24 Sense Opportunities

by | Jan 24, 2012 | Facilitate meetings, Innovate

YES! AND… Facilitate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla # 24 Tune your creative antennae to be much more sensitive with the 5 “Ds”. Miracles, you do not have to look for them. They are there, 24/7, beaming like radio waves around  you. Put up the antenna, turn up the volume – snap… crackle… this just in, every person you talk to is a chance to change the world… Hugh Elliott, Standing Room Only weblog, May 6, 2003 (The blog is not for those of a sensitive nature) This week I took a taxi to Cairo airport. Being a car passenger in Cairo invariably leads you to close your eyes and hope, (the drivers have their eyes closed already), but this was 7.00 a.m. on a Friday with little traffic around. Even so my taxi was “cut up” by a speeding driver. A kilometre further up the road on a bend the speedster lit his hazard flashers and slowed. My driver took the opportunity to overtake and accelerated. Every antenna in my body stared resonating, “Why are his hazard lights on? Something is wrong… why the hazards?” and I clung to the hand strap. (Seat belts? Hah!). Rounding the bend at 100 kilometres per hour  (my eyes glued to the speedometer) we hit an accident scene. My driver braked, skidded on spilt oil and we began scraping along the central reservation. My antennae were right. Antennae are useful (if you are in control!) Before the launch of the Creative Gorilla, I was concerned I might have insufficient inspiration to move past five articles. The impetus to start writing was the advice Michael Neill gave...

23 Use Ideas From Other Industries

YES! AND… Facilitate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla # 23 How do you systematically look for ideas from other industries? “When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth” George Bernard Shaw ~ Playwright How are you getting fresh ideas in to your organisation? Have you ever booked an airline ticket online? In my worst experience I clicked on the wrong button and closed the screen. When I went back a minute later, the fare had increased £15. It happened again this week; check the fare, book it an hour later and the fare is up £20. Finally you reach the last page and they tell you there is a £40 surcharge for fuel, airport tax and £5 for emergency oygen. I was aggrieved (mainly because, by now I should have learned to book when I look) and the experience must have stayed in my subsconcious because this morning I awoke with the wicked thought for how I could offer my Teeming with Llamas course to all of these airlines. In the first paragraph I would offer the course at £75 per head if they book now. By the second paragraph it would be £150 and by the salutation it would be £450. In the postscript I would inform them that refreshments must be paid for and that there is a surcharge for use of the  field; (“Let’s take a comfort break now. Premium Class… facilities are in the house, Standard Class… please avoid the llama pellets when using the field”). Humour apart, there is the germ of a creative idea here. Major training companies with online booking facilities could offer...

22 How to Use the Random Connection Technique

YES! AND… Facilitate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla # 22 “Random connections” is a useful technique when stuck for ideas. “I have an idea!”  “Twas he that ranged the words at random flung pierced the fair pearls and them together strung.” Bidpai Pilpay If called on to run a creative session RIGHT NOW could you deliver? Imagine you are waiting to meet with a colleague or client. Suddenly the door flies open and they appear. “Sam, (or whatever), we’re trying to come up with a name for our new service and thought you could give us some ideas”. You enter and four expectant faces (and a remote worker on the speaker ‘phone) look up. Do you: Panic? Start thinking of ideas for a name? Search your mind for a handy creative technique and facilitate an idea generation session? This scenario happened to me last week at a client’s office. I opted for choice “C”. Oh OK, I admit I went through option “A” for a split second because I normally prepare thoroughly before a creative session. I facilitated using “Random Connection” (click here and search on our site for details on the technique). This is a great technique to use when you have a blank sheet of paper, blank minds and little time. We used random words and random objects as a catalyst between the information in the group’s head and the issue in hand and produced about seventy ideas. Some facilitation tips are: Not all ideas are realistic so challenge the group to find a practical idea from these “springboards” (this is essential if you are to avoid cynicism from those who believe...

