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Date: Friday, 25 Jul 2014 23:23

Welcome to Conspire’s Fun Friday Links, a weekly collection of interesting discoveries from around the Web. Most of the time, the goal is to get you thinking differently about innovation, collaboration, business culture, and life in general. Other times, we may toss an infographic or fun video your way. Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to conspire@mindjet.com for consideration.

Innovation Emerges From Stories We Tell

The human experience is absolutely rooted in storytelling; we’re a species of narrators, documenting our own histories and imaginings in every language and through every medium available. But when it comes to business innovation, we’re often more inclined to take action than talk about it — and that could actually be holding us back. From Forbes:

“We find ourselves in a mad rush to do innovation. We create innovation strategies, innovation processes, innovation jump-starts, innovation this and innovation that. We do things, as earnestly and energetically as we possibly can, and then we measure some stuff and decide that what we did was, or was not, a contributor to innovative output of this, or that. Then, we do it all over again, fingers crossed, all the while forgetting about the the single, most powerful, indispensable tool we have available to cause innovation: Stories.

From the time we first uttered an intelligible human syllable, we have known that stories, narratives, and tales are our primary means for both the creation and preservation of cultures, values, and ambitions. We have always known that without stories, without meaningful narratives that abide and live and breathe, our organizations, societies and governments grow sterile, lifeless and empty.”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

Healthcare Collaboration Across 3 Generations

As the global economy evolves and technology makes it possible for more people to enter the workforce than ever before, the demographic landscape for many organizations is unexpectedly diverse — particularly when it comes to employee age brackets. The disparate challenges, needs, and perspectives from different generational groups can cause a lot of friction, which in addition to being uncomfortable, can negatively impact outcomes, products, and even customers. Though the below piece is focused on dealing with these issues in the health care industry specifically, the lessons are universally applicable. From InformationWeek:

“Today’s healthcare workforce is made up of employees from at least three different generations: Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials (also known as Gen Y). Each generation tends to have its own characteristics about work, traits that include their regard for authority, work ethic, and expectations. Since different generations rarely share the same views, it is not surprising that multigenerational workgroups often struggle to solve a particular challenge and may even experience conflicts.

Not only does this present a management dilemma — for nurse leaders and the organization as a whole — but if these challenges are not resolved, they can lead to negative outcomes such as diminished quality of care, patient safety, and patient satisfaction concerns.

How can healthcare organizations overcome the challenges inherent in multigenerational workgroups? This article will present recommended strategies for implementing an effective approach — as well as technology — to improve collaboration among multigenerational employees. It is a significant opportunity: Improved collaboration leads to more engaged employees, increased productivity, and improved communication, all of which improve the quality of care.”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

Big Data’s Effect on Organ Transplant Wait Lists

Organ transplantation is no doubt riddled with risk: expiration, potential rejection, damage during surgery, medicinal complications, cost, transport, and disease are only part of it. Currently, there are thousands of people in need of viable organs from donors, and the vast number of considerations that must go into the transplant of even a single organ are overwhelming. That, hopefully, is where Big Data can save the day. From Mashable:

“Of 28,594 organs transplanted in 2013, you haven’t heard about most. The stories of a few might go viral thanks to social media, but the vast majority of donated organs are harvested from deceased donors or taken from living donors in relative obscurity.

While the total number of organs transplanted seems like an impressive amount, nearly 18 people still die each day waiting for a new organ, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, the private, non-profit organization that manages the U.S.’s organ transplant system under a contract with the federal government. Faced with more than 120,000 people who need a life-saving organ and a constant shortage of donors, economists, doctors and mathematicians are teaming up with data to save lives.

The answer, they think, might be in the algorithm.”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

The post Fun Friday Links: Innovation and Storytelling, Cross-Generational Collaboration, and Big Data’s Effect on Organ Transplants appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Featured, Mindjet, big data, Collaborati..."
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Date: Friday, 25 Jul 2014 13:00

Obvious as it sounds, every technological advancement, medical breakthrough, or creative masterpiece that exists in the world began with one very simple thing: an idea.

To be fair, having ideas isn’t always all that simple. Particularly in business settings, generating truly unique or innovative solutions is often an acute struggle; a battle of wit against resources, deadlines, and data. This is especially true for organizations focused on humanitarian innovation — they’re not only restricted by their own assets, but by the many regional, political, financial, geographical, and cultural aspects affecting the oppressed group or location they’re trying to service. Even the most brilliant concepts must be subjected to intense scrutiny and adaptation. Having a great idea is only the very, very beginning.

Establishing a Process: Considerations and Risks

Humanitarian innovation processes are themselves incremental innovations to ideas traditionally used in the private sector. But rather than focusing on inventing or bettering a product, they’re used to improve emergency response times, assist with protracted crisis and post-conflict recovery, increase access to medical treatments and other necessities, and boost economic growth in impoverished areas.

Though plenty of agencies and powerful individuals contribute time, money, and ideas to a variety of global causes, there’s a pressing need to clarify approaches, identify risks, develop a common language, and establish collaborative support networks. Says the team at The Humanitarian Innovation Project, “Innovation takes place every day in the humanitarian context. Rarely, though, have ideas about innovation been systematically adapted and applied to humanitarianism. This project seeks to improve the innovation process within the humanitarian world. Its ultimate aim is to develop a methodology for bottom-up humanitarian innovation, which can be applied at the field level.” As organizations craft their protocol, they should consider the following:

Research is especially critical. As mentioned above, the factors that come into play when applying innovation to altruism are far more complex, sensitive, and numerous than is typically seen in the private sector. Politics are not limited to project stakeholders and board members, but actual government agencies; resources refer to medical supplies, food, water, shelter, and transportation, in addition to an org’s personnel, budget, and assets. Safety often becomes a major factor, and collaboration between operational teams and government groups (law enforcement, firefighters, volunteers, etc.) is crucial. All of these disparate elements are also at the mercy of circumstance, making research into past activities, known challenges, potential and existing risks, and the people or agencies involved a vital first step.

Starting small is a necessary evil. When an organization practices altruistic innovation, it becomes clear very quickly how daunting a task it is. Even if the efforts are focused on a specific group or region, it may appear that there will never be enough money, enough resources, enough people, or enough time to complete the mission they’ve set out to perform. This realization can be both disheartening and detrimental to effective ideation, because motivation plays such an important part in innovating successfully. Therefore, understanding this challenge up front and being prepared to scale your efforts over time is fundamental to the overall process.

Learning is a continuous process. Always. It’s the same lesson people all around the world are taught from a very young age: the act of learning doesn’t stop, and mistakes are not failures unless you make them repeatedly. As important as embracing hurdles is to the average company culture of innovation, it is doubly so when your goal is to better the lives and conditions of those in need. Consumer product and service mistakes can be rectified; when your end-customer is an at-risk child or village dwelling in deplorably poverty, that’s a major game-changer.

The Global Crowd

There’s something truly, wonderfully unique about acts of humanitarian innovation: they are in no way the sole property of experts, inventors, or highly-trained niche specialists. In fact, it is rare that these types of innovations are born from a singular desire to apply expertise to a problem, like a mechanic who spends their time rebuilding old cars for pleasure alone. More often, an existing need is met with deft resourcefulness and collaboration, resulting in clever solutions to widespread problems.

