Four things that are killing productivity in your office

What are the biggest barriers to productivity, efficiency and creativity at work?  Which activities absorb the most time for the least return?  In her book, The Innovation Revolution, Melissa Kennedy accuses four key suspects. Meetings.  Typically people in organizations spend 15% of their time in meetings.  For middle managers the figure is 35% and for senior managers it is 50%.  Surveys show... Read More--


Be Unpredictable – Surprise your Customers and Competitors

Boy Browning Frederick Arthur Montague Browning (1896 – 1965) was known as ‘Boy’ Browning. He served in the British Army with distinction in the First World War.  He was promoted to Adjutant at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.  During the Sovereign’s Parade of 1926, he did something unexpected by the large audience who came to see the closely choreographed and well-rehearsed parade... Read More--


Do Something Different – Lateral Thinking in Sales and Marketing

Why do we keep doing more of the same things?  Is it because they are familiar and easy?  Is it because we are lazy?  Or are we scared that if we try something new it might not work and we will look foolish?  Perhaps we need a reminder that creative and different approaches sometimes work really well.  I have been rereading Do Something Different by Jurgen Wolff.  It contains many stories which... Read More--


Ten Tips for Story Tellers

One of the best ways to get your message across is with stories.  Facts and data can be persuasive but many people prefer a story.  So how can you craft a good story? Here are some hints which work in most situations including social, political or business settings. Don’t tell theoretical stories.  Talk about real people and what happened to them. Set the scene.  Describe the situation –... Read More--


As the Manager, should you be present in the Brainstorm meeting?

You want to hold a meeting with the team you manage in order to generate some really creative ideas. You would like the group to challenge assumptions, think differently and come up with plenty of radical proposals. Here is the dilemma. You naturally want to lead the meeting but should you be in the room at all? Unfortunately for managers,  your presence in the room can inhibit people. With you there,... Read More--


Idealize the Answer

When you are looking at a tricky problem try specifying the ideal answer in a world where there are no constraints.  What would a perfect solution look like if we had unlimited resources to achieve it? In the book, Idealized Design[i], Russell Ackoff, Magidson and Addison describe how Bell labs did just such a thing with the telephone.  In the 1950s the VP of Bell labs challenged teams of engineers... Read More--


Boost Innovation and Recruitment with a Hackathon

    Does your company use hackathons? If you think that they are just for software companies and tech nerds then think again.  Today every company has to be a software company and every innovator has to find new ways to meet customer needs.  The principle is simple.  Teams are given a broad challenge and over 24 to 48 hours they come up with clever ideas and then construct working prototypes... Read More--


When Something Unexpected Happens, Get Curious

We often treat an unexpected or surprising happening as an irritation or distraction.  It delays us from getting on the with job so we quickly work around it.  But sometimes it pays to step back and ponder the meaning of what serendipity has just handed us. Consider these four unexpected occurrences. 1.  In 1928 a Scottish bacteriologist returned from his vacation to find that one of his petri... Read More--


Sometimes it Pays to be Unpredictable and play Games with Customers

Phil Romano Phil Romano is an Italian American who has started a series of restaurant chains.  As a serial entrepreneur he has launched some 25 different restaurants concepts which produce over $1.5B in annual revenues.  Successful ventures include Cozymel’s, Fuddruckers, Eatzi’s and Romano’s Macaroni Grill.  He has had his share of flops too including Baroni’s, an expensive... Read More--