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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" Guy de Maupassant

Monday, October 8, 2007

This is my last post on this blog. Radio Userland has served me well since I started blogging in 2003. I will post more details on the transition, at my new blog - for now I just wanted to make this announcement, and provide the new url and feeds.

New Blog URL - http://dinamehta.com/
Subscribe via RSS 2.0 - http://dinamehta.com/feed/
Subscribe via Atom - http://dinamehta.com/feed/atom/
Comments feed - http://dinamehta.com/comments/feed/

The new blog will also be called Conversations with Dina - it's just a new blogging platform - but the same old blog! I do hope you continue reading and feeding it.

My old blog will be archived at its old url (http://radio.weblogs.com/0121664/) and I will keep the archives going. Stuart, who has worked out the platform for Conversations with Dina on Wordpress has done some neato hacks - one that I love a lot is that the search function will not just search the new blog archives, but also my old Radio blog archives. And he has managed to transfer some of my posts over too. That's so cool!!! Lots more needs doing there ... and that will emerge I'm sure.



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Friday, November 3, 2006

A picture named virtual dna.JPGNow gathering information from your customers gets more interesting than the usual boring survey formats!

A bit Western-centric in its options ... still, I had fun checking out MSN's Discover Your Visual DNA test ... which uses "technology from Imagini, a "web-based tool that captures the visual preferences of consumers". Discover Your Visual DNA is a personality test with a twistÖit shows how your choices compares with thousands of other people. There are some hidden gems of consumer insight in all of the sections (ex: my travel, my style, my lifestyle)." [Chris Portella at Three Minds]





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Thursday, October 12, 2006

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"A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed. It feels an impulsion...... this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons"........Richard Bach [quote found at Life 2.0 in a great post called Who Are You?] [Picture credit]



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Monday, June 12, 2006

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom". - AnaÔs Nin.

Found in a touching post on Evelyn's blog about her artist friend Ruby and her coming out party. I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with the soul food at her blog ... its been ages... thanks Evelyn!



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Monday, April 24, 2006

I've been really busy with work - so really no blogging. This morning had 30 minutes to catch up on some reading ... and this cool tool just jumped out at me [via Servant of Chaos] :

A picture named busydays3.jpg

Quick thoughts on this ... I wish there was a way to copy the whole word as an image ... I had to save each alphabet as a separate image and put them all together. Also, would be great if there was a scroll bar with all options for each letter.

Nice!



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Monday, March 13, 2006

Thought I'd share some great blog posts and papers I had bookmarked and finally got down to reading:
 
Rashmi Sinha has some really good essays on Tagging.  She has a whole category dedicated to this area, and I found the following posts particularly useful:
A cognitive analysis of tagging (or how the lower cognitive cost of tagging makes it popular)
A Social Analysis of Tagging (or how tagging transforms the solitary browsing experience into a social one)
- "Tagging: From Personal to Social" - a powerpoint presentation here.

Some good tips in An Adoption Strategy for Social Software in Enterprise by Suw Charman.  She suggests that its key to identify users "who would clearly benefit from the new software, helping them to understand how it could help, and progressing their usage so that they can realise those benefits". I still struggle with tryig to figure out how we can enable the lowering of perceived risks in using such technologies. 

Doc Searls introduces the concept of the Intention Economy turning on its head the Attention Economy conversation that focusses more on the 'seller'.  He says:

"The Intention Economy grows around buyers, not sellers. It leverages the simple fact that buyers are the first source of money, and that they come ready-made. You don't need advertising to make them.

The Intention Economy is about markets, not marketing. You don't need marketing to make Intention Markets.

The Intention Economy is built around truly open markets, not a collection of silos. In The Intention Economy, customers don't have to fly from silo to silo, like a bees from flower to flower, collecting deal info (and unavoidable hype) like so much pollen. In The Intention Economy, the buyer notifies the market of the intent to buy, and sellers compete for the buyer's purchase. Simple as that.

The Intention Economy is built around more than transactions. Conversations matter. So do relationships. So do reputation, authority and respect. Those virtues, however, are earned by sellers (as well as buyers) and not just "branded" by sellers on the minds of buyers like the symbols of ranchers burned on the hides of cattle.

The Intention Economy is about buyers finding sellers, not sellers finding (or "capturing") buyers.

