Quick Notes

Brief, intermittent notes on mindsets and skill sets that help you become a more innovative and effective leader. Written to be easy to absorb and apply.


innovation and leadership insights

Positive Uses of Negative Spaces

February 23, 2009

In art, negative space is what you see around and within the subject of a piece. Negative space can be used dramatically and creatively.

lookingback5_80In conversations, you can use the negative space by noticing what's not being said, or the question that hasn't been asked.

Strategically, the negative space holds opportunities created by unexpected or unwanted events. Notice the way future Speaker of the House Rahm Emanuel used negative space when he said, ''You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste; it's an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.''

And the way CMU professor Rami el Samahy plumbs the potential within negative space as he encourages designers studying an urban area to stop trying to bring back those who've left - and start asking themselves what new opportunities the vacant spaces allow them to create.

When you're working on something important, step...

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Heavyweight Challenges

February 23, 2009

Those who have been there will tell you:

leadership is hard,

innovations fail more often than they succeed,

and parenting is not for the faint hearted.

Heavyweight-ChallengeHeavyweight challenges require sustained, adaptive and often courageous effort.

What's the most difficult, enduring challenge you continue to pursue?

What values do your non-negotiable aspirations reflect?

Keep going and keep learning.

The greater the challenge the deeper the insights, the sweeter the victories, the more confident your approach to accomplishing even more.

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Partnering for Productivity

February 22, 2009

How well do you use complementary types of expertise to advance your work - even if they come from outside your organization?

complementary-xpertise-to-advance-your-workProctor and Gamble's "connect + develop" strategy was designed to leverage their R&D resources. They post their challenges on-line and elicit bids from others who can help them. This strategy has led to a dramatic increase in productivity and innovation success rates.

Define what you do best. Find ways to spend more of your time exercising those capabilities, and develop relationships with partners whose strengths complement yours. This strategy works on an individual, team and organizational level.

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