1. How to free up time to innovate using the meeting audit!


    By Russ Schoen


    “If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings’.”


    – Dave Barry, “Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn”


    What is one of the most common barriers to innovation?


    During most innovation workshops that I facilitate, at some point I’ll ask the group, what are the barriers to innovating here?


    One of the most common answers given is “we don’t have enough time to innovate.”


    When I follow up with the question, well what is one of most unproductive uses of your time in this organization? The most common answer is – yup, You guessed it. Meetings.


    Think about your own work life for a moment. Think about the last five meetings you attended at work. Would you say they were engaging? productive? A good use of your time and your fellow colleagues’ time?


    Chances are, you answered that at least one in three of those meetings was a complete waste of your time. If so, don’t fret you are not alone.


    Did you know?


    In surveys conducted — in the US alone - where approximately 11,000,000 meetings are held every week as many as 25–50% of those meetings are characterized by those attending them as a waste of time.*


    Not only that. Here’s one more bit of bad meeting news. An MIT Sloan Management study showed that the more time employees spend in unproductive meetings, the more dissatisfied they are with their work and more likely they are to quit their jobs. Ouch.


    (*source: MIT Sloan Management: The Science and Fiction of Meetings: Winter 2007)


    So if you really want to free up some time to innovate, one of the best ways to do so is to clear out some space to innovate. And one of the quickest ways to do that is a meeting audit!


    What is a Meeting Audit and how do I conduct one?


    The purpose of a meeting audit is to identify meetings that you can stop holding (or attending) or that you can shorten which will free up time. A deliberate meeting audit takes about 30 minutes with a team and many teams find that they can cut about 20% of the total meetings they hold or attend on a monthly basis.


    To conduct a meeting audit, gather your team (and you can do this alone if you work independently)


    1. Create a list of all the meetings you and your team hold or attend on a regular basis (we recommend on a flipchart or white board)
    2. Review the list with the whole team and ask, which of these meetings could we stop holding? Which ones really are not that productive? Which ones can be shortened or altered? Which ones do we really need to attend and which ones can we stop attending?
    3. Physically, cross out the meetings that the group would like to stop holding or attending.
    4. Add up the time that will be freed up for your team if you stopped holding those meetings.
    5. Commit to using that time towards innovation efforts.

    Got concerns?


    Now you may be thinking, there is no way that we can stop holding that monthly x meeting! People will flip. It’s too important. Well one suggestion is not to kill the meeting all together – take a break from holding or attending meeting for a month and see if people really miss it. If they do, you can always reinstate it (and hopefully make some changes to make it more productive). If its not missed it, then you can officially kill it!


    Time to Innovate: Next Step


    So if you want to innovate and you think you don’t have enough time, why not conduct a meeting audit? You’ll deliberately clear out some much needed space and time from your schedule and overcome one of the most frequently cited barriers to innovation!


    See full post and discussion
    Posted: 1 year ago
  2. 4 Opportunities for Innovation


    By Stavros Michailidis


    A short while ago, we conducted an informal survey of business leaders to explore how they perceived creativity, innovation and problem solving. We found that:


    • Problem Solving is something they, and the rest of their organization, are very familiar with and do continually.
    • Innovation is something that is paradigm shifting. It is desired but rare.
    • Creativity is less tangible. They realized it is required but are uncertain on how to account for it.

    Considering these common perceptions, let us look at a simple framework for turning problem solving into innovation utilizing a little bit of creativity.


    Traditional problem solving has 4 phases or steps.


    • Clarifying – Understanding the essence of the problem.
    • Solving – Searching for and identifying a solution.
    • Planning – Determining the steps necessary to implement the solution.
    • Executing – Implementing the plan.

    The above steps tend to work perfectly for many problems, especially the ones that don’t require a very innovative solution. However, if you need to work on a problem that would benefit from a little creativity and imagination, try capitalizing on the four opportunities for innovation (one for each problem solving step).


    Reframe the Problem


    Instead of simply clarifying the situation, find new ways to interpret the issue. Seek unique perspectives from those who don’t embrace the common understanding of the problem.


    Originate New Ideas


    Stop looking for the right answer and start looking for lots of interesting options. Think about it - If you find the most obvious and straightforward answer you are pretty much guaranteed to get the most common results. If you are really after innovation you must look for a different type of solution.


