The writing’s on the wall

In the ideal space for facilitating meetings you can write on every wall. Ideas emerge from the recesses of our brains into the world for all to visualise and interact with. Pictures do tell thousands of words. And people love getting up and moving around. Plus, the cost of mistakes is zero; just wipe and start again.

The reality is that most meeting rooms I encounter have a pretty measly setup; one small flip-chart and a whiteboard if I’m lucky.

So now I carry this cunning innovation; Magic Whiteboard is A1 size flip-chart paper that sticks to any surface (static charge) and is wipe clean. It instantly turns any meeting space into a facilitator’s dream.

Hat tips to the City University Centre for Creativity in Professional Practice for introducing me to this, founders Neil & Laura for the innovation, and the Dragons’ Den for investing and bringing it to market.

Amazon have better prices than direct and don’t worry, it comes from the founders anyway.

Check it out:

Happy drawing 🙂

Shower espresso

What is it about showering and ideas?

In the shower one morning I was thinking about how the shower is an amazing place for thinking. A bit meta, I know but bear with me… I wondered if the supposed creativity-enhancing impact of caffeine could be combined with this shower effect. So the next day I drank my espresso in the shower.

I’d love to report a creative binge of DaVinci-esque proportions. But no. I shaved a few seconds from my morning routine. My wife asked what the espresso cup was doing in the shower. And the world kept turning as before.

But it did give me plenty to consider. Why do we seem to have more ideas in the shower? A physiological impact from warm water stimulating the brain? Something Freudian about comfort and a return to the womb? The all-encompassing sound of falling water? Or a relaxing place away from distractions? Does it even matter HOW it works?

I like Seth Godin’s attitude to this:

When people buy a $90 bottle of wine, we have real clear data on this, they think it tastes better than a $10 bottle of wine even though we could switch the wines. So when I go to the person at the table I don’t say, “Would you like the expensive bottle of wine because the placebo effect will cause you to enjoy it more?” I have to put on the wine show in order for the placebo effect to work.

…So you can’t just walk up to people and tell them the digital truth and expect the placebo effect to work. It won’t. That’s the magic of the placebo effect. The challenge here, and the way I have dealt with it anyway, is to say the difference between manipulation and marketing is: manipulation is I get you to buy something that you regret later, and marketing is I get you to buy something you’re glad you bought.


Maybe then, the shower espresso is a ‘wine show’ placebo and the real value comes from making time and space to think?

An idea garden

I read a lovely post today that has made me reconsider my previous post bemoaning my growing list of draft blog posts.

Charlie Gilkey describes his blogging workflow using the gardening metaphor to discuss the tension between incubating ideas and dwelling too upon them long. Essential reading for bloggers and those interested in the process of generating and developing ideas.

The post, Do You Have an Idea Garden? is worth 5 minutes but I will summarise my thoughts too (I may get a bit carried away with the metaphor):

  • Ideas are delicate seeds that need love and attention to grow
  • Create a safe place to plant your seeds (an idea garden)
  • Your idea garden must:
    • Be easy to access for planting (minimal faffing with tech)
    • Keep all ideas in once place to allow for cross pollination
    • Be tended / weeded / pruned regularly

What this looks like and what tools you use is up to you: the principles count.

The metaphor has helped me understand that my rather scruffy weed patch of draft blog posts is in fact an undervalued fertile ground that just needs some gentle tending. Thanks Charlie 🙂

The creativity conundrum

Creative and creativity are loaded and misused terms.  If you had asked me six months ago what they meant I would have quoted Alice from Dilbert:

I’ve come a long way in my understanding since then. However, the science is still immature and a number of questions remain incompletely answered: Who has it? Can it be developed? How can organisations use it to innovate and compete? And what exactly does it mean? Continue reading The creativity conundrum