Are You Killing the Creativity in Your Business

Are You Killing the Creativity in Your Business“Creativity” is one of those things (like its close cousin “risk-taking”) that nearly all leaders love to hail, praise, and rhapsodize over. So why is actual creativity in the workplace so rare?

It’s because hailing, praising, and rhapsodizing are free and have no consequences. (Although, actually, they do; more on that later.) It’s kind of like hailing, praising, and rhapsodizing over the Paleo diet while finishing off that Big Mac. You might feel like you’re doing something good, but nothing really changes.

Although this analogy may seem extreme, it’s actually pretty apt. If you’re eating a Big Mac while espousing a Paleo diet, your actions are completely at odds with your words. (That is unless further research reveals that our proto-human ancestors dined on two primitive all-beef patties, primitive special sauce, some veggies and primitive cheese, all on a primitive triple-decker sesame seed bun.)

It all comes down to a basic and universal truth: talk is easy; execution is hard.

This is why so many leaders talk about the importance of

Simple Steps To Come Up With a Terrific Business Idea

Simple Steps To Come Up With a Terrific Business IdeaDifferent business Ideas and opportunities are talked about on the net daily.

The majority of aspiring entrepreneurs search for viable business ideas online. But how can you actually come up with a feasible, practical and sustainable business idea?

I have had my own business for a number of years now and I have tried many different businesses, some of them worked and some did not. I recently looked back on all the businesses that I tried. As I reviewed all of my different business plans I have narrowed my good ideas down to a few easy steps on how to create a viable business idea.

Different business Ideas and opportunities are talked about on the net daily

I want to share a few tips with you that may help, especially to those who want to start or even create a business of their own.

Here are the steps:

1.) Think of several ideas. There may be a lot of concepts out there but not all of them will work. When come up with a business concept, try to take note of businesses that consumers will need to use daily.

Innovation Is the Key for Small Businesses

Innovation Is the Key for Small BusinessesInnovation is a key element of any business, large or small. Yet, many tend to think of innovation as only the application of new technologies and application of research and development. Doing things differently, a better and more cost efficient way is what innovation in small business can be. So what does it mean by innovation in small business?

Drucker (1985) defined innovation as ‘the means by which the entrepreneur creates new wealth producing resources or endows existing resources with enhanced potential for creating wealth’. It means companies implement a series of changes to gain a competitive edge over their rivals and the market, as well as increase revenues through these innovations. Before embarking on innovation, small businesses should have the capacity to access new information and turn it into knowledge, and create procedures and resources to apply the knowledge for making use of opportunities.

Innovation in small business must be looked upon as a process that transcends all components of a business. Changing one thing and hoping that the other parts stay

Social Capital Is Value Which Your Business May Be Missing

“People who like what they do, do it better”. This is what Henry Engelhardt had as his philosophy when he started Admiral Insurance in 1993. He wanted to enjoy work. He recognised that if his staff were happy and enjoyed work too, there would be better productivity, so he set to work with a company philosophy putting happy staff at the centre of his business model.

One initiative to promote this philosophy is to have a business team called the Ministry of Fun, a team dedicated to organising weekly social activities for staff, such as come to work in fancy dress days, such as Superhero Day, nights out, or computer game tournaments in lunch breaks.

For 14 years in a row, Admiral Insurance has been in the 100 Best Places to Work in the UK. The business has grown to a $5.6billion valuation, is in the UK’s FTSE 100 stocks and has 7000 staff across Europe and India.

ARE YOU MISSING OUT ON SOCIAL CAPITAL?
Venture capital, human capital, financial capital, leveraging, share offerings are all sources of value that are utilised in business. And, yet, businesses can still miss out on a key

Will Your Business Exist Tomorrow

Business models have been changing so rapidly in the last few years. Every established business must have a reason to worry about their relevance in the future. The two things changing our world are – innovation and agility combined. As an individual or a business, are you proactive on these two things to not become irrelevant tomorrow? While people drive change, how can technology help you prepare for tomorrow regardless of our industry?

1. Innovate very quickly – product, vertical & business models

There is an explosion of talent and creativity that is being driven towards challenging & exciting startups as against the juggernaut businesses. There is a new excitement in the buyer and a change of buying behavior. Is your business innovating faster than your competition contextual to this buyer and talent? Are you innovating to create niche product differentiation, empowering your customer’s business and innovating your business model to stay ahead? Are you leveraging trends such as IOT, Digital, Smart, Analytics and User Experience in your execution plan – be it marketing, market perception or product?

