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July 2005

Here in the northeastern part of the United States we went from winter to summer and back and now back again! Hope you are enjoying more consistent weather and that you have a truly lovely summer!

in this issue
  • Summer Sabbatical
  • The art of making change initiatives stick
  • Upcoming events
  • Five tips for more creativity in teams
  • Juggling acts and the eight creative talents
  • A Breakthrough Creativity learning community?

  • The art of making change initiatives stick

    Great news! The research that Professor Michael Roberto and I did at Harvard Business School on the art of embedding change initiatives into the fabric of the organization has been published in the summer edition of Sloan Management Review.

    Upcoming events

    Save October 18, 2005! At 12:00 Eastern Time on October 18, 2005, I will be featured on a Microsoft Office Live Meeting Online Leadership Forum. The topic we will cover in this complimentary event is "Shaping Your Creative Leadership Edge." More infomation soon!

    Five tips for more creativity in teams

    Often when we want more creativity on a team, we say, "Let's brainstorm." While brainstorming has become almost synonymous with creativity -- in the organizational world in any event, it does not always achieve the results the team needs. The following are some suggestions to make sure a brainstorming session produces extraordinary, breakthrough results!

    1. Don't stop at the first good idea.

    Most great ideas come after many ideas have been generated. Don't let time pressures keep the team from exploring lots of ideas that can contain the kernel of the best solution.

    2. Practice deferring judgement.

    One of the main reasons that brainstorming doesn't achieve promised results is because we fail to put off judging the ideas. It's much easier to criticize ideas than to continue to build on them and and to generate even more ideas. Hold the critic off until all possibilities have been explored.

    3. Make sure it's the right problem.

    Too often our assumptions and current mental models unconsciously frame a situation, and we end up brainstorming about the wrong problem. Take the problem apart and examine it from a variety of angles before proceeding to solve it. Remember that a problem correctly stated is half solved!

    4. Keep politics and personal issues out of the brainstorming process.

    Be sure to keep the team focused on the session's objectives. Team groundrules should prohibit personality differences, political infighting, and other personal issues from interfering with the brainstorming process.

    5. Don't forget about political and personal issues during the brainstorming session.

    At the same time, don't ignore political and personal issues! If team members seem to have some unresolved personal issues that are getting in the way of idea generation, call a time out and address the issue head on, as opposed to ignoring it. Refusing to deal with the issue can greatly reduce the producitivity and the fun of brainstorming!

    The presence of senior managers in a brainstorming session is another political challenge that can seriously dampen the generation of what may be seen as "wild and crazy ideas." If senior managers must be present, ask them to come up with some of their own strange and offbeat ideas to set the tone. Alternatively, have them agree up front to listen to the ideas and participate only at the end.

    See the next newsletter for more tips!

    Juggling acts and the eight creative talents

    In the research I am currently conducting for an author at Harvard Business School Press, I have been interviewing many managers in a variety of different industries. As they talk about the struggles of managing in a new assignment, many refer to the challenge of balancing or even juggling. Balancing long-term and short-term perspectives, balancing people and profits, balancing strategic and tactical, balancing the big picture and details. And the list goes on!

    How do you learn to excel at this tough juggling act?

    The next newsletter will explore how knowlege of your creative style and the ability to tap into the eight creative talents can help you deal with the paradoxes, ambiguity and complexity you face managing in today's world.

    A Breakthrough Creativity learning community?

    My colleague Peter Schmidt who uses the Eight Creative Talents in his consulting and training practice based in Cologne Germany was here at the end of May. Our three-year old working relationship has evolved into a nascent learning community, as we share our experieicnes and learnings using the eight creative talents in our training and consulting practices.

    Peter and I had a very productive strategic planning session and generated several ideas about new workshops and articles based on tthe eight creative talents. Some of those ideas include the application of the eight creative talents in career change exploration and in midlife reevaluation. You will be hearing more about them in the coming months.

    In the meantime, if you are interested in joining the Breakthrough Creativity Learning Community that Peter and I are starting to form, let me know! Just email me at Lynne@breakthroughtcreativity.com.

    Summer Sabbatical

    This edition of the Practical Innovator Newsletter is brief. While I wanted to stay in touch and share with you some exciting news, I also know it's time for a brief hiatus over the summer.

    On a very recent visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's spectacular creation "Falling Water" near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I learned that Wright built the home at his client's request for a place for retreat, repose and reflection. And that is what I will be doing in my own little "falling water," right here in Boston!

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    Copyright (c) Lynne C. Levesque. All rights in all media reserved.