"We gather knowledge faster than we gather wisdom." - William Bell

Christian's Top 8 Inspirational Quotes

Posted: August 29th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Inspiration | Tags: | No Comments »

I find that often the best way to draw inspiration into your life is to listen to the sage advice of others who have succeeded brilliantly in doing so. I’m not there yet, but here are some choice words of some who are. Enjoy your brain food:

1. Mark Twain
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

2. Luigi Pirandello
In bed my real love has always been the sleep that rescued me by allowing me to dream.

3. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

4. Zig Ziglar
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.

5. T. S. Elliot
Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

6. Buddha
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.

7. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

8. Nora Roberts
If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.

Think about it. No, YOU think about it.

- Christian


The Importance of Stupid Ideas

Posted: August 28th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Brainstorming Techniques, On Ideation | No Comments »

Stupid ideas are stupid. Right? Wrong. Granted, there are always instances where you look back and regret acting on a silly whim or drunken idea. But that’s the point. “Stupid” ideas are not at fault. It is acting on them that is.

Stupid ideas are fantastic because of their ability to lead us on the path to great ideas. One school of thought would have us celebrate them because they encourage ideation. The stark reality is that not every idea is going to be brilliant and to push your ideas beyond the conceptual boundaries of a problem, you have to think “stupid”. You have to ignore the rules that say that you MUST think a certain way about a problem. If Henry Ford had approached the problem of transportation with the same mindset of the time, we may very well be all driving around in horse drawn carriages.

For every good idea, you will have a hundred that will fail.

So my suggestion to you is this: the next time you are afraid to say something because you think it is a stupid idea, examine the context. Why is it a silly idea? Why won’t it work? And then question the mental barriers that you are using judging the concept. Can we find a way to make it work?

This allows you to break down a solution that may not normally be viable into workable and non-workable elements. You can then leverage the “workable” elements into inspiring a new idea in the same vein.

- Christian


Eight Rules to Brilliant Brainstorming

Posted: August 22nd, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Brainstorming Techniques | No Comments »

Source: BusinessWeek

1. USE BRAINSTORMING TO COMBINE AND EXTEND IDEAS, NOT JUST HARVEST THEM

Andrew Hargadon’s How Breakthroughs Happen shows that creativity occurs when people find ways to build on existing ideas. The power of group brainstorming comes from creating a safe place where people with different ideas can share, blend, and expand their diverse knowledge. If your goal is just to collect the creative ideas that are out there, group brainstorms are a waste of time. You may as well stick to a Web-based system for collecting ideas. Even an old-fashioned employee suggestion box is good enough for this limited task

2. DON’T BOTHER IF PEOPLE LIVE IN FEAR

Groups bring out the best and the worst in people. If people believe they will be teased, paid less, demoted, fired, or otherwise humiliated, group brainstorming is a bad idea. If your company fires 10% of its employees every year, people might be too afraid of saying something dumb to brainstorm effectively.

3. DO INDIVIDUAL BRAINSTORMING BEFORE AND AFTER GROUP SESSIONS

Alex F. Osborn’s 1950s classic, Applied Imagination, which popularized brainstorming, gave sound advice: Creativity comes from a blend of individual and collective “ideation.” This means building in time for people to think and learn about the topic before the group brainstorm, as well as time to reflect about what happened after the meetings. When I studied the IDEO team as they developed a new hair-cutting device, engineer Roby Stancel told me that he prepared for the session by going to a local hardware store to look at all kinds of cutting machines — lawn mowers, hedge clippers, and weed whackers — to inspire him before the group session.

4. BRAINSTORMING SESSIONS ARE WORTHLESS UNLESS IDEAS LEAD TO ACTION

Brainstorming is just one of many techniques that make a company creative. It is of little value if it’s not combined with observing consumers, talking to experts, or building prototype products and experiences that provide an outlet for the ideas generated. I’ve worked with “creative” companies that are great at coming up with ideas, but never implement them. I once studied a team that spent a year brainstorming and arguing about a simple product without producing a single prototype, even though a good engineer could have built one in an hour. The project was finally killed when a competitor came out with a similar product.

5. BRAINSTORMING REQUIRES SKILL AND EXPERIENCE BOTH TO DO—AND ESPECIALLY—TO FACILITATE

Not everyone can walk into a room and lead a productive brainstorming session. It is not a job for amateurs. In all the places I’ve seen brainstorming used effectively — Hewlett-Packard SAP’s Design Services Team, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, the Institute for the Future, frog design, and IDEO — brainstorming is treated as a skill that takes months or years to master. Facilitating a session is a leadership skill that takes even longer to develop.

6. A GOOD BRAINSTORMING SESSION IS COMPETITIVE—IN THE RIGHT WAY

In the best brainstorms, people compete to get everyone else to contribute, to make everyone feel like part of the group, and to treat everyone as collaborators toward a common goal. The worst thing a manager can do is set up the session as an “I win, you lose” game, in which ideas are explicitly rated, ranked, and rewarded. A Stanford grad student once told me about a team leader at his former company who started giving bonuses to people who generated the best ideas in brainstorms. The resulting fear and dysfunction drastically reduced the number of ideas generated by what had once been a creative and cooperative group.

7. BRAINSTORMING SESSIONS CAN BE USED FOR MORE THAN JUST GENERATING IDEAS

Brainstorms are places to listen, learn, and educate. At IDEO, they support the company’s culture and work practices. Project teams use brainstorms to get input from people with diverse skills throughout the company. Knowledge is spread about new industries and technologies. Newcomers and veterans learn about who knows what. The explicit goal of a group brainstorm is to generate ideas. But the other benefits of routinely gathering rotating groups of people from around an organization to talk about ideas might ultimately be more important for supporting creative work.

