Here at Mindjet, we’re always trying to find new and improved ways to be engaged and productive — not just for our products’ sake, but to keep our overall company culture thriving.
One of the tools we use is 15Five, an employee feedback system that helps leaders “surface problems, celebrate wins, discover great ideas, and stay tuned in to morale.” Employees spend a little time each week answering pertinent questions posed by their managers within the platform. After submitting their responses, reports are generated for their respective higher-ups that take just a few minutes to read and respond to. Everything is transparent, and feedback is immediate.
With over 2/3 of employees reportedly disengaged at work, it’s clear why decision-makers absolutely need to focus on eliminating the cultural and communication issues that negatively impact engagement. According to the below infographic, 75% of employees that elect to quit their jobs aren’t quitting the company — they’re quitting their bosses. Plus, 32% of employers reported that top talent jumped ship in 2012, and 39% are concerned they’ll see an increase in turnover moving forward. Unlock your team’s potential by checking out the following stats.
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In this week’s thought leadership roundup, we present some content that’s challenging the unfortunately buzz-wordy nature of the phrase. Plus: this year’s Modern Marketing Experience conference takes place in London, and they want to hear what budding TLs have to say.
Big Think and Tom Stewart on Effective Thought Leadership
From thinly-veiled marketing ploys to straight-up jargon, plenty of content that’s floating around masquerades as thought leadership. This short video is packed with an aggressive call to cut it out, and why it’s so important that we collectively stop promoting cheap, imitation perspectives.
Our take: This is just one in a short series from Tom Stewart on the topic of true thought leadership, and all are worth a watch. The reason this is so critical is that true thought leaders and experts have the power to effect real positive change; if they’re getting drowned out by useless noise, everybody loses.
Is Thought Leadership Just Business Jargon?
From Allen Mireles Marketing:
“We all know them when we see them. A thought leader is an individual, company, or organization regarded as expert in a specialized area or industry. The thought leader is recognized by colleagues, competitors, customers, and prospects as having progressive and innovative ideas and as having been successful in effecting change. The thought leader is one you think of first. The “go to” person.
We have always had thought leaders among us. We just didn’t describe them that way. Wikipedia states the term was coined in 1994 by Joel Kurtzman, editor-in-chief of the Booz Allen Hamilton magazine, Strategy & Business.
Fast forward to 2013, when both term and related activity have become ingrained in our lexicon.”
Our take: Much like the video above, this article calls into question the nature of the terminology surrounding thought leadership, and the unfortunate reality that growing popularity sometimes succumbs to dime-a-dozen copycats. Still, true-blue TLs are out there, and worthy of attention, so it’s up to content consumers to keep curating and sharing the stuff that really matters.
Share Your Thought Leadership at Modern Marketing Experience Europe
“Looking to add another thought leadership notch to your marketing maven belt? Perhaps your team moved marketing mountains this past year and you’re looking for a place to showcase your stuff? Join us this fall in London!
The Modern Marketing Experience conference offers an unprecedented opportunity to gain insights from experts in marketing automation, social marketing, content marketing, and big data at a single premier event. With programs designed for Modern Marketing executives and practitioners along transformation and execution tracks, you will take home the strategy and tactics you need to make Modern Marketing strategies succeed in your organization.”
Our take: If you really want to build your own reputation as a thought leader and get your voice heard by the masses, there’s really no better way than to speak up! Plus, conferences like this one provide exceptional learning and networking opportunities. A great place to start for people ready to take their TL to the next level.
At first glance, productivity and innovation don’t seem to have much in common. As philosophies, they’re fundamentally different: one is rooted in task management and efficiency, the other in expanded ideation and new perspectives. But research shows a distinct correlation between employee engagement and innovation, and productivity is also heavily affected by the investment of the overall workforce.
This month, we’re going to explore the complementary relationship between productivity and innovation in the enterprise, and how to take advantage of both for improved processes, returns, and relevance.
Said Rik Walters in a previous post, “The primary challenge for those organizations seeking to innovate is in overcoming the inertia of the old world, and the negative aspects of the modern. That can be much harder, complex and more political than it appears at a high level. Open up the innovation processes to the entire organization, and even outside the organization to empower, rather than stifle transformational productivity and growth. These hurdles must be cleared for your enterprise to evolve.”
This is an important point — when we look at companies that have successfully integrated innovation at all levels, they’re typically more forward-thinking, less hierarchal, and invested in internal cultural development and retention. This is a direct deviation from organizations that use traditional, top-down decision-making and communications, and that focus only on returns. Evolving from the inside-out makes a clear impact on progress and growth. And although changes in external strategies — like sales and customer relationships — are very important, they have little influence over employee behavior.
Questions to Ask
As we dig into this topic further, we’ll concentrate on the following six areas as they relate to productivity and innovation practices in enterprise organizations.
1. How adaptable or flexible must business strategies be to allow innovation to flourish while positively affecting overall productivity? Tactical adjustments should still be trackable and measurable.
2. Are current objectives supportive of both productivity and innovation efforts? Or, are they inadvertently disrupting one or the other?
3. Does the existing company culture promote collaboration, transparency, and ideation? How are ideas communicated? How do leaders and decision-makers glean ideas from throughout the organization, and how are they implemented and recognized?
4. Is the business adhering to agile practices? Is the notion of failure cause for panic, or an acknowledged possibility that does not staunch progress?
5. What is the company’s official position on innovation, and are there practices in place for managing ideas? Do current processes reflect the mission statement? How do employees perceive their own roles, actions, and contributions to innovation efforts?
