A Basic Trick to Boost Your Team’s Creativity

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[You: “Why do you have to be so negative?”]

[Me: “Fair point. Let’s reset.”]

Imagine this: There’s an opportunity looming in your business.

[You: “Thank you.”] And now you need your team to come up with creative ideas to best take advantage of this great opportunity. You want them to “think outside of the box.” You want them to “go wild!” You tell them, “Let your imaginations flow!” You expect magic.

And instead, you get the same old same old.

What went wrong?

It could be in the way you defined the task.

If creativity is your goal, then when you’re defining the task think “basic” rather than “specific.” In other words, broaden your description to the most basic level possible.

Let me give you an example. [You: “Thank you.”]

Let’s say that you manage a retail shoe store-which we’ll call Foot Patrol-in a mall, and that you want to attract more potential customers to your store. You decide to ask your team for ideas. Here’s one way you could pose the question to your team:

  • “How can we make our storefront more attractive to mall shoppers?”

What you’ll get will be ideas like:

  • “Paint it

The Real Secret to Coming Up With a Great Idea

cd4Oh, to be the person who comes up with “the great idea”! Solar power! The artificial heart! Potato chips that stack in a can! Great ideas are everywhere, and yet they always seem to be the brainchild of somebody else. So how do you become one of those “somebodies”? How do you become the person who comes up with “the great idea”? Is there a secret to coming up with a great idea?

Yes, and here it is:

Come up with a lot of ideas.

The secret to coming up with a great idea is to come up with a lot of ideas.

When I was the executive producer of Seattle’s hit comedy TV show Almost Live!, we had a regular segment called The Late Report. This segment was basically our version of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live. It was a series of jokes about the week’s news. Each Late Report segment typically had eight jokes.

Depending on the staffing at the time, we might have anywhere from eight to ten writers on Almost Live!, each of whom submitted roughly twenty Late Report jokes each week. That means

Where Business Ideas Come From

cd3Ideation is the creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new business ideas. When we plan to launch a new business, we either leverage an existing concept or we develop our own unique idea. The same applies to growing an existing business. I have always struggled with determining which is harder – finding the idea or executing on it.

Sometimes ideas are easy enough to conjure, and the hard part is deciding if it’s good enough as the basis for developing a profitable business. If you have what you believe is a “great idea”, the next challenge is to prove or test that it will translate into a successful venture.

Then there are times when a viable idea is the hardest thing to find. It may seem like all the good ideas are taken, and you are left on the sidelines with the resources and desire to start or grow a business but without a great idea. The ideation process can take a day or it can take years, and as with the creative process, it’s usually unproductive to rush it. Aside from the other typical

Develop Your Own Trading And Investment Style

It is when we draw on our strengths in our cognitive, emotional and social domains that we are able to deliberately develop habits that become sustained when practised and ultimately lead to our success in the financial markets. Our performance is inconsistent and we become frustrated by engaging financial activity that run counter to the way we are wired emotionally, socially and cognitively. It is for this reason that knowledge of the market is just as important as self knowledge.

The amount of markets you follow closely, how many positions you carry at one time and how long you hold positions are embraced in the style you use to trade. Your trading style also reflects the way in which you express market views, how you manage risk and pursue reward and how you analyse markets and identify opportunity. The strengths of the investor behaviour and market performance is linked by their investment style. Any creative individual expresses meaning through their work with their unique style which can be easily recognised. Even though the style evolves and transitions it still remains stable and can easily be identified.

A beginner writer or artist lacks any form of crystallized style. Most efforts are made by

Is Money An Innovation Killer

If you think back to your youth, you’ll find innovation everywhere. Whether it was engineering a ramp to jump your little brother’s big wheel, how to get somewhere without a car or the thousands of innovative ways we convinced our parents that breaking curfew was justified by unseen, surreal circumstances. The great thing about youth is that it full of innovation, and in most cases the most creative things are done without money. Coincidence?

