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Date: Friday, 12 Sep 2014 23:24

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.

Does This New Book Hold the Secret to Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload?

If there’s one thing all driven people love to figure out, it’s how to become even more driven, without (a)going completely insane, or (b)giving up every aspect of their lives that’s not directly tied to career success. Some people fail spectacularly at this, devoting every waking — and even unconscious — minute to a never ending inner monologue that only has one subject to talk about. Sadly, that’s largely the fault of mythological business tactics like multitasking, or thinking that constant, super-detailed research is necessary for every undertaking. From Contently:

“According to neuroscientist Russ Poldrack, multitasking can cause information to go to the wrong part of your brain. If you’re studying without distractions, the information goes into the hippocampus, the part of your brain that stores facts and ideas. But if you’re studying with the television on, it goes to your striatum instead. That part of the brain typically stores new skills and procedures. Trying to do research with the TV on will not only be harder and take longer, it could impact your memory recall as well. Multitaskers feel like they’re juggling everything really well even when they’re not.

Levitin says this feeling is a cognitive illusion. In addition to sacrificing efficiency and concentration, multitasking increases the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol as well.”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

Innovation, Culture And Some Insights From Twitter

There are three major wants that company leaders have — or should have — in this age of accelerated development: engaged employees; the ability to manage and add process to innovation; and a culture that attracts top talent. Sadly, and in spite of so much evidence to contrary practices, many businesses instead choose to hold on to traditional processes and hierarchies, which essentially result in the opposite of all those excellent wants. From Forbes:

“Culture is a deeply held and widely shared set of beliefs, assumptions, and norms, working in concert to make certain human behaviors and business outcomes more probable. The Whack-a-Mole culture is destined to produce no innovation and undermine any strategy other than make employees as miserable and disengaged as possible while simultaneously increasing employee turnover.”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

How to Write Emails Like a Powerful Person

Have you ever noticed what an incredibly important role context plays in, well, just about everything? If not, I’d bet a decent chunk of change that you’re either living in a bubble or simply ignoring the evidence. Context can be the difference between a yes and a no; it can be the dividing line between a phrase being interpreted as insulting or complimentary. And in business, it can be the tipping point between wanting power and actually attaining it. What better way to convey your position than with everyone’s favorite method of communication? From Inc.:

“‘By analyzing language you can easily tell who among two people has power in a relationship, and their relative social status,” Spiegel reports. How? Just listen for the word “I.”

After crunching through piles of data, it turns out a simple pattern emerges–the more power you have, the less likely you are to use the first-person pronoun. This applies to all of us, Pennebaker insists (he even offers some of his own personal emails as examples), and while we do not realize that about ourselves, data analysis reveals the truth.

What accounts for this? “We use ‘I’ more when we talk to someone with power because we’re more self-conscious. We are focused on ourselves–how we’re coming across–and our language reflects that,” Spiegel explains.”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

The post Fun Friday Links: The Secret to Thinking Straight, Twitter Insights, and Powerful Emails appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Featured, Mindjet, company culture, cont..."
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Date: Friday, 12 Sep 2014 18:16

The caliber of any organization – as well as its reputation and ability to grow – is directly tied to its aptitude for innovation, particularly in impacted and highly competitive markets such as health care, engineering, transportation, and education.

Though there’s a proven track record of success for companies that use crowdsourcing and open innovation to drive creative, goal-driven, and collaborative ideation, the practice remains widely untapped as a viable resource. Enterprises are typically hesitant for one of two reasons: either they’re uncomfortable inviting untested expertise into their innovation process, or they’re unclear on how to effectively manage the generation and capture of disparate ideation at such a large scale.

The Siemens Solution

However, a business cannot depend on serendipity alone. Process and structure are crucial components of a properly executed innovation program, alongside critical – but largely uncommon – factors, such as transparency, flattened hierarchies, and interdepartmental or customer-driven collaboration.

Siemens Road and City Mobility, a global company based in Germany, recently launched their Mobility IDEA (Improving Design and Engineering for All) Contest, in order to leverage widespread open innovation to find solutions to some of the most difficult challenges currently facing the traffic industry.

The contest encourages the general public, as well as university students, to submit innovative ideas that can help solve a selection of common, longstanding transportation challenges. The program, enabled by Mindjet’s powerful SpigitEngage enterprise innovation management software, is giving the team at Siemens the opportunity to leverage the knowledge and perspectives of a dedicated, global group of relevant industry thought leaders – as well as students and other interested people with great, novel ideas.

“We’re thrilled that Siemens is executing this necessary initiative using Mindjet’s SpigitEngage software,” says Kevin Cochrane, Chief Marketing Officer at Mindjet. “We believe that Siemens is in an excellent position to use this program and platform to truly help advance today’s traffic systems and bring clarity to issues that really matter to the people who are most affected by them.”

IDEA Submissions and Guidelines

The contest is open now, and will run through Sunday, November 16th. Finalists will be announced on Friday, December 12th. Ideas can be submitted through the IDEA Contest website, where users are able to provide their own ideas, offer suggestions to existing submissions, comment and vote on their favorites, and share concepts and discussions through social media.

Participants can enter ideas for one of five, problematic traffic-related situations, including connected technologies, disaster response and resilience, environmental impact, urban growth, and parking. Through this incredible example of open innovation at work, we fully expect the contest to be a success that resonates throughout the entire transportation industry, and that will attract and inspire the creative ideation of the global crowd.

To learn more about the Siemens Mobility IDEA Contest, read the press release, check out their blog, or visit the challenge hub.

For more information about Mindjet’s SpigitEngage innovation platform, click here.

The post Driving Fundamental Innovation: The Siemens Mobility IDEA Contest appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Innovation, Agile Business, business col..."
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Date: Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 19:55

This summer, Mindjet and Dr. Norman Lewis — director of crowdsourced innovation at professional services giant PwC — hosted a roundtable breakfast discussion with leading innovators in the UK, concerning how organisations can better engage employees to help drive innovation at both strategic and practical levels.

