The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough’


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Comprehensive 2 day program runs next:



October 3 & 4, 2019






 It's not 'drawing'...



with Lynne Cazaly
using The Visual Mojo Method
1 day practical workshop for your team
Build this powerful, influential skill to help make sense of change, communicate clearly and engage people in the most challenging situations

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MELBOURNE - September 11

PERTH - October 7

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    Entries in template (6)


    A clever tool to help you problem solve

    While plenty of tasks, projects and initiatives are about minimising problems, fixing things and reducing issues, there's a time when it helps to make a problem bigger.

    A favourite 'think outside the box' book I enjoy flinging open at random places is John Kuprenas' (with Matthew Frederick) book 101 things I learned in Engineering School.

    It's a chunky hardcover edition and you really know you're holding it despite its A5-ish size.

    Inside are pages and pages of intriguing explanations of concepts applicable to life ... beyond engineering.

    I'm no engineer, yet I have a curiosity for how things work, why things are the way they are and what we can do about that.

    There's something about how engineers, designers and architects think -- and problem solve -- that can be helpful to us, no matter the setting, situation or challenge we face. 

    One of John's 101 things is to 'enlarge the problem space'. He says

    "Almost every problem is larger than it initially appears. 
    Explore and enlarge it at the outset - not to make more work, but because the scope of the problem almost certainly will creep - it will grow larger - on its own. 
    It's easier to reduce the problem space later in the process than to enlarge it after starting down a path toward an inadequate solution".

    It's one of the reasons I give groups and teams this creative and innovation thinking tool to make problems bigger.

    I slot this activity into workshops when teams are working on strategy, design thinking, customer journeys and other tricky problems.

    I called it: 'It's Bigger'.

    It's some cloud shapes or circles up on a whiteboard or I'll get them (yes, executives and senior leaders too) to sketch in a notebook, blank page or in an app on their tablet. Then let them talk.

    Here's how it works:

    1. First, write the Issue
    2. Then add in some points, thoughts, hunches about what the bigger problem is,
    3. ... then the b-i-g-g-e-r problem 
    4. .. and then the BIGGER problem.

    From there you can come up with some totally new solutions.

    You could apply this type of thinking to problems you see around you at work, in your community, in your life ... even complex and wicked problems that are seriously tough to solve like social issues and global challenges can be discussed and strategised using the 'It's Bigger' approach.

    John Kuprenas says:

    there is the problem, then the cause of the problem, then the cause of the cause of the problem and the cause of the cause of the cause... get it! 

    It's a process that let's you look at creativity, innovation and problem solving by making it bigger before you get your hands dirty by doing something about it. 

    I'll use this thinking and creativity tool with a large retailer this week as we workshop some of their new ideas and initiatives to challenging problems. Then it will get a run in a not-for-profit workshop as a team looks at how to fund their social enterprise ideas.

    See, you don't need to build bridges or roads or machines to be an engineer!


    A quick creative thinking tool

    There's no need to make idea creation a big deal.
    You don't need a quiet space or allocated time or a fresh notebook. You don't even need to think that you're partcularly creative!
    I enjoy using Bob Eberle's SCAMPER model to help with creativity and innovation - no matter the situation.
    Each letter of the word 'scamper' takes you through a different thinking process. 
    Substitute. Combine. Adapt. Modify. Put to another use. Eliminate. Reverse. 
    Take your problem, situation or current view and think of how you could substitute something...combine with something...adapt it...and so on.
    I've used the model while traveling over the past few weeks, while problem solving, while brainstorming - alone and with others. 
    This week I'm sharing the visual template I use in workshops to isolate some different thinking under each of the 'scamper' letters.
    I write directly on the page and make little notes to segment my thinking, yet keep it on the same page. Teams and groups can work together through the model too.
    Next time you have some ideas to create, some solutions to innovate or a new approach to curate, go and 'scamper'.



    Visual Stories : a template  

    During my visit to New Zealand last week I enjoyed a couple of tasty dinners out with some of the great people from Agile Wellington Meetup and Boost New Media.

    Over a glass of New Zealand Pinot Noir, I noticed how we shared story after story after story - personal stories, travel stories, food stories, funny stories, business stories ... laughter here and there, learning, sharing and connecting. 

