Monthly Archives: March 2012

U.S. Air Force Innovator

Although the United States Air Force has only existed for a little over 60 years (it was created as a separate entity in 1947), its sheer size and typical military bureaucratic tendencies made it an organization relatively immune to change. This inertia, however, ran in direct contrast to the mission of the Air Force to be both innovative in development and application of new technology (faster, more advanced aerospace systems).

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Brainstorming…Fast and Fun!

How many times have you come out of a brainstorming session feeling unsatisfied with the results? The team never felt like it got into a rhythm. The idea flow felt like a drizzle versus a storm. None of the ideas that the team spent much time on seemed especially good (BTW, you should never spend a lot of time on any one idea in a brainstorming session).

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The Separation Effect Required within Innovation

In organizations that practice ambidextrous design they separate the new, exploratory units from their more traditional, exploitative ones, allowing for different processes, structures, and cultures to emerge but it is at the senior management level they maintain tight links. This way you can pioneer more breakthrough or even disruptive innovation while allowing the incremental gains to be focused, and optimized without this consistent set of distractions of trying to balance the two within the same resource pool or trying to squeeze it through the same assessment and time line process.

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The Domes

A short film of The Domes in Davis, Ca. Filmed March 16-18, 2012. The Domes is an on-campus cooperative housing community consisting of 14 polyurethane-insulated fiberglass domes. It is one of the only student co-housing cooperative communities in the USA, and is an early example of the modern-day growing Tiny House/Small House Movement.

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Have Fun At Work!

Fun is no longer part of the business equation. Our focus on productivity, quality, and cost has killed it. Killed it dead. Vital few, return on investment, Gantt charts, project plans, and criminal number one – PowerPoint. I can’t stand it.

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Boardroom Myopia – Symptoms and Remedy

Short-sightedness in boardroom decision making can take on many forms, e.g. failure to consider how the decision will be perceived outside the boardroom (optics) or failure to understand how the decision will affect the company over time (precedence). No matter the type of myopia, the impact is consistent: sub-optimal decisions that lead to conflict and public disillusionment. There is an easy-to-implement remedy: a decision sieve that helps boards review a series of questions to make sure they are consistently evaluating their decisions against the organization’s vision, mission, values and strategies and against the perceptions of stakeholders (e.g. employees, shareholders, vendors, community).

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