The Seeking Sustainability LIVE (SSL) series will hit the 50 interviews mark this month, all sharing creativity creative and inspiring sustainable innovation from Japan. Here is some backstory behind this project from its founder, Joy Jarman-Walsh of Inbound Ambassador.
Pull Yourself Up
At the start of April, I was depressed, distracted and anxious. While searching for what to do when everything derailed, I started listening to GaryVee’s straight-talking F-bomb dropping seminars, Tea-time with GaryVee . Great advice to pull-yourself-up helped me motivate. Gary encourages us to use quarantine as an opportunity.
Follow your passion, promote others, and put out lots of authentic content.Gary Vaynerchuk
I took Gary’s advice and restarted writing every day and reaching out to people in my contact circle who I thought were doing interesting things to find out if they would be interested in a livestream chat. To my surprise, everyone said YES!
In the spring of 2019 when I first started the Inbound Ambassador sustainable business & travel consulting co., I did a string of video interviews with international residents who were working toward the common good called the BRIDGE series. In the fall of 2019, I started a monthly event series called Seeking Sustainability to promote sustainable brands and innovation. The events were fun networking events that featured 1-3 short talks, followed by a DIY workshop where we made oat milk, soap, newspaper bags and other low waste, natural products. During the networking time, we ate locally sourced plant-based snacks in reusable containers. The aim of the event was to promote sustainable living and business solutions in a fun and achievable format. Unfortunately, like events around the world, we had to cancel the get-togethers, so SSL became a way to keep up the momentum and engage with a larger audience about sustainability.
Inspiration from Inbound Ambassadors
Sustainability to me is aiming to find a balance between the needs of people-planet and profits. It is far-reaching and touches every aspect of life. There is so much to talk about and see potential for positive change. It may sound difficult, but it is such an exciting and creative topic, and one which I hope once you start to see it, you see it everywhere.
Some of the people I reach out to for an interview say, but I don’t really do anything with sustainability! So, I am happy to reassure them that I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t see something to talk about. I’m so happy when a guest and people in the audience says they enjoy it! The focus of the talks are always to be positive and support good work. I do make suggestions for how people might improve, but appreciate that even small steps are hard. Aiming to improve is always the key to a sustainable business and life.
Dreaming about Livestreaming
The Seeking-Sustainability-LIVE livestream interviews is built on the backs of other projects, but there is something completely new and challenging here. I know because I’ve been dreaming about the guests and topics every night! I’ve had this experience with every new challenge in my life from learning hundreds of new wine descriptions at a restaurant job, to details of a circular economy for my master’s thesis. My dreams have been absent of ‘work’ themes for years, but now I’ve started this engaging SSL series, my mind is invigorated by the research and discussions. It’s interesting to think that some of the best questions, or threads of research have resulted from a good night of dreams.
There’s a lot of stress related to social distance as well as take in the frustrations of being abroad as unbelievable clashes playing out in America. Those factors are also a reason to keep pushing forward in a positive way to support the work of those in our Japan community trying to improve the lives of others and our environment in some way.
Launching with Green Know-how
I wanted to launch the series with a topic that everyone could relate to, something that was actionable now as we shelter-in-place. So, I connected a passionate gardening couple, a professional organic farmer and an urban gardening coach for the first SSL talk. This was probably the most difficult one to do as the technical bar was set high. There were multiple speakers in multiple locations across the country, as well as my in-house translator son on another feed. It was also being restreamed to multiple channels live for the first time.
There were small technical issues; it was glitchy and confusing for me to work out. But, there was magic there as the conversation was honest, engaging and insightful. Everyone who took part seemed to enjoy it and the people who watched also had a very positive response to it.
I had spent the weeks before the first livesteam immersed in self-study about livestreaming and how to integrate photos and video clips during the talks. After that first SSL hour, I was completely exhausted. Once I recovered and saw all the positive responses from guests and audience, I knew I it was worth continuing.
The next talk branched out into the world of sustainable fashion. This was a great chance to discuss the Japanese concept of Mottainai with a French designer based in Japan, who uses her creativity and skillset to reuse old Kimono material. This talk also provided a way for the audience to sign up for an online class or buy her products online.
As the aim of the talks is to help promote the good work of entrepreneurs and small businesses, The talks also make connections for people in the audience to engage and reach out to the guests to support their work.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that at the end of every YouTube video, the host asks you to “like” and “subscribe” – it seems silly and obvious, but studies on viewer behavior show that if you ask so clearly for the viewer to take action, they do! So, I want to add a way for the audience to continue the relationship with the guest after the talk by introducing their social media channels and other ways they can show support.
For the third talk, I wanted to provide an escape into beautiful, rural Japan at a time when travel is difficult. So, from the third episode onward I looked for guest speakers who can teach us things while we look at their beautiful pictures. Photographers and videographers sharing stunning images paired with stories of rural, sustainable travel destinations was a perfect choice.
After the third episode, I let my son the translator off the hook and started doing the livestream talks entirely in English. I wanted to make the streams bilingual to offer transparency for the local audience, but it required a patient audience and was hard to keep within a 60-minute timeframe.
My aim is to add subtitles to the more popular talks as soon as I secure some funding (as I have done with past YouTube videos). The one-language simplified format helps me to focus on the guests, and I’d love to try a livestream in Japanese if it’s a subject I know well and have all the vocabulary at hand!
Research is key
Changing the format to include only one speaker requires a lot more research. This has actually become one of my favorite parts of SSL. For 21 years I worked at a university, and I enjoyed researching for papers and classes, so it’s nice to dive back into that again.
I love it when guests and the audience show appreciation for the research, there is so much interesting information available online about each speaker, their projects and background once I start digging.
There are also certain aspects of sustainability which I want to talk about as it is the underlying focus of the series which may be hard for the speaker to find for themselves.
The research is a standout point as there are so many online interviews, so a well-prepared and well-researched talk will hopefully continue to grow in popularity over time.
Future of SSL
After the first episode I was so exhausted and pretty doubtful I would be able to do another, so it’s amazing to me to realize that by the end of June I will have done fifty! Fifty is a significant milestone to reach, but as long as there are ‘good people doing great things in Japan’ willing to share their stories and passion, I will continue.
If you are an Inbound Ambassador doing work which helps local people and reduces our impact on the environment in some meaningful way, and you’d like to join the series, please reach out, I’d love to hear from you. Alternatively, if you have a favorite brand you’d like to see promoted in the series, let me know.
If you like the series, it would mean a lot if you could like and subscribe to the channels below, as well as joining us LIVE sometimes to add your comments and questions.
SSL is live every weekday at 9am or 5pm JST.
The InboundAmbassador website has the latest schedule, links and archives of past livestream talks. The SSL series is multistreamed LIVE on Twitch, Periscope (Twitter), Facebook (Inbound Ambassador), and YouTube. Archives of the talks are on the YouTube playlist below and can also be found on Vimeo and podcast audio versions of the talks are building on CaptivateFM.
SSL Series Livestream LINKS
Schedule + livestream links: http://www.inboundambassador.com/livestream
YouTube SSL Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcyYXjRuE20GsvS0rEOgSiQVAyKbEFSRP
Other Links for JJWalsh / Inbound Ambassador
Official Website: http://www.inboundambassador.com