6. Finally, are there tools, criteria, and structures in place that support sustainable innovation?
Smart organizations make it a priority to interpret the many unique ideas, perspectives, methodologies, agendas, and expertise its people have to offer and apply them to an overarching goal. This can be particularly difficult to manage at scale. Understanding the sometimes unexpected connections between disparate objectives — like productivity and innovation — can be critical to making successful choices, engaging employees, and staying not just afloat, but ahead.
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This year, Biggerplate — curators of the world’s biggest mind map library — is hosting their annual mind mapping conference in Mindjet’s hometown of San Francisco. We sat down with founder Liam Hughes to get the details on this hugely popular event, taking place on March 20th.
1. Give us a little history lesson on you, Biggerplate, and mind mapping.
Biggerplate was started as a part-time project back in 2008, after I discovered mind mapping software at university, and had the initial idea to create an online resource for students to access academic content in mind map format. After letting the site run for a couple of years part-time, we committed fully to the project in 2011, and have gone on to build Biggerplate into one of the leading sources of mind mapping content and community in the world. Our map library contains thousands of free templates and examples for business and education, and we now have a member community of over 60,000 mind mappers from around the world!
2. Tell us about the upcoming Biggerplate Unplugged conference. What’s the value for attendees? What can they expect?
There really is no other event like this, dedicated purely to mind mapping, where experts and practitioners gather together in one place and share their learning and experiences of using mind mapping in different contexts. The peer-to-peer learning is something that people seem to have found valuable at previous events, in addition to exploring (and shaping) the possible futures for mind mapping and visual working.
3. How did you go about choosing experts to speak at this year’s event?
We’re lucky because we are never short of speaking proposals, and the San Francisco event was no different! We had lots of great proposals submitted, and have tried to select from these a mix of speakers and topics that will provide the best balance, and most useful breadth and depth of perspective for attendees. We’ve got some great software-focused perspectives from people like Michael Deutch from Mindjet, some broader ‘visual thinking’ perspectives from renowned authors David Sibbet and Jamie Nast, and some really practical use case perspectives from a lawyer, a project manager, and a senior HR professional. So hopefully, we’ve got something for everyone here.
4. Other than listening to mind mapping thought leaders and industry pros, what business or career opportunities are there at BPUN?
It’s not often you can have a peer-to-peer, or business-to-business conversation with someone about mind mapping without first having to explain what it is, and Biggerplate Unplugged is therefore quite unique! Attendees have a great starting point and shared context (mind mapping) for conversation about their respective worlds, and there have been some really commercially and personally valuable outputs as a result. One attendee from the IT sector said the event directly influenced his strategic planning for the year ahead, a mind map trainer we know secured a training contract from another attendee he met, and we even had two people collaborate on writing a new book after exploring a shared idea at our event.I have always said there is a shared mindset among people who use mind mapping, which is open-minded, collaborative, and innovative. We are therefore always confident that the result of getting people like this in the same room will always be creative, interesting and unexpected!
5. How does Biggerplate believe mind mapping ties in with modern business innovation and the ever-changing market landscape?
We believe mind mapping is the missing link in many modern business processes, and particularly relevant when a process requires the gathering and sorting of ideas and information into tangible outputs. This ‘gathering and sorting’ stage is often done poorly (or not at all) in organisations, where people instead launch straight into document writing, decision-making, or project planning without first getting their heads around all of the information and knowledge related to the situation. Strong innovation outputs are usually built on a foundation of many small ideas and pieces of information, potentially from a variety of sources, and often (seemingly) disconnected. There are people all over the world trying to handle this information with the wrong tools, and they therefore struggle to understand all the information, or turn their ideas into action. In a huge number of cases, the tool that would be most suitable is a mind map, and the challenge for us (and companies like Mindjet) is to demonstrate this in ways that are practical, context-specific, and grounded in the real-world.
6. What role do you believe mind mapping will play in the future of work? Do you expect the process to evolve? If so, how?
I think the core mind mapping process (organising information hierarchically around a central topic) will more or less remain the same, and this is a good thing: It’s actually the real power behind the approach. I think the next stage in evolution will be less about improving or changing the process itself, and more about identifying and demonstrating the contexts in which it is a relevant process to employ. We do not think mind maps could or should be viewed as the best tool for every situation, or (necessarily) as the end-point in themselves. Instead, we’re trying to understand which processes are best aided by a mind map, and at which stages in larger processes should people switch to or from a map into some other medium. Essentially we believe evolutions in the mind map process will emerge from better understanding of the context-specific ways in which people are using them, and looking for ways to enhance the impact in these situations.
7. What about this year’s BPUN conference are you most looking forward to?
I’m really pleased with the overall line-up of speakers and sessions we have planned for this event, but in particular, I’m really interested in the interactive session that David Sibbet will be running. He’s one of the biggest names in the world of visual thinking/working, and has been for a really long time, well before ‘visual thinking’ was known in the way it is today. I think it’s going to be really interesting to get a perspective from someone who sits outside of the mind mapping world, but who clearly overlaps with it through his focus on visual tools and visual working. I think this will be a really thought-provoking, but enjoyable session, and I’m really excited to see David in action!
Interested in attending BPUN 2014? Get your tickets here.
The post Behind the Scenes at Biggerplate Unplugged: A Q&A with Liam Hughes appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.
