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Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend?
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5 Ways to Bring Creativity Back to Your Culture

5 Ways to Bring Creativity Back to Your Culture | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it
All too often, entrepreneurs build companies that stifle the very creativity they need. Here's how to get that creative spark back.


Excerpted:  Four changes (of five) you can make today to bring creativity back to your culture.

       

Offer Unlimited Vacation

Offering unlimited vacation won't make people skip work every Friday or leave people hanging at deadlines. Instead, it will give them control to choose when they decide to work and when they don't. Although this may seem trivial, being able to choose means everything in a creative culture.

   

Ditch the Meetings

The worst part about meetings is that they're incredibly easy to add. Even if you make an agenda, the number will only go up as you grow in size. As a result, little creative thinking will get done during the day.

    

Nix Department Goals

Department goals often help managers more than employees. Generally, you'll end up wasting valuable hours setting new goals and then even more time asking why you didn't hit them.
 

Worse still, each department relies on resources they don't control and departments they're not a part of to reach their goals. This can result in teams signing up for work they were unaware of, which can lead to arguments about whose goals are more important.

      

Give Plenty of Feedback

...A lot of companies make feedback a formal process, waiting until the end of the month, quarter, or year to share how they actually feel.


Creative cultures thrive on timely, spontaneous feedback. Whether it's good or bad, feedback helps teams raise their own expectations. It's the fuel you need to ignite a creative culture. And who doesn't want one of those?

     

Read more here.



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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

I left off his "Let Employees Work Remotely" not because I don't believe it helps, it's just that it has been challenged because of the need to interact with others, examine blind spots, and building a culture does involve a certain amount of showing up.

~  Deb 

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Innovation vs. Measurement & Systems: Leadership Is Always The Key

Innovation vs. Measurement & Systems:  Leadership Is Always The Key | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"Think of “win-lose” structures in incentives.  If you can only win if someone else loses, what are the odds of your developing a working relationship grounded in trust?"

Trust:

Strong leadership can recognize “win-lose” structures or norms and work to eliminate them.  It seems obvious that leadership drives trust, not systems.


_________________________

Without ...systems ...built to allow for ...individual and group failure, risk will always be a negative organizational value. 


_________________________


DIVERSITY:      . . . of people, points of view, ideas, ethics, and beliefs.  Diversity is what drives and powers iteration, constant challenge, testing, playing, and randomness. Strong leadership will drive (or diminish) diversity much more profoundly than will the most deeply embedded systems.  


RISK:     Risk tolerance and the attractiveness of rapid iteration are the hallmarks of innovative organizations.  Without operational systems that are built to allow for and to contextualize individual and group failure, risk will always be a negative organizational value.


...Should you be thinking a little more about how you encourage and foster strong leadership, and a little less about your systems of measurement and evaluation.?  You might be surprised by where this reflection will take you.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

The venture capitalist who wrote this post has a view I share on putting measurement and evaluation within the right context, including a certain tolerance for enough risk-taking to help organizations be adaptive and "anti-fragile." ~  Deb

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, July 5, 2013 8:29 PM

This is also shared here via Performance and Talent Development because of the theme of leadership above performance systems, and leadership to build an innovation, adaptive culture that trumps traditional measurement practices. ~  D

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The Science of Success with Innovation Research

The Science of Success with Innovation Research | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"She started her own creativity and innovation consultancy company to do what was NOT being done, – using academic research to improve innovation in companies"


Amantha Imber wondered why the research she had read was not being applied to help firms innovate.


What was the use of having a body of scientific research, including proven drivers to innovation, if it was not being used to help companies grow?


“There was a gap between academic research and what happens ‘in the real world’,” she says.


_____________________

"..staff need to feel a sense of challenge. They also need to have the resources to deliver."

_____________________

Six years later the consultancy she founded, Inventium, is advising some of the world’s best-known corporations, including Coca-Cola Amatil, American Express, Qantas and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.


Inventium won this year’s BRW Client Choice Award for best management consulting firm. The awards are run by Beaton and are based on responses from more than 40,000 professional services clients to ensure their independence.


...“People talk about trying to build a culture of innovation. From analysis we know what sorts of elements need to be present,” Imber says.

“One of the most important is that staff need to feel a sense of challenge. They also need to have the resources to deliver.

People need to feel that risk-taking is allowed and failure is not terrible, but rather an opportunity to learn.”


She says there are keys to transforming ideas into realities.


“Crush assumptions,” she says. “Whenever we set out to solve a problem, we have assumptions that fence in our thinking.