In The Intention Economy, a car rental customer should be able to say to the car rental market, "I'll be skiing in Park City from March 20-25. I want to rent a 4-wheel drive SUV. I belong to Avis Wizard, Budget FastBreak and Hertz 1 Club. I don't want to pay up front for gas or get any insurance. What can any of you companies do for me?" ó and have the sellers compete for the buyer's business."

Reading this, and with my limited understanding of the Attention Economy, am wondering .... does one follow the other ... from Attention to Intention ... or Intention to Attention?

Tracking the Future of Telephony ... a great transcript of a very interesting by Norman Lewis director of research for France Telecom at eTel.  Really good stuff ... some snips:
"The fundamental point is voice and audio now just becomes another application on the Internet. And that is incredibly exciting, as far as I am concerned, because it is like time, it is now liberated, it is not a stand alone application anymore. It is embedded in everything we doÖTime has became intrinsic in everything. I think that is where voice is going in the future. I think that is truly revolution".

"... we have that possibility of taking that application [voice]Öand liberating it [voice] from that kind of stranglehold that I think telcos have had in the pastÖ and now we can begin to do things we have never done before. ÖIf you just look at the recent period with Ebay-Skype...voice is becoming something of an adjunct to other services and will open up new possibilities...I see this as a huge golden opportunity for immense innovation...What we [the telcos] are doing is re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic. That is essentially what a lot of us are doing in our companies. The innovation landscape has changedÖ"

"It can actually create a sweet spot for all of usÖfor me innovation is rarely about identifying problems our customers have got and trying to solve them. Real innovation is about social change. It is about adopting, it can be incremental, it can also be very disruptive. But if really had to begin with real social motivations, of why people are doing things. What kind of things that they really want to doÖ it is a social consequence that they [ìdigital childrenî] introduce technology into their lives in ways we do not quite fully understandÖ understanding customers [social] behaviour and motivationsÖthat is the coal face as far as I am concernedÖAre we going to develop Internet apps that really embed voice in everything we do, and fundamentally transform that whole experience. I think that is the question."

 
danah who is a really really smart researcher, ethnographer, media-ecologist, digi-culturist, sociologist, (she's looking for someone to bestow upon her an 'ist') explains Why Youth Heart MySpace.

Geeks in Toyland - a Wired article on how Lego managed to effectively convert their customers to their R&D labs and effectively re-wrote the innovation game! [link via Steve at All this chittah-chattah]
"Some Lego executives worried that the hackers might cannibalize the market for future Mindstorms accessories or confuse potential customers looking for authorized Lego products. After a few months of wait-and-see, Lego concluded that limiting creativity was contrary to its mission of encouraging exploration and ingenuity. Besides, the hackers were providing a valuable service. "We came to understand that this is a great way to make the product more exciting," Nipper says. "It's a totally different business paradigm - although they don't get paid for it, they enhance the experience you can have with the basic Mindstorms set." Rather than send out cease and desist letters, Lego decided to let the modders flourish; it even wrote a "right to hack" into the Mindstorms software license, giving hobbyists explicit permission to let their imaginations run wild.

Soon, dozens of Web sites were hosting third-party programs that helped Mindstorms users build robots that Lego had never dreamed of: soda machines, blackjack dealers, even toilet scrubbers. Hardware mavens designed sensors that were far more sophisticated than the touch and light sensors included in the factory kit. More than 40 Mindstorms guidebooks provided step-by-step strategies for tweaking performance out of the kit's 727 parts.

Lego's decision to tap this culture of innovation was a natural extension of its efforts over the past few years to connect customers to the company."

I tested VoiFi ...was disappointed with the basic sound quality.  Uninstalled.

Bookmarked ... and still to read/play with:

-
When The Long Tail Wags the Dog and The Long Tail of Popularity

- On quick glance, basic orientation by Paul Beleen in a whitepaper called Advertising 2.0 (pdf), on "what everybody in advertising, marketing and media should know about the technologies that are reshaping their business"  Printed, to be read in detail on my flight to Delhi later this week.

- Veer, who has an excellent blog that I recently discovered on the Indian mobile revolution, has launched MyToday, a public RSS aggregator, with Rajesh Jain.  Haven't yet played with it ... will soon!  I like that it has a mobile phone edition too.

- A collection of articles on Creative Thinking [link via Chuck Frey's Innovation Weblog]


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Sunday, January 15, 2006

I finally got around to doing some housekeeping on my blog. Have edited the categories and links - am hoping they will render alright. The nice thing is each of them acts as a separate blog - so readers can subscribe separately to specific categories that interest you!

