Want more Innovation? Here is a Novel Idea!

In a host of conversations over the past few years, many people have shared with me a common challenge:  ‘How to consistently generate more innovation in my business and in my life?’   It can be a vexing problem…but it doesn’t have to be.  Three key points to jump spark the conversation:

  • The driving force behind all innovation is creativity.
  • Behind creativity are proactive habits.
  • If you want more innovation, anchor the creative habit.

To quote one of my clients: ‘Spending hours in the day for creative thinking feels like a shrinking ice cube – simply not enough time.’   Ah yes, the cruel creativity ResistorThe Vice strikes once again – simply not enough hours in the day.  If you take that at face value and add to it that most people don’t have effective and easy go to mechanisms to prime their creative idea pump, we have  identified two root causes that slow down the challenge of consistently generating enough innovation.  And you say you have a novel idea to help solve this?

The novel idea at a glanceDevelop and implement a simple integrated workout routine to leverage the positive benefits of physical exercise (when the endorphins are elevated, you are primed and ready) and use it to fuel your creative thinking efforts.  Yes, combine the creative and physical exercise habit together.

Physical exercise is good for the body it builds muscle and conditions the heart and the lungs.  It also builds, conditions and influences the brain.  The brain is an adaptable organ than can be shaped similarly to the way muscles can be strengthened.  The more we exercise the stronger and more versatile the brain becomes.  Exercise improves our ability to learn on three fundamental levels:

  • It sharpens our mindset to improve alertness, attention and motivation.
  • It readies and primes nerve cells to communicate and bind to one another at a cellular level, which helps us to take in new information.
  • It sparks the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus region of the brain (responsible for collecting incoming stimuli, cross referencing the new information with stored information and forwards it to the prefrontal cortex for processing).

Similarly, thinking creatively is good for the mind, spirit, heart and gut.  You produce more novel and feasible ideas and actions when you proactively think and act creatively.  And like exercise, you can’t simply talk about it, you have to consistently do it to get results.  And one proactive way to accomplish this is to apply a go to set of divergent and convergent thinking tools…and combine them with physical exercise.  Here’s how:

  • Precede the physical exercise workout with a stretching/warm-up routine to focus on the creative thinking challenge.  Spend seven minutes and zero in on the specific area where you want novel, valuable and feasible thinking.
  • Engage in a minimum thirty-minute physical exercise workout to get your heart rate elevated.  During the workout reach into your idea generating toolkit/pump and apply a divergent and/or convergent thinking tool to spark and/or focus your thinking.
  • After the workout, immediately capture what you generated – (e.g., problem statements,  ideas, concepts, actions to take etc.) via your idea capture system (e.g., post it notes, iPhone, notepad, etc.).
  • Take some bold action on what you produced within 24 hours – accelerate your momentum!

Good things happen when you hustle…and when you combine physical exercise and creative thinking.  In using this method over a 28-day timeframe, you will anchor the physical exercise and creative habit and consistently drive more innovation.  Borrowing from horse racing, just picked three winners in the trifecta – and yes, I expect the payout to be quite handsome!


Integrate Creative Thinking into your Weekly Schedule and Increase your Innovation Productivity

gets us in his extreme time pressure iron grasp and squeezes us hard twice; he steals our precious time for creativity and then provides us with logical sounding excuses to boot:  ‘I just don’t have the luxury of time on my side to think about new ideas.’  I’ve got to focus on the fundamentals, the blocking and tackling and can’t be distracted from my day job.’  And the beat goes on…the beat goes on!

His Resistive Powers are:

  • Extreme Time Pressures
  • Unrealistic Expectations for Creative Productivity
  • Distractions from Creative Work

Take these actions this week to increase your innovation productivity, strengthen your creative thinking muscle and anchor the creative habit to be repeatable!

