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    Entries in innovation (15)


    Be a Learner, Not  Knower

    The topics of innovation and thought leadership are blending together at AMP this week at the Amplify Festival in Sydney, Australia. 

    As I watched the livestream of CEO Craig Dunn's presentation, I heard so many gems about innovation, creativity and what organisations need to do to innovate to survive.

    When there's a flood or a firehose of information like that, you need to sort and clarify it quickly.
    It's called 'cognitive load management'. I help my working memory process it swiftly by using visualisation - words and images.

    I've captured the essence of the presentation to give you a one-page visual map of the takeaways.

    As Craig Dunn said, shift happened, we have to innovate to survive and to drive productivity, growth and outcomes. So step out !


    Describe, design and plan your idea

    When you need to capture thinking and ideas or test out future ways of working in the business, it can be challenging to work out model, process or thinking tools you'll use.

    What? You don't use any model or tool?

    There are lots out there - so if you're yet to flip through the book 'Business Model Generation', check it out.

    Every week I use the business model generation techniques with entrepreneurs, solo operators and leaders of business units and teams. It's a brilliant one-canvas approach to strategic and entrepreneurial thinking.

    Brilliant because you can play, describe, design and come up with ideas about your business model thinking. 

    How might this work?
    Who would this serve?
    How would we get it to them?
    What relationships would be needed?

    Best of all, when you're testing out business model thinking, you can work with the Business Model Canvas - a pdf to print out and use as the basis of a meeting, workshop or think tank. There's also the app I use on my ipad to invent, discuss, plan and collaborate on business thinking.

    And Business Model Generation encourages you to combine the Post-it note and the canvas - woo hoo - you get to move things around, keep it visual, collaborative, innovative and more likely to create outcomes that will have legs. 
    Check out the book, the model and the approach ... and get greater leverage and impact from your ideas. 



    Space matters

    I worked with a driven group of industry leaders yesterday, developing their skills in working collaboratively with groups and capturing their innovative thinking. 

    The day was a huge reminder about ... space.

    The venue 'bumped us' from the booked space we had that was light, airy and open - perfect for thinking, breathing and creating ... to the 'under the stairs' space. Actually, it was next to the stairs. 

    Next to the stairs that were the thoroughfare for those other light and airy spaces upstairs that were being used by larger groups with bigger names. 

    The space was dirty, dusty and a disaster waiting to happen. Health and safety issues in all corners of the room : tripping hazards, temperature challenges and all round uncomfortable.

    We adapted, moved things, liaised, worked around stuff and carried on, keeping it in perspective and working to be collaborative, innovative.

    But it was there... all day. It was this 'thing' that was there. The 'space' thing. 

    I'm certain it restricted our thinking, impacted on our performance and didn't allow for our best work to be done. 

    If you've got the option to take the cheap space... don't. And if you've got an option to not run a session, to change the location, timing or other arrangements ... do. 

    You're investing so much time, energy, dollars and people that the space they will work in - where you're wanting them to do their best work - really does matter. 



    Collaborate + Improvise = Survival

    "In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed." - Charles Darwin
    Just loving what Darwin was saying here - we've got to be able to play well with others, and be able to handle what happens... make stuff up! 

    That's innovation, collaboration, creation, being responsive, adapting, reiterating, going again.
    Working with a client last week and the team needed to truly 'play well with each other' to create a new range of solutions. There were voices from clients and customers, users and stakeholders added into the mix. 
    Then it was 'on'. Let's go! Some improvisation games, some creative thinking, some visual thinking and a range of other techniques and tools helped bring the crew together and get the best out of them. 
    (Oh, and it had to be fun. They wanted fun. They said 'fun' as part of their working agreement for the day.)
    The team wants to take the approaches we used to other parts of the business to shake things up a bit and to get more out of their meetings, workshops and interactions.
    It involves getting up off your feet, moving around, talking to people, writing stuff, drawing stuff, playing with stuff and generally firing up your brain. 
    Mmmmmm - good stuff!

    Toying with an idea

    The news was all so serious today - it usually is. And I don't find that to be an inspiring way to 'get creative' and 'be innovative' when I'm working on the thinking in my business. 

    So I change the way I'm thinking and I "toy with an idea". 

    Toying means to be casual and less serious about something. You see kids doing it so much more often than adults do. 

    To get casual and less serious, I have a look around my desk and office and I go from there...

    Looking around, close at hand I can see:


    • a china cow money box with a Happy New Year headband on;
    • a stuffed toy goat hand-puppet that sings tunes from The Sound of Music;
    • a small bongo drum I picked up at a conference event;
    • a pair of my dad's thick rimmed 1950's glasses with the lenses pushed out;
    • a pen with a helicopter on top of it;
    • a furry pencil case;
    • three juggling bean bags;  


    ... and on and on. This is not a tidy, neat, everything in it's particular place office.

    I have props and cues and creative things that help me toy with ideas. I might take my hands off the keyboard and pick up something, wander around, talk out loud, see something outside, get an idea, write it down, or put two or more of the toys together - kaboom!

    Your best creative thinking isn't likely to come staring at this screen. Touch something else and have play, a walk, a think, a talk, and be less casual, less serious. All work with no toy makes the sandpit a big yawn!

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