Take, for example, the Liter of Light movement. Brought to our attention by Su Layug, the winner of our INQ Magazine Issue #3 Twitter contest, this global, open-source movement is an incredible example of need-based, community-generated humanitarian innovation at work.

The movement started in one of the poorest villages in Manila, where the majority of people who live there are impoverished, and do so without electricity. From this need came an idea, and finally a goal: to provide an “ecologically sustainable and free-of-cost source of interior light.” Using nothing more than a transparent plastic bottle filled with water and a little bit of bleach (to inhibit the growth of algae or bacteria), these Liters of Light can be fitted through the roof of a house. During the day, the water inside the bottle refracts sunlight, providing approximately the same amount of light as a 40- to 60-watt incandescent bulb. When done properly, these bottles of light can last for half a decade. What started as one person’s ingenious response to a widespread issue is now a global movement; it has illuminated the lives of over 70,000 people in Manila alone, and now exists in India, Indonesia, and Switzerland. As the concept gained awareness in the global crowd — institutions and individuals around the world who understood its value and demand — it was able to transcend the many financial constraints and other challenges with which it was originally faced.

This is, of course, a specialized case of marrying innovation with philanthropy; a stellar illustration of relying on ideators and limited resources to make a monumental difference in the lives of thousands. But most importantly, it’s a solid demonstration of what humanitarian innovation is all about: the belief that, more often than not, it only takes one, simple idea to change the world.

The post Harnessing Humanitarian Innovation: Bettering the World One Idea at a Time appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Innovation, a liter of light, business c..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 22:51

In this week’s thought leadership roundup, we take a look at influencer outreach, companies that truly get it, and ridiculous jargon to avoid.

Thought Leadership Strategy: A 3-Step Framework for Influencer Outreach

From the Content Marketing Institute:

“When promoting content, a good influencer outreach campaign can be the difference between hundreds of views and thousands. It can mean real press coverage, new audiences, and even revenue growth.

The most successful of these campaigns begins weeks (or even months) in advance of the content’s launch, giving marketers plenty of time to nurture relationships with influencers and gain visibility within communities — essential components of any successful thought leadership strategy. In an ideal world, we would have hours to spend each day getting to know every influential website and person in our niche. In the real world, our resources are limited. We need to organize and prioritize our time to maximize our content marketing ROI.”

Our take: The above is old hat for anyone who’s worked with content before, but the piece gets truly interesting once they dive into the framework. It’s simple, globally applicable, and smart. If you don’t have a repeatable content strategy in place to support your thought leadership efforts, you need to read this. And even if you do, this is a great resource that could inspire new ways of getting things done.

Read the full article or Tweet this!

Content for Thought Leadership: Two Companies Who Are Killing It

From the NewsCred:

“Remember the days when companies kept an arsenal of information under lock and key and feared that if someone ever broke in and stole their “secrets” that the company would be in ruins? It’s safe to say that content marketing has shifted that mindset and tight lips are now a thing of the past.

As companies respond to the new paradigm of consumers who are empowered with choice and long for trust and to find value in the companies with which they work and support, thought leadership is coming to the forefront of brands content marketing initiatives and is becoming a priority. Companies are embracing this concept and are working hard to climb the totem pole of popularity by using educational and valuable content as the stepping stones.

But of course, since every company can’t be at the top at the same time, there are a few notables who rose faster than others and are excelling.”

Our take: Probably the biggest challenge people and companies face when tackling thought leadership is getting noticed amidst what is, basically, and endless supply of perspective-based content. Starting from scratch isn’t really an option, so this is a great read for those who need a head start, inspiration, or a fresh way of looking at their own TL strategies.

Read the full article or Tweet this!

5 Phrases That Make You Sound Ridiculous

From Thought Leaders LLC:

“Word choice matters. We spend countless hours in meetings with colleagues discussing big, important ideas. We write hundreds of documents making our case for one initiative or another. We write thousands of emails. We give dozens of presentations. And you know what? We sound ridiculous. Using buzzwords can make us sound like hypereducated idiots who swallowed a thesaurus.

In our efforts to sound more intelligent and compelling, we use big words and bigger phrases we hear other smart and compelling people use. The problem is, those words and phrases didn’t mean anything in the first place. By adopting those vapid phrases as our own, we’re saying things that are just as meaningless as the first person who uttered them.”

Our take: The entire existing community of content marketers, established thought leaders, and wannabe experts out there may as well just admit their guilt here. All we can do is move on, and do our very best to stop using the term ‘leverage’.

Read the full article or Tweet this!

The post Thursday Thought Leadership Roundup: Reaching Out to Influencers, Companies That Shine, and Ridiculous Phrases appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Mindjet, Agile Business, business collab..."
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 17:40

Money motivates. People tend to like it and usually want more of it. However, is it helpful in encouraging and getting innovation?

I want ideas; I’ll pay for them. It’s almost crude in it’s approach. Nobody likes to think that they can be bought for a certain price. However, when it comes to innovation, it is often the default.

Innovation is Not Invention

Let me lay my cards on the table here; I believe using money as a motivator can be immensely destructive!

Innovation is not invention; innovation is a team activity. Having an idea is one thing, but to make it better needs others to get involved. And to get it implemented, that takes more people. Innovation is about implementing ideas and to achieve it, you have to share, work with others and give credit. I have to let go of my idea as mine and mine alone, otherwise that is all it will remain, just an idea.

So to this team sport of innovation, we introduce an individual monetary reward. This begins to create an interesting dynamic. Where we needed collaboration, we have just forced someone to share his or her potential winnings. Who likes doing that? I’m happy to help you, but what’s my cut? Before the financial reward, there wasn’t a problem, but now things have just got complicated.

Innovation history is littered with programmes that have been damaged by monetary rewards.

I personally experienced the effect of unhelpful financial rewards. It seemed like such a great idea at the time, but oh, how little we knew! Let’s give the idea giver that comes up with the most valuable implemented idea in the year 10% of it’s first year value.

It sounded exciting, enticing and engaging. And it was, to those that won it, but those who didn’t, and there were a few, started to grumble. The person with the second most valuable idea was not recognised in the same way.

Idea values started to be inflated, idea givers would question the value assigned. It wasn’t pretty. It certainly wasn’t easy. We managed our way through it, some folks were very happy, but the 10% reward bought the engagement that we hoped for when it was first announced.

At least we didn’t offer to give a financial payment to every successfully implemented ideas. I’ve heard of companies that did this, and there are whole teams and departments dedicated to valuing ideas and making the required payments. What an efficient innovation programme…not!

Examples and Application

From experience, I have found out that if you think creatively, there are rewards that are highly valued by employees, but that can cost relatively little. I know of a large supermarket, whose HQ building was designed for 900 people. It had grown to house over 2000 people. Nobody had an office, not even the CEO. It was squashed. However, the biggest nightmare was parking.

The building had very few parking spaces outside the office building, if you were late; you were in the public multi-storey car park like everyone else. The reward that everyone in that building wanted was the Golden Cone. The Golden Cone gave the holder a parking space outside the building’s entrance. People fought hard for that prize!

You may not have a parking issue, but there will be incentives that you can provide that are highly sought after. The corner office for a week, the best chair, development opportunities, conferences, sabbaticals, job swaps; you know what they are.

So if you are designing or redesigning your incentives around innovation, here are some pointers to help shape your thinking.

