20Jan

Thrive – A community supporting innovation

As a long-term member of Thrive, I have drawn many benefits from being a part of its community. From the outset, it has been continually evolving and innovating to serve its members. Not only that, the community is great at supporting innovation amongst its members. This isn’t just a place for “business as usual”.

At the beginning of 2021 I launched my first business book entitled “Doing Business Like a Grandmaster”. It is very fair to say that this book wouldn’t exist without the Thrive community. One aspect of membership is the opportunity to present to other members on an aspect of your business or other relevant topic. My book grew out of an experimental idea presented at a Thrive meeting.

When given the opportunity to do their “spotlight” members know that we want something interesting, educational and thought-provoking. It isn’t a spot to sell to one another. So, I became used to it being a way to test ideas and bring aspects of the business or the industry to the members for input and discussion. For me, a Thrive meeting is a safe place to test out fresh ideas and get intelligent feedback. For previous “spotlights” I had helped members explore the role of images in helping to sell products, places and spaces. My day job is working as a product photographer and architectural photographer.  So, I had taken the opportunity to have discussions about how images tell stories, communicate rapidly and build a strong brand. These talks became blog posts as I developed the ideas further.

Then, on one occasion I felt that I wanted to test out an idea that had been floating around my mind for some time. It wasn’t anything particularly to do with my business, but it was very much business related. I was convinced that chess makes a useful analogy to help us understand aspects of how to do business, especially when it comes to formulating a strategy. It was one of those ideas that I found it hard to anticipate how others would react. But, in the safety of the Thrive community, I decided to test the waters and see what members thought.

To my surprise, there was great interest in this chess-business analogy. Several members thought this was worth developing further and were keen to test it out in a wider setting. So, following on from the presentation to my usual group, I developed a series of discussion starters for our Thrive connect sessions (led together with John Burroughes) when the wider community comes together. These discussions again went well and were received favourably. They weren’t reluctant to embrace something new, rather the community gave its support to this innovative project.

Yes, chess has been used as a metaphor for aspects of business before, but never in such depth and detail as the study I went on to develop into the book “Doing Business Like a Grandmaster”. If it hadn’t been for the encouragement of by business peers, I doubt I would have gone into as much depth as I did. I certainly wouldn’t have had sufficient material to create a book. But, the Thrive involvement didn’t stop there.

A talented copywriter, Jonathan Broom, helped iron out some typos and other members offered valuable feedback after reading through a draft edition before publication. Colin McLean from Presentation Works helped me to investigate possibilities such as an audio book or a podcast (which I hope to explore further in the future). Designers chipped in with comments about the initial cover designs that I created in CGI, which helped ensure a much more successful front cover image that I really feel does justice to the content as well as looking like a “proper” book cover! Others have continued to enquire and offer supportive advice along the way as the book was brought to completion. Fellow members were also among the first to purchase copies, too.

So, whilst it is my book with my name on the cover, there are many in the Thrive community whose support helped me get it over the finish line. I am grateful to them for being open to exploring new ideas, for their honest feedback and their ongoing friendship.

I believe that if you are looking for a community that is supporting innovation and not afraid to test out new ideas, you should take a look at Thrive. You never know what you might come up with or help your peers to discover!

Joe Lenton

Joe is a multiple international-award-winning photographer based in Norfolk working with clients locally, nationally and internationally. He is also on the cutting edge of modern advertising photography combining digital photography with CGI. “Doing Business Like a Grandmaster” is available as a paperback from Amazon and also as a Kindle/E-Book. Find out more about the book at http://businessgrandmaster.com/

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