  1. The creativity resistor of extreme time pressures (real and/or perceived) negatively impact our innovation productivity…if we allow it to happen.  We all have many tasks to accomplish, deadlines to meet every week in our busy lives, no doubt about it.  The challenge however is to not become so absorbed with the tasks that we forfeit sufficient time to think creatively.  Stimulus is the lifeblood of creativity and without a consistent amount, it is difficult to generate novel and feasible thinking.  So, find ways to combine tasks and integrate creative thinking into your weekly schedule.  Go outside for a brisk walk and pay attention to everyday things/events that you encounter and are around you, (e.g., ask: ‘What ideas do I get from the rapids running in the stream as I walk by it?’ How can I apply the dynamics of fast/slow; ever-moving; cold; deep/shallow; twists/bends to my current challenge?’  Have your idea capture system with you and write down/record the questions, the ideas and the options you generate.  By adopting this technique you develop and then anchor the habit of integrating/combining creative thinking into your everyday tasks – a two-for-one combo!  We can’t add additional time to our day, but we can integrate/combine creative thinking with our busy schedules…and increase our innovation productivity – one day at a time!            


  1. The creativity resistor of unrealistic expectations for creative productivity is a two edge sword.  On one side of the proverbial coin, if you set unrealistic goals and consistently fall short, it can have a deflating effect.  On the flip side are high expectations – Sam Walton, the founder of WalMart said ‘high expectations are the key to everything.’  So should I call heads or tails – which is it?  So how about we lean in the direction of setting high – but not unrealistic expectations for creative productivity?  Set the goal high enough – e.g., generate fourteen problem statements or generate fourteen ideas this week to move forward on a challenge, problem or opportunity.  Heck, that is just two per day.  The art/science here is to find the sweet spot between setting the bar too high…or too low.  We have to fall in once in a while to know how close to the edge we are.  We don’t know our true capability until we really stretch – to go beyond our mostly self-imposed boundaries.  And analogous to exercise, we build up and strengthen this muscle. Over time, we can raise the bar and generate increased numbers of problem statements and ideas.  What is the point of the game if we are not keeping score?                  


  1. The creative resistor of distractions from creative work takes advantage of the reality that we all have many tasks to accomplish every week in our busy lives, not debating this one.  The challenge is to not become so absorbed with the tasks, to not allow using the all to convenient excuse of busyness as a substitute for creative productivity.  We all have 1440 minutes a week to use, no more – no less.  It’s how we allocate and administer our time.  One useful barometer is to allocate sixty minutes per day to creative work – 420 minutes per week.  Just think about what you could accomplish by doing this?  Conduct a time audit on where you spend your time and identify the wasteful, non-productive and distracting tasks – e.g., surfing the web, working on non-impactful tasks, etc., and using these as safe distractions.  Moving forward, eliminate these distractions and stop doing non-essential tasks.  This should easily free up thirty –  sixty minutes a day – providing you with adequate time to think and act creatively.  This change will enable you to develop and foster a robust Play to Win Mindset where you focus in on growth opportunities and leverage your potential.  Look to take smart risks – identify and wager many small bets versus a large riskier one. Creative work is inherently risky because we cannot predict the outcome, and placing many small bets helps to reduce the risk.    Creative work takes courage, it is exciting, liberating, invigorating and rewarding.  The choice is yours – use distractions as a cover, a shield…or be confident, get in the creative arena and innovate!

Strengthen Your Cognitive and Perceptual Flexibility by Leveraging the Powers of Prism



…has the unique ability to stretch and flex his cognitive and perceiving thinking muscles to expand wide beyond current boundaries or to contract in between the lines.  This gives him the flexibility to cobble together new, and unique idea combinations.  Being a student of physics, he has keen insight and realizes that ideas have varying frequencies and can flow and refract in different directions.  He displays a resilient ability to maintain versatility and flexibility.  And working with his Sidekick Micro-Burst, together they develop an abundance of novel and truly unique ideas, solutions and concepts.

His Powers are:

  • Borrow It
  • Elaborate
  • Make New Combinations

Take these actions this week to strengthen your cognitive and perceiving flexibility, to anchor the creative habit to be repeatable and to Get Creativity Fit!