The traditional Suggestion Box is a tool that technology and innovation thought leaders have used to demonstrate that innovation simply doesn’t happen when employees submit ideas to be considered, without any process to back them up. More often than not, the suggestion box is little more than a black hole for great ideas, rather than the innovation engine that it’s intended to be.
But just as CEOs say they don’t have time to hold brainstorming sessions, or an effective way to hear what the employees are talking about in the break room, we’re seeing companies like Yelp, UnitedHealth Group, DPR Construction, GoPro, and Airbnb challenging the way business is done. From reinventing the way you pick a restaurant to check out, to changing the way medical providers approach the healthcare landscape, smart companies are pushing for a new standard of business innovation.
Next Level Competitors
The smartest and most adaptable organizations will survive to face the next level of market competition. These are the same companies that know how to harness the wisdom of the crowd, and understand that crowdsourcing doesn’t consist of simply casting your net into the social networking waters and waiting around to catch groundbreaking ideas.
Rather, these organizations seek to eclipse their competition by taking a strategic and systematic approach to fostering relationships, and creating processes that will result in meaningful business outcomes.
Our Next Innovation Café
Join us for Mindjet’s upcoming Innovation Café, “Developing a Coherent Social Strategy for Enterprise Innovation.” In this webinar, we’ll take a look at how organizations are using social technologies, innovation management platforms, and social mindsets to develop human, authentic, and transparent leadership practices. Furthermore, we’ll examine how they’re building company cultures that foster openness to experimentation, failure, and ultimately, success.
Register today for “Developing a Coherent Social Strategy for Enterprise Innovation” in the Innovation Café happening on Wednesday, March 12, 2014.
As innovation becomes increasingly, globally relevant, it’s critical that businesses keep an eye on what’s happening with innovation initiatives on a macro level.
The below infographic, presented by Innovate Product Design, details innovation data and information from various countries and organizations, and delves into institutional characteristics like business sophistication and creative output.
The Global Innovation Index 2013
From IPD: “The Global Innovation Index by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) aims to answer that very question in their 417 page analysis found here: 2013 GII Index. Using an inclusive, horizontal vision of innovation applicable to both emerging and developed countries, this index ranks various countries based upon dozens of factors that impact the environment for innovation.”
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We’ve talked before about the collaborative economy’s shifting power dynamic: as sharing markets expand, control moves from corporation to customer, and what happens to involved entities is a direct result of consumer behavior, instead of decisions made by organizations based on their interpretation of market needs.
But what does that mean for your company?
Sharing is Winning
Much like every new business approach, embracing the collaborative economy model means overcoming a unique set of challenges, like figuring out how to build an innovation pipeline, mine ideas, and allocate resources — outside of traditional means.
In this exclusive report from Crowd Companies’ Jeremiah Owyang, you’ll discover a wealth of data, applicable tips, and other critical information about what it takes to be successful in the sharing market. Detailed research about getting started, risks, and overall benefits can help shape how your business adjusts in order to take advantage of this new market. From the report:
“Behind these customer-to-customer transactions is a new generation of startups: startups that are heavily funded by venture capitalists (and increasingly, by Google). Use of their online services is quickly spreading thanks to key technologies like mobile apps, the internet of things and social networking. And the sharers who use these services have already begun to function like hotels, taxis, farms, restaurants, manufacturers and other traditional businesses. The crowd is becoming a company unto itself…
Contrary to the image of sharers as tech-savvy urban hipsters, sharers are very much like the population as a whole: in other words, a lot like your customers. They skew younger, but that’s because this is an emergent behavior and not simply something you do until you grow up and start shopping at the local mall. But emergent doesn’t mean small: sharing is already a widespread way to buy and sell, or to lend and borrow. So companies can’t afford to limit their collaborative economy ventures to urban areas or early adopters, because the sharing of goods and services is already mainstream.”
The post Sharing is the New Buying: How to Win in the Collaborative Economy appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.
Welcome to Conspire’s Super Happy Fun Friday Link Time, a weekly collection of cool discoveries from around the Web. Most times the goal is to get you thinking differently about communication, collaboration, culture, and life in general. Other times, LOLCAT ATTACK! Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to email@example.com for consideration.
Advice from Artists on Overcoming Creative Block (and Other Things)
If anyone knows about the trials of creative challenges, it’s artists. Lucky for us, they have a few tricks to share that can help get you over the hump, whether you’re trying to write a business blog, come up with an exciting new web design, or even need to ramp up team brainstorming sessions. From Brainpickings:
Not too long ago, Alex Cornell rallied some of our time’s most celebrated artists, writers, and designers, and asked them to share their strategies for overcoming creative block. Now comes Creative Block: Advice and Projects from 50 Successful Artists (public library) — a lavishly illustrated compendium at once very similar in spirit and sufficiently different in execution, in whichDanielle Krysa, better-known as The Jealous Curator, asks artists from around the world working in various media to crack open the vault of their unconscious and explore the darkest elements of the creative process, from overcoming idea-stagnation to dealing with both self-criticism and external naysayers. In addition to sharing their broader thoughts on the demons and rewards of creativity, each artist also offers one specific block-busing exercise — a “Creative Unblock Project” — to try the next time you feel stuck.
But what makes the project particularly noteworthy is that while it features reflections from visual artists, most of their insights apply just as usefully to other creative endeavors, from writing and to entrepreneurship to, even, science.
Read more here.
