FRESH IDEAS.
HAND-CRAFTED WEEKLY.

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

 

Quick reads, powerful results.

The 5% Creativity Challenge

Take a quick look at your schedule. Most of us have calendars that are packed to the gills with endless appointments, meetings, conference calls, and deadlines. When, in this insanely-busy schedule, are you planning to come up with your best ideas?

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Will You Protect Your Newborn?

My nephew Lane is almost four months old. Like most parents, my sister and her husband shower their baby with attention, love, and support.

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What If?

What if we realized we had the power to change the world?

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Detroit – From Decay to Opportunity

The story of Detroit (my home town) is an unfinished book. We can continue to point fingers, cry in our soup, and long for the days gone by. Or we can DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. We can own it, fix it, and rebuild it. This is our time. This is our defining moment.

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Creativity

Don’t let these Evil Seven poison your thinking and murder your imagination. Remain vigilant, and when these nefarious forces emerge, don’t wait for the authorities to arrive – take matters into your own hands.

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Think Like a Jazz Combo

I’ve had the privilege of performing jazz guitar on stage for nearly 30 of my 40 years. Live improvisation is an adrenaline rush like no other. Spontaneous creativity in real-time.

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Lessons from Charlie Sheen

Along with millions of others this past week, Charlie Sheen’s dramatic and self-destructive rants captivated me. Although disturbing, we all noticed and paid attention. Coffee shops and water coolers were all abuzz about Charlie, and not about Milton down in accounting.

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ISMs

Altruism. Sexism. Nationalism. An “ism” is a suffix that refers to a strong principle or belief. It is a set of values so powerful, it drives behavior and serves as a beacon for those who subscribe. The best companies and leaders have ISM’s of their own driving their success.

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SPECIAL EDITION: Disciplined Dreaming

After two years of research, I am thrilled to announce that my new book has launched and is widely available for purchase. Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity offers a 5-part process that will transform your organization – and your career – into a non-stop creativity juggernaut.

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Think like a Startup

I’m often surprised that the most innovative breakthroughs come from startups with almost no money, experience, or resources.

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Greenhouse vs. Prison

A friend of mine’s passion is growing orchids. We’re talking perfect, exotic, contest-winning orchids.

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Art is the New Math

I was recently helping my 13-year-old son Noah with his math homework. Long division. By hand. Ewwww.

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Pivoting

We all receive hundreds of stimuli each day. Calls from customers, breaking news, competitive product launches, meetings with colleagues, fashion trends, arguments with spouses, etc. So much of our performance…

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2011: The Year of Creativity

Most of us set bold resolutions at this time each year. Unfortunately, most of us will fall short. Losing those pesky ten pounds, landing your dream relationship or getting that raise are too often based on wishful thinking instead of actually being resolved. We don’t miss the mark due to lack of good intentions… we […]

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Three Magic Questions

In an era where creativity and original thought are the currency of success, three simple questions will lead you to more (and more astounding) breakthroughs. Tape these to the walls, make them into a screensaver, and tattoo them on your teammates: 1. Why? 2. What if? 3. Why not? Most of us have become trained […]

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11 Thoughts for My New Nephew

My sister Sarah had a baby on Saturday morning – a big beautiful boy named Lane. It got me thinking about what advice I’d give to someone who will graduate high school in 2029, have kids of his own around 2040 and, with advances in healthcare and a little luck, should ring in the year […]

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Deer in Headlights Die

We can all picture that hapless deer. Frozen with fear and awaiting the inevitable, the immobilized soul locks up instead of leaping to safety. As decent people, we just wish that sorry creature would get moving and avoid the Mack truck, racing 70 miles per hour to put an end to this innocent being. With […]

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“My Hands Are Tied”

I’m sorry sir, my hands are tied.” These were the appalling words I heard twice in the last week – one from a large mobile phone network, and one from a health insurance carrier. Both were from customer service reps that were clearly un-empowered, bitter, and really didn’t care much about helping me (so much […]

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Get SNUBA’d

The scuba industry in Hawaii was facing a real problem. Declining sales, increased competition for shrinking entertainment dollars, and new consumer alternatives were creating a downward spiral. While scuba diving was an incredible experience, it was a real burden to customers. It requires certification, carrying heavy tanks, and restrictions on when you can fly home […]

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The Downside of Traditions

If you live in the U.S., you’ll probably be celebrating Thanksgiving this Thursday. And if I asked you what you were serving for dinner, you’d give me a puzzled look and think to yourself, “who is this idiot?” Like a couple hundred million others, you’ll be enjoying turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and all the other […]

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Me Too No More

There’s a pattern in business in which an original, breakthrough idea is launched to great fanfare success; then it’s copied repeatedly by the pack of followers. As a result of copy-cat innovation, many industries are swimming in a sea of sameness. The airline industry, for example, is full of me-too players whose offerings are virtually […]

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Instructions vs. Imagination

When I was growing up (circa mid 1970’s), Legos were my favorite toy. Back then, Lego sets consisted of random bricks of various sizes and shapes and it was up to me to build what I imagined. It was all about discovery and exploring the possibilities. Problem-solving. How to construct what was in your mind. […]

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Your Company, Version 4.13

The software world enjoys many advantages. Smart people. Lots of capital. High leverage. But one that should probably be celebrated more… the idea of “versions”. That’s’ right, versions. Software companies are in a constant state of reinvention. As soon as one version of their product is out, they start imagining the next. The goal each […]

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Stick it to the Man

Sir Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin Group, announced this week that the first Spaceport (an airport for recreational space travel) will be built in New Mexico to support his newest business effort, Virgin Galactic. As he’s done in the past with music and air travel, Branson is pioneering new ground. And he’s always been […]

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Flood the House to Catch the Mouse

Imagine you had the challenge of inventing a better mousetrap. Literally. A typical brainstorm session may yield incremental improvements in the spring on a mousetrap, or the bait, or the construction materials. The whole essence of igniting your curiosity is to question and challenge everything. Why does a mousetrap need to use a spring at […]

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Escaping the Sea of Sameness

The world is full of me-too players. Half the cars on the market are nearly identical. Detergents, sodas, and potato chips are pretty much all the same no matter what the ads say. When was the last time you went to a restaurant that was so different that you really noticed? Competitive advantages of the […]

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The Long List

When developing ideas, we’re always told to shoot for quality over quantity. Here’s a powerful technique that flips the model, and drives higher quality by way of quantity… In my undergraduate work at the University of Florida, I was an Advertising major. One time, I was in a course about creating magazine and newspaper ads. […]

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The Unconventional Alternative

Most business (and life) decisions come down to a multiple choice question. Should we launch Product A or Product B? Should we expand to Cleveland or Dallas? Should we choose ad campaign 1, 2, or 3? This is where 99% of the world stops, selections an option, and goes on to spend countless hours justifying […]

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