The Sedge’s new 3-year look: LIMITLESS

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“It’s easy to keep track of what art is by what it’s not. It’s not following a manual, reading a dummies book, looking for a map. It tends to be people who work with a compass instead. Who have an understanding of true north and are willing to solve a problem in an interesting way.”

– Seth Godin

There I was almost drifting off to sleep late one night listening to a podcast with the one and only Seth Godin, when he dropped this nugget of insight and managed to put words to the new design direction I was headed with the Sedge.

The start of 2016 was marked with a ‘word of the year’: LIMITLESS.  I didn’t give it much thought, but it seemed to evoke just the right mix of optimism for what could be, along with a humble reminder of the vastness of the world we live in. Vast in terms of ideas, complexity, point-of-views, and human experiences. So vast that no one person can possibly know or do it all!

Full of twinkling stars, to me the impossibly big night sky represents:

:: Limitless open possibilities

:: Wonder and awe, leading to appreciation and gratitude

:: Expanding the imagination from what is ‘known’ to ‘what could be true’

:: Recognition and respect for the unknown, learning to embrace it for its potential – not fear it for its uncertainty

:: Daring to dream big and be bold

:: Seeing patterns and systems not as barriers, but as frameworks upon which to innovate

And perhaps most significant of all, the night sky is a symbol of navigating your own path.

Of trusting that the tools in your toolbelt, the strength of your character, and the uniqueness of your mind, will be all you need to get you where you need to go.

After three years leading the Sedge, it’s become overwhelmingly clear that building a successful business can get messy.

As a social entrepreneur, everywhere around you there are ‘systems’, ‘tools’, ‘blueprints’ for making it all work. But all the diligent studying in the world is not enough.  Perfect execution is not even enough!

Because when serving real people, innovating new solutions to complex problems, and fitting together the hundreds of puzzle pieces that need to form a big picture puzzle that is 100% unique, you simply can’t rely on only maps.

While foundational principles of business are constant, like constellations in the night sky, the environment you operate in and the strengths you and your team bring to the table, is what will illuminate the best path forward.

You need to look to these foundations to guide you, but ultimately work within your surroundings and rely on your ability to navigate in order to reach your goals and take impact to new heights.

A note:  While the new look for the Sedge can be explained away with these metaphors, the truth is that I didn’t start the re-branding process with much logic.  I knew it needed to get a visual refresh that felt more true to me.  I knew the values I wanted to get across were the same values close to me personally: innovation, vision, leadership, freedom, optimism, and truth.

I suppose the one value that isn’t as directly represented is community. And of all the values, this one is the most important to me!  But actually, what better metaphor for shared humanity than the one view each and every human on the planet shares once every day — the night sky.

The theme of navigation also fits perfectly with one of my favourite principles for being an impactful social entrepreneur:

You need to know where you want to go but be flexible in how you get there.

Sometimes the view — your vision for change — is expansive, and you can clearly see your destination. But once you get started down the path, trees cloud your view and you have to walk through deep valleys at the worst times. The bridges that looked safe from afar, that you thought would take you across the river, look unsafe when you arrive… and you need to make a new plan to move forward.  

Then over time you learn to trust methods of navigation that aren’t your typical maps. Because where you’re headed doesn’t have maps yet (because you’re probably the one writing it for this territory!).  Instead, your inner hunches and foundational strategies that you learn to read in different context like constellations in the night sky become the key tools guiding your moves. You learn to confidently make decisions while taking in all the information provided by your environment.

And then when you reach your destination you see where you need to move onto next.  Repeat and recycle.  

So there you have it.  A bit of ‘behind the scenes’ on the 3-year brand refresh for the Sedge.

Branding isn’t a science, it’s an art.  And especially while leading an authentic solo social enterprise, it needs to speak to the heart of the person at the wheel!  If you feel like the branding for your social enterprise isn’t quite ‘you’, or you are working through the brand identify for a new project, don’t be afraid to have fun with it and follow your gut!

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