For business, innovation has always been an ooh aah word to throw around, however it has increasingly become a reality and for some companies, their hottest asset. In fact, it’s commanding even greater focus than before. In 2013, PWC performed a study to try and get to the bottom of innovation inside of businesses and it showed 93% of executives indicated that organic growth through innovation, will drive the greater proportion of their revenue growth. Not better sales, not strategic relationships — Innovation. It’s safe to say that nothing has changed since 2013 and innovation is sitting center stage, and everyone wants a piece of it.

The problem is that many companies don’t have the innovation DNA, so instead they pump money towards innovation, but this may

5 Simple Steps To Come Up With a Terrific Business Idea

Different business Ideas and opportunities are talked about on the net daily.

The majority of aspiring entrepreneurs search for viable business ideas online. But how can you actually come up with a feasible, practical and sustainable business idea?

I have had my own business for a number of years now and I have tried many different businesses, some of them worked and some did not. I recently looked back on all the businesses that I tried. As I reviewed all of my different business plans I have narrowed my good ideas down to a few easy steps on how to create a viable business idea.

Different business Ideas and opportunities are talked about on the net daily

I want to share a few tips with you that may help, especially to those who want to start or even create a business of their own.

Here are the steps:

1.) Think of several ideas. There may be a lot of concepts out there but not all of them will work. When come up with a business concept, try to take note of businesses that consumers will need to use daily. Do not think of temporary ideas, those that may disappear with time. Food is always a great

Great Leaders Teach

I was at a client’s office late afternoon last week. I was waiting for the Chairman long enough to strike a conversation with one of the managers, whom happened to be the Human Resource Manager. She is leading the organization’s academy and we exchanged smiles – and we talk. Replying to her question, I said my coaching is targeted to top talent – making top talents even better and hopefully they stay longer. Besides, my leadership program for managers and leaders is to enable them learn how to teach.

She shared her stories of going through a particular coaching program, NLP programs, EQ and so on. She is a very prolific manager and hungry for new knowledge. She is quick to share her coaching experiences with talents around her but except these talents are not internal but external to her organization. According to her it is not possible to share her knowledge internally because no one would appreciate – she hasn’t tried yet. She hasn’t got over the feeling yet to drive the coaching initiative for her organization. She doesn’t know where to start. What a waste.

Large organizations are endowed with this wealth of experienced managers and leaders at all areas.

The Top 5 Myths of Innovation in Business

I have produced a hard-hitting list of the top five myths surrounding innovation in business. You may or may not agree with my opinions in this list but I hope you enjoy the read.

  • Businesses today do not innovate anymore – It is a common opinion in today’s world that businesses are no longer coming up with innovative concepts. Mobile phone manufacturers are a perfect example, ‘… they simply launch new products that add subtle new features and are slightly slimmer than the previous model. They all look the same and generally do the same thing’. This feeling that businesses are no longer innovative is a myth. Dig a little deeper in to what businesses are doing with driverless cars, virtual reality and automation and you will see that innovation is everywhere.
  • Product life cycles are getting shorter and shorter – This all depends on the market place that you are operating within. In the technology field for example product life cycles have become extremely short because products are not containing features that significantly differentiate them from the competition. The life cycles of a mobile phone, tablet devices or even laptops and desktop computers are extremely short today and many of these

What’s More Important Than Knowledge

“Imagination is more important than knowledge” – Albert Einstein

True imagination is often the catalyst for breakthroughs or quantum leaps. Yet, few people ever experience the euphoria of a quantum leap. The masses are stuck in a morass of constant improvements. While improvements are important, they are not breakthroughs. The academic community is filled with after the fact explanations about what it takes to produce breakthroughs. This article provides insight into how we are trained and educated to not tap into our imagination. It also provides a pathway to authentically experience the imagination that is waiting to emanate from everyone.

With that said, why would one of the smartest people in history say something so counterintuitive? We are taught to depend on knowledge; that it is power. Furthermore, we are taught to depend on knowledge that was created by others. We spend countless hours studying and memorizing knowledge others conjured up in their imagination. After memorizing what we studied, our intelligence is assessed. If we retained most of the knowledge created by others, we are deemed intelligent.

