Kickstart a Dream

There has always been much discussion in the world of music entertainment over just who hold the rights to the music a band creates.  Many lawsuits have been fought and many friendships have been broken over this issue.  Recently a Celtic Rock Band out of Toronto, Enter the Haggis,  parted ways with their record label and struck out on their own.  With the hopes of creating a new album under their own creative control they were faced with a very real problem.

How are we going to fund this?

The answer for them

Kickstarter claims to be the world’s largest platform for funding creative projects.  They help fund projects in music, theater, film, publishing and more.  Here is how it worked for ETH.  They put up their project making sure the pitch to the public was genuine and fun to read.  Then they created a plethora of incentives for various funding levels from a digital download of the finished album to a having lunch with the band and more. They also aimed low asking for only half of what they needed to fund the production.  What happened next was amazing.

On July 7th,  I had the pleasure of attending a concert at which the band told us to watch for a big announcement at noon the next day.  Sure enough at noon the announcement of a new concept album was announced.  It was sent out via social media and email to their very loyal fan base affectionately known as “Haggis Heads”.  The idea, pick a day and a newspaper and create an entire album inspired by the stories that appear in the paper.  The first 1500 copies ordered would also receive a copy of the paper.  The plea, by September 1st they needed $20,000 to make it happen.  Well happen it did. In the first hour $5000 came in, in 8 hours $16,000.  The band was awed.   They opened new incentives for ones that were sold out, they pledged free stuff if they hit overall funding levels and it worked!  In two days they hit $30,000 shortly after $40,000, full funding.   They have promised a professional music video and a publicist if they hit $50,000 and I have no doubt they will.

So what makes these kind of fund drives so successful.  Perhaps it’s the idea that those of us less talented in some areas can come along for the ride.  Maybe it’s the idea that individuals have the right to own their own creative products.   Maybe it’s the ease and excitement of being part of the “in crowd”.  Maybe a little of each.  Other bands, like Scythian who funded their album “It’s Not Too Late” in this manner using Indiegogo have also had over the top success.  Scythian pledged to donate any excess funds to charity.   There is even a site, Kiva,  that allows regular folks to make loans in amount as low as $25 to struggling entrepeneurs in emerging nations.   The loan is repaid with interest over time.

For me I more than like the idea that I can help further another person’s creative contribution.  Whether it’s in helping to a band to produce an album that will bring a smile to someone’s face or in the case of a Kiva loan helping someone to feed their family or rebuild a home.   Creativity should be encouraged.  How about you, how will you join the Creative Revolution?   Click below for some places to start.

Crowdfunding Platforms

Kiva Loans  (If you recommend a friend who joins, you both get a free $25 loan to make)





UPDATE:  As of August 26, ETH hit over $60,000, three times their original request and there are 6 days to go. 


A Real Conversation Starter

global-conversation By drbexl

I have been poking around the topics of creativity, connectivism and communication while taking part in a Creativity and Multicultural Communications MOOC.  One interesting article that I came across while dodging down rabbit holes in Pearltrees was one on the concept of co-intelligence and the idea that by bringing diverse people together real social change can happen that will benefit the whole of humanity.  Sounds both simple and really daunting huh?

The article by Tom Atlee of the Co-Intelligence Institute, a Co-intelligent Social Change Agenda resonated with me.  I have often wondered why people are so opposed to listening to another point of view.  Why so many people are so quick to hide behind their beliefs it almost seems as though they have forfeited their right to critically think for themselves.  The article shows some current real-life examples of how bringing together a truly diverse group of people, high quality information and facts and a skilled facilitator trained to help people both listen and speak can result in astounding results.  It seems that it is possible that individual gain and self-preservation can give way to decisions that have a positive impact on the whole of society and not any one select group or individual.

Other articles by Tom Atlee speak to the idea of a conscious evolution.  Drawing similarities to Darwin’s theory of Evolution, Tom believes that through our connectiveness to each other and to information we as a society have the ability and possible even the responsibility to find ways to purposefully guide our own intellectual evolution.  Big Think blogger Orion Jones also talks about how our social interactions may play a big part in our cognitive future.

The idea of Co-Intelligence is fascinating to me.  I believe it correlates well with the theory of connectivism and creativity.  The internet has given us the ability to be connected to more people and resources than ever before but at the same time in many ways has isolated us from true interaction.  It isn’t enough to know where to look up information, you need to contribute to the conversation and weigh in with your own uniqueness, experience and opinions. The world we live in gets smaller every day and the world our children will inherit will have few boundaries. Real change will only happen when we can come together with compassion, deference and look to what Atlee refers to as the Core Commons and open an honest dialogue.  Unless we take ownership of our place at the world table and reach out and connect, we can never truly become a conversation starter.

For more interesting and thought provoking articles go to

Works Cited

Atlee, Tom. A Co-Intelligent Social Change Agenda. copyright 2003. 10 July 2012.

“Resonate Intelligence and the Core Commons.” Copyright 2003. The Co-Intellence Institute. 10 July 2012. copyright 2003. 12 July 2012.

Jones, Orion. Big Think. 15 April 2012. 12 July 2012.

Service Learning Connects the Dots

It’s interesting when things come into your range of vision seemingly all at once.  I’m beginning to pay more attention to coincidences and take note of the potential message they might have.  Sometimes it pays to listen.

I recently attended my youngest daughter’s college orientation.  One of the Parent workshops I signed up for was on study abroad programs, and being the Mother of an International Studies major, I thought this would give me some insight into what I was in for in the near future.  One of the programs that stood out to me was a Service Learning semester in Galway, Ireland.  I had not heard specifically the term “Service Learning” and was intrigued.  I thought this would be something for her to look into afterall it was in Irelend, how cool would that be?   Fast forward a week or so and  as I’m doing some expanded research on Connectivism and learning models connected to the theory , what do I come across but this Service Learning concept once again.  (Here is where that voice kicks in saying “Hey learn more about this”.)  What I have found is that a Service Learning Opportunity must combine theory with experience, provide further instruction and meet a need in the community.   Often we think that we must learn something, then go and apply that knowledge to see if we got it right.  This strategy allows the learning and the practice to happen at the same time.  It brings it all together and enhances previous knowledge by making connections to other people and sources of information.   It goes beyond your own head allowing the student to think, act and learn from the process all at once often working as a team so everyone benefits from the experience in some meaningful way.

I can see how this fits with the concept of Connectivism.  The learning happens from a multitude of sources.  It requires the student to work with others, share information, problem solve and seek answers to challenges outside their immediate internal knowledge bank.  High schools have offered service learning opportunities from rehabilitating historical buildings to running soup kitchens and food pantries.  The students apply what they are learning across their curriculum and can include ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art, Music and Foreign Language.  The project becomes a real world application that inspires and encourages students to think in new ways. Ways that traditional classroom instruction, in my opinion, has little room for. In this less structured environment, the student must think abstractly, adapt to challenges and seek help from those around them.  Collaboration is a big part of the experience, much like it is in the working world.

I love this idea.  I immediately started thinking about how I can include a Service Learning Opportunity (SLO) into my already accepted Degree Plan.  In speaking with my mentor, I will be replacing or at least modifying my Capstone Project with a SLO.  I think it is the perfect way to understand how the scope of my college learning, coupled with my outside experience will come together in a real working setting while at the same time gaining an understanding of social issues and an expanded learning.

For schools and colleges this opportunity can go far beyond a food drive or a clean up day.   It takes time, thought and commitment, but it is possible for every school to do.  This is an opportunity all students should have.  When will more educational institutions begin to embrace this concept on a grand scale?