1. Think intrinsic rewards, not just extrinsic. I wrote a previous post dedicated to intrinsic rewards, but your reward program must aim at motivations and engagement. It will require some creative thinking on your part, but it will be worth it.
2. Get leadership skin in the game. Innovation is risky, and if you want your people to take risks, the leadership team need to give of themselves. The leadership team need to demonstrate how much they value innovation from their people, and the rewards will do this. It is “easy” to give the company’s money. The book “Ideas are Free” gives an example of a CEO offering to clean a idea giver’s car at lunchtime; an extremely powerful statement!
3. Recognise all innovation roles. Don’t just reward the idea givers, but ensure that innovation rewards provide recognition for everyone who has helped to bring that idea from concept to reality. Remember, it’s innovation is a team sport, so reward the team.
4. Measure the effects. Measure and test the effects of the rewards that you offer. Check they still motivate, and if they don’t, change them. Don’t be afraid to innovate your innovation program!
5. Reward for BAU. Ultimately, the intention of most innovation programmes is to embed innovative behaviour into the organisation, making innovation business as usual. Ultimately, you need to ensure that innovation rewards link with the corporate reward structure.

I am really interested to hear what rewards have worked to encourage innovation in your organisation — please do share them with me!

This post originally appeared on the Innovative Thoughts Blog. View it here.

The post Money: Bad for Ideas appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Harvey Wade" Tags: "Innovation, business collaboration, busi..."
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Date: Monday, 21 Jul 2014 18:40

As the banking sector undergoes continual reform, its leaders are bracing themselves for job cuts they suspect will occur over the next three years. Stakeholders will most likely be taking an introspective look at existing challenges, and trying to find new customer propositions that will improve digital banking and reinvent the customer experience.

Empowering the Front-Line

It is likely that most of this innovation will be led top-down, but there’s an interesting tension here: the difference between what leadership “thinks” will work, versus what the frontline staff see and hear directly from their customers. Frontline workers — the cashiers and customer service representatives — are likely to see issues that managers might prefer to ignore and that senior management aren’t aware of.

The big problem is the separation of decision makers from those who know what really needs to happen.

As Matteo Cassina at Saxo Bank writes in the Financial Times, banks will need to continue adapting their business models to cope with litigation risk, regulation, rising technology complexity and costs. Cassina mentions Joseph Schumpeter’s ‘creative destruction’ term — coined in the 1940s to denote the destruction of the old by the creation of the new — which is certainly something that rings true for today’s banks.

But if those who know what needs to change aren’t empowered to make those changes, how can this creative destruction take place? And if middle management is all about keeping things on an even keel (which could result in stopping change), the chance that anything significantly different will happen is quite low.

Embracing the Crowd

The answer, really, is that executives should be more courageous and willing to take risks. They need to include all levels of employees in the innovation process; by doing so, they may discover multiple ideas that could bring about profound revenue opportunities. They need to consider carefully how middle managers are rewarded, so that processes are not just about maintaining the status quo, but allowing the entire staff time to dream up new ideas.

In other words, it’s the power of the crowd, facilitated by technology, that can help make innovation happen at scale across an entire organization.

But even more than that, it is about the power of an executive to give permission for those who actually know what’s wrong to make useful stuff happen. The challenge is that branch managers are rated based on short queue times, and they may feel that granting their cashiers fifteen minutes a day to interact with innovation software may inhibit that. Once we overcome this cultural problem, we can begin working towards truly innovative ideas in the banking sector.

The post Innovation Currency: Banking on the Wisdom of the Crowd appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "James Gardner" Tags: "Innovation, Agile Business, business col..."
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Date: Friday, 18 Jul 2014 22:47

Welcome to Conspire’s Fun Friday Links, a weekly collection of interesting discoveries from around the Web. Most of the time, the goal is to get you thinking differently about innovation, collaboration, business culture, and life in general. Other times, we may toss an infographic or fun video your way. Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to conspire@mindjet.com for consideration.

17 Ways to Take Your Innovation to Scale

Although we can absolutely help with the whole scalable innovation thing, it’s still always worthwhile to hear what experts have to say about business processes and strategy. In this piece from Anna Leach, a variety of industry leaders from all walks of life provide insight into what it takes to go from concept to critical mass and beyond. From The Guardian:

Look for ideas at the grassroots: We need to be open to the possibility that some people who feel the pain the most might have already developed innovative solutions themselves, but there is no incentives to diffuse them.

Find partners who want the same thing: We approach companies that hold data that is potentially useful for development purposes and ask them whether they are willing to share both their data and their expertise for the public good. It is more conducive to long-term partnerships to have a discussion around core business concerns and processes rather than assuming that CSR is the only angle that the private sector might consider.”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

How To Tell Dragon-Slaying Stories In Your Resume

Unfortunately, we’re not talking about the physical act of fighting with mythical creatures. Rather, this piece from business expert and writer Liz Ryan addresses the biggest question that all job-hunters face: how can I get an employer’s attention, sell myself accurately and positively, and get my foot in a company’s door with just a single page of text? From Forbes:

“Once you realize that all of your power to capture a reader’s attention – and I’m talking about your hiring manager here, a/k/a Your Next Boss – is in the story that you tell, you’re going to view your resume differently. Your resume has to tell a story. A human being has to come through the page and grab your hiring manager’s attention.

That human being is you, of course – vibrant, creative and full of ideas. You can’t expect a manager to get excited about the fact that you did blah blah blah at one big company and blah blah blah at another. Why would they care? They are lonely in their pain. It’s lonely at the top of every company and every department. The hiring manager carries a lot on his or her shoulders. If you were that manager, wouldn’t you be excited to meet a sharp, enthusiastic and responsible person like you to help get things done?”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

The Case for Shorter Workweeks

Do we even have to sell you on this one? Check out the infographic from Inc., below, and have a wonderful weekend!

shorter work week IG

Read the original article or Tweet this!

The post Fun Friday Links: Scalable Innovation, Dragon-Slaying Resumes, and the Case for Shorter Workweeks appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Mindjet, forbes, fun friday, fun friday ..."
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Date: Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 22:12

Over the last six months, we’ve witnessed more transformative, collaborative innovation taking place than ever before. We’re not only excited to be a part of this huge influx of communal ideation, but can’t wait to see how it continues to shape various industries, cultures, and breakthrough technologies. Mindjet’s INQ Magazine: Innovation for the Enterprise, is a great way for us to curate and highlight key innovations and ideators in the global community.

Our Third Issue: Humanitarian Innovation for the Greater Good

In our Q3 2014 edition, we’ve featured a selection of rich, insightful content focused on humanitarian innovation that drives positive change and returns that go far beyond the financial. Issue #3 highlights UNHCR’s global crowdsourcing initiatives to support refugees, teachers who bring innovation straight to students, Cambia Health’s advancements in palliative care, socially-driven examples of human ROI, and much more.

We’re honored and proud to be able to showcase these top examples of humanitarian innovation at work, and we hope they inspire even more acts of innovation for the greater good.

Get your copy here, and stay tuned for the next issue, coming October 2014!

 

Psst…miss out on previous issues? Download Issue 1 and Issue 2 today!