Lonely Freelancers and Remote Workers: Rent A Desk In A Cool Office Space
It’s safe to say that working remotely, for whatever reason, has three key benefits: lack of commute, access to personal amenities, and pajamas. That said, continuous telecommuting can get a little lonely sometimes. Enter Deskcamping, the Match.com for solo workers and unused workspaces. From Gizmodo:
Since founder Nick Couch launched a bare-bones, curated version of Deskcamping geared toward artists and designers a few years ago, it’s grown into a super user-friendly incarnation—but from the entries I saw, definitely still with a creative edge. As of now, however, it is only available in Berlin, New York, and London.
Even simply browsing the listings is a nice way to kick off the somewhat daunting experience of trying to find a new, not-your-sofa niche. And this is a clever fix for a growing shift towards an untethered workforce, where the only thing you need is a functioning Wi-Fi connection to be on duty.
Be wary: much like the best sharing economy accommodations, this kind of thing can get pretty expensive. But, you get what you pay for, and if you’re tired of working from the couch, this could be the right path to take. Learn more here.
The Era of Open Innovation [VIDEO]
Open innovation is one of those semi-fledgling business concepts that makes some leaders a little nervous — after all, it’s utterly reliant on transparency and partnership, which often goes hand-in-hand with relinquishing control. But many decision-makers are also aware that failure isn’t the end-game it appears to be, and transparency can be an incredibly valuable way of boosting employee engagement. In this TED Talk, researcher Charles Leadbeater “weaves a tight argument that innovation isn’t just for professionals anymore. Passionate amateurs, using new tools, are creating products and paradigms that companies can’t.”
Watch the video here.
Over the course of this last month, we delved into the logistics of utilizing crowd science to drive innovation outcomes. From identifying why crowd science is so crucial for a successful innovation program, to offering up tips on how to implement it, we made the case for why algorithm-based platforms and repeatable processes are the way to go in today’s ever-evolving marketplace. Read on to catch up on February’s themed posts.
Crowd Science, Innovation, and Driving Outcomes
“Crowdsourcing can often seem like a shot in the dark; or more accurately, trying to find a really amazing needle in a very loud, boisterous haystack. But when we look at the exceptional value that crowdsourcing offers in ideation and shaping concepts, it makes sense that it would be even more beneficial if it were mechanized and scalable.
And so it is. Innovation management systems — like our own SpigitEngage — provide crowd-driven decision making backed by algorithms, allowing the best ideas to get surfaced every time. Guesswork is replaced by systematic idea graduation, workflows become more efficient, and even very large organizations are able to harness the power of the crowd and leverage it for executable innovation. Recently, Accenture released the results of an annual study they conduct on emerging IT trends, and found an uptick in engagement as well as ideas that actually made their way to the executive agenda — crowd science is what makes this possible.”
Why Crowd Science Makes Sense: Part I
“It’s all well and good to encourage brainstorming through positivity — after all, one of the biggest reasons employees never voice their ideas is a fear of rejection or failure, and telling people they’ve come up with one or more bad suggestions is a surefire way to silence them in the future. But having the ability to mathematically discern between a ‘good’ idea and a ‘bad’ idea is critical to keeping the innovation pipeline free of bottlenecks and bias. Additionally, using desired outcomes to develop measurements, benchmarks, and qualities of innovation possibilities allows you to shape potential projects before they begin.”
Why Crowd Science Makes Sense: Part II
“Experiments done by Mindjet’s data scientists show a direct correlation between the behavior of the crowd, the predictability of successful innovations, and defining what it means for an idea to be “good.” When using an innovation management system, organizations rely on graduated ideation, which is driven by things like votes and interactions. In order for ideas to rise to the top, they have to pass what is, in essence, a series of tests that prove the sustainability and resiliency of the idea. In a nutshell, as the criteria for what makes good ideas good becomes exponentially stricter, the overall number of good ideas drops, as does the number of innovators who come up with those good ideas.”
4 Key Factors to Crowd Science Done Right
“Crowd science is still a relatively obscure topic for a lot of companies, especially those who haven’t yet nailed down a successful innovation program. But for innovation management to be truly effective and ensure that businesses never miss out on great ideas, it’s not enough to use unbridled crowdsourcing — the methodology is equally as important as the philosophy.”
Dig this topic? Check out The Science of Innovation: 4 Ways Big Data Informs Innovative Processes.
In this week’s thought leadership roundup, author Denise Brosseau gives some valuable advice to budding thought leaders, we get the latest on how LinkedIn’s updated publishing platform can boost your TL game, and strategic business consultant Ron Sela discusses the relationship between developing thought leadership content and online influence.
Ready to Be a Thought Leader? An Interview with Author Denise Brosseau
“What is expected and even required seems to be changing rapidly,” [says Brosseau]. “The bar is high and hiring managers, media outlets and other gatekeepers expect leaders to establish a quality online presence that showcases their expertise and a unique point of view. Yet many leaders still opt to stay on the sidelines. When you search for them, there is little information or what you do find online is actually harmful to their brand and reputation…
No matter what form factor you’re using – whether you’re writing or speaking – think through how you are adding value. This could be de-mystifying or ‘uncomplexifying’ complex information. Take out the acronyms, take out the jargon, and write or speak at a fifth grade level. Not to insult people, but to inform, educate, and add value. You also add value when you articulate trends or provide your commentary on what others are doing rather than just re-stating the same old information.”
Our take: In addition to the above, Brosseau makes several valid points about how to be a thought leader worth the title, rather than just someone who claims it. Most poignant is her argument that thought leadership is not about making an individual look like an expert, but adding overall value and new information to existing discussions.
