Creativity

Innovation and Quality – Allies or Enemies?

Can quality and creativity cohabit in the same house or are they natural enemies? Can a quality process be applied to innovation? Let’s start with the first question. Quality involves the removal of unwanted variations, the enforcement of strict standards and controls, the application of best practice and the elimination of waste and errors. Creativity and innovation involve exploring many ...

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The Art of Whitespace

Being a sometime pencil sketcher, I’ve been a fan of the Wall Street Journal pen and ink stipple portraits, also known as a hedcut (that’s not a typo) since I started reading the journal in 1982. I love the fact that the portraits are most whitespace with artfully placed dots and dashes — pure black and white — and the ...

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How to Ruin a Brainstorming Session

The brainstorming session is the most popular group creativity exercise in business. It is quick, easy and it works. But many organizations have become frustrated with brainstorms and have stopped using them. They say this group ideation technique is old-fashioned and no longer effective. But the real reason for their frustration is typically that the brainstorming meetings are not facilitated ...

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Innovation, Jazz, and Improvisation

What do jazz and innovation have in common? Quite a bit. Many years ago, in 24/7 Innovation, I wrote… “Most businesses are run like classical symphonies – long, with elaborate compositions (detailed workflows) that leave little room for interpretation. Employees are expected to follow these compositions rote. Unfortunately, by the time they learn the score, the music would have to ...

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Are You Crushing Creativity?

CEOs have much more power than they realize. They can patiently create a climate of creativity or they can crush it in a series of subtle comments and gestures. Their actions send powerful signals. Their responses to suggestions and ideas are deciphered by staff as encouragement or rejection. If you want to crush creativity in your organization and eliminate all ...

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Unexpected Inspiration

Sometimes, try as you might, it’s impossible to focus on the task at hand. When you can’t focus, one alternative is to accept the mental roadblock and actively look for another time (perhaps an unconventional one) where you can shift the activity and your creative energy. At dinner recently, we had a very specific business topic (that had been hanging ...

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Are You Asking Questions?

Children learn by asking questions. Students learn by asking questions. New recruits learn by asking questions. Innovators understand client needs by asking questions. It is the simplest and most effective way of learning. People who think that they know it all no longer ask questions – why should they? Brilliant thinkers never stop asking questions because they know that this ...

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Great Ideas Aren't Innovation

by Mike Myatt “Ideas Don’t Equal Innovation” and I can prove it…It is my hope that today’s post will serve to help dispel the myth that ideas are inherently good things. Let me state right from the outset that I place little value on ideas. Not only do raw ideas have little intrinsic value, but they are often very costly. ...

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Toyota and Innovation by Design

Scion Exile Concept Sketch by Matthew E May I’m fortunate enough to count car designer Kevin Hunter, president of Toyota’s CALTY Design Research, among my board of muses. CALTY (California+Toyota) is one of Toyota’s most influential design centers, located in Newport Beach, CA. CALTY is involved in nearly all of Toyota’s major vehicle design programs. According to Kevin, Toyota wants ...

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Start Talking Nonsense

Though The Beatles “Abbey Road” album was recorded 40 years ago, I recently heard a program called “Pop Go the Beatles” about its creation. Told through stories and alternative takes of the album’s classic songs, it was so inspiring it spawned posts for today, Wednesday, and Friday this week. During an early recording of “Something,” George Harrison hadn’t finished the ...

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