20 Ways to See The Invisible
See that FedEx logo on the truck? What do you notice? Letters? Colors? Shapes? Probably. But if that's all you see, you are missing something.
Take another look. Do you see an arrow? A white arrow. No? Look again. Look at the space in between the "E" and the "x". The white space. See it? Cool, huh?
Well then, given our tendency to miss what's right in front of us, is there a way to increase our ability to see the invisible?
Yes, there is. And here, dear readers, are 20 simple ways to begin. Choose one. Experiment. Then see what happens...
20 Ways to See the Invisible
1. Pay attention to your dreams.
2. Honor synchronicity.
3. Immerse. Dive in.
4. Stop projecting your own assumptions onto everything.
5. Trust your instincts more.
6. Let go of attachment to your thoughts.
7. Ask impossible questions.
8. Notice patterns.
9. Sneak up on your project (work in the cracks).
10. Let go of doubt.
11. Work in a different environment.
12. Ask friends to tell you what your blind spots are.
13. Look through the eyes of the person who inspires you the most.
14. Take a break.
15. Slow way down.
16. Share your AHAs.
18. Stop trying so hard.
19. Ask children for the answer.
20. Invite unusual suspects to share their point of view.
By the way, every time I see a FedEx truck these days, I stop and ask myself "What am I not seeing?" It only takes 10 seconds, but usually reveals some very useful insights. And even when it doesn't, the act of asking the question opens my eyes a bit wider.
Here's to the revelation of your white arrow!May 24, 2010
All Ducks Do Not Walk in a Row
Breakthrough results are not always the result of a revolutionary Eureka moment. Quite the opposite.
They are often the result of doubt, confusion, ambiguity, and experiments that go awry.
When Thomas Edison was asked how it felt to fail 800 times before coming up with tungsten as the filament for the light bulb, his answer was a revealing one. "Fail?" he said. "I didn't fail once. I learned 800 times what didn't work."
Edison had the ability to tolerate ambiguity.
Like most breakthrough thinkers, he had the ability to dwell in the grey zone -- the space between knowing and not knowing. He had faith in the creative process and was willing to be disoriented, muddled, baffled, and confused because he knew that stuff was often a pre-condition to discovery.
Confusion was not his enemy.
"Confusion," as Henry Miller put it, "is simply a word we have invented for an order that is not yet understood."
If you are trying to birth a breakthrough idea, product, service, or business, get comfortable with ambiguity.
Even more importantly, get comfortable with the discomfort that accompanies ambiguity. Give up your addiction to having all your ducks in a row.
People may think you're a quack, but so what? Ducks don't always march in a row. And those that do, may be closer to wind-up toys that the real thing.
Besides, wasn't the universe itself born from chaos? All those swirling gases! All those nebulae! And all without a Starbucks in sight!
THE BIG QUESTION: What new idea of yours is bubbling on the brink of breakthrough? In what ways can you stay with it -- even if you are impatient for an answer NOW?
Are You a Happy Manager?
Managers, in most organizations, are expected to be efficient, effective, organized, focused, strategic, forward-thinking, and committed.
They are not expected to be HAPPY.
Happiness, as a "management attribute" is usually way down the list -- something reserved for the weekends, stock splits, or Christmas parties.
But recent research on the subject flips this kind of thinking on it's ear.
In today's highly stressed workplace, the time has never been as ripe for managers to radiate genuine happiness.
More about this here.May 08, 2010
Get on the Stick!
May 06, 2010
14 Ways to Get Breakthrough Ideas
Is there a way to increase the odds of coming up with breakthrough ideas? Yes, there is. In fact, there are several. Here are 14. (I'm sure you know of others, so lay them on me -- and the next edition of the downloadable pdf below will be "54 Ways to Get Breakthrough Ideas." Or whatever.
This article was originally published as a Change This Manifesto. If you're not familiar with Change This!, check it out.
They publish very interesting papers in a wide variety of fields. Good people. No BS. Very inspiring. I think the omnipresent Seth Godin started it. (Does Seth ever sleep?)May 04, 2010
iPhone, Therefore I Am
Got iPhone? Want something more interesting than just the weather and the location of your nearest Starbucks? If so, download Cards of Destiny -- especially if you want some fascinating insights into who you are in the grand scheme of things.
Being from New York, I was skeptical at first that an online deck of 52 "playing cards" could offer me any useful insights. (Aaargh! Tarot cards gone digital!) But I was wrong.
My birth card (September 8th), I learned, was the "Three of Diamonds," AKA "The Colorful Character." And what it had to say about me was totally accurate -- and gave me much food for thought.
Still skeptical, I thumb-scrolled the cool birthday calendar that comes with the app to read the description of my wife, son, and daughter. Again, spot on, each one. The best $2.99 I've spent this year.
For more about Sharon Jeffers, the wizard behind the deck, click here.Definitions of Innovation
I just googled "definitions of innovation" and came up with 5,240,000 choices. Good luck reading them. For now, here are 10 I've gathered over the years that I like. How about you? And if you have a better one, let me know.
"Change that creates a new dimension of performance." - Peter Drucker
"The ability to deliver new value to a customer." - Jose Campos
"Adapting, altering, or adjusting that which already exists for the sake of adding value." - Anon
"The managed effort of an organization to develop new products, new services, or new uses for existing products or services." - Ricky W. Griffin
"The commercialization of creativity." - Anonymous
"The creation, development and implementation of a new product, process or service, with the aim of improving efficiency, effectiveness or competitive advantage." - Government of New Zealand
"Creating something before people know they need it. - Guy Kawaski
"The successful exploitation of new ideas." - UK Department of Innovation and Skills
"The successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization." - Teresa Amabile
"The act of introducing something new." - The American Heritage Dictionary
Illustration from the back cover of my book