Here they are - links and RSS feeds :

Weblog Home : (all categories) subscribe


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Saturday, October 15, 2005


Testing ... i think my blog is back :).

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Thursday, January 27, 2005

AlgoMantra 2005

Here's a neat phenomenon being planned along the lines of Smart Mobs !  

"What is AlgoMantra 2005?

AlgoMantra is an open source festival. This means that you can download the document which tells you how to hold it in your neighbourhood or city or country, anywhere in the world. Without spending any money, or needing any sponsors, you can hold this festival with your own flavor.

What happens in this festival?
On a Friday night at 7PM (date to be announced) all the participants of the festival, anywhere on the globe, take a vow of silence for 58 hours, that is till Sunday night 9PM. During these 58 hours, they play three games.
...
 
What kind of games?
Collaborative games/experiments that will demonstrate the phenomenon of crowd intelligence. You will not need any computers or hardware to play these games, all you will need is people - your friends and family, your society.

Interesting. Tell me about it.
On Friday night, we will play
Organic Poetry, which will show you that while no one in the participating group (two or more people) may be a good poet, the group as a whole can be better than Browning.

And on Saturday?
We will conduct a strange kind of walk called AlgoYatra, around your city. We will have a lot of fun, and also generate valuable scientific data in the process. The basic idea is to walk around the city by following a simple algorithm, something like:
{ take first left
take second right
take first left }
REPEAT

You will be able to experience your city in ways you may never have imagined, we promise that much. Matti Pohjonen, one of the founders of AlgoMantra is preparing a document for your use. It will be posted here soon. The original idea is the .walk concept as practiced by
Wilfried Hou Je Bek.

Tell me about the third event
The third event is a game called AlgoKreeda. The document for playing that will shortly follow.
"

Check out more at the AlgoMantra Blog


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Thursday, December 2, 2004

Creative Thinking Card Sets

Two creative thinking card tools came my way through my news aggregator.  Fun.  Sample cards are available for viewing in pdf format in the first, and a good set of questions to help you explore and find creative solutions in the second.

A picture named metamemes_logo.jpgMetaMemes - a new creative thinking card deck [via Innovation Weblog] :

"This card deck consists of 214 cards with Ideas (concepts and inventions), Objects (things you can pick up and juggle), and Words (words, plus things that are harder to juggle, like Diplomacy and Gardening). Players take Idea, Word, and Object cards from the deck and combine them to produce new ideas. A meme is an idea or piece of information that is compelling enough for people to share with others they know, in effect passing from mind to mind almost like a virus"

They have a blog too that focusses on "creativity, innovation, technology and games. MetaMemes is aimed at early adopters, and this blog will focus on anything deemed cool, fun or creative"

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Free the Genie Games: [via Dave Pollard via Nancy White]

"Free the Genie is a deck of 55 creative thinking cards that help aspiring innovators get unstuck, out of the box, and achieve extraordinary results. There are an infinite amount of ways to use this brainstorming tool, but since you're obviously late for something, here are four simple ways to get started."

 

 

Put on your Thinking Hats ... or just go enjoy :)

 

 



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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Creating mood boards - blogs as playground (3)

A picture named kurti.jpgHere's another in my mood board series :

What is this picture saying to you?

What senses does it evoke in you ?

What sounds, images and smells come to mind ?

What or how does it make you feel ?

 

 

 

 



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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Pen - self expression & creative potential

Lilia talks about 'Weblog as a pen' : 

A piece I guess I have to cut out from a paper I'm trying to finish:

Weblogs serve many purposes. Like a pen could be used to write a diary, a novel, a letter to a friend, or just a shopping list pinned to a fridge door, weblogging tools can be used in a variety of ways. For instance, they can provide a venue for self-expression, serve as a community space or be used to publish formal corporate news.

That was my reaction on the whole "weblog as a genre" discussion. Do you study "pen as a genre"?