    Stories are certainly on the rise! Their value and impact when they are used to communicate key messages across teams and organisations is undeniable too! (You can read more about how to use stories in business in the book 'Hooked: How leaders connect, engage and 
    inspire with storytelling', by my Thought Leadership colleagues Gabrielle Dolan & Yamini Naidu.)


    While telling the stories is one aspect of great communication, recalling and revisiting them later on is another aspect that I think needs greater attention and focus.

    In a client workshop recently, one of the senior leaders shared so many brilliant and inspiring stories throughout the day.  We heard sales stories, planning and project stories, tales of challenge and of achievement and so many other inspiring messages. You could see and feel how well the content, style and messages impacted on the team.

    So that these powerful stories weren't 'lost', I visually captured them.

    This is the type of output I captured for one of the team's sessions. Small circles or vignettes are great shapes to write some words and icons to remind the team of the key content from the stories being shared as we travel along throughout the workshop or meeting. 

    Be sure to relax... you don't need all of the details covered in every story. I often say 'A small visual anchor can hold a weight of information'. You only need a small visual to remind you and others of the detail and content and how you felt about the story and its message. Given you didn't hear the leader's stories from last week, these visuals won't mean so much, but it's the style or design or approach I'm interested in you grasping. 

    So... to make sure you don't 'lose the plot' when it comes to stories, I'm sharing my template.  It makes them Visual Stories and helps prolong their life beyond the telling in the here and now. 

    Click to save it, print it out or sketch out your own series of circles (or other shapes) to collect the key points and learnings the next time you hear a great story you want to remember. Use one circle per story, or one circle for each key point or moral of the story.

    In this way you can quickly review, revisit and retell these chunks of content and information.  

    The end!



    Breakthrough and Backcast  

    I remember a Qantas Airlines business advertisement on TV a few years ago. It went like this: a clichéd facilitator was looking at a business team and asking "where are we now, where do we want to go, how will we get there?"

    Fairly staid questions - typical of most strategy conversations and planning sessions. A big yawn - o! 

    The problem with this thinking is it's so very limiting to possibilities. If we're only dealing with where we are at now, of course our future dreams will be framed by that starting point. Our future thinking is going to be shaped by the steps - challenging or otherwise - that got us here.

    Breakthrough thinking - and backcasting - take a different approach. It suggests you go forward, waaaaay forward to where you want to end up...your end goal. Then work backwards and ask : What did you do just before achieving that end goal? What was the step before that, and the step before that, before that, before that... it looks like this:


    What happens is, it takes us further than forecasting. We can be more adventurous. We will take bigger risks and larger steps. We will create a list of 'next steps' and actions that are more aptly focused on how that end goal was achieved ... not how (unachievable?) the end goal looks from here, now.

    The visual template I use with teams to get them breaking through and backcasting is here in this enews for you. Click and save the template above or sketch out your own.  

    To help you achieve your goal - any goal at all, fundraising, publishing a book, garden design, being appointed to a board, setting up a share portfolio, staring a new business... breakthrough and backcast. Don't plod along and forecast! Breakthrough and backcast. 

    And the Qantas Airlines advertisement? The rest of it went like this: just as quickly as the corny facilitator was saying 'where do we want to go' etc, one of the (naturally, bored) participants had logged on to the airline's website and booked his flights. So quick to decide and act on things like that these days, but longer to get your strategy and steps in place using traditional, old school thinking. 

    I think breakthrough thinking and backcasting are a must for your project, team and business. Pick up an old school marker and get to grips with breaking through on that goal you've got you're eyes on!



    That was then. What's now... and next?

    Planning and strategising with people often involves looking back as well as looking forward - and a bit of 'what's going on now' too. 

    I use this visual template to sort out the then, now and next. Otherwise I find the conversation can get a little knotted!

    Then Now Next Template
    So on a flip chart or whiteboard or on my ipad or a notepad, I'll draw out a winding road (when is change ever a straight road or a freeway?!)

    Then I'll put in the past, present and the future. But I label them with 'Then', 'Now' and 'Next.' It's a different palette or language and sounds more active. 

    And I LOVE to use the 'You are Here' red dot from tourist and shopping centre maps, to remind people they are actually in the here and now. Then there is great perspective back as well as forward. Think rear-view mirror as well as the front windscreen. 

    Windy road, then, now, next. Now have your discussion. Capture key points, 'Click' to photograph the notes of your discussion - and you'll be able to recall a heap of detail from that conversation, as well as categorise some equally winding content.
    Now, what's next for you today?