Cartoons by Gregg Fraley

    Destructive Intelligence Limits Innovation

    My illustrious partner at KILN, the subtly dynamic Mr. Indy Neogy, MBA, has penned a very insightful piece on how research and analytical intelligence actually hoses innovation. Hoses, a term I’ve borrowed from Bob & Doug McKenzie, means “screws up” or “ruined”. To read the full piece click here. I did an illustration to go along with the words, which I’m posting below because it’s a bit of fun.* By the way, KILN is an innovation services company — I’m proud to be a founding partner. Indy’s article and my illustration are to be found in KILN’s newsletter Kindling — brain food for your innovation efforts (sign up here to get it via email).

    That’s all for today folks, but read Indy’s piece. It’s true, we are overbalanced on our innovation vehicles, great brakes will never have us winning a race without an equally great divergent engine. Indy’s piece does a great job of telling not only the Why, but the more action-able, How.

    Wishing you peace from the woods.

    A one mouse engine doesn't work...I'd go for at least six.

    A one mouse engine doesn’t work…I’d go for at least six.

    *For more cheeky fun, print the graphic and tape it above your coffee machine with a blank page below asking for comments…we’re only trying to inject a little bit of the goofing into your day here folks.

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    Secret Wish #12 — Free Association

    Had a fun evening at the London Writers Club last night. It got me thinking about thinking. Writers are always thinking about their projects, which inspired this cartoon, and this thought: to be a fluid idea generator one must allow for a lot of free association. That means allowing your mind to go its own way without you trying to control it. Writers tend to be pretty good at this, not only in their writing, but in their thinking between writing sessions. Everything in front of them is stimulus for characters, stories, structure, and generally, ideas. Do you allow your thoughts to roam and roam free? At least now and then? Then do you try to pull some meaning out

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    Do You Want Innovation or a Dirty Martini?

    I’ve been following some interesting posts lately by Paul Hobcraft regarding management engagement in Innovation. Paul’s posts have a lot to do with the concept of engagement. It inspired the attached cartoon. I think many high level executives simply don’t know what they have. Until it’s too late. There are a lot of smart people out there, with great ideas. Talent is something you need if you really want to innovate. And yet, really, most organizations already have that talent. No, not every employee is Jony Ives and is an impact player at that level, but nearly every company has some people that, under the right circumstances, can hit home runs (score goals, set records, win gold, etc.). Ives himself

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    Secret Wish #11, Creative Goofing

    Is there a value to goofy, no purpose, experimenting? Does it make you more creative? I think yes. Madge here wanted to be goofy — and see if anybody noticed. Nobody noticed. She didn’t care. She felt better and got off the train with a giggle in her heart. Creative tip: giggles in your heart are a good thing. Have them. Make them happen. Toodles.  

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    How to Start an Innovation Initiative

    I was in France a couple weeks ago and was delighted to help someone learning English. They asked what is the most useful phrase in the language. I knew immediately. The phrase? “It depends.” It’s the answer to nearly any complex question. It buys you time to think, and actually, it’s nearly always true. And of course it allows you to pretend to know something you don’t. So, when I am asked how to begin an Innovation Initiative, the ultimate complex question, this is my answer — it depends. If I know context I can do better than It Depends, but it takes time, effort, and money to know context well enough to give a good answer. What does it

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    Secret Wish #11 — Creativity and Air Time

    The world is at least one third introverts. Some would say half the population. The people you work with, your family, your spouse, many of these people do not want to have to shout you down to be heard. Creativity has a lot to do with self-expression. If that is not happening with one third of a team there won’t be much productive work or innovation. Collaborative work means people need to be self-expressed in groups with a mix of introverts and extroverts (and as noted earlier this wee, with different creative styles). As Susan Cain has pointed out in Quiet, introverts are often drowned out. Secret Wish #11 is a wish for air time. This is a person, Julia,

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    Innovation Infarction #3 — Dodging Hard Work

    It might be the most obvious innovation infarction of all. Nonetheless, quite deadly. The latest innovation self-suicide factor is simply avoiding hard work. People, innovation is Never easy. You might be fooled now and then when something goes smoothly, but I’ll bet you a dime to a dollar (a pence to a pound) it’s an incremental innovation. Nothing wrong with that, but breakthrough’s require hard work — blood, sweat, and tears. Cue Paul Robeson  singing Old Man River. Or maybe we recall the famous words of Ringo Starr “Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues, and you know it don’t come easy.” Innovation — it don’t come easy. I’ve observed recently an organization that has done

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    Extroverts Need Love Too

    The buzz around Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The power of Introverts in a World That Just Can’t Stop Talking continues to build. Watching her speak here in London last week it’s clear she’s hit a cultural chord. As of today, #33 on the Amazon chart. Introverts clearly have a tough time making themselves heard. She’s also quite right that extroverts tend to dominate the group processes we see in various organizations. Cain emphasizes solitary work and reflection, and no doubt, there is not enough of either. I’m not sure she understands that with proper training and facilitation, and just good listening skills, a lot of the challenges she identifies for introverts can be overcome. The value of group work and collaborative

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    Secret Wish Cartoon #10, Creativity and Goofiness

    Do you remember the scene in Merry Poppins where they sang the song “I love to laugh?” It was Ed Wynn, a Disney film stalwart and old vaudevillian who played Uncle Albert. When Uncle Albert laughed he rose into the air. Laughter does make us lighter, and being lighter changes our thinking. There is a real value to “going goofy” if you want to shift perspective, if you wish for heightened creativity. Goofiness is an applied creativity tool, and make no mistake, it’s serious business. The subject of my drawing looked vaguely liked Ed Wynn. Like Wynn, he had a wry smile, almost smug, on his face as we rode the train into London. His secret wish is a projection

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    Secret Wish Cartoon #9, Creativity and Fame

    Andy Warhol’s famous quote from 1968, that everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes has come true hasn’t it? I just watched a YouTube of a 12 year old dancing to the Maverick’s “Dance the Night Away” — 38,000 views and counting (authentic if nothing else). The democratization of the media has happened, for better or worse. However, if you’ve not quite gotten your 15 minutes yet, I wouldn’t worry so much about it. A secret wish for fame may mask some other need. Peel back that onion before you attempt to break the world’s record for eating ostrich omelettes. Because… Creativity does not require fame. Innovation does not require fame. Full self-expression, in any of its many forms,

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