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The Expo Keynote

Cirque du Soleil executive will share strategies for keeping your creative fires burning.

by Cynthia L. McGowan

     Creativity and innovation are crucial to success in the floral business. But in a busy, time-pressed environment, how do you nurture your creativity?
     The key, offers Lyn Heward, ambassador and director of creation at Cirque du Soleil, is to be open and receptive to your environment. “Being really awake and alive to what’s happening in the world around you—not just sort of lurking on the intellectual level but actually surrendering to your senses,” fuels creativity, she says.
     Ms. Heward, who has been with the world-famous Montreal-based circus company since 1992, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s International Floriculture Expo on June 16 in Miami Beach, Fla. Her topic will be “The Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire That Lives Within Us All.”

common ground
     Ms. Heward, who was president and COO of creative content at Cirque du Soleil until 2005, says the circus company and floral retailers have much in common—both must satisfy consumer expectations. “In a funny way, we’re retailers, too,” she points out. Cirque is selling tickets, and the floriculture industry is selling floral-related goods.
     “But those are just the products,” she points out. “That’s not the relationship with your consumers.”
     And for that relationship to grow and prosper, retailers must constantly innovate and offer products that stimulate customers’ senses. That’s why it’s so important for retailers to keep their creative fires burning, Ms. Heward emphasizes.

key points
     Ms. Heward shared with Super Floral Retailing a few of the main points she will address during her keynote:
     1. Everyone has creative potential. However, you must nurture it. “You have to actually practice creativity, which means absorbing everything,” Ms. Heward says. Be inspired by what surrounds you, she advises, and it will be reflected in  your work.
     2. Teams are important. “It takes people working together and collaborating to stimulate each other and to become more creative,” she remarks. “Often, somebody comes up with a great idea, and then another person brings another idea on top of that.”
     3. Challenges influence innovation. Whether they are world events such as Sept. 11 or local issues such as budget constraints, challenges force people to think more creatively to resolve problems, Ms. Heward explains. “The creative person is going to work past [those issues],” she says.
     4. Risks offer rewards. The willingness to take risks—for instance, trying a new floral design—can result in high customer satisfaction and increased sales. “And if it doesn’t work, go one step further and try it again,” Ms. Heward advises.
     5. Good leaders motivate. “The creative leader can sort of steer the troupe,” Ms. Heward reminds. She says a factor in Cirque du Soleil’s success is an innovative leader who nurtures, motivates and listens to the members’ ideas. “And then when we have a successful show or do something successfully, we celebrate it,” she shares.
     Ms. Heward says she is looking forward to speaking at the Expo and sharing ideas with members of the floriculture industry. “I’m excited to do this conference because I do love flowers,” she remarks. “You’re living through your senses; it’s a world that’s not uncommon to ours [Cirque’s]. I think we probably have a lot to share.”

For details about attending The International Floriculture Expo, please go to www.floriexpo.com.

keynote breakfast

Presenter: Lyn Heward, ambassador and director of creation at Cirque du Soleil
When: 7 a.m. Thursday, June 16


we’ll see you at the show

Super Floral Retailing will take part in the Keynote Breakfast and the exhibition at the International Floriculture Expo.

Wednesday through Friday, June 15-17
Please stop by the Super Floral Retailing booth, No. 2325. Share ideas, visit with magazine staff and take a look at the extensive selection of publications in the Florists’ Review Enterprises, Inc. Bookstore.
THURSDAY, June 16

At 7 a.m., during the Keynote Breakfast, representatives from Super Floral Retailing and Börgen Systems will announce the winners of the 2011 “Merchandising Award of Excellence” contest.
key facts

WHAT International Floriculture Expo
WHEN June 14-17
WHERE Miami Beach Convention Center; Miami Beach, Fla.
INFORMATION Visitwww.floriexpo.com, or call (207) 842-5508

Reach Editor in Chief Cynthia L. McGowan at cmcgowan@superfloralretailing.com or (800) 355-8086.