How and why the tools and techniques of creative thinking are as essential to invention as the scientific method is to discovery
There are six components that comprise what Tina Seelig characterizes as an “Innovation Engine.” Three are internal: information that becomes knowledge (fuel), imagination (a catalytic converter that transforms knowledge into new ideas), and attitude (a spark that ignites the Engine, setting it in motion). All three internal components are essential and interdependent. Seelig suggests that there are also three external components: resources (a community’s assets), habitats (physical locations within which the Engine functions at peak performance), and culture (shared beliefs, values, and behaviors of the given community). As I read the Introduction in which Seelig briefly discusses the Engine, I immediately thought of an orchestra and chorus, comprised of world-class talent led by a great conductor, who perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Each of her Engine’s components has a counterpart within the structure of a symphony orchestra in combination with its score and venue.
These are among the passages in the book that caught my eye:
o The “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving” or TRIZ (the Russian acronym) methodology (Pages 50-51)
o A two-by-two creativity/pressure matrix (106-108)
o Habitats that simulate or inhibit creativity (128-131)
o Edward de Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” model/exercise (128-131)
o Creating a habitat that encourages and supports risk taking and experimentation (160-163)
o Tapping into and activating strong emotional engagement (179-180)
o Précis: Knowledge, Imagination, and Attitude (185-189)
I commend Tina Seelig on immediately establishing a direct, personal rapport with her reader as she begins to provide a wealth of information, insights, and counsel within eleven chapters. She then sustains that rapport throughout her narrative. Presumably many others will feel (as I did) that she wrote this book specifically for them. When concluding the book, she observes, “You hold the key to your Innovation Engine and have creative genius waiting to be unleashed. By tapping into this natural resource you have the power to overcome challenges and generate opportunities of all dimensions. Your ideas – big and small – are the critical starting point for innovations that propel us forward. Without creativity, we are trapped in a world that is not just stagnant, but one that slips backward. As such, we are each responsible for inventing the future. Turn the key.”
Here is an excerpt from an article written by Mohini Kundu for Talent Management magazine. To check out all the resources and sign up for a free subscription to the TM and/or Chief Learning Officer magazines published by MedfiaTec, please click here.
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When employee tensions mount in the workplace, incivility can take a toll on engagement and performance. Use these tips to defuse such situations, lest things get out of hand.
Yelling, abuse and disrespect — these behaviors are becoming more commonplace in the work environment, contributing to a culture of incivility, which may lead to decreased engagement and high turnover rates.
Thirty-eight percent of American workers say the workplace has become more uncivil and disrespectful compared to a few years ago, according to a June 2011 study by KRC Research titled “Civility in America.”
“There’s a real psychological depression out there that is impacting how people are responding to each other,” said Jeff Cohen, executive coaching expert and founder of J M Cohen Associates. Discouragement and desperation that emerged as a byproduct of the unstable business environment combined with new trends in social interaction appear to be taking a toll on corporate communication.
Stress and unhappiness — much of it pertaining to the economy — are uncommonly high amongst workers today, and it is beginning to affect employee culture. “People are becoming more fearful for their jobs, even panicky, and when things go awry they do one of two things: They pull into their shell or they start lashing out at other folks,” Cohen said.
Technology may also be partly to blame for the deteriorating state of communication today. Meg Clara, director of recruiting and human resources at Caiman Consulting, criticized the disruptiveness of electronic communication such as texts and emails in forming personal and professional relationships. By conducting conversations through devices, workers lose out on person-to-person interaction and the etiquette that goes with it.
As a society we are forgetting the importance of looking each other in the eye when we speak, and old-fashioned courtesy has all but become a thing of the past. This trend is resulting not just in more frequent occurrences of disrespect, yelling, underhandedness and abuse in the workplace, but also decreased productivity and higher turnover.
In January, Harvard Business Review reported that half of employees who encountered instances of incivility at work intentionally decreased their efforts. The article also showed more than a third of them decreased the quality of their work.
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To read the complete article, please click here.
To check out the resources at the Institute for Civility, please click here.
Mohini Kundu is an editorial intern at Talent Management magazine.
So, Apple had their newest big roll out yesterday. (Watch the WWDC keynote here). I am an Apple fan, but really only barely use my Apple devices (I have three; iMac, iPad, iPhone) to their capabilities. But I loaded the Macrumors live blog of the event, glanced at it frequently, and followed along. (And I kept looking for the announcement of the latest iMac, but, alas, it did not arrive. My son assures me it is coming soon).
From the moment that Siri started it off, to the multiple announcements, the faithful seemed more than satisfied with the latest good news. Here are two obvious lessons from yesterday’s event. And, yes, they are obvious. But the fact that they are obvious does not mean that other companies and organizations have figured out how to match Apple.
Lesson #1 – keep improving, keep tweaking, and keep innovating. Make your really great products and services even greater. Again and again. From the devices to the software to the operating systems, what is insanely great about Apple now is better than what was insanely great about Apple a year ago, and we all know that by this time next year it will be even greater and better and cooler and “must have” all over again. They give us great stuff now, and will keep on giving us greater stuff tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
I don’t even understand all of the ways they make it better. But I know it revolves around the entire package, the full constellation of offerings and capabilities – design, speed, (“faster, faster, faster, faster” – this was one of the mantras from yesterday) power, look, resolution, “retina display.” Apple just keeps making every part of Apple, everything that is Apple, and everything that works with Apple, better.
But most of us do not learn this lesson in our work. It took me way too many years to realize that while I talked about and spoke about constant improvement, I practiced very little of it. Here’s an example: for the first 13+ years of the First Friday Book Synopsis, my handouts for my synopses looked exactly the same: a plain, boring-looking, Word document, with no design appeal at all. Not too smart of me! I finally realized it was time (way past time) to make some changes on my handouts. We found a great designer to raise the look of our handouts to a new level. And I think they look terrific. And now, I have to figure out “so what’s next?” to keep getting better. And, all along, I have to ask “how can I do my work better?” It really is never ending.
Lesson #2 – Communicate very well to all of your intended audiences. Call it what you want: learn to market; learn to sell; learn to call attention to; learn to create anticipation. Though the current crop of Apple messengers cannot match the brilliance of Steve Jobs, (who could?!), they have clearly learned some major lessons from the master. And yesterday was a sold-out, live-blogged, extravaganza of a show. With videos and slides and demonstrations and team-presentations and multiple awe-inspiring moments for the faithful, Apple still seems to be at the top of their game.
You can read all you want about the need for better hard skills. And many who write about those hard skills tend to almost look down on the place of those soft skills.
That is a really big mistake!
Apple’s success revolves around these two realities; they make great products, and they sell them even better. Yes, this was part of the brilliance of Steve Jobs. But isn’t it interesting that no other company has come close to matching this aspect of Apple’s approach? Apple gets this – why don’t the rest of us?
Let me put it simply and bluntly – if you do not know how to communicate what you do, what you have to offer, clearly and compellingly, with excitement and great passion, then your great product just may go undiscovered by a whole lot of folks.
Lesson #1 – keep improving, keep tweaking, and keep innovating.
Lesson #2 – Communicate very well to all of your intended audiences.
How are you doing?