A little off the point but i enjoyed this piece 'penned' on his blog by a heartbroken friend - where he uses the fountain pen as a symbol of the creative potential of all relationship, and a reminder that it requires fresh refill for renewal.  An excerpt :

"What would happen if a pen were to loose its creative potential?
Is a pen capable of loosing its creative potential?
For a pen is but a tool...an extension of the writer, a means to creation.
But what if the pen had its own ability to express...Its own stories to create and tell?
After all each pen affects our handwriting. It adds its own characteristics to it. The manner in which it moves over the paper...the friction it creates...the flow of its ink.
The pen might flow like an ebullient stream...gushing through the pages, or it might be like a recalcitrant child...kicking and screaming its way across the lines. It might turn on the nib in a languid pose, indolent, as it speeds across...or it might take its time, in slow contemplation...mulling over each word...or laboring in the exquisite finish of each letter.
All come together to form the handwriting...along with the writer of course!
A personís handwriting will have its own consistency, yet each writing will carry the distinctiveness of the pen with which itís written.
However, what if it wasnít just an influence on our writing that the pen exerted, but also prompted stories within us to be written?"

This made me think of the pen as a metaphor (BTW - don't miss Dave Pollard's cautionary post on the use of metaphors).  Here's an excerpt from one of the few pieces i found on it :

"The pen also functions as a metaphor for self-expression. Not every written document is as momentous as a Magna Carta. People record their lives; they keep journals and write letters, invitations, notes; they "pen their memoirs." The ver to pen, meaning to record, to commit to paper, emerged from the noun pen, signifying a writing instrument, in the Middle English language. Again, the metaphorical meaning is linked to what the pen does rather than what it is.

When viewed in this light, the pen is so much more than its materials, its size, shape and color. The pen has become an icon signifying writing and language. For a journalist, the subject of pens offers seemingly limitless opportunity. The subject has breadth (many makers, many innovations, a long history), but it also had depth (its status as metaphor, its importance throughout history, its importance to literature, science, art, civilization)"

I wonder whether this genre will be wiped out for Generation Y - how many have felt the joy of ink flowing from the tip of a fountain pen ?



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Thursday, January 15, 2004

Innovation Weblog

One of my favourite weblogs on creativity and innovation - Innovation Weblog - now has an RSS Feed here.  Way to go Chuck !



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Sunday, September 14, 2003

River Person or Goal Person

Chuck Frey of InnovationTools sent me this little piece he has written for the InnovationNetwork "Wake Up Brain" e-newsletter, with permission to share it.

River People vs. Goal People

The late self-help expert, Earl Nightingale, once explained that there are two types of people: river people and goal people. Both types of people can experience personal fulfillment and success in life, although in different ways.

Goal People

Most of us are undoubtedly familiar with goal people. They are the individuals who write down their objectives and  timetables for reaching them, and then focus on attaining them, one by one.  By laying out a roadmap of future achievements in front of them, goal people give their creative minds a clear set of stimuli to work on. Their subconscious minds can then get to work incubating ideas and insights that will help them to reach their goals.

River People

River people, on the other hand, don't like to follow such a structured route to success. They are called river people because they are happiest and most fulfilled when they are wading in a rich "river" of interest -- a subject or profession about which they are very passionate. While they may not have a concrete plan with measurable goals, river people are often successful because they are so passionate about their area of interest.

River people are explorers, continually seeking out learning opportunities and new experiences. For river people, joy comes from the journey, not from reaching the destination -- exactly the opposite of goal people.

Recognizing both qualities in yourself -- Most people are a combination of these two personality types. I know I am. In my full-time job, I am expected to be goal oriented. I have specific personal and departmental objectives for which I'm responsible. At the same time, however, I get the most "juice" out of being an explorer, learning new skills, collecting information and writing about innovation and technology.

The important point is to recognize and nurture both aspects of your personality. Joyce Wycoff, in her new book, "A Year of Waking Up," tells a story that illustrates this in a memorable way. When she reached the age of 50, she felt curiously unfulfilled. At the same time, a little, persistent voice inside her was urging her on to explore new activities and experiences. She answered that call, taking art classes, keeping a personal journal, writing poetry and pursuing other artistic endeavors. It has been a marvelous, exciting, enlightening journey ever since.

"This journey has made me wonder anew how much there is to ourselves that remains undiscovered," she reflects. "Are we like a fractal (image) that, as we zoom in, reveals ever more patterns, each wonderful and beautiful?"

Indeed, there is so much to explore and so much to know that we ought to make time in our lives for both our goal and river personas. Both bring richness and fullness to our lives, like yin and yang sides of our personality.

If you're predominantly a goal person, why not slow down and smell the roses, as our friend Joyce Wycoff did? Take an art class, just for the fun of it. Try reading different magazines. Talk to different people, or go to different seminars or classes outside of your core competencies.