After hearing from Norman about his career in innovation and how he manages PwC’s innovation programme, ‘One’, the discussion was then opened up to the floor. This post brings together the main highlights and major themes covered during this fascinating session.

Crowd-Driven Execution

Businesses are beginning to wake up to the sheer power of crowdsourcing. Why rely on the ability of a handful of employees, or specialists, to come up with that game-changing idea, when you can harness the brainpower of all your employees?

Of course this has implications for specialists, and any other employees traditionally tasked with generating new ideas. However, far from threatening their positions and future job prospects, specialists will begin to play a more advisory role on the implementation of these ideas. The crowd, with its near infinite resources, will become the creative engine for those organisations that can harness it.

Engagement is Everything

Engagement is the lifeblood of cross-company innovation, and ensuring engagement levels remain high across all areas of the company should be a major concern for innovation directors and project managers. However, there are a number of prerequisites and must-do’s that are necessary to assure a successful innovation campaign.

The roundtable participants were in full agreement that the right question or starting statement is the single most important part of an innovation challenge. If the question is unclear or too general, people will simply switch off, and ideas and input received is at risk of being unhelpful. The question must capture the essence of the challenge and help draw people in. Get this right, and you’re on the way to fostering effective cross-company innovation.



Beyond the wording of the question, executive buy-in is also a key success factor. Without the decision makers of the company supporting the query, pushing an initiative through will be far more of a challenge. Recommendations from the roundtable included running an exclusive innovation challenge, just for the board of the company to participate in, before rolling-out to the company at large. With senior figures aware of the programme’s caveats and format, enthusiasm for the project should quickly trickle down. It will also help overcome resistance from ‘experts’ or other decision makers who might feel their own ground is being trodden on.

Ensuring an exciting reward and recognition framework is in place for participants will drive engagement. Rewards must vary so as to appeal to the many personality types within an organisation. While one person will respond best to a straightforward financial reward, another may be more driven by the promise of an extra holiday, or the chance to attend a high-profile company event with the CEO.

Unforeseen Insight

The value of an innovation programme doesn’t just end when the challenge is finished. Aside from the value of a great new idea (or ideas), the data produced by a cross-company initiative can provide tremendous insight into the state of an organisation and how business areas interact. For instance, collecting and studying the data from a SpigitEngage challenge would allow a business to see which departments, or even countries, were most collaborative and willing to contribute to the ideation process of others.

Data can also reveal which areas of a business are most creatively active, as well as help unearth individual talent. As most SpigitEngage customers will testify, challenges often reveal surprising innovation heroes where they were least expected. Norman had one such example, recently adding an employee from the tax department to his innovation team after noting his regular and excellent contribution to PwC challenges.

To learn more about Mindjet’s powerful SpigitEngage innovation management platform, visit our shop.

The post Recap: Mindjet’s Summer Innovation Breakfast appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Matt Chapman" Tags: "Featured, Innovation, Agile Business, bu..."
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Date: Tuesday, 09 Sep 2014 19:01

At Mindjet, we strive to provide revolutionary ways for people to be more innovative, creative, collaborative, and productive. There’s nothing more important to us than making that happen.

To that end, MindManager has evolved to take mind mapping way beyond just the brainstorming session. Now it provides one of the most flexible methods for teams and individuals to capture ideas, create strategic plans, and manage everything from meetings to massive projects. We are thrilled to continue that evolution with the new MindManager 15 for Windows, and we hope that you’ll be as excited as we are.

A Better Balance

Our goal for this release was to balance new features requested by our power users with an enhanced experience for new and casual users. We’re working to ensure that new users can be productive quickly, and our dedicated, long-time users can complete their most common tasks more efficiently.

Many of the features and improvements in version 15 are the direct result of discussions with clients, partners, and the MindManager community. To make sure we captured your needs, we used our design partner database to collect anonymous, opt-in feedback on our features. We also solicited feedback via surveys, live observations, online feedback, and customer visits.

This collaboration with our user base fully supports our ongoing commitment to refining and improving MindManager in order to provide you with the most powerful and effective tool in its class. We encourage all of you to add or vote on ideas in our community.

With that in mind, here are some of the new improvements.

Expanded Microsoft Integration

Microsoft 64-Bit Compatibility
One of the most highly anticipated updates is the 64-bit version of MindManager for Windows. Users can now run MindManager on either 32- or 64-bit Windows OS. Better yet, MindManager 15 users can now integrate their projects seamlessly with Microsoft Office 64-bit applications, and still benefit from all of the great features available in the original version.

Auto-Create Slides

Slide & Presentation Improvements
Slides in MindManager are used in a variety of ways. You can print them, create a slideshow and present it from within MindManager, or export slides to PowerPoint.

When you have a large map, it was a cumbersome process to manually create each individual slide. With this new feature, MindManager creates slides for you automatically.

Creating slides is easier, too—you can do it directly from the Presentation Menu in the ribbon.

MM15 blog image_1-Pres Menu

And, if you try to export a map to PowerPoint without any slides created, MindManager will offer to do it for you.

MM15 blog image_2-Create Slides

The end result: You have a series of slides that you can use to present, print, or export, without the need to switch programs or spend extra time reformatting.

MM15 blog image_3-Pres Charter

New Presentation Theme

We’ve also added a new Map Theme, “Default – Project,” which is set up with darker lines and text, making it easier to see when you’re projecting your maps.

More Powerful Project Planning

Removing Slack Time
We’ve had many people request a way to more easily remove ‘slack time’—the amount of time left after a project if the project is started immediately—between dependent tasks.

Previously, if a task finished later than expected, the new end date would push out dependent tasks to start later. However, if a task finished early, users had to manually move all the dependent tasks in the project. In MindManager 15, whether a task is finished early or late, dependent tasks can be moved automatically. This is a massive improvement for MindManager users that may have hundreds of tasks per project.

Now you can also either remove slack time for the whole project (in your current map), or for any selected tasks. When you choose selected tasks, it really represents not only the chosen task, but any dependent tasks, too.

