A simple guide for leaders, innovators, and creatives to give their ideas a fighting chance

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“To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.” — Steve Jobs

I learned a lot last year in terms of how to share and scale big ideas better. I really wish I would have learned these lessons earlier on so that I could have gotten more out of my efforts around past ideas.

The three big things I learned about sharing and scaling ideas better are:

  1. Name the idea better

Innovation is a numbers game, but your numbers get better when your naming gets better. …

Start with Soul to Build a Better Company

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“Longevity in this business is about being able to reinvent yourself or invent the future.” — Satya Nadella

At the core of every company is its soul — the motivation and inner direction that drives the company to do what it does uniquely best.

Figuring out the soul of your company is key to driving successful digital transformation.

Or, to put it another way, if you don’t create clarity around the core or soul of your company, your company will likely struggle and stall, and eventually fail.

After all, the market reviews companies that solve problems well with clarity and conviction and customer-obsession. …

Think Big, Think Broadly, Think Beyond

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“It’s not what you achieve, it’s what you overcome. That’s what defines your career.” — Carlton Fisk

A few folks have asked me how I think about career development and personal growth.

So in a 20-minute sprint, I’m going to share what I’ve learned, and how I think about career and personal growth.

Hopefully, an idea or two might inspire how you think about and shape your future.

Some people are doing their jobs, some are climbing their careers, and others are finding their callings.

To put a bow on everything, before I dive in, I think of work as the ultimate form of self-expression. …

Work on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses to Realize Your Potential

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“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” — Unknown

How do you give your best where you have your best to give?

You leverage your strengths for the greater good.

You’re special, for real. But to realize it, you need to hone in on and focus on using your gifts to grow your greatness.

You’re an individual with a unique set of strengths, weaknesses, and experiences. Maybe only your closest friends know your true strengths.

Maybe you don’t show your strengths at work.

Why not?

No matter what the task is, you can leave your mark. …

What Mom Taught Me About Work and Life

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“A mother understands what a child does not say.” — Author Unknown

In the spirit of Mother’s Day, this one’s for Mom.

Everything I needed to learn in life, I didn’t learn in kindergarten.

No, I got an earlier start. I learned from Mom.

(Besides, in kindergarten, I was way too busy with the arts — finger painting, tasting glue, drawing hand turkeys, etc.)

Mom Taught Me to Dream Big

The most important thing my Mom taught me is to follow my dreams — in a big way.

Dream big, follow my dreams, and give it all I’ve got.

If I reach for the stars and get lucky, then count my lucky stars. If I fall down along the way, get up and try again. …

Broaden Your Thinking and Avoid the Intelligence Trap

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“Is the glass half empty, half full, or twice as large as it needs to be?” — Anonymous

Don’t fall into the intelligence tap. The intelligence trap is when you get trapped in one point of view.

You make your mind up based on your first opinion.

Once you form your initial opinion, you use your thinking to support your position, rather than to explore the subject to broaden your thinking.

The solution is to use the PMI technique to improve your thinking. …

Show People Where they are in the Innovation Process

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“Businesspeople don’t need to understand designers better. They need to be designers.” — Roger Martin, Dean of Rotman School of Management

You can use the Double Diamond to help you explore the problem and solution space for a given challenge or opportunity.

The Double Diamond is a design process model popularized by the British Design Council, and adapted from the divergence-convergence model by Bela Banathy.

You can think of the Double Diamond as a journey of diverging and converging phases through a design process.

It’s this breadth and depth that can help you innovate better or help you create better solutions by thinking bigger, thinking broader, and thinking beyond. …

Name things better to give your idea, your project, or your company a fighting chance

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“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.” — Confucius

You hear people say it all the time — “I don’t care what you call it… call it whatever you want… I just care that…. Blah, blah, blah.”

Sure, they don’t care what to call it, or what you call it.

And then they can’t find it. Or, you can’t find it.

You can’t even ask for it by name.

You don’t know how to refer to it. You don’t know how to talk about it, because nobody knows what “it” is.

Or worse, somebody does a bad job with the name. They name it something weird, or too vague, or they misrepresent it, or they use initials or an acronym. So many people use a TLA (three-letter acronym), not realizing they are killing their idea softly. …

Pull yourself forward with a list of inspiring scenes of your future

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“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.” — H. Jackson Brown Jr.

A bucket list is simply a list of all your goals and dreams and bold ambitions you hope to achieve before you die, or “kick the bucket”.

The main purpose is to remind you of what makes you come alive and what lights your inner desires.

Just like flipping through photos or a vision board can inspire your mind and rekindle your fire, a big and bold bucket list can be exactly what you need to find your second wind, reignite your eye of the tiger, or be the proverbial kick in your booty that bootstraps your next business venture or epic adventure. …

Brainwriting can generate twice as many ideas as brainstorming

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“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” — Albert Einstein

Brainwriting is where a group of participants write down as many ideas as possible. It’s like brainstorming, except participants don’t have to talk to each other.

You just write your ideas down on a brainwriting grid.

With brainwriting, you can generate twice as many ideas than brainstorming, and it helps to get more people to participate, especially the quiet ones.

That said, brainwriting is not a replacement for brainstorming. You add brainwriting after brainstorming to really expand your pool of ideas and include ideas that might still be floating around in people’s heads. …


JD Meier

Do anything better. Best-selling author of Getting Results the Agile Way. Better insights, better results, http://SourcesOfInsight.com

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