The post INQ Magazine: Innovation for the Enterprise – Issue #3 Now Available! appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Mindjet" Tags: "Featured, Mindjet, business collaboratio..."
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Date: Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 17:25

A couple of weeks ago, a favorite client of mine approached me about facilitating a Rapid Spigit at his office. This client, a strong advocate for the practice of collaborative innovation as a means of helping his organization find meaning in trends, wanted to pursue a Rapid Spigit to give his colleagues a “taste” while engaging them on a critical business matter.

What is a Rapid Spigit Challenge?

A Rapid Spigit is a live, in-person complement to a standard collaborative innovation challenge that SpigitEngage enables, which typically lasts from a few days or even weeks, and is pursued virtually. Clients host Rapid Spigits to engage their attendees in a compelling way to “get the juices flowing” at off-site meetings, all hands sessions, and customer advisory boards. They are fun and engaging in the way that competitive problem-solving can be fun and engaging.

Figure 1 shows the application space for Rapid Spigits in the context of the collaborative innovation space. For example, clients have successfully pursued Rapid Spigits both internally, with associates, and externally, with clients at advisory board sessions.

Figure 1: where clients apply Rapid Spigits in the overall practice space

Engaging-in-Real-Time-Innovation_D-Collins_fig1_600dpi

 

Here, the client wished to explore possibilities around a promising new market opportunity tied to the farm-to-table movement (i.e., the thoughtful consumption of locally produced food). Approximately thirty people from across the organization participated in the Rapid Spigit over lunch. My client offered the universal currency of free pizza to entice his colleagues to participate.

Findings and Results

My first observation on outcomes? Whereas the “usual suspects” in marketing and product development participated, an associate in customer service contributed what the community adjudged the compelling, promising idea.

How? This associate enjoys strong ties to her local community: the local high school and the local farmers who work the fields outside of town. Her immersion in this environment, a natural extension of what matters to her, gave her insight into the market that the organization was considering how best to serve. She’s now part of the conversation. I continue to be amazed by the gifts people bring to the table, above and beyond whatever their title or role might indicate.

My second observation on outcomes? My client now has half the organization thinking about his problem with him. He’s told me that a number of people have since approached him to brainstorm with him, further, based on their own experiences. In the knowledge economy, share of market starts with share of mind.

Click here to download my presentation for the event. I added a slide with pictures of the event. Participants access the Rapid Spigit site from their laptops or smartphones.

Your Call to Action

What do you think? How might you gain share of mind? Please drop me a line in the comments section.

The post Engaging in Real-Time Collaborative Innovation: From Share of Mind to Share of Market appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Doug Collins" Tags: "Featured, Mindjet, business collaboratio..."
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014 19:24

Ever hear about or play the game “Hot potato”? The game’s objective is for players to sit in a circle and pass a “hot” potato around the circle as quickly as possible until the music stops. The object of hot potato is to not be the one holding the potato when the music stops. No one wants the hot potato. Could this very same scenario apply to corporate innovation? There is a phenomenon in innovation I like to call “Hot Potato Syndrome.”  It is when there is an idea that everyone thinks is great, but is continually passed around in circles from one organization to another. Clearly everyone supports the idea in theory but no one is willing to take ownership to lead it to implementation.

Are ideas seen as “hot potatoes,” even if the idea is widely accepted, supported, and strategic? Sometimes it is the ideas that could provide the most impact because they affect multiple parts of the organization that fall into this bucket. But how can you avoid hot potato syndrome? In my experience, it sometimes feels that way, so I decided to explore what are the root causes to this very common scenario. Below are some ways to recognize and deal with this phenomenon so that you can finally land the hot potato in the right person’s hands, and it is a potato they need.

Identifying a work stream that has a defined need for the idea is always the first option. If an idea can garner support based on its relevance to the work streams strategy, the idea will get the attention and ownership it needs to drive forward. It is important to establish accountable individuals based on the type of work stream they are associated will make them more willing to take on an idea. Creating accountability and ownership in the business is critical to avoiding the “hot potato” syndrome and giving people ownership to move forward with ideas they feel are important to their work stream.

Facilitate Leadership Teams to Assess and Come to Consensus

Creating a forum to facilitate a working session with a clear objective may help in understanding the true potential of an idea and driving ownership and responsibility necessary to implement. Set up touch points throughout your organization to share ideas, create forums for those individuals to discuss and share. There is truth when they say it takes one person to have an idea, but it takes an army to implement. Setting up different people to be part of the “troop” will help in garnering support and responsibility. Sometimes pulling together the people that may be interested or who have already assessed the ideas can be the ones that devise the best course of action for the idea.

Connect Ideators with Potential Owners

Getting the person who came up with the idea in front of those that have not made decision will often times produce a result.  Being able to have the person with the passion and the insight to elaborate on the potential impact of the idea is important to decision making.  If the Ideator can appropriately convince a leader of the need and impact of the idea, then the idea will have more relevance and most times a decision can be reached more quickly.

I find most companies I work with suffer from a case of hot potato syndrome. To help avoid this, the above techniques to facilitate discussion, drive action and create ownership will yield results.

This post was originally published on TheInnovationLady. View it here.

The post Innovation Relay: Why Ideas are Sometimes Treated as “Hot Potatoes” appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Michele McConomy" Tags: "Innovation, business collaboration, busi..."
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Date: Tuesday, 15 Jul 2014 16:17

Few entrepreneurs or self-employed professionals look forward to preparing new business proposals. And, I suspect, even fewer of their clients and prospects look forward to reading them.

Many new business proposals are doomed to fail because of reasons like:

- Length. Many proposals are too long and too detailed. They take too much time for sellers to prepare, and too much time for prospects to evaluate.

- Focus. Many proposals over-emphasize the seller’s capabilities, and fail to place enough emphasis on the buyer’s needs and benefits.

In the absence of conciseness and a meaningful discussion of buyer benefits, many proposals end up depending on price as the most important selling and decision tool.

Price-first strategies may be appropriate for corporations selling to corporations, but smaller businesses need a simpler, faster, and more agile way to prepare and present new business proposals.

The Background

Many years ago, William McKinley, a friend of mine who was on the business and sales faculty of the University of Washington, introduced me to a proposal development system he had been using for over twenty-five years of successful entrepreneurship. His ideas formed the basis for my Mindjet Proposal Planner (available for download here), the latest addition to my Content Dashboard.

The resulting Proposal Planner provides focus and encourages conciseness, and builds on several of MindManager’s features, such as the ability to:

- Manage time and resources, such as identifying start dates and dues dates, and indicating task dependencies (i.e., relationships between the completion of one task and the start of the next task).
- Compute costs inside the mind map, eliminating the need to transfer data back and forth from a spreadsheet program to the map (and, often, back again).
- Present “virtual proposals.” This involves walking clients step-by-step through a proposal, in person or online, focusing their attention and soliciting feedback in real time. This is far more efficient than “submitting a proposal” and waiting for a response.

