Yes! And® Blog

105 How to Use Social Media …

Yes! And… Creative Gorilla # 105 Social Media is changing the way we do business. How might you benefit from it?… “The advent of Social Networking and Social Media has been the biggest boost for individuals to take responsibility for their personal brand.” Penny Power, Author of “Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me” How can you make the most of Social Media as a creative leader? Last week, I attended an excellent retreat led by Thomas Power, the Chairman of Ecademy and a world authority on Social Media. I and nine others were introduced to or updated on the power of Social Media and how we can use it to build our personal brands and companies. Social Media  is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. {For more of the definition, visit Wikipedia here, or Google: Social Media Definition. There are a number of them] I have always been a little sceptical about Social Media and went along because, as a creative leader like you, I had an open mind. In reality, I didn’t understand it; it was a revelation for me to end up so excited and humbled at the same time! So After four days of reflection I assembled some learning points which I would like to share with you. These are my own, others attending and Thomas, may have obtained a different interpretation. The world is moving / has moved this way and individuals and companies need to be part of it – it is no longer optional People in organisations should understand that they can use... read more

104 Make your controls work for you…

Yes! And… Creative Gorilla # 104 Controls need to take in to account the behaviour they provoke…  “Police said crashes happened because motorists slowed down ahead of the camera and then speeded up once they were clear of it.” Report in Daily Mail (England) 7 Jan 2009 How can you ensure controls achieve what you want? Have you noticed when many motorists see a “fixed speed” camera, which measures an excess speed at a fixed point, they slow down until past the measuring lines and then accelerate madly – like the camera has some weird acceleration beam? However, when driving through sections of motorway with “average speed cameras” that measure your speed over a fixed distance, most people keep to the limit, although some slow down and speed up to meet the average. Passing through an “average speed” control area recently, I wondered how we might relate these behaviour patterns to organisations.  Finding no instant answers, I placed a question on the Giants, Wizards and Goblins forum on Linked In. Here is a summary of the responses. What questions might they raise for your organisation? Speed cameras are a control to stop people taking risk. They should be sited only where there is most risk if they are not to have an adverse effect on traffic Speed cameras form part of an overall system to reduce fatalities. There is little evidence to show they have this effect [Source] Speed cameras, both types, measure speed. They do not tell us if the driver is incompetent, the tyres bald or the car uninsured Speed cameras are viewed as revenue earning systems... read more

How Might…?

Reason for Use It is a challenge to dream up an idea from nothing if you believe what Koestler says[1]: “The creative act … does not create something out of nothing;” As he continues, most ideas come when we uncover, select, re-shuffle, combine and synthesise already existing facts, ideas, faculties and skills. It is reasonable to assume that you and your group have a large amount of information about the Focus of Innovation. Therefore, the tool I describe here, an adaptation of the much used “What If” technique, elicits all of the current information the group has, relevant to the Focus of Innovation and asks how it might be different. E.g. an author sitting down to write a story about Napoleon’s war with Russia needs to find an alternative to War and Peace. The author might create an alternative plot if he or she were to:  List many of the things we know about Napoleon’s invasion: it was 1812; he had to retreat from Moscow; the loss or capture of nearly 500,000 men; the burning of Moscow by the Russians; the terrible winter; the lack of food; the lack of clothing; the Russian peasants making raids etc Ask ,“How might this be different? Now we have much more material for creative thinking. Our author writes a book about how General Napoleon enters Moscow as a welcomed heroine, spends the summer forming alliances with the Russian peasantry (possibly through Facebook) and sweeps through Eastern Europe establishing French themed shopping malls. This approach enables the author to be… novel, and make the plot of War and Peace seem rather narrow. Which... read more

Mind Mapping

I recently attended a course led by Tony Buzan and others, to become a licensed Buzan Mind Mapping instructor and thought I would share how we can use Mind Maps for, amongst many other things, creativity.  Many of you will know the concept of left and right brain, the left side of the cerebral cortex dealing with words, analysis, logic etc, and the right side dealing with rhythm, colour, imagination etc. The implication of this description is that there is no connection between the two sides, which is not true; they are joined by the corpus callosum, a sort of superconductor for swapping information. If you ask people, “Where does creativity lie in the brain?” they will typically say, “On the right”. Ask them what side of the brain Mind Mapping uses and they will typically say the right. This is wrong. In fact, the process of creating a Mind Map uses the whole brain, creating many associations as your imagination creates more ideas and branches, but also structuring and ordering those ideas. So How can you use a Mind Map for creativity? Here is a summarised version, for a full version, please buy Tony Buzan’s book. Rapid Mind Map Burst Think of your topic. On a landscape A3 page, draw a strong central image of your topic Allow your brain to associate and imagine everything associated with that topic for around twenty minutes, noting each idea on branches and sub branches radiating from the central image. Go fast and avoid censoring yourself Reconstruct and Revise -1 Take a short break to rest the brain Make a new Mind... read more

103 Facilitate Innovative Thinking …

Yes! And… Creative Gorilla # 103 Creative idea generation sessions will work better if people follow guidelines on behaviour… “People will accept your ideas much more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first..” David H. Comins Do you want your idea generation sessions to work better? The other night, I helped out at my son’s Scout meeting. We gathered the children and got them to play a game. However, three of them thought that this game was not cool, so they did all they could to mess up the game for everybody else. Despite much enthusiasm from others, the game fizzled out. This reminded me of many meetings I attended in corporate life, in particular idea generation meetings, where it is quite simple for people to dampen enthusiasm. Recently, a client asked me to give a short talk to build some energy in a group before an idea generation session. I built the talk around four guidelines for making an idea generation session work more effectively. So Here are the four guidelines, which you might find useful when diverging, that is, when generating ideas. By the way, can you find an acronym for these guidelines? Build on Ideas A great way to obtain more creative ideas is to build on the ideas of others so: Say, “Yes! And…” not “Yes! But…” Accept “silly” or “ridiculous” ideas and use them as springboards to develop practical ideas Ask, “How might we look at this idea differently?” Appreciate Different Styles People have different styles and this might cause issues in your idea generation session. Be aware that: There are... read more

