|Welcome to the Creative World of Jeffrey Paul Baumgartner!||
Your newsletter on applied creativity, imagination, ideas and innovation in business.
Tuesday, 27 January 2006
Hello and welcome to another issue of Report 103, your fortnightly newsletter on creativity, imagination, ideas and innovation in business.
As always, if you have news about creativity, imagination, ideas, or innovation please feel free to forward it to me for potential inclusion in Report103. Your comments and feedback are also always welcome.
Information on unsubscribing, archives, reprinting articles, etc can be found at the end of this newsletter.
This week, I am delighted to offer you another terrific article from a guest writer. The author, Dr. Yew Kam Keong (Dr.YKK), is an international speaker, trainer and consultant on creativity. He conducts creativity workshops for local and multinational corporations in Malaysia and other countries. Dr.YKK is the only Asian to be selected by Lego to be one of its 8 international creativity experts to spearhead its global creativity movement, “The Next Generation Forum.” He is also the best-selling author of the book: YOU ARE CREATIVE-LET YOUR CREATIVITY BLOOM. Website: http://www.mindbloom.net.
GETTING PEOPLE EXCITED ABOUT CREATIVITY
by Yew Kam Keong, Ph.D (Dr. YKK )
Mike Vance, the Dean of the Disney University is in full agreement with having an organizational system for creativity. This is what he believes:
“The highest creativity occurs in well-organized environments. Poor organization leads to wasted time and confusion. Confused people are not creative people.”
“If you eventually become a world-class CEO, you will be a tiger on the subject of ideas. You will set up your organization to foster creativity, search your organization for the best ideas, the best people. You will glorify those ideas and generously reward the people who thought them up. You will quickly forgive the idea-maker who flops. Your organization will become well known as an extraordinary creative place. And the most creative people will flock to work there.”
“Sadly, most business leaders are mentally illiterate. They have been taught many things, but never to think. By their own admission, 90 percent of business leaders have never studied creative thinking – they haven’t studied the basic alphabet of their own intelligence.”
Asking the Right Question
"How to Make Your Work Easier", there was a dramatic increase in response though both of challenges have the same end objective. In the first case, the workers' perception was that the management and owners were the beneficiaries of the project to improve productivity. In the second case the beneficiaries were clearly the workers themselves.
The Ford Motor Company was in a sorry state in 1980 when Donald E. Petersen took over as president. Sales were down and Ford was losing market share at a rapid rate. One of the major factors leading to the decline was the design policy consisting of a set of strict and complicated design rules that severely hampered creativity. Petersen replaced the rigid set of rules with a 12-word target for the Design Center :
“Design something that you would be proud to park in your driveway.”
This 12 word directive established a winning formula that empowered and motivated
the team. The directive unleashed the team’s creativity that enabled them
to design the highly successful range of Thunderbird and Taurus cars.Encourage
Such incidents of breakthroughs are by no means isolated. In fact, it seems to be the most effective mechanism for innovations and is popularly practised in Silicon Valley.
The goal is to get at least one idea from everyone in the organization in an atmosphere of fun and celebration. All ideas submitted are rewarded. Rewards could be in the form of certificates, T-shirts, caps, pens, badges, etc. At the end of the celebration, there should be grand function such as a company dinner where outstanding performers are recognized and rewarded. There should also be some frivolous awards like the funniest idea, the craziest idea, the most elaborate idea, the most playful idea and so on.
The motor-cycle company, Harley-Davidson ran a 30 day Idea Campaign and saved US$3,000,000!
THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A BAD IDEA
If you are serious about creativity and innovation, whether for yourself or your organisation, there is one basic principle you should accept: there is no such thing as a bad idea.
There are, of course, ideas which you should not implement in their present form. They may seem like bad ideas to the uninitiated. They are not. They are simply ideas need further development. Such ideas in their original form may...
Let's call such ideas “premature ideas”. With a bit of work, many of them can be transformed into good, implementable ideas.
When an employee or colleague comes to you with a premature idea, follow these three steps...
As a rather extreme example, imagine an overly enthusiastic young marketing executive comes to you and says: “With their new product, the competition our outselling us by two to one. I think we should blow up their headquarters building. That will slow them down!”