  1. Our minds learn and are programmed to repeat success patterns and are not programed to proactively look for new patterns.  It’s at the core of evolution and biological reproduction.  As a result, we can think about and perceive that existing ideas and concepts are good because we are familiar with them.  So the trap we set for ourselves is that many innovative ideas and concepts are generally wrong because they break from our success patterns – what we are familiar and comfortable with – the way we know how to do it and the way we know it will work.  To break this pattern, practice the skill/technique of Borrow It – to think analogically and borrow ideas from one context and apply them in another.  Integrate excursions into your weekly routine and go on a wide variety of physical field visits that include interviews, observing and walking the processes where you want to gain a deeper insight.  Look for ideas in unique places and ask:  ‘How to apply/force-connect these ideas to my current challenge, problem or opportunity?’  
  2. Consciously breaking from the past and our current way of doing things is contrary to being efficient and getting our work done.  It is more efficient and productive to repeat the success patterns and methods that we know.  It takes conscious effort and time to break current success pattern connections and then to develop new success pattern connections.  To break this pattern, practice the skill/technique of Elaborate, but not Excessively by adding enough detail to ideas/alternatives/concepts to improve, embellish or transform them.  Ask:  ‘How to exaggerate it?’  ‘How to increase the value?’  ‘How to make it stronger?’  ‘How about adding in a secret sauce ingredient or two?’  When you present the idea, communicate the essence of it by showing its relationship to something that is known, understood and valued by your audience.    
  3. Organizing for creative work is the inverse of everyday work.  With everyday work we want to eliminate variance and repeat tasks the same way every time.  We want zero variance and a zero failure rate.  Conversely, organizing for creative work is juxtaposed – variance is the lifeblood of creativity.  You need to foster and accelerate variance by forcing yourself to be exposed to lots of diverse stimulus…light the match…break from habit…  perceive things differently…make many new connections.  A high rate of experimentation is necessary.  Thomas Edison conducted over 5,000 experiments before he was successful in making the filament of an incandescent light bulb that lasted long enough and was cheap enough to be commercially viable.  To break this pattern practice the skill/technique of Make New Combinations by taking something that currently exists and adapt it to develop new applications, purposes, relationships or uses.  Integrate more incubation time periods into your problem solving, idea finding efforts.  Use the natural power of incubation to pause, step away from the issue, put some distance between you and it and don’t prematurely force a decision.  Let your ideas flow freely and allow  your innate associative thinking capabilities to do their work.

Resist the Destructive Force of Status-Quo Thinking and Defeat Chameleon

…is true to her name and makes certain she fits in, conforms to the status-quo, keeps her head low, follows the rules (loves checklists) and stays in her prescribed lane.  She does not challenge assumptions or ask why we do things the way we do.  She is very boring…quite stifling in fact, and as a result perpetuates more-of-the-same thinking and generates nothing unique.

Her Resistive Powers are:

  • Overemphasize the Status-Quo
  • Conform to the Pressure of Rules, Traditions, Culture and Social Influences

Take these actions this week to strengthen your creative thinking muscle, anchor the creative habit to be repeatable…and conquer the Resistive Powers of Chameleon!

  1. Challenge Underlying Assumptions:  Underlying assumptions are just that – underlying and hidden.  Often, we do not take the time to surface them, let alone challenge them.  Assumptions are firmly imbedded in our thinking and perceiving – yet often are hidden.  Habits form around these hidden assumptions; routines get established and eventually no one wants to break out of their comfort zone – even if that is causing us to perform at a less than optimal level.  We ‘go along to get along’ instead of challenging ourselves or each other to prosper.  So, shake it up and start challenging assumptions.  First, surface them by asking: ‘What assumptions am I/we making about this issue/problem/situation?  Second, take each of the assumptions and distort it by asking: ‘What would happen if I/we reversed this assumption?’  Third, with each reversed assumption ask:  ‘How can I/we use this reversed assumption?’  What ideas does it spark?  At a minimum you will break your fixed thinking and perceiving patterns.  Better yet you will generate increased levels of novel thinking!


