Today is Creative Good’s birthday. I founded the company 19 years ago today, which has me reflecting on what has kept us all in this for so long.

While a lot has changed in the world since 1997, my vision for the company is still the same. Treating people well is the best long-term strategy ever devised. Creating good experiences for customers, employees, partners, and the community at large, is the habit, the rock-solid commitment, of successful teams everywhere.

History has borne out the truth of this founding vision since I announced it in 1997. Think of the tremendous success of well-designed services, and customer-inclusive companies, that have become part of our cultural landscape. Think of what’s changed for the better in 19 years, and it’s likely due to a team that committed to a “creative good” approach: creating a good design, a delightful experience, a useful innovation.

Who, specifically, is doing it right? We’ve spotlighted over 100 people and projects at Gel conferences for over a decade. (They’re listed here, with their videos, on the Gel site.) And we’re hosting Gel again this May to spotlight more visionaries at our Gel 2016 conference. I hope you’ll join us.

I believe deeply that creating good for people, in the end, makes a better world – and better companies along the way. That is the thesis of my book Customers Included, which contains enough stories, I would think, to convince even the most skeptical executive.

And yet. There’s still a counter-narrative present, in many cases dominant, that can be demoralizing to brush up against. An example: a friend of mine last year related the experience of seeing “strategy consultants” arrive at his company, only to advise leadership to start treating customers less well. Cut your costs, lower your quality, and stop going the extra mile for customers, they said, and you’ll enjoy a boost in your key metrics.

I don’t need to tell you what will happen to that company after its short-term boost, once customers figure out that they’re no longer valued. But that mindset, treating customers like a commodity to be mined and discarded, is still attractive to many companies today.

Which brings me to gratitude. Executives and creative leaders – some of you reading this right now – contact Creative Good nearly every day, asking us to help the company treat people well. We’ve run customer experience workshops, charted product roadmaps, evaluated new platforms – all with customers included, and all for teams committed to doing right by their customers. This is where the world is headed, though slowly, and I’m so proud that we’re still helping lead the way forward.

So – thank you for being with us, and for reading this. After 19 years.

Here’s to another 19.

  1. Mark, congratulations! Thank you for 19 years of thought leadership and inspiration. You are making the world a better place one experience at a time!

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