107 Stimulate Innovation With Prizes…

by | Apr 27, 2012 | Innovate

YES! AND… Collaborate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla #107 How might you use prizes to inspire innovation in companies? “Proactive prizes are phenomenally powerful tools. They circumvent bureaucracy, investment anxiety and, where necessary, ideology. They exploit the human will to take part, compete and win.”  Bryan Appleyard, Journalist: “The mother of invention: cash” UK Sunday Times News Review,  13 December 2009. How might your organisation use prizes for innovation?  In 1714, the British government offered a £20,000 Longitude Prize, for “a simple and practical method to determine a ship’s longitude”. The eventual winner, John Harrison, started work in 1730 and eventually received his prize (or part of it) in 1773! Despite Harrison’s experience, journalist Bryan Appleyard writes that prizes for innovation are still popular. (Please see the source in the quotation above. Unfortunately, the article is not available on the “TimesOnline” website).  In his article, Appleyard cites (among others): The Ansari X $10million prize for the development of a private sector spacecraft (now put in to production for Virgin Galactic) The DARPA $40,000 prize for finding ten red weather balloons across the USA, an experiment to test the power of networks for gathering accurate information The Mprize, an unknown amount to develop a longer living mouse Agencies use these prizes to promote innovation in a cost effective way. As the promoters of the Mprize state on their site, “The Mprize springs from a simple truth: The greatest innovations in human history have always been fueled by three things … competition, imagination, and the entrepreneurial spirit.” So prizes work, however, the prize that interested me most was a $1 million prize offered by Netflix, a DVD distribution web site. Its prize was awarded...

106 How to Value Time for Innovation…

Yes! And… Creative Gorilla # 106 Do we need to rethink how we value time for innovation in organisations…? “I would like to propose a large (think Stonehenge) mechanical clock, powered by seasonal temperature changes. It ticks once a year, bongs once a century, and the cuckoo comes out every millennium” Danny Hillis, Computer Scientist. To see how it has progressed, click here Do you have time to think? I met a business associate the other day for a coffee and a chat. We were discussing his new role and he said that the day before, he had got up at 4 a.m. for a flight to Berlin, had spent all day in negotiations and arrived home at 9.00 p.m, very tired. “You just don’t get any time working in an organisation any more,” he said. Keep reading! I am not going to get in to the work / life balance discussion which has already laid waste to a few forests! My perspective is that we need… a new currency. No, not a replacement for the Euro, Dollar or Pound, that are issued by central banks. This currency is based on the value of time. A currency must have a name and as this is my concept, I named it the Thunk, the value of time.  I reasoned that I value time in business because it enables me to think clearly and when I have been thinking, I will often say, “I have had a good thunk about this”. You may say my grammar is appalling, but the Oxford dictionary tells me that “Thunk” is an informal or humorous past...

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...

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...

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...

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...