By deliberately crushing assumptions and asking ‘What if the opposite was true?’ you can significantly increase your  creativity.”


Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Quite the success story. Congratulations to Amantha Imber and the companies she's helped be successful. ~ Deb

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Six Stages to Achieving a Big Data and Innovation Culture

Six Stages to Achieving a Big Data and Innovation Culture | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it
Companies are realizing analytics are actually at the center of their company, whereas before analytics was just at the edge. According to Bruno Aziza of SiSense, that’s having an impact.


Aziza’s credentials are robust. Prior to SiSense, he ran data analytics programs at Microsoft, Apple and Business Objects (now a SAP company). He is the co-author of two books in the business analytics space, one of them the best-selling tome, Drive Business Performance: Enabling a Culture of Intelligent Execution(Wiley, 2008).


 He is a fellow at the Advanced Performance Institute, an independent advisory group specializing in organizational performance, and he has over 12,800 Twitter followers at @brunoaziza.


Excerpts:


…there are six cultural stages, kind of like the five stages of grief, except that …the higher you go the better shape you’re in.

  

1) Increased Visibility > looking at data but not able to tell what the data is telling them.

  

2) Move Beyond Gut Feel > understand the data, apply judgment to it so you’re able to react to information faster than anybody else.

In these first two stages, the types of problems you’re trying to solve are backwards looking analysis. you’re building infrastructure so you understand where your data comes from and what happened yesterday.

   

3) Plan for Success > “Here is what success means.”

   

4) Execute on Strategy > align our strategy to our knowledge, our ability to adjust based on success or failure on certain actions. Very few companies are at this stage.

   

5) Power to Compete > you are able to compete, taking strategic market share from the market you’re in, or adjacent markets.

   

6) Culture of Performance >  which is more of the North Star rather than a place where you end up:  “Run it like you own it.”

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Some data driven, high performance companies may be over obsessed with data. The author describes six (6) stages of becoming, including "achieving a Culture of Performance as more of the North Star rather than a place where you end up." ~ D

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The Yin and the Yang of Corporate Innovation, Apple & Google CEO shifts in leaders

The Yin and the Yang of Corporate Innovation, Apple & Google CEO shifts in leaders | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"Apple and Google take very different paths to innovation, but the gap between their approaches may be closing ."


The New York Times, interviews John Kao, an innovation adviser to corporations and governments — and a jazz pianist — pre-performance and talk at the pending 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.


A few excerpts:

The Google model relies on rapid experimentation and data.  It takes a bottom-up approach to customers as participants and partners in product design.


The Apple model is more edited, intuitive and top-down.  Regarding market research into Apple designs, Steve Jobs' standard answer was none. “It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want,” he would add.


From these yin/yang cultures, we have this final quote in the article:


In the months after Larry Page, the Google co-founder, took over as chief executive last April, the company eliminated a diverse collection of more than two dozen projects, a nudge toward top-down leadership.


And Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s C.E.O., will almost surely be a more bottom-up leader than Mr. Jobs.


“What we’re likely to see,” Mr. Kao says, “is Google and Apple each borrowing from the playbook of the other.”

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7 Steps to a Culture of Innovation | Josh Linkner, Michigan Success Story

7 Steps to a Culture of Innovation | Josh Linkner, Michigan Success Story | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"Most companies fail to unleash their most valuable resources: human creativity, imagination, and original thinking. They lack a systematic approach to building a culture of innovation, and then wonder why they keep getting beaten to the punch."


Josh speaks from tested experience.  His 7 steps include:


1. Fuel Passion

2. Celebrate Ideas

3. Foster Autonomy

4. Encourage Courage


Josh Linkner is a five-time entrepreneur, venture capitalist, professor, and The New York Times best-selling author of Disciplined Dreaming – A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity. You can read more about him at www.JoshLinkner.com.

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Leading Continuous Innovation INFOGRAPHIC: Culture, Fringe Experiments, Customer Immersion

Leading Continuous Innovation INFOGRAPHIC: Culture, Fringe Experiments, Customer Immersion | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

How can change leaders support high performance, innovative teams? The infographic below cites 10 innovation strategies.  This is close.  There will be more of these process charts and innovation graphics.  


This one features:


Step 2:  Working at the organization's edges, the fringe & close to customers I've heard Dr. Jeff DeGraff talk about fringe teams this year at the Michigan Ross School of Business.