MM15 blog image_4-Slack Time

To access this command, you can either use the Remove Slack Time button in the Task Ribbon, or from the context menu when you click on a task in the Gantt chart.

MM15 blog image_5-Slack Time 2

Move Project

Project Managers often spend a lot of time developing plans, identifying tasks, defining dependencies, resources, milestones, and more. Quite often, by the time they’re done, they need to shift the plan to an entirely new start date.

In earlier versions of MindManager, you had to manually update all tasks to their new start dates. Now, users can simply click the Move Project command in the Task Ribbon, select a new date, and all appropriate tasks will shift accordingly.

MM15 blog image_6-Move Project

There’s also an option to maintain the current milestones. This allows you to move all of a project’s tasks, yet keep the milestones and any dependencies in place if needed.

Project Map Parts

We’ve added new map parts so you can quickly drag and drop predefined branches like a project charter, status, or project success criteria branch directly into your map. These predefined branches guide you through the project definition and planning process, and provide a framework for helping you manage initiatives.

User Experience Improvements

Simple Template Navigation
One of the things we repeatedly observed in our usability lab is that when users tried to find a template, they were quickly overwhelmed. To remedy that, we’ve created a new template experience, which includes:

  • New blank map templates with radial, right, tree, and org-chart layouts.
  • New folders for MindManager templates for management, meetings & events, personal productivity, problem solving, project management, and strategic planning.
  • New section for your own custom templates that you add.
  • Easier access to our online gallery of MindManager maps and customer maps in the Maps for That community.
MM15 blog image_7-Gallery

New Map Parts

I mentioned earlier that we’ve added new map parts to provide a repeatable and efficient way to plan your next project. We didn’t stop there!

MindManager 15 has approximately 50 new map parts to help you:

  • Brainstorm, refine, and categorize ideas.
  • Analyze ideas, strategies, and opportunities.
  • Conduct meetings and take notes.
  • Plan and manage projects, and much more!

We’ve made the default view of map parts a list view so that they’re easier to identify and select. You can always switch back to the original thumbnail view using the context menu option.
Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 5.03.01 PM

New Hand-Drawn Images

We’ve added a gallery of hand-drawn images to give your map topics a more personal touch. Choose from over 150 new images in a variety of colors.

MM15 blog image_10-Doodles

Topic Quick-Add Refinements

In our last update, we introduced the new Topic Quick-Add feature, which lets you quickly add topics to map elements. We’ve continued to refine this feature to make it even easier to add topics into your maps. Since the feature adds space to the map (which may impact previously created maps with slides for printing and presenting) we’ve also added an option that lets you temporarily disable the feature. It’s located in the MindManager Options, Edit page.

New OPML Export

For those of you who use apps that accept OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language), we’ve now added OPML export so you can easily transfer map content. Simply use the “Save As” command and select OPML as the file format.

Mothballed Features

Periodically, it becomes necessary to remove features from MindManager. Features may be underutilized, outdated, or just fail to accomplish their intended purpose. To keep the user experience clean, we take them out.

In this release, we’ve removed the following features:

  • Microsoft SharePoint Linker Add-in. This feature is being retired from the standard offering of MindManager, and will be included in the new MindManager Enterprise offering. This also includes our MindManager Server product, which installs on SharePoint.
  • Google Desktop Search. Support for this functionality was dropped by Google in 2011.
  • Save and Open MindManager 2002 files. As we’re moving to support both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of MindManager, it’s time to hang up support for this very old file format.

The new MindManager 15 for Windows is our most robust and streamlined version to date, and we can’t wait to see what you’re able to accomplish with it.

Learn more or get it today!


For a quick message about why upgrades are so important, check out this great video from the Mindjet team.

Tweet this video!

The post You Talked, We Listened: Announcing the New MindManager 15 for Windows appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Michael Deutch" Tags: "Featured, Mindjet, business innovation, ..."
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Date: Friday, 05 Sep 2014 22:05

Unlike media and tech, healthcare is a sector that seems to lag behind when it comes to innovation. Whether it’s on the technological or business side, healthcare hasn’t been an easy sector in which to innovate and improve.

Being an industry with so many fluid parts and participants, coordination becomes an uphill battle. Sanofi CEO, Christopher A. Viehbacher, says that the per-need basis of healthcare is what becomes an obstacle to things like drug and technology development. “Someone comes into a hospital, someone comes into a pharmacy, someone comes into a doctor. But beyond those touch-points, the patients are on their own. There’s no real continuity of care.” In other words, breaking down the communication barriers and silos is what can help drive the process and lead to more innovative thinking.

Since healthcare is the sum of its parts, there’s no point in taking a blanket approach. Innovation needs to serve the different segments within the sector.



There are three broad categories to innovation in healthcare: first, innovation in the way consumers access and use healthcare; next, innovation in the technologies used for product development and treatments; and finally, innovation in the business models created, so they can be sustained and integrated throughout the business.

Here are 4 innovation tips for the healthcare industry that can be incorporated into different networks, and lead to better patient care and communication.

1. Focus On The Consumer

When the focus is consumer-centric, innovation programs need to offer the patient greater convenience and effectiveness, as well as more economical solutions.

This could range from insurance policies which empower the customer to take greater control of their healthcare spending, or the creation of a user-friendly app or portal to access healthcare tools. When it comes to healthcare, consumers aren’t just looking for the best price; they need ease of use. Solutions that can help reduce wait times, make appointment setting easier, and manage multiple consultations can benefit users and healthcare professionals alike.

2. Technology

Technological innovation helps the healthcare sector internally and externally. New drugs, devices, surgical procedures and distribution can offer treatment that is quicker, more cost effective, and less disruptive. From the backend, tech tools can help collate data and use it to reduce human error. Sharing data between healthcare professionals and caregivers can help them monitor different diseases, as well as keep everyone on the same page.

