klaus
It should be taught at school.

Marty Neumeier
Yeah. School period or trade school. Know it’s not it’s not just a white collar skill. I mean everyone should learn how to do this.

Klaus
So you’re a believer in some sort of method tool kit that helps us to to sort of develop creativity develop some sort of idea methodology to to see a vision to sort of create create things to create things and it doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor or a lawyer you know you don’t think of lawyers creating anything but I think that can be very creative and often are creativity and problem solving therefore they are almost siblings.

Marty Neumeier
You know they use the same skill set you know Sherlock Holmes you think of him as really logical but he was inventing solutions to problems that he could imagine a solution and then he wasn’t just reading the tea leaves and then tracking back to the to the original of the of the problem to the murderer and stuff.

Klaus
Yeah. And I see what you mean. Is there an exercise we could name in the Sherlock home exercise. No but it’s an exercise that you. Like a simple thing that you recommend to people to do something like that to be individuals to be innovative but one that I like and it’s it’s not mine.

Marty Neumeier
I mean it has existed for years is where you you you try to fight. You look at a subject area. Let’s say you’re trying to invent something new with a brand or a company or product. You you you you make a list of everything that’s known about that. Like what are the assumptions about that subject area. And then you reverse those and you see what happens when you reverse it. Usually you come up with the world’s worst idea because there’s a reason why that successful thing is the way it is. But that’s successful industry but in reversing it. You’ve you look at it from a different perspective and you can say OK so that’s horrible. But what would we have to change about that reversed idea to make that a winner. So you’re starting from a different place a very wrong place. I said I do everything wrong at first. I think it’s helped me quite a bit in some ways. So you know let’s say that you want to reinvent banking retail banking. That’s a subject everybody knows a lot about because we all use a bank right. So you make a list of all the things that banks are like. What’s it like to go to the bank. What does the bank look like. What is it what the bankers do. Well see when you go to the bank it’s usually in a retail space and it might have some columns in the front and maybe some teller windows where you go to the and you know you wait in line you go up and you do your transaction. It’s got a safe in the back. It’s usually very solemn because it’s serious business it’s money. Yes. And you don’t you don’t you don’t you know take your lunch in there and eat it you know you wear shoes. It’s not relaxed not relaxed and that’s fine. But what if you just said well what’s the opposite of that. Well it’s it’s it’s not in a retail space it’s you could eat. You can go with barefoot. You can bring food you can bring your dog. There’s no teller windows maybe there’s no motels. So you go. Well that’s that would be the weirdest bank ever. But then you think well OK maybe maybe it’s it’s not in a normal know it’s not in the high rent district in town it’s in like where all the art galleries are and it’s got a concrete floor and it’s all painted white and there’s no people come up to you. They have a laptop or a tablet and they ask you how they can help and you sit down you have some coffee and conversation look the whole conversation. Then you can come there and sit there with you or your cat. Oh yes. Are you snake right. Well chair for the snake. And so that sounds pretty crazy. On the other hand one of my readers a group of people who read my book Zach did exactly that in Prague. And it spread to the rest of Czechoslovakia Czech Republic. It’s called Air bank and you go in and everything’s green and white plastic and fun. And you know it’s. And you can here’s a sign in the window that says you know take off your shoes bring your food. Know that’s OK. If you sign up for an account. You don’t get 30 pages of contract to sign you get one simple page that you can understand. You know they just did everything. They just fixed all the problems and reversed everything and it’s hugely successful OK.

Klaus
And they’re probably still learning and improving stuff and reacting on things that are good or bad and he’s building on that. Yes they are. Continuous learning is very difficult for him to do in companies and be innovative all the time. You might start us out innovative but then you get you get sort of frozen in time. Is there like a go to exercise that you recommend. And I think No I’m asking for a lot for companies to sort of keep on learning.

