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.August 30, 2015
34 Awesome Quotes on Leadership
1. "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." - Peter F. Drucker
2. "If you don't understand that you work for your mislabeled 'subordinates,' then you know nothing of leadership. You know only tyranny." - Dee Hock
3. "A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say 'we did it ourselves.'" - Lao Tzu
4. "The led must not be compelled; they must be able to choose their own leader." - Albert Einstein
5. "The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why." - Warren Bennis
6. "The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you." - Max DePreeAugust 26, 2015
If You Plan on Asking an Outside Innovation Consultant for Help
If someone from your company's leadership team asks you to locate an outside consultant to help your organization raise the bar for innovation, stop for a moment and ask the person asking you to locate an outside consultant to answer the following questions.
If they answer "NO" to any of them or look at you as if you are ungrateful, uppity, or "not a team player", do not accept the assignment.
Really. I mean it. DO NOT ACCEPT THE ASSIGNMENT.
If you're afraid to decline the assignment, not only is the project doomed, but you will soon end up experiencing the kind of low grade corporate virus that leads people to drink too much, feel depressed, or become overly judgmental of their colleagues.The Art of Self-Acknowledgment
If you're a creative person regularly involved with starting new projects -- the kind unlikely to get results overnight -- here is a simple practice that will keep you in a positive frame of mind and save you from the all-too-familiar phenomenon of depressing yourself by focusing on the cup (or your life) being half empty.
At the end of each work day, acknowledge yourself for all of your accomplishments, small, medium, and large. But not just silently, in your head, verbally -- aloud.
Most cultural creatives, no matter how inspired they are at the beginning of a project, eventually end up feeling down in the dumps. They start focusing on everything they haven't done and everything that hasn't happened instead of focusing on their progress and the fact that they are actually getting closer to their goal.August 24, 2015
The Power of Pause
- Lao TzuAugust 21, 2015
The Martial Arts of the Mind
Ten years ago I was invited to teach a course on "Innovation and Business Growth" at GE's Crotonville Management Development Center for 75 high potential, business superstars of the future.
The GE executive who hired me was a very savvy guy with the unenviable task of orienting new adjunct faculty members to GE's high standards and often harsher reality.
My client's intelligence was exceeded only by his candor as he proceeded to tell me, in no uncertain terms, that GE gave "new instructors" two shots at making the grade -- explaining, with a wry smile, that most outside consultants were intimidated the first time they taught at GE and weren't necessarily at the top of their game.
I'm not sure how you say it in Esperanto, but in English what he said translates as "The heat is on, big time."August 19, 2015
Don't Just Take Our Word For It
Many of you who read this blog, know us only from our writing. But we do way more than write a blog. We help organizations raise the bar for innovation in a wide variety of ways. And we've been doing it since 1987. Click through the slide show above to get the perspective from the folks who know -- our clients.August 18, 2015
If you are a regular (or irregular) reader of this blog, you now (as of this moment) have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to support the work of a gifted photographer and digital media maven, my son, Jesse, who will be traveling to eight countries for his next semester abroad. My blog is free. His wide angle lens is not. Anything you can contribute will be very much appreciated.August 15, 2015
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...August 12, 2015
Creativity Late in Life
A lot of people who assume they are "over the hill", may not be aware of the fact that there have been a ton of people, late in life, who have been extremely creative. The above slide show, adapted from Gene Cohen's The Creative Age, highlights this inspiring phenomenon. Watch full screen for most impact.August 11, 2015
Frequently Asked Questions About My Forthcoming Book on Storytelling
1. WHO IS THIS BOOK FOR?
Anyone interested in the power of personal storytelling to awaken, inspire, and communicate a meaningful, memorable message -- especially around "moments of truth" on the job. It's also for forward-thinking business leaders who want to elevate the conversation in the workplace and radically increase the odds of peer-to-peer learning happening on a daily basis.
2. WHY IS THIS BOOK TIMELY?
Because the story being told, these days, is predominantly bad news. Terrorism, war, greed, corruption, political infighting, and corporate collapse rule the airways. But something else is also happening and that "something else" too often remains unspoken -- individual stories of insight, breakthrough, kindness, courage, innovation, learning, and wisdom. The more these stories are told, the faster the world's story will change. As the poet Muriel Rukeyser once said, "The world is not made of atoms. The world is made of stories."
Innovation & Poetry Are Connected
PS: There is something poetic about innovation. And there is something innovative about poetry. When I'm not working with organizations to spark innovation, I'm writing poetry. Click here to order my book.August 07, 2015
The World's Best Blog Collection of Awesome, Memorable Quotes
If you're on the prowl for inspiring quotes you can use for work, your book, speech, website, news report, blog, proposal, kidnap letter, or time capsule, look no further. What follows are 21 universal topics -- everything from Possibility to Failure to Change.August 02, 2015
How to Attract a Big AHA!
What is it that allows some people to get creative breakthroughs while others get only creative breakdowns -- alternately blaming themselves, society, their company, and their increasingly suspect astrological configurations?
Is it true that people who experience breakthroughs are "gifted"? Or are there other factors at work -- factors that we (the people) have more control over than we might think?
While nobody can deny that some people seem to be blessed with "creative leanings" (i.e. Mozart at 4), research has shown that anyone can have the much sought after AHA! experience -- that is, IF they immerse themselves in the little understood process of creation.
Time and again, the literature bears this out: great creative breakthroughs usually happen only after intense periods of intention, immersion, struggle -- even madness.July 30, 2015
50 Quotes on the Power of Ideas
1. "If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it." - Albert Einstein
2. "If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself." - Rollo May
3. "An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all." - Oscar Wilde
4. "Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." - John Steinbeck
5. "The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away." - Linus PaulingJuly 27, 2015
WANT TO LEAD A GOOD MEETING? Begin with Facilitative Presence!
Since 1987, I have been facilitating a wide variety of high octave business meetings for just about every industry on planet earth. These meetings have been variably referred to as leadership development programs, creative thinking trainings, innovation workshops, team building off sites, brainstorming sessions, strategic planning pow wows, senior team retreats, annual conferences, and business simulations.
Along the way, as you might imagine, I've developed quite a repertoire of approaches, methods, processes, tools, techniques, and skills to help me get the job done. All of them have worked if delivered in the right way at the right time.
But when push comes to shove (as it often does), the single most effective meeting facilitation ability I've discovered is the most mysterious one of all: presence. Yes, presence, -- the ability to be totally in the moment, no matter what the collective mood, mindset, or drama is of the people in the room.July 26, 2015
How to Foster a Creative and Sustainable Culture of Innovation
Looking for inspiration and guidance on how to make your company more conducive to innovation? Here's some food for thought and action -- Idea Champions' ten most popular postings on the subject.July 23, 2015
The Top 10 Reasons Why the Top 10 Reasons Don't Matter
1. Reason is highly over-rated.
2. If you need more data to prove your point, you'll never have enough data to prove your point.
3. Analysis paralysis.
4. You're going to follow your gut, anyway.
5. By the time you put your business case together, the market has passed you by.
6. "Not everything that counts can be counted; not everything that can be counted counts." - Albert Einstein
7. The scientific method came to Rene Descartes in a dream!July 21, 2015
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?"July 19, 2015
Brainstorming vs. Braincalming
If you work in a big organization, small business, freelance, or eat cheese, there's a good chance you've participated in at least a few brainstorming sessions in your life. You've noodled, conjured, envisioned, ideated, piggybacked, and endured overly enthusiastic facilitators doing their facilitator thing. You may have even gotten some results. Hallelujah!
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