Aside from making a mental note to have the a psychologist talk to the young executive about her destructive ideas, you should reply: “That's an interesting, if extreme, idea. I like the idea of slowing the competition down, but I am not sure I could condone such an approach. How else might we slow them down?”
Here you have complimented the idea's strong point, indicated a concern and have turned that concern into a challenge. Moreover, you have done some positive things for the marketing executive...
Unfortunately, most of us would be inclined to respond to the marketing executive's idea with a statement like: “you must be crazy!” or “that's a terrible idea!” The result of such statements would be humiliation, discouragement and demotivation. Very likely that marketing executive would learn to keep future ideas – at least her more creative ideas to herself. Worse, if her colleagues learn of the rejection, they will also learn to keep ideas to themselves.
As I stated, the example given is an extreme one. But even in less extreme situations, do not call a premature idea a bad idea. Instead...
You'll find this simple approach results in more ideas, more motivated staff and a higher degree of innovation.
NEW AT WWW.JPB.COM
At the jpb.com web site, we have added a couple of new features.
The brainstorm resource centre brings together our various brainstorming articles, information and service in one directory devoted to brainstorming. Every month, thousands of people first discover the jpb.com web site as a result of a search on the term “brainstorming”. In order to serve them better, we're providing all the information in one place. You can find the brainstorm resource centre at http://www.jpb.com/brainstorming/.
We have also made a simple, on-line Innovation Survey for firms of 100+ people. Smaller firms can do the survey, but the results are likely to be less accurate.
The survey is at http://www.jpb.com/ideamanagement/innovation_survey.php If you work in a medium to large sized firm, take the survey. But don't take it too seriously. A few questions on a web page is, of course, not sufficient to provide an accurate innovation profile. If you want a more detailed innovation audit, contact me to arrange it.
SUGGESTION BOX HUMOUR
It is not often that jokes are made about suggestion schemes. Here's a rare exception: http://www.ucomics.com/nonsequitur/2006/01/05/
LEGISLATING DIVERSE BOARDS?
In 2003, Norway adopted legislation that requires that all firms listed on the country's stock exchange must have boards of directors made up of at least 40% women. That law provided a two year deadline for firms to comply and, in theory, in 2006 all firms should have complied with the law. Many have not.
Interestingly, the point behind the law is – it is claimed - not equality for women. Rather it is to enforce diversity on boards of directors of Norwegian firms.
Regular readers of Report 103 will know that I am a firm believer in diversity in groups as a means of generating more creative ideas and being more innovative. However, I have my doubts about whether or not a government can effectively legislate diversity as a means of boosting innovation. What do you think?
More information at http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,16781,1682083,00.html.
CREATIVE MANAGEMENT IN-HOUSE TRAINING
Managers have a double responsibility when it comes to creativity. Not only must they be creative themselves, but they must help their team to be more creative as well. Our new “Creative Management” in-house training programme will teach managers: how to think more creatively, creative problem solving techniques, brainstorming techniques, creative team building, promoting creativity, rewarding creativity and more.
If you are interested, contact me to discuss how we can help you. And be sure to remind me that you are a Report 103 reader for a special discount.
MOST INVENTIVE COMPANIES
The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has just published its list of companies receiving the most US patents in the year 2005. As you can see, the list is dominated by Japanese firms with just a small handful of American companies appearing. European firms are sadly non-existent on the list.
While one could consider the list a ranking of the most inventive companies in the American market, that would not be entirely accurate. For example, Japanese firms traditionally define their patents very narrowly, while American firms tend to go for broad patents.
Meanwhile, here in Europe, there are greater restrictions on what might be patented. For example, business processes cannot be patented, nor can most software applications. Nevertheless, European companies marketing their innovative products in the USA will normally apply for patents there – as patents are only recognised in the country in which they are registered.
Here are the top ten...
As we can see, IBM has taken the lead yet again, registering an average of more than 10 patents every business day! Their lawyers must keep busy.
Report 103 is a complimentary weekly electronic newsletter from Bwiti bvba of Belgium (a jpb.com company: http://www.jpb.com). Archives and subscription information can be found at http://www.jpb.com/report103/
Report 103 is edited by Jeffrey Baumgartner and is published on the first and third Tuesday of every month.
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