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Good Morning Thinkers!





Updated: 2010-01-08T08:45:09-07:00

 




2010-01-08T08:45:09-07:00

Good Morning Thinkers! Many Thanks to IN friend and author Chuck Frey from InnovationTools.com. He has a new book coming out as we speak and he was kind enough to give us a sneak preview. The book is titled "Creativity...

Good Morning Thinkers!

Many Thanks to IN friend and author Chuck Frey from
InnovationTools.com. He has a new book coming out as we speak and
he was kind enough to give us a sneak preview. The book is titled
"Creativity Hacks: Shortcuts to Help You to Crush Your Challenges
& Live a Kick-A** Life." 'It is filled with tips, strategies and
tactics that readers can use to enhance their creativity and
productivity.’

After a quick review, "Creativity Hacks" looks to be an excellent
compilation of tools for the creative problem solver to help
create, capture and improve their ideas and turn them into
profitable solutions.

Interested? Find out more about this e-book and all the other
innovation tools available at:




CAT Innovation

2006-11-05T08:42:36-07:00

In all the hoopla about radical, breakthrough or disruptive innovation, we sometimes lose sight of the importance of "ordinary innovation" -- the unique approaches to every day issues that create new value. These small stories of personal innovation deserve to... In all the hoopla about radical, breakthrough or disruptive innovation, we sometimes lose sight of the importance of "ordinary innovation" -- the unique approaches to every day issues that create new value.  These small stories of personal innovation deserve to be celebrated and that's just what Steve Lundin (co-creator of the incredible "Fish! Philosophy" series) and Jimmy Tan (innovation consultant and trainer from Australia) are doing in their new book-in-process, "CATS: The Nine Lives of Innovation" which focuses on the premise that all innovation, at its core, is personal. Steve and Jimmy are looking for stories of personal innovation and stories about how leaders view innovation at the personal innovation level. If you would like to share your story with them, please contact Jimmy at jimmy@adageolearning.com.  For an example of the type of stories they are looking for, please see the ones below.Real Life Story Written by an HR Manager turned CAT Wrangler One would not normally associate Innovation with Human Resources.  Yet, early in my HR career, I learnt that mega problems can sometimes be tackled by simple, innovative solutions. Although HR has evolved into a strategic role alongside other key business functions in an organization today, it had not always been that way.  In those days, the HR department was probably expected to be more ‘respectable’ and ‘conventional’ than the others.  ‘Respectable’ and ‘conventional’ meant ‘normal’, ‘safe and secure’ ... we were the cornerstone of consistency in the way people policy had to be administered. Yet, many of the challenges we faced required us more and more to go beyond ‘normalcy’, to be the harbinger of change in people management. Here are two occasions when the voice of provocation inside me prompted me to look to uncommon sense to solve a couple of very common problems faced by HR managers. Problem 1: Perennial tardiness of workers Like most companies, we were experiencing a major problem with workers’ punctuality. This was even more critical in a manufacturing facility where lost time meant lost production. The typical response from Personnel was to issue a warning, cut pay or some similar disciplinary action. However, I resolved not to take that path as the Human Resources Manager. So I hatched a plan with my CEO. On Monday morning, my CEO and I stood at the company’s entrance lobby at 8:30 am sharp, the time employees were supposed to report for work. There was a constant stream of latecomers. As people strolled in, my CEO and I gave a warm smile and shook their hands, greeting them with a hearty ‘Good morning!’ ... then we handed each a slip of paper ... still smiling. It read, "Thank you for coming to work today. I was here at 8:30 am to welcome you. Would I have the pleasure of greeting you tomorrow morning at the same time? Signed, CEO" After a few days, there were no more latecomers. And we saved a big chunk in production costs. Problem 2: Shortage of workers The industry was experiencing a severe shortage of production workers due to a strong economy. Ongoing recruitment efforts through the traditional channels proved futile as companies competed for a limited pool of labor and workers played musical chairs from one factory to another. We reached a crisis situation where we would miss our production deliveries if the manpower shortfall continued. Then we got wind that a manufacturing plant was laying off workers as they were relocating some of their operations overseas. Not your typical Human Resource Manager, I dispatched a bus and a SWAT (Sourcing Workers Available Today) Team to their location. As the retrenched workers walked out with their severance p[...]