If you're predominantly a river person, you may want to try brainstorming a handful of goals for yourself, to give yourself a bit more focus and direction. For example, you may want to jot down lists of books you'd like to read, knowledge or skills you'd like to acquire or places you'd like to visit.

Finally, be on the lookout for new experiences and learning opportunities on a daily basis. You never know when they're going to appear -- the key is to recognize them when they do!

Nice thought for the weekend - thanks Chuck.  I've always thought of myself as more of a goal person - and only in the last 6-8 months have i allowed the river person in me emerge - and i am just learning to swim upstream - and so so enjoying the journey. 

Yet often there is chaos and conflict - as the goal persona in me tries to stifle and frustrate the emerging river persona in me - at the same time my river persona almost disrupts the logic and rational reasoning of my goal persona.  I guess the trick is learning to balance the polarities - as with yin and yang. 

I had put down some of my conflicts in this post a while ago, in the context of an emerging river persona that i'm getting addicted to.  

So which is you ? River person or goal person ?  A tip - try The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron if you want to prod your river persona to emerge !

Update : Chuck just tells me that the full version of the article is here.



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Friday, September 5, 2003

Creating a climate for creativity and innovation

Another questionnaire, this time to help assess the creative climate of your organisation [via Fast Company Now]. Nine dimensions  have been identified that fall into these three groups :

Resources :  1. Idea Time    2. Idea Support    3. Challenge and Involvement

Personal Motivation :  1. Trust and Openness     2. Playfulness and Humor    3. Absence of Interpersonal Conflicts

Exploration :  1. Risk-Taking    2. Debates About the Issues    3. Freedom

Charles Prather shares some observations from his nine-point program in the article :

In our work with organizations brave enough to measure their climate for innovation, we have found striking similarities.  The dimensions in greatest need for improvement were
(1) Risk-Taking
(2) Idea Time
(3) Idea Support, and
 (4) Trust and Openness

and

"In our work with clients we consistently find that the view of the environment is directly related to the organizational level of the rater. That is, the higher up the organization, the better the environment appears to be.  It is a little like flying over New York City at 30,000 ft.  From that height it looks just fine, but at street level you begin to notice the problems, and it is at the street level that work gets done.  As you think about how to improve your climate for innovation, be sure improve the foundation, beginning at the street level."

I remember when i worked with an organisation for 10 years this was always the result of employee surveys, regardless of nature of survey - employee satisfaction, innovation or creativity climates, business-savvy and entrepreneurship inventories - the view from the top was always so rosy.

Especially when the attitude reflected by top management was 'need-based information'.  And this lack of openness and trust i believe are key stiflers of creativity and innovation.

And what i found toughest and most stifling was being somewhere at mid-level, trying to balance the rarified air of the top brass with the 'stench' from the masses. Like the time one of the girls working under me was denied a promotion, despite A+ reviews, and the 'excuse' at the time given to me was i didnot shout loud enough, despite verbal and written recommendations.  #!?@*#*#!???.  The girl was shattered, i was shattered, and the organisation was 'oh its not our fault - but never mind, there's always next year'.



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Monday, August 11, 2003

Conversations on creativity

The conversation on creativity tools continues at Paul Goodison's blog.  An excerpt : 

Conclusion
Have fun! Be a child! Play lots.

All these are tools, processes, catalysts to get to a certain point or output. Use tools as a starting point or a block remover but always consider the points above. Context will give you better chance of success, and enjoyment will improve your hit rate.

Any of that makes sense?



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Thursday, August 7, 2003

Creativity Tools

 

Ever been stumped with a difficult problem and looking for just the right tool or techique to break the impasse? Here's handy online catalog of creativity and systematic thinking tools with short, concise descriptions and helpful examples.

Creativity Techniques -- At a New Address. A while ago I posted a link to a comprehensive compendium of creativity tools and techniques. The original collector had abandoned it for some philosophical reason, but fortunately, the folks at mycoted (Creativity & Innovation in Science & Technology) have taken in the orphan, and sited it here. If you revisit the list, wander around the parent site a bit. They've got a equally interesting collection of puzzles there as well. [Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Blog]

[b.cognosco]

Its a tremendous resource.  Another favourite is Chuck Frey's InnovationTools.  Don't skip the quotes section and the weblog there.  Clearly a labour of love.



