Making the World's Smallest Movie "We're Moving in Another Direction"
If you work for an organization that issues RFPs to consulting companies, I have one humble request for you:
Please cease and desist from using the phrase "we're moving in another direction" when it comes time to letting consultants know you've decided NOT to engage their services.
It may seem like a small thing, but it's not.
"We're moving in another direction" is a totally bogus phrase. It's meaningless -- a euphemism with no soul that delivers no useful information or feedback to the person to whom you are supposedly communicating.
If you've asked a consultant to take the time to engage with you, learn about your company, and submit a proposal, the least you can do is find a more honorable way of delivering your feedback.May 19, 2013
An Alternative to Launching Yet Another Innovation Initiative
Many organizations who want to raise the bar for innovation, end up launching some kind of internally branded "innovation initiative". Logically speaking, this makes sense, but logic is not the most effective driver of innovation. Most employees cringe at the thought of yet another "initiative" being foisted on them.
So... instead of launching an initiative, help people take initiative by becoming more committed to fostering innovation in every conversation they have on the job -- something you can learn more about, in then next three minutes, by watching this newly produced 3-minute video of me addressing this topic.May 16, 2013
12 Ways to Make Bad Decisions
There are three things that astound me about most organizations: The cro-magnon way performance reviews are done; the pitiful way brainstorm sessions are run and; the voo doo way decisions are made.
What follows is an elaboration of the third -- 12 common phenomena that contribute to funky decision making. As you read, think of the teams you work most closely with, which of these behaviors describes them, and what you can do to change the game.
1. Selective Search for Evidence: Gathering facts that support pre-determined conclusions, but disregard other facts that support different conclusions.
2. Premature Termination of Search for Evidence: Accepting the first alternative that looks like it might work.May 12, 2013
Everything You Wanted to Know About Innovation But Forgot to Ask
Thanks to my son, Jesse, for the timely heads up -- the first online resource he shared with me upon his return from his first year of college (Hampshire). Let's hear it for higher education!May 10, 2013
Heat Your House With Soda Cans May 09, 2013
An Airtight Case for Giving People More Time to Be Creative
The most common complaint I hear from my clients about WHY they can't be more creative on-the-job is the "lack of time". Check out what happens if you give kids 10 minutes instead of 10 seconds to be creative.
In what ways can you give yourself, your team, or your entire company more time to create?
Thank to Chris Tardieu for the heads up!
The Selective Attention Test May 06, 2013
The Inventive Inventory of Inventions Not Invented By Inventing Inventors
What do LSD, corn flakes, dynamite, saccharine, the microwave oven, viagra, the Pacemaker, velcro, penicillin, anaesthesia, the Slinky, Play Doh, Silly Putty, Post-its, and vulcanized rubber all have in common?
They were all discovered by accident.
Read more about this phenomenon here.May 01, 2013
Want a Brainstorming Breakthrough? Get the Right Question!
There's a simple reason why so many brainstorm sessions are a waste of time. The problem statement being pitched to participants is the wrong one.
This is not surprising -- especially when you consider how little time most facilitators put into preparing for a session.
Here's what happens: The person who calls the session is usually scrambling -- overwhelmed, over-caffeinated, and running from one meeting to the next. Out of breath, they pitch the topic to the group, but the topic is either vague or secondary to a more essential challenge that remains unspoken.
G.K. Chesterton, one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century, distilled the phenomenon down to 13 words. "It's not that they can't see the solution," he said. "They can't see the problem."April 25, 2013
The Martial Arts of the Mind
Ten years ago I was invited to teach a course on "Innovation and Business Growth" at GE's Crotonville Management Development Center for 75 high potential, business superstars of the future.
The GE executive who hired me was a very savvy guy with the unenviable task of orienting new adjunct faculty members to GE's high standards and often harsher reality.
My client's intelligence was exceeded only by his candor as he proceeded to tell me, in no uncertain terms, that GE gave "new instructors" two shots at making the grade -- explaining, with a wry smile, that most outside consultants were intimidated the first time they taught at GE and weren't necessarily at the top of their game.