  1. Be Independent in Thought and Resist Conformity:  Resist conformity you exhort!  Easy to say – tougher to do.  Just suppose we live in a corporate culture where the dominant color is green.  We do things the green way, we like green ideas/concepts/solutions, and we are looking for greener thank you!  Just suppose you have a violet idea – in fact, your way of thinking and perceiving produces many more violet ideas than green.  The leaders proclaim they want diversity in thinking, want people to take risk and fail fast.  Yes possibly, however violet is not green, and the two colors may not mesh well…or can they?  What is a creative thinker to do?  You only get one chance to make a favorable first impression so take the following steps to improve your odds.  (1) Synthesize your idea(s) into an organized, straightforward back of the envelope concept/solution by giving it a name and describing it in two – three sentences.  (2) Explain how it works; the problem it solves for the customer and your organization; what is unique about it; and the economic value it will generate even if it is difficult to do so.  (3) Outline where the concept/solution could potentially get stuck in quicksand and the preventative ways you’ve identified to avoid the quicksand.  (4) When you present the concept/solution, communicate the essence of it by showing its relationship to something that is known, understood and valued by your audience.  With this approach you will demonstrate that the concept/solution you developed nicely integrated violet with green…and better yet…produced a beautiful blue.


  1. Re-Spark your Natural Curiosity:  To quote the brilliant and acclaimed physicist Albert Einstein:  ‘The important thing is not to stop questioning.  Curiosity has its own reason for existing.  One cannot help be in awe when he/she contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structures of reality.  It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.  Never lose your curiosity.’   This underscores the vital importance of the front-end of creative-problem-solving, namely identifying and defining the best challenge, problem, opportunity to go after, to solve.  A very big part of the equation are the questions.  Take action and develop your go to set of questions and statement starters to use in your creative-problem-solving efforts.  The power with this is it will continually spark your curiosity, and you can repurpose this list of questions/statement starters to a host of different challenges, situations, issues, problems and/or opportunities.  To borrow from Mary Poppins, these are a few of my favorites things/questions/statement starters:  ‘Why…?’  ‘Why not…?’  ‘Just Suppose…’  ‘What if…?’  ‘If only…’  ‘I Wish…’  ‘Wouldn’t it be great it if…?’  ‘What I really like about that is…’  ‘The potential I see with that is…’  ‘What if we reversed it and did the opposite?’  ‘In a world where that is real, the power I see is…’

Leverage the Powers of Micro-Burst and Generate More Novel and Feasible Ideas – Week of January 3, 2022

was born to run fast and exemplifies that Imagination will Prevail.  She has the unique Powers to rain and select novel and feasible ideas.  Being a prolific idea rainmaker, she significantly increases the odds of producing novel and feasible ideas because she generates an abundance of them.  She is cut from the cloth that more, novel and feasible is better – and not that less is more.  She consistently works from a bountiful harvest of ideas, options and alternatives…and then converges and whittles them down to the best, most valuable ones.

Her Powers are:

  • Be Fluent
  • Be Novel
  • Stay Open

Take actions this week to leverage your Powers to generate more novel and feasible ideas, strengthen your creativity muscle and anchor the creative habit to be repeatable.

