Thoughts on ideas, brainstorming, facilitation, and crowdsourcing

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/DrAfter123

Having an “idea” is a uniquely human thing.  It can be fun, beautiful, empowering, motivating, exciting, artistic, valuable. *

Through personal reflection, brainstorming, facilitation and crowdsourcing ideas can be leveraged and improved upon, to the point that the outcome is far better than the initial idea.

Ideas come from creative thinking, considering the previously unconsidered, often referred to as ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking or ‘strategic’ thinking (albeit strategy in many businesses seems, disappointingly, often not to be that creative).

I enjoy the creative process of originating and developing ideas, and so wanted to pull together some thoughts on this.

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An outsider’s perspective on Spiral Dynamics

A friend who I run with has often talked about how his thinking, and his actions have been influenced by a theory/concept called “Spiral Dynamics”. He talks about how he uses this to observe and categorize himself and people who he might, in order to better understand himself and them, and how he might interact with them, in both personal and professional situations.

In some ways one might initially be encouraged to see Spiral Dynamics as a religious/spiritual movement or a management theory. It is, in my view, neither. It might also come across as arrogant, or even radical. I could understand how these views arise (more on this below), but it doesn’t bother me if that would be how others see it – I see that it can have a positive effect in those who decide to learn about it and apply it responsibly.

Through its altruistic perspectives Spiral Dynamics seems to achieve a clear, methodical basis on which to understand human and social development. The benefits of this can be ‘enlightenment’ (satisfaction from greater knowledge/understanding of oneself and others) as well as, potentially, more effective interactions with other people.

My TEDxperience (TEDxMunich, Monday 7 June 2010)


Today I attended the TEDxMunich event, held in the BMW Museum in Munich, Germany. The TEDx events are independently organized TED events, which are held under guidelines set by TED (see my earlier post, ‘TED Talks. We listen.‘, for further details about what TED is, and my thoughts and opinions thereon).

In this post I aim to share some feedback on the TEDx event. My primary interest in attending the event was to better understand the TED ‘movement’ and how it works in the background, beyond just being a series of videos of talks recorded on TED.com or YouTube.

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The importance of trade-offs and compromises

I recently entered into a competition to win a signed business book via the ‘Online MBA‘ (nine different books were included, including Seth Godin’s “Linchpin” and Daniel Pink’s “Drive“). Most of the entry requirements were limited to administrative contact details, with the competition seemingly hanging on one key question: “What is the most important thing you have learned about business?” (* see also my footnote regarding the competition)

Of course, there is no ‘right’ answer to this question; indeed, there are almost certainly many, many very good answers.

Below I set out what I submitted as my thoughts on this:

Essentially everything comes down to trade-offs and compromise, both on a personal level and on enterprise level. How you recognize, and then manage those trade-offs and compromises will determine your success in each of the areas of your life that are important to you. The first step to success is therefore to learn to recognize the trade-offs and compromises.

This is the answer that first came to my head, and while I think the matter of ‘trade-offs and compromises‘ is very important, one could point to other matters which might be equally important, or more so. In any case, I think there is some value in considering this topic further, and so have decided to use this post to further develop my thoughts on the brief submission above.

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Thoughts on privacy versus disclosure in today’s society

It seems that the last few weeks/months a number of media stories have raised an intense discussion around public privacy and social responsibility.  Some examples include:

Such discussions, while appearing on one level to be independent, and unconnected, also appear to me, to revolve around a central theme of ‘public privacy rights and the individual’s right to choose what to disclose‘.  While the first two examples relate to high-profile individuals, the latter example, as well as similar discussions around Google’s use of internet users’ information, and other trends (such as the rapidly increasing number of bloggers), shows how the topic relates to the general public also.

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The dangers of falling into short-term thinking when choosing a career

iStock_000005168521XSmallAsked at an early age what they would like to do, most young children respond with jobs that are high profile in nature – firefighter, space pilot, jockey, football player, etc. A few might want to ‘copy’ what their parents are doing – stockbroker, lawyer, etc. – without really understanding what the job entails. In any case, most children don’t see the career options as ‘jobs’ but rather as fun things to do, and not much more (isn’t that a great way to look at it?!).

Later on however, as we finish our education, either at school, college, or university, our understanding grows of the needs to earn a living, and we tend to pick jobs based on a combination of certain criteria, principally relating to what we’re good at and what’s available.

Now 15 years into my career, and having been in a counseling role for others, and observed colleagues in their career development, it has become clear to me that careers are often very different later on to what we see as we start out on the career ladder, and that this is often overlooked by people starting their careers.

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Have you “let yourself down” recently? Have courage, and use it to your benefit!

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While away on a business trip recently (in UK), I watched an episode of “Masterchef: the Professionals”, a television show where four chefs compete to qualify for later stages in a competition which judges their culinary skills. Very often the participants stated “I really let myself down” after hearing criticism of their efforts.

I was intrigued by the frequency that I heard this, and wondered why this should be the case.

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