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How Breakthroughs Happen

Renee Hopkins reports on a new book - Andrew Hargadon's How Breakthroughs Happen.  This excerpt - Best Practices of Technology Brokers - at HBS Working Knowledge is interesting and lists four successful work practices employed by technology brokers designing new products. The 4 work practices in brief :

Capturing good ideas
The first step is to bring in promising ideas. Because technology brokers span multiple markets, industries, and geographic locations, they keep seeing proven technologies, products, business practices, and business models. Brokers recognize that these old ideas are their main source of raw material for new ideas, even when they are not sure how an old idea might help in the future. When brokers come across a promising idea, they don't just file it away. They play with it in their mindsóand when possible with their handsóto figure out how and why it works, to learn what is good and bad about it, and to start spinning fantasies about new ways to use it.

Keeping ideas alive
The second step, keeping ideas alive, is crucial because ideas can't be used if they are forgotten. Cognitive psychologists have shown that the biggest hurdle to solving problems often isn't ignorance, it's that people can't put their fingers on the necessary information at the right time even if they've already learned it. Organizational memories are even tougher to maintain. Companies lose what they learn when people leave. Geographic distance, political squabbles, internal competition, and bad incentive systems may hinder the spread of ideas.

Imagining new uses for old ideas
The third set of work practices occurs when people recognize new uses for the ideas they've captured and kept alive. Often those applications are blindingly simple. When Edison's inventors were developing the lightbulb, bulbs kept falling out of their fixtures. One day, a technician wondered whether the threaded cap that could be screwed down so tightly on a kerosene bottle would hold lightbulbs in their sockets. They tried it, it worked, and the design hasn't changed since. Old ideas can become powerful solutions to new problems if brokers are skilled at seeing such analogies.

Putting promising concepts to the test
A good idea for a new product or business practice isn't worth much by itself. It needs to be turned into something that can be tested and, if successful, integrated into the rest of what a company does, makes, or sells. Quickly turning an imaginative idea into a real service, product, process, or business model is the final step in the brokering cycle. Real means concrete enough to be tested; quickly means early enough in the process that mistakes can be caught and improvements made. "The real measure of success," Edison said, "is the number of experiments that can be crowded into 24 hours.

Must pick up the book - it draws from experiences of design firms like IDEO - am a big fan of their website. I'm sure the anecdotes, experiences and stories is where the real value's at. 



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Friday, July 11, 2003

Creativity, Ideas, Innovation

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."

- T.S. Eliot

Since i'm on a linking roll - here come some interesting reads on Creativity, Ideas and Innovation.

1.  Ubiquity: Why New Ideas are Both Disruptive and Necessary. Ubiquity: Why New Ideas are Both Disruptive and Necessary " Most people in organizations -- including the executive -- just want to maintain an equilibrium. They'd like to just keep going along doing tomorrow what they did yesterday. But then these Idea Practitioners come in and they disturb the equilibrium. I mean, if someone's telling you about a new idea... [elearningpost]

The concept feels just right - and i like the thought of Idea Practitioners - as opposed to 'consultants' - in nomenclature, role definitions and positioning. 

2. Again link via elearningpost - 'Happy Tales : The CEO as Storyteller - If you want to motivate your employees, tell them a story, but not just any story. A Harvard Business Review conversation with screenwriting coach Robert McKee.'

It talks about uniting an idea with an emotion and essentially, a story expresses how and why life changes - makes me think that we need some stories to show how corporate blogging can change lives in organisations !

3. The newest HBS Strategy & Innovation newsletter is out (at least in electronic form). [via Ideaflow].  Some cool articles in the trial version.

4. Here's a report on a study that says marriage tames creative genius and criminal tendencies - "CREATIVE genius and crime express themselves early in men but both are turned off almost like a tap if a man gets married and has children, a study says. Satoshi Kanazawa, a psychologist at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, compiled a database of the biographies of 280 great scientists, noting their age at the time when they made their greatest work. The data remarkably concur with the brutal observation made by Albert Einstein, who wrote in 1942: "A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of 30 will never do so....."  Do i detect a germ of truth here ?



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Thursday, May 22, 2003

Business Unorthodox:Creativity and the Bottom Line

Business Unorthodox - An interesting white paper (via Innovation Weblog)

While perusing the PureContent Weblog today (motto: "Look at more stuff. Think about it harder."), I came across a link to this interesting white paper: "Business Unorthodox: Creativity and the Bottom Line" It explores why now is the time to take action on transforming your corporate culture to embrace continuous innovation and creativity. It also lays out a thought-provoking list of strategies for organizational creativity that I think you may find very interesting. Nice work!

