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    Entries in thinking (16)

    Monday
    Apr292019

    Don't be bored will you

    Some days are filled with so many activities, commitments and appointments back-to-back there’s no time for anything else. No deliberate anything, not even lunch on some days. (Boo!)

    As a child, I frequently said to my mum, ‘I’m bored!’ and she’d list off a few things I could do to counter the boredom. I had a creative mind and was always looking for something to work on, play with, experiment or try.

    In the modern workplace, lurching from meeting to meeting, screen to screen, racing through the day, something big about this isn’t right.

    It’s not sustainable and it’s not smart.

    Are we allowing, creating or letting ourselves be a little bored? Even for a few minutes? Great creativity, ingenuity and insightful thinking comes when you let yourself be bored.

    Your brain goes to work providing you with potential solutions to the problems you’ve been endlessly giving it. If there’s no break, there’s no space.

    Rather than automatically reaching for your device to fill the space, have a go and let yourself be bored. Notice things and people; think ... whatever comes to mind. This allows us to make sharper connections when we really need them.

    How could you let yourself be boredf?

    Thursday
    Apr252019

    Flogging a dead idea... 

    Seth Godin says 'ideas that spread win'. If your ideas aren’t spreading as you’d like, well... maybe they’re dead.

    Are you flogging a dead idea?

    Leaders bringing change to their teams; I wonder, how much is old stuff, old information or old ideas repackaged? Did the ’Save as’ button get a workout when you changed the date from last year or 5 years ago, and put the same information out there? Sam Trattles, an expert in negotiation gave me A+ advice for a high value gig: a goal of the process was to not repeat any of my information. Sam says people tune out, they’re done with it, they’ve heard it before and don’t hear it again.

    We must find new ways to communicate, ways that re-connect, re-inspire, re-engage, not just revisit or reuse. As a consultant or expert, are you still trying to sell the same thing?

    A colleague recently said if she just got more customers everything would improve for her. But this isn’t the only way to growth.

    Getting more customers to know about your dead idea won’t do much for you. Our ideas need to evolve and adapt, as do we, or we’re just flogging a dead idea. How are you adapting your ideas?

    Give a like and share your comments below...

    Thursday
    Apr252019

    'Any old map will do' 

    I wrote earlier about sensemaking and how we need it to collaborate, make decisions and make progress. How do we ‘make sense’, particularly in a group? Currently, we sit around a table, look at each other and talk at each other. It’s so verbal. Blah blah and blah, and some more blah blah. We’re trying to explain things, influence, persuade, educate, inform, involve and engage.

    All of that with words? That’s a big ask of any words coming out of our mouth to achieve.

    As if we should all be famous orators, preachers and inspirers! But some of us aren’t. And it can be unsafe in some workplaces to even open your mouth to put forward your thoughts. For making sense, you don’t need fancy drawing skills. You need a map.

    Thanks to Sensemaking guru Dr Karl Weick’s advice, ‘any old map will do.’ You see, a map provides us with a point of reference, a starting point. To start to make sense, get some of the information - words, shapes, ideas - onto something map-ish; a note pad, tablet, white board, flip chart.

    It need not be pretty. It needs only to be practical. It’s a starting point after all.

    Thursday
    Apr252019

    Did you know that Sensemaking is a ’thing’?

    You know when you’re having a meeting or a conversation and you’re listening to what people say, trying to work out what it means, what it’s about?

    That’s Sensemaking. We do it intuitively, habitually, automatically. But we might also be doing it in ways that don't get the most out of our grey matter - our brain - or the other people in the room.

    It's why we miss out on information, feel overloaded and get overwhelmed with too much information.

    It’s certainly why we get into heated debates, arguments, confusion and misunderstandings. Even though we’re trying to get on the ’same page’, we often don’t even have a page, anywhere to be seen. It’s all talk.

    We can make Sensemaking a more deliberate action in our daily work and daily lives. It’s more than taking notes, it’s more than listening.

    It’s a kind of super power or rapid path to clarity when we’re dealing with complex issues and information. Plus it’s the way to make decisions quicker and work together better.

    Sensemaking. It’s a thing and we can most defintely be more deliberate about it.

    Tuesday
    Jan312017

    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... 

    ...you 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!