In a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive world, the next breakthrough idea wins.
Depending on how you feel about #innovation, #creativity, and #breakthrough thinking, you may find this concept either frightening or exhilarating.
It’s frightening if you think of innovation, creativity, and breakthrough thinking as specialized skills that are only available to “the others.”
It’s exhilarating if you realize that innovation, creativity, and breakthrough thinking are natural human traits that are available to us all.
In other words, if you ... Continue Reading →
You’ve heard of FOMO, right? Fear Of Missing Out. It’s why we’re addicted to Facebook and Instagram and all the rest. It’s why we tell our devices to notify us the instant anything happens anywhere in the world. Because heaven forbid we’re not in the know!
Industry leaders have a similar fear, which I call FOD: Fear Of Disruption. They don’t want to the the Blockbuster to someone else’s Netflix. They don’t want to be the ... Continue Reading →
I grew up in the shadow of an Amish dairy farm (depending on where the sun was, of course) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Now, if you’ve spent as much time around the Amish as I have, you know that they’re kind of big on horses. And if you’ve spent as much time around Amish horses as I have, you know that they all have something in common.
They’re all wearing blinders.
Partially as a fashion statement, of course, but mostly so that they ... Continue Reading →
We all run into obstacles.
Maybe it’s a business change that we don’t like; a traffic jam when we’re already late; a system or process that feels overly cumbersome. But we all run into obstacles.
And what do we do when that happens? What do we do when we run into that obstacle?
We whine. Grumble. Curse. Complain. Gripe about it to others.
And that’s where most of us stop.
In other words, the entire process for most of us looks like this:
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- Run into obstacle.
- Complain ...
Do you want to know where breakthrough ideas really come from? I’ll give you a clue: they don’t come from some lightning bolt in the sky.
Breakthrough ideas, almost invariably, are found at the intersection of two or more seemingly unconnected things. What do these intersections look like?
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- They look like Johannes Gutenberg connecting a wine processor and movable type and creating the printing press.
- They look like Steve Jobs connecting computers and a college calligraphy class and creating ...
If I were to ask you to name an innovation, what would you say?
The iPhone? The Tesla? The Internet?
Maybe not any of those three. But the odds are that whatever you name would be a biggie. Something groundbreaking and game changing.
And that’s kind of what we think innovation is. Something groundbreaking and game changing. We associate innovation with names like:
- Steve Jobs
- Marie Curie
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Elon Musk
- Thomas Edison
And look, there’s no question that these people are innovation rock stars. If there were ... Continue Reading →
Are all of your dots the same color?
I talk about dots a lot. That’s because dots are the key to innovation, creativity, and breakthrough thinking.
Most people get this wrong. They think that breakthrough ideas—the creative innovations that make the competition whimper like scared puppies—are the result of some divine lightning bolt that only strikes the gifted few. This is the common myth. But it’s just that—a myth. Continue Reading →
I’ve been doing homework for the past week or so.
I’ve been doing homework because in a little over a week, I’ll be attending a business development workshop, and the workshop leader gave us the homework assignment. Since I want to get the most out of the workshop (and since the thought of getting in trouble from the teacher triggers upsetting high school memories), I’ve been diligently working.
One part of the homework has been particularly eye-opening.
There are four steps to this ... Continue Reading →
This is going to sound like bragging (because, let’s be honest—it is), but I was recently inducted into the Professional Speaker Hall of Fame. It’s kind of a big deal in my industry, because there are fewer than 185 of us alive on the planet. If we were a species, we’d be endangered.
Here’s the interesting thing that I’ve found about reaching an “elite” level in your profession:
At the higher levels, you actually have to be better, and work harder.
It’s easy ... Continue Reading →
“Let it go!”
That was the sole message of an acclaimed keynote speech that my colleague Joe Calloway delivered at the annual convention of the National Speakers Association some years ago.
Let it go.
In his speech, Joe encouraged us to look at all the manifold things we had on our respective plates and think about how we could simplify, how we could focus. In short, what could we let go of so that we could really shine at what was left.
About a ... Continue Reading →