Putting the New Business Proposal Planner to Work

Selectivity plays a key role in the New Business Proposal Planner mind map. This involves identifying and focusing on the prospect’s most important areas of concern and addressing their goals as concisely as possible. The map is based on a simple 6-topic structure:

  1. Areas of concern. Begin by focusing on customer issues, rather than describing your product, services, or competitive advantages. State the key issues as concisely as possible, providing a few supporting details or reveal quotes added as Notes or subtopics. Your goal at this point is simply to confirm your understand the main issues your prospect would like to see improved.
  2. Objectives. Next, restate each area of concern as a proposal goal. The easiest way to do this is to write a goal, or objective, statement beginning with “To…” Follow with words like reduce, eliminate, increase, improve, maximize, etc. In this step, and in the following, be sure to address each topic in the same sequence used in the Areas of concern.
  3. Recommendations. Next, add subtopics containing your recommendations for achieving the objectives. Avoid unnecessary detail. Introduce the major deliverables (i.e., your products and services needed for each step), and briefly describe their contribution to achieving the proposal’s objectives.
  4. Benefits. Next, re-visit each area of concern and point out the benefits of solving the prospect’s problems or helping them accomplish their goals. Be as concrete as possible. Avoid introducing benefits that don’t address the original areas of concern.
  5. Investment. Follow-up the benefits by describing the investment needed to achieve them. A simple, straightforward list of what you will charge for various products and/or services works best. With the latest versions of MindManager, you can use the Calculate feature to compute the costs associated with each task. When appropriate, insert Topics to group related tasks together. (If you do this, provide a subtotal for each group of costs.) You can also add Notes to present options, (if appropriate) and to describe your payment terms and schedule. To keep your proposal map as simple as possible, refer prospects to the Addendum for additional information.
  6. Schedule. This is a very important section; it allows you to create a credible incentive for prospects to accept your proposal as quickly as possible. Prepare this section as if your proposal had already been accepted. Start with Date of proposal acceptance (or set a deadline for next week). Assuming that your proposal will be accepted, insert subtopics describing the work to be done. Add MindManager’s Start Dates and Due Dates for each task. This will emphasize that any delay accepting the proposal pushes back all future dates! This creates urgency, as prospects can easily grasp the consequences and actual costs of procrastination.

Experience has taught me that proposals that concisely and effectively address the most important prospect areas of concern are far more effective than proposals that try to address too many points in a rambling, unfocused way.

Rev-Screen-Shot-of-New-Busi

Addendum

The Addendum is there simply to provide space to link supporting documents. These may include word-processed documents or Adobe Acrobat PDFs, such as brochures, case studies, client lists, company history, price lists, specifications, staff profiles, price lists, specifications, testimonials, etc.

Working with the New Business Proposal Mind Map

In the Notes associated with each topic, I have included instructions and tips for each topic. You may want to delete these instructions after you and your staff have gained experience working with the New Business Proposal mind map.

Submitting your New Business Proposal

There are two ways you can submit new business proposals based on the New Business Proposal Map, the “old way” and the “new way.”

The “old way” to submit a new business proposals involves several steps and – frequently – numerous delays:

  • Exporting your mind map as a word-processed document
  • Editing and reformatting the proposal to include expanded narrative
  • Printing and mailing copies of the proposal, or creating and emailing a PDF file
  • Waiting for a response and feedback, often followed by awkward “Did you read it yet?” calls.

The “new way” involves presenting your proposal as an in-person or virtual presentation as soon as possible, and taking advantage of MindManager’s presentation capabilities and real time map sharing tools like Mindjet Connect.

The advantages include:

  • Faster turnaround and less work. A mind-map based New Business Proposal presentation requires fewer words and less formatting to prepare. It also reduces the recipient’s workload, i.e., “One more thing to read when I get time!” A fast proposal response becomes a competitive advantage by projecting a professional, agile image.
  • Provides an incentive for action. Scheduling a short meeting to present the new business proposal reduces delays caused by procrastination, by presenting a deadline for both presenter and prospect.
  • Control. MindManager’s built-in presentation tools allow you to walk clients through the proposal, engaging the prospect by focusing their attention on one topic at a time. As you walk through the proposal, you can emphasize important points that prospects might otherwise skim through.
  • 2-way communication. Presenting your proposal with MindManager encourages immediate feedback, allowing you to immediately respond to client concerns or objections. If needed, you can modify the proposal in real time.

Choosing the Right Format

Obviously, there’s no single, universal, always-appropriate format for preparing and delivering new business proposals.

Depending on your relationship with the prospect and your analysis of the prospect’s corporate culture, you may decide to use the New Business Proposal Planner strictly as an idea development platform, continuing to format and submit your proposal in traditional ways.

On the other hand, in today’s faster-moving, more competitive business environment, you may find that many prospects will actually prefer the focused presentation approach and the faster response it allows you to deliver.

Which approach is best for you?
If you’re already using the presentation approach, or have any concerns, questions, or takeaways about New Business Proposal map, please share them as comments, below.

The post Mindjet Dashboard Series: Simple New Business Proposal Planner appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Roger C. Parker" Tags: "Mind Mapping, Agile Business, agile mark..."
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Date: Monday, 14 Jul 2014 19:14

Nonprofits sometimes think that innovation is not for them: it’s too cutting-edge, too complicated, or too expensive. But the fact is, nonprofits are engaged in doing business like anyone else — and they can also benefit from innovation and innovation technologies.

The number of nonprofits is actually on the rise. Between 2001 and 2011, they increased by 25%, and this growth means that the competition for donations and funding is also growing. Organizations need to show donors that their programs are effective and have a wide reach. By thinking and doing things differently, they have a better chance at gaining access to more funds and a wider audience.

Why Nonprofits Need To Use Innovation Platforms

So: how can nonprofits use innovation software platforms?

Fundraising. Apart from implementing and planning programs, the biggest task facing nonprofits is fundraising. With innovation platforms, agencies can tap into a wider audience to come up with fundraising ideas. Plus, by inviting volunteers and outsiders to participate, you can create more awareness about your project or campaign, and grab the attention of potential sponsors. You may even discover a new issue that can be solved by your agency!

Transparency. Crowdsourcing and innovation platforms allow for transparency. Each idea can be recorded and saved for future reference, and the collaborative nature of the software cuts across geographies and linguistic boundaries. Since everything is discussed on one centralized platform, ideas never slip through the cracks.

Community. Innovation platforms also help create a sense of community, which is always welcome in an industry that can use volunteers. Plus, it can help build partnerships with other organizations and for-profits. Since nonprofits often find it difficult to sustain themselves solely on charitable donations, partnerships and crowdfunding provide opportunities to fund their mission.

Measuring Impact. Nonprofits need to check how well their projects are doing, and continuously assess and evaluate. There is a lot of data coming in, and, with innovation software, all of that data can be sorted, organized, and made more accessible to those who need it. When data is centralized and available for analysis, it’s easier to gain insight and make strategic decisions. Plus, leaders can account for funds received.

Streamlining. With innovation technology, nonprofit teams can automate tasks to get more done in less time. Who doesn’t need more time nowadays?

An Environment of Engagement

Not every fancy software out there is meant for large businesses; using enterprise innovation software for nonprofits will serve the greater good while streamlining organization goals and processes. It allows you to source ideas form anywhere, create an environment of sustained engagement with rewards, and quantify program investment with analytics and reports. And, with easy voting, discussions, and leader boards, you can have total transparency throughout the organization.

The bottom line? Nonprofits that utilize innovation software drive more than just a culture collaborative innovation; they ensure that more of each dollar they receive goes directly towards the causes that need them most.

