The Soldier and the Creativity Training

I knew I was in trouble the moment he smiled.

All I could see were four metal teeth — the front ones — the ones people use to bite things. Like an apple. Or the head of an outside consultant teaching a class on creativity to 24 managers at AT&T.

His nametag said “John Andrews,” but when it was his turn to introduce himself, it was “Master Staff Sergeant John Andrews, Fourth Battalion.”

Apparently, the man was still fighting the Vietnam war — and, by the look in his eye, it was clear he couldn’t quite tell what side I was on.

Unlike the other participants, John was wearing a suit and a tie — a tie tied so tight it seemed as if the veins in his neck would explode.

With great respect, I invited John to remove his tie, explaining that relaxation was one of the pre-conditions for creativity.

John declined.

The man was not the first tough cookie I’d encountered in my tour of corporate America. It came with the territory. Over the years, I’d learned to embrace this kind of moment. John was not the enemy. He was not a problem. He was simply someone I would need to be aware of as the session unfolded.

John was probably the same with me as he was with his wife, children, dog, and dry cleaner. He was, quite simply, a master at making people uncomfortable.


http://www.ideachampions.com/weblogs/archives/2010/10/the_man_with_th_1.shtml

US-soldier_0.jpg

I knew I was in trouble the moment he smiled.

All I could see were four metal teeth — the front ones — the ones people use to bite things. Like an apple. Or the head of an outside consultant teaching a class on creativity to 24 managers at AT&T.

His nametag said “John Andrews,” but when it was his turn to introduce himself, it was “Master Staff Sergeant John Andrews, Fourth Battalion.”

Apparently, the man was still fighting the Vietnam war — and, by the look in his eye, it was clear he couldn’t quite tell what side I was on.

Unlike the other participants, John was wearing a suit and a tie — a tie tied so tight it seemed as if the veins in his neck would explode.

With great respect, I invited John to remove his tie, explaining that relaxation was one of the pre-conditions for creativity.

John declined.

The man was not the first tough cookie I’d encountered in my tour of corporate America. It came with the territory. Over the years, I’d learned to embrace this kind of moment. John was not the enemy. He was not a problem. He was simply someone I would need to be aware of as the session unfolded.

John was probably the same with me as he was with his wife, children, dog, and dry cleaner. He was, quite simply, a master at making people uncomfortable. Leer más “The Soldier and the Creativity Training”

Idea Champions’ Secret Sauce Revealed

Most people think that creativity is a mystical state available only to the chosen few — a state that has to be induced, conjured, and maintained.

The effort, they imagine, takes a lot of time and hard work. And since they usually don’t have the time and don’t like hard work, they reason that higher states of creativity are just not in the cards for them. And so it isn’t.

But creativity isn’t a mystical state. It’s a natural state — a human birthright. The people in your organization, in fact, are already creative. The only thing is: their natural creativity is being obscured by their own habits of mind and a variety of bothersome organizational constraints.

logo-fedex.jpg

Their challenge is the same one as seeing the “hidden” arrow in the FedEx logo (look between the “E” and the “X”).

The arrow has always been there, but most people never notice it.

Try this experiment: Walk into a dark room from a well-lit place. Upon entering, you will not be able to see very much. Indeed, if someone asks you what’s in the room, you will either say “nothing” or “I don’t know.”

But if you linger in the room, your eyes will adjust to the available light. You’ll begin seeing the edges of things — and then the things themselves. Or at least some of the things.


tvg035.jpg

http://www.ideachampions.com/

Most people think that creativity is a mystical state available only to the chosen few — a state that has to be induced, conjured, and maintained.

The effort, they imagine, takes a lot of time and hard work. And since they usually don’t have the time and don’t like hard work, they reason that higher states of creativity are just not in the cards for them. And so it isn’t.

But creativity isn’t a mystical state. It’s a natural state — a human birthright. The people in your organization, in fact, are already creative. The only thing is: their natural creativity is being obscured by their own habits of mind and a variety of bothersome organizational constraints.

logo-fedex.jpg

Their challenge is the same one as seeing the “hidden” arrow in the FedEx logo (look between the “E” and the “X”).

The arrow has always been there, but most people never notice it.

Try this experiment: Walk into a dark room from a well-lit place. Upon entering, you will not be able to see very much. Indeed, if someone asks you what’s in the room, you will either say “nothing” or “I don’t know.”

But if you linger in the room, your eyes will adjust to the available light. You’ll begin seeing the edges of things — and then the things themselves. Or at least some of the things. Leer más “Idea Champions’ Secret Sauce Revealed”

14 Ways to Get Breakthrough Ideas

There’s a lot of talk these days about the importance of innovation. All CEOs worth their low salt lunch want it. And they want it, of course, now.

Innovation, they reason, is the competitive edge.

What sparks innovation? People. What sparks people? Inspired ideas that meet a need — whether expressed or unexpressed — ideas with enough mojo to rally sustained support.

Is there anything a person can do — beyond caffeine, corporate pep talks, or astrology readings — to quicken the appearance of breakthrough ideas?

Yes, there is.

And it begins with the awareness of where ideas come from in the first place.

There are two schools of thought on this subject.

The first school ascribes the origin of ideas to inspired individuals who, through a series of purposeful mental processes, conjure up the new and the different — cerebral wizards, if you will.

The second school of thought ascribes the appearance of ideas to a transcendent force, a.k.a. the “Collective Unconscious,” the “Platonic Realm,” the “Muse” or the “Mind of God.”

creativity2.jpg

According to this perspective, ideas are not created, but already exist, becoming accessible only to those human beings who have sufficiently tuned themselves to receive them.