  1. Be Fluent:  The Power to Be Fluent is interchangeable with the ability to produce quantity, so the key action is to generate many ideas against an open-ended, well-defined challenge, problem or opportunity.  There is a long history in the creativity literature (and practical application) to support the premise that the more ideas a person generates, the higher the likelihood the ideas they develop will be robust and viable.  This association has been coined the equal-odds rule which states that the relationship between the number of ideas and the total number of works produced in a given time period is positive, linear and stable.  Yes, quantity matters so give yourself an idea quota of at least twenty-five this week to solve your well-defined challenge, problem or opportunity.
  2. Be Novel:  The Power to Be Novel is as it sounds – the ability to resist conformity, be independent in thought and action…to seek originality, break away from the obvious, habit-bound and automatic responses.  This requires breaking some existing thinking and perceiving patterns – and allowing new patterns and combinations to emerge.  One technique to employ is to search for boring things and discover something interesting about them – to observe and look deeper.  Most times, our initial reaction to something we perceive as boring is to ignore it.  Prove yourself wrong and find some hidden uniqueness.  For example, take a boring building and find something aesthetically interesting about it – i.e., the shadows on the surfaces, the features, or what you imagine is occurring or could be occurring in the building.  Or take an everyday boring item in the kitchen and make it more interesting – find new and improved uses for it.  Pretend it’s alive, what new uses might you discover?  Exercise those thinking and perceiving connections in your brain to be more versatile!
  3. Stay Open:  The Power to Stay Open is the ability to take adequate time to fully understand a challenge, problem or opportunity and consider key factors about them.  It means keeping various problem statements, ideas and options open for as long as possible and resisting the strong knee-jerk temptation to reach a conclusion prematurely.  One technique is to use the sheer power of questions to assist here.  For example:  “What does the data tell me?”  “What does the data not tell me?”  “What are the most dominant, compelling facts?”  What is the real underlying problem here?”  “Why is this?”  Why isn’t it…?”  “What if…?”   “How could the problem solve itself?”  Additionally, take the time and seek out varied perspectives, points of view and opinions to gain an appreciate understanding of differing or competing ideas, options and alternatives.


Leverage the Powers of Black Diamond and go after your Dream – Week of 12.13.2021

…has a built-in compass to consistently navigate competing challenges, Fight the Right Foe, outsmart and outmaneuver them.  Most often it is not a fair fight.  He uses facts, data and logic to choose which foes to fight.  He prioritizes the challenges that he has the energy, passion, expertise and resources to pursue, and those that will deliver the greatest impact.  With his ability to laser focus he prevents expensive false stars that consume valuable time, resources and energy.

His Powers are:

  • See It
  • Find It
  • Be Versatile

Take these actions this week to laser in on your Dream/Big Goal, Get Creativity Fit, and anchor the creative habit to be repeatable.

  1. See It: There is nothing stronger, more energizing or powerful than a Dream.  If you can Dream it, you can do it.  Dreams fight, they have staying power.  Determination and tough-minded optimism will always overcome disappointment.  Desire and focused action will always conquer defeat.  Dreams will always remain standing and prevail.  Ask:  What is your boldest, most daring Dream?  Deep down, what is your life purpose?   What are you uniquely talented at, love to do and should be doing most of the time?  As you think about your future vision, ask:  What is your head/logic saying to you?  What is your heart/emotions saying to you?  What is your gut/intuition saying to you?  Take some time (not too much) answer these questions…then get going and Lean into Risk! 


  1. Find It: With your Dream/Big Goal in focus, identify multiple paths for a successful ascent.  The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  Ask:  What vital few data, details, facts and information are required for a successful ascent?  What data, facts, information rise above the noise?  What do I really need to pay attention to?  In the medical world, the four main vital signs are heart rate, temperature, pulse and breathing rate.  Identify your main vital signs:  Ask: What are the most pertinent facts and information?  What does the data tell me?  What does the data not tell me?  In addition to logic, what do my gut feelings, intuition and instincts tell me to do?  Do not get stuck and over-study it – Xcelerate your momentum forward!


  1. Be Versatile: Pay attention to your unique calling.  Think big, Lean into Risk, embrace your Dream and take proactive actions to go get it.  Persevere, never let it go or every give up.  Take the actions for the long run.  You will encounter obstacles, naysayers, hostilities, quicksand and inclement weather to name a few.  You have a number of options at your disposal to include:  charm them; kill them with kindness; barrel over them; collaborate with them; outsmart them; and outrun them.  They will tire, you will not!  What is the Dream that is in you?  The one you need to go after with every passionate and enthusiastic fiber in your body?  The American philosopher and essayist Ralph Waldo Emmerson said: Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm!

