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Free Articles – Page 2 – Yes! And…

How Creative Facilitators Can Use Scaling to Measure [Yes! And Blog 165]

 How might you use scaling more creatively? Imagine you are a sheep. Your experience is limited to a gambol around fields but now you are in the back of a truck on a glorious autumn day, watching the world zip by at 50 miles per hour (80 KPH). As I overtake your truck on the motorway, the question I want to ask you (as a sheep) is, “On a scale of 1 – 10, where 10 is high, how surreal is this experience for you?” That question came to mind as I was driving back from Coventry recently, partly because my mind was in that engaged / disengaged state you have when driving and partly because I had been reflecting on a workshop I had participated in the previous day, at our SFCT UK meeting.  In the workshop I asked, “What ways can we use the Solution Focus (SF) scaling tool in workshops?” Scaling is a way to measure a variety of performance related items like motivation, confidence, understanding, progress, success, etc. Typically SF people use the 1 – 10 scale and I often use the tool with people standing in a line, from 1 – 10; I wanted to explore other ways to use it. Please see Blog 41 and Blog 124 for further explanation of SF and Scaling. With thanks to Jenny Clarke, John Wheeler, David Shaked and James Lawley for their contributions in the workshop. So With a small group of talented people, we elicited a number of interesting ways to scale, which I share here with you. Apart from the first two (me and Cyriel Kortleven),...

How Creative Leaders Can Foster an Innovative Climate [Yes! And. Blog 164]

To innovate in an organisation requires people to collaborate and think, logically and creatively. To enable this, you need to use a structured approach and tools to innovate, plus you need to foster an innovative climate. I consider that there are two types of innovative climate. One is the microclimate that you create in a workshop situation. The other is the macroclimate that you develop in the organisation. Recently, we worked with the leadership team in a commercial organisation to develop innovative propositions, using our Inn8®  Workshop Programme. As part of the first workshop, we used many of the “action dimensions” below to develop a microclimate for people to innovate in. Having experienced this microclimate as a team, we asked them to use the Action Dimensions Table (see below) to assess the macro climate in their departments. So enthused were they by this simple assessment, the managers took it upon themselves to carry out assessments with their teams after the workshop. They each chose three dimensions to address to begin enhancing their macro climate. To understand more about climate and how to rate this, read on. To understand more about climate and how to rate this, read on. About Climate Goran Ekvall carried out a well-known study (Google, “Goran Ekvall study reference” for a range of articles) on organisational climate for creativity. He identified dimensions on which to measure creative or non-creative climates in organisations and other researchers have extended and amended his original dimensions. James L. Adams also identified blockages to creativity in his book, “Conceptual Blockbusting”. Later studies on climate use different words but identify much the...

An Opportunity for Better Ideas [Yes! And Blog 181]

“Know what the opportunity really is, before generating ideas”   Opportunity. Solution. Two words that  have a chasm of difference in meaning when you want to innovate. In a workshop in Bahrain, I asked teams to identify an opportunity to work on. One of the teams wrote as their opportunity, “Train staff better in our sales outlets.” I questioned what problem the customers have, as you have an opportunity when someone has a difficulty of some kind, a problem. “They have to queue too long in store to pay bills or buy our products,” was the response. So, a question for you: is “train staff better in our sales outlets” an opportunity or a solution? Training staff is one solution to excessive queuing in store. But what is the problem the client has? Is it not being able to pay a bill quickly in store? Or do they find stores an inconvenient way to pay? Or is it that they want to buy an expensive product but have to queue behind people paying bills? Or… the list could be long and the customer could have many problems. [Please refer to Yes! And blog 147 for a tool to map problems]. Equally, there could be many valid solutions from “stagger the billing date” to “introduce new channels for bill payment”, to…we don’t really know until we have explored and clarified the opportunity. One way to state this team’s initial opportunity is to say simply, “We have a lot of people queuing in stores, especially at certain times in the week and month. This causes customer complaints, lost sales…etc.” Why is...

How to Simplify Complex Situations [Yes! And. Blog 162]

“Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it” Alan Perlis – Computer Scientist How might you have a team explore complex situations? I was facilitating a workshop in August in which people had to explore a situation. I decided I would use Rich Pictures. Rich Pictures are used in the method known as “Soft Systems Methodology”. This is a method used to structure thinking about complex organisational systems. I first came across the Rich Pictures technique in the Open University course on Creativity, Innovation and Change and have used it for many years with groups. The example  shows a Rich Picture. It represents just one perspective of the situation and would need to be brought together with other pictures to discuss and create an overall picture. This is a technique that people sometimes misunderstand, so I put together an explanation and some guidelines for the attendees. I thought you might find this useful, though you might want to adapt the guidelines to suit your style. People use Rich Pictures to portray complicated situations in a snapshot. A Rich Picture can help you summarise the situation using cartoons, sketches, line drawings, stick people, symbols and key words. I have also used photographs that people cut from magazines. In it you represent as much of the situation as possible e.g. its structure, how things connect and relate, what is important, what influences different aspects etc. This is all fairly objective, so it is also useful to include some more subjective aspects as well. Principles To help interpret a situation, choose symbols, scenes or images that represent...

Six Tips To Innovate [Yes! And Blog 160]

“As innovation becomes a management discipline, there is a risk that it is seen as the end rather than the means.” John Brooker  How can you start to innovate? A while ago I was travelling quite a lot, delivering training courses for a client in Asia. One Saturday, I arrived at Beijing airport and went to the ATM to withdraw cash on my UK debit card. I entered the PIN, a few seconds later the cash appeared and I got a little kick of satisfaction. Every time I use a cash dispenser abroad I get the same kick because I led the original team that made it possible for people to get cash from machines throughout Europe, Middle East and Africa using a Visa Card. No matter that it was almost thirty years ago when we started, that feeling returns. It is this feeling that I want to pass on to others when I facilitate workshops; to get that great kick when something you have put a lot of creativity and effort in to achieves successful fruition. So here are six tips to help you innovate: Don’t talk about innovation. Innovate! Don’t learn to innovate. Innovate to learn. Don’t leave it up to a few. Have everyone innovate. If THEY won’t innovate, innovate yourself. Don’t boil the ocean. Start small and scale up.  Commit to move the proposition forward. Tip 1 – Don’t Talk About Innovation. Innovate! As innovation becomes a management discipline, there is a risk that it is seen as the end rather than the means. Many organisations talk too much about innovation but don’t innovate. In...