The first approach is considered Western, with a strong bias towards thinking and is best summarized by Rene Descartes’ “I think therefore I am” maxim. Most business people subscribe to this approach.

The second approach is usually considered Eastern, with a strong bias towards feeling, and is best summarized by the opposite of the Cartesian view: “I am therefore, I think.” Most artists and “creative types” are associated with this approach, with its focus on intuitive knowing.

Both approaches are valid. Both are effective. Both are used at different times by all of us, depending on our mood, circumstances, and conditioning.

What does all of this have to do with you — oh aspiring innovator?

Plenty, since you are a hybrid of the above-mentioned schools of thought.

That’s what this Manifesto is all about — a quick-hitting tutorial of what you can do to more dependably conjure up brilliant ideas.


http://www.ideachampions.com

There’s a lot of talk these days about the importance of innovation. All CEOs worth their low salt lunch want it. And they want it, of course, now.

Innovation, they reason, is the competitive edge.

What sparks innovation? People. What sparks people? Inspired ideas that meet a need — whether expressed or unexpressed — ideas with enough mojo to rally sustained support.

Is there anything a person can do — beyond caffeine, corporate pep talks, or astrology readings — to quicken the appearance of breakthrough ideas?

Yes, there is.

And it begins with the awareness of where ideas come from in the first place.

There are two schools of thought on this subject.

The first school ascribes the origin of ideas to inspired individuals who, through a series of purposeful mental processes, conjure up the new and the different — cerebral wizards, if you will.

The second school of thought ascribes the appearance of ideas to a transcendent force, a.k.a. the “Collective Unconscious,” the “Platonic Realm,” the “Muse” or the “Mind of God.”

creativity2.jpg

According to this perspective, ideas are not created, but already exist, becoming accessible only to those human beings who have sufficiently tuned themselves to receive them.

The first approach is considered Western, with a strong bias towards thinking and is best summarized by Rene Descartes‘ “I think therefore I am” maxim. Most business people subscribe to this approach.

The second approach is usually considered Eastern, with a strong bias towards feeling, and is best summarized by the opposite of the Cartesian view: “I am therefore, I think.” Most artists and “creative types” are associated with this approach, with its focus on intuitive knowing.

Both approaches are valid. Both are effective. Both are used at different times by all of us, depending on our mood, circumstances, and conditioning.

What does all of this have to do with you — oh aspiring innovator?

Plenty, since you are a hybrid of the above-mentioned schools of thought.

That’s what this Manifesto is all about — a quick-hitting tutorial of what you can do to more dependably conjure up brilliant ideas. Leer más “14 Ways to Get Breakthrough Ideas”

The Seed of Innovation Moment


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//ideachampions.com

The people you work with are originating — and communicating — their ideas more often than you realize. In meetings. In hallways. In elevators, parking lots, offices, bathrooms, cars, and lunch rooms. Many of these ideas are very intriguing — or could be — but they rarely take root.

Why not? Leer más “The Seed of Innovation Moment”

The Manager as Idea Coach

The root of the word “manager” comes from the same root as the words “manipulate” or “maneuver”, meaning to “adapt or change something to suit one’s purpose”. Although these words may carry a pejorative meaning for some of us, there is nothing inherently wrong with them. Indeed, into each life a little manipulation and maneuvering must fall. For example, if the door to your office gets stuck, a handyman might need to manipulate it to get it working again. If there is a log jam at the elevator, you might decide to maneuver around the crowd and take the stairs. No problem there.

However, there is another kind of manipulation and maneuvering that is a problem – when managers use their position to bend subordinates to their will. While short-term gains may result, in the end the heart is taken out of people. Your staff may become good soldiers, but they will lose something far more important in the process – their ability to think for themselves. General George Patton said it best, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” [Más…]

Unfortunately, ingenuity in many American corporations has gone the way of the hula-hoop. But intellectual capital is the name of the game these days – and it is the enlightened manager’s duty to learn how to play. Only those companies will succeed whose people are empowered to think for themselves and respond creatively to the myriad of changes going on all around them. Simply put, managers must make the shift from manipulators to manifesters. They must learn how to coach their people into increasingly higher states of creative thinking and creative doing. They must realize that the root of their organization’s problem is not the economy, not management, not cycle time or outsourcing, but their own inability to tap into the power of their workforce’s innate creativity.

Where does empowerment start? First, by recognizing what power is: “the ability to do or act”. And second, by realizing that all power begins with an idea. Clearly, one’s ability to “do or act” depends on there being something worth doing or acting upon. What is an idea? Where does it come from? And how can a manager increase the chances of a good one showing up?


by Mitchell Ditkoff
//ideachampions.com

The root of the word “manager” comes from the same root as the words “manipulate” or “maneuver”, meaning to “adapt or change something to suit one’s purpose”. Although these words may carry a pejorative meaning for some of us, there is nothing inherently wrong with them. Indeed, into each life a little manipulation and maneuvering must fall. For example, if the door to your office gets stuck, a handyman might need to manipulate it to get it working again. If there is a log jam at the elevator, you might decide to maneuver around the crowd and take the stairs. No problem there.

However, there is another kind of manipulation and maneuvering that is a problem – when managers use their position to bend subordinates to their will. While short-term gains may result, in the end the heart is taken out of people. Your staff may become good soldiers, but they will lose something far more important in the process – their ability to think for themselves. General George Patton said it best, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” Leer más “The Manager as Idea Coach”