Marty Neumeier
I really think that there should be every company should have its own training program. That’s that’s aligned with their own brand. They should develop their own it shouldn’t be something you can learn at a university because anyone can get that from you they should have their own special branded training. Yes. So whatever it whatever it is that’s important to success of that company if it’s continuous learning then they should teach to continuous learning. They should know the matter skill of learning would be great. And then you can put in some processes that make that we feel for people. Let me. One of the things that I did that I thought was really is pretty successful was for Hewlett Packard HP back 15 years ago. Their company was a mess because they had acquired another company and the two cultures didn’t really fit together very well. And they had a culture of everyone for himself. Like every division every region could make up its own rules and use its own brand elements and so it was just a mess. It didn’t look like a single company at all. And they they find something that works and they just keep repeating that for endlessly until it didn’t work. And then they find out that gee that product is no longer needed in the world. We’ve got to start over. So there’s no need for that really. You just have to have continuous innovation. So we work together with HP and they had adopted the slogan of invent invent but it’s for customers it was for them. Okay. Right. We need to invent let’s be invented let’s design stuff and let’s keep doing so because the company was so democratic in a way and diffused all over the world. It was really impossible to force anyone to do anything in a certain way. They just resisted it. That’s just wasn’t in the culture of the company. So we tried something else we created a competition an annual competition around the HP brand which included products and brand communications and processes and partnerships and just about everything the company did was part of the brand effort and we would send out a call for entries and people would fill out a form and send in examples of something they had done that they think pushed the company forward and made a big deal out of judging it at three different levels including outside famous people from the outside coming in and judging the final the final winners. And then we made a big event out of it three days someplace in the world where people would be flown in or the finalists would be flown in and they’d be treated to great talks by important people at a big banquet. And just like you know the Academy Awards you get a beautiful trophy if they were were among the winners and it just inspired everybody to do the right thing without and without forcing it to do it they wanted to do it. They wanted to be seen in the company. They wanted visibility. And that just kept building on itself. And then we had kind of internal magazine online learning where we would take the winners and write an article about the team and how they did it. But the fetishes of their solution where were the takeaways were so if you want to try it here’s what you should learn from this. And then we took those and made those case studies in a training program and we flew around the world to different regions and taught people how to be more creative and innovative. And that that worked. And I think we ran it for five years until they finally knew enough about it that they could take it over internally. So you know I don’t know if that’s a good solution for everybody but for them it was it was it was perfect was just what they needed.

Klaus
Given their size and their culture to establish such a like an internal university established curriculum established questions answers establish media people that are running such a show and that could be from outside people at least for a while until things start to run smoothly and then it has to be done by people from the company themselves. I think because I think the better acceptance.

Marty Neumeier
And that’s that would be in my view the one of the roles of the CBO chief brand officer to make sure that that is operating perfectly.

Klaus
Okay great. Marty I’m I’m really fascinated by our conversation. I have a last question. And I think it shows a lot about you. You named a navigation point a section of your Web site. Steal my idea. Yes steal this idea steal this idea right. And what on earth did you think to name this section. That way it’s just very different from everything else on the web.

Marty Neumeier
You know it was just a feeling I had now that you know I think about it. I do know where that came from. I heard a story maybe 20 years ago about a rock and roll group that you may know called the Grateful Dead and The Grateful Dead had a very fanatic group of fans. So you know their audience was they just loved the Grateful Dead and they show up for every concert. The same people would show up every time and whenever the Grateful Dead had new songs there’d be people in the audience with high end tape recorders you know taping these songs and then selling them to each other or making them available online. And the Grateful Dead were going oh wait a minute they’re they’re ruining our business right there. They’re taking these recordings which are not very good live from somebody sitting in an audience and they’re getting them out before we can even put them on vinyl. And stealing our sales and so they’re trying to figure out what to do about that. And one of the people not anybody in the group but somebody like a man the manager or something similar. So we’re just thinking about this wrong. These are our fans without without our fans we have nothing if if they want to you know steal some music and give it to each other is that does that theft or is that advertising that I see that. I’m just. I know people are going to steal stuff out of my books. Why don’t I just ask them to do it and make it easy and given it the actual slide you know given the actual work and they could put it in their slideshows or use it any way they want. I don’t even care if they use my name with it they just want those ideas out there. There’s that. There’s more where those came from so I just keep coming up with new problems to solve and why not give them away. I mean it’s not like there is a limited number of these ideas.

Klaus
There’s just many many ideas and the good thing about ideas is once they are good for something at least for a certain point in time they become something like a general thing of life that it’s accepted to the and the society accepts these ideas. SS Now own and integrates that into the development of the society in that way. And the simple idea of a person a single person can become very very powerful if it sort of resonates with lots of other people at this point of time organic and people don’t even know where it came from so much the better.

Marty Neumeier
It just seems true. And I get it sometimes I get people online and social media saying oh the brand gap. Well that old thing. Yeah. You know or that and others say oh yeah I read that book. You know everybody knows all that stuff. Yes.

Klaus
Yeah. You have read the books we have talked about it for a long time. We have discussed these things and yeah it’s common knowledge.

Marty Neumeier
They were new at the times. It reminds me of a time my wife and I when we were in London and we went to see Romeo and Juliet and on the way out there were an American couple in front of us. We heard them talking and the man says “Well what did you think of the play?” She says “Oh I loved it. It’s just that you know there were so many cliches I’m not very myself with Shakespeare but I think the principle holds.” It’s like after a while you know when things become common knowledge they sound like cliches.

Klaus
So Shakespeare wasn’t such a big author? He just stuck together lots of cliches 🙂

Klaus
Great. Thank you Marty. I think we should leave it at that and thank you very much for taking the time of talking to me and and adding something to the library of the 2pt5. I think that was very very helpful and it was a great pleasure to talk to you.

Marty Neumeier
Likewise. Thank you so much.

Klaus
Thank you very much. Thank you for listening to my conversation with Marty Nemeier.