Friday, May 28, 2010

Great article on whole brain thinking

I have heard Ann Herrmann-Nehdi speak at a conference and she has some really great insights.
This article could be useful for anyone doing proposals on why LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is so valuable as as a methodology

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What the world thinks of LEGO SERIOUS PLAY!

The Australian media is having a field day deriding the use of LEGO bricks by the national broadcaster, the ABC. Some innovative person in the organisation read about LEGO SERIOUS PLAY and decided that the ABC would do it their way. They asked staff to come up with some new ideas and build them in bricks.
Some people in the ABC thought this a ridiculous idea and told the media who in turn went wild demanding that this waste of taxpayers' money is stopped immediately. It has now reached parliamentary level!

Read the articles below that have appeared in the Australian newspapers:

Please comment!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Action Learning

I attended a very interesting session today on Action learning. The session was run by Dr Michael Marquadt who is President of the World Institute of Action Learning. He has shown companies like Microsoft, Novartis, Boeing and Nokia how to implement action learning in their teams.
Some of the interesting points he made:
1. Action learning is important because we don't really learn any other way. If we learn to play golf, we learn by doing. We can't learn to play unless we pick up a club and go around the course. We then reflect on how we played and implement the learnings next time. Every 2 year old continuously does action learning - they act as they learn to communicate and to walk.
2. Leadership skills are best improved via action learning. Leadership can't be taught in the classroom. Action learning gives us the opportunity to work on real problems in real time and use real skills. This in turn gives us leadership skills as we work through simple and complex problems.
3. Action learning enables systems thinking, team building, problem solving and strong communication through questioning techniques.
4. There are 6 key components to action learning:
You need an urgent problem or a task or challenge. It could be a short term problem or a crisis or something long term.
Constitute a group of between 4 - 8 people - no larger than 8.
Set the norms for the group. The focus is on questioning. The rule is that anyone can pose a question - any type of question, open or closed. Anyone can respond. There are only questions and answers. Nothing else.Everything is done in the form of a question or a statement.
Everyone in the group has to take action before or after the session.
You know at the start of the action learning session that you are going to do several things simultaneously - you are going to problem solve, learn how to be a better leader and become a better communicator. Each person in the group will be empowered and will learn more and will solve problems faster.
The group needs an action learning coach who focuses the group on the process they are undergoing and who helps the group to perform better and to be more creative.
the 2 ground rules of an action learning session are:
You either ask or answer a question
The coach has the power to intervene and to develop the leadership skills of the group.
Some of the typical questions in an action learning session that a coach can ask, once a problem is selected and once the team has had a try at asking and answering questions:
What have we done well?
What can we do better?
I am not sure we are building on each other's questions. What could we do about that?
Do you think we have agreement on what the problem is?
How did you feel you utlised your leadership skills in the process?
How could you have asked better questions?
What have we learned here?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The value of creativity

Loved this blog from Jacquie Llyod Smith - one of our Canadian partners in the Strategic Playroom.
The title of her blog is - Creativity. Is That Really a New Business Word?

She writes:

When you hear the word creative, do you picture starving artists creating political statements out of recycled materials. And when you hear the word imagination, do you think of young children telling amazing stories and drawing wonderful pictures? It is interesting to note that most people in the corporate world think they lost their imagination somewhere in public school. These same people are quick to announce, “I’m not creative.” The truth is, we use creative imagination everyday—every time we develop a business plan, write a budget, or make dinner. In order to think about something that has not happened yet, we use imagination.

The ability to think creatively is now more important than ever, as the world is changing rapidly and we are all asked to do more with less. Many corporations are outsourcing skilled labour such as engineering, accounting, and software writing. North Americans watch as left brain jobs go to countries asking for lower incomes. Innovation is a right brain activity, which comes from the ability to use imagination. It could be one of the ways North American businesses gain a greater foothold in the world market during this economic slowdown. The Economist Magazine calls innovation the next big economy, following the Knowledge Economy. And now Business week is calling it the Creative Economy, .

General Electric, Procter & Gamble, and Google all understand the Creative Economy and they are working to capitalize. They all recognize their greatest asset is the potential that lies in their human resources. They not only create environments that support ideation and collaboration, but they also create time and space. It is difficult to be creative when your time is taken up on task completion.

For many of us, the words creative and creativity have negative connotations. We often think of creativity as being an indulgent past time. And many parents know the arts programs are the first to go when public school systems experience cutbacks. But wait, before you cut those arts programs, remember businesses need creative thinkers who can solve those problems we have not yet encountered or solved.

Clearly some people are more creative than others. But we can all become more creative. There is a way to develop that creative muscle. First we need to recognize the power of creativity and imagination and see this as an available tool that is accessible to all of us. At Lloyd Smith Solutions we use systematic creativity to take our clients through a process that generates better solutions. We use whole brain thinking, 3D tools to tap into the hidden potential that is locked away in the underused right brain.

We are not alone in our passion for right brain development. We salute others, like Whitney Ferre, who has built a business around helping people become more creatively fit. She has written a book on this topic and you can visit her website to learn more about the work she is doing to help change mental frameworks, and ultimately people’s lives.

Some great food for thought here and all our LEGO SERIOUS PLAY mates definitely know the immense value of using play to create a sense of flow where new ideas emerge.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Make full use of Linked In

I attended a fascinating session this morning with a top expert in the field of social media and he gave us some great tips on how to make the most use of Linked In.
Raz Chorev made us very aware of some interesting data about Linked In to convince us that keeping your profile up to date is worthwhile for personal branding, marketing and networking. After all, the ability to know and to work your network is a key leadership capability - as my dear guru Prof Rosabeth Kanter often tells us.
Linked In has 65 million members worldwide and is regarded as the largest professional network. This is the place where top executives show their profiles and average income of members is $110K per annum.
So how do you take advantage of the network?
1. Raz recommends that you have a look at Reid Hoffman's profile on Linked in and follow his formula. Reid is one of the founders of Linked in.
2. He says that you need to display your CV including your work experience and your education. Include career highlights and areas of specialisation.
3. Make sure that your profile is public and give this to clients and suppliers on your business card. Invite them to connect with you to grow your network.
4. Ask people you have worked with to endorse you so that you build credibility.
5. For people in marketing, Linked In is a mini-CRM system. Use it to send in-mails to people you would like to meet or ask for introductions from people who know other people.
6. Establish a group around a key topic of interest. This helps you to connect and interact with those who are as passionate as you are about a topic.
7. Use Tripit so that others in the network can see where you are traveling to and perhaps create an off-line meeting with you.
8. Suggestion is to keep facebook and Linkedin separate - facebook is more social and Linked-In is business oriented.

Slides from the presentation are on -