Using LinkedIn to Build Thought Leadership Influence
From CP America:
“Longform posts were previously only offered to a small group of industry leaders known as “LinkedIn Influencers” and were basically blog posts or short articles published directly to the platform. According to LinkedIn’s Head of Content Products, Ryan Roslansky, the influencer posts generate nearly 31,000 views and more than 80 comments, on average. With the new changes, every user will have the opportunity to compose these longform posts and link them to their profile.
- Once the article is published it will become a part of your public profile: This means that when someone does a search for you online, this article will come up with your LinkedIn profile. If you are solving a unique challenge in the profession, this could be your opportunity to go into more detail on your LinkedIn page.
- LinkedIn will push some of the higher quality content to relevant audiences: If your longform post is well received, it could essentially be disseminated by LinkedIn itself. Talk about having a broad audience!“
Our take: These changes to LinkedIn publishing, and the advice from CPA, are applicable to anyone looking for a broader audience and disseminated reach for their content. It’s imperative to tap into new networks in order to grow influence and gain perspective.
Thought Leadership Marketing In The Age Of Online Influence
From Yahoo Small Business:
“To implement effective thought leadership marketing campaign, it’s necessary that you demonstrate proper analysis, insight, and expertise. You need to be a respected authority regarding issues affecting the industry. The information you share with others must be written, displayed, and packaged for easy consumption without boring the reader. The information must also be relevant, applicable, useful, and be able to reach and speak to your audience in a realistic manner.
Your thought leadership marketing campaign can be effectively supported with content marketing only when the content that you publish is unbiased, original, audience led, research driven, and layered.”
Our take: With the internet world as impacted as it is, pushing thought leadership content to the top of the heap, building a following, and getting heard can be extremely difficult. This piece focuses on simple but practical advice for dealing with these types of challenges, and includes tons of great examples for people to follow. A great, comprehensive intro to the TL landscape.
It’s always nice to get a shout-out from our friends over at Biggerplate, but it’s extra special to learn that they found Mindjet to be at the top of the heap when it comes to popular mind mapping software. In their most recent annual report, they found that over a third of avid mind mappers use Mindjet’s MindManager to organize projects, brainstorm, and connect ideas.
Speaking of Mind Mapping: Biggerplate Unplugged
In San Francisco this March? Get your tickets for their upcoming conference, Biggerplate Unplugged, featuring mind mapping heavy hitters Liam Hughes, Chance Brown, Jamie Nast, and Mindjet’s Michael Deutch.
Check out the full infographic below for some more mind mapping stats and findings, and be sure to visit the Biggerplate Mind Map Library for an incredible and diverse selection of mind maps.
The post Biggerplate Mind Mapping Software Report 2014 [INFOGRAPHIC] appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.
It’s not entirely surprising that research on what makes innovators innovative shows that they think differently than the average person. They have unorthodox ways of processing information and approaching problems, making them ideal candidates for driving disruptive innovation in any environment.
The fact that this type of unique thinking doesn’t come naturally to everyone can be frustrating for organizations focused on continuous innovation. But practice makes perfect — here are 5 skills you need to become the disruptive innovator you’ve always wanted to be.
1. To Bridge the Gap(s)
Innovators have an innate ability to connect concepts that aren’t typically related, which allows them to develop original ideas, and affects their behavior when executing those ideas. After absorbing various team perspectives, potential project risks, market needs, and other innovation elements, innovators naturally associate previously unconnected components, which spawns unique solutions. Promote this kind of out-of-the-box thinking with visual approaches like mind mapping, which allows a team to see every piece of a project at once.
2. To Fearlessly Question
Innovators ask tons of questions, and they ask them of anyone and everyone who can help them better understand needs, goals, challenges, and resources. More importantly, they try to justify the purpose behind actions — they’ll get to how things are done later. First, they want to know why something’s happening at all. It can certainly cause discomfort for anyone who shies away from transparency, but keeping people honest about their intentions and progress ensures open communication, which is critical to innovation success.
3. To Diligently Pay Attention
Innovators are masters at paying attention to detail; it’s what gives them the fodder for asking the aforementioned poignant questions. They typically remember who said what, what they said it in response to, and the challenges associated with every discussion point for the project. Because of their killer ability to connect unrelated concepts, this scrutiny also lets them accurately predict possibilities and issues that may arise down the road. Not blessed with a photographic memory? Become one with note-taking, voice memos, calendar reminders, and confirmation emails.
4. To Not Hate Networking
Lots of people cringe when they hear the word “networking” — though it’s necessary to be ahead of the game in today’s business culture, it also conjures up images of awkward conversations, cheap wine, and wince-worthy self-promotion. But disruptive innovators get over the discomfort quickly, because they understand that talking to other people is one of the simplest and best ways to gain new perspectives, open up new avenues of thought, and get inspired about applying different tactics and strategies to existing problems. Networking helps us learn from other people’s failures and successes, shape ideas through conversation, and gain new insight.
5. To Try, Try Again
Innovators consider everything they do to be an experiment, and believe that any lesson learned to be essential to their own progress. Failure and success are equally important, and neither scares them off. But they also take everything they’ve learned and apply it to future endeavors, a philosophy that speaks to the old agile business adage: “Fail fast, fail often, but never fail the same way twice.”
In my last piece discussing why crowd science makes sense for innovation-focused businesses, I made the case for why leveraging data analysis and algorithms is the key differentiator between companies that use crowdsourcing, and companies that properly utilize crowd science.
