The Incremental Improvement Trap
In today's nano-second, downsized, caffeine-buzzed business world, corporations are increasingly demanding that "their people" redouble their efforts to find new and better ways of getting the job done.
If this were the 1950's, an efficiency expert might be called in, a bespectacled, uncharismatic gentleman with a fascination for predictability, order, and control. His motto? "A place for everything and everything in its place."
It wasn't a great leap of faith for upwardly mobile managers to buy into this trendy "consulting service" since it seemed like such a safe way to yield increased productivity and reduced costs.
And yes, sometimes it did...October 23, 2014
Why Does Your Company Brainstorm?
We asked 20 of our clients WHY their companies conduct brainstorming sessions. Here's what they told us, on a scale of 1-5.
4.27 Get different points of view
4.11 Spark creative thinking
4.11 Originate fresh approaches
4.05 Create new possibilities
4.05 Inspire original thinking
4.00 Challenge the status quo
4.00 Tap collective genius
3.94 Unlock fresh insights
3.94 Stir the creative juices
3.94 Generate bold, new ideas
3.83 Jump start innovation
3.77 Solve tough challenges
3.77 Free up creative energy
3.77 Think out of the box
3.72 Think up new solutions quickly
3.66 Accelerate solution finding
3.50 Awaken untapped brilliance
3.38 Quicken the ideation process
3.00 Delight your clients
We teach people how to lead breakthrough brainstorming sessions.
The Perception of Ideas as Problems
Here's something I've been noticing lately:
Managers tend to respond to the introduction of a new idea by one of their direct reports not as an imminent solution to be nurtured, but as a new problem to deal with. Ideas, one would think, would be welcomed by managers, especially managers who are talking the talk about innovation. But all too often managers, time-crunched and overloaded as they are, perceive the introduction of a new idea as simply "more work" for them to do, the early warning sign of more emails to read, more meetings to attend, more requests for funding, and more conflicting opinions. Perhaps this is why so many managers respond to the articulation of a new idea with kneejerk naysaying instead of heartfelt open-mindedness. And you wonder why innovation in your organization is so sluggish...October 21, 2014
What Does This Picture Mean to You? October 17, 2014
The Syndrome Syndrome
Here's a fun test for you: If you can read the rest of this paragraph without logging onto Facebook, tweeting, or thinking about crop circles, there's a good chance you do not have ADD, ADHD, or any other recently-identified medical condition.
That's the good news.
The not-so-good news? The overwhelming number of disorders, dysfunctions, and syndromes popping up daily make it almost impossible to understand exactly what condition you actually have.
As a concerned citizen, humanitarian, and Johnny Depp look-a-like, I've decided to go beyond my SAHS (Social Activist Hesitation Syndrome) and actually do something about it.October 15, 2014
A Brainstorm Training that Works
What follows is some juicy feedback we just received from Blue States Digital, a new client of ours who participated in our brainstorm facilitation training:
"The three-day Conducting Genius training was engaging, fun and informative. I feel empowered as a facilitator and confident in my skills and ability. Mitch and Val were fantastic teachers -- I was sad when it was over!"
"We did the three-day version of Conducting Genius, and I wish it could've been even longer! By far the most fun, useful, productive, and engaging training I've ever attended."
"It felt like summer camp for creative nerds."
"After the session, I felt energized and empowered -- ready to lead a brainstorm, boss a meeting, and infuse my work with more creativity and thought. Val and Mitch are magicians -- and they passed some of that magic on to us."October 14, 2014
Join Us in NYC on November 19th
50 Awesome Quotes on Vision
1. "If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney
2. "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, and magic and power in it. Begin it now." - Goethe
3. "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." - Michelangelo
4. "It's not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?" - Henry David Thoreau
5. "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken KeseyOctober 09, 2014
Playing With Parkinson's
Q. What do Muhammed Ali, Billy Graham, Roger Bannister, Steve Allen, Linda Ronstadt, Michael J. Fox, and Robin Williams all have in common?
A. Each of them have inspired and delighted millions of people. And each of them have had to deal with Parkinson's disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects approximately 7-10 million people worldwide.