2. Automate your Business Processes.

We are having so many dialogues recently with customers across verticals

Ways to Get a Creative Idea

Are you stuck in a creative rut? Do you need an idea – now – but nothing’s coming? Don’t worry, your creativity is still there. Your brain is just taking a little “creativity catnap.” Here are a few ways to wake it up again and get those creative juices flowing.

1. Read an article. [You: “About what?” Me: “About anything!” You: “Huh?” Me: “Stay with me; I’ll explain.”] Pick up a newspaper or a magazine. Turn to an article. Any article. It really doesn’t matter. Start reading-but with this question in the forefront of your mind: How does this article apply to my current situation? (And here we’re talking about the situation that you want some creative help with.) Here again, it doesn’t really matter what answers you come up with. The point of this little exercise is to force your brain into its natural creative space by making it come up with non-obvious connections. The purpose isn’t so much to come up with a great creative answer to the question; rather, it’s to wake your brain up from its catnap and put it back into its creative state.

2. Phone a friend. Sometimes a little

Real Secret to Coming Up With a Great Idea

Oh, to be the person who comes up with “the great idea”! Solar power! The artificial heart! Potato chips that stack in a can! Great ideas are everywhere, and yet they always seem to be the brainchild of somebody else. So how do you become one of those “somebodies”? How do you become the person who comes up with “the great idea”? Is there a secret to coming up with a great idea?

Yes, and here it is:

Come up with a lot of ideas.

The secret to coming up with a great idea is to come up with a lot of ideas.

When I was the executive producer of Seattle’s hit comedy TV show Almost Live!, we had a regular segment called The Late Report. This segment was basically our version of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live. It was a series of jokes about the week’s news. Each Late Report segment typically had eight jokes.

Depending on the staffing at the time, we might have anywhere from eight to ten writers on Almost Live!, each of whom submitted roughly twenty Late Report jokes each week. That means that on any given

How To Keep A Sharp Focus On Your Best Ideas

Faced with an ever-increasing workload, a man talked to his accountant about stepping up from being a one-man work-at-home business to employing some staff. It would, he thought, ease the pressure.

The accountant, a money management expert par excellence, had other ideas, and was blunt in his reply. All he said was: “The next time you say that, I shall put you in a cupboard and beat you with a broom handle until you change your mind.”

The reasoning behind his brutal assessment of the proposal was simple. Not only was the extra work insufficient to support another employee long-term, but the business model was a poor fit. The business was home-based, and simply didn’t have the space for another employee, long or short term. What’s more, he hadn’t considered the expense management dimension, but had been looking from only a workload perspective.

Hiring staff for a spike in workload is always going to be a bad idea. It will solve short-term problems, but will bring with it new headaches of its own, starting with the recruitment process, and going on to all of the background commitment involved in employment law.

The more effective

A Business Case for Going Green

Looking into the near future, I see low energy prices. As of today, energy prices are remarkably low in fact. They have dropped so much that companies, whose sole business model is setting an example of how sustainability is achievable, are losing money at a rapid pace thus making the outlook for the Green Industry quite bleak.

What is the Green Industry you ask? It was a term coined by the United States Green Building Council to certify buildings that are built to perform at optimal levels both in terms of construction and energy consumption. This plays directly into carbon reduction from decreased emissions. These types of projects are referred to as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED. There is often a premium that is paid for a building to obtain a LEED certification, which is then subject to maintaining the building certification status with follow up commissioning to verify that the building performance hasn’t lagged from the original design. The premium for this service can be in the range of five figures with little guarantee of a return on investment.

Energy Star is another certification that functions on a slightly different level focusing

Risk and Reward Manager Profiles and Innovation Outcomes

One of the interesting challenges that managers face is the tension between expectations of senior leaders that managers minimize risks for their organizations while also motivating their direct reports to be more innovative. Finding a balance is no easy task, as managers consider the impact of decision-making on their reputation, job security, the impact decisions might have on their direct reports, and the short- and long-term impact of their decision-making on their organization.

Consider the following management profiles and the possible outcomes of these mindsets:

HIGH RISK AVOIDER – This manager defaults to the safest possible decision and encourages his or her direct reports to do the same. The manager will rely heavily on established policies and procedures and punish his or her employees who do not carefully follow these guidelines. This fosters a culture of risk avoidance in this unit. Employees that will thrive in this environment are those that like a predictable routine and are reassured by the presence of clear parameters for decision-making. This manager will likely push any risk up the chain of command rather than making a tough call himself or herself.

