Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Every creative act is a sudden cessation of stupidity." Edwin Land

"For people who live in the imagination, there is no lack of subjects. To seek for the exact moment at which inspiration comes is false. Imagination floods us with suggestions all the time, from all directions." Federico Fellini

"Creativity often consists of merely turning up what is already there. Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only a little over a century ago?" Bernice Fitz-Gibbon

Today's image: Land, Sea and Sky by -Wink - Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

The Obvious

The obvious remains the hardest to see.

Take, for example, the goaltender mask used in ice hockey. The so-called goalie mask was created by Jacques Plante in 1959. While the goaltender mask may seem an obvious (and necessary) piece of equipment, it was not a part of the sport during hockey's first one hundred years of play.

Obvious and, for over one hundred years, hard to see until Jacques - tired of getting hit - said enough!

What problems are holding back your organization? What challenges are preventing your success? Enough! Imagine the needed and effective solution set to be the obvious.

"Perspective is worth ten IQ points."
Gary Hamel

We tend to get lost in the detail for the same reasons fish do not see water (it's an invisible part of their experience). Over time, we become fish in the water of our assumptions. It's a filter issue. We tend to lose perspective we once had when our ears, eyes and attention - our senses - were fresh, new to the market or new to the business card. The acuity at our command is influenced, our perceptions biased when we are immersed in the press of daily affairs - the problems, the personalities, the politics. The danger is we fall into the trap of no longer questioning market/company/industry dogma. This is the easy evil that is acceptance, allowing what is to continue; it's the inertia, the stasis, that deafens and blinds before it kills. It's acceptance that fuels the most creative rationale for failure. We hire on as defense counsel for the familiar, we go to work as advocates for what's smart, right about staying the course. We favor zone of comfort lock-in. In that process we too often champion the best of yesterday (optimization) when we should be competing for tomorrow (innovation).

When the new kids in school ask "Why do we do that?" or "Why do we do things this way?" it's an engine warning light coming on. Be alert, pay attention to the naive. LISTEN.

My suggestion is you rethink your situation and begin by asking...

W H Y ?

That's an important question we need to be asking way more often. In my experience, the best practice is to ask "why" daily. Test assumptions. Discuss "the rules" out loud, adopt a policy of brutal honesty.

Kevin Kelly has written a fine piece, Ratcheting Up Autonomy, on why we usually don't lose technologies. While it's current fashion to proclaim practically all media things dead (e.g., print, radio, TV), Kevin's writing offers some much needed perspective. Highly recommended, read it, here.

Closed circuit to rock radio: Ready for the fall sweep? Would you be interested in learning how to get better ratings? Want to improve fourth quarter sales? Need some unvarnished input as you begin your 2010 planning? Let me suggest you invite Lee Arnold to your market. Have him listen to your station and your market for a day then have him spend a second day with your team. On the second day share your thinking, your strategy, your plans. Programming, marketing, sales. Listen to what he has to say. Gain the competitive advantage of his perspective, let his recommendations encourage candid discussion and action. You'll benefit from this investment. Get Lee's contact info, here.

Bonus: Are you having fun? Must-see video. The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun, here.

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