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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Tricks, Traps and Tips for better Problem Solving

Cost: Nada!
Although you’re more than welcome to send me a note of appreciation and/or order some books as a way to support the costs of providing this service.

Where? Head here for all the details.

Summary:
If you work for a living, then you solve problems of all types.This session will explore some simple PS concepts and explain how we can use formal, and informal, PS techniques in every day Life.

Prerequisites:
Peter believes very much in the idea that we learn by doing, more precisely? That we learn by failing at doing.

So??? This presentation WILL be interactive.
1) Make sure you have a deck of playing cards handy.
2) Peter will take ‘questions’ via e-mail as he presents.

Feedback from a similar live session:
Peter … We reviewed the feedback forms this week – of the 90 collected for the Problem Solving sessions, overwhelmingly the ratings were 5s (highest) We summarized the feedback as follows, included member quotes:

‘Over the top’ successful. Very dynamic, excellent speaker.
Members wanted more from Peter; many felt his sessions were too short.
“..energizing & interesting. Very helpful.”
“..too short – was enjoyable & thought provoking!”
“Fabulous, awesome presentation. Great interaction & exercises.
Could have spent the whole afternoon in his session.”
“Excellent session, extremely dynamic presenter! Useful for any level of team member.”
“Peter was the “BEST” part of the day.”
“Please bring Peter back to talk to us.”

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Most ignorance is vincible ignorance:
we don’t know because we don’t want to know.
Aldous Huxley

In all human endeavors there lie risks we don’t want to explore, flaws we’d rather ignore, and conflicts we’d rather avoid. We choose the comfort of deliberate ignorance over the insecurity of uncertain knowledge.

We are all incredibly good at stepping around the things we mustn’t discuss. Irrational actions rule supreme in the face of topics smeared with the taint of taboo.

The solution of course, is to take those lonely and invisible 800 lb gorilla problems and place them in the middle of the table. Shave them naked and paint them a glorious glowing neon pink. Make it so that we’d have to be blind to ignore their presence.

Problems grow stronger in the shade of solitary confinement. They shrivel to a fraction of their size when exposed to those dedicated to finding solutions.

Problems by definition ‘need fixing’… actions that result in conspiracies of deliberate avoidance are counter to intelligence.

From a reluctance to tell a friend they have bad breath, to the corporate wide ‘decision’ to ignore unethical policies… problems gain strength from silence.

The unacknowledged problem is forever unsolvable.

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Don’t fight forces;
Use them.
Buckminster Fuller

Ships sail against the wind, waters behind the dam give it strength, the weight of an arch bestows suspended flight to waves of stone and steel. In all of these, the forces that work against success, are what make it possible.

Physical force has direction and energy, but no motivation or intention. Manipulate what works against you, into working for you.

Our first reaction to any opposing force is to push back, it’s an instinctive, simple, uncomplicated strategy, and this sometimes brings success. We have other options.

In unrelenting heat, ice cold water is scarce, unless you place it in a porous terra-cotta pot. The evaporating droplets create a chill, just as sweat will cool the body. Don’t fight the heat, use it.

The forces we encounter as obstacles to our goals aren’t always physical, sometimes they’re political, spawned of human nature and desire. The advice doesn’t change, don’t fight the forces, use them.

If someone is an expert at finding fault with a project, place them on the project with the task of avoiding fault.

If someone’s ego is in the way of a change, then frame the success to feed the ego.

Make the force be with you…

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We are changing the world faster
than we can change ourselves,
and we are applying to the present
the habits of the past
Winston Churchill

The grand irony is that in learning something new, we have both accepted, and beaten, the challenge of the future. To learn something new, we have likely invested in an old, possibly outmoded, strategy. Each success under our belt, becomes a weight anchoring us to a particular way of doing things, even learning things. Each past achievement, a burden against future progress.

Play a game of chess against an opponent, and with each win based upon a favourite strategy, we become more vulnerable to a change in tactics. Winning in a proven way, is an obstacle to progress.

Our strength lies, not in past success, but in our ability to unshackle ourselves from both losing -and- winning strategies. The first is easy, the second rare. It requires flexibility, a keen sense of judgment and courage.

Flexibility – because a willingness to change, is a prerequisite of change.

Judgment – because knowing when to change, is an art, not a science.

Courage – because we could be wrong, and must accept risk in order to achieve success.

Nothing remains the same, not even the steps towards success.

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Laughter is the shortest distance
between two people.
Victor Borge

Laughter is more intimately contagious than a yawn. A child’s bright laughter in a crowd ignites of a ripple of response. Turned heads, smiles and nods of acknowledgement from strangers to parents.

In a street where wordless unconnected strangers brush closer than lovers embrace. We find ourselves laughing together, when a street corner magician pulls grins from an empty face.

Sitting at a play or a show, we’re alone in the dark, until we’re joined in the laughter of those around us. Even if only for a short time, we’ve become part of a joyous, though invisible, community.

In laughter we see a reflection of what’s inside each other. If we laugh at the same thing then perhaps, just perhaps, we’re not alone. There’s someone else like us. At least like us enough, to see the same humour in something outside of ourselves.

Nothing is more effective at intestinal butterfly dispersal, than a roar of laughter from the audience. If they’re laughing they’re listening. If they’re listening then they’re learning.

Want to measure how close a relationship? How strong a team? How healthy a culture? Count the laughs.

Birds of a feather, laugh together

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A hunch is creativity
trying to tell you something.
Frank Capra

Creativity is a difficult and contradictory task, because to achieve it we must stop trying to seize it… and just listen to the voices within.

This is gobbledygook to anyone who believes conscious thought will always result in a new idea.

Thinking yourself to creativity is possible. There are enough tips, tricks and techniques to get you to another place, but when they all fail… just shut up and listen.

The mind is forever babbling in the background. Try to sit silent, thoughtless, for a count of five. Allow no stray thought to enter, not even the glee at reaching five.

Try to sleep at night without dreaming. Try not to think of the elusive polka dotted elephant. The mind chortles at containment.

Leave the problem alone… walk away from it… abandon thinking about it, and do something else… but keep listening.

The very source of power in our thoughts, is to see what doesn’t yet exist. To see cats in the clouds, Orion’s Belt in the stars, or a solution where others saw only problems.

The little voice is the child within, forever trying to get our attention.

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In the City,
time becomes visible.
Lewis Mumford

Sit today under a childhood tree and you sit in the shade of yesterday.

In the countryside, time moves slowly enough for the seasons to dance in stately circles. From year to year the changes are inconsequential, minor and repetitive.

Sit in the city at a corner cafe and you sit in the path of an oncoming future. In the city, time is pushed aside, hurried and harried. It piles up upon itself, incapable of making way for the next great thing, it then topples over like a breaking wave washing away reflection and solitude.

We and we alone, separate the country from the city. We’re the cause of the differences and the reason time takes flight. Other than the acts of God, where the ground shakes and wind blows, change doesn’t just ‘happen.’ It isn’t a random event, there’s always a cause with determination. That cause is us.

Somewhere between the lazy shade of a leafy tree and the center of a twenty lane highway is our preferred pace of change. Examining where we are, in relation to where we’d like to be, is a personal choice.

Left unconstrained, there’s no speed limit to change. Change can shatter time.

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