HIGH RISK TOLERATOR – This manager is very

What Does It Take for an Office to Be Innovative

Innovation and innovative ideas are among the most top agendas at this moment. This trend is forcing the companies to be more adaptive and acrobatic than ever before. Due to lack of innovation, many companies have fallen in the yesteryear’s especially from last five to six years. However, many companies have embraced this change and are finding themselves in a perfect position by creating an innovative environment in their offices.

INNOVATIVE SPACES

The innovative design & fit-out management of an office can surely contribute to its growth and development. It, however, can’t create a culture of innovation but can support the efforts and ideas for sure. Designing the office spaces in such a way that it encourages the potential of innovation that lies within it. Take an example of most innovative organizations in the world like Google, Microsoft, and Apple. They have the most innovative office in the world and each of them is designed in such a way that everything about their office reflects their uniqueness and innovations. Innovation flows through each department, team, its corridor and perhaps everything related to the office. Innovation is not an individual stuff but a team initiative that involves

Is Money An Innovation Killer

If you think back to your youth, you’ll find innovation everywhere. Whether it was engineering a ramp to jump your little brother’s big wheel, how to get somewhere without a car or the thousands of innovative ways we convinced our parents that breaking curfew was justified by unseen, surreal circumstances. The great thing about youth is that it full of innovation, and in most cases the most creative things are done without money. Coincidence?

For business, innovation has always been an ooh aah word to throw around, however it has increasingly become a reality and for some companies, their hottest asset. In fact, it’s commanding even greater focus than before. In 2013, PWC performed a study to try and get to the bottom of innovation inside of businesses and it showed 93% of executives indicated that organic growth through innovation, will drive the greater proportion of their revenue growth. Not better sales, not strategic relationships — Innovation. It’s safe to say that nothing has changed since 2013 and innovation is sitting center stage, and everyone wants a piece of it.

The problem is that many companies don’t have the innovation DNA, so instead they pump money

What Does It Take for an Office to Be Innovative

Innovation and innovative ideas are among the most top agendas at this moment. This trend is forcing the companies to be more adaptive and acrobatic than ever before. Due to lack of innovation, many companies have fallen in the yesteryear’s especially from last five to six years. However, many companies have embraced this change and are finding themselves in a perfect position by creating an innovative environment in their offices.

INNOVATIVE SPACES

The innovative design & fit-out management of an office can surely contribute to its growth and development. It, however, can’t create a culture of innovation but can support the efforts and ideas for sure. Designing the office spaces in such a way that it encourages the potential of innovation that lies within it. Take an example of most innovative organizations in the world like Google, Microsoft, and Apple. They have the most innovative office in the world and each of them is designed in such a way that everything about their office reflects their uniqueness and innovations. Innovation flows through each department, team, its corridor and perhaps everything related to the office. Innovation is not an individual stuff but a team initiative that involves

How to Become Innovative

If the world poverty fact is that nearly half of the world’s population is living on less than $2.50 a day, it is therefore a big opportunity for you and me to think not only harder but also smarter in terms of being innovative.

To be innovative is the ability to translate an idea into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay. One can therefore be able to kick poverty out of his life if he can put the very many ideas that are in his mind into reality. In the end, these will be goods and services that the customers can pay him for.

Innovation does not just happen but it comes after someone has taken an initiative to do so. This therefore means that someone has to task himself to research on the problems of the people around him and find a way to solve them.

One can follow the 15 simple steps below to learn how to solve people’s problems through innovation;

1. Think about an easy thing you can do in a short period of time especially those things that have already been innovated

How To Manage The Freedom To Fail In Innovation

Innovation is messy, sticky and unruly. It’s not law-abiding, and comes in fits and starts. One thing it absolutely isn’t is perfect and systematic.

And that’s why it tends to die in corporate entities. Efficiency Hitlers want perfect results that lead to immediate returns. Their employees tend to fear them and aim to display ‘perfect’ behaviour. That’s a recipe for the death of innovation.

Ideas don’t thrive in fear-driven, risk-averse environments. And it turns out, the freedom to struggle is crucial to innovation.

In The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle quotes a study conducted on two groups of students. The first group took a test, and were given the feedback that they were extremely smart. The second group took the same test and were told that they had clearly worked extremely hard and tried their best.