Step 3:  Culture that  supports experimentation, failure.  This is ubiquitous in mention, scarce in after-the-fact reporting.  Better known examples, 3M (Post-Its) and Google (Google Lab: Buzz, Wave, etc.)


Step 6: Customer immersion, pain points


Step 10:  Metrics, measures

 

Sources include:  Christensen & Raynor, The Innovator's Solution: Creating & Sustaining Successful Growth, 2003  


Note the continuous improvement language, adjusted slightly, a 'la W. Edwards Deming:  Ready, Aim, Fire, Adjust.  Like Plan, Do, Check, Act.


Via Jonha Revesencio, Deb Nystrom, REVELN
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The 2011 Global Innovation 1000: Why Culture is Key to Performance

The 2011 Global Innovation 1000: Why Culture is Key to Performance | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it
Certain companies succeed in producing innovative new products and services, and in so doing generate superior financial results.

Our 7th annual Global Innovation 1000 study has consistently demonstrated that the success of these companies is not a matter of how much these companies spend on research and development, but rather how they spend it.

This year, we took under consideration two particular qualities — strategic alignment and a culture that supports innovation — that truly innovative companies have put in place that allow them to outperform the competition.
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P&G Success Formula > Culture: Improving Lives Through Innovation

P&G Success Formula > Culture: Improving Lives Through Innovation | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

McDonald Outlines P&G Success Formula: Improving Lives Through Innovation...

 

Saying Procter and Gamble’s unrelenting focus on innovation is “at the heart of everything we do,” P&G Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Bob McDonald recently talked about the company’s keys to success during fiscal year 2011 in spite of the tough global economic conditions, presented at the company’s annual Shareholder’s Meeting in Cincinnati.


“Innovation is the primary way we fulfill our Purpose,” he said. “It’s the driving force behind our strategy, as it always has been at P&G.

 

>>>  Our experience has proven that promotions may win a quarter here and there, but innovation wins decades.”


As he addressed the shareholders in attendance, Bob said the company entered Fiscal 2011 with three clear objectives:


=> Execute the company’s purpose-inspired growth strategy;
=>Grow market share by growing organic sales one to two percentage points ahead of underlying market growth rates; and
=>Grow core earnings per share in the range of 7% to 9%.

 

And, in spite of significant business and economic challenges, Bob said the company managed to meet or exceed goals for each of the objectives.

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Google Reveals Its 9 Principles of Innovation

Google Reveals Its 9 Principles of Innovation | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

What makes Google the holy grail of productivity and creativity? Take a look at their nine core principles of innovation.  


Excerpts:


1. INNOVATION COMES FROM ANYWHERE

...top down as well as bottom up, and in the places you least expect.


...a medical doctor on Google’s staff argued persuasively that Google had a moral obligation to extend help to those typing searches under the phrase "how to commit suicide." He ignited the charge to adjust the search engine's response so that the top of the screen reveals the toll free phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. The call volume went up by nine percent soon thereafter. The same change has been adopted in many other countries.


3. AIM TO BE TEN TIMES BETTER

..aim...to improve things by ten percent, you will only see incremental change. ...think 10 times improvement, and that will force you to think outside the box.


...n 2004, Google started its Google Books project and set forth a challenge to organize all the world's information and digitize all the books ever printed in history.


...Google has now scanned 30 million of the 130 million books they first set out to scan, and dozens of libraries around the world are participating in the project.


4. BET ON TECHNICAL INSIGHTS

Every organization has unique insights, and if you bet on it, it leads to major innovation. Google engineers, not the auto industry, came up with the idea of driverless cars after seeing that millions of traffic deaths come from human error.


The others?

2. FOCUS ON THE USER.


5. SHIP AND ITERATE


6. GIVE EMPLOYEES 20 PERCENT TIME


7. DEFAULT TO OPEN PROCESSES


8. FAIL WELL


9. HAVE A MISSION THAT MATTERS



Related posts by Deb:

     

Messing up a Change Implementation with Someone Else’s Learning Culture?

       

3 Success Factors for High Performance Teams, and What Gets In the Way


           

A Two Step, Two Video Dance towards Loose – Tight Change & Innovation Leadership

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This inspiring list can stimulate great discussions at all levels for what YOU want in your own culture, mission and vision and management practices.

One caution to note, culture change is not for amateurs.   Take a look at the article references I've listed above for some of the reasons why.

~  Deb 

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, November 20, 2013 11:00 AM

From our Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend?  curation news:  This list can inspire useful discussions at all levels for what YOU want in your own culture, mission and vision and management practices.

