Innovation: What Can We Learn from Improvisational Comedy?

Hola Todos!

You never really know where a great nugget will come from and when I was reading Tina Fey’s memoir Bossypants (actually, I was listening to it in the car), her description of improvisational comedy sounded like something that would be very useful for coming up with new ideas.  First, I will paraphrase her thoughts from the book and second, I will give you my interpretation on how improv could fit with innovation.

 

The Rules of Improvisation

The first rule of improv is to AGREE. Always agree and SAY YES.  When improvising, this means you are required to agree with whatever your partner has created.  The Rule of Agreement reminds you to respect what your partner has created and to at least start from an open-minded place. Start with YES and see where that takes you.

The second rule of improvisation is to not only say yes, but to also say YES, AND. You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own.  YES AND means, “Don’t be afraid to contribute.”  It’s your responsibility to contribute.  Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion.  Your initiations are worthwhile.

The third rule is to MAKE STATEMENTS.  This is a positive way of saying “Don’t ask questions all the time.” In other words, whatever the problem, be part of the solution.  Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles. We’ve all worked with that person and that person is a drag.

The final rule of improvisation is THERE ARE NO MISTAKES only opportunities. In other words, there are no mistakes, only happy accidents.  And many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been by accident.  I mean, look at Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Botox. 

I could not write down these ideas when in the car so I went to the library and took out the book to get the word-for-word translation.  I thought these four rules would work well when the task at hand was to develop totally new ideas from scratch. When people are positive, the creative juices flow. Having teammates add something to your original idea will take it somewhere you didn’t expect it to go. Not asking questions or being negative will keep the stop signs from popping up. And not worrying if the idea is a good one or a mistake will free those cognitive juices up to focus on idea development.

Something to try at work today…

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

The Power of Curiosity: Part II

Hola Todos!

A few post back, I started a thread on the power of curiosity and I am happy to say Mr. Mike’s recent leadership post added more fuel to this fire.

I just love #3 below: “Make why your favorite word”  – I’m not sure I could say it better myself.

Mr. Mike, the floor is yours…

 

 

To:  The Great leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

In his book, “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth,” John Maxwell shares his Law of Curiosity.  He writes: “Curious people possess a thirst for knowledge. They are interested in life, people, ideas, experiences, and events, and they live in a constant state of wanting to learn more. They continually ask why?” This is a gift that great leaders nurture and grow.  It add luster and shine to their creativity, enabling them to imagine the unimaginable. He provides ten suggestions for developing a strong sense of curiosity.

1.       Believe you can be curious –  “You cannot be what you believe you aren’t.”

2.       Have a beginner’s mind-set –  “…wondering why and asking a lot of questions.”

3.       Make why your favorite word – “Never forget, anyone who knows all the answers in not asking the right questions.”

4.       Spend time with other curious people – “…seek out other curious people” – they serve as stimulants to you.

5.       Learn something new every day –  “Begin each day with a determination to learn something new, experience something different, or meet someone you don’t already know.”

6.       Partake in the fruit of failure – “People who grow and develop see failure as a sign of progress.”

7.       Stop looking for the right answer – “Single solution people are not putting themselves in the best situation to learn and grow.  Why? Because this is always more than one solution to a problem.”

8.       Get over yourself – Don’t be afraid of looking foolish. “If we never tried anything that might make us look ridiculous, we’d still be in caves.” Roger van Oech, author

9.       Get out of the box – Have an abundance mindset – “There ain’t no rules around here! We’re trying to accomplish something!” Thomas Edison, inventor

10.   Enjoy your life – ‘The race will go to the curious, the slightly mad, and those with an unsatiated passion for learning and daredeviltry.” Tom Peters, In Search of Excellence

Walt Disney said: “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” This is the insatiable excitement and joy of life and the lives of great leaders – to find new opportunities, to see behind the mountain, imagine the unimaginable. Never stop asking why, for the answer to your question may be what could be.  Remember the words of Plutarch, Greek historian and writer: “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” Let your fire burn brightly and change the world. Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Mike

 

Contact Information:

Michael M. Reuter

Director, Center for Leadership Development

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

Email: Michael.Reuter@shu.edu

 

 

The Power of Curiosity

Hola todos!

The tragic suicide of Aaron Swartz last weekend is still reverberating around the web a week later – as it should be.  Aaron was as individual who was very much a part of the web as we know it.  Aaron was only 14 when he co-developed RSS or Really Simple Syndication – a staple of almost every media site on the web allowing users to receive an updated feed from a web site without having to constantly revisit the web site.  (Remember, RSS was created in the pre-Twitter era.)  Later, he also co-founded Reddit.

