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Censemaking No.20

Creative Starts & Stops

A cheetah's effectiveness as a hunter is determined not by how fast it runs, but how fast it stops and turns
This is a useful metaphor for innovation where much of what we do to make change involves starting, stopping, and turning throughout our journey. 
This issue, we look a little closer at the creative aspects of the journey from starts to stops. We'll look at creating projects that get realized, how to spot disruptions ahead, why stopping to take a break might be the best way to get started, and some of the myths that stop innovation cold. Add in some upcoming events and there's a lot to percolate for this week's coffee break. 
Put on the coffee, steep your tea, and let's get learning. 
May you find some great starts in your coming week. Thanks for reading

-- Cameron

Getting Things Done

Design Thinking vs Viability Thinking

A criticism of design thinking is that many of the new possibilities it generates aren't feasible to bring to life. Al Cottrill from Class36 argues that innovators are better off using viability thinking to develop new ideas into products that actually get launched. Designing the business model before the service, designing backwards from viability, and addressing feasibility broadly in the design process are ways we can get great ideas and have them implemented. 

Break time

Innovators work hard to generate ideas and bring them to life. What if you could accomplish more and learn better by doing less? That's what research on learning and the brain has found: taking breaks helps our working memory process and retain new information. By learning more efficiently by paradoxically taking greater breaks we can do and accomplish more. So take that break - you have work to do. 
If that wasn't enough, psychologist Barry Schwartz has written about the research that shows the benefits of taking a break actually make us more efficient overall, not less. Drawing on literature from behavioural economics and social psychology, Schwartz shows how slowing ourselves, by design, can help us make more efficient, satisfying, and impactful decisions. We do more when we do less. 

Disruption

Spotting Disruption

Futurist and author Amy Webb unleashed a wave of commentary on Twitter that provides an excellent, accessible primer on what strategic foresight actually is. Webb argues that better foresight allows us to spot disruptions before they arrive and how to better address that in our planning.
 
Over at the Censemaking blog, we've added to this and argue that, without the strategy and commitment to implement it, even the best futures planning won't mean much. 

Disrupting Myths of Innovation

Greg Satell has profiled a series of persistent myths that kill innovation. Drawing on his experience in business and working in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution, Satell argues that we don't need a fast start, early commitment, a unique value proposition (and differentiation), or to engage the critics to be successful. Big change can come from the bottom or the top and in many forms and the sooner we dispell these myths, the better we'll be. 

Collaborate, Better

In another article in HBR, Heidi Gardner and Ivan Matviak look at how we can collaborate better in times of crisis. Drawing on a variety of research, they argue that 'threat rigidity' posed by crises can limit our ability to communicate, share, and listen effectively and suggest seven ways leaders can promote collaboration in times of crisis - which seem like they might be around for a while. 

Quit, Faster

What if going forward wasn't the fastest way ahead? Being able to cut your project short might be the best way to move innovation forward in the long-term. Research on agile innovation has found that the most successful innovators quit early and often. This echoes Seth Godin's wise words in his book, The Dip, where he says: “Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt." Quit faster to succeed sooner. 

Cameras, Off?

Remote learning and meetings are complicated by issues of technology, privacy, familiarity, and comfort and the matter of whether the camera is on or not shapes our online encounters. Educator Katie Seltzer provides a great overview of strategies we can use -- in teaching or meeting -- that can allow us to better attend to those who don't wish to or can't engage group discussions with the camera on. The more we engage, the better we all learn. 

Events

The Great Wave

Beauty can make a difference in how we see our organizations and our work. That's the thinking behind a unique online festival of ideas called The Great Wave coming October 16-19, 2020. The event, organized by the House of Beautiful Business, is online and requires registration and features artists, speakers, scholars and local 'hubs' for connecting to people near you.  

Innovation: The Art & Science of Change

What does it actually mean to innovate? Explore the foundations of how to make change happen, by design -- innovation - in this one-hour, free webinar delivered by me (Cameron Norman) October 22, 2020 at 1100 EDT. Registration is required. 
Like what you're reading? Share this with others!
"It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low." - Bill Nicholson
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