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Creative Mornings Auckland at GridAKL : The Lucky World of James Hurman

Commencing your thursday with a splash of rum in your coffee is a sure fire way to foster a relaxed, happy and perhaps open mood – just the thing to lure in a little luck.  And so over rum infused coffee (and nutritious muesli) over 100 designers, creatives, tech folk, innovators and generally curious humans gathered at Creative Mornings Auckland (held at GridAKL) to hear GridAKL resident James Hurman talk about chance and the luck it can bring.

The GridAKL family is well versed in the world of chance, our 15 resident businesses all going out on a limb start something new, leaving the stability and ease of a day to day job behind to embrace the world of startup. Its something that Previously Unavailable founder James Hurman knows too, his current work in innovation consultancy informed by a previous life as an advertising agency leader. James is the last person in the room to sing his accolades,  there will be no mention of his book ‘The Case for Creativity’, a text that Coca Cola Company describes as “beautiful words of wisdom”, swathe of awards, or his title as worlds #1 advertising strategist (2013). From an outsiders perspective you would think that such success may be the result of careful planning- James contends otherwise. Chance is his friend. 

Running through a couple of stories from the office (Stolen Rum & DB Export) James explained that chance was everywhere. A tricky brief is in an excuse to dig a little deeper, find a better angle, seek out a better story – the kind of thorough methodology that produces a well rounded result. A chance meeting might turn a project around, a chance taken on a risky project may result in the exact pay off you need. It was chance that landed the DB Export brand on his desk, chance that envisaged the products humble beginning and a chance encounter with a long time employee that gave the insight James needed to make the project something great.

Inherently we all know this, the call to take a chance is littered in every part of popular culture from YOLO, through to ABBA. But in this world of chance, how do we steer our chance driven decisions away from risk and ultimately end up with a good result? How do we turn a game of chance, into a game of luck?

Tempering his views with the admission that yes, sometimes great things just happen. James gave some sage advice as useful for a seasoned freelancer as it is for startup business. Luck comes down to you. In psychological studies of people who seem to just have all the luck there was a clustering of behaviours. Lucky people are more prone to be open to change, positive and inquisitive, patient and curious, the exact kind of frame of mind that will turn a ‘dog’ of a brief into an opportunity to prove just how great you are [or a investment round as an opportunity to hone your value prop no matter the outcome].

Not content to share this information with just the room, James has a bigger goal, an intention to harness this way of open and positive thinking to create a generation of lucky innovative people. Channelling the likes of Seuss – Hurman harnesses the power of the children’s book to help form awesome, positive, people. Reading his children’s book manuscript aloud to the CMAKL audience, the session was concluded with an act of chance. James asking the floor for talented illustrators and designers to get in touch to collaborate on this project. After all It might just be the opportunity that leads somewhere lucky.