I second that ! Its got some really useful list of strategies - whats interesting about them is that they're quite 'do-able'.

I followed the link to the Pure Content Weblog too ... and found some terrific stuff and many links on creativity and innovation. Here's one example - with an excerpt from the article :

For many marketers, color has become a key to brand identity

By joan voight

"Most brand consultants agree that color can be a powerful tooló"the dress of the brand," as Cheryl Swanson, principal of brand consultancy Toniq, puts it. "It communicates viscerally and can get to the essence of a brand story," she says, noting that people tend to remember colors and shapes first, then numbers and words. "You can achieve a lot with the clever use of color, stirring strong emotions."

Color also can instantly differentiate commodities when there are no significant differences between the productsóCoke has marked itself as the red brand and Pepsi as the blue in the cola wars. A loud color can be used to dominate over other brands, or it can be a high-contrast attention-grabber, such as Citibank's red arc on a white background.

Color can also add a layer of meaning to the brand itself. The blue used in ads for American Express' Blue smart credit card, for example, communicates status, technical innovation and ease of use, according to Gary Stilovich, Interbrand associate creative director. "

 

 



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Saturday, May 10, 2003

Creativity - what we play is life

How many times i've heard this said at meetings - "lets follow the tried and tested path ... the stakes for experimentation are too high"

How many times i've heard a parent tell her child - "do this because its been done this way since generations ... and none of us is the worse for it"

How many times i've heard a teenager pat his pal's back and say "c'mon now stop daydreaming .... you'll never get good grades that way"

How many times i've heard unhappy employees say "how do i remain creative in this competitive and hostile environment" ... or "how can i handle all this pressure of an impossible workload"

How many times do we bury our dreams by saying "dreams don't matter ... they're only dreams ... you should be more sensible"

How many times have we come across a person who still has that ability to sense, rather than see the world - and once or twice in all our lifetimes we actually do, if we let ourselves recognise them -how often have we marginalised people like that - or treated them for some obscure mental illness - or find ourselves telling them they have no grounding in reality ?

We aren't creative :

  • because we are so caught up in the routine of daily life
  • because creativity is seen as the antithesis to tradition and practicality
  • because creativity requires you to temporarily abandon logic
  • because the creative process requires time that we perceive we donot have
  • because we aren't taught to be
  • because we fear we cannot be

Or simply because we fear. 

When was the last time you were creative ? Yesterday, a week ago, last month, a year ago? 

I recently read the 'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron.  It's a book involving a 12 week program ... i quote here from the back cover ... "For writers, Poets, Actors, Painters, Musicians - and Creative People in all walks of life. ... with the basic principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Julia Cameron leads you through a comprehensive 12 week programme to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions andother inhibiting forces replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity"

Its approach is through linking creativity to spirituality (she refers to the higher power).  Now i'm not a great believer in 'God' in the conventional sense really, so i was initially a bit put off by her references to God, yet as i read it deeper i realised that one could interpret that 'god' in any way one wants.

I've been doing the program and it is tough - it takes committment and time, and can be a real pain.  I found it was better when i did it along with a friend ... we keep each other on track, though we're still stuck at six weeks !

What i've found particularly useful are two basic tools - morning pages and artist's dates. Morning pages can be sometimes irritating, at other times painful - you are expected to write about anything you wish everyday.  Writing is merely a tool - its not meant to be an art - so no editing - just a spontaneous flow of thoughts and feelings.  The artist's dates are much more fun - a block of time, say an hour a week - where you take the creative child in you for a date - just you and your inner artist - no lovers, no spouses, no kids, no friends, no taggers-on at all.  It could be anything -spending a morning at your favourite bookstore or junkstore, getting yourself pampered at the parlour, going for a movie, a walk through an unknown suburb ... 

The book has helped me get over some of my fears and blocks, and a few of those masks society forces you to wear.  It has also reminded me to "smell the roses" ...

Cameron has also co-authored a book called The Artist's Way at Work ... with Mark Bryan and Catherine Allen, my take on that one is that its more useful for 'employees'.  Some useful learnings there for workshops and facilitation sessions among executives. 

I love this little comment by Louis Armstrong that so neatly sums it up 

 .... "what we play is life" .....



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Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Why do i Blog - 2

 

 

"The blank page gives us the right to dream." -- Gaston Bachelard



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