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Taking Out Doubt

Doubt creeps into nearly every aspect of our work when doing something new. Questions like: Is this going to work? Am I going to look silly? What happens if we’re wrong? Can I afford to fail? Can I afford not to try?

Doubt is beneficial when it creates much needed pause, but not when it delays us in taking the action necessary to move things along.

This issue we’re looking at doubt and how we can deal with it. One way is with cultivating curiosity. Another is changing our ways of thinking (and our brains, too) and building our creative confidence, or even read more books (with tips on how to do it).

That and much more.

There’s no doubt in my mind (and brain) you’ll find something to help you reduce doubt in yours.

Keep well and confident, Cameron

Changing Ourselves

Change starts with us as innovators and that begins changing our perspective of our brains, minds, and self.

Neuroplasticity is about how our brain changes as we age. If you doubt your can change how your brain works, consider these 9 exercises informed by a growing body of research that shows how you can change not only your mind, but your brain, too.

Systems change can apply to the self, too. The Skoll Foundation published a collection of resources aimed at ‘the centred self’ to help you change and develop your leadership, your wellbeing, resilience, and productivity in a way that is human-centred.

Curiosity, just like our brains, is malleable and enormously beneficial to our health and ability to innovate and change. There’s even a business case for it. As Nadine Clay points out there are a lot of ways to build curiosity as she demonstrates from her self-experiment. The lesson: we can recapture that curious spirit we had as kids with the right questions and perspective.

Sometimes all we need is a sense of personal renewal. This speech from John Gardner from 1990 (based on his book “Self-Renewal” argues that our ability to change is only limited by our engagement with the world and our senses and ‘re-wind’ our clock. “We build our own prisons and serve as our jail-keepers”. Maybe it’s time to unlock the cell and let ourselves go.

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Beautiful Strategy

Should strategy have style? Three INSEAD faculty argue it should pointing to research that shows that aligning the aesthetic interests of consumers with producers’ product designs helps to calibrate strategic choices — leading to strategy through style. Maybe it’s time to beautify your strategy.

Aesthetics is about design of products and organisational aesthetics, too.

Scars can be beautiful, too. At least that’s how Tendayi Viki described writing his book on innovation cultures and companies. Much of this is a complacency problem. His list of recommendations help create new ways to think about innovation rather than focus on trying to convince people of its merits. Build the mind-shift and the strategy will follow.

Another cultural aspect to change comes from learning and that comes from psychological safety so says Adam Grant. A beautiful strategy is one that makes people safe to learn, grow, be curious, and rethink what’s possible.

Confidence & Goal-Setting

Creative confidence is the antidote to doubt in innovation. In a recent post on Censemaking I highlight some of the psychological principles for how to support building your own confidence in creating.

Principles also help us to shape our goals. By focusing on principles instead of goals we can reduce the doubt that comes from reaching for a goal that might be ill-conceived or poorly-suited to our circumstances.

Sometimes goal-setting is a problem in itself. Setting the right goals as a means to focus your strategy rather than serve as the end product of your strategy is a way to do this. So is remembering that even S.M.A.R.T goals won’t survive bad systems.

Innovation Ideas

The Internet is changing our brains. This profile of researcher Michael Goldhaber profiles a life and body of work that’s documented this from the very beginning. It’s as disturbing as it is enlightening.

OCAD University’s Dean of Design Dori Tunstall has been leading efforts to get designers to re-think their relationships with people, products, and systems so that what we make reflects our world, not just designers.

Deliberative practice is reflective, intentional, and focused and is what makes innovators learners and not just people with ideas. James Clear’s overview of this important idea should be on the mind of every innovator.

Working At Home

Most of us are still working at home full or at least part time. Here’s three resources from the Harvard Business Review to help make that a little better.

Make time for small talk. That is the lesson from emerging research on home work published in the Harvard Business Review. Take a little time each meeting to do what we used to do — talk about the little things (it can make a big difference to your collaborations).

Another HBR recommendation is this one from Neil Pasricha on how to read more books, more often. The secret is not having more time, but using the reading time you have differently. This article highlights some ways you can read more, more in-depth, and clear off your bookshelf.

Lastly, trust-building is important more than ever in a Work From Home era. This article from Mark Mortensen and Heidi K. Gardner explains why and how to nurture trust while working remotely.

Thanks for reading everyone. Keep well and creative.

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