With the recent passing of Robin Williams, the world has gotten yet another opportunity to learn about the ravages of this little-understood disease, named after James Parkinson, an English physician who published the first detailed description of it back in 1817.October 07, 2014
THE SEED OF INNOVATION MOMENT: A 3-Minute Video Tutorial
If you are trying to spark a renaissance of innovation in your company by launching some kind of "innovation initiative", consider the fact that the seed of innovation is already available in every conversation that people are having. This 3-minute video tutorial dives in deeper.October 04, 2014
HOW TO GET PEOPLE OUT OF THE SO-CALLED BOX: A 5-Minute Tutorial
Ever heard the expression "get out of the box?" Of course you have. Ever wonder what the six sides of that so-called box actually are? If not, here's your 5-minute tutorial of the day. Once you're clear about what the sides of the box are, you will be significantly more able to help people (and yourself) get out of it.October 03, 2014
HOW TO MAXIMIZE IDEA POWER FOR FREE: A 3-Minute Video Tutorial
Need powerful, new ideas to grow your business, solve a problem, or find a better way? Don't want to go to yet another meeting to figure things out? Start paying attention to the ideas you are conceiving away from the workplace. And encourage others to do so, as well. Here's WHY and HOW.October 02, 2014
HOW TO SPARK INNOVATION IN OTHERS: A 5-Minute Video Tutorial
Here's a little known secret: Organizations don't innovate. People innovate. Inspired, creative, committed, collaborative, self-motivated people. What can YOU do to help people innovate? A lot. This 5-minute video tutorial tells you how.October 01, 2014
HOW TO FACILITATE BRAINSTORMING SESSIONS: A 5 Minute Video Tutorial
Here's a 5-minute video tutorial on the eight dimensions of a brainstorming session. Most facilitators think brainstorm sessions are all about ideation. They're not. There are seven other variables at play that effect the outcome of your ideational efforts.September 27, 2014
14 Ways to Get Breakthrough Ideas
There's a lot of talk these days about the importance of innovation. All CEOs worth their low salt lunch want it. And they want it, of course, now.September 26, 2014
Derek Jeter Wins the Game! September 25, 2014
When Dogs Spark Big Ideas
During the past 25 years I have facilitated more than 1,000 brainstorming sessions for a wide variety of heavy hitting organizations -- everyone from MTV to GE to government think thanks. I've worked with left-brained people, right-brained people, and reptilian-brained people.
As you might imagine, I've developed quite a few techniques to get people out of their heads and into a more robust realm of possibility. But the biggest breakthroughs I've seen have had less to do with my methods than they did with spontaneous occurrences.
Like the time a Porcelain Hotel Dog became the catalyst for a game changing product idea.September 24, 2014
20 Reasons Why People Get Their Best Ideas in the Shower
During the past 25 years, I've asked more than 10,000 people where and when they get their best ideas. I get all kinds of answers, but the one that has always fascinated me is "the shower" -- maybe because I also get so many of my good ideas there. And so, at the risk of overstating my case, I hereby offer you 20 reasons WHY the shower is so conducive to idea generation.
1. Showering signals "a new day" or "new beginning."
2. You're usually alone, with time to reflect.
3. Interruptions are rare.
4. The rush of water creates a kind of "white noise" that makes concentration easier.September 19, 2014
26 Inspired Quotes on the Innovation Most Needed on Planet Earth -- PEACE!
You've heard of product innovation, process innovation, business model innovation, and disruptive innovation. Now it's time for PEACE INNOVATION -- and that's what's happening on September 21st all around the world as millions of people in cities, towns, and hamlets gather together to celebrate the International Day of Peace.
Want to know more? See more? Feel more? Tune into PeaceCast, a 48-hour livestream broadcast to celebrate the International Day of Peace. Starts at 8:00 am (EDT) on 9/20 and ends at 6:00 am (EDT) on 9/22.September 18, 2014
Michelangelo on Genius
October 2014, September 2014, August 2014, July 2014, June 2014, May 2014, April 2014, March 2014, February 2014, January 2014, December 2013, November 2013, October 2013, September 2013, May 2013, April 2013, March 2013, February 2013, January 2013, December 2012, November 2012, October 2012, September 2012, August 2012, July 2012, June 2012, May 2012, April 2012, March 2012, February 2012, January 2012, December 2011, November 2011, October 2011, September 2011, August 2011, July 2011, June 2011, May 2011, April 2011, March 2011, February 2011, January 2011, December 2010, November 2010, October 2010, September 2010, August 2010, July 2010, June 2010, May 2010, April 2010, March 2010, February 2010, January 2010, December 2009, November 2009, October 2009, September 2009, August 2009, July 2009, June 2009, May 2009, April 2009, March 2009, February 2009, January 2009, December 2008, November 2008, October 2008, September 2008, August 2008, July 2008, June 2008, May 2008, April 2008, January 2008, December 2007, September 2007, August 2007, July 2007,