The reason it’s so important to note the difference between the two is that, while crowdsourcing as a practice is often effective for mass ideation, it only truly becomes strategic and predictable when it’s backed by a strong, systematic approach.
Rankings and Behaviors
Returning to the concept of the Idea Threshold — “the point (or number of criteria met) that means an innovation has potential and should be supported” — it’s necessary to detail the connection between an idea’s value and the predictability of the ideator’s behavior.
Experiments done by Mindjet’s data scientists show a direct correlation between the behavior of the crowd, the predictability of successful innovations, and defining what it means for an idea to be “good.” When using an innovation management system, organizations rely on graduated ideation, which is driven by things like votes and interactions. In order for ideas to rise to the top, they have to pass what is, in essence, a series of tests that prove the sustainability and resiliency of the idea. In a nutshell, as the criteria for what makes good ideas good becomes exponentially stricter, the overall number of good ideas drops, as does the number of innovators who come up with those good ideas.
Without getting too high level, this research basically shows us that top innovators tend to cluster around great ideas. This knowledge allows for tracking and predictability that can help decision-makers not only shape how they use innovations born from the crowd, but how they execute crowdsourcing itself.
3 Things to Remember
As we delve deeper into the realms of crowd science and how we can apply it to enterprise innovation, it’s crucial to remember that, like most activities with such an extensive number of variables, nothing is 100% exact. Here are three critical considerations:
1. Engagement matters more than you think. From the research that’s been done by Mindjet, it’s clear that engagement plays a mammoth role in the effectiveness of crowdsourcing. The behavior of innovators (those who generate great ideas) and discerners (those who regularly choose to interact with ideas that do well) indicates that non-experts often drop out of the process before completion.
2. Numbers speak volumes. As ideas face stricter graduation criteria, the fraction of users who are considered discerners decreases. However, it’s a slow drop — consider what late-stage actions can be taken to maintain involvement.
3. Be patient. Research suggests that, on average, under 2% of the crowd actually qualify as innovators; yet, almost 70% are users are discerners. Additionally, almost 6.4% act as both, and 22.43% are neither. The 6.4% represent the crowd’s sweet spot: high valued users who are both innovators of high quality ideas and discerners of idea quality. Identifying these individuals should be a top priority.
At the end of the day, the value of innovation management and crowd science is that it allows you to take innovation efforts from lucky to logical.
For more information about how Mindjet can help you bring predictability, stability, and repeatability to your innovation program, check out our perspective or learn more about Mindjet’s Vision to Action Lifecycle.
It’s important, right? It’s vital to the future, right?
So why is it so hard to get some leaders to hear what everyone is shouting from the rooftops? We all know the leaders that live for innovation, but they’re always working in a different company!
3 Types of Leaders
Why are leaders hesitant to commit to innovation? They seem know the theory and believe the reasons as to why they should be innovating, but just can’t seem to make that move and actually do it. I believe there are three types of leaders in relation to innovation activity:
- “Follow Me” - Leaders that are completely sold on the benefits of innovation, shout about it and make it happen.
- “Not Sure” - Leaders that know they should focus on innovation, but don’t have the faith or experienced the benefits of innovation yet.
- “Too Busy” - Those that think innovation is fluffy, a waste of space and a distraction from the job at hand.
I believe you can change the “Not Sure” and “Too Busy” leaders into “Follow Me” leaders. Here’s four areas that could be stopping them and how they can be overcome:
4 Things to Consider
1. They have an ego
Most leaders have an ego that needs to be fed. Innovation can interfere with that because the best ideas no longer come from the top. The role as a leader is make decisions and choose the best ideas to back. You get the credit for creating an environment where ideas can be suggested and taken forward.
2. Their reputation is on the line
An executive wants to back a success. Unless they are a “follow me” leader, they will need a reason to be confident in the benefits that innovation will bring. Instead of launching loud and big, here the suggestion is to start small and prove the concept. This avoids some of the complexity size brings as well as reducing the risk if it fails. It also enables lessons to be learnt about how to improve in the future.
3. They just don’t like change
You know what, leaders are human and some just don’t like change, unless it is them doing the change. Innovation is all about change and doing things differently. In such a case, the benefit that the leader will personally enjoy needs to be outlined. This situation is particularly difficult, but if things don’t improve, this type of leader may not exist for much longer…
4. They don’t know any better
These leaders are doing a great job, technically brilliant, but are not aware of the changing world around them. It’s not that they don’t care, it’s just the world is moving on faster than they realised. In these cases, it actually is quote easy to make them aware of trends and issues that will help them to recognise how much they need to innovate.
In summary, most leaders I have met care about their organisation and nobody wants to captain a sinking ship. Leaders must recognise their role in the innovation journey, and how easily they can kill it. They must to commit to innovation and they may need help, but probably won’t be able to ask for that.
Help them to “hold the line” and hold on for the payoff. Good luck change makers!
If there are two things that make innovation difficult, it’s circumstance and getting started.
That’s why this month’s Bay Area InnovationHQ Meetup is focused on helping you understand how to drive innovation in unestablished environments — like startups — and how you can become the catalyst for change within your organization.
Join us in just a few days for this Meetup, “Innovation in Startups and Becoming a Change Agent,” happening at Mindjet’s San Francisco headquarters. The event takes place this Thursday, February 27th from 7:00-9:00 PM. Guest speakers include Mindjet’s James Gardner and K. Tighe of Willcall. As always, expect adult beverages, free food, and plenty of chances to win some schwag. We hope to see you there!
