Keep on cultivating!
No, it’s not Sunday! It’s Monday! You might be wondering why I didn’t show up in your inbox yesterday, right? Or well, if we are honest with each other, you were probably not even thinking about me (no offense taken) because you were enjoying your 4th of July. So was I, but now I’m ready to get back at it!
As you may well know, this past year has been one of immense growth for me. If you have been reading my newsletters or following me on social media, you know that, among many other things, I founded Mate House Consulting and launched my first online course, Using Trends As Your Thinking Partner.
I would define myself as a life-long learner. I thrive when pushing my limits and embracing failure as a part of my road to growth. Ultimately, this makes me who I am, shapes the way I teach, and how I help my clients to disrupt, innovate, and break from the pack.
That being said, I figured it was about time to share some thoughts on the concept of cultivating skills and share some of the innovators making leveling-up so enjoyable this past year.
THE THREE Cs SERIES: CO- CREATION + CULTIVATION + CURATION
In the last newsletter, I focused on CO-CREATION, the first C in what I am calling, The Three Cs Series. In this newsletter, I want to discuss the 2nd C – CULTIVATION and why you should be thinking about engaging with this emerging expectation/ consumer new habit.
CULTIVATION (n) :Developing: The act of trying to develop and improve something. The act of making a special effort to establish and develop a friendship.
As a trends researcher, I’m always trying to understand how emerging behaviors align with human basic needs, as this alignment is the one that makes new (insert here behavior, ideas, trends, innovations, beliefs) gain traction and grow.
CULTIVATION of knowledge relates to the basic need for ESTEEM or feeling of accomplishment. Sharing and being recognized for your efforts and skills can lead to feelings of PRESTIGE, and perfecting them can lead to the pinnacle need for SELF-ACTUALIZATION. When CULTIVATION happens within or because of a community, it can fulfill the need for BELONGINGNESS.
The lockdown seems like a lifetime ago to some and right now for many. When the pandemic hit, many people began to live in the paradox of hectic digital lives and longer days to practice waiting and sitting with uncertainty (and many still are).
Thanks to more downtime, there was a notable uptick in people’s dedication to mastering their hobbies and honing their skills (any banana bread expert bakers here?), demonstrating an attitude towards leveling-up that has been perpetuated globally.
A poll conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Silhouette America found that of the 2,000 adults surveyed, an impressive 60% improved their skills in one or more of their hobbies since the beginning of last March and that 56% expect to be an “expert” by the time life returns to normal.
I want to share with you three STAND-OUT INNOVATORS who are TAPPING INTO CULTIVATION in innovative ways so you can get inspired and act on this opportunity!
PATTERN PROJECT – 360º DEGREE SUSTAINABLE CULTIVATION
Pattern Project is a London-based startup founded by Shruti Grover and Simon Johnson. The duo is currently beta testing a flat-pack of organic, locally made, produced on-demand, ready-to-assemble, pre-cut, annotated fabric patterns with step-by-step video instructions that “take less time than regular sewing, and let the makers have a sense of ownership whilst upgrading their skills.”
People are more likely to take pride in and share their accomplishments if they know they are part of a movement towards a more sustainable future. In the current DIY revival, you should be exploring this route! Can you offer your clients a fun, creative experience at home while also teaching them a new skill?
CUSTOM COLLABORATIVE – A NEW PARADIGM FOR COMMUNITY CULTIVATION
Custom Collaborative, a New York City-based nonprofit, helps women from low-income and immigrant communities launch careers in fashion. Their training and mentoring programs advocate for and with trainees to build the skills necessary to achieve economic success in the sustainable fashion industry. During the lockdown, they offered a 30 hour per week online program for participants across more than 20 countries to learn new skill sets.
“It’s this collective spirit that excites me and makes me feel like there’s not one person who makes this thing go. It’s everybody’s collective energy that’s creating opportunity for the rest of us.” – Custom Collaborative Executive Director, Ngozi Okaro.
Custom Collaborative’s work is now supported by the Gucci Changemakers Impact Fund program, created to accelerate positive social change in diverse communities by supporting grassroots organizations making a local impact.
The growing demand to address the link between racial and educational inequalities has sparked organizations public and private to search for ways to cultivate skills in overlooked communities. Cultivating skills while cultivating a community? The best of both worlds and maybe the pinnacle of cultivation!
Right? How can you cultivate your community in meaningful ways while delivering value for them? Look around you! Who aligns with your purpose? Working with them can be extremely rewarding for everyone involved. (ATTENTION MIAMI: MATE HOUSE is preparing a MEANINGFUL IRL EXPERIENCE for you very soon! Stay tuned!)
CODE MIKO – ENGAGING FOLLOWERS TO CULTIVATE IN PUBLIC!
CodeMiko is a “Just Chatting” virtual avatar streamer on Twitch’s live video streaming service. Her massive appeal is her glitchy character, who doesn’t seem to know or care about the famous Twitch personalities she interviews.
The Technician, also known as Miko, controls the virtual streamer. Like many creators laid off at the start of the pandemic, she found herself with numerous bills to pay. Instead of looking for work, she decided to invest heavily in tech. She bought an Xsens suit and face-tracking technology that allows her character, Miko, to mimic every gesture and expression she makes while streaming.
The Technician keeps the hardware running, showing off the technology powering Miko and revealing her identity on Youtube, not the norm for virtual streamers. This openness has engaged fans in her live cultivation and trial-by-error process of learning how to manipulate these new technologies. Miko has grown her following by allowing viewers to alter her physical attributes through chat room interactions. They can mess with Miko’s stream using bits, Twitch’s special currency, thus helping her earn back what she has invested in her cultivation.
This example walks the line between co-creation and cultivation and suggests a way to start merging these two concepts. In her exercise to CULTIVATE IN PUBLIC, CodeMiko blends cutting-edge tech with old-fashion creativity involving her audience in the process. Relying on fans to help in the up-skilling processes, taking risks, and sharing the pains and gains of the cultivation process can create a strong sense of belonging and community.
The innovators in this newsletter are tapping into CULTIVATION and addressing the basic needs for belonging, esteem, and self-actualization with game-changing actions, products, and programs.
Almost the entire world experienced the duality of the health benefits of slowing down at the same time as the forced social distancing measures that drove loneliness. It’s not random that CO-CREATION and CULTIVATION have gained so much momentum at a time when the world wants to connect, create, and have fun in genuine ways. After a shift in paradigm in 2020, I believe human connection via creative and enjoyable experiences has become imperative, and a brand that supports CULTIVATION of skills and/or communities has become meaningful to consumers in 2020 – 21 and will continue to be if it offers genuine value to the general public.