I'm not sure how you say it in Esperanto, but in English what he said translates as "The heat is on, big time."April 22, 2013
Yo Yo Mastery and You You
This guy is completely off the charts. Wow! Think about what YOU are committed to and WHAT you need to do to develop the kind of mastery this young man demonstrates.April 21, 2013
Leave Your Title at the Door and Remove the Door From It's Hinges
When I co-founded my company in 1986, I had two business cards made. One said "President." The other said "Archduke." Whenever I gave clients a choice, they always wanted the Archduke card.
In time, I gave all the Archduke cards away and never re-ordered them -- in a pitiful attempt, I think, to seem more professional.
Fortunately, everything comes full circle. Last night, while enjoying a wonderful concert in my hometown of Woodstock, my next title was suddenly revealed.
Director of Public Elations (and, no, I did not forget the "R".)
In a flash, not only did I get an insight into what my focus will be for the next few years, I also discovered an entirely new field.April 20, 2013
Honor Your Unusual Suspects
One thing I've noticed during the past 25 year of leading brainstorming sessions for a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies is the weird tendency many organizations have to under-value their "unusual suspects" -- people who don't show up on the "creative thinking radar screen" but have a ton of value to add.
Here's my story about one such moment at AT&T just published in the Huffington Post.April 15, 2013
The Kindness-At-Work Manifesto
It has recently come to my attention that some of the most loving, passionate, well-intentioned people in the world have a tendency to treat their co-workers unkindly -- especially during times of stress or on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.
Consumed by their need to do something extraordinary for humanity, they forget the people they work with are human.
And so, in an effort to restore a Culture of Caring to organizations everywhere. it is my honor to present to you the Kindness-At-Work Manifesto -- 40 daily opportunities to go beyond the imperfections of your co-workers and rise to a place of uncommon goodness.
Where does it begin? With your intention to maintain your commitment to kindness any time one of your co-workers does not.The Phoenicia Festival of the Voice
Our good friends, Maria Todaro and Louis Otey, two inspired visionaries, opera singers, and the Founders of the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, have launched a kickstarter campaign to bring a world class orchestra to perform at this year's Festival in August. Please consider making a donation today. The campaign ends on April 28th. Music! Celebration! Creativity! Love!April 14, 2013
WORK: The Chance to Find Yourself April 11, 2013
Creativity and the Play Instinct
April 06, 2013
The Joy of Heckling
Sometimes seemingly "bad things" morph into "good things". It all depends on how we perceive things and then how we act on our perception in a way that transforms.
Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:22 AMThe Paradox of Innovation
My big insight about innovation these days would make Nobel Prize winner, Niels Bohr, proud.
"Now that we have met with paradox," explained Dr. Bohr, "we have some hope of making progress."
Innovation is full of it -- paradox, that is.
On one hand, organizations want structures, maps, models, guidelines, and systems. On the other hand, that's all too often the stuff that squelches innovation, driving it underground or out the door.
The noble search for a so-called "innovation process" can easily become a seduction, addiction, or distraction whereby innovation is marginalized, deferred, over-engineered, and worn like a badge.
May 2013, April 2013, March 2013, February 2013, January 2013, December 2012, November 2012, October 2012, September 2012, August 2012, July 2012, June 2012, May 2012, April 2012, March 2012, February 2012, January 2012, December 2011, November 2011, October 2011, September 2011, August 2011, July 2011, June 2011, May 2011, April 2011, March 2011, February 2011, January 2011, December 2010, November 2010, October 2010, September 2010, August 2010, July 2010, June 2010, May 2010, April 2010, March 2010, February 2010, January 2010, December 2009, November 2009, October 2009, September 2009, August 2009, July 2009, June 2009, May 2009, April 2009, March 2009, February 2009, January 2009, December 2008, November 2008, October 2008, September 2008, August 2008, July 2008, June 2008, May 2008, April 2008, March 2008, February 2008, January 2008, December 2007, November 2007, October 2007, September 2007, August 2007, July 2007,