3. The Right Business Model

Healthcare is a fragmented industry, and the silo approach can create problems. There is, of course, the question of private and public hospitals catering to the same needs, while having many different locations and competitors in the same region. For example, the biotechnology sector has dozens of small players in the same network catering to a very specific need, but those offices are spread out with no central location or communication system. Bringing treatment under one roof (vertical integration) can increase efficiency and save time and resources.

4. Test And Test Again 

Healthcare is a sector that requires dozens of trials and tests before a new product or drug can be made publicly available. The same rule applies to innovation.

Innovation can’t take place in isolation; experimentation, trials and regular testing needs to happen. Test the functionality of the innovation on patients and the people who will use it. The best kind of innovation starts with a great idea that is refined and put into context to produce an even better result.

Have other great tips for healthcare innovators? Share them in the comments!

The post 4 Innovation Tips for the Health Care Industry appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Jenn Lisak" Tags: "Mindjet, Agile Business, business collab..."
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Date: Friday, 05 Sep 2014 20:15

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.

How People-Oriented IT Can Help Your Business Thrive

You would think that, to be in IT at all, you’d have to have a pretty robust set of people skills. Yet corporate IT teams are still regularly relegated to the proverbial basement, desperate for process that’s being inhibited by the enthusiasm of their colleagues upstairs. From Mashable:

“There’s never been a more stressful time for the people who manage a business’ technology — corporate IT. Even though mega-trends like mobile, cloud and big data have combined to build the kind of next generation capabilities IT once championed, today, roles have reversed and the professionals in IT are the ones who find themselves saying “no” the most.

Whenever new technology impacts a business process or function, there are roughly two responses: The first is one of pragmatic concern at the upheaval it might cause, and the second is an enthusiastic acceptance of a newer, better way of doing things.

But, bogged down by the complexity of legacy systems and increasingly international, multi-device infrastructures, in some cases corporate IT is starting to come across as a bottleneck or in some cases, even worse -– a bonafide obstacle to business success.”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

Manageable Problem Vs. The Gates of Hell: There’s a Time for a Leader to Go Crazy

We all go a little mad sometimes, right? Well, that’s especially the case for people in charge — especially leaders that not only have to manage an unprecedented amount of information inside of the shortest deadlines in history, but that have to do it for a particularly large group or organization. And you know what? It’s totally okay. From Inc.:

“There are moments indeed when the veneer of craziness is important. There are moments when you want to up the ante, appeal to your passion, and strike deeply into your human frustration. There are moments where impassioned cries work. There are moments when leaders have to rally those around them and rallying them, in a moment of crisis, may not be achieved by analytics and an academic vocabulary. There are moments when going crazy, at least for a moment or two, is appropriate.”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

Werner Herzog’s No-BS Advice to Aspiring Filmmakers and Creative Entrepreneurs

As we’re fond of saying, innovation is not the property of any one specific industry, organization, or even internal team. It’s wise to look for strategic inspiration in a variety of places — you never know what might work for you or your company, even if it’s originally presented in a completely unrelated space. From Brainpickings:

“If a filmmaker has no other legs to stand on, he can be easily broken. When someone knows how to milk a cow, there is something solid about him. A farmer who grows potatoes or breeds sheep is never ridiculous; nor is a cattle rancher or a chef able to feed a table full of hungry guests. The eighty-year-old man who brought me a bottle of wine from his vineyard before my first opera opened in Bologna could never be an embarrassment, but the film producer who takes to the red carpet at every opportunity and keeps his awards polished will always look foolish. I have seen dignified ninety-year-old cello players and photographers, but never filmmakers. My way of dealing with the inevitable is to step out of my job whenever I can. I travel on foot, I stage operas, I raise children, I cook, I write. I focus on things that give me independence beyond the world of cinema.”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

The post Fun Friday Links: People-Focused IT, Crazy Leaders, and No-BS Advice for Entrepreneurs appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Mindjet, Agile Business, brainpickings, ..."
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Date: Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 23:31

In this week’s thought leadership roundup, we take a look at thinking straight, collaborative thought leadership, and entrepreneurship lessons from the artist community.

The Organized Mind: Daniel J. Levitin Talks Thinking Straight

From Contently:

“I think what happens in this overcaffeinated age where there’s so much happening is that we feel like we can’t even stop for a minute or two because it’s all we can do to keep up. “If I stop work for five minutes, I’m not going to be able to get as much done” is the way we think, but it’s an illusion.

The fact is that if you take time out from your work just to ponder and to daydream, at the end of the day — according to studies, to research — you’ll get more done and the quality of your work will be better.”

Our take: Much like a car, computer, or overworked muscle can stop functioning due to too much strain, our brains need breaks in order to do their best work. Besides, if more daydreaming equals greater productivity and quality? Sign us up.

Read the full article or Tweet this!

Teaming Up To Become A Thought Leader

From Forbes:

“Becoming a thought leader is an exceptionally powerful way for professionals to build a substantial high-net-worth business. However, the effort and resources required to become a thought leader can be considerable. Consequently, there’s always the option of teaming up. Increasingly professionals in different fields are cooperating with each other in order to become thought leaders focused on the affluent and centers of influence.

This situation neatly exemplifies the benefits of this approach: a property and casualty agent formed a joint venture with a security specialist to provide thought leadership to their communities on the protection of primary and vacation homes. They ran seminars for a number of audiences, such as real estate brokers, who in turn provided them with access to wealthy homeowners. This arrangement proved very successful in garnering new affluent clients for both of them.”

Our take: We strongly support collaborative innovation and project planning, so why not team thought leadership? Much like bringing together people with various strengths and perspectives can make good ideas great, allowing groups of people to provide insight on a hot topic is a surefire way to create a well-rounded viewpoint.

Read the full article or Tweet this!

Lessons in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the Fringe

From Innovation Excellence:

“The success of the Fringe can teach us some lessons about innovation and entrepreneurship because each show is like a small business start up. It may succeed or fail based on whether customers and critics like the idea and the performance. What precepts can be taken from the festival to the business world?