    Enhance the Plan

    Two companies can pursue essentially the same idea, with vastly different approaches (…think Encarta vs. Wikipedia). Innovation isn’t just about what we’re doing, it’s also about how we do things. New approaches generate new types of results and new opportunities.


    Improvise During Implementation


    Planning is a valuable process, but we must remain open to change as we execute the plan. Along the way we will face unforeseen obstacles and gain new insights. Remain flexible and adaptive during implementation. Be open to stumbling upon new value by continuously learning from the implementation processes’ successes and failures.


    Using some tried and tested tools and techniques individuals and groups can capitalize on these four opportunities for innovation.


    Use the comments to tell us about your success innovating around the 4 opportunities or which opportunity most interests you and we’ll share the respective tools you need to get creative.


    See full post and discussion
    Posted: 2 years ago
  3. Archetypes of Innovation


    The Adventure of Creativity


    Archetypes are universal symbols and images representing behaviors, feelings and characters that are instinctively recognized by people across cultures and time. At our next event Remo Nuzzolese will guide us through a fun and playful exploration of how to use archetypes in our creative journeys.


    Be prepared for an epic adventure!


    When: Tuesday, September 25th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

    Where: Davenport Theatrical Studio - Times Square - 250 West 49th Street, Studio D



    *Disclaimer: The workshop will be filmed and photographed. By attending, you are consenting to any use of the footage and photos which may include you.


    More on Innovation Bound Events:

    Read About Past Events


    Innovation Bound organizes events to help develop the creative capabilities of individuals, leaders, and communities. We host workshops, panel discussions, trainings and other events which bring people together….

    Browse our Meetup Page



    See full post and discussion
    Posted: 2 years ago
  4. 30044282998

    Searching for Creativity

    An Innovation Scavenger Hunt in Central Park


    "Wow, look what they’re using for a goal post."

    "Is Nature creative?"

    "Check out those giants bubbles!"


    On August 21st 2012, 15 New Yorkers gathered in Central Park and set out to search for innovation. Stavros gave some structure to our search by explaining The Four P’s (People, Process, Press, Product), a framework for studying creativity developed by Mel Rhodes.


    With smart phone in hand, and twitter in the cloud, our teams set out. We snapped our first few pictures: An elegant bit of architecture, yoga, some musicians, and before long we started to get some really interesting photos of creativity at work: A flower blooming, a girl lying down in a tree, roller hockey players using a tipped over traffic cone as a goal. Even one of those little helicopter-like seed pods struck us as nature being creative.

    Creativity
    surrounds us

    After our scavenger hunt, we gathered around a picnic on the grass. We shared the photos we’d taken with one another, and got caught up in tasty food and philosophical debate. Hope you’ll join us next time!


    If we open our eyes to it, we’ll notice that creativity is all around us, and if we open our minds to it, perhaps we may even find some inspiration.


    To see the full stream check out #InnovationBound on twitter.


    For info on future events, check out our Facebook Page or our Meetup Group.


    See full post and discussion
    Posted: 2 years ago
  5. Parking Lot Innovation
By Sharon Walsh

People often ask me ‘What is innovation?’ A few weeks ago I experienced a parking lot — yes, a parking lot — that helps define innovation. This parking lot (or to be more precise, a parking system) removed so many of the common annoyances that we just take for granted, and may not even notice anymore. Faced with this new parking experience, I was given a clear reminder of how our everyday lives can be enhanced through innovation and creative thinking.

Imagine for a moment that you are in a crowded city looking for parking. You would probably first look for street parking (and good luck with that), eventually settling for a parking lot or deck. First, you have to figure out where to go. Maybe you ask yourself: Where is there a lot? Which is the closest? Will it be full? You select one, and enter…then drive around aimlessly looking for an empty space. Once you find one, what else will you experience? A place that is dirty, smelly, unsafe — in short, a necessary and necessarily unpleasant experience. My assumption was that this is just how it is. It is just a hassle that I thought was part of life with a car in a big city.

The parking system in Belgium made me stop and think about the assumptions we have about simple things, and about the role of innovation.

Imagine, now, driving through Ghent, Belgium, looking for parking. First of all, there were signs throughout that informed us how many spaces were available in close by parking lots. When we pulled into a parking lot, we were even more impressed. Signs pointed us to the aisles, indicating how many available parking spaces in each direction and on each floor. We started to ask ourselves, “how did they do that?” We looked further, and noticed small green or red lights above each space indicating if the spot was free or taken. Each of these lights clearly talk to a centralized computer that counts the available spots. And boy, that made it easy for us to see where to go to park! We could see those green lights from aisles away.

