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!
8. Most reasons are collected to prove to others what you have already decided to do.
9. "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." - G.B. Shaw
10. I am, therefore I think.September 27, 2012
Think of a Better Name for This Blog Posting and Win Fabulous Prizes
Click below for two new articles of mine in the Huffington Post.
THIS ONE on why you don't
get your best ideas at work.
AND THIS ONE on going beyond the addiction to "innovation process".
LIKE! Tweet! Post on FB! Comment! Floss!
100 Reasons Why You Don't Get Your Best Ideas At Work
Since 1986, I've asked 10,000 people where and when they get their best ideas. Less than 2% have said "the workplace."
Based on my 25 years of working with a ton of innovation-seeking organizations, here's my take on WHY:
1. Too much to do, not enough time.
2. Too many distractions and interruptions.
3. You work in a risk averse organization.
4. Sleep deprivation.
5. Mental clutter.
6. Fear that someone will steal your idea.
7. You don't think of yourself as creative.
8. Boring meetings that put you in a bad mood.
9. You're not measured for the quantity or quality of ideas you generate.
10. Stultifying routine.
11. You are worried about layoffs and don't want to draw undue attention to yourself.
12. Poor ventilation -- not enough oxygen.
13. The last time you came up with a great idea, you were either ignored or ridiculed.
14. It's not in your job description.
15. It's not in the strategic plan.
16. It's not in the cards.
17. It's not in the Bible.
18. Your manager has made it clear that he/she does not have the time to consider your ideas.
19. Lack of immersion. Lack of incubation.
20. No one's ever told you that they want your ideas.
21. You are understaffed and don't have the time to try an innovative approach.
22. You are angry at the company.
23. You get no input from people outside your department.
24. Your company has just been acquired and you don't want your new overlord to succeed.
25. You know there's no one to pitch your new ideas to -- and even if there was, it's a long shot they would listen.
26. You're concerned that your great idea is so great that it will actually be accepted and then you will be expected to work on it in your spare time (which you don't have) with no extra resources made available to you.
27. All your great ideas are focused on trying to get Gina or Gary, in Marketing, to give you the time of day.
28. You're a new parent.
29. You've got other projects, outside of work, and have no energy left to think about anything else.
30. They don't pay you enough to think creatively.
31. You're expected to leave your mind at the door when you come to work.
32. No incentives or rewards.
33. You don't have the intrinsic motivation .
34. Actually, you don't want to be working at all -- and you wouldn't be working if the financial meltdown didn't happen.
35. You have not identified a challenge or opportunity that inspires you enough to think up new ideas.
36. No timely feedback from others.
37. There's no one to collaborate with.
38. Constantly changing priorities.
39. "Work," for you is synonymous with things you have to do not want to do, thus creating two parallel universes that never intersect.
40. You haven't read my award winning book yet.
41. It's too noisy.
42. Endless hustle and bustle.
43. You can't stop thinking about new ways to improve your Match.com profile.
44. You're too busy tweeting.
45. You have the attention span of a tse tse fly.
46. Just when a good idea pops into your head, you dismiss it as "not good enough".
47. Your left brain has become a kind of Attila the Hun in relation to your Pee Wee Herman-like right brain.
48. You didn't get the memo.
49. You are too busy deleting spam.
50. The brainstorming sessions you attend are pitiful.
51. You believe that new ideas are a dime a dozen.
52. You're not paid to think. You're paid to DO.
53. Actually, you don't have a job.
54. You are hypoglycemic.
55. You're not allowed to listen to music at your desk.
56. You have no sense of urgency.
57. Your office or cubicle feels like a jail cell.
58. You're too busy filling out forms.
59. Not enough coffee.
60. Drugs are not allowed in the workplace.
61. Existential despair.
62. There's a call on Line 2.
63. You have no time to incubate or reflect.
64. You've got to show results fast.
65. You know your boss will, eventually, get all the credit for your great ideas.
66. You've just been assigned to another project.
67. Brain fatigue.
68. You haven't tried Free the Genie yet.
69. You don't feel valued or appreciated.
70. You deciphered a much talked about sighting of a Crop Circle in England as meaning: "Stop coming up with good ideas at work."