The Fringe provides a platform for experimentation. Edinburgh in August is a place where artists can try out new, dangerous, edgy material with relatively low cost and low risk. They are sure of some audiences and will get instant reaction and feedback. The basic infrastructure is in place – there are venues of all shapes and sizes, a computerized booking system and most importantly lots of visitors. The artist can focus on giving a great performance and leave the logistics to the organisers. Every start-up needs time, space and exposure.”

Our take: It is always an excellent idea to look for inspiration in unlikely places — that especially applies when developing innovation processes, and as exemplified by this article, the art community has the right idea.

Read the full article or Tweet this!

The post Thursday Thought Leadership Roundup: The Organized Mind, Teaming Up, and Lessons from the Fringe appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Innovation, Agile Business, business col..."
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Date: Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 22:35

In a lot of ways, collaboration is at the core of innovative thinking, whether it’s on purpose or not. After all, it’s most often through other people’s ideas, approaches, successes, and failures that we learn, grow, and are inspired to think differently and push for change. While not all great minds actually think alike, looking to thought leaders with solid perspectives in the innovation space is an incredibly good place to start. And, considering the crushing amount of expert content that’s available, it’s always nice to have someone else separate the wheat from the chaff.

Below, in no particular order, are 10 innovation articles you need to read straight away.

1. The Critical Missing Component for Innovation Success is…

By Jeffrey Phillips

From Innovation Excellence:

“Sorry, but when you ask people to innovate, they need to understand where the firm is trying to go. Should innovation serve to drive more of the same – pursue the same customers and markets? Are we trying to extend our value proposition in existing markets, segments and products? Are we trying to enter new markets, industries, geographies or segments?

People laugh at the “vision” thing. Vision and mission are often overwrought and useless, because executives state them once at a corporate meeting and then let the business go back to whatever it was doing previously. Most corporations have strategies and visions that are frequently communicated and never understood two levels down below the CEO. Unless and until you can create a purposeful, meaningful vision that you can communicate to innovators, you can’t innovate successfully.”

Read the full article >>

2. Fostering Collaboration for Innovative Excellence

By Alicia Lawrence

From Innovation Management:

“Collaboration leads to effectiveness, which makes innovation possible. This is clearly seen and demonstrated by NetHope — a non-profit organization made up of 37 international, individual non-profits that work together to deliver over $40 billion in humanitarian aid, emergency response, relief and other programs on a yearly basis. Singly, not one of the organizations involved NetHope could work toward those results, however, individually the effect is multiplied and efficiency is the natural byproduct.

In other areas of business, this is also clearly demonstrated. The power of collaborative actions and thinking is exponential to the power of working in a single manner — whether single refers to a sole company or a sole individual — in terms of effectiveness. If excellence is the desired end result, collaboration must be a focus at the start.”

Read the full article >>

3. How to Create Innovation Cultures That Keep Working

By Mike Steep

From Forbes:

“Despite the outsize attention they often garner, true entrepreneurial cultures are rare in large companies. One of their hallmarks, at least in their early days, is that they often feature a single, rogue innovator, a leader who by timing or luck finds himself orchestrating a maelstrom of technology disruption. Think Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Carroll Shelby, Stephen Elop, Sergey Brin, or, long ago, Edwin Land at Polaroid. In keeping with the bold personalities that run them, the companies are usually willing to take risks that normal companies would consider off the charts.

Cultures that form in response to these leaders are almost never satisfied with incremental growth but rather strive for major disruption. Like sharks, they target and attack mature companies where they are weakest—in their business models. They prey on lethargic industries with outdated practices that can be completely disintermediated. They use the power of emerging and disruptive technologies to reinvent the way products and services are used.”

Read the full article >>

4. When It Comes to Innovation, Small Ideas Can Mean Big Wins

By Rich Kneece

From Wired:
“A common criticism of big companies, regulated companies, and companies with “traditional” cultures is that they move slower than a snail crawling through peanut butter. Government compliance and accounting for the widespread impacts of an idea are necessary steps in the innovation process. Necessary or not, these steps are time-consuming and frustrating for employees and partners trying to push fresh ideas forward.

Employees interpret the meetings and approvals as a fear of innovation among executives. When things don’t move fast enough, team members give up and stop suggesting ideas all together. Others see that and follow suit. With few fresh ideas being brought to the table, executives misconstrue the absence of ideas as a lack of interest in innovation.

What a disaster. And yet, this disaster is what most of us know as the day-to-day reality of corporate America. It’s a pain to get things done, so most of us don’t even try.”

Read the full article >>

5. Getting the Unsaid Said: The Key to Collaboration, Innovation, and Growth

By Steven Gaffney

From B2B Community:

“According to a national study, 91 percent of people admit to lying on a regular basis. The truth is that all people lie or withhold information to some extent. It’s not because we’re all malicious or ethically flawed; it is primarily because we are afraid. We may be afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, or afraid of retribution, or afraid of permanently damaging a relationship, or afraid of a negative impact on our career. But when fear keeps people from sharing vital issues, information, and feedback, the whole organization suffers.

To make matters worse, many are unaware of the way they unknowingly encourage others not to be honest by getting defensive or upset when someone delivers bad news or unpleasant feedback. The underlying message of such negative reactions is, “Don’t tell the truth.”

People can learn and change if they’re educated about the value of open, honest communication and provided with a safe environment that encourages it. It can also help to show people how good communication skills can positively affect their careers and help them win over difficult customers as well as new business. The good news is when people become aware of the pervasive effects of withholding information, they usually feel empowered to make the changes that fuel individual and organizational success. These changes are contingent upon the consistent implementation of the next two keys.”