Conquer the Resistive Forces of The Delayers – Week of December 6, 2021

…are quite possibly the most stubborn and close to home Resistor of them all.  One that is quite personal don’t you think?  ‘If only I had gone for the gold…had the nerve and taken the risk…studied more…worked out more…been luckier and gotten the breaks’…and the beat goes on, the beat goes on.  These beats hit the nail right on the head because there is no one else to blame, no place to hide, no good excuses.  The Personal Resistors of Self-Doubt, Rationalization and Procrastination collaborate really well, taking us in the wrong direction.  Together they are a debilitating triple threat.

Their Personal Resistive Powers are:

  • Self-Doubt, Rationalization and Procrastination

Take these actions this week to Get Creativity Fit, strengthen your creative thinking muscle, anchor the creative habit to be repeatable…and conquer the Personal Resistive Powers of The Delayers!

  1. If you think you can fail, you’re more likely to – Nick Wallenda, acrobat, high wire aerialist and daredevil. One of the primary contributors to self-doubt in creative settings is the Internal Voice of Judgment (IVOC) – that voice in your head that says things like: ‘How could it be a good idea if I thought of it.  It it’s such a good idea, somebody else would have thought about it already.’  One technique to conquer the IVOC is to laugh at – to really laugh at it.  When it rears its’ ugly head, confront it and say:  ‘Well hello Yes Butter (who dismisses all ideas with a but) I have been waiting for you to show up, I thought you would have appeared earlier you tiny little twerp.’  And then laugh at it – pull the laughter up from your diaphragm and have a darn good belly laugh at the expense of the IVOC.  After all, it is funny (not) that we allow the pipsqueak of the IVOC to cause self- doubt and slow us down.  The use of humor is a great equalizer.         


  1. Not only can we rationalize just about anything, but we can also rationalize why we rationalize. So, if I rationalize that I am not creative, I can come up with a whole host of reasons that support this thinking, and it becomes a closed loop self-fulfilling prophecy.  One technique to break this pattern, is to think and act efficaciously.  Self-efficacy is an expectation, a belief, a trust in yourself that you are competent, and you can perform at high levels.  First, affirm your ability to think and act creatively in situations.  Second, actively engage in situations that demand creative thinking – out of the fire and into the frying pan.  Third, do not view potential barriers as threats – channel natural anxiousness into positive action-oriented energy.  Fourth, set aggressive yet achievable goals.  And fifth, measure your results and make real-time adjustments.  Use these steps to pursue positive outcomes, expect to achieve results…and tip rationalization upside down and leave it there!              


  1. Procrastination may be the most insidious resistor of them all and in a class all by itself. Not only do we procrastinate our creative work until tomorrow or next week, but some people also procrastinate it over their lifetime.  One basic reason we procrastinate is to avoid or postpone some form of pain – e.g., pain of rejection, pain of not being accepted, etc.  Might as well put that off for now.  One technique to combat procrastination is to develop the thinking frame of making  multiple $2 bets.  In horse racing, $2 bets are the smallest amount you can wager.  If your horse does not finish in the money, so what – you only lost $2.  And if I bet on three horses, I am only out $6 if one of the horses do not finish in the money.  This way of thinking gets me off the sidelines and into the game.  Conversely, if I think about making a $50 wager, I may not get into the game, because that is a lot of money to lose.  Implement a handful of small $2 bets, run multiple tests, be in the race…and look at procrastination in the rear-view mirror.


Leverage the Powers of Momentum and Xcelerate Your Concepts/Prototypes to Action – Week of November 29, 2021

…is peerless in embodying The Power of Speed.  He has an irrepressible bias for action and Xcelerates viable concepts/prototypes to implementation.  He is optimistic, intuitive, versatile and enjoys humor (especially is own).  He tunes into what his head, heart and gut tells him, learns and adapts quickly.  Once a concept or prototype passes the mustard test from his sidekick Plusser, he wastes no time and Xcelerates it quickly.  No time for delay, not now, not ever!

His Powers are:

  • Be Optimistic
  • Use Humor and Intuition
  • Act on It

Take these actions this week to Xcelerate your concepts and prototypes to action, strengthen your creative thinking muscle and get creativity fit and anchor the creative habit to be repeatable.