The post How Nonprofits Can Benefit from Innovation Software appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Jenn Lisak" Tags: "Innovation, Agile Business, business col..."
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Date: Saturday, 12 Jul 2014 00:12

Welcome to Conspire’s Fun Friday Links, a weekly collection of interesting discoveries from around the Web. Most of the time, the goal is to get you thinking differently about innovation, collaboration, business culture, and life in general. Other times, we may toss an infographic or fun video your way. Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to conspire@mindjet.com for consideration.

What Lemonade Stands Say About American Innovation

Most American children are familiar with the idea — if not the sometimes soul-crushing experience — of running a sidewalk lemonade stand. Even if you didn’t do it yourself, chances are the concept at least showed itself in a mathematical word problem or two. And while it may not really seem like it, the notion of teaching our children early on about risk, budgets, entrepreneurship, and profits through the medium of squashed fruit is apparently quite indicative of the American innovation ideal. From Forbes:

“Meanwhile, many Americans are concerned that our children, compared to their peers in other developed countries, aren’t achieving their highest academic potential and are struggling on standardized tests. In December, the results from the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment showed that American teenagers scored below average in math and science when compared with 65 other countries. But standardized tests reward rote learners and cannot measure creativity or innovation. Unlike much of the rest of the world, the U.S. is uniquely positioned to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, and that sets us up for success.”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

AT&T’s Hackathons Help Foster Digital Innovation

A well-executed hackathon is one of the most effective types of collaborative ideating that can be done today. Even better is when all that collective ideating leads to breakthrough, altruistic innovation — something that AT&T is all about. From AdWeek:

“For the last three years, the telecommunications company has calling on developers, marketers, designers and innovators to work together to create tech solutions for common problems. The participants usually have 24 hours to come up with an idea and prototype for each project, and a winner is awarded at each event. Most of the stops are themed around an issue, including the upcoming Houston, Texas event on Friday which will focus on apps to help the disabled.

AT&T has also worked with other organizations and brands, including a co-sponsored stop with Autism Speaks, which called on the participants to help create apps that would benefit the autism spectrum disorder community. The Houston event will be with Easter Seals of Houston.”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

The Man Who Turned Paper into Pixels: How Mathematician Claude Shannon Ignited the Information Age

It’s incredibly easy to take our digitally-driven culture for granted, even when we’re just upset that the internet is being slow. That, of course, says nothing about the amazing people throughout history who made it possible for us to complain about download speeds at all — people like Claude Shannon, a black jack wizard and mathematician who made it possible for the world to evolve from paper to pixels. From Brainpickings:

“The so-called Information Age we live in, like all major leaps in human achievement, isn’t a self-contained bubble that coalesced out of nothingness in a flash of genius but the cumulative product of incremental innovation stretching back centuries. It builds upon the work of multiple inventors, scientists, and thinkers, including Lady Ada Lovelace, celebrated as the world’s first computer programmer, Alan Turing, considered the godfather of modern computing, Paul Otlet, who built a proto-internet in the early twentieth century, and Vannevar Bush, who envisioned the web in 1945.

Among them was the American mathematician, engineer, and cryptographer Claude Shannon (April 30, 1916–February 24, 2001), who laid the foundation for the Information Age. According to British filmmaker Adam Westbrook — who gave us those fantastic video essays on the long game of creativity — Shannon is “the most important man you’ve probably never heard of” and his work impacted the modern world as profoundly as Einstein’s did.”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

The post Fun Friday Links: Lemonade Stands, AT&T’s Innovation Hackathons, and From Paper to Pixels appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Mindjet, adweek, att, brainpickings, cla..."
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Date: Friday, 11 Jul 2014 19:40

The vast majority of businesses around the globe have long since been citing innovation as a key priority, and because of that, the rising adoption of crowdsourcing and transparent practices are not only encouraging mass ideation, but helping organizations turn fledgling ideas into progressive, global solutions.

Diving In to Open Innovation

From Innovation Management:

“As part of the Open Innovation movement, many companies now actively solicit technical solutions, products and business ideas from innovators, customers, suppliers, and the broader marketplace of technology providers. Some companies have begun utilizing structured innovation submission programs, typically implemented through their corporate websites. This article, the first in a two-part series, helps companies understand Collaborative vs. Direct Portals, and the importance of IP-anti-contamination and efficient filtering in choosing the best innovation portals for their unique situations.

Young inventor invents technical tool for big company” – that’s a news story to which we all respond. The underdog saves the big company with a great idea. That was the story reported in a recent business article in the New York Times (February 22, 2014), a tale of Mark King, a young 21-year-old community-college dropout, who responded to a call for ideas on a website sponsored by General Mills. King responded to a technology problem posted on the company’s website and invented an organoleptic analyzer — a way to measure the texture of granola bars. King’s side of the story is good reading, but we’re interested in the corporate side of that story – why and how companies like General Mills decided to utilize an idea submission program.

Numerous companies – Unilever, General Mills, Shell, DSM, Mars, GSK, Kraft, Crown Holdings to name just a few — have made structured solution or innovation submission programs a functional part of their Open Innovation practice. Other B2B and B2C firms are now paying attention, trying to decide whether to move in this direction, too.

Figure 1: General Mills solicits novel product and business ideas via its online Portal

 

click to enlarge

 

In response, an armada of service providers has emerged to help companies design and put such an innovation portal plan into action. Because these programs are still relatively new, it can be challenging to know where to start.

Yet2.com has been a service provider in the Open Innovation market since 1999; among technology scouting and other intellectual property services, we provide custom and turnkey Open Innovation Portal Programs to corporate clients. We are happy to take the opportunity to suggest how companies can navigate their way toward an effective idea submission program, one that will be a useful part of product development in an active Open Innovation program.

Collaborative vs. Direct Innovation Portals

Corporations are currently using several different implementation models to accomplish their innovation submission goals. Most structured programs, like that of Unilever, for example, take the form of a dedicated micro-site linked off of the corporate website – called “innovation portals.” Some companies limit their portals simply to encouraging and collecting ideas as they come in. Other companies additionally list their current technology needs, in order to encourage responses to those specific technical challenges. Both Unilever and General Mills, for example, include their own technical challenges. It was to one of the posted challenges in General Mills’ G-Win program that Mark King responded.”

Continue to the Full Article >>

***

This piece was developed and published by InnovationManagement.se. View the original article here.

The post Corporate Open Innovation Portals: An Active Part of an Open Innovation Strategy appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Innovation, Agile Business, business col..."
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Date: Thursday, 10 Jul 2014 22:31

In this week’s thought leadership roundup, we dig into the two major types of thought leadership out there, the six pillars of a successful strategy, and seven criteria for creating compelling intellectual capital.

How to Become a Thought Leader

From Mashable:

“There are effectively two sides to the thought leader coin: pushing the boundaries of a particular method or industry, and then using those ideas to leverage ubiquity on social or broadcast media. But achieving those two things simultaneously is actually more difficult than it sounds.

To put it simply, thought leaders are not only known for radically changing thoughts or ideas about a particular industry, but thriving in it too. For example, Nate Silver became the premier thought leader on statistics when his blog, fivethirtyeight, accurately predicted the results of the November election exactly in both state majority and ultimate electoral college votes. After weeks of dismissive behaviors from analysts and research centers, Silver’s accuracy boosted him into the new role of election thought leader.

The moral of the story? Do something everyone else in your field thinks is dumb, and be right about it.”