Read the full article >>

6. If You Give an Innovator an Idea, He’ll Want to Launch It

By Jeffrey Phillips

From Innovation Excellence:

“The real problem is that the individual acts are all easy to define, and somewhat easy to conduct. The “magic” in the innovation process is defining and understanding all the strong and weak interactions, dependencies and decisions and building a – wait for it, here comes the MBA consulting word – holistic innovation approach that recognizes and understands all of the interrelationships, consequences and dependencies. If I build the best idea generation facility in the world in a large corporation but neglect to consider and rework the means of getting ideas into a product or service development process then all I create is cynicism. But idea generation tools and techniques are easy, and rethinking priorities and product portfolios and rejiggering priorities for existing products and services to make way for new product development is risky and difficult.”

Read the full article >>

7. Transformation Through Strategy and Innovation

By Michel van Hove

From Strategos;

“Opportunity drives innovation whereas processes and organization enable innovation to happen efficiently and repeatedly. Yes you need to design processes, develop capability and the right organization that supports innovation in the longer term. But innovation is initially about generating excitement, about realizing people’s ideas (talent needs to see their ideas realized); it has the power to mobilize teams to focus on delivering something new and of value to the business. People generally do not get excited about processes and organizational design. Starting with that kills any momentum you may have generated.

Instead we focus on running innovation challenges that activate and execute our strategy. These challenges range from what we call early stage (broader opportunity areas that need to be explored) to late stage (specific ideas we want to realize) and from management innovation[2] (new ways to organize, lead, coordinate or motivate) to front line (engaging the wider organization or even beyond for ideas).

So rather than focusing on a ‘grand design’ which you probably won’t get right the first time anyway it is better to start innovating, building momentum, removing obvious roadblocks along the way and learn what works best in your situation and circumstances.”

Read the full article >>

8. 5 Classic Books That Have Inspired Innovative Thinking Throughout Time

By Faisal Hoque

From FastCompany:

“Creativity, innovation, leadership, entrepreneurship — they all begin within us; each is very much a human process.

So naturally, the more we humanize the way we think and work, the more progress we can make in these arenas. If we understand the mental and emotional drivers of innovation and creativity, we can be more innovative and creative.

As a modern-day author, I have the privilege of standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before me. Their works, a diverse arrangement of titles and backgrounds, have inspired me to understand what’s behind things like innovation and leadership, and I believe they will inspire you too.

Read the full article >>

9. Ready to Play The Innovation Game?

By Pedro da Cunha & Francisco de Rhodes Sérgio

From Innovation Management:

“In the corporate realm, this is no time to leave it all to luck. Worldwide, businesses and organisations realise they may be doomed to compete in a ‘red ocean’ where prices and margins sink downward. To prevent this downward spiral, new ideas and outside the box thinking are essential – to create differentiated business models, products and services, as well as competitive cost structures.

You need to gather your people’s collective intelligence to find new answers. And gamification has proved to engage employees’ and stakeholders’ attention around your key business challenges.

Gartner has, in fact, predicted that by next year 40% of Global 1000 organizations will be using gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations. To be ahead of the game, you have to be ready to play the game.”

Read the full article >>

10. Innovation Disrupted: 6 Ideas To Inspire Business Transformation

By Vivek Bapat

From Forbes:

“Like bees to honey, the industry is hooked and the dopamine-induced innovation cravings continue. Companies are betting on innovation across their entire business models — from servicing customers, improving their supply chains, or delivering breakthrough products and services. They are spending more money on Research & Development, and on acquiring patents, to corner the next big thing.

The media has played a role too, expounding the role innovation has to play in growth, and further fueling the flames. Explanations of innovation, conferences, books, and articles on the virtues and failures of innovation abound. The latest skirmish receiving global attention came from Jill Lepore in her essay titled The Disruption Machine, where she shook the very foundation of Disruptive Innovation — the big daddy of modern innovation strategy. She questioned everything – from the validity of the research, the case studies, and resulting theory and principles. The patriarch of the theory, Clayton Christensen, immediately responded with a swift and curt rebuttal.

Unfortunately many of these theories, as well intentioned as they are, don’t explain how innovation happens in real life; they only explain the consequence.”

Read the full article >>

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The post 10 Innovation Articles You Need to Read Right Now appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Innovation, Agile Business, business col..."
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Date: Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 18:29

One of the main conundrums businesses face when trying to generate new ideas, or instill a greater culture of innovation, is how wide to cast the net. This in turn leads to one of the most common business mistakes a company can make — limiting the creative process to a select few, in the belief that the company’s ‘most creative’ minds will deliver the goods.

Creativity Meets Clarity

A recent article in Marketing Week, ‘Is your brand’s workplace creative enough?’, raised questions about the optimum number of people to involve in the creative process. One contributor highlighted the benefits of keeping creative teams small, in order to keep the process streamlined and reduce the number of people who can stifle the journey of an idea. It’s true that there comes a time when a more focused group is required to ensure that a great idea has the opportunity to become reality; however, small is not always beautiful in the innovation process.

Firstly, setting up an “innovation team” that is alone responsible for ideation only serves to alienate the rest of the workforce — either because they feel undervalued, or assume they are not needed to contribute new ideas. Smaller teams can also suffer from ‘group think’, a widely accepted phenomenon drawn from the work of psychologist Irving Janis, where a subconscious desire for harmony trumps a person’s objectivity or focus on the end goal. This leads individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, resulting in a loss of creativity and independent thinking.



Widening the number of people involved who have external perspectives — such as employees not immediately connected to the project — will provide fresh view points and invaluable critiques on existing ideas. This reflects the words of Franz Johannsen, who ascertained in his book, The Medici Effect, that innovation happens at the intersection of multiple disciplines and cultures. The more people involved, the more intersections that occur, the more ideas that will form. In this regard, big businesses and enterprises are at an advantage. Small companies are often seen as better equipped to innovate than their larger rivals. However, following the logic of the Medici Effect, enterprises possess access to a larger and more diverse pool of minds, and therefore a greater number of ‘intersections’.

Bringing in the Front Line

Involving the audience closest to the problem at hand is also vital, and often neglected when opting for a small team. If you’re attempting to find innovative new ways to improve customer service, why not consult the front-line staff who interact most closely with them, or even involve the customers themselves? This approach has been taken by a number of businesses, such as Novant Health, which successfully used Mindjet’s Spigit Engage to source the opinions and ideas of thousands of front-line nurses in order to develop new ways to improve care.