21 Find the Qualities of a Creative Leader

YES! AND… Facilitate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla # 21 Creative leaders have a number of qualities, what do you think they are? “She accomplished more in her 28 years than most people do in a lifetime” Patrick Leahy US Senator Browsing at the station newsvendor at St Paul’s, the leader article in the Independent stood out. A “framed” photograph of a young woman who was not a celebrity, but one whose life we should celebrate. Maria Ruzicka was the unlucky victim of a bomb in Iraq and someone who, from the evidence in the article and whatever your political views, could teach us lessons about the qualities of being a creative leader. Try to pick them out in this brief story. Maria was an American aid worker in Iraq. She was driven by a simple premise: if the US caused suffering it should try and help the innocent people who suffered. As such, she established a charity, CIVIC, to provide relief for the innocent victims of the war. She negotiated government bureaucracy in Washington and personally lobbied senators to secure $10 million funding to help people who had lost the family breadwinner. In Iraq, she cultivated those US officials that decided who would receive compensation, to speed compensation to the right people. In addition, she used her prodigious energy to successfully pester diplomats for aid, cajole journalists for promotion and to console victims who considered her a warm and open hearted person. So What qualities did you identify? I identified these: A strong set of values A clear premise on which to work Vision – a well defined goal Self confidence...

20 Balance operation and innovation

 YES! AND… Facilitate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla # 20 How do you obtain the right balance of operation and innovation? “This coffee plunges in to the stomach…. the mind is aroused and ideas pour forth like the battalions of the Grand Army on the field of battle. Memories charge at full gallop… the Light Cavalry of comparisons deploys itself magnificently, the artillery of logic hurries in with their train of ammunition and flashes of wit pop up like sharp shooters.” Honore de Balzac, Author and Journalist “So was that decaffeinated coffee you had, Honore?” John Brooker  Is your organisation balancing operation and innovation correctly? In my office I start up my brand new (expensive) computer. It has a noisy fan. Box it up and return it. Fan replaced, I fire it up. No sound and the memory reader doesn’t work. I wonder at the money they spend on advertising when they can’t get the basics right. In my car I drive in to a motorway service station to buy a coffee. The billboard adverts extol the virtues of their Italian coffee. “A decaff coffee to take away please.” “Sorry” says the lady behind the counter, “we haven’t got any lids.” “No lids?” I reply, bemused. “No, we’ve only got six cups left too.” I think she is proud of that. Pushed for time and not wanting hot coffee in my lap, I leave without coffee and muse on the logistical planning that leaves a coffee store without the basic needs to trade. After twenty articles, most of you will realise I am a raving fan of creative thinking and innovation....

19 Make Time to Think Creatively

YES! AND… Facilitate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla # 19 You should give yourself time to think and innovate. “Exit, pursued by a bear”.  William Shakespeare – stage direction, in “The Winter’s Tale”. “Exit, in pursuit of a beer”.  John Brooker – seeking direction in a Russian winter’s tale. Last month I was being driven from an airport in Moscow to the hotel. The driver had limited English (though better than my three words of Russian) but was very talkative. As we passed a large advertising hoarding next to a forest he said, “Fifteen years ago my friend’s…” I anticipated a tale of brave heroes “…car was hit by a moose there”. I laughed. He continued, “In this forest we have moose and er… pork?” “Wild boar?” I suggested. “Da, da, in the forest, moose, pig, but no beer.” I looked at him, puzzled, I guess no beer would ruin the barbeque and then I translated correctly. “Ah, BEAR!” He nodded. “Da, da, BEAR. Beer you drink yes?” We both laughed but I wondered, shamefully, if a mouse rather than a moose had hit his friend’s car! During the ongoing very slow journey, the “moose, pork and beer” trilogy triggered off the memory of a game called Giants, Wizards and Goblins that I use in some workshops. Some of you have played it. For those who haven’t, it is similar to the children’s game “Rock, Paper, Scissors” but acted out with the body. In the game, Giants kill Wizards, Wizards kill Goblins and Goblins kill Giants, so it shouldn’t take you too much effort to see how the new...