CategoryInnovation

Use this Richard Feynman Technique to Increase Your Team’s Productivity

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As World War II broke out, the physicist Richard Feynman was recruited to Los Alamos to assist in the development of the first atomic bomb. He was tasked with calculating the energy released by the nuclear explosion. Machines were brought in from IBM to assist in the task. Although state of art in their day, they were crude mechanical calculators that used punch cards to execute complicated calculations. The Army dispatched a group called the Special Engineering Detachment to operate the...

10 Lessons from the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

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 1. “All you had to do was figure that America was going to do well overtime.” – Buffett Buffett kicked off the meeting by providing the audience with “a perspective on how you might think about investing.” The entire audience leaned in. Isn’t this why we all traveled to Omaha? On March 11, 1942, young Warren Buffett made his first stock purchase. He was eleven years old. Warren held up a copy of the front page of the New York Times that day.  It was filled with bad news...

How Bucky the Bean Counter Created a World-Class Culture at Nike

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From a very young age, Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike, went by the nickname “Buck.” His father had always referred to him as such, and the name stuck. Even when he ran track for the University of Oregon his track coach, the legendary Bill Bowerman (and Nike’s other co-founder), called him Buck. As Nike grew more successful so did Phil’s stature in the business community, and Phil was increasingly referred to as “Mr. Knight.” But there was one group of early Nike employees who never got the...

Innovation, Risk & Failure at Pixar

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In a recent interview, Ed Catmull, the cofounder of Pixar, shares his views on risk, failure and culture. The entire interview is worthwhile, but I found Ed’s perspective on these three issues to be especially insightful and applicable to all industries. Taking Risks The nature of innovation requires risk taking. This creates a fundamental tension for leaders who are simultaneously tasked with providing clear, stable leadership and managing a process that creates something new and of...

Einstein & Creativity

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In 2015 we celebrated the one-hundred-year anniversary of the publication of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. What Einstein was able to achieve was so astounding and so creative, it is worth reflecting on how he did it. Thought Experiments. Einstein’s intellectual journey toward the General Theory of Relativity did not begin with complex equations and high level mathematics; rather it started with a simple thought experiment when he was just 16 years old. Young Einstein imagined he was...

Zuckerberg, EQ, Chopra and Benjamin Franklin

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How Mark Zuckerberg has grown into his role as CEO of Facebook.
Emotional Intelligence as a predictor of success.
Video of my friend Jit Chopra addressing a group of executives on the creative process.  If you like my post on “start with the bad ideas first“, then you’ll love to hear Jit tell the story about Edward Land and the Poloroid camera.
Benjamin Franklin’s 14 timeless tips on Getting Things Done. – and this man was very productive.

The 8 Most Important Qualities of Leadership at Google

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For most of Google’s history, and especially in the early years, it took a laissez-faire policy toward leadership. The company hired smart engineers, promoted the most brilliant into leadership positions and then pretty much left them alone. The assumption was that they were smart and would figure it out or ask questions if they needed help. As Google evolved, it became apparent that some managers thrived in this environment more than others.  In a recent article, Laszlo Bock, Google’s...

How Effective Leaders Deal with Information Overload

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Information overload is not only a productivity killer; it can also lead to low morale, anxiety and mistakes.  The U.S. Military has identified “information overload” as the underlying cause of several major mistakes in the war in Afghanistan, and is taking steps to address the issue.  A recent article in the New York Times explains that modern warfare generates unprecedented amounts of data to help soldiers make better decisions, but: Research shows that the kind of intense multitasking...

When Brainstorming, Start with the Bad Ideas

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 At one time or another we’ve all been invited to attend a brainstorming session, where the leader stands up in front of a whiteboard, pen in hand, and says something like, “Innovation is critical. We need to come up with some good ideas to stay innovative.  So who wants to start?” As any survivor of one of these sessions will tell you, what transpires over the next few hours is often generously referred to as “brainstorming,” while others might call it a waste of time.  The reason these...

Web 2.0 is the Future of Corporate Learning

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A much discussed article by Tony Bingham, the President of ASTD, appeared in the August 2009 T+D Magazine under the title “Learning Gets Social.”  In the piece, Tony delivers a shot across the bow for many learning and development departments, saying basically, if we all don’t get on board and start leveraging and supporting Web 2.0 technologies for learning, we’re simply going to be deemed irrelevant by the businesses we support.   The article quotes Karie Willeyard, CLO of Sun Microsystems...

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