The beauty of mind mapping is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. Matching the mind and imagination of its creator, some are rigid and linear, while others are jumbled and hectic. Either way, they can be excellent tool for planning corporate events. The fact that they are visual and modifiable means they can be not only read, but created, by several — or all — of the people involved in the event.
In its most basic form, a mind map is a visual drawing in which lines, shapes, images, and words are used — often with different colors representing different concepts — to map out a plan, idea, or course of action. Generally, a central concept is planted in the middle of the map, with “branches” reaching out to connect with secondary and tertiary concepts that can contain sub-branches of their own.
1. Draw and Re-Draw
Use a chalkboard or dry-erase board when creating your mind map. Taking a pen to a permanent surface, you’ve removed your ability to revise your map as your ideas change. Your map is a visual incarnation of your mind; if it’s working correctly, it is in constant flux.
2. Assign Branches to People
When using a mind map to plan a corporate event, one strategy is to assign a color to each of the different people involved, so you can follow their branches, track their ideas, and follow their progress. With each employee assigned a specific part of a larger project, it instills friendly competition and promotes individual accountability.
Assign Branches to Components
Another strategy is to assign colors and branches to ideas, and whoever is assigned to deal with those ideas can add to that color and branch. If catering is one component, venue is another component, public relations is a third, and vendors is the last, each of those entities could be given a color. Everyone assigned to each part of the plan would work within that color.
Because of its flexible, inexact, malleable nature, mind mapping is an excellent way to plan a large gathering with many facets such as a corporate event. Everyone can contribute and — unlike with mass emails or a never-ending string of meetings — it is a creative way to get your employees to engage, get involved, and leave their mark. When it comes to event planning, mind mapping is the epitome of thinking outside the box. Learn more about Mindjet’s mind mapping software here.
The post 3 Tips for Using Mind Mapping for Corporate Events appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.
Welcome to Conspire’s Super Happy Fun Friday Link Time, a weekly collection of cool discoveries from around the Web. Most times the goal is to get you thinking differently about communication, collaboration, culture, and life in general. Other times, LOLCAT ATTACK! Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Leo Lionni on Creativity and the Secret of Great Storytelling
Skilled business leaders always recognize and value the role of creativity and storytelling in marketing and sales, but it’s easy to get caught up in pushing product features, personnel expertise, and which trendy moves your competitors are making. But every now and then, finding inspiration in unlikely places is the best path to take — for example, children’s book author and illustrator Leo Lionni’s approach to bringing ideas to life. While he may not have been a businessman per se, his methodology for creating and his philosophy about work are completely applicable to enterprise strategies for engagement, ideation, and innovation. From Brainpickings:
“The most frequent question that children asked my grandfather Leo was, “How do you get your ideas?” He would usually start with a simple idea. Sometimes the idea would be a beginning to a story, sometimes an ending, other times it might be the main character, or the situation. But however it would start, he would work hard to create a story from that idea. He thought of it as a game of chess, moving the pieces around to create the best story possible. And so, to the question “How do you get your ideas?” he would give a simple answer — “Hard work.”
But why did Leo make books at all? Why draw, or paint, or make sculptures out of wood, glass or metal? He did all of those things and more. He always said that he had “an irresistible urge to make things.” If for some reason he couldn’t make art, he claimed that he’d make bricks or boxes or anything else that he could make with his hands.”
The Most Popular Employee Perks Of 2014
Employee perks like gourmet coffee and fancy gym classes represent some of tech’s most unique (and often outlandish) forms of driving engagement and retention. This piece from Forbes’ Kate Harrison digs in to what some of today’s most successful, lucrative companies are up to when it comes to attracting and keeping young, in-demand talent. From game rooms to extensive PTO, free massages, Netflix subscriptions and customized footwear, these organizations aren’t messing around. However, the author isn’t necessarily convinced of the validity of practicing perks. From the article:
“Owners like Patrick Lynch…and I are living in a different reality. [Says Lynch], “I would like to offer a somewhat different perk that is incredibly important but not quite as sexy: continued employment. There are countless small business owners like myself that sacrifice personal compensation for the sake of keeping their team in place — not having to downsize during tough times, not having to reduce hours. This may not be as cool as a juice bar or foosball table, but it shows employees that their CEO cares and values them. ?I think that is awesome.”
Self-Editing is the Key to Making Better Decisions
It’s doubtful that there’s a person on this planet who hasn’t said or done something mildly regrettable at one time or another, and the same can certainly be said for decisions. But according to Inc Magazine author Leo McKeown — who frequently has to cover popular business topics in a frustratingly short 600-word column — the principles of self-editing a piece of writing can be applied to decision-making, too.
In this piece, he makes several excellent points about the process of “editing” your thoughts and choices, including the importance of prioritization, why less is really more, and lessons learned from leaving things off the table. Read the full article here.
Even if your organization isn’t all that big, the amount of data needed to be successful in today’s constantly fluctuating marketplace is. And if you don’t have the resources to collect and analyze the vast amount of consumer info you need, it can get extremely overwhelming.
The Science of it All
Says data scientist Lisa Purvis:
“The big data movement has touched every industry and domain. The world is a sea of information, continuing to grow at an astounding rate — in fact, IDC forecasts a 44-fold increase in data volumes between 2009 and 2020. Analyzing and synthesizing insights from this data, both structured and unstructured, leads to better decision-making, greater operational efficiencies, cost reductions, and growth via new business opportunities. The same is true in the domain of innovation — fully understanding and extracting actionable insights from your innovation program enables adjustments, and ultimately, greater outcomes.”