71. Every extra minute you have is spent on Facebook.
72. There's too much stress and pressure on the job.
73. Naysayers and idea killers surround you.
74. Inability to relax.
75. It's summertime.
76. You've got this weird rash on your leg and you think it might be Lyme's disease or leprosy.
77. What you think of as a great idea and what your manager thinks of as a great idea are two entirely different things.
78. You know you won't get the funding, so why bother?
79. You're just trying to get through the day.
80. Every time you get a great idea, it's time to go to another meeting.
81. You only get your great ideas in the shower and there are no showers at work.
82. Your head is filled with a thousand things you need to do.
83. Relentless deadlines.
84. Too much input from others.
85. You have to stay focused on the "job at hand".
86. You'll only end up making the company richer and that is not what you want to do.
87. Those bright, annoying, overhead fluorescent lights.
88. No one besides you really cares.
89. You've just been assigned a project that is boring the hell out of you.
90. There is no one to brainstorm with.
91. Your husband/wife is complaining that all you ever do is work -- or talk about work.
92. No alcohol.
93. Your cultural upbringing has taught you that it is not your place to conjure up new ideas.
94. Your job is too structured to think outside the box.
95. People seem to be staring at you and that makes you self-conscious.
96. You're too busy complaining about the organization.
97. Wait! How come they're taking so much out of your paycheck?
98. You're only working there to beef up your resume for the next job.
99. A vast right wing conspiracy.
100. You let too many of the aforementioned 99 phenomena have their way with you. Your resulting assessment of the corporate environment not being conducive to the origination of great ideas then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A big thank you to Jim Aubele, Fran Tyson-Marchino, Nirit Sharon, Cindy Pearce, Robert Fischaleck, Deborah Medenbach, Amy de Boinville, Glenna Dumay, Bert Dromedary, and Sally Kaiser for their contributions to this list.September 24, 2012
Insights into the Creative Personality
Here's an informative and inspiring article on the creative personality by the lifelong creativity researcher, renowned author of Flow (and the man with the hardest last name to pronounce in the world) -- Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi.
The aforementioned Professor C. offers deep insights into the complex and often polarized personality of creative people. Recognize yourself in any of his descriptions?September 21, 2012
20 Reasons Why So Many People Get Their Best Ideas in the Shower
your best ideas
Here's why --
How Teens Can Become Humanitarians
Watch this 9-minute video to learn how an inspired bunch of Hudson Valley teenagers are taking their bold, first steps toward becoming humanitarian leaders. The One Voice for Laos project, headquartered in Woodstock, NY, is making a big difference in many ways.September 15, 2012
Why People Work in Cafes
If you find yourself going to cafes to work on projects, you might find this article of mine, just published in the HuffPost, timely, amusing, and thought provoking. (I bet you can think of at least another three reasons why people like to work in cafes).September 11, 2012
10 Tips for Giving a Kick Ass Keynote
for a few tips,
come to the
the right place.
on the subject
on the Huffington Post.
to get there.
The Good Thing About Bad Ideas
One of the inevitable things you will hear at a brainstorming session is "there are no bad ideas." Not true. There are plenty of bad ideas. Nazism, for instance. Arena football. Bow ties.
What well-meaning "keep hope alive" brainstorming lovers really mean is this: Even bad ideas can lead to good ideas if the idea originators are committed enough to extract the meaning from the "bad".
Do you think that War and Peace was written in one sitting? No way. There were plenty of earlier drafts that were horrid, but eventually led to the final outcome.
The key? To find the value in what seems to be a "bad idea" and then use that extracted value as a catalyst for further exploration. The following technique, excerpted from Awake at the Wheel, shows you how...
HOW IT WORKS:
1. Bring a challenge, question, or problem to mind.
2. Conjure up a really bad idea in response to it.
3. Tell another person about your bad idea.
4. The other person thinks of something redeemable about your bad idea -- and tells you what it is.
5. Using this redeemable essence as a catalyst, the two of you brainstorm new possibilities.
25 Reasons Why Nothing Happens After a Brainstorming Session
How many times have you participated in a brainstorming session, only to be underwhelmed by the utter lack of follow up?
Unfortunately, in most businesses, this is often the norm.
1. The output of the session is underwhelming.
2. No one has taken the time, pre-brainstorm, to consider follow-up.
3. No criteria established to evaluate output.
4. No next steps are established at the end of the session.
5. No champions are identified.
6. The champions are not really committed.
7. The champions are committed, but under-estimate the effort.
8. The ideas are too threatening to stakeholders.
9. No one is accountable for results.
10. The project leader doesn't stay in contact with key players and "out of sight, out of mind" takes over.
11. The "steering committee" takes their hands off the wheel.
12. The next brainstorming session is scheduled too quickly.
13. The output of the session is not documented.
14. No sponsors are on board.
15. Participants' managers are not supportive of the effort
16. It takes too long to document the output of the session.
17. The output is not distributed to stakeholders in a timely way.
18. Participants and stakeholders do not read the output.
19. Bureaucracy and company politics rule the day.
20. Somebody, in the session, is disengaged and sabotages the effort.
21. Teamwork is in short supply.
22. Small wins are not celebrated. People lose heart.
23. Participants perceive follow-up as "more work to do" instead of a great opportunity to really make a difference.
24. Unspoken agendas take over.
25. Workloads are unreasonable. Even well-intentioned participants have no time to follow up.
What else should be on this list?
Excerpted from Conducting GeniusSeptember 05, 2012
Innovation From the Inside Out
September 01, 2012
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, quite simply, is a deviation from the norm -- kind of like your brother-in-law.
Without divergence, brainstorm sessions are flat, boring, one-dimensional, and a roaring waste of time.
But if the only thing you do is "get out there," never coming back to home base, all you will have done is tease participants by temporarily stimulating their imagination.
That's why you need divergence's accountant-like cousin convergence -- the act of "coming together toward one point."
Divergence and convergence -- like day and night, hot and cold, peanut butter and jelly, are both necessary if you want your brainstorm sessions to really hum.
How to spark divergence?
Well, for starters, invite inspired people, define a compelling challenge, establish a sense of urgency, express humor, and give participants permission to take risks.
Convergence can be achieved in many ways, as well, including verbally summarizing session results, restating the most popular ideas, voting, identifying champions, action planning, and clarifying what will happen to new ideas, post-session.