However, knowledge is from the past. In some cases, it is obsolete for the future. Too often, the future requires knowledge that does not exist because

A Business Case for Going Green

Looking into the near future, I see low energy prices. As of today, energy prices are remarkably low in fact. They have dropped so much that companies, whose sole business model is setting an example of how sustainability is achievable, are losing money at a rapid pace thus making the outlook for the Green Industry quite bleak.

What is the Green Industry you ask? It was a term coined by the United States Green Building Council to certify buildings that are built to perform at optimal levels both in terms of construction and energy consumption. This plays directly into carbon reduction from decreased emissions. These types of projects are referred to as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED. There is often a premium that is paid for a building to obtain a LEED certification, which is then subject to maintaining the building certification status with follow up commissioning to verify that the building performance hasn’t lagged from the original design. The premium for this service can be in the range of five figures with little guarantee of a return on investment.

Energy Star is another certification that functions on a slightly different level focusing solely on building performance based

How to Become Innovative

If the world poverty fact is that nearly half of the world’s population is living on less than $2.50 a day, it is therefore a big opportunity for you and me to think not only harder but also smarter in terms of being innovative.

To be innovative is the ability to translate an idea into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay. One can therefore be able to kick poverty out of his life if he can put the very many ideas that are in his mind into reality. In the end, these will be goods and services that the customers can pay him for.

Innovation does not just happen but it comes after someone has taken an initiative to do so. This therefore means that someone has to task himself to research on the problems of the people around him and find a way to solve them.

One can follow the 15 simple steps below to learn how to solve people’s problems through innovation;

1. Think about an easy thing you can do in a short period of time especially those things that have already been innovated

2. Research about it by reading books, using the internet and

Is Your Experience Causing You to Make Bad Decisions

One of the greatest benefits a long-term leader can bring to his or her organization is their experience. The experienced leader has seen it all before. The experienced leader isn’t likely to get fazed by the bump in the road. The experienced leader is the face of calm in the midst of the storm.

But the experienced leader can also be missing the boat-and with it, opportunities.

During the fifteen years that I led my team as executive producer of Seattle’s legendary comedy TV show Almost Live!, I gained an enormous amount of experience. Things that would send me into a panic during the first few years became old hat. Guest cancels at the last minute? No problem. A taped comedy sketch turns into a piece of crap in the editing room? Big deal. Cast member collapses from full cardiac arrest in front of a packed studio audience? Yawn. (Okay, that last one was a bit of a challenge. But we got through it-as did the cast member, who made a full recovery.)

The point is that after awhile, whatever you, or the fates, or the TV gods could throw at me, I’d already been there and done that.

And that’s a dangerous place

How Is the 3D Printing Powder Market Shaping the Future of End-User Industries?

Thanks to 3D printing, the terms innovation and strategy have got a new dimension all together. Also known as additive manufacturing, the technique of 3D printing is mainly employed in end-user industries such as, aerospace & defense, medical, and automotive, among others, with aerospace & defense being the largest user of 3D printing, followed by automotive. It is also proving to be an asset for the medical industry, as it can be used in various types of implants and other surgical operations. Moreover, powder-based printers are being used widely nowadays, mainly due to their characteristics like durability and high compressibility, thereby triggering the market growth for 3D printing powders.

Key Drivers and Opportunities

Advancements in technology, increased focus new product launches and on investments in R&D of powder-based printing, easy availability of metal and non-metal powders, and expiry of patents are expected to escalate the market growth even further. Aerospace & defense being the prominent end-user of 3D printing powder, mainly titanium, calls for a great demand from major companies that manufacture aircraft for making jet engines and other engine components. Apart from this, titanium is also being used to perform medical surgeries that may not be possible using traditional methods and

Why New Products Fail

Pre-Launch Phase

Little market research has been conducted on the product and the market, or both!

