How to develop actions creatively [Yes! And. Blog #137]

by | Jun 4, 2012 | Collaborate, Develop Opportunities, Facilitate meetings, Innovate, Overcome Challenges, Tools

Here’s a simple but powerful tool to identify actions creatively. “To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” Ralph Waldo Emerson Today, I sat in the cockpit of a 737 aircraft as the pilot landed very smoothly at Phnom Penh  airport in Cambodia. Ten minutes later, I was home in London. No, time travel has not come to London. I was with my son as we observed a crew flying a flight simulator. This is an annual “trip” of flying a full sized Boeing 737 BBJ flight simulator around the world in aid of charity Dreamflight. 

They are raising money by flying 24 hours a day for 7 days as part of a team of eight crews, using “air traffic controllers”  around the world to guide them in to the airports, a stunning effort. Before you think, “There are plenty of flight simulators around,” you should know that amateurs build all these. Fellow Yes! And blog reader, Ralph Watson built the one I visited, in a garage. His accomplishment is quite astounding and my son thought it “awesome!” Ralph showed me on his web site the progression of his simulator from a desktop computer in 2001 to the full sized version you can see today by going to his web site, http://www.737-800bbj.com.  [Take a look at the Kai Tak link too!] As he explained it, I thought how well his journey from 2001 to today might have been mapped out using the creative tool I will explain here. The tool is Action Storyboard that is based on one called Cartoon Storyboard, developed by Jane Henry,...

How to Create Novel Ideas in Five Minutes…[Yes! And. Blog # 136]

6 Tools to Create Novel Ideas…  “If I had one hour to save the world I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.” Albert Einstein 5 Minutes to Save the World? This week I attended a course to help me focus my business and get me on track to write a book in twelve weeks. We spent a day developing a pitch with Mike Harris (who I mentioned in the last blog). At the end he had us develop a twenty second pitch for use only when you have just a few seconds to tell someone what you do. This led me to think that it would be an idea to have some tools you can use in five minutes to help with creativity. Here are some: 5 Ws and H This really is the complete multi purpose tool, courtesy of Rudyard Kipling. Designed to elicit all facts about a situation using “Who?” “What?” “Why?” “Where?” “When?” and “How?” For creativity you can ask questions about a product or service e.g. “Who uses it?” “When do they use it?”etc. Compile a list of answers and then ask, “How might that be different?” SCAMPER You can use 5 Ws and H with another tool; SCAMPER. Eberle designed the mnemonic to aid the creative process: (Substitute; Combine; Adapt; Magnify / Minify; Put to other uses; Eliminate / Elaborate; Rearrange / Reverse). It helps to generate ideas by challenging various aspects of a situation but in a more structured way. To use it, take one of the categories e.g. Substitute. Use the 5Ws and H...

134 Make Better Decisions Through Discussion…

Yes! And… Creative Gorilla # 134 How Might You Make Better Decisions?  “The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.” Charles Bukowski (1920 – 1994) American Poet and Novelist Would you like to make better choices? Imagine you are facilitating a meeting with a group and you have to choose from a range of options.  One way you can do this is to explain each option briefly and take a vote. You count the votes for each item and choose the one with the most votes to move forward. Many people do this because it is quick. Another reason is that people sense “One person, one vote” is fair and democratic. “Taking a vote” happens quite often in organisations… and is quite often an unsatisfactory way of proceeding. In this article I will explain my reason for saying so and will also describe a tool I use a great deal when facilitating. Words have meaning! The term “voting” seems to bring out the competitive spirit in some people, so voting on an option becomes a win or lose scenario for them. To overcome this issue avoid saying, “Let’s take a vote”. Alternatively say, “Let’s choose how to move forward.” (I confess even after many years of facilitating, the word “vote” does pop out of my mouth now and again, so don’t feel despondent if this happens to you!). The “Dot Choice” Tool When making a choice, rather than vote by hand, have the group use sticky...

132 Facilitate New Business Models …

Yes! And… Creative Gorilla # 132 The Business Model Canvas is a powerful thinking tool… “The Business Model Canvas was highly effective and really challenged our thinking” Client of Yes! And… Need a new business model? Many of you will have heard of the recent issues experienced by a top media company in Britain. You may also know I look constantly for clues for new Gorilla articles so whilst others may have found interest in the scandal, I was drawn to the company’s decision to close a Sunday newspaper. Of particular interest are the rumours, fuelled by registration of new URLs, that management plans to extend one of their daily titles to become a new Sunday newspaper. The Gorilla “clue” for me is the change in the business model and so I am going to discuss a way you might facilitate a team to analyse its business model. This is an exercise I ran recently for a client and to facilitate their analysis I used the “Business Model Canvas”. This tool consists of nine blocks or sections on a metaphorical artists “canvas”. The blocks enable you to analyse your business model in a number of different areas: Customer Segments: For whom do you create value Customer Relationships: The relationship you have with different segments, e.g. self service Channels: The channels through which you reach your customer, e.g. a sales force Key Activities: E.g. Creating an easy to use web site Key Resources: E.g. System architects Key Partners: E.g. A third party who provides software programming services Value Proposition: What value you deliver to the customer Cost Structure: The key...

Level Mapping

Reason for Use Challenges can be structured in hierarchies, e.g. from “How to land a rocket on the moon?” to “How to make a pen that writes in areas of no gravity?’ If your opportunity is complex and you wish to understand the hierarchy of challenges within it, you can use a Level Map[1]. It enables you to: Diagram that hierarchy and see the relationships before you choose one to work on. Chunk the challenge into lower level challenges to tackle Clarify the challenge for people. Understand whether you should broaden or narrow the scope of the challenge you wish to tackle (“How to land on the moon” at a strategic level and “How to write in areas of no gravity” at the operational level) depending on your ability to influence it Increase the potential challenges to exploit (and split them between your team] Scope the number of ideas / solutions you will generate in the Create Solutions stage (e.g. “How to write in areas of no gravity” at the operational level?” is likely to generate fewer and different ideas to (“How to land on the moon”). Therefore you may wish to choose a lower level challenge. Action to Take 1. Use rectangular “Super Sticky “ Post It Notes Start by writing a challenge on the note, e.g. “How to increase new revenue for accepting banks?”  The use of “How to (H2)…?” turns a statement into a constructive challenge 2. Place the challenge centrally on a large surface. 3. Go up to a broader level of focus by asking, “Why”?  E.g. “Why do we want to increase new revenue for accepting banks?” The answer...

130 Transform Your Team Simply …

Yes! And… Creative Gorilla # 130 Need a simple tool to build a team…? Use iMA “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius The plug on our bathroom sink has broken. It’s one of those fiddly ones; you press a lever and it lifts the plug to empty the water. Something has gone wrong inside so I can’t fix it. Not a problem for the rest of the family but difficult if you need to shave, unless you waste water running the tap. So one day I was washing a dirty golf ball in the sink when I dropped the ball. Eureka! The sink started to fill because the ball fits the plughole perfectly. I have now expanded the uses for a golf ball, get a hole in one every time and have a simple solution to a problem, which leads me to the topic of this article. One important way to enhance innovation is to have a team that works well together. Those of you who lead teams will know that there are many instruments available to profile your team members, help people understand each other and improve performance. Some of these tools are expensive, some are quite complicated, and some are administered by qualified psychologists. Some are all three. Recently, I became accredited to facilitate workshops using a behavioural tool known as IMA (Identify your style; Modify your style; Adapt your style for different people). This tool doesn’t pretend to be a psychometric tool. It doesn’t set out to explain what is going on in your head or the head of...