Leadership

The next generation of leaders will be coaches

Have you ever stopped to think about the world’s work culture–really thought about it? We’re so used to the way things are, that it’s easy to forget that our workhorse mentality isn’t how it always used to be. That is, not until the Industrial Revolution. It wasn’t until this transitional era to new manufacturing processes that work culture evolved to meaning more hours equated to more work, and therefore more money; i.e. time is money.

Image for post
Image for post

Stanley Gen. McChrystal tells the eye-opening origin story of this mental construct in his phenomenal book, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement For a…


Design Thinking

Practical ways to launch your next big idea

Image for post
Image for post

We all hit slumps. In our personal and professional lives, challenges are inevitable. Slumps can be defined in many ways. They prevent us from being efficient, effective, and they are the enemy of innovation; they keep us from moving forward. What is difficult is finding ways around these impediments.

Enter: prototyping– the experimental design-thinking process that helps you shift from ideas and discovery to tangible realizations.

In the world of facilitation, this is a common practice to undergo in a Design Sprint or innovation workshop. Interestingly, many companies and teams can experience road bumps and pitfalls after completing one of…


Facilitation

Questions for facilitators to ask to keep meetings magical

At Voltage Control, we are dedicated advocates of facilitating meetings that are not only productive and effective but truly magical. That’s because meetings are the threads that hold every company or business together; we need meetings to be successful.

One of the best ways to facilitate a meeting like a pro is to be aware of the potential pitfalls that can happen and be prepared to diffuse them if they arise. All meetings are subject to dysfunction–something or someone that throws off the meeting’s flow and prohibits it from being the best it can be. That’s just the name of…


Innovation Series

A conversation with Christina Wodtke, Lecturer at Stanford University

Christina Wodtke, author of best-selling book Radical Focus and a lecturer at Stanford University, has helped grow companies such as LinkedIn, Zynga, Yahoo, and The New York Times. She speaks worldwide about humanity, teamwork, and the journey to excellence. Christina describes herself as a “curious human with a serious resume.”

I had the pleasure of speaking with Christina about the work she does with her students, the importance of lining up one’s values with the values of the company they choose to work for, and the ethics of innovation.

Image for post
Image for post
Christina Wodtke

Douglas: Let’s start with this — tell me a little bit…


Virtual Facilitation

How-to video for the most recent updates

Image for post
Image for post

Attention Facilitators! I’ve super excited to share with you a few features that I’ve been waiting for since April! When the pandemic canceled every in-person workshop on the planet, I quickly realized that there were some deficiencies in the existing tools that made our lives as facilitators more difficult. After some conversations with the Zoom product team, I was pleased to hear that we had some better options coming. Little did I know it would take 6 months! So, what is all this that I’m excited about? I’m going to show you.

In this video, I cover multi — spotlight…


Better Meetings

Change your taxonomy to change the outcome of your meetings

Image for post
Image for post

Words are powerful. They hold weight and meaning, sometimes beyond what we immediately recognize when we use them. Take the word “meeting.” What do you think of when you hear it? Maybe you’re filled with dread, thinking about adding another unproductive time-suck onto your calendar. If so, you’re not alone. Most people don’t have a great relationship with meetings, and using the word itself can fill people with resistance and a predetermined notion of what to expect. We’re on a mission to change that.

Poor meeting culture is a problem because we need meetings; they are vital to company success.

Schedule & Label Meetings With Purpose


Innovation Series

A conversation with multidisciplinary designer Lisa Baird

Lisa Baird is a multidisciplinary designer based in downtown Oakland, California. A true jack of all trades, she is a design strategist, information architect, writer, and interactive data visualizer. It is difficult to pin down just one title to describe Lisa as a professional.

“I’m a business designer, strategist, venture designer, systems designer, service designer. I got my interaction design degree a couple of years ago, so I do that as well. And my journalism degree means I’m also a copywriter…It’s funny because I do pretty much everything except actual graphic design. …


“I had this moment of really enjoying the launching of ideas within existing structures “ -Karen Holst

I’m excited to have Karen Holst with me today. She is an entrepreneur turned intrapreneur and helps companies drive product innovation as a product strategy leader. Karen has deep expertise in human-centered design strategies, creative problem-solving, and product innovation. She worked on Ex-IDEO led innovation at Autodesk, for the CA Dept. of Education and is the co-founder of MyEdu. …


Innovation Series

A conversation with Tom Counsell, Executive Director of B-Hub Prague

B-Hub Prague Executive Director Tom Counsell has built 8 startups across 5 countries, speaking 4 different languages and shows no signs of slowing down. He describes innovation as potential energy, waiting to be unleashed — “Innovation is like potential energy in physics. It represents the intrinsic creativity and wisdom of a team — the raw potential a team uses to succeed.”

Image for post
Image for post
Tom Counsell.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Tom about how to build a team that can harness that raw potential–as well as growing ideas–being diplomatic about failure and the amazing innovative power of poor communities.

Bringing an Initial Idea to Maturity

Start-up founders are notoriously…


Facilitation

How to wrap up remote meetings like IRL

Think back to workshops in person. Are there any important aspects of these gatherings IRL that are still missing in remote ones? One seemingly subtle but vital element that’s often overlooked in remote workshops is “cleanup time”, i.e. the casual conversation that comes at the close of the meeting. This might seem trivial, but creating intentional space for connection post-workshop does wonders for group dynamics and building relationships.

Picture this: you are attending an in-person workshop. The group work session is coming to an end. The facilitator begins a debrief to review what was discussed. He then addresses post-meeting next…

Douglas Ferguson

Design Sprint + Innovation Workshop Facilitator | Speaker | Coach | Fractional CTO/CPO

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store