In today’s industries, market research has never been more important. Because of the internet, consumers are extremely well-informed and will not hesitate to punish you for making hasty decisions. If you ever find yourself trying to decide between launching and conducting more research, ALWAYS go with more research.

The product is interesting but lacks a precise market.

Speaking of research, one of the most important elements of effective marketing is accurate targeting. Knowing who you are targeting allows you to tailor your product to fit the specific needs of your customer. Maybe you have a new energy drink concept targeted at young people, ages 18-25. That is a good start, but now we have to dive deeper. What KIND of young person are you targeting? Is it a gamer, who might prefer technology-themed packaging? Is it a college athlete, who would prefer an endorsement of their favorite sports hero? Answering these questions are crucial if you want to succeed as an inventor.

The marketing campaign is developed in-house by the manufacturer and lacks objectivity.

A lack of objectivity generally leads to what we in the business like to call “groupthink.”

What’s An Agile Business Look Like?

WHY AGILITY?

Life for businesses isn’t comfortable any more!

If you’re selling to other companies, you have to be ready to address their changing needs as they’re pressed from new regulations, competition, changes in their markets, and internal employee upheavals.

Are you selling to consumers? Competition from small, entrepreneurial business is increasing, carving out some of the most lucrative parts of your markets – and by nature those entrepreneurial businesses are agile!

WHAT IS AGILITY?

In essence, it’s responding to a need quickly and maintaining that response. When your customers see that you’re able to do that effectively, they will move more of their custom to you.

WHAT GOES INTO AGILITY?

Here’s the rub. Agility comes primarily from within the organization. Sure, direction as to where the agile change is needed usually proceeds from leadership, but the ability to change the business’s systems comes from within, and it includes everybody!

FOUR NECESSARY SYSTEMS

These include four systems within any organization: the system of direction, the system of team, the system of involvement, the system of measurement. And these four are intimately interwoven.

THE SYSTEM OF DIRECTION

Now you might wonder why I’m describing direction as a system and not just a statement made from leadership to the business. Leaders who spell

How To Keep A Sharp Focus On Your Best Ideas

Faced with an ever-increasing workload, a man talked to his accountant about stepping up from being a one-man work-at-home business to employing some staff. It would, he thought, ease the pressure.

The accountant, a money management expert par excellence, had other ideas, and was blunt in his reply. All he said was: “The next time you say that, I shall put you in a cupboard and beat you with a broom handle until you change your mind.”

The reasoning behind his brutal assessment of the proposal was simple. Not only was the extra work insufficient to support another employee long-term, but the business model was a poor fit. The business was home-based, and simply didn’t have the space for another employee, long or short term. What’s more, he hadn’t considered the expense management dimension, but had been looking from only a workload perspective.

Hiring staff for a spike in workload is always going to be a bad idea. It will solve short-term problems, but will bring with it new headaches of its own, starting with the recruitment process, and going on to all of the background commitment involved in employment law.

The more effective option

Far better, said the accountant, to seek the help of

I Love Spring Cleaning, Do You?

I love spring. I live in Austin, Texas, and love the wildflowers, especially the bluebonnets- they are everywhere this time of year. There is something about the flowers, the buds on the trees, the air, that speaks of renewal. There is a great feeling that comes with that. It somehow feels new again with a whole realm of possibility.

I clean, rearrange things. I take that into my business. Business is great, and I look at what else can I now create. It makes me expand my thinking. This year, I am going to create new workshops, and take major steps to take workshops online to expand my reach I am very excited and of course, as a coach, I have hired experts to guide my journey.

With the new endeavors there is a very important step to take, which is to clean out any old failures and old incomplete projects. A part of my spring cleaning includes looking through what is not completed, and what I failed and to take stock. I may have to take some actions to actually be complete. This past year, I made some costly mistakes. I put myself into a large coaching program with one of

Are You a Brilliant Original, or Merely a Copy?

