Connecting the Dots

Monday, 24 November 2008 14:10 by kpotvin

"Symphony," says Daniel Pink, business writer and former chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore, "is the ability to see the big picture, connect the dots, combine disparate things into something new.  It's a signature ability that is a great predictor of star performance in the workplace."  That is a concept related to creativity that I talk about a lot but have failed to articulate as succinctly as this.  Thank you, Daniel, for saying it so well.  This quote came from his interview with Oprah in the Dec. 2008 issue of "O, The Oprah Magazine."  Pink wrote, A Whole New Mind, which says right-brain thinkers (i.e., creative, artistic, empathetic) now have the advantage over left-brain thinkers (i.e., logical, linear, by-the-numbers) whose talents can easily be outsourced.  I haven't read his book yet but it's now on the list.

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Lessons from the Football Field

Tuesday, 18 November 2008 11:27 by kpotvin

Peter Cancro

Business lessons can come from anywhere - even the football field.  In this interview with Dina Berta of Nation's Restaurant News, Peter Cancro, founder and CEO, Jersey Mike's Subs (a client), talks about the connection between sports and leadership.  According to Peter, some of the most important lessons revolve around the philosophy of acting as a team yet celebrating individual victories, mentoring and coaching, and giving back and supporting each other. 

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A Good Reason to Celebrate Boredom

Sunday, 9 November 2008 07:43 by kpotvin

An article in the October 2008 issue of Body + Soul magazine by Janice O'Leary talks about the importance of boredom.  We especially liked the view that doing nothing can inspire creativity. "Creativity is one of the sweet fruits of boredom," says Richard Winter, M.D., author of Still Bored in a Culture of Entertainment. "If you don't give yourself time to reflect, you don't come up with inspired ideas."  Time and time again we have found that fresh ideas appear when we aren't actively pursuing them.  The best approach:  Load your brain with all the information you need to innovate and let it seep while you focus on other things...or nothing at all.  An idea always seems to come.  As Ms. O'Leary says, "By keeping the mental slate clean, you actually allow your mind to be fresher, more loose."  And that, she says, often allows you to find new solutions to old problems.  Give it a try.

 

 

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Categories:   Creativity | Inspiration
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The Power of A Grassroots Movement

Wednesday, 5 November 2008 07:46 by kpotvin

 http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/gregwu/gGgLQf

Regardless of how you feel about the election results, one thing is clear:  The power of a grassroots movement is undeniable.

The 2008 Presidential election captured the hearts and minds of people like no other in recent history.  One friend in California traveled for hours to neighboring Nevada with her husband and two young children to canvas for Obama.  A woman I met this weekend drove from Connecticut to Pennsylvania to spread the word.  In Scranton, she was directed to three different locations until she found one that could use her help -- because the area was overloaded with volunteers.

When people feel an emotional attachment to an issue - or a company, or a product - they will go to great lengths to help it succeed.  We can take important lessons from the Obama campaign when it comes to building a grassroots groundswell.

Consistent Message:  In the end, Obama's message of hope and change was consistent and authentic, and strong enough to galvanize a nation.

Bold Strategy:  In an article in Monday's The New York Times, reporter Adam Nagourney wrote that the 2008 race for the White House "has rewritten the rules on how to reach voters, raise money, organize supporters, manage the news media, track and mold public opinion, and wage — and withstand — political attacks, including many carried by blogs that did not exist four years ago."  It's easy to stick with the tried and true but the Obama team rethought campaign tactics from harnessing the Internet to communicate and raise money (a strategy pioneered by Howard Dean) to recruiting volunteers as ambassadors for the campaign.

Discipline:  In any campaign (marketing or presidential), setbacks are part of the process.  The discipline comes from knowing how to react to them.  Do you rewrite your strategy every time you hit a hiccup?  Are you so in love with your direction that you won't stray?  Or do you stay flexible and nimble, recalibrating as needed like the Obama team?   Many say Obama ran a near flawless campaign.  I'd say he ran a disciplined one that looked honestly at what was working and not working along the way, making intelligent adjustments that ultimately led to victory. 

 

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The Enemy of Creativity

Sunday, 2 November 2008 12:41 by kpotvin

 

In a recent blog post on the Harvard Business Publishing site, Teresa Amabile asks, "Is Management the Enemy of Creativity?"  This is a followup discussion to her intriguing article in the Harvard Business Review (Oct. 2008) entitled "Creativity and the Role of the Leader" written with Mukti Khaire.  While innovation is needed more than ever, Amabile argues that most management tools and approaches are still geared to exploit established ideas rather than explore new ones.  Time to rethink the model.  One of the most successful ways I've seen to generate creativity is through cross-pollination.  Years ago, I worked with a division of DuPont which shared its incredible mind trust with the food and beverage industry.  The concept was basic but revolutionary:  Take the best of the best technology and ideas from the greatest minds around, regardless of the industry, share them, and make them relevant to new applications.  The innovation was incredible -- and also reinforced that "borrowing" is not a dirty word.  How are you generating more creativity within your organization?

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