Writing Speeches, Saying Nothing
Henry Miller wrote 10,000 pages before a single word of his was ever published. Richard Bach had to endure Jonathan Livingston Seagull being rejected 18 times before it went on to sell 60 million copies. Salman Rushdie, after the publication of his Satanic Verses, spent a lot of time wearing disguises so he wouldn't be executed by a pissed off Ayotallah Khomeini and an entire nation of Fatwa-obsessed Muslims.March 09, 2014
28 Awesome Quotes on Failure
Tried anything recently that didn't quite work out? Congratulations!
Bottom line, there is no innovation without "failure." If your perception of failure is something to avoid, you can kiss your efforts to create something wonderful goodbye. Failure comes with the territory.
If the word puts you in a foul mood, try another one -- like "experiment," for example.
1. "Do not fear mistakes. There are none." -- Miles Davis
2. "99 percent of success is built on failure." -- Charles Kettering
3. "I have not failed once. I've just found 10,000 ways that didn't work." -- Thomas EdisonMarch 07, 2014
Your Money or Your Life
For the life of me, I cannot remember the name of the financial services company that left me an urgent voice mail message asking that I call them back immediately about my availability to lead their annual leadership retreat on a island off the coast of Florida.March 05, 2014
How a Big Idea Can Open Doors, Minds, and Exciting New Possibilities
How I ended up on the 50-yard line of Mile High Stadium two hours before the high-flying Denver Broncos were about to play the Oakland Raiders in the 1978 AFC Championship game -- one that would determine who would go to the Super Bowl -- was not a mystery to me, merely a testament to the power of a BIG IDEA.
Follow Your Feeling, Not the Money Trail
Sometimes, you just gotta follow your feeling, not the money trail. A new article of ours just published in the Huffington Post.
25 Quotes on the Power of Story
One of the best ways to ignite innovation in your organization is to tell your own, first-person stories about it -- moments of truth that have happened to you on the job that have, embedded within them, the DNA of what it really takes to think out of the box and make wise choices.February 25, 2014
In Defense of Brainstorming
In the past few years I have noticed a curious trend in the media -- one I can no longer ignore -- and that is the appearance of seriously derisive articles about brainstorming by self-declared pundits and free lance writers.
Citing selected research on the subject and paying brief homage to Alex Osborne, the father of brainstorming, they make bold assertions about the ineffectiveness of the method, often claiming that "it does not work" and making grand declarations like "people are more creative away from the crowd" and "over 50 years of research shows that people often reach irrational decisions in a group."February 22, 2014
What's Next After Twitter
Ever since Twitter made its appearance on the scene in 2006, millions of people have become enamored with the prospect of delivering a message in 140 characters or less.
Short and sweet has become the name of the game. Brevity rules.
And why not? In a world ruled at least as much by ADD as by maniacal despots, who's got time for anything else?
These days, we don't have time. Time has us.
But according to industry sources, Twitter has become passe. Like the SONY Walkman. Like your father's Oldsmobile. Like the last two sentences of this paragraph.February 19, 2014
How to Open the Door to Innovation
There is no magic pill, but there is a key. And the key has a lot to do with creating a critical mass of savvy innovation catalysts and change agents who know how to open doors (and minds).February 17, 2014
Would You Invest Three Hours to Save Yourself Months of Wasted Effort?
Idea Champions has just launched a groundbreaking three-hour workshop that will save your organization untold time, tons of money, and a thousand pounding headaches you can't afford to have.February 15, 2014
How Einstein Would Solve a Problem If He Only Had an Hour To Do It
How to Help Your Senior Team Get Aligned About a Strategic Direction
I am totally inspired by the feedback that Steven McHugh, co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Idea Champions, received from Life Care Centers of America, in response to a two-day Senior Team Strategy Offsite he designed and facilitated for them. See below...February 14, 2014
Why You Need to Ask Why
Some years ago, there was a big problem at one of America's most treasured monuments -- the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.