One Small Step
For many companies, it’s getting started that’s the issue — when presented with such an onslaught of information, it’s extremely difficult to know where to spend time in order to extract the most value. But as with most things, getting somewhere just takes making that first leap, even if it’s a small one. This infographic from IBM details the 4 key steps you need to take to get started on your Big Data journey.
This week, our thought leadership roundup is all about learning — what to do, what not to do, and how to do it right when it comes to developing your own expertise, content, and strategies, regardless of what level you’re currently at in the TL realm.
5 Examples of Thought Leadership
From WP Engine:
“Thought Leadership is content that provides solutions to your audience’s problems, without mentioning your company or products at all. David Meerman Scott, explains:
Instead of just directly selling something, a great site, blog, or video series tells the world that you are smart, that you understand the market very well, and that you might be a person or organization that would be valuable to do business with.
Thought Leadership can be presented in a variety of forms, but the point is to present solutions (whether they be useful guidance, cutting edge research, educational materials) in the most engaging and informative format.”
Our take: Although this is a super basic intro to the topic of thought leadership content, it’s still a valuable one. All too often, companies miss the point of this type of content and try to force it into the realm of the typical sales tool; this piece makes the case for why that’s not such a good idea.
How to Avoid the Thought Leadership Commodity Trap
From Stern Associates:
“Since the phrase was first coined by Joel Kurtzman in 1994 (himself a thought leader), “thought leader” has been used to describe everyone from JFK to Oprah Winfrey. Now, everyone aspires to be one. Google “thought leader” and you’ll get several hundred websites promising to help you become the next, highly sought-after expert in your field.
Perhaps this is an inevitable reaction to our increasingly commoditized market. As business leaders find it harder and harder to differentiate their products or services, they’ve turned to thought leadership in an attempt to stand out from their competitors. But the field has now become so crowded with self-described thought leaders that they themselves risk becoming a commodity.
How do you avoid that trap? As a company that represents many leading authorities in their respective fields, we’ve come to a few conclusions.”
Our take: A step beyond the aforementioned WP Engine piece, this article provides advice for aspiring thought leaders in business that’s derived from both experience and research. It makes a handful of great points about focusing on the quality and originality of your content instead of pushing quantity, which we wholeheartedly agree with.
Do as Successful Thought Leaders Do
“Thought leaders expand ideas. Ideas are the bread and butter of thought leadership. At the core of every project, product cause or movement there is an idea — an idea that is meant to inspire new ways of thinking and engage action. Ideas form the core of what it means to change the world. People hire and promote thought leaders because they are “ideators,” defined by the Urban Dictionary as “a person who creates productive ides. In order to engage people with our ideas, we must nurture relentless curiosity, find and engage with our broader ecosystem, and show others the way forward.”
Our take: Bringing today’s brief course in thought leadership home, this piece from Denise Brosseau, CEO of Thought Leadership Lab, digs deep into the application of expertise in your chosen area, and how to translate it into great content and business returns. This is an especially important read for people seeking to perfect their TL strategies, content, and overall success.
According to BusinessDictionary.com, organizational agility is “the capability of a company to rapidly change or adapt in response to changes in the market,” and “a high degree of organizational agility can help a company to react successfully to the emergence of new competitors, the development of new industry-changing technologies, or sudden shifts in overall market conditions.”
The agile business strategy has been adopted by both small businesses and major corporations alike. Take Miracle-Ear, for example. Purveyors of the best-known brand of hearing aid in the world, the company has grown to more than 1,200 locations through the meticulous, focused philosophy of an agile business structure. The agile model has allowed Miracle-Ear to modify its core device to a wide range of different customers and clients.
This complex yet effective strategy of being agile requires both an energetic, motivated business administrator and a good degree of planning. Here are four different, yet necessary, basic levels of planning for an agile business model.
1. Planning for Product Release
In the release planning stage, assignments are given to individual groups, or teams, in anticipation of a product release. The teams must gather all the information they possibly can to generate a realistic yet expedient time frame for each release. The team’s releases are timed carefully to coincide with the moment when the benefits of release most outweigh the risk and cost. Release dates, which are usually linked to events such as yearly gatherings, are then determined.
2. Sprint Planning
Teams generally operate in prescribed time frames called “sprints,” and planning occurs prior to each new sprint. Teams usually work with customers, clients, or product managers to establish basic requirements and expectations prior to the sprint. At the end of the planning session, the team commits to a specific due date for creating a product demonstration. At this demonstration, the team displays its results to the product owner, who then determines whether or not any adjustments need to be made. Finally, a new sprint begins, and the team regroups to make the required changes.
3. Daily Planning
Most agile business teams have a brief daily meeting to coordinate and measure progress. This allows them to see an overview of the project’s progress while identifying immediate issues that must be addressed. Daily planning presents the project’s immediate, micro elements in a clear, digestible fashion.
4. Ongoing Planning
As the goals and guidelines of a project change, so must planning. Ongoing planning simply entails regular communication with team members so everyone on the team can work in concert with the others. Ongoing planning presents the long-term overview of the project to the team as they make adjustments to an ever-evolving framework.
The agile business theory is transforming the way businesses of all sizes look at the competing team business model. Agile business success depends on both short- and long-term planning that is meticulous and thorough, yet elastic enough to bend and evolve, as projects and requirements change.