Author Archives: Paul Williams

Sandbox Innovation

More Tips for Remarkable Ideas by Paul Williams The lead at your last brainstorm session probably preambled with something like this: “Remember team, there is no such things as a bad idea in brainstorming. And there are no boundaries. Let the sky be the limit!” They were correct. Yet, the process of coming up with ideas to solve, grow, think ...

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Managing Problems You Can't Fix

Problems. Challenges. Opportunities. Whatever you call them at your company, we want them fixed. Our gut reaction is – come hell or high water – to find a solution. However, there are times when there is no fix… You’re stuck with it. For example, your business may be experiencing a challenge with the current “economic condition” in the United States. ...

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The Brainstorming Roller Coaster

Thought you’d like to see this sketch I found in my picture folder. It’s a simple (if not silly) way to plot how, during the brainstorming process, there is shift up and down between gathering many ideas to narrowing to fewer ideas. The technical terms for these thinking styles is divergent production (going in different, many directions) and narrowing ideas ...

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Project Stuck? Try Using a 'Black Box'

When a scientist or engineer designs a new process, they run into many unknowns. That’s expected when creating something from scratch. However, they could have so many unknowns, if they tried to solve each as they happened, they’d get mired in minutia and never finish the project. To deal with these sticky spots, they put each unknown into a “black ...

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Why Newspaper Ads Beat Social Media

I need to get the word out about my business. I want to effectively reach my target audience and drive sales. Yesterday I was challenged by Todd Sattersten to justify why print ads beat social media for getting the word out. In this exercise, I have two venues to compare: (a) newspaper ads (b) social media venue (we’ll make it ...

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What 'Weenie' Draws Your Customers Closer?

Weenie – Walt Disney’s playful term for a visual element that could be used to draw people into and around a space. According to Disney Imagineers, a weenie is big enough to be seen from a distance and interesting enough to make you want to take a closer look. The best weenie examples are the castles in each Disney theme ...

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Disney's Berms and Contradictions

The Imagineers at The Disney Company, the folks who dream-up theme parks and make them a reality, have created their own terms that allow quick understanding. The Imagineer Terms Berm – A raised earthen barrier, typically heavily landscaped, which serves to prevent visual intrusions into the Park from the outside world and block the outside world from intruding inside. When ...

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Don't Demolish Your Own Innovation

Innovative ideas – the kind that can transform your company – are inadvertently being demolished. When first presented, many ideas meet wrecking-ball comments such as: “How’s that going to work?” “Good luck getting that done!” “We don’t have time for something like that.” And the classic, “Doesn’t work… Trust me… We tried that years ago.” We’ve all heard (or perhaps ...

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Simplifying the Complex

Some call it a matrix, others a two-by-two diagram. I call them awesome. Two-by-twos allow you to plot complex information in a matter that allows you not only to see the relationship between two things, but also to make better judgments and decisions. I often use these during brainstorming sessions with clients as a way to filter our stacks of ...

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