102 How to Facilitate People to Perform Well in New Situations…

Yes! And… Creative Gorilla # 102 People often face new situations.  You can facilitate them to perform better with a simple model…. Enhance The Physical and Social Environment “Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good; try to use ordinary situations.” Jean Paul Richter (1763 – 1825) German Writer Do you want to improve someone’s performance in a new situation? I have worked with a number of new groups this year in workshops. Whenever I work with them I use a simple model called the “New Situation Model” to help people settle in with each other and encourage communication. I developed this model with my colleague, Caroline Harvey, based on our experience and using research. Explaining the Model A brief explanation of each stage (Note there is no proscribed order), is that we have found that a typical person (but not everyone) in a new situation wants to: Adopt  the correct state Know who others are and how they relate Understand the situation Have a constructive outlook Influence the situation Contribute well Have an opportunity to voice their opinion Enhance the environment in which they find themselves, both physical and social Each of these steps is what I term a “facilitator”. The more facilitators you can address, the better the result. Whilst we use it in workshops, you might also use the model as a checklist when you: Plan for new people joining your group Plan for forming a project team Are in a new situation yourself (it may enable you to develop or suggest a constructive course of action) So Imagine that you have a new person... read more

101 How to Make Meetings More Efficient…

YES! AND… Creative Gorilla # 101 When running creative workshops, balance quality of outcome against time by keeping it simple… “So much to do, if I only had time,” Lyric by P Delanoe, Jack Fishman & Michel Fugai Do you want to achieve more in your meetings? Recently, I spent some time with a client to review an agenda they had designed for a creative idea generation and evaluation workshop. I was not facilitating but they asked for feedback. The design had very clear outputs, with good ideas to ensure participation. However, instinctively I sensed that they would not achieve all they wanted to because the design was too complex for the time available. We therefore spent time looking at ways to simplify the design, so they could achieve the desired outcomes. So In essence you can simplify three factors in a workshop, (although reducing the number of people attending is another option): The Input – The information that people require before they can start the creative thinking session The Activities – What the group does to process the information and achieve the output The Output – What the group produces at the end of the activity, e.g. a set of evaluated ideas Here are some suggestions for ways you can simplify them. Treat these as general principles as there are always exceptions. Input Identify work that could be done beforehand so that you do not waste time in the meeting e.g. (A). Before a process redesign meeting, draft the current process and validate it during the meeting. (B). Before an evaluation session, identify the criteria that you will... read more

99 Meetings With More Impact

YES! AND… Creative Gorilla # 99 Here are principals to make your meetings have more impact……  ““The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity”  Ascribed to Dorothy Parker, Novelist”                    Want to improve your meetings? Hi! It’s a beautiful sunny day here in London, glorious spring weather. I am just back from a two hour bike ride and I feel great. I did some exploring, ventured down some new “secret” paths that I had not noticed before, saw stunning scenery and even met a number of people who replied to my, “Good morning”. I was whipped by stinging nettles, shaken to bits on bridleways (horse tracks) and stuck in mud in a hoof hole, but I came back energised, uplifted and so raring to go, I am writing this in my cycle shorts. You know that feeling? Like when you come out of meetings? Energised, uplifted, motivated! Or maybe not. More likely you come out bored, listless and seeking caffeine to change your state. It doesn’t have to be that way. Meetings are something I have thought about a lot this week as I redesigned my “Training with More Impact” course and designed a couple of workshops for clients. The course is based on five principles which I have adapted over the years from various aspects of accelerated learning and brain friendly (see training. Whilst cycling, I reflected that meetings are about learning too, at least they should be. Therefore, it would be useful to share these principles with creative leaders like you, so that you might apply them to your meetings. SO Here are the... read more

98 Facilitate Teams to Understand the Challenge

YES! AND… Creative Gorilla # 98 Sometimes it is difficult to judge if a group understand the challenge you have, this technique will help you do that… “Yes! And…Explore World With…Suppose that…Associate…Next idea…Do it now” Cyriel Kortleven, Crew – New Shoes Today How might you confirm that everyone in a group has understood a challenge? Have you ever been to a really entertaining evening where you learned something (and the beer was cheap)? Last week, I attended my first workshop of the London group of the Applied Improvisation Network (AIN).  The facilitator was Cyriel Kortlevel, who hails from Belgium and works with a creativity company in the Netherlands. Cyriel treated us to a really enjoyable evening, taking us through an improvised creativity session i.e. using impro to create some ideas for making the AIN successful. I knew most of the impro exercises, but Cyriel has a neat way of turning them in to creative techniques, especially through using random connections and provocations. One technique I had not used before was “The Problem Walk” (I don’t much like using the word “problem” due to its negative associations, hence my title). So How does the technique work? After the challenge has been explored, the group stand at one end of an imaginary line. The facilitator stands at the other end of the line and summarises the challenge. He / she asks people to stand somewhere on the line, depending on their understanding of the challenge (you might do a scale where the facilitator stands at ten and the group members stand at a number on the line). If the group steps up... read more