Where’s Waldo?

Remember when you were a kid and you read Where’s Waldo books?

“Where’s Waldo? Where’s Waldo? Where’s Waldo ?!?” The fun of the books was not in the story line, but scanning the complex illustrations to find your friend in a red striped shirt hiding in the crowd.

During the process, your level of awareness skyrocketed. You noticed things that you would have never noticed at first glance. You noticed what color balloons the little girl was holding. And how many chickens the farmer was chasing after. And the funny pants worn by the flower delivery man. In fact, you noticed just about everything on the page. Your antenna was up, and you processed every nook and cranny of the page.

Think about what would happen if you brought that same Where’s Waldo level of awareness with you to work, and specifically to your own Creative Challenge. You would notice all sorts of things that you probably skimmed right over in the past. Nuances of your customers and your surroundings and your competitors. Insights on your industry and your production processes and your sales strategy.

Achieving a Where’s Waldo level of awareness is easy – you can simply turn this on and choose to become more aware. Try it! In doing so, you will uncover many fresh ideas and opportunities for improvement. Those opportunities are all around us. Some are large opportunities that could lead to groundbreaking change which will boost your company and your career. Others may be small improvements that, when many are added together, lead to meaningful results.

EXERCISE: To practice the Where’s Waldo Awareness technique, set a timer for three minutes, and then write down everything you can see in the room that could be improved. The small chip of paint in the lower left corner of the room. The sloppy cords around the projector. The painting that is slightly tilted to the right. The one out of eight fluorescent bulbs that is missing from the light fixture. The small coffee stain on your chair. This quick exercise will get you in the Where’s Waldo mindset and is a great warm up for brainstorming sessions. It works well both individually and for teams.