The Dan Plan

In his book Outliers Malcolm Gladwell shares a theory that if you practice something for 10,000 hours you become excellent at it. It’s something I’ve posted on before – the theory puts a number on the concept of grit, the amount of sheer perseverance needed to be truly successful at anything. And now someone has decided to put the theory to the test. Dan McLoughlin is on a quest to transform himself from someone who had barely lifted a club, into a golf pro in 10,000 hours. He calls it The Dan Plan. It will take him six hours a day, six days a week, for six years. A little over one year in and he’s spent 1,400+ hours on the course, with a laser-like focus on building his short-game, working away from the hole, putt by putt, chip by chip. Forget about the hard yards. Dan is doing them … Continue reading

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The Power of the Coin Flip

While it may be a nice way to choose who gets the last cupcake or which side of the field your team starts on, the coin flip can seem like a pretty flimsy way to make important decisions. But, what do you do when you’ve gathered all the possible data and know all the possible facts? At some point, it becomes counter productive to spend additional time and money seeking additional insight. As Seth Godin explains in his post recently, “When there isn’t enough data, when there can’t be enough data, insist on the flip.” What Seth doesn’t write – but is part of his current messaging – is that seeking additional data until the cows come home is a way to procrastinate. The problem isn’t so much lack of data, but fear of taking action. Sometimes we hide behind ‘needing the facts’ so we can keep putting off what … Continue reading

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The Future is Past - Fast

Recently I attended a conference on new media at which one of the speakers cited the Men’s Health iPad app as “the future of publishing.” Everybody (including me) nodded, recognizing how well the magazine has adapted itself to the tablet platform. The app offers not only the ability to view the magazine as it appears in print, but additional features like videos, snap polls, customizable fonts, extra photos, live links, and built-in social media sharing options. Pretty cool stuff. But then I got to thinking. Is the app really the future, or is it just a step in that direction? And when we look back in a few years, will it have been not such a big step after all? Consider how magazines came about. The economics of printing and mailing dictated that publishers aggregate bundles of content so they could efficiently deliver them to readers, who in turn unpacked … Continue reading

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Protecting Creativity When it is Not Valued

When creativity isn’t appreciated in your organization culture, what can you do if changing jobs isn’t an option? I told the recent CreativeBloc audience that if anyone worked in a place that didn’t value creativity and innovative ideas from its own people, it was best to get out; thus, this CreativeBloc question arose. Honestly, unless you’re an indentured servant where you work now, changing jobs and finding an organization that places a value on creativity is always an option. It just may be that changing jobs RIGHT NOW isn’t an option. If changing jobs in pursuit of a more creativity-friendly culture seems like a far-off possibility, you need to start preparing. The first steps are to make sure you’re building a financial cushion (which may involve altering today’s lifestyle), honing your online presence to showcase your expertise and talents, and aggressively putting yourself in situations to meet and help people … Continue reading

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Look Inside for Innovation

Everyone is dissatisfied with the pace of innovation – solutions that change the game don’t come fast enough. We look to the environment, and assign blame. We blame the tools, the process, the organization structure, and the technology itself. But the blame is misplaced. It is the innovators that govern the pace of innovation. It certainly isn’t the technology – the solutions already exist; they’re patiently waiting for us, waiting for us to find them. We just have to look. The technology knows what it will be when it grows up: the path is clear. Put simply, we must break through our unwillingness to look. We must look harder, deeper, and more often. We must redefine our self-set limits, and look under the rocks of our successes and beyond our best work. To increase the pace and quality of innovation, we must look inside. Don’t miss an article (2,600+) …

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Do You Really Need an Internal Innovation Unit?

Do companies really need internal innovation units in times where industry after industry has begun embracing open or external innovation? The question was triggered by comments made to a couple of my recent blog posts. It did not take much reflection. Of course, we need internal innovation units as they deliver value by themselves and since they hold key future roles as facilitators and integrators of internal and external contributions. A quick note on this is that companies need to establish systems and processes that allow and judge internal and external innovation opportunities on equal terms. So yes, we do need internal innovation units, but it is fair to question what they should look like and what functions they should perform. Things are changing fast on the outside and this need to be reflected on the inside organization and structure as well. What are your views on this? Don’t miss … Continue reading

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The Risks of an Idea

Why innovative people in your firm may not be sharing their best ideas by Jeffrey Baumgartner Albert Einstein once said “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” How true. When someone comes up with a radically new idea, it is often hard to determine whether the new idea is brilliant or stupid – even for the person who had the idea in the first place. As a result, it takes a brave person to propose to their firm a truly innovative new idea. The perceived consequences can include ridicule, loss of respect from management, missing out on future promotions and more. Of course it is not only brave people who have brilliant ideas. Shy people, people insecure about their jobs, new people who are unfamiliar with corporate culture and people who do not like to make waves (which, comprises the majority of … Continue reading

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