Friday, November 18, 2011

Creative thinking starts with a child's eye

I love this article by Bob Gill8 Secrets To Creative Thinking (Hint: Steal From Others) I read it last week and find myself still thinking about it. There's just some content that stays with us. Maybe it reminds us of something from our past. Perhaps it inspires something we're about to do. 

Or it just could be that it just feeds our soul

I've recently decided to rejoin the Tokii team, a group I'd been with for three and a half years. Over the summer I took a much needed break to recharge my rather spent batteries. Startups are hard. Turning a startup into a business is even harder. My colleagues were kind enough to understand my circumstance and gave me the emotional and physical space to regenerate. My cup was full and it was leaking.

In that time I did a lot of thinking and writing. I also reconnected with the things that drive and fuel my passion. I traveled. I went to museums. I taught workshops and webinars. I spent time with family and friends. I studied. I read. I reflected on the past and considered the future. I let go of some things and welcomed others. I wrote. A lot.

Bob Gill's article feeds my soul. It reminded me of the article I wrote last month about T-shaped thinking - how we need to go horizontal before going vertical. As I take another deep dive into the startup world, I appreciate just how essential this approach is to design, problem solving, and leveraging opportunities. 

In the article he also emphasizes the importance of researching a subject as if you have no knowledge of it. The older we get the harder it can be. I'm sometimes guilty of thinking I've learned so much about something that there can't possibly be anything else to learn. Just when that way of thinking sneaks up on me, I'm reminded of how wrong I am.

I read somewhere recently that when we get stuck in a mental rut we should do something completely opposite. Drive a different way to work. Use a utensil in a way that you wouldn't normally use it. Hand over something on which you've been working to someone with no knowledge of it and observe what they do with it. Watch how a child approaches a problem.

The Internet is a busy place loaded with far more content and products than any one person can interact with in a day or a lifetime. Soon we'll be launching Tokii Lab. Yes, it's more content. Yes, there's a lot out there already. Yes, it's a gamble.  

On the surface it might seem like more of the same. A few months ago this would have been the point where I'd feel tired and question what I'm doing. But then I think about my team. I appreciate where we've been and what we've been through. I think about the people we're trying to help. I consider the joy I feel when we tackle really hard problems. All over again I feel the rush of experiencing results.

So just when I thought I'd learned all there is about a startup, I find myself happily starting over in a startup once again. What's different? Little older. A little bit more experienced. 

What's old is new again because I'm questioning the answers. I'm feeling reconnected with my child's eye. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Leveraging politics in project planning

I thought I would add a slideshow that goes with a post I made here last month called Grab your feedbag... Time to care & feed those project relationships

Putting a project plan in place and working it is more than just documenting, tracking, and reporting. It takes savvy interpersonal skills to get stakeholders on board and owning the plan and results. This slideshow considers how project managers can use positive politics to do just that.

Look forward to your thoughts on the subject.