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Creativity

Doodle and scribble over Powerpoint.

Doodle and scribble over Powerpoint.

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We always talk about death by Power Point but after leaving a great consultancy firm, every company after used Power Point as a habit.  I had to then look at how to get people to veer away from whipping out the laptop and projector.  I was no longer a consultant with brown paper to chart and put up ideas.  

Why do we use Powerpoint?

It’s a habit!  Just like any habit it can be limiting if we always do things the same way, we may always think the same and get similar results.  If we change the material we use to one that is more collaborative and even the medium the results could be a significant competitive advantage.

The best tool I then found was my pen!

If you have been a parent, and you have given a pen to your 2 year old, you know they take it and start doodling away.  The thoughts start to translate to scribbles in a page.

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It is the same for an adult.  Try it instead of whipping out your slides; take a few pens and a blank pad.  Ask open questions:

  • Take me through what’s going on now, what are the business challenges and hand them the pen you would be surprised at the outcome.

As they go through pay attention to their thought process, and build upon their ideas this collaboration can bring many different alternatives.

  • What do you think some of the solutions could be?
  • What are the barriers that you are seeing?
  • Who are the key players there?  What do you need from them? What makes them tick?  What would make them successful?  What do they need?

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As they gothrough the solutions, challenges and stakeholders again build upon the doodle and start to connect the dots.

Paper does not have to be the only material that is used.  My daughter’s Krippe (nursery) group had a session at Starbucks where they gave out free ceramic mug and pens.

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What about a different medium?

Don’t even let the main content of this blog restrict you.   The medium does not have to by physical.  After spending a weekend with a group of disabled children where we produced a play, I came back to work with the challenge of mapping processes in 6 weeks.  I decided to try a different way, and tested it out with stakeholders to produce films.  4 film studios produced 32 movies or what actually were processes, that mapped the steps, identified risks, solutions and engaged people in a typically dry process of SAP.  This weekend I am back at university for a seminar on leadership, and I am using movies as a medium to demonstrate values and leadership. Keep doodling.

What Companies Could Learn From School

What Companies Could Learn From School

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At school I used to get to the playground early “Play” British Bulldog (a childhood game in English Schools).  “Learn” by challenging concepts and applying techniques in lessons, before going home to watch Neighbours, do “Homework” and then hang out with friends. Play

My first boss in Switzerland said he wanted someone who delivered but also knew how to have fun.  There is a need to have fun, play and explore the environment, product, industry and people that we work with in order to grow.  Too often we get into work, turn our email on, only to see an extortionate amount of unopened messages, and embark on our day.  What if we did things differently?  What if we had activities that enabled exploration?  This could be as small as hanging out to have coffee together, playing cards, hackathons what is important is that the activity needs to be culturally relevant.

Now the obvious challenge is where would the time come from.  I have seen so much time being spent in organisations on things that are no longer needed, or non-value adding.   The challenge is to break the status quo, question their value and where they are not productive stop the task.   Not many organisations do this.  If we were to give ourselves more time back we could get into a more productive cycle that moves us away from myopic to macro thinking.  Secondly it does not have to be a liner activity, so it could happen at any time of the day.

Learn

At school we learnt across a variety of subjects, which bred entrepreneurship, innovation and development.  We too often put people into a Job Description.  I have many passions, and skill sets and not just for the one that I no work in.  There should be more sharing across functions, and jobs should be able to be multi faceted.  I would even go as far to say that your employees should be able to wear a customer, competitor and or CEO hat on regular sessions.  This would stimulate their brain on customer requirements, being competitive, thinking what could destroy the company and generate solutions.  This environment to create and challenge employees seems to be easier in start-ups, but there is a need to develop this way of thinking in more traditional organisations.  Google allow 20% of time for an employee to develop on a project of their choice, why is this a rare facet for a company?

Homework

This is not to take work home.  Past school age we have acquired responsibilities: children, families, hobbies and a life!  What homework does require is a passion to reflect. If employees are passionate about what they do, then have a mindset to reflect and think what can I do to improve it, which often can feed back into playtime.

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