Our take: Succinctly put, and an important lesson, too: to become a true thought leader, it’s not enough to agree with something that other people are already talking about, even if you’re talking the loudest. Unique perspective is utterly crucial, and the risk that comes along with having one is a necessary evil.

Read the full article or Tweet this!

The Six Pillars of a Successful Thought Leadership Strategy

From Itsma:

“It’s clear from our research that process leads to success in thought leadership. ITSMA’s thought leadership survey found that companies with formal development and dissemination processes are more satisfied with the quality of ideas from their thought leaders and are more likely to have the business’s critical support and involvement in idea development.

After all, marketing can’t do thought leadership alone — this is what leads to warmed-over brochures that masquerade as thought leadership.

In our research with marketers on thought leadership and social media, one theme has stood out consistently: Success requires a deep commitment not just from marketing but from the entire company. This led us to explore the concept of the idea organization and develop a model of the components required both inside and outside of marketing to successfully develop and disseminate ideas. From our research, we came up with six important areas of focus.”

Our take: What’s particularly great about this piece is its reiteration that thought leadership is neither the property or the responsibility of a single group within an organization. As developers of innovation management software, we couldn’t agree more — crowdsourcing ideation is the most effective way of gaining real, in-depth insight into not only your employees, but your market, too.

Read the full article or Tweet this!

Seven Hallmarks of Compelling Intellectual Capital

From BloomGroup:

“Getting high-level executive attention that, ideally, results in business depends upon a firm’s ability to powerfully differentiate its expertise and substantiate its client results. This requires clear, fact-based communication of the firm’s:

- Unique insights into the problem at hand;

- Experience in solving the problem with other clients;

- Results from those experiences;

- and Approach to doing the work.

We refer to a firm’s unique insights, client experiences, client results, and approach on a particular business issue, collectively, as its “point of view.” A point of view is the embodiment of the firm’s best thinking on an issue. A well-developed point of view demonstrates a firm’s unique, proven expertise for resolving a critical business issue, and thus is important for attracting clients and creating or enhancing a firm’s image as a “thought leader.” Powerful points of view address the most pressing business issues in the most unique way and with the highest level of demonstrated success. In today’s accelerating, increasingly complex, and high-stakes business world, executives are more receptive than ever to new, effective ways to address critical problems.

Past methods of developing and communicating a point of view—hiring a ghostwriter to interview a subject matter expert for several hours and write drafts of articles, collecting a team to discuss issues over an afternoon, or taking a weekend to write about a recent client experience—are no longer sufficient. To make their points of view “market ready,” firms need to undertake a number of important activities well before they “put pen to paper.” These activities include case study research of clients and other best practice companies, survey research, literature searches, and brainstorming workshops. In our experience, the exact combination of these activities depends on how the concept measures up to seven key criteria.”

Our take: As technology advances and grants just about everyone instantaneous access to educational materials, news, trends, and the like, executives are being forced to be more discerning in their approach to problems, especially when involving third-party vendors. The points made in this article, as well as the suggestions given, serve as an excellent template to be used when choosing firms to develop any kind of thought leadership content or strategy.

Read the full article or Tweet this!

The post Thursday Thought Leadership Roundup: 2 Types, 6 Pillars, and 7 Hallmarks appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Innovation, Agile Business, becoming a t..."
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Date: Wednesday, 09 Jul 2014 17:23

For the avid mind mapper, productivity and project planning are usually a breeze — but even the experts might find themselves in need of additional structure to keep track of their many maps and tasks.

Our partners over at Olympic Limited have taken a successful stab at solving the problem of locating specific maps as quickly and easily as possible with the creation of the Map Tracker add-in.

Managing MindManager

From OL:

“MindManager is a very versatile information mapping application. Once you really get to grips with its powerful functions it is not long before you are creating maps for all kinds of reasons and subjects.

While this is a wonderful experience the downside is that you will very shortly find your map collection has grown considerably and finding the map you are looking for starts to require a bit more time and more accurate recollection.

Map Tracker Category View

Map Tracker is an add-in for Mindjet MindManager for Windows that catalogs your maps as you work enabling you to locate and access them faster the next time they are needed.

A SQL database stores map properties as well as a visual image of the map at each point it is updated providing a visual interface where maps can be located by visual recognition rather than textual recollection.

Map Tracker for MindManager - The smart way to organize your Mindjet MindManager maps!

Maps can be stored in categories, map keywords can be searched and maps can be filtered by extended properties such as Author, Manager, Company etc.

Each map stored in Map Tracker is represented by a “tile” that shows a map image and enables you to interact with the map giving you a much more visual way to access and organize your map collection.”

Learn More About Map Tracker

For more information about this great new add-in, check out the below tutorial video from Nigel Goult, or visit the Olympic Limited shop.

The post Map Tracker for Mindjet MindManager appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Mindjet"
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Date: Tuesday, 08 Jul 2014 18:49

Mind maps have long since proven that they improve focus, help people plan projects more efficiently, allow teams to discover hidden challenges and risks, and heighten productivity for individuals and groups alike. But, it can be difficult to understand just how useful they are if the evidence isn’t right there in front of you.

The following 4 mind maps were created with Mindjet MindManager, and do an excellent job of showcasing both why this particular format of organizing tasks and projects is so effective, while also providing great business productivity tips surrounding project launches, scope, ramping up creativity, and encouraging transparent communication.

1. The Scope Statement Template

Feeling overwhelmed by the scope of a project, or just need a central location so your entire team can see what’s going on? This map shows you how to capture scope requirements, prioritize them, and present them to various stakeholders.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 11.10.50 AM

Download it here.

The Project Launch Map

Getting caught in a swamp of emails is nobody’s favorite way of getting things done. Yet, when you’re working across multiple teams to launch a product or new service, disparate locations and the digital back-and-forth just don’t cut it. This map shows you how to manage content and activities relating to the creation and launch of a new product, facilitate brainstorming, develop collateral, and more.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 11.20.40 AM

Download it here.

The 5-Minute Juice

Mornings are rough for a lot of us, at least until we’ve had our third cup of coffee. This map was developed based on the creator’s consultation with a bonafide productivity coach, and is an excellent way of getting motivated early on days when you have big projects to work on, important meetings to attend, and tons of tasks to take care of.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 11.25.47 AM

Download it here.

The Communication Plan Template

If there’s one thing that’s utterly imperative to the successful completion of projects, business growth, and purposeful collaboration, it’s being able to communicate transparently across teams. Unfortunately, it’s also the business requirement that tends to suffer most, particularly in larger organizations. This map lays down a very well-executed communications template that anyone can use to make their project conversations run more smoothly.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 11.38.26 AM

Download it here.

The post Maps for That Roundup: 4 Mind Maps to Boost Business Productivity appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Mind Mapping, business productivity, Col..."
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Date: Monday, 07 Jul 2014 16:08

At the core, all problems are a failure to identify a solution or apply the right fix. Innovation management platforms, when implemented correctly, consistently prove to be one of the best problem solving tools businesses can employ; they help organizations uncover hidden challenges and overcome existing roadblocks with new, out-of-the-box solutions.

As with every business, nonprofits and humanitarian agencies are increasingly adopting innovation management programs in order to discover new solutions to deal with operational and other business challenges.

