56 Consider the Consequence

by | Feb 26, 2012 | Facilitate meetings, Innovate

YES! AND… Creative Gorilla # 56 “A few minutes working out the consequences of your decisions can save resources “Results are what you expect. Consequences are what you get.” Unknown Do you consider the consequences of your actions? Imagine you work in the Leisure Department of your local authority. You are told to save cash. One idea you come up with is to leave the park gates unlocked at night, saving as a result £60,000 over two years in lower salary costs. Write down all the potential consequences of this action. Have you identified any? The local newspaper recently announced that our parks would remain open at night to save the cost of paying someone to open and close them. “That’s a great idea,” I said to my wife, “then they’ll pay a lot more to repair the vandalised equipment and clean the graffiti.” Well, I was wrong. It was not vandals and graffiti artists. It was fly tippers. The consequence of leaving the gates open was that people dumped van loads of rubbish in the parks. Was that one of your outcomes? So When I train people in my approach to Creative Solution Finding, I lead them through a stage of analysing where their ideas will meet assistance or resistance. It surprises me how many people find this unusual, as it is a logical way to identify where we might find support or meet obstacles. One technique to use is “Consequences”. We ask “What is one consequence of implementing this idea?”  We can next ask, “What else?” or we can go further and ask “What is one consequence...

54 Signal Your Ideas…

YES! AND… Creative Gorilla # 54 “If you signal that you are trying to be creative it may make others more receptive to your ideas “You can ring my be-e-ell, ring my bell.”  Lyric ~ Frederick Knight Are your creative efforts faltering because people fail to recognise that you are being creative?    You are cycling along a wide path. In front of you, someone is mooching along in a day dream, walking a dog on an extending lead, so you slow right down and move two metres to the left to overtake them. Suddenly, the dog makes a dash to the left and your brakes squeal as you perform an emergency stop to avoid garroting it on its lead. “You should get a bell,” says the dog owner defensively. “I have,” you reply curtly. “Try using it then,” retorts the dog owner.  “Try keeping your dog under control,” you respond and pedal off, furiously. Of course that would never happen to you, would it, because if you had a bell on your bike, you would ring it? Well, I was that cyclist and I thought, “He’s two metres to the side; I don’t need to ring my bell.” That incident happened two weeks ago. Cycling round this morning, I made a point of ringing my bell whenever I approached a dog owner from behind, even if there were plenty of space to pass. I received many “thank yous” and pondered the different scenarios. These people were in a relaxed mode and instead of me creeping slowly past and startling them, I rang my bell, giving them time to...

53 Avoid Making False Assumptions

YES! AND… Creative Gorilla # 53 Using principles of creative thinking can help you to avoid simple mistakes and tackle challenges effectively… “The harder you fight to hold on to specific assumptions, the more likely there’s gold in letting go of them.” John Seely Brown, Chief of Confusion  Could your mind set or your assumptions be leading you to arrive at the wrong problem definition? On a recent weekend away I and some other parents and Scout Leaders took 35 Cub Scouts on a camping trip. I learned a lot about the noise 33 boys and a couple of girls can make and a great deal about washing up, being awarded with a silver scourer for my efforts (“I want to thank my wife for this award…”). At the end of the camp, one of the fathers came over to us and explained that he had locked his car keys in the boot (trunk) of his car. As we were a hundred miles from home and stuck in the middle of a wood, this was not an ideal situation. “No worries,” I said, “we’ll just call the AA or RAC (our car break down organisations in the UK) and they’ll get your keys fairly quickly or take your car home.” There was silence. “I don’t have break down insurance,” he replied, “the car never breaks down.” With a bit of flexible thinking, we managed to get the AA to rescue him and three hours later, we left for home. On the way home later, I pondered on his words and thought to myself that if he had adhered to...

52 Match Style to Organisational Innovation

YES! AND… Creative Gorilla # 52 Could the predominant style in an organisation influence the type of innovation that it develops?   “Innovation! One cannot be forever innovating. I want to create classics.” Coco Chanel Could the predominant style of innovation in your organisation influence the type of innovation it develops? This weekend, I was a co-tutor at an Open University (OU) MBA Alumni Masterclass weekend on People, Innovation and Change. We had a brilliant time (I love this job!), the group were great and all the speakers were first class. One speaker, James Fleck, (Dean & Professor of Innovation Dynamics at the OU Business School, UK) distinguished between three types of innovation (with thanks to Wikipedia): Incremental Innovation ~ making minor changes over time to sustain the growth of a company without making sweeping changes to product lines, services or markets in which competition currently exists (source: Boston Consulting Group) Radical Innovation ~ a new product or service that is based on a substantially superior technology than the dominant one used by products or services in the market and offers substantially superior benefits than existing products or services in the market (source: Chandy, Rajesh and Gerard J. Tellis (1998), “Organizing For Radical Product Innovation,” Journal of Marketing Research, 35 (November), pp 474-487) Disruptive Innovation ~ a technological innovation, product or service that eventually overturns the existing dominant technology or product in the market e.g. the compact disk replacing the vinyl record (please click here for a good overview of disruptive innovation) Apart from wondering whether a Dyson cleaner is a form of “radical incrementalism” the Professor set me...

47 Avoid the Blame Culture

YES! AND… Creative Gorilla # 47 A blame culture is a fast way to dampen innovation and leads to a “no risk” environment. If we can learn from mistakes rather than seek someone to blame, we will have a much healthier culture … “It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things.” Terry Pratchett, author in “Jingo How can you reduce the impact of a blame culture that stifles innovation?  On Tuesday night I attended an Open University MBA Alumni evening. Jo Salter the speaker, was the first woman fast jet pilot in the RAF and she had some entertaining stories about her time in the service. She recounted one tale of inadvertently detonating some explosive charges on her Tornado by accidentally turning a switch the wrong way whilst preoccupied with her checks. To make matters worse, the ground crew were working on the aircraft when they detonated (the charges, not the ground crew). This was a potentially dangerous accident and something that she might easily have covered up (“it’s an unserviceable switch, Chief”) instead of admitting her mistake to the ground crew. However, it is one thing to tell the ground crew, quite another to reveal it to...

45 Identify Which Ideas To Explore

YES! AND… Creative Gorilla # 45 Warm laughter typically identifies an idea worth exploring and explore you should. “You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille.” Lyrics, Bynum and Bowling, sung by Kenny Roger Are you exploring the right ideas in your idea generation sessions? Here is another hotel story, this time from Rwanda, home of many gorilla tribes, where I facilitated a course last week. On Wednesday morning I swam in a lovely pool, the tiles fetchingly specked with white where the blue paint had flaked off. Refreshed, I returned to my room to find the shower running at five drips per minute. Frustrated, I turned to the bath and realised there was no shower attachment but a good head of water in the tap. I hate baths so, stymied, I decided to wash my hair under the tap. In the bath I realised that the tap, sited half a metre from one end of the bath, only extended a couple of centimetres from the bath side. My frustration grew. I shampooed my hair and tried to rinse it by cupping water in my hands and pouring it over, but the water being soft, my hair wouldn’t rinse. Frustration at danger levels, I squashed my head against the bath under the tap and rinsed one side. But to rinse the other I had to contort my body in the short end of the bath. Then I saw my arms and the soles of my feet were covered in blue paint from the pool. I imagined my children seeing me squeezed into one end of the bath, head...