Simply put, birds -- in huge numbers -- were pooping all over it, which made visiting the place a very unpleasant experience.
Attempts to remedy the situation caused even bigger problems, since the harsh cleaning detergents being used were damaging the memorial.
Fortunately, some of the National Parks managers assigned to the case began asking WHY -- as in "Why was the Jefferson Memorial so much more of a target for birds than any of the other memorials?"February 12, 2014
When a Brainstorming Session is Not a Brainstorming Session
I finally figured out why so many brainstorming sessions fail. It's the exact same reason why so many marriages fail. The couple shouldn't have gotten married in the first place.
Many brainstorm sessions that are called never should have happened. And while some kind of meeting may have been appropriate for the invitees to attend, the form of a brainstorm session was the wrong form.
So, before you call your next brainstorming session, pause for a moment and ask yourself what the real purpose of your meeting is. If it's not the generation and development of new ideas, your meeting is not a brainstorming session, but one of the following.February 10, 2014
41 Ways Business Leaders Can Foster a Culture of Innovation
Yes, we know you want your organization to be more innovative. And yes, we know you want to improve your organization's culture of innovation. The best place to start? With YOU.
1. Give up needing to be the smartest person in the room.
2. Seek out people who think differently than you do.
3. Reward new thinking.
4. When you delegate, delegate.
5. Listen more, tell less.February 08, 2014
BRAINSTORMING TIP #19: First Diverge, Then Converge
If you are gearing up for a brainstorm session, allow me to offer you one piece of advice: first diverge, then converge.
Beyond the muffins, coffee, and people arriving fashionably late, brainstorm sessions are composed of the two aforementioned "erges."
Divergence is the act of "getting out there" or what Webster refers to as "an infinite sequence that does not have a limit." Go, Noah, go! Divergence is a deviation from the norm -- kind of like your brother-in-law.February 07, 2014
One Simple Way to Ensure That Your Team Becomes High Performing
If you are reading this, chances are good that you are currently a member of a team -- either at work, in your community, or as part of a volunteer organization. And if you aren't on a team now, chances are good that, at some time in your life, you were on a team. Yes? I thought so.
In any case, it's more than likely that whatever team you are on, or have been on, has had some challenges along the way.
There were speed bumps, fumbles, breakdowns, lost opportunities, inefficiencies, infighting, power struggles, control issues, boring meetings, personality problems, competing agendas, cliques, triangulation, disappointment, disenchantment, and disillusionment.February 05, 2014
BRAINSTORMING: The Power of Three
Every brainstorm session you will ever facilitate or attend, like any good movie you will ever see, can be divided into three parts: the beginning, the middle, and the end. No matter what the topic, who's in the room, or how stale the muffins, you will cycle through the same three phases again and again. How well you will cycle through these phases is another story.February 04, 2014
Big Blues From the Viagra People
The concept was a simple one: help organizations increase teamwork and decrease complaint by getting employees to write and perform original blues songs.
The concept resonated with a lot of industries, especially Big Pharma.
Oh yeah, they had the blues, lots of blues, like the "Now We Gotta Compete with Generic Drugs from Canada Blues," and the "No One Trusts the Drug Companies Anymore Blues," and the always popular, "Our Pipeline Is Empty, But Our Inbox is Full Blues."
So we weren't all that surprised when Pfizer came calling...February 01, 2014
How to Prepare for Brainstorming
Aficionados of the martial arts will tell you that a competition between two opponents is determined in the bow -- the moment before the "action" begins. Savvy gardeners will tell you that if you really want to get a harvest, pay special attention to preparing the ground.
And I will tell you this: if you want your brainstorming sessions to bear fruit, be mindful of the time before anyone pitches even a single idea.
Because it's the few days before a brainstorm session begins -- the "incubation time" -- that's often the difference between brilliance and boredom.
Unfortunately, most companies don't get this.
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