Archives For Creativity / Innovation
Good morning! The flowers are blooming here, but it is still raining up here in the Midwest. Everything is pretty soaked, but as you can tell from this picture my daughter took that the ducks are having fun!
Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all the communication and information that is coming your way? First there is your computer with your multiple email accounts, your myriad of websites that you “need” to check, of course Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and so on. Then there is your smartphone that keeps you connected though texts, email, Facetime, and the occasional call. It sometimes seems we start our day by turning on our computer or checking our smartphone and then we spend the rest of the day just trying to manage the flood of information coming into our lives and end the day more tired than if we had been digging ditches all day.
The one thing we are missing in our day is one of the most important things we need to be doing – thinking. Most of us are called knowledge workers these days, but sometimes it feels more like we are simply information processors. We need to be spending more time actually thinking. One of the ways you can do this is to disconnect from all your tech gear and simply take a walk. Leave your smartphone at your desk and take a walk and think. Try to do this in the morning when your mind is fresh and creative.
You will be amazed at how your creativity increases and the insights you will have when you simply disconnect from the firehose of information and take the time to simply think. Try it today and see what happens.
Go take a walk.
Peace and grace to you today,
Good morning – looks like it is going to be a beautiful day here in northeast Indiana. Finally looking like spring.
I have been enjoying a good book called Creative Intelligence by Bruce Nussbaum. One thing that has struck me so far is his discussion on framing and reframing. Essentially framing is how we look at things – our lives for instance. We all have a set of lenses through which we interpret the world and many times those lenses are “out of focus”.
His key point is that we have the power to change those lenses. We have the ability to “reframe” ourselves and to see ourselves behaving in alternative ways. reframing is about breaking your routine. He goes on to talk about how our frames of engagement are shifting from passive to active, transactional to relational, and impersonal to very personal. You can change the way you see the world, how you connect with people and how you think about the future.So often we are so used to looking at the world in a certain way that we become blind to the possibility of something we can’t even imagine yet.
He has some questions he recommends you ask to help you in reframing so that you can see new opportunities:
What’s really going on?
How did we get here?
Why are things the way they are?
What if things were different?
Some good questions to help you to start thinking differently about your situation and your life and to start seeing new possibilities.
Hope your week gets off to a great start today!
As you are probably acutely aware, we live in the information age. In fact we are inundated with information from so many sources. And some of you are probably like me – an information hound. I love to learn and I am often seeking more information on a variety of subjects.
The problem is that while we have what seems like unlimited information, we appear to have a shortage of something even more important – wisdom. In Proverbs 16:16 it says “How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.” So, in Scripture, wisdom and understanding are more precious than gold and silver! That sounds very valuable. Yet, it seems that we are so often lacking in wisdom and understanding. Why do you think that is?
Are we too busy? Do we not stop to think and ponder on what we are learning? Do we ever take time to reflect on the great questions of our time? Do we stop to evaluate the quality of the information we are taking in? Are we evaluating that information using a biblical worldview as a grid?
We really don’t need more information. We need wisdom and we need understanding. Become a seeker of wisdom. Become a person who seeks first to understand before being understood. Seek the company of wise people (remember, just being smart does not equal being wise). Become a person of wisdom so that you can become a wise counselor to others.
Are you seeking the right thing?
Good morning to you! I hope your week is getting off to a great start, it looks like mine will be pretty full.
Most of us are busy, very busy in fact. Because of that and because of a lack of intentionality, our circles of influence may sometimes be smaller than we might imagine. Also, they may not be very diverse, so we spend most of our time with people very much like us. The result can be a narrowing of our thinking and a lack of creative input into our lives. So, to counter this I am suggesting you drink some coffee!
What I really am suggesting is that you set up your budget so that you can take someone different out for a cup of coffee each week for a year. Pick interesting people from a wide range of backgrounds from whom you can learn. People that will challenge your thinking and your preconceived notions. People from walks of life very different from your own.
Take them out for a cup of coffee, ask good questions and then listen. You will be amazed at what you learn and the friendships that you start. The hard part will be getting outside of your normal circles, but to make this really interesting, you will need to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone.
Stretch yourself, grow, and by the way – you will impact them as well.
So go enjoy a cup of coffee with someone new this week. You will be blessed.
Good morning. I know the calendar says it is spring, but with all this snow outside right now, it sure doesn’t feel like it! But warner days are just around the corner and I am looking forward to seeing some flowers.