Effective idea-generation is best done by capitalising on larger numbers of contributors. In today’s hyper-connected world, with the prevalence of social media and the ability to crowd-source ideas using technology, effective idea-generation is possible on even the largest of scales. That gives companies the ability to involve hundreds — or even thousands — of people in the innovation process, regardless of their role or place in the organisational hierarchy.

Once great ideas have been discovered, it’s true a smaller steering committee is necessary to execute on the best concepts so that they can become reality. But, it is only at this stage of the idea journey that small should be considered more valuable than leveraging the full breadth of your network in the search for genuine business innovation.

The post In Innovation, Sometimes Bigger is Better appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Boris Pluskowski" Tags: "Innovation, Agile Business, boris plusko..."
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Date: Monday, 01 Sep 2014 13:00

From all of us here at Mindjet HQ, we hope you have a relaxing, fun, and well-deserved day off! And if you’re not celebrating, we still hope your day is awesome.


The post On Labor Day 2014… appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Mindjet, happy labor day, labor day, lab..."
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Date: Friday, 29 Aug 2014 22:12

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.

Of Sleep and Sheep

Anyone who’s familiar with the extraordinarily high expectations of today’s workforce — particularly those individuals in the tech, food, and medical industries — are so often sleep deprived that it’s almost become a badge of honor. But that perspective is not only counterintuitive, it’s dangerous, and perpetuates the idea that butts-in-seats are more important than quality output. Still, we can always count on the media to make us laugh about it anyway. From The New Yorker:

“After reading Maria Konnikova’s post about the science of sleep yesterday morning, I couldn’t get any shut-eye. She points out that, since the nineteen-eighties, the amount of time spent sleeping has declined at an alarming rate, and that, well, alarmed me.

Sleep deprivation is a serious issue. Actually, let’s make that a semi-serious issue. What’s my evidence for that? Cartoons, of course.”


Read the full article or Tweet this!

The Staggering Cost of Business Email (Infographic)

Email is one of those so-called necessary emails that people deal with because, frankly, nothing else has trumped it yet (if you remember Google Wave, you will also remember its staggering promises to usurp the email market and its subsequent, spectacular downfall). But worse than being stressful and annoying, it turns out that email is actually really, really costly. From Inc.:

“Sending company-wide emails is a great way to instantly message everyone in your business, but it can also result in “reply-all hell” for many of your employees. As collaborative email company Contatta points out, email hasn’t changed in 20 years, and is responsible for inefficiencies that can be a major drain on productivity.

Their [infographic] below crunches the numbers to show how much time and money can be saved by cutting back on email by just 15 percent.”

Check out the infographic or Tweet this!

Discovering Innovation — Indiana Jones Style

Before you panic: no, you don’t have to risk encountering herds of snakes or twisted roads to ancient treasures in order to figure out what innovation means for you, or how it can work for your company. However, it would serve many of us well to think of discovering innovation as an adventure, and one that brings about enlightenment, courage, and self-discovery. From Forbes:

“While tracking the golden idol in Peru, Jones and his guide had to carefully navigate a corridor of booby traps. Indy carefully calculated, planned, and navigated through each obstacle, but when he stole the idol from its perch, he still set off every single booby trap in the place.

No matter how carefully you plan, your people will make mistakes. While these mistakes may be costly, you don’t want to create a culture where the tiniest slip-up sends a giant boulder hurling after the party responsible. Even the perception of this type of reaction will stifle any innovation within your company because your employees will be afraid to take risks.

Failure is also how many innovations happen. Even after escaping the tunnel, Indy’s adventure was riddled with failure.”

Read the full article or Tweet this!

The post Fun Friday Links: Sleep Deprivation is No Joke, Email is Expensive, and Discovering Innovation Like Indiana Jones appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Mindjet, business innovation, Email, ema..."
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Date: Friday, 29 Aug 2014 18:21

This August, we focused on the global and growing nature of innovation as an initiative. No longer an ambiguous buzzword, innovation has become a strategic imperative for competitive organizations, and it’s becoming quite clear that the impact starts and ends with encouraging collaboration, ideation, and empowering individuals.

From the global butterfly effect to startup tips and the everyday impact of crowd science, the human factor of innovation is evident and inspiring. Check out some of our favorite posts from August, below.

Global Innovation Index 2014: The Human Factor

“As we continue to explore the global effects of innovation, idea management, crowdsourcing, and data science, it’s beneficial to keep an eye on developments and shifting trends in regions all over the world — especially in relationship to the considerable impact innovation has on economics, politics, and emerging industries.

This year’s Global Innovation Index, an annual report that uses a wealth of data to rank world economies’ innovation capabilities and results, focuses on these aspects of innovation through the lens of human contributions on the individual and team level.

The topic of innovation, both theoretically and applicably, is a matter of the utmost importance to today’s competitive companies. Fully understanding how each piece of the process connects and interacts is critical when organizations create policies that are intended to drive economic development and build environments that are more ‘innovation-prone’. Because the GII recognizes innovation’s crucial role in these actions, the annual report is designed to capture and predict trends while demonstrating the implications of where different economies are — and where they’re headed.”

Read the full post or Tweet this!

The Global Crowd: Innovation’s Butterfly Effect

“There’s a common belief around the world that even the most insignificant actions we take can have monumental, widespread impact. It’s the reason every story about time travel centers around staying hidden, unknown, and unobtrusive — even something as seemingly inconsequential as killing a mosquito can change the course of history.

This phenomena is known, of course, as the Butterfly Effect, and its core principle — that minute, localized changes within complex systems can have large effects elsewhere — can be quite justly applied when considering the various innovation processes that take place in different organizations and industries.”

Read the full post or Tweet this!