8. FOLLOW THE RULES, OR DON’T CALL IT A BRAINSTORM

This is true even if you hold only occasional brainstorms and even if your work doesn’t require constant creativity. The worst brainstorms happen when the term is used loosely and the rules aren’t followed at all. Perhaps the biggest mistake that leaders make is failing to keep their mouths shut. I once went to a meeting that started with the boss saying: “Let’s brainstorm.” He followed this pronouncement with 30 minutes of his own rambling thoughts, without a single idea coming from the room. Now, that’s productivity loss!

Thinks that the tone of this article doesn’t sound like me? That’s because it’s been “borrowed” and abbreviated from BusinessWeek! Check out the full article here.

- Christian


The Six Principles of Sticky Ideas

Posted: August 20th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Ideas, Inspiration, On Ideation | No Comments »


You can learn how to create sticky ideas. That’s the premise of a new book by a Stanford biz school prof called Made to Stick. In 1999, an Israeli research team analyzed 200 award-winning advertisements and some 200 others (from the same sources and for similar products) that sucked.

The study found that “89% of the award-winning ads could be classified into six basic categories, or templates,” while only 2% of the less successful commercials could be. In other words, the most successful ads were more formulaic than the less successful ones. Similarly, the authors argue, creating a sticky idea—be it a marketing message, corporate philosophy, or teaching method—isn’t a matter of creativity; it’s a matter of following certain rules or principles.

The authors studied a range of sticky ideas, from myriad industries, and found that each tended to have one or more of six common traits:

- Simple,
- Unexpected,
- Concrete,
- Credible,
- Emotional, and
- Story-based

In my opinion, this outline is not necessarily a formula for success, but more like a guideline. Perhaps it’s a foolish belief in the mystery of creativity and ideas that supports this, but I don’t believe that you can take the same 12-step process to create a perfect marketing campaign/new product innovation every time. I believe that the theory behind the principle of sticky ideas is correct, but the formulaic method they describe to achieving those ideas leaves something to be desired.

However, one cannot deny the fact that the six principles outlined in the book do provide an excellent basis to evaluate if the idea that you’ve come up with is going to “stick”. So, use the principles like a measuring stick, not a map.

- Christian


Top 5 Ideas Of The Moment

Posted: August 15th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Idea Drunk's Ideas | No Comments »

1. Canadian Tire Money Tree

Canadian Tire has a rewards MasterCard where you can earn Canadian Tire money whenever you use it shopping. The problem is that nobody knows that you can earn money when you use the card outside of a Canadian Tire.

My solution? Canadian Tire Money trees placed in shopping malls across Canada. These “trees” would be adorned with Canadian Tire money. Customers can “pick” the money off of the trees and use it themselves! Who says money doesn’t grow on trees?
Read the rest of this entry »


Turn Your Green Idea Into Cash

Posted: August 13th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Ideas | No Comments »

Source: Business Week Magazine


If you have an idea for an innovative, executable consumer product or service that can “contribute to an eco-friendly lifestyle” then get ready to jot it down, draft blueprints, and fill out the submission form: Your idea could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Picnic Green Challenge, is an eco-contest organized by Picnic, an annual conference and idea festival that takes place in Amsterdam this year from Sept. 23 to Sept. 29. The best ideas (one or several, depending on the quality of the entries) will win up to €500,000 ($670,000) in funding, plus free consulting and help opening doors that could bring the project to fruition. Read the rest of this entry »


Get Out of Your Cube!

Posted: August 9th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Inspiration | No Comments »

The stark reality is that you can’t sit down at a desk and think of the perfect solution to a problem, a new innovation or a great idea. Some of our best ideas come at the most random times in the day. When you’re in the shower. When you’re on the subway. When you’re watching TV.

That’s because the stimulus from whatever activity you are engaged in allows you to relax and engage the problem organically. It allows your brain to look around and make seemingly random links that, in turn, become great insights. Read the rest of this entry »


Ode to a Notebook

Posted: August 8th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: On Ideation | No Comments »

So we all have good ideas at different times in the day. Some people are toilet thinkers. Their ideas just come to them while they are on the can. Some people are pub thinkers. Some people come up with their best ideas when they are asleep.

The point is that we must be equipped to capture our ideas at whatever point in the day them come at us. I’m sure we have all had instances where we have forgotten the greatest idea that has ever popped into our heads … because we thought we’d remember, then had a few pints. Read the rest of this entry »


The Idea Drunks at EA Sports

Posted: August 7th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Ideas, On Ideation | No Comments »

I was reading this article in the Georgia Straight about how the peeps over at EA sports generate ideas and push new projects. Now coming up with new kick-ass ideas is a process that takes a lot of investment, both temporally and fiscally.


One of EA’s keys to generating awesome new ideas is fostering a creative culture in the behemoth of a 1,300 person organization. Read the rest of this entry »


Manifesto

Posted: August 5th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Idea Drunk's Ideas, Inspiration | No Comments »

What is an Idea Drunk? It’s someone who loves ideas. Who loves to think. Who is constantly spewing thoughts with the minimal usage of a brain-to-mouth filter. It’s a person who celebrates ideas … how we get them, what they inspire us to do, how they impact our lives.

My name is Christian and I am an Idea Drunk.

Read the rest of this entry »