Mr. Cashman begins by drawing a parallel in that pausing is to leadership and innovation what sleep si to the mind and body – essential. Read this quote: “Bob Johansen, 10-year forecaster and author of Get There Early, has characterized the speed- and action-oriented, fast-changing, demanding world we lead in today as a ’VUCA world: Volatile; Unpredictable; Complex; Ambiguous.’ Our addiction to action, our busy-ness, our preoccupation with incessant distractions and pursuit of the ubiquitous ‘more’ in our 24/7, constantly connected, globally caffeinated culture conspire to diminish rather than strengthen our leadership capacities. We challenge ourselves to keep up and even hasten the grueling pace, and, frankly, we rationalize that it comes with the territory. Paradoxically, the job of leaders is to bring clarity to all of this chaos.”
Leaders are to bring clarity and hop in the midst of this “VUCA” world. How are we to do so if we are caught up in the swirl? We have to pause and step back and gain a fresh perspective that transcends the immediate swirl of activity. We have to pause.
Mr. Cashman lists seven “Pause” practices that are important:
1. Be On-Purpose
2. Question and Listen
3. Risk Experimentation
4. Reflect and Synthesize
5. Consider Inside-Out and Outside-In Dynamics
6. Foster Generativity
7. Be Authentic
On his blog, Mr. Cashman makes the statement, “. . . fast thinking is the domain of management transaction, while slow thinking is the leadership domain of strategic, innovative transformation.” If you are a leader caught up in the frenetic pace of life and it seems you don’t even have the time to think, it’s time to hit the pause button, step back and spend some time reflecting. If not, you might not like where you end up.
Hope you have a great week!
Creativity is something that fascinates me – as a “left-brain” thinker, the “right-brain” folks intrigue me and I desire to better tap into my creative side. My youngest daughter is an artist and the way she looks at the world is wonderful.
1. Investigation – this is where you gather and analyze qualitative and quantitative data. This step usually leads to what he calls the destiny statement for the project.
2. Incubation – this is the longest stage. This is where they “allow our minds to go out and play.”. This is the brainstorming stage – both independently and collectively. This is the time you are searching for the one elusive insight or idea that will provide clarity. This is the “daydreaming” phase. Usually they come out of this phase with hundreds of ideas.
3. Illumination – He makes the statement that ideas don’t appear, they evolve. This is the stage where the editing of the ideas from the Incubation Phase takes place. This is where they are attempting to illuminate the one Big Idea.
4. Illustration – In this phase, you are visually portraying and personifying the Big Idea.
Looks like an interesting framework for ideation.
How does your organization set up the creative process?
Blessings on your week!
Good Monday morning to you! Hope you had a great weekend.
Do you ever had that nagging feeling that there is some aspect of an issue that you have not addressed? Or maybe in one of your meetings everyone seems to be saying the same thing? Or maybe the strongest personality in the room is overly pessimistic or optimistic so everyone else adopts the same approach? Regardless, you know that you are missing something.
Well there is a way of parallel thinking that will help you and your team fully think about and discuss issues. It is called The Six Thinking Hats. In this approach you learn how to separate thinking into six distinct functions and roles that help you to have a more robust analysis of the issue.
First is the White Hat – this aspect just deals with the information that you have or need. Just the facts.
The Green Hat deals with all the possibilities, alternatives, new concepts, and so on.
The Yellow Hat is when you explore the positives and look for value and benefit.
The Black Hat is where you look for the difficulties and dangers and explore why something might not work.
The Red Hat deals with emotions, hunches, and intuition. Here is where yo express your fears as well as hopes.
The Blue Hat is the managing of the thinking process ensuring that all of the “hats” are used in the process.
So, if you want a more robust examination of an issue, try wearing the Thinking Hats.
Have a blessed week serving our Lord!
Online addiction? Really? Yes – it seems that we really do often develop an addiction to being online. Constantly searching, constantly “clicking” – for what?
Tony Schwartz has a good article on online addiction and some steps you can take to battle that tendency. Click here to read the full article. The more time we spend online, the less productive and creative that we are which diminishes our lives.
Tony suggests the following:
1. Lead yourself not into temptation. Instead, consciously choose times to turn off your technology entirely.
2. Carry a notebook with you throughout your workday. Download any ideas that come to you as quickly as possible —
3. Between meetings and obligations, take some time to breathe deeply — You’ll feel calmer, and you’ll be better able to focus.
4. Take a 15- to 20-minute nap between 1 and 4 p.m. — especially on days when you’ve not gotten sufficient sleep and you find yourself dragging.
5. Designate and put in your calendar specific times each week to think reflectively, creatively, and/or strategically.
Some good suggestions. My question for you – Is technology a tool or is it your master?