Simple Rules from Starbucks

2006-10-24T15:50:39-06:00

I have this fascination for simple rules and here comes a set from a new book about Starbucks which will be out shortly: "The Starbucks Experience, Five Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary," by psychologist Joseph Michelli. Seems like a...

I have this fascination for simple rules and here comes a set from a new book about Starbucks which will be out shortly: "The Starbucks Experience, Five Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary," by psychologist Joseph Michelli.  Seems like a very worthy entry into this category.

1 -- Make it your own
2 -- Everything matters
3 -- Surprise and delight
4 -- Embrace resistance
5 -- Leave your mark




Passion and Innovation

2006-10-20T21:08:05-06:00

Tom Peters says: "dispassionate innovator" is an oxymoron. This is only one of 50 tips for increasing your luck and success at innovating. Check out the rest here.

Tom Peters says:  "dispassionate innovator" is an oxymoron.  This is only one of 50 tips for increasing your luck and success at innovating.  Check out the rest here.




Napkin Sketches

2006-09-10T11:28:00-06:00

I first heard the term "napkino" while doing some work with the design group at Johnson Controls. They had an idea contest where people submitted idea sketches as "napkinos." Tom Aitken, the group's innovation champion at the time described it...

(image) I first heard the term "napkino" while doing some work with the design group at Johnson Controls.  They had an idea contest where people submitted idea sketches as "napkinos."  Tom Aitken, the group's innovation champion at the time described it as, "A competition using this term just means a very informal sketch on any old type of paper with no attention to formatting, or even drawing quality.  Just get the idea down so people can see it.  Otherwise designers will get too elaborate with the 2d work."

I just ran across the following article from a Steelcase e-zine and thought it might be of interest.  In the article Don Moyer writes "the leading edge of every wave of innovation is flecked with little drawings scrawled on cocktail napkins ...."  I thought it might be fun to think about what companies, projects or inventions started as a napkin sketch over drinks or lunch?   Tell us your napkin sketch stories in the comments below.

Napkin Sketches Recap
by Pamela (Brenner) Hamp

“Napkin Sketches 101” written by Don Moyer in last months’ 360 e-zine, registered as our most popular article to date (as noted by number of pdf downloads). Moyer writes, “the leading edge of every wave of innovation is flecked with little drawings scrawled on cocktail napkins, envelope backs, scratch paper and whiteboards. Napkin sketches can help you see what you think about a topic and make it easier to communicate your ideas to others.“

His piece is interesting, well written and extremely practical. So much in fact, this 90-second article will re-cap some of Don’s napkin sketch tips.  (9 rules below)

1. Realize ugly is beautiful.
– Crude, ugly and wobbly are okay. If the idea captured is valid, you’ll have time later to make it beautiful.

2. Master the basics.
– If you can draw a half-dozen simple shapes you’re ready to take on almost any topic.

3. Use labels.
– Include lots of labels and notes so things will make sense to you when reviewed at a later date.

4. Keep it simple.
– In general, leave out any detail that will not be missed.

5. Be consistent.
– Avoid variations that don’t mean anything.

6. Break some rules.
– Don’t worry about keeping things in the “right” scale.

7. Let your arrows speak.
– Pointing arrows are the verbs in a napkin sketch.

8. Use the right tools.
– Use whatever surface is available – paper, whiteboard, small note-paper etc.

9. Don’t keep the napkin on your lap.
– Don’t hide your sketches in a file folder. Make them visible and share them with teammates.




Design for a “Think Week?”

2006-07-13T14:56:30-06:00

I have long been fascinated by Bill Gates’ legendary Think Weeks which he takes twice a year to read and reflect on the world around him. After his Think Week in 2005, Robert Guth, reporter with The Wall Street Journal,...