Let’s start with a 2-part quiz:

Question 1 – Which would you pay more for: an original Van Gogh, or a copy (even a very good copy) done by a third-year art student?

Question 2 – Switching now to your own business: are you an original, or a copy (even a very good copy) of what somebody else did first?

Question 3 (okay, so it’s a 3-part quiz) – Regarding Question 2: Which would you rather be?

Just the other day I saw a concert by a Beatles tribute band. Now, I’ve seen a lot of Beatles tribute bands! And this particular one was good-quite good, actually. My ticket cost me $38.

As I write this, Paul McCartney tickets are about to go on sale (for you youngsters, Paul McCartney was one of the Beatles. The actual Beatles). I will try to buy one (for the record, I had no trouble buying a ticket for the Beatles tribute band). On McCartney’s last tour, the average ticket price was $241. I paid substantially more.

Look, there’s clearly a market for copies. There were about 200 happy people in the audience for last night’s tribute concert. I own a Van Gogh print. People will always be willing to

Are You Killing the Creativity in Your Business

“Creativity” is one of those things (like its close cousin “risk-taking”) that nearly all leaders love to hail, praise, and rhapsodize over. So why is actual creativity in the workplace so rare?

It’s because hailing, praising, and rhapsodizing are free and have no consequences. (Although, actually, they do; more on that later.) It’s kind of like hailing, praising, and rhapsodizing over the Paleo diet while finishing off that Big Mac. You might feel like you’re doing something good, but nothing really changes.

Although this analogy may seem extreme, it’s actually pretty apt. If you’re eating a Big Mac while espousing a Paleo diet, your actions are completely at odds with your words. (That is unless further research reveals that our proto-human ancestors dined on two primitive all-beef patties, primitive special sauce, some veggies and primitive cheese, all on a primitive triple-decker sesame seed bun.)

It all comes down to a basic and universal truth: talk is easy; execution is hard.

This is why so many leaders talk about the importance of creativity in the workplace while doing virtually nothing to actually support creativity in the workplace. Because talk is easy; execution is hard. But it’s the execution that actually changes things. It’s the execution

Manager Profiles and Innovation Outcomes

One of the interesting challenges that managers face is the tension between expectations of senior leaders that managers minimize risks for their organizations while also motivating their direct reports to be more innovative. Finding a balance is no easy task, as managers consider the impact of decision-making on their reputation, job security, the impact decisions might have on their direct reports, and the short- and long-term impact of their decision-making on their organization.

Consider the following management profiles and the possible outcomes of these mindsets:

HIGH RISK AVOIDER – This manager defaults to the safest possible decision and encourages his or her direct reports to do the same. The manager will rely heavily on established policies and procedures and punish his or her employees who do not carefully follow these guidelines. This fosters a culture of risk avoidance in this unit. Employees that will thrive in this environment are those that like a predictable routine and are reassured by the presence of clear parameters for decision-making. This manager will likely push any risk up the chain of command rather than making a tough call himself or herself.

HIGH RISK TOLERATOR – This manager is very comfortable with risk and encourages his or

Tips For Designing A Product – Keep It Simple

Having the best tips available when venturing to product development can and does make the entire process easier. Trust that years of research has been conducted to back up these tips, and get started in product design and development with confidence. Beginning any entrepreneurial adventure can be overwhelming, but with the right team and research things will go on without a hitch.

There will always be various goals, views and the like when it comes to product design and development. As already stated, the team composed of great engineers and designers will make sure success. Working through the various details, it will become clear that not everyone has the same goals for the product; and that’s okay. Each group will have different goals and this is much-needed for a successful product design and development.

Initial Design

It’s crucial that members of the team work together to find success for each goal of the project. The engineers will likely focus on:

  • Product reliability
  • Dimensional details
  • Quality
  • Building process

The designers will focus on:

  • Features of the product
  • Customer profiles
  • User interfaces

Tips for Product Design and Development

When in the beginning stages, it’s important to consider these steps. It will ensure that the entire process has a better chance of going smoothly.

Keep it Simple

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