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    Entries in mindset (3)

    Tuesday
    Feb232016

    Having a Design Mindset

    The skills we’ll need for 2020 and beyond are shaping up as a slick looking list!
     
    The skill of having a design mindset is right up there. 

    This doesn’t mean you need to know your way around design software, or know which colours go with what or even what an industrial designer does.

    Rather it’s the frame of mind, the mindset that you adopt to think, solve and respond to what’s going on in your team, business, industry … the world. 


    Beyond ho-hum
    A same/same response to strategy, performance, capability, culture and our teams is too ho-hum now. We can’t do the same as we always have.

    Businesses who need to adapt and thrive (that includes the solo operator right through to mega-global big name players) need to increasingly take a design approach to many parts of their business. 


    A Design Mindset
    I think a design mindset looks like this: 


     

    • Involve: it starts with people, finding out what’s going on, what’s working, what’s not, what’s needed. This is about connecting to your customers, colleagues, users, stakeholders.  
    • Ideate: you come up with ideas, possibilities; it's ingenuity at work. Here you use your creativity and problem solving smarts to think of possible solutions.   
    • Implement: start something, do something. Don’t wait until it’s complete, test out a minimum viable product, process or service. Put stuff to work, try it out, experiment and take note of what happens. 'Have a crack,’ as we say in Australia. 
    • Iterate: You improve and evolve and keep working on it. Release another version, go again, ‘Have another crack’. The refining, adapting and responding is what keeps you agile, current and relevant. 


    Having a design mindset is vital for change leaders, strategic planners, product owners, business owners, team leaders and executives.

    And when you adopt and apply a design mindset to the situations, projects and pieces of work that you're working on, you're better equipped to remain competitive and respond to uncertainty.   

    Strategy is changing; leadership is changing; organisations are changing. 

    We need to also change how we think about what we do if we want to get closer, go further and deliver better.

    Friday
    Feb192016

    How to deal with creative sads, dips and roller coasters

    Creators and makers the world over (and history past) know there are times when the muse shows up and times when it’s in hiding.

    In between times, you get the opportunity to beat yourself up about:

    • how you’re not creative;
    • are only creative after alcohol or cupcakes;
    • sometimes think you might be creative but other people have already thought/done/published/shipped made a gazillion dollars doing what you thought might have been original;
    • can’t keep the creative thing going every day; and
    • feel like giving up; who would notice anyway.

     

    These thoughts are all part of the creative dip; that roller coaster of thinking about your wonderfully human capability of ingenuity, of making sh*t up, of being brilliant and insightful and clever.

    Even if you think your creativity comes as often as a leap year, look out because even if it's a leap year or not, creativity IS there. 

    When the dip hits, reach for this list of action-based solutions to wind you up-up-up and back on the rails to the heights of the brilliance you know is yours.

     

    Know it - know that it WILL come; it’s not a case of if, but when. The creative dip will come. When you know that, you’ll notice it when it does. It won’t shock you into taking a day under the covers … alone; with ice cream or choc-coated marshmallows. 

     

    Name it - when it comes, name it. Call out to it. “Hey you, you dippity dip of creative process. I know you, you’re not gonna get me! Ha! You’re just here to make me… no way, I’m not even gonna say it. Screw you! I’ve got stuff to do!”

     

    Shift focus - when it aches on the downward slope, go to another thing you’ve got bubbling on the back burner. You know that ‘thing’, that other project, idea or wonderment you’ve had before? Get that out for a moment and spend a little time with that. This stage of being in the dip will pass. 

     

    Distraction with another action – There is no sense falling into the pit of wallow and staying there; start immediately on another piece of this project. Persist despite the dip. 

     

    Not-negotiable - Do not debate or argue or negotiate with the dip. As Richard Carlson says in his brilliant book ‘Stop thinking start living’. If you think, debate, negotiate or ruminate, you’re going to be done-for down there in the depths. Carry on. Simply carry on. (PS: By the way, thinking about why you’re in the pit is not carrying on.)

     

    Thank it and keep moving - Acknowledge the pit and that it’s simply your ego looking out for you, trying to protect you from the scary stuff of shipping and publishing and creating. Seth Godin knows it; Steven Pressfield knows it; Austin Kleon knows it; Elizabeth Gilbert knows it; Nancy Duarte knows it. You too are currently knowing it. Doing creative thinking and work is tricky, challenging and hard but you’ve got this. You have. 

     

    See the light of dawn – Not suggesting you do an all-nighter, rather as you’re on the up slope, you’ll think ‘Hey, hang on a minute, this could be… maybe it’s a bit good after all.’ This is the light of awesome firing and flaring up again. Acknowledge that. Say ‘I’m coming up for sunlight again here people’. 

     

    Step on the gas – With some light coming your way, speed up, go safely but at breakneck speed. You’re up and out of the pit, pick up some momentum and carry on. Double time. With a renewed view from another peak, you have a wonderful capability to go further, faster and fairer than before. So go go go and do do do.

    We don’t need to deny or delete the roller coaster dip of the creative process; we need to acknowledge it. The creative sads and the dip of doubt hits us all at some time through the course of a project or piece of work. Yes, sometimes it feels more frequent or that rollercoaster is a nauseating ride we paid for…but it does pass.

    When you get to the top of the next roller coaster hill, enjoy that expansive view. You’re just one scream away from the next pit. But by then you’ll be an expert hand at this creative dip thing. You’ll get your rhythm, flow and creative mojo on and you’ll go, onward and upward, screaming with the wind in your hair: ‘Aaaarrrggghhhh! I’m aliiiiivvvveeeee!’

    Tuesday
    Nov252014

    Fixed or Agile - Which one are you?

    You were born with an agile mindset – a way of thinking that says ‘I can grow and learn and be challenged. I can improve.’ Think crawling, walking, talking, reading, riding a bike. So much to be challenged by. 

    But somewhere along the way, you might get derailed and think that you either ‘have it’ in this life or you don’t. (But that my friend is a ‘fixed mindset’.)

    Linda Rising presented at the Agile Singapore conference recently and (my visual notes of her keynote above) remind me how her messages about the Agile Mindset were inspiring, relevant and … a tap or slap on the shoulder. There are some vital characteristics that are required to make work work in today's competitive environment. 

    She asks: 'who told you what you can and can’t do'… and warns us to ‘watch out what you’re thinking’.

    An agile mindset is one that is looking for opportunities to grow, learn, experiment and improve. Failure simply gives us some information.

    Our mindset need not be fixed; this agility is ideal for the volatile world we live in today. 

    Our teams, customers, clients and organisations need us to be agile, flexible, adaptive, responsive. It’s through challenge that you grow.

    Look at where you might be fixed in your thinking. How might an agile mindset see it differently? What could you experiment with, test out or be challenged by?

    Go…. flex, bend, shift and grow. Keep challenging your own view of things.