As an avid reader of John Gruber’s Daring Fireball, I saw yesterday that John linked to the following article in Fast Company that highlighted an email exchange between Aaron and Ronaldo Lemos, Project Lead, Creative Commons Brazil.  In the email, Ronaldo asked:

You did a lot of important things at a very young age, could you describe a few of them? And how do you see and would explain that? Talent, inspiration, curiosity, hard work? Is there something that you would think that other kids who would like to follow your steps should know?”

And Aaron responded:

When I was a kid, I thought a lot about what made me different from the other kids. I don’t think I was smarter than them and I certainly wasn’t more talented. And I definitely can’t claim I was a harder worker — I’ve never worked particularly hard, I’ve always just tried doing things I find fun. Instead, what I concluded was that I was more curious — but not because I had been born that way. If you watch little kids, they are intensely curious, always exploring and trying to figure out how things work. The problem is that school drives all that curiosity out. Instead of letting you explore things for yourself, it tells you that you have to read these particular books and answer these particular questions. And if you try to do something else instead, you’ll get in trouble. Very few people’s curiosity can survive that. But, due to some accident, mine did. I kept being curious and just followed my curiosity. First I got interested in computers, which led me to get interested in the Internet, which led me to get interested in building online news sites, which led me to get interested in standards (like RSS), which led me to get interested in copyright reform (since Creative Commons wanted to use similar standards). And on and on. Curiosity builds on itself — each new thing you learn about has all sorts of different parts and connections, which you then want to learn more about. Pretty soon you’re interested in more and more and more, until almost everything seems interesting. And when that’s the case, learning becomes really easy — you want to learn about almost everything, since it all seems really interesting. I’m convinced that the people we call smart are just people who somehow got a head start on this process. I fell like the only thing I’ve really done is followed my curiosity wherever it led, even if that meant crazy things like leaving school or not taking a “real” job. This isn’t easy — my parents are still upset with me that I dropped out of school — but it’s always worked for me.”

I am a firm believer in the power of curiosity as one of the main drivers to one’s accomplishments.  In between the fall and spring semesters, I read “How Children Succeed” by Paul Tough that argues intelligence or IQ alone is not all one needs to succeed.  In other words, we can find just as many students without a gifted IQ who perform well above their peers in school or in the careers later in life.  Curiosity is a central theme in the book and students with a stronger curiosity almost always outperformed their counterparts, regardless of IQ.

Something to think about today.

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

 

 

 

 

Creativity, Creativity and More Creativity

Hola Todos!

I like to read and it seems if “creativity” is a very hot topic at the moment.  While going though my link reading, I came across three solid articles on creativity so I thought I would share.

The first one is from NPR and discusses 5 ways to spark your creativity (click here).   The second one is from Amex’s OpenForum and recommends 3 excellent books on the topic (including Johah Lehrer’s “Imagine” which is my next summertime read – click here).   The third story I picked up from one of my former mentors via Twitter and it serves up 3 excellent creativity lesions from Johah Lehrer’s “Imagine” – including videos (click here).

Enjoy!

Best

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, PhD

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

Apple’s Advertising Identity

Hola Todos!

This story is just one of the many excellent Apple articles the business press has pumped out since Steve Jobs’ passing.  In this Advertising Age article (link) details Apple’s advertising philosophy from the super-famous “1984” super bowl ad, to the “Think Different” campaign and even “I’m a Mac” run.  The article also discusses Lee Clow of TBWA and his close relationship with Steve Jobs.  Unfortunately, most company-agency relationships are transactional and nothing like one described in this article.

Enjoy!

Dr. Dan-o

 

 

 

Some of the Best of Steve Jobs

Hola Todos,

As you can imagine, I’ve read dozens of articles focusing on the life and contributions of Steve Jobs in the past week.  Below are the links to what I feel are the best of the best.

-Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal/All Things Digital leads off the bunch: (link)

-Adam Lashinsky, Sr. Editor at Fortune does a nice job: (link)

-Philip Elmer-DeWitt, CNNmoney Apple 2.0 Blog editor does a great job of pulling together better of the best quotes around the web: (link)

-Mark Milian, journalist at CNN, did a great job at examining some of Steve’s core philosophies: (link)

-Finally, Steven Levy at Wired offered us the most detailed of all the retrospectives: (link)

Enjoy them all…

Best

Dr. Dan-o