Sam Walton's 10 Rules

2006-07-13T10:36:48-06:00

Sam Walton's 10 Rules for Success Not much need for an introduction, explanation or commentary. (ed.) The basics ... Rule #1 Commit to your business. Believe in it more than anything else. If you love your work, you’ll be out...



"Easy" is the new "free"

2006-06-23T12:49:06-06:00

My first job out of college was as a direct mail copy writer, so I quickly learned the magic words that create response -- the most powerful being "new" and "free." That was quite a few years ago, however, and... My first job out of college was as a direct mail copy writer, so I quickly learned the magic words that create response -- the most powerful being "new" and "free."  That was quite a few years ago, however, and life is different... not only were there no blogs, vlogs, text messaging or MyPlace, there was no email, fax, internet, cell phones, cable TV, infomercials, or ezines.  Back then movies came with cartoons instead of advertising and doctors, dentists, accountants, and lawyers didn’t advertise at all.  "New" didn’t happen all that often and we believed people when they said "free." It wasn’t till I saw the Staples "easy" ads and actually purchased four Easy Buttons (which say "That was easy!" when you press them) to use in a workshop, that it dawned on me that "easy" is the new "free."  Life is complicated and everyone seems to be on an endless learning curve.  Just about the time I start feeling comfortable with my software, a new version comes out or someone tells me about a new tool I "just have to have."  When my career first started, I felt very competent with my tools, now, with all of the technology available, it seems like everyone has a low-grade sense ofincompetence.  So tell me something’s easy and I’m all yours (of course, you have to make me believe it first). Here’s a recent experience. We just bought a house and decided to get the mortgage through our bank (which will remain nameless) because we’d had very good experience with our "personal banker." We quickly got a pre-approval and once the purchase deal was signed, we were on our way to a mortgage.  But then ... our "personal banker" quit and things spiraled quickly out of control.  Endless calls to and from a variety of people, different stories, interest  rates promised and then retracted.  It got ugly. After a frustrating two weeks, I decided to create a backup plan. This was Sunday night.  Ten minutes of filling out an online form with Ditech and a two-hour wait and I had six "offers" at interest rates better than my bank was offering.  A quick inquiry at LendingTree yielded an almost immediate email response saying someone would call me soon.  A short form at QuickenLoans prompted another "We’ll repond soon" reply. Monday morning, Jason from QuickenLoans called, took a little more information and told me he’d call back in an hour.  Forty-five minutes later he called to tell me we’d been approved and exactly what needed to happen.  By the end of Tuesday, we had signed documents through a simple online process and had a written commitment to rates and costs.  "That was easy!" In the meantime, while someone from LendingTree finally called on Thursday, no one ever called from Ditech and the bank is still grinding in circles, presumably still cranking out a mortgage but who would know for sure? That definitely wasn’t easy. So, how could you make life easier for your customers (internal or external)?  It may be the most powerful thing you could do. * Apparently over 100,000 Easy Buttons have been sold (at $4.95 each) with all the proceeds up to $1 million going to the Boys and Girls Club of America. [...]



Google's 9 Rules

2006-06-15T11:16:13-06:00

We love simple rules so thanks to Chuck Frey and Paul Hobcraft for alerting us to these from Google: From Chuck Frey's Innovation Tools: Thanks to alert reader Paul Hobcraft for alerting me a link to this video on the...



What are you waiting for?

2006-06-01T07:47:53-06:00

Years ago, in what seems like simpler times, we had philosophers such as Plato and Socrates, Confucius and Descartes, Machiavelli and Sartre, all talking and writing, helping us figure out this thing called life. Today we have Visa. It may...

(image) Years ago, in what seems like simpler times, we had philosophers such as Plato and Socrates, Confucius and Descartes, Machiavelli and Sartre, all talking and writing, helping us figure out this thing called life.  Today we have Visa.

It may not be quite the same but don't miss the "What's Life Take?" video-ad which you can see by clicking "Watch Video."

According to Visa, we need:   

  • Ambition & Practice
  • Luck & Tradition
  • Exploration & Wonder
  • Confidence & Respect
  • Determination & Talent
  • Risk & Joy
  • Spontaneity & a little Help

What do YOU need today?