  1. Be Optimistic, think positive, be resolute and do not become unnerved or deterred when facing complexity or ambiguity. One way to nurture an optimistic attitude is to adopt the practice of interpreting events favorably – to develop an optimistic bias.  When facing an unsuccessful outcome, see it as temporary and isolated and modify your self-talk to reinforce it.  For example, say:  ‘This situation was difficult, and I wasn’t successful with my attempt.  I believe that by making modifications, the outcome will be successful next time.’  This way of thinking enhances positive feelings and increases confidence about future endeavors.  It also leads to increases in performance and becomes self-fulfilling as the cycle repeats itself.          
  2. Use Humor and Intuition to develop a dynamic, idea-affirming creative climate! We like to laugh, prefer to be around people that make us laugh and enjoy getting other people to laugh.  Laughing is fun and is highly contagious.  When people are enjoying themselves, they are not as defensive, are much more playful and they interact and collaborate more effectively.  As a result, they generate more novel ideas, idea combinations, actionable concepts and prototypes.  Let’s dovetail from laughter to intuition – defined here as a hunch, a gut instinct, an inkling, an energy, a sixth sense.  Intuition is your heart and emotions telling you to pay attention to something.  You might not be able to put your finger on why, or what triggered it and it may not be logical – you just feel it.  Allow yourself to accept and follow it, see where it takes you and what ideas and concepts you think of.  Enjoy the journey it will be rich, vibrant…and fun!               
  3. Act on It, and develop an unrelenting bias for action, lean into risk and move forward. Stay versatile, experiment, learn and adapt quickly.  One method to make this operational is to adopt the power of the Rule of Three which is based on how our brains function – how we recognize and create patterns daily.  The rule is often used to make presentations and speeches more engaging.  How about we adapt the Rule of Three to get fast traction with our concepts and prototypes?  One way is to view your concept or prototype through the lens of conducting a series of rapid experiments and test three things with the concept or prototype every week.  Move it forward.  If you do not move the concept/prototype forward every week, it is atrophying – just like with our skeletal muscles.  They are either getting stronger or they are atrophying – they are not in neutral or in a holding pattern.  With The Power of Speed, you can run three experiments with your concept/prototype this week – twelve this month.  Now that is the power of Momentum…smell my vapor fumes! 

Get Creativity Fit and Conquer the Workplace Resistors of The Vice – Week of November 22, 2021

…gets us in his extreme time pressure iron grasp and squeezes us hard twice time; he steals our precious time for creativity and then provides us with logical sounding excuses to boot:  ‘I just don’t have the luxury of time on my side to think about new ideas.’  I’ve got to focus on the fundamentals, the blocking and tackling and can’t be distracted from my day job.’  And the beat goes on…the beat goes on!

His Workplace Resistive Powers are:

  • Extreme Time Pressures
  • Unrealistic Expectations for Creative Productivity
  • Distractions from Creative Work

Take these actions this week to Get Creativity Fit, strengthen your creative thinking muscle, anchor the creative habit to be repeatable…and conquer the Workplace  Resistive Powers of The Vice!

  1. To conquer the Resistive Powers of Extreme Time Pressures (real and/or perceived), how about letting creative work cut the line and schedule it as your first task of the day?  Knock it out first thing – a focused, energetic 30-60 minutes.  Make it a two-for-one combo and integrate it with a physical workout.  Zero in on where you want to focus your creative thinking and then conduct your workout.  Get the blood pumping, elevate the endorphins and let the natural positive effects of exercise go to work and improve your alertness, attention and motivation.  At the end of the workout capture the ideas, alternatives and options you generated.  In addition to the positive effects exercise has on the body, the more we exercise the stronger and more versatile our brain becomes – natural fuel for creativity and innovation!          


