The Creative Drumbeat

Warning – I’m tying together a few loose ends here. Things may get tangled. The application of scientific process to business practice has been one of the critical drivers in the success of modern enterprise. Observe, hypothesize, measure, analyze, apply, repeat. It drives efficiency and progress. Unfortunately things get dicey at the edges. There is an art to being a breakthrough business, in being able to observe the unobservable. Sometimes our ability to envision surpasses our ability to measure. Sometimes you just have to leap. “Leave space for things to come to you,” says Janice Cartier in her discussion of artistic process. In a way, creativity’s feeling of random discovery is a scientific process we have not yet come to terms with. Robin Dickenson commented that for him the creative and scientific processes were modes of thinking that can be switched between. Kay Plantes commented that both the scientific and … Continue reading

I’m One of Many Seeds, and Happy To Be…

“My positioning statement is two words: “Empower people.” What’s your’s?” Guy Kawasaki, Enchantment Bringing about change is a lot like swimming upstream.  Everything and everyone pushes you to run fast with them promising safer, faster, easier waters via alternative compass headings. But changemakers in the world not only swim against the current, they pull thousands upstream with them. Motivating movement with the force of an idea. Guy Kawasaki takes on this force in his latest book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. I’ve long enjoyed reading Kawasaki for his ability to present ideas that can help you move mountains in ways that are both motivating and realistically grounded.  So I was delighted to receive a pre-release copy from his publisher last month to review if I felt so inclined. You have to enjoy a book that wraps up with a chapter on how to avoid being wrongly … Continue reading

The Science Of Creativity – Homework!

I was going to deconstruct an article on creativity I just read in Newsweek. Instead, I’m just going to say you need to read it for yourselves. Get past the scary call to action about creativity declining in the United States. (Scary for those of us who live here at least) This is one article where the really interesting and useful stuff is in the second half. As you read keep in mind: Creativity is about the creation of something original and useful – don’t limit your thinking to fine art categories. Creativity can be learned and encouraged in every part of the educational process, possibly improving overall effectiveness more than when limiting to traditional categories. The need to be creative is a deep, neurological need. Kudos to Po Bronson and Ashley Merry at Newsweek for a great synopsis.  Creativity is messy, which means there’s plenty to argue about in … Continue reading

Open Innovation – Filing a non-patent

The top 25 companies by US patent value was released by Business Week and it is worth a look. IBM generated the largest number of patents while Microsoft generated patents of the highest value (according to the BW study). The number of patents involved at IBM is a simply mind-boggling 4,914. That’s over 13 patentable inventions a day. Not a bad brain trust. But what caught my eye was a paragraph at the bottom of the story: As a defensive measure, the company also published details on almost 4,000 inventions in a publicly available company journal last year. By publishing I believe they ensure that no one can patent the ideas. Since many companies are racing towards the same goal the prospect of inventors stepping on each other’s toes is not far fetched. The value of publishing trade secrets outweighed the negative impact of letting folks in on what they … Continue reading

Being and Entrepreneurship

“Organizations tend to evolve in ways that are inherently resistant to entrepreneurship. Yet Entrepreneurship is instrumental for ensuring the long-term sustainability of any enterprise.” (Properties of balance: A pendulum effect in corporate entrepreneurship, Michael H. Morris, Jurie van Vuuren, Jeffrey R. Cornwall, Retha Scheepers) Whether you call it corporate entrepreneurship or individual creativity, it is difficult to drive behavior that challenges the status quo, questions existing procedures, or increases personal risk. “More fundamentally, fostering corporate entrepreneurship becomes problematic if company executives do not know what they are trying to achieve.” (Morris, et al) Finding balance in large organizations is difficult at best. The larger the group the further removed any single individual is from the source of cash flow, from the feel of customers, from the pulse of technological change. (You know, the smell of the sawdust, the feel of the earth type stuff.) The meaningfulness of any individual change … Continue reading