Opportunities and Possibilities

Encouraging a collaborative culture of innovation, and supporting it with an efficient innovation platform, can do wonders for nonprofits. Innovation management can create some of the following opportunities for nonprofits:

  • Better Funding. Although the government and big corporations are the two major sources of funding for nonprofits, many rely on a variety of other, smaller sources. Nonprofits are now tapping into innovation to diversify their funding base or make the most of their hosts. Nonprofits apply innovation to make their foundation proposals, special events, online campaigns, and other fundraising efforts more successful — for example, tapping into mobile technology to orchestrate a text-to-give campaign.
  • Internal Efficiency. Nonprofits can apply innovation management to cut costs, improve their efficiency, and improve their sustainability. By establishing an innovation platform that promotes open debate and critical thinking amongst stakeholders, nonprofits can discuss ideas and formulate paths to reach their objectives. These debates don’t just breed new ideas — they also help organizations to: rationalize suggestions; understand whether what’s being touted as “new” is really new, or something old that failed; dissect the underlying merits and worth of ideas; determine the scalability and transferability of an idea; and, identify the relevance of the idea to the nonprofits’ core objectives. Cross-sector collaboration helps to deliver collective impact.
  • Unlock Growth. The success of most nonprofits depends on growth and the ability to reach out to a wider audience progressively. Innovation helps nonprofits discover new insights, identify workarounds through existing barriers, and use the power of innovation to further their core values and objectives.

Real Life Examples

Nothing stands testimony to these possibilities better than the case of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which launched a “UNCHR Ideas” platform. UNCHR Ideas offered the agency a way to break through the restraints of thought and process flows posed by bureaucracy, and create a culture of innovation to further its core agenda of protecting refugees and resolving refugee problems worldwide.

How can you use innovation management software for your nonprofit? Talk to us in the comments!

The post How Nonprofits are Leveraging Innovation Management Platforms appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Jenn Lisak" Tags: "Featured, Innovation, business collabora..."
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07.04.14   New window
Date: Friday, 04 Jul 2014 16:00

From all of us here at Mindjet HQ: Happy Independence Day!

We hope you have a wonderful day celebrating freedom, summer fun, and great food. 

The post 07.04.14 appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Mindjet"
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Date: Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 22:35

In this week’s thought leadership roundup, we take a look at some off-the-wall principles for thought leaders, the importance of social advocacy, and a robust list of interviews with some of the world’s most renowned TLs.

5 Counterintuitive Principles for Thought Leaders

In this (very) brief video with professional speaker Douglas Kruger, you’ll hear his five not-so-common bits of advice for thought leaders on the rise. Watch it below.

Our take: All five tips are very well-said and worth incorporating into your personal branding and thought leadership strategy, particularly when it comes to dealing with the criticism that accompanies a growing audience.

Watch it on YouTube or Tweet this!

Social Advocacy & Politics: Thought Leadership in the Social Age

From Social Media Today:

“Social media is where public thinking happens. So if you want to be a thought leader, you must lead on social media. Lead not only on social media, but like the tree falling in the woods: if you want to be heard you’ve got to fall among thinking people. If you are trying to influence the press, the press is on social media. If you are trying to lead scholarly discussions, scholars are already discussing their research on social media. If you want to lead the thinking about public policy, policymakers are all on social media, listening and thinking, even if they haven’t quite grasped how to engage.

The days of publishing peer reviewed articles in obscure journals read by mere dozens of people as your primary (and often only) channel of distribution are over. Those academic journal articles now come with public discourse via social media. The days of relying primarily on people reading your quote in paragraph four on the front page of the New York Times to drive public discourse are over, too. Now you can publish your fleshed out comments on a blog, Tumblr or even a Facebook wall post, then engage large public discussions via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and beyond.”

Our take: All too often, fledgling thought leaders get their tactics mostly right, but fail to put together all of the necessary pieces. Creating great content doesn’t do much if you don’t share it, just like having a stellar education doesn’t guarantee you’ll be good at a job in your chosen field. Putting together all of the critical elements is the only way to build an effective strategy.

Read the full article or Tweet this!

50+ Global Thought Leaders Discuss Innovation In Insights

From the Green Book Blog:

“At IIeX in Atlanta, true stars Ben Smithee of Spych Market Analytics & Ray Poynter of Vision Critical University worked with our amazing Broadcast Partner CorporateCloud.tv and Media Sponsor Brandtrust to conduct over 50 interviews with a variety of industry thought leaders from client-side, technology providers, and suppliers on the current state and future of the industry, how to drive innovation, and the skill sets necessary for success for the researcher of the future. Each interview is about five minutes long and they are jam packed with amazing and inspiring thinking.”

Our take: Set aside some time for this one — with this much perspective and insight to take in from people who truly know what they’re talking about, you’ll have a hard enough time choosing just a few interviews to share with colleagues and truly take to heart, let alone watch!

Read more or Tweet this!

The post Thursday Thought Leadership Roundup: Counterintuitive Principles, Social Advocacy, and Interviews with 50+ Global TLs appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Innovation, becoming a thought leader, d..."
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Date: Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 13:05

Many publishing experts claim that after writing excellent copy for your eBook (see my last post, Becoming a Writer, Mapper and Synthesizer), the next most important thing to do is create a good cover design. As Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, states: “A great cover design makes a promise to the reader.”

Mind mapping to design your cover can help you keep that promise.

The 4 Cs

Steven Spatz, marketing director for BookBaby, feels that a great cover should be a billboard on the Internet Superhighway — a place where people are speeding along at “60 miles an hour” and barely give themselves time to glance at anything in particular.

For my eBook How to Get Your Money Back From Big Companies, I wanted the cover to shine, so I mind mapped the four Cs of diamond quality: color, clarity, cut, and carat (weight), in order to be sure that my design had the right attributes. Here’s how.

1. Color

The smart use of color attracts the attention of the viewer immediately, and since my book was about money, I chose a design that incorporated the color of US greenbacks. And as Coker suggests, I tried to envision the cover in black & white, as well as greyscale, in case it ended up appearing on a website or document that was devoid of color.

2. Clarity

It is obvious that an eBook cover must be genre- or topic-specific. That’s why I chose an image that made it absolutely clear what the book was about: one lone person collecting money from a large, looming entity. And with my book being sold on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers, the cover graphic couldn’t be too complex — it needed to look good in thumbnail size, too.

3. Cut

I went with a clean design to provide a laser-like focus to the point of my book. With only the image, the title, and my name, the design was uncluttered. For me, this meant that what didn’t make the “cut” was just as important as what did.

4. Carat (Weight)

I initially considered a comical, more colorful design to reflect the humor of some of the stories in the book. However, a whimsical cover was not “heavy” enough to convey the David vs. Goliath message I wanted, so I decided on the one that BookBaby designed. The fact that it was described as “Mad Men-esque” by at least one reviewer was an added advantage that made the cover more topical and current.

By the Cover

The bottom line is that a great eBook cover has a lot in common with a piece of jewelry. It has to communicate a lot of information in what is, generally, a pretty limited space. It has to send a message about taste and value. And, quite frankly, It has to catch people’s eyes. Using the classic diamond quality model of the four Cs provides a great framework for assessing your ebook cover — and making it shine.

To see my evaluation process, download my eBook Cover Design mind map here.

The post Mind Mapping to Create a Brilliant Ebook Cover Design appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Jim Lauria" Tags: "Mindjet, ebook, ebook publishing, gettin..."
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