Finding parking, solved. What else? I later learned that the lots contain cameras so that the lot is incredibly safe — any accident or theft is recorded so that the perpetrator’s license plate image can easily be seen. The system has also reduced traffic jams throughout the city by 30% due to increased traffic flow and reduced unnecessary driving.

To top it all off, on the way out, we used one of the cleanest public toilets we’ve ever seen. Have you ever even seen a restroom in a parking deck? I couldn’t help but think that they really got this right. Before or after a long drive, it’s just what you need! The crowd in the bathroom proved the point.  And it probably won’t surprise you that the entire lot was the cleanest and freshest smelling parking lot I’ve ever been to.

What impressed me most about this is that they looked at parking in a whole new way. Rather than just accepting the parking lot assumptions that lots are hard to find, that spaces are hard to find, that lots are unsafe, smelly, and dirty, in Belgium they have identified each of the annoyances we tolerate — that we take as givens — and came up with solutions that really work.

That’s what innovation is. Identify assumptions (including the ones we take for granted), challenge them, and resolve them.

What innovation have you recently experienced that makes life better? What are some assumptions you might question? What things might you see differently?  And then how might you do it differently to change them for the better?  In a nutshell, that’s how creativity and innovation work together.

    Parking Lot Innovation

    By Sharon Walsh


    People often ask me ‘What is innovation?’ A few weeks ago I experienced a parking lot — yes, a parking lot — that helps define innovation. This parking lot (or to be more precise, a parking system) removed so many of the common annoyances that we just take for granted, and may not even notice anymore. Faced with this new parking experience, I was given a clear reminder of how our everyday lives can be enhanced through innovation and creative thinking.


    Imagine for a moment that you are in a crowded city looking for parking. You would probably first look for street parking (and good luck with that), eventually settling for a parking lot or deck. First, you have to figure out where to go. Maybe you ask yourself: Where is there a lot? Which is the closest? Will it be full? You select one, and enter…then drive around aimlessly looking for an empty space. Once you find one, what else will you experience? A place that is dirty, smelly, unsafe — in short, a necessary and necessarily unpleasant experience. My assumption was that this is just how it is. It is just a hassle that I thought was part of life with a car in a big city.


    The parking system in Belgium made me stop and think about the assumptions we have about simple things, and about the role of innovation.


    Imagine, now, driving through Ghent, Belgium, looking for parking. First of all, there were signs throughout that informed us how many spaces were available in close by parking lots. When we pulled into a parking lot, we were even more impressed. Signs pointed us to the aisles, indicating how many available parking spaces in each direction and on each floor. We started to ask ourselves, “how did they do that?” We looked further, and noticed small green or red lights above each space indicating if the spot was free or taken. Each of these lights clearly talk to a centralized computer that counts the available spots. And boy, that made it easy for us to see where to go to park! We could see those green lights from aisles away.


    Finding parking, solved. What else? I later learned that the lots contain cameras so that the lot is incredibly safe — any accident or theft is recorded so that the perpetrator’s license plate image can easily be seen. The system has also reduced traffic jams throughout the city by 30% due to increased traffic flow and reduced unnecessary driving.


    To top it all off, on the way out, we used one of the cleanest public toilets we’ve ever seen. Have you ever even seen a restroom in a parking deck? I couldn’t help but think that they really got this right. Before or after a long drive, it’s just what you need! The crowd in the bathroom proved the point. And it probably won’t surprise you that the entire lot was the cleanest and freshest smelling parking lot I’ve ever been to.


    What impressed me most about this is that they looked at parking in a whole new way. Rather than just accepting the parking lot assumptions that lots are hard to find, that spaces are hard to find, that lots are unsafe, smelly, and dirty, in Belgium they have identified each of the annoyances we tolerate — that we take as givens — and came up with solutions that really work.


    That’s what innovation is. Identify assumptions (including the ones we take for granted), challenge them, and resolve them.


    What innovation have you recently experienced that makes life better? What are some assumptions you might question? What things might you see differently? And then how might you do it differently to change them for the better? In a nutshell, that’s how creativity and innovation work together.


    See full post and discussion
    Posted: 2 years ago