Humanizing Big Data: The Everyday Impact of Crowd Science

“Using data science techniques — such as data mining, algorithm development, and statistical modeling — on social network and crowdsourced data, crowd science invites psychological and behavioral elements that are not necessarily present in traditional data science. Basically, what we’re seeing is that new elements of behavior are affecting data, such as politics, opinions, and agents interacting with and influencing each other. So, in addition to looking at data in the traditional way, we must now consider political and social structures, and how people learn from and influence each other; we must consider how ideas flow through social networks, what motivates people to contribute to discussions, and the consequences of engagement.

With the interconnectivity of today’s businesses and communities, this level of synergy is exponentially more frequent. This much larger store of data on social structures and phenomena gives us the ability to study and understand these networks and how they evolve. Whereas traditionally scientific data analysis involved careful measurement and often cumbersome collection of data, we now have a vast and expanding resource of data via the Internet that’s enabling us to analyze highly complex systems, like social structures and hierarchal behavior, much easier than ever before.”

Read the full post or Tweet this!

From Crowdsourcing to Execution: How to Use Innovation Software Effectively

“Innovation has lately become a more democratic process for many businesses; ideas can now come from anywhere and anyone in the organization, and still be recognized as valuable, regardless of an employee’s role in the company. Most startups and entrepreneurs understand this, and remain open to ideas and suggestions on how to improve innovation processes. However, many of them find the task of graduating these ideas towards execution — and making innovation repeatable — to be overwhelmingly challenging.

The solution, however, is a simple one: the key to helping small and medium businesses find their place in the world of innovation and compete with big, established players is a robust and flexible innovation platform.”

Read the full post or Tweet this!

3 Steps for Successful Innovation in the Insurance Industry

“Innovation often entails disruption of existing paradigms and transformative breakthroughs. This has traditionally been resisted in the conservative and highly regulated insurance industry, where the integrity of the business is measured in terms of adherence to set procedures.

However, with customer needs changing at a fast pace, and with multiple options available to manage risks, insurance companies may have no choice but to innovate and adapt their business structure to address the fast changing needs of their customers.

While the exact nature of innovative practices varies, what is important is to encourage innovation and creative thought within the organization. Here is a three-step path for successful innovation in the insurance industry.”

Read the full post or Tweet this!

4 Critical Innovation Tips for Startups

“Before the funding rounds and investors come into play, startups don’t usually have access to the same resources established businesses do. Money, business expertise and experience, contacts, well-established brand value, and above all, a loyal customer base, are the foundational elements of keeping a business alive. But what are startups supposed to do to differentiate themselves before they have the resources they need?

While clambering through the trenches, innovation is what allows startups to compete as viable competitors. Smart startups do things differently from their more mature competitors, and, in the process of doing so, they have the opportunity to develop their expertise and a loyal customer base.

Innovation, however, is easier said than done, and it goes beyond visualizing or getting sudden surges of inspiration. Here are four critical innovation tips for startups that want to truly set themselves apart.”

Read the full post or Tweet this!

The post Global Innovation Roll-Up: The Butterfly Effect, Crowdsourcing, and the 2014 Innovation Index appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Mindjet, Agile Business, business collab..."
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Date: Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 21:27

In this week’s thought leadership roundup, we take a look at out-of-the-box creativity boosters, B2B marketing tips, and how to avoid accidentally undervaluing employees.

6 Unorthodox Ways to Spark Creativity

From Contently:

“Ugh. It’s just one of those days.

The one when you’re about to start a new project. Or one when you’ve just hit a milestone and are entering the second phase of client work. Where you think your client’s expectations are too high to live up to.

They’re not easy days.

Weathering these moments is part of what separates the professional freelancers from the hobbyists. As painter Chuck Close said, “I always thought that inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” Understanding how to jumpstart your creativity and get it flowing is crucial to enduring through trying days.”

Our take: Creativity is all about the unorthodox, so it really only makes sense to regularly change up how you inspire it. From working in the dark to switching around your sleep schedule, some of these tips seem more ridiculous than logical — but then, creative genius isn’t a logical phenomenon, is it?

Read the full article or Tweet this!

6 Tips for Crafting a B2B Thought Leadership Marketing Strategy

From OutBrain:

“When your thought leadership marketing strategy is built on a foundation of customer questions, you must revisit these questions constantly. As industry trends change, you develop new products and services, and general business trends evolve—your answers to old and new questions need to evolve as well.

Google Trends is a great way to stay ahead of the curve. For example, if I focused on being a social media expert, looking at this comparison between searches for “social media marketing” and “content marketing”, I would probably want to shift my focus to content, as it’s trending up while social seems to be plateauing.”

Our take: This piece is full of simple advice, but it’s nonetheless sound. And, because even the most experienced marketers — especially them, in fact — need a reminder of how to do things the right way now and then, this serves as either an excellent starting guide or a nice refresher to bring people back to the basics of good strategy.

Read the full article or Tweet this!

6 Ways Leaders Unknowingly Undervalue Their Employees

From Forbes:

“A leader’s responsibility is to continuously provide their employees with the tools and resources to be successful. The best leaders are also those that can course correct before marketplace relevancy passes them by; they can anticipate crisis and manage change as they begin to see the requirements for success through a different lens. When employees notice inconsistent effort and/or a lack of maturity and professional reinvention from their leaders, they grow frustrated and in many cases their enthusiasm to contribute in meaningful ways may shut down – as they find themselves just going through the motions to get through each day.”

Our take: When employee engagement matters as much as it does — and it really, really does — it seems egregious that leaders around the world continue to make the same detrimental, highly avoidable mistakes that drive turnover rather than results. An employee can really only be as successful as they are empowered and supported, and it would behoove today’s managers to be accountable for their role in making that happen.

Read the full article or Tweet this!

The post Thursday Thought Leadership Roundup: Unorthodox Creativity, Strategy Tips, and Unknowingly Undervaluing Employees appeared first on via @Mindjet's Conspire #ideasquad.

Author: "Arwen Petty" Tags: "Innovation, Agile Business, business col..."
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