“I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls…these city walls, only to be   with you. But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” – “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2

I love music.

I have a daily connection to it. It drives me, it motivates me. It helps me to move past what I have just come from, re-set and find focus.

For me, the best music is honest, powerful. It has the ability to unify, create contemplation and inspire. Music has the might… to both define and change our experiences.

So while my playlist is pretty diverse, one artist and one band has always remained on constant rotation.

That band would be U2 and that artist would be its front man, Bono.

An early favorite of mine, was their song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. It immediately reminds me of climbing. Of elevation. When we think about climbing the highest mountain, we expect that experience to be about reaching the top. But what I’ve learned is that it’s not about the summit, it’s about the journey.

Bono said around the time he wrote that song, “I used to think that writing words was old-fashioned. So I sketched. I wrote words on the microphone. I felt the time had come to write words that meant something, out of my own experience.” With its roots in gospel, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is a song about spiritual doubt. But for me, it’s more about learning from the journey of where I’ve been and focusing on where I’m going.

I first saw U2 at Camp Randal Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin in 1992. I was a college student and U2 had hooked onto my spirit a few years earlier with their album “The Joshua Tree”.

This rough worn group of Irishmen singing songs fused with American soul had become a world class rock band by then and this was their Zoo TVtour.  The stage and lighting were bright, the sound was a little more hip and some of their material was now being remixed into successful nightclub dance tracks, but it was still that same extraordinary music and lyricism.

It was an incredible night.

Every time I go to a concert, I look at it as a new opportunity to experience music. My level of excitement does not change because I know there will be a new way for me to experience excellence.

It’s the same way I feel about fulfilling a client’s project or opportunity. It never changes because delivering excellence is the thrill that remains constant.

At Elevate 97, we deliver excellence. We create experiences. Through our journey, we have learned that every client offers us a unique opportunity – and we strive to put every client on top of the mountain. We get there by listening and remaining open to understanding everything that makes them remarkable.

In seeking the excellence I want our teams to deliver, I make it my goal to remain open to understanding everything that makes our industry remarkable too. Things are always changing and it’s exciting to stand at the precipice of such leading innovation.

Recently, I traveled to NYC to participate in the Fast Company Innovation Festival to experience one on one interactions with industry leaders such as Fashion Designer, Rebecca Minkoff, and (RED) CEO, Deborah Dugan.

As you may know, (RED) is the charity co-founded by Bono to engage businesses and consumers in the fight to eliminate AIDS in Africa. You’ve probably seen their signature color red product lines at Starbucks, Gap or Apple stores. My expectation for this conference was that I would be meeting with energizing, high level leaders and learning from them. But as (RED) CEO, Deborah Dugan took to the podium, my fellow participants and I quickly learned that the roles were somewhat reversed as we were being asked to help them find solutions that would impact the fight against AIDS.

Through team based engagement, a dialogue of ideation began among us. We asked questionsand listened to one another. All of our ideas mattered. All of our ideas were heard.

In meeting with Rebecca Minkoff, the dialogue continued. The topic this time was the changing landscape of wearable technology and retail environments. As a partner with world renowned retail brands, innovation is key to fostering those relationships and in a world where we are seeing fewer and fewer brick and mortar stores, creating a memorable experience has become the currency for maintaining loyalty among customers. Speaking to the concept of wearable technology, Rebecca said, “At the beginning of any change, you’re going to see people who are pushing it in that [cheesy] way and getting press and notoriety, and I think that’s fine. But when you get down to consumers purchasing goods, is it something that unlocks an experience?”

(stay tuned…)



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