Art of Innovation

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m taking a few minutes to reflect, to think about conversations I’ve been part of over the last few weeks. Several of these were very good conversations with my co-collaborators on Art of Innovation, Doug Shaw and Phil Dodson.

Listening
One of the things I realized upon reflection was, “how can I expect anyone else to listen to me if I don’t listen to myself?” I don’t mean the words that come out of my mouth, or even the words that I type in numerous emails, instant messages, etc. I mean the words that I say to myself, inside my head. The words that no one hears. If I am not willing to listen to the voice that says, “don’t do that”  or “do this,” how can I expect anyone to listen when I tell them something that I feel is important, and needs to be paid attention to?

Certainly this lack of listening impacts me on both a personal and a professional basis. It affects how I interact with people whether the people are friends, colleagues, or somewhere in between.

Personal and Professional
And that is the “thing” about the workshops that Doug and Phil and I are doing. They aren’t just personal; they aren’t just professional; they are both. We are human beings, we are multifaceted, and complicated. We don’t fit into a box. We aren’t just personal, we aren’t just professional.

Workshops
The workshops that we did in London in June 2017, and that we’re doing in Berlin in July 2017, look at both the personal and the professional.

How does the creativity work we’re doing impact us personally?

How does it impact us in a professional/organizational context.

What does it mean when a whole organization starts doing this work–being creative, reflecting, taking back some space to really do things differently.

What impact does that have on the organization as a whole? They are more productive, employee morale/engagement increases, employee turnover decreases, customers are more satisfied, product quality improves.

Change
Like all things, the only way things change is if we change ourselves. We can’t change other people, they have to change themselves. We can help, we can present our experiences, our research from scientific studies, but in the end, if the person isn’t ready to accept that information, regardless of it’s veracity, no change will take place.

People = Organizations
Our organizations are made up of people, so the only way our organizations change is if we start treating our people better, giving them the space they need to do the job they were hired to do, stop focusing on short-term measures. Short-term gain for long-term pain, is not the way to be successful either personally or professionally. It all catches up with you sooner or later.

Conclusion
So where does that leave us? It’s important to reflect, to listen to ourselves and to others, it’s important to treat people as a whole, not a part, it’s important to give people space to be creative, to learn, to do the good job that they want to do. That is how we make progress personally and professionally.

And if you want to learn more, come to our workshop in Berlin on July 4-5, 2017.

And if you haven’t seen this video, you might be interested in taking a look, definitely some thoughts about doing things differently.

Workshops

Innovation and creativity, powerful skills we need for differentiation purposes in business, and to which we are attracted as humans. Sadly, too often we let self criticism and anxiety hold us back from being creative.

What can you do about it?

Come to one of our workshops in London (June 8)  or in Berlin on July 4-5. In London we are doing a 1-day session on June 8th, and if you sign-up early you will get a ticket for an evening event that day. In Berlin we’ve decided to delve a little more deeply into the ideas and experiences that are possible in this domain, so the workshop is 2-days, with an evening event on the first day.

Isn’t it time to do things differently?

Good question

I had a colleague thank me for asking some questions recently. The questions were in response to comments/concerns he had about a project we are working on together.

He had imagined one set of outcomes based on a current set of circumstances—we’re in the middle of the initiative and he was concerned that it wasn’t going to end well or at least not the way we would like it to.

All I did was ask the question: what if that’s not true and challenge some of his assumptions. I then said what if it is true, what should we do differently and/or in addition to what we are already doing?

I don’t think these are hard questions to think of, at least they weren’t for me, but they totally changed his thinking and how he was feeling about the project.

We came up with a Plan B, which we can execute with very little notice, as well as some adjustments to our current strategy.

Instead of wallowing in worry, self-pity, shame, and whatever other negative emotions you can think of, we put them to use and developed a plan to keep us moving forward.

Where did I learn to ask these kinds of questions? By doing work like we’re going to do in our workshops in London and Berlin.

Come and learn how you can constructively more forward instead of wallowing and worrying.