The two groups were then given the choice of two more tests that they could take. The first test was very easy, the second much more difficult. The students who had been praised for being intelligent overwhelmingly chose to do the easy test. Why? Because they now felt that they had to uphold and defend the perception of being

Secrets of a Happy Startup Workplace

Startups across the country are known for their work cultures. But, what does it take for a startup to be a happy one? Well, if motivation was the only thing required, would promising employees be shuttling jobs so often? Maybe Not. It is often believed that work culture is established as soon as you have hired your team. They, in the early stages develop the startup culture. Dane Atkinson, CEO, Sumall states, “Your team should form its DNA early.” Is culture the only aspect that decides if a startup is a happy workplace or not? The answer is NO. There are several Human Resources secrets behind it too.

Here are 3 secrets of a Happy Startup Workplace

1. Flexible Working Hours

This should no longer considered a fantasy but it is a booming reality. Startups often make their employees burn the midnight oil. Why not compensate, by allowing them to walk in late at work too? The probability of expecting employees to work till 9 PM and asking them to report again at 10 AM seems too harsh doesn’t it? Flexible work hours make employees feel that the organization cares about them and does not

Great Leaders Teach

I was at a client’s office late afternoon last week. I was waiting for the Chairman long enough to strike a conversation with one of the managers, whom happened to be the Human Resource Manager. She is leading the organization’s academy and we exchanged smiles – and we talk. Replying to her question, I said my coaching is targeted to top talent – making top talents even better and hopefully they stay longer. Besides, my leadership program for managers and leaders is to enable them learn how to teach.

She shared her stories of going through a particular coaching program, NLP programs, EQ and so on. She is a very prolific manager and hungry for new knowledge. She is quick to share her coaching experiences with talents around her but except these talents are not internal but external to her organization. According to her it is not possible to share her knowledge internally because no one would appreciate – she hasn’t tried yet. She hasn’t got over the feeling yet to drive the coaching initiative for her organization. She doesn’t know where to start. What a waste.

Large organizations are endowed with this wealth of experienced

Questioning Your Business Innovation

My friend and fellow motivational speaker (I could also include “Seattle business legend” and “self made millionaire”) Sunny Kobe Cook has an interesting theory, and one with which I agree:

“Being innovative in business usually starts with a question.”

A sking a question is one of the best ways to spark creativity and innovation, either individually or within a team. Why? Because our brains will try their best to answer whatever question(s) we put to them. And since it’s estimated that 72% of Americans have functioning brains (that percentage rises if you exclude Congress), the odds are that you and your team have functioning brains which will in turn try to answer the questions you put to them.

So, what kind of questions should you be asking? If innovation is your goal, you need to be asking open ended questions. Here are some of my favorites:

How?

How can we increase our customer base while keeping our existing customers?

How can we surprise and delight our clients so that they’ll become not just clients, but real fans?

How can we increase job satisfaction, and therefore reduce turnover, without hurting our bottom

Innovation In Business Not Doing the Same Thing Over and Over

Innovation In Business is all about not doing the same thing over and over… it sounds self-explanatory, right? But then why are organisations getting it so wrong, over and over?!

We’re Already In ‘The Future’

Business today isn’t simply changing- it has already changed. We’re already deep into an era of phenomenal and unpredictable commercial growth and evolution: segments are progressing, markets are fragmenting, demographics are blurring, consumers are vastly complicated, unique and extremely well informed, people are incredibly well connected, social media is soaring and all industries are shifting at exponential rates.

In not-so-rare-anymore examples, the change in an industry is so incredible that it almost never could’ve been imagined only a short year or so before. Take the whole Freemium model as an example, where products are no longer simply ‘paid for and owned’ anymore, but acquired for free and then compensated for with more creative, alternative ways. There are innovative organisation models in effect today, such as crowd sourcing content, skillshare, conscious consumerism amongst countless others, which are surviving successfully despite experts claiming that failure was inevitable.

As a result of this phenomenal era, big organisations accustomed to “same-same smooth-sailing” are

Using Lean StartUp As A Stepping Stone

I believe you just know when you have a killer idea that lots of clients will love and happily pay for – if only they knew it existed.

This article will make life easier for early stage product developers and startups.

Why did I write it? Because I have been involved with seven product developments, and it almost killed me. I would like you to avoid the pitfalls and benefit from what I have learned.

You are probably aware that nine in ten new products fail to meet expectations. I am going to show you how to make ‘The Solution Canvas’ your new best friend to maximise your chance of success while protecting your downside.

Let’s start with what type of product, or solution, you could work on.

In his excellent book “From Zero to One” Peter Thiel introduces two very different kinds of product developments:

– “From Zero to One”: Developing solutions where none exist today. An example is ‘delivering electricity without wires’

– The second option represents 99% of all developments: “From One to N’. This means creating solutions that are enhancements or improvements on already known solutions, i.e.