Nook and Cranny Creativity

From the ideas from strange places department: Papaw didn’t get out to use his grill early enough this year and so someone else set up shop. Now, some would have said it is a bad idea to build a nest in a grill with summer parties around the corner. But mom and dad bird had a different idea. Metal roof. Small perfectly sized entrance. Back door for fast escape. Seems perfectly modern. In some places this would not have ended well. All the work disposed of to make room for ribs and burgers. But in this case they have found my in-laws, warm hearted folks who admire the birds creativity, spunk and stick-to-itiveness. So the new residents are protected and safe until they take flight. Even the dog is on watch for four-legged prowlers. Nature has a great way of finding new uses for under-used nooks and crannies. Discovering the … Continue reading

Physics and Ideation: When Does A Breakthrough Idea Become An Acceptable Idea?

Many business ideas die as much from neglect as from hostility.  Breakthrough concepts are dismissed by influencers who show disbelief when ideas do not fit their current world view. Ideas are left to stew and ripen outside mainstream business thought — only to burst on the scene and disrupt whole economies seemingly out of no-wheresville. We all have ways of ignoring breakthrough ideas, many demonstrated in The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Rebornby Louisa Gilder. Illustrating the winding road taken by the physics community in understanding entanglement, it shows how even the most brilliant can dismiss, ignore and argue against ideas that seem to break foundational beliefs. How can you avoid being blindsided by an idea you had all along? Breakthrough ideas challenge the status quo. Often the status quo does everything it can to brick over the door your idea is trying to open. The idea of … Continue reading

Physics and Ideation: Ways To Unleash Creativity

Confusion about when to praise, when to probe, and when to argue with an idea is killing creativity in business. And the scary thing is some of the most innovative tools being put in place to increase the flow of ideas are just as effective at killing the spirit as in the old days of rapid confrontation. I’ve been thinking about this as I read The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn By Louisa Guilder. Here key ‘conversations’ are reconstructed between some of science’s greatest. You get an inside peek at the way ideas can be had, proposed and defended in a very rigorous mathematical and experimental environment.  What connection is there between defending an idea about quantum physics and a business process? Uncertainty. Now I’m not a scientist, nor do I play one on TV.  But I do have quite a bit of experience shepherding breakthrough ideas … Continue reading

New Ways For Entrepreneurs To Do Business With China

UPDATE: I just found out only the first day of the conference had been planned to be streamed, this being a first and all.  I was very impressed with the professional quality presented.  Technically, on-screen graphics for each speaker, multi-camera switching, good lighting, excellent sound.  It was obvious that IU had some capable media folks making things happen.  It was quite an improvement over some other ‘streaming broadcasts’ I’ve seen which tend towards one camera, low-def set-ups. I mention the technical end only because as the experience improves so does the learning.  The speakers were of very high quality and some great issues were discussed. Next step suggestion – let us send our questions in on-line for the speakers in real time! UPDATE: Live video link is here. This week, for the first time, a live video feed from the Indiana University China/US Business Conference will be officially available in China and set … Continue reading

Procrastination = Creativity | There Is Hope!

“Productive mediocrity requires discipline of an ordinary kind.” Quote from W.A. Pannapacker’s article How To Procrastinate Like Leonardo da Vinci. (UPDATE: subscription now required to get to this article.) Evidently Leonardo never saw a project he couldn’t avoid finishing.  But maybe procrastination is the wrong word for his tendency to ‘solve and move on.’ Do you have any of these frustrating creative folks on your staff?  Been working them over with GTD (Getting Things Done) seminars and yearly reviews that express frustration at implementation but awe over concept? Did the brilliant strategic thinker get so caught up in seemingly unimportant details that all work stopped? Stop trying to change your dreamers.  Create an environment that lets them kick start solutions and then move on – leaving talented managers to wrap up the details.  Use your staff in ways that builds on their strength…and avoids their blind spots. It may be … Continue reading