  1. To combat the Resistive Powers of Unrealistic Expectations for Creative Productivity, (e.g., the pressure to continuously think ‘out-of-the- box’) set SMART creativity and innovation goals: Make sure the goals you set are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.  The art/science here is to find the sweet spot between setting the bar too high…or too low.  And analogous to exercise, you build this muscle over time.  For example, you could start by setting a goal of generating a minimum of ten ideas/week against a well-defined problem statement.  Over time, you can raise the bar and generate twenty-one ideas/week – 3 per day.  What is the point of the game if we are not keeping score?                  


  1. To manage the Resistive Powers of Distractions from Creative Work, adopt a Play to Win Mindset over a Pay not to Lose Mindset. We all have many tasks to accomplish every week in our busy lives, no doubt about it.  The challenge is to not become so absorbed with the tasks – to not allow using the convenient excuse of busyness as a substitute for creative productivity.  Also, challenge where you are spending non-productive time – e.g., surfing the web, working on non-impactful tasks, etc., and using these as safe distractions.  These kind of tasks constitute a Play not to Lose Mindset – playing it safe, where you might lose – not taking a risk.  Conversely with a Play to Win Mindset we focus in on our growth, our potential – taking smart risks and recognizing that creative work is inherently risky because we cannot predict the outcome.  It takes courage, it is exciting, liberating, invigorating and rewarding.  The choice is yours – use distractions as a cover, a shield…or be confident and get in the arena and create!

Leverage the Unique Powers of Plusser and Strike Fear into The 3 Headed Gremlin – Week of November 15, 2021

…has the unique Powers to cobble together and Strengthen a Concept/Prototype.  She does this by taking the ideas from her sidekicks Micro-Burst and Prism and cobbles them into an actionable concept/prototype.  She then finds the plusses and potential in the concept/prototype, uses goal wishing to identify the drawbacks and generates options to overcome them.  The outcome she produces is a Best Concept/Prototype.  And in doing, she strikes fear into The 3 Headed Gremlin and boldly proclaims that Imagination will Prevail.

Her Powers are:

  • Put Ideas in Context
  • Evaluate and Select It
  • Strengthen It

Take these actions this week to Get Creativity Fit, strengthen your creative thinking muscle, anchor the creative habit to be repeatable and strike fear into  The 3 Headed Gremlin.

  1. Put Ideas in Context by using a wide-angle lens so people can first see the big picture, the essence of the idea/concept before diving down into the details. Second, synthesize/integrate the ideas and cobble them together into an organized concept/prototype so it is straightforward to communicate.  Third, communicate the substance of the concept/prototype by showing its relationship to something that is known, understood and valued by other people.  Use metaphors to assist your efforts.  You do not want your audience to think the concept/prototype is too far out or costly and prematurely discount it.  And fourth, quantify the economic value of the concept/prototype even it is difficult to do so.     
  2. Evaluate and Select It by thinking critically and using criteria to help deduce sound conclusions. When evaluating and choosing among various ideas/concepts, your best friend is sound, weighted criteria.  An idea selection grid, a two-by-two opportunity matrix/grid or a paired-comparison grid will all work nicely.  If working in a group, using a grid will help you to facilitate a rich discussion and needed consensus.  Give the concept/prototype a fair hearing and do not be hasty in making decisions prematurely.  Ensure the option you select will achieve a moderate to high return and not be too difficult to implement.  No need to go over the fence at the highest point!        
  3. Strengthen it by taking the time to first identify the plusses and potential of ideas and concepts. Listen for what’s right about them and work to strengthen and ask, ‘What are the 3 plusses of this idea/concept?  If working in a group, have everyone share their 3 plusses.  Then transition to the potential of the idea/concept and ask, ‘In a future where this idea/concept has been implemented, what is the potential of it?  If working in a group have everyone share their potentials.  From there, segue and use goal wishing to surface the drawbacks of the idea/concept and ask, ‘I wish there was a way we could…’  Prioritize the drawbacks and generate additional options to overcome or minimize the drawbacks.  If working in a group, follow the same process.  If you cannot sufficiently overcome/minimize the drawbacks, the idea/concept is not strong enough to move forward with.