Author Archives: Matthew E May

The Simple Cure for Overthinking

The Simple Cure for Overthinking

In front of me sit 40 six sigma “black belts,” appraising me warily, all squinty-eyed and knit-browed. I’ve been asked to give them an introduction to design thinking. I don’t have a six sigma belt of any color. I fully admit that I wouldn’t know the difference between a six and any other number sigma. I have decided to tee ...

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3 Simple Steps to Silencing Your Inner Critic

Neuroscience explains it, but psychology offers the fix During a recent creative strategy session, I witnessed what psychologist Carl Jung referred to over a century ago as “an inner critic or judge who immediately comments on everything.” I had given a team of young executives a thought challenge as a right-brain warmup exercise. Although they were unsuccessful in landing on ...

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A Patient’s Perspective on Healthcare Innovation

The Healthcare Innovation Amazon and Apple Should Focus On It is no secret that Amazon has a secret artificial intelligence healthcare project called 1492. Amazon is making several strategic moves into the healthcare vertical, including hiring machine learning experts, investing in healthcare startups, and sponsoring hackathon-type innovation challenges with six-digit prizes for killer apps that can leverage Alexa, Amazon’s voice-recognition ...

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Finding Your Silver Bullet in an Apple Pie

A parable… Once upon a time, a man was served a dessert of home baked apple pie at a dinner hosted by his neighbor. The man had never before tasted such a perfect pie crust. “What is your secret?” he asked his host. “You are welcome to my recipe,” replied the neighbor. “There’s no secret. It’s all right there in ...

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3-Point Strategy for Drawing People In

Aristotle maintained that “all men by nature desire to know.” He was referring to human curiosity. Samuel Johnson called curiosity “the first passion and last.” Why? Because curiosity seeks what is different, without regard for whether or not it’s of benefit. Tell someone not to do something, and it creates an instant temptation to do whatever they’re being asked not ...

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20 Reasons Why Your Company Won’t Change

On a recent visit to a former client’s workplace I noticed a poster entitled “I’m Not Changing!” I’d seen it elsewhere, and I’m sure you’ve seen it as well, or something like it. This time it gave me pause, perhaps because we’re now starting the second half of the year, and calendar milestones tend to trigger the “fresh start” effect. ...

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Boost Your Creativity This Weekend With This

For many people, weekends present a chance to take a break from the rigors of work, relax and rejuvenate. A recent study suggests that spending that break in a specific way may result in a few positive side effects that will boost your performance when you resume your daily routine; namely, better creativity, insight, and problem solving. Researchers at the ...

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Pruning Your Root Cause

Process improvers the world over rally around root cause analysis as if it were the Holy Grail of all things organizational. But is it? Understanding the root cause of a problem certainly makes sense in the context of a present day situation carrying the potential for a correct answer or solution. In the process improvement world, problems center on reducing ...

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What Appears to be Strategy Often is Not

I regularly engage in hansei (reflection) after each of my facilitation engagements. It’s a simple learning mechanism, essentially an after-action process of asking: what I expected to happen (my hypothesis if you will), what actually happened, and what explains the gap, if there is one. And there invariably is. The gap is where learning and insight live. It creates new knowledge. It’s ...

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