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If you Want to Remember More Stuff, then Create More Brain Hooks

The more connections you can give a new memory to things already remembered in your brain, the more likely it is your are going to remember that new memory. I call these Brain Hooks. Think of it as Velcro for the brain. The brain is a natural pattern making machine. When you can tap into the pattern it is easier to recall something “without thinking.” That is why it is easier for an adult that cooks to remember items on a common recipe when at the grocery store as opposed to their teenage son who hasn’t cooked or shopped much at all. The adult can recreate the cooking and shopping experiences and “recall” the item stowed tidily in their head. They are pulling from various connections and patterns whereas the teenager hasn’t yet built those connections.

Image of the Wall that Seperates us from our Intended Destination - from the Experience Design BLUEPRINTBut, when the teenage boy sees the cute girl in the store, a different pattern emerges. When this happens, he’ll surely have to text mom for the items he’s already forgotten. To learn more on what we know about the brain, check out the book, “Brain Rules,” by John Medina.  Building brain hooks is the subject of Recipe #46 in Chapter 11: Barriers to Innovation and Overcoming the Wall in my book, “The Experience Design BLUEPRINT: Recipes for Creating Happier Customers and Healthier Organizations.”  If you want to design more remarkable experiences and then make them come true, check out the book. It is chock full of 25 examples, 56 recipes, and 78 images that will guide you or your team toward creating a better tomorrow.

Category : Blog

Establish Bookends to Convince Yourself and Others Your Idea is Worth Pursuing

monkey bookendHighways, buildings, parks, and people work best when there are boundaries involved. After all, you really don’t want somebody driving in your lane, right? When it comes to ideas it isn’t any different; boundaries are useful. Creativity loves constraint.  With a boundary, a challenge becomes more clear. Without it, you will wander around the fuzzy idea for as much time as you allow. The only progress you’ll make is to ideate and fritter away the time, but you won’t actually accomplish anything.

When you are ready to advance an idea for yourself or your team, using the Big Picture from the Big Idea Toolkit can help. The simple visual communication tool forces you to get clear on your idea – both to yourself but, also to others. Simply stating your idea, clearly and concisely creates a solid boundary, a container for your idea. My idea is “this thing here” as opposed to all of these other things. This boundary for your idea establishes the first bookend. Then, be honest with yourself and others and state why the idea matters. Why should it be pursued? Why should any of us care? On the Big Picture visual tool, that’s represented as the payoff. Together the bound idea and the payoff form the bookends. Make the bookends interesting, otherwise you’ll get no support and everything will fall down.

In a group, its important to get clarity and buy-in on the bookends, so your idea can take flight. If you don’t get agreement early on, you certainly won’t get it later when you’re busy executing on all of the details.  Learn more about the Big Picture – see the video on YouTube.

Category : Blog

A Sticky Note Calendar to Feel More in Control of Your Personal and Work Life

the PlayBook wall saver edition from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability LLCThe PlayBook from the Big Idea Toolkit is the place to make work visible and feel in control of your personal and work life. The PlayBook calendar reveals more than a list of dates and events. Sure, you can see the current date, week number, quarter and year on this annual wall planner. But, the PlayBook also tells a story of where you are going and what you have to accomplish to get there.  Best of all, you can use ordinary sticky notes to configure your PlayBook calendar to organize yourself or your team around activities, tasks, and deliverables due by projects, customer, or week number. Simply write a task on a sticky note and affix it to the PlayBook in the week number that it’s DUE. Now you can take step-by-step requirements and calendarize them for execution. The 20 x 30 inch wall saver PlayBook is included with the Big Idea Toolkit.  For those that are sporting more wall space and want to build a bigger plan there is the larger format edition of the PlayBook, 24 x 44 inches, sold separately.

Move beyond your ordinary wall planner. Get the PlayBook calendar and go from “to-do” to “done.”

Category : Blog

Try to Unthink that Thought – Just Try

debbie faas golden nugget paintingA friend of mine, Chuck Frey wrote an article about the Painter’s Technique a while ago. It really resonated with me so I commented on it.  It has doubly resonated with me over the last week since my artist friend Debbie Faas validated the painter’s technique is in fact a real phenomena that she experiences.  She knows firsthand since she just lived a 5 and 1/2 week painting journey commissioned  by a Seattle technology company.   I also had the opportunity to share the Big Idea Toolkit in a Tools roundtable with the local chapter of the Institute of Management Consultants.  In that discussion, every person in the room realized that ideas come at times sometimes inconvenient, even the day after your big strategic plan is completed.

What do you do with a good idea that comes at the wrong time?

Simply put – you cannot unthink a thought.  Your brain will continue to wrestle with it, good or bad even without your trying.  Mike Dooley notes this in his email signature of his daily Notes from the Universe where  he says, Thoughts become things…choose the good ones.

In the Big Idea Toolkit, this is precisely why we have a PlayGround.  When you get an idea, put in in the PlayGround.  Whether it advances immediately or ever, the brain will continue to build on it and create new possibilities.  If your PlayGround is shared with others, ideas pay dividends. Chuck’s original article appears here.

the PlayGround from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.Here is my comment on his article restated.   I hope this inspires you to create and share your PlayGround.

Chuck, this article really resonates with me. I am a big believer in the power of visual thinking. Like John Medina says in Brain Rules with Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses.  I use mind mapping software to organize and see connections when I’m working alone. But when I’m collaborating with others, need to work quickly and communicate or see the Big Picture, then I use tools from the Big Idea Toolkit. http://www.thebigideatoolkit.com This has the added advantaged of the large format (20 x 30 inch visuals), multiple real time input (everybody on the team can write on a sticky note), and spatial adjacency (I can see each poster/board at the same time) . I like computers and all things digital but there is a time to be digital and a time to be in the real world – which is and always has been analog. @markjl – yes big hand drawn = better.

The painters technique really makes sense to me. Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison solved problems by cat napping similarly. It allows your brain to continue to work on things while you’re away. There is a related powerful phenomena – spatial adjacency. Think of an art gallery experience that unfolds as you enter each room. Each passage you enter reveals a new splash of style and color. You naturally do a quick scan before your eye settles in on something of interest. Compare this experience to the same art being presented slide by slide in a PowerPoint presentation. In the former the brain benefits from spatial adjacency and in the latter suffers from the lack thereof. If you want to imagine yourself to better possibilities you need to get bigger, and get adjacent. Then, let the painter technique unfold as you seemingly “check out” for a while from one piece and then “check