One caution, having a meeting on such a topic or deciding to change culture is not for amateurs.   Take a look at the article references I've listed above for some of the reasons why.

~  Deb 

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The Tipping Point between Structure & Innovation

The Tipping Point between Structure & Innovation | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"Somewhere between the two extremes exists a tipping point – a place where full creativity and the lack of structure reaches a balance with purposeful, valuable and necessary structures and processes."


____________________

Balancing structure and freedom, processes and creativity is an art, not a science.  ____________________

Move much more toward additional structure and you begin to limit and stifle creativity and innovation outcomes. 


Move much more toward freedom and creativity and you lose the ability to manage, develop and commercialize ideas. Where does the tipping point reside?


Your innovation activities need enough structure to identify and commercialize great ideas effectively, but not so much structure that people are stymied or slowed by processes, forms and decisions. 


In organizations where purposeful innovation is fairly new, the tipping point is closer to the regimented side, since there are few widely distributed capabilities or tools. As an organization gains experience innovating, the structure and rigidity become less important, as innate skills and culture learn to shape and manage ideas more effectively.


Related posts by Deb:



   
Photo:  by lambdachialpha Flickr CC
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

It's the art of deciding how to get the balance right: SO MANY businesses along with newbie or ill-informed managers stifle creativity, resulting in rampant mediocrity, morale problems and talent loss. Turn it around from victim, persecutor roles to encourager, challenger, collaborator, coach of your innovators.  ~  D

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Bill Gates Futuring and HR/Recruiting Stuck in a Time Warp

Bill Gates Futuring and HR/Recruiting Stuck in a Time Warp | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

Bill Gates has been in the media of late with “My Plan to Fix the World’s Biggest Problems.”


Gates’ solution is about continuous improvement.  However ...as Gates’ says, this is simple in concept, but often difficult to execute.  

  


Excerpts:
  
While times have changed for most business functions, it seems that the HR and recruiting departments are stuck in a time warp, circa 1975.

  

1) Stop using skills and experience-based job descriptions.... Instead require the hiring manager to define the job in terms of 6-8 measurable performance objectives.


2) Measure the hiring manager’s ability to attract, develop and retain top people.


3) Never interview more than four people for any job.


4) Define Quality of Hire before the person’s hired based on a performance-based job description.


Related article from Deb:


Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

The author of this article uses HR and recruiting as an example of old practices that need updating as good hires (and good talent development and succession planning) are the front door to smart, high performance cultures.

Balanced scorecards began to be used for the very reason of taking HR's people hire impact into a balanced account of measurement, beyond finance to internal business, learning and growth.


Using performance based job descriptions and innovation (refurbishing boring jobs) can be transforming to organizations still working from a 70's model of HR.

Be aware, overdoing metrics also has drawbacks, such auto companies over-relying on measurement, via ill-conceived management purges (that also appeared age-driven.)  Staffers served in roles as mentors that also produced lower numbers in their metrics because they were taking time to help newly hired and learning youngers.  The lack of a systemic focus lowered productivity and morale at the same time.  

~ Deb

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Creating your Own Luck to Build a Successful Innovation Culture, the Innovator's Mindset

Creating your Own Luck to Build a Successful Innovation Culture, the Innovator's Mindset | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"Is it a mindset of creating your own luck that sets innovative organizations apart?"


Do the featured characteristics of innovative cultures in organizations follow the make-your-own-luck characteristics listed in this article?   See if you agree that it's about having a certain mindset translated to culture:


Excerpted:


...Having a positive, innovator’s mindset actually CREATES success, and luck.


In The Luck Factor (Miramax, 2003) professor Richard Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire, details his research providing the following insight – Luck (or success) comes to those who embrace and embody four essential principles:


Creating luck by noticing and acting on opportunities,
Expecting that one can create luck through perseverance,
‣ Making decisions which are informed by the well honed intuition, and
‣ Resisting the negative by finding and even creating the bright side of every situation


The post author, Bradley Bendle, also cites several other recent innovation books including a model from Andy Stefanovich in Look at More (Jossey-Bass, 2011) and his five M’s framework (Mood, Mindset, Mechanisms, Measurement, Momentum.)


Like other posts on his site, the post is rich in citations plus the author's own spin and distillation based on his innovation readings including his view of the Innovator’s Mindset as being comprised of following six reinforcing domains:


1) Alertness
2) Curiousness
3) Willingness
4) Joy
5) Desire
6) Drive



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Can you Disrupt Your Own Culture Structure? | Four Key Innovation Contradictions

Can you Disrupt Your Own Culture Structure? | Four Key Innovation Contradictions | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

Innovation is fraught with contradictions.  Is there room for innovation's natural contradictions in your organization culture?  


A handy indicator is looking at your organization's people policies (HR) as a quick capacity test. 


Four Key Innovation Contradictions excerpted, Innovation Excellence:


1) Innovation requires a business to embrace processes and methods that are far different from the efficient, effective processes that sustain short term profitability. Innovation creates new, risky, uncertain concepts that will pay off in quarters if not years.


2) While executives want innovation, they don’t want the disruption or investment strain required which creates dissonance in the teams that are actively trying to do interesting innovation work, and leads to confusion and then cynicism.


3) Transparency, visibility and commitment are key. Doing innovation work is tough, and doing it without the full support of the senior team, constantly demonstrated, means that many innovators have far fewer resources than they need.


4) The contradiction between what we TELL people to do and what we PAY people to do when we do nothing [or too little] to change how these individuals are evaluated, compensated and rewarded. 

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The world's most creative cities > Does it translate to Innovation?

The world's most creative cities > Does it translate to Innovation? | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

Tel Aviv, London, Sydney, Stockholm and Shanghai are booming with talent.


Because creativity is cultural.  [And so} the Martin Prosperity Institute at U of T’s Rotman School of Management has been studying the complex web of factors that encourage and sustain innovation in regions around the world.


The institute’s Global Creativity Index, first published in 2004,  measures a nation’s innovation potential, focusing on what it calls the Three Ts: technology, talent and tolerance.


"The GCI is really trying to help regions understand where they are," explains Kevin Stolarick, research director of the Martin Prosperity Institute. "Even when times are good, you have to worry about what comes next."


These  five cities —and some of their start-ups—are on the docket for having very bright futures.


Via Karen Steffensen
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Leading Change: Three Major Misconceptions That Hinder Innovation

Leading Change: Three Major Misconceptions That Hinder Innovation | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"Innovation has become vital for value creation. More than ever will it distinguish successful institutions from the less successful..."


Three fundamental misconceptions stick out.


1. Innovation is synonym for change:

Too often innovation and change initiatives are mixed up. Many change initiatives are actually improvement oriented and based on knowledge and examples that are already available in the marketplace (best practices, benchmarks, pilots), and are therefore not innovative.


Real innovation requires a company to go first, to go where no one has been before; to be a leader rather than a follower.


2. Innovation is a business goal as any other:

Research shows that successful innovation depends on the level of strategic alignment in the organization: alignment between the corporate strategy, the innovation strategy and the corporate culture (see a recent study in S+B on this). Innovation is therefore more fundamental.


It requires a specific innovation strategy and culture, based on:

  • a profound understanding of the external developments, 
  • how we adjust our strategy to it, 
  • in what part of the business (products, services, processes, systems) we need to innovate, 
  • how we use our qualities and competencies to create innovation, 
  • what competencies we are missing and need to develop, 
  • how we deal with trial & error and failure, 
  • how we will change the way we work in teams, 
  • how we will refocus resources.
=

3. An innovation culture is something you can copy from successful innovative companies:   Wrong, doing what others do is not innovating! You can learn lessons from others, but you will have to translate those to your own reality.

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's comment, December 19, 2011 11:54 AM
Also from Deb: This is one of the better blog posts I've seen out there, especially highlighting specific differences between innovation strategy and change management. The list alone mirrors recent innovation consulting strategy in consulting organizations.
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Remodel Your Meetings To Create Internal Entrepreneurs | Fast Company

Remodel Your Meetings To Create Internal Entrepreneurs | Fast Company | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it
Imagine going to work on a Monday, only to find that everything in your work environment changed overnight. The corporate reception area is gone, along with the receptionist, who could barely be bothered to acknowledge the likes of you, anyway.

 

In less than two hours, everything is radically transformed. Each new idea is nurtured, explored and tested rather than flatly rejected with one negative cliché after another. The glass is suddenly perceived as half-full rather than relegated to its usual half-empty status.  

 

...BlackBerries and iPhones are turned off. ...There are no emails. The focus is absolute.

 

Good ideas are immediately locked in. People claim responsibility for tasks. Small groups are formed to set plans in motion.

 

Deadlines are set for the next month, as opposed to the next year. After the meeting, everyone leaves with a one-page summary of all the decisions.

 

Read on for some great inspiration and possibly, "it could happen here!"

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