FRESH IDEAS.
HAND-CRAFTED WEEKLY.

Inspiring thoughts on innovation, growth, leadership,
creativity, transformation, and disruption.

 

Quick reads, powerful results.

The Creative Secret of Jazz Musicians

Jazz legends like Miles Davis and Charlie Parker are known for their stunning solos, which appear to be individual acts of artistry. The Picassos of their craft, we envision the creative process to be a lonely one. Yet even the greatest jazz musicians develop their ideas in a collaborative process, co-creating their works of art […]

Read More

The Next 20 Feet

Driving your car through a dense morning fog, your visibility is about the same as trying to read a textbook through wax paper. Even with your fancy LED fog lights, the intersection that’s less than a block away is nothing more than an opaque blur. In this scenario, just like in life, you have a […]

Read More

The One Year Test

In stressful times, it’s easy to get derailed by matters that might be viewed as trivial under ordinary circumstances. A colleague shows up late to a Zoom call, the client changes her mind mid-stream, the boss unleashes an unnecessary rant. These infractions can dampen our work productivity on a normal day, but their impact can […]

Read More

You Can’t Cut Your Own Hair

Scott Cunha, the celebrity stylist for Kendall Jenner and Nicole Richie, doesn’t cut his own hair. Neither does Kiyah Wright, the two-time Emmy award-winning stylist whose clients include Tyra Banks and Jennifer Hudson. Mara Roszak cuts for Emma Stone, Olivia Wilde, and Brie Larson, but not for herself. The physical mechanics of a haircut make […]

Read More

Instead of your glass half-full, try it completely empty

“If you view the glass as half-full, you’re an optimist,” the old saying goes. “But if you see it half-empty, you’re a flat-out pessimist.” We take this metaphor to be a truism, pushing ourselves to see our cups as full as possible. But what if we’d be better off with a completely empty cup? It […]

Read More

Where’s Your What-If?

Spending a good chunk of my days researching human creativity, I landed on a strange phenomenon. What-if questions, one of the hallmark techniques of innovation, can also serve to extinguish imagination depending on where they are used. Oddly, the same framework can both ignite creativity or quell it, subject to where it is placed in the invention […]

Read More

The Often-Overlooked Step That Can Boost the Quality of Your Work

We generally think that a great work product – especially an artistic effort – is imagined, conceived, and launched simultaneously. But the notion that a single, smart idea can immediately turn into a brilliant final version has the same logic flaw of a newborn baby popping out of the womb with a college degree. In fact, one of […]

Read More

Random Acts of Creativity

It turns out, this past Saturday was National Creativity Day. Who knew? While I think it’s terrific that we have a holiday to celebrate the universal human gift of imagination, it made me think that everyday should really be National Creativity Day. We’ve been led to believe that for something to count as creative, it […]

Read More

In Case of Emergency, Break Glass

As each day of economic free fall continues, many of us are struggling to figure out what to do next. Whole industries such as professional sports, corporate conventions, and vacation travel have been frozen in time with no full thaw in sight. There are certainly some of us that need to embrace the most dramatic […]

Read More

How a Llama Could Conquer COVID-19

As frustration continues and economic fallout mounts, we’re all getting stir crazy. When will our normal lives resume? How will our economy recover? What will be the long-term fallout of coronavirus? How soon can we expect a vaccine? World leaders and scientists scramble to answer these questions while billions of people wait, lives on hold. Nearly every laboratory on the […]

Read More

Redefine These 8 Words to Reimagine Your Future

Too often, the words we use tell a hidden – an incorrect – story. Certain words are loaded with preconceptions that may inhibit our ability to win, grow, and thrive. Nine such words have long bothered me, having witnessed their ability to block potential and dampen enthusiasm. Let’s look at these eight trigger words, and explore how […]

Read More

The Ultimate Customer Experience

With glimpses of hope that our economy will reopen in the coming months, it’s time to start thinking about our businesses in a post-pandemic landscape. How will the world change? How will your industry be different? How will you adapt to the new circumstances? The sheer volume of unknowns can feel overwhelming, making it difficult to even […]

Read More

How One Musician Used a Quarantine to Become a Legend

When first hitting the scene, the now legendary Charlie “Yardbird” Parker was described as mediocre at best. His music seemed undisciplined, out of control, and fraught with mistakes. Like most musicians, Parker practiced regularly but was struggling to achieve major improvements in his playing. How, then, did Charlie Parker become the master that we celebrate today? The change […]

Read More

How to Avoid Negative Thoughts During a Crisis

Stuck in COVID-19 isolation, it’s easy to veer into the deep end of negative thoughts. Many of us are dealing with profound, real-world challenges such as job loss, health crises, and protecting our children. The reality of the situation is difficult enough, but when we allow widespread fear and negativity to enter the picture, the […]

Read More

How Innovation is Becoming the Cure for COVID-19

These days, I often wake up thinking it was all a dream. But by the first scan of the morning’s headlines, I realize we’re still in the zombie horror movie known as coronavirus. Just like in most low-budget cult flicks, an unlikely hero is emerging who will conquer the threat and safe the day. Her name: […]

Read More

Can Quarantines be Productive? What to do During a Crisis.

Just before every flight departs, the safety announcement offers a specific instruction: “In the event of an emergency, please secure your own oxygen mask before helping others.” We’ve heard it so many times that we tend to tune it out, but this advice can be helpful to us all during the COVID-19 crisis. We must first […]

Read More

A 3-Step Formula to Perfectly Communicate Your Value to Customers

As business leaders, we’re often faced with the challenge of explaining what we do. It could be in a casual setting like a dinner party, or a more formal sales presentation to that big new potential account. The problem is, most of us get it all wrong. We tend to explain what we do in the […]

Read More

Don’t Be Afraid to Get a Little Crazy

We’re often told to follow the rules, do what we’re told, and for goodness sake, don’t make waves. But in today’s hyper-competitive economy, isn’t that a surefire path to mediocrity? Look at those that we celebrate – from Thomas Edison to Elon Musk; from Sheryl Sandberg to Tony Robbins. The ones that make history have […]

Read More

If You Want Growth, Your Company Must Have These Three Non-Traditional Roles

From the local barbershop to the giant, multinational corporation, businesses of all shapes and sizes desperately want one thing: growth. Regardless of industry, geography, or scale, a company’s ability to grow is directly linked to the inherent enterprise value. In working closely with organizations around the world, I’ve noticed that the ones who really savor […]

Read More

7 Surprising Things That Ultra-Successful People Don’t Do

There’s been plenty written about the habits of highly successful people. They set goals and they follow through. They learn and listen. We get it. But what do the most successful people avoid? From celebrity entrepreneurs to captains of industry, here are seven surprising things that top achievers prefer to skip: Don’t have a Plan […]

Read More

How To Master Any Skill

No one represents mastery more than Pablo Picasso. His masterpiece Women of Algiers sold at auction in New York for over $179 million in 2015, shattering all previous records. His most famous works are instantly recognizable, and he pioneered several styles and genres of modern art throughout his prolific career. We think of Picasso’s creative […]

Read More

How to Find the Best Parking Spot, Every Time

As you drive up to a crowded shopping plaza, your blood pressure rises quickly. Circling the parking lot, you search for the closest possible space. It quickly becomes a fierce competition, filling you with stress and sometimes anger if someone beats you to that one spot that should have been yours. Several laps and minutes […]

Read More

3 Surprisingly Simple Questions That Will Transform Your Career

In our quest for achievement, it’s easy to get caught up in complexity. We often think something has to be difficult in order for it to drive real progress. But then something so simple comes along that drives the most profound advancement in our careers, companies, and even in communities. I’ve discovered three dead-simple questions […]

Read More

The More You Do It, The Easier It Becomes

For most of us, we know what needs to be done to reach the next level. If you want to improve health and fitness, we don’t need another fad diet… we need to exercise more and eat healthier food. If you want to close more deals, you probably need to make more cold calls. If […]

Read More

The New 70/30 Rule of Inventive Thinking

The infamous 80/20 rule seems to permeate business literature. 80% of your profits come from the best 20% of your customers; 20% of your top people drive 80% of your revenue; 20% of your most productive time drives 80% of your productivity. While this magic ratio applies in many cases, there’s an important new kid […]

Read More

Your Future You

As we us embark on the new decade, most of us have undoubtedly set some resolutions. Lose weight. Read more. Save for retirement. Quit smoking. Volunteer in the community. Yet the vast majority of resolutions are anything but resolute. According to U.S. News & World Report, over 80% of resolutions fail (most of which within […]

Read More

IdeaSpewing – A Simple Technique to Unlock Creativity

Staring at the blank page can be intimidating. This could be the start of any creative project – from writing the next great American novel to crafting a new investment deck for your startup. Maybe your blank page is less grandiose, but still daunting such as organizing your thoughts for a sales pitch or drafting […]

Read More

Mental Kale

We’ve all heard the truism, “you are what you eat.” Clearly this applies to food intake and how our body composition is directly correlated. Eat fruit and veggies, have a healthy physique. Eat fried, processed foods, have a sick body. But what if we extended this common sense phrase to our mindset and performance? If […]

Read More

The Dude-Bro Conundrum

I have the good fortune of delivering keynote speeches at over 100 corporate events per year. They range from a few hundred to many thousands of people in attendance, often with elaborate staging, lights, and production value. Hours before taking the stage, an AV tech check occurs where all audio and visual elements are plugged […]

Read More

10 Customer-Centric Questions to Create Irresistible Value

With our Thanksgiving feasts behind us, ’tis the season of 2020 business planning. Ironically, the theme of gratitude may actually be our best strategy in the new year. In working with many businesses in different industries, I often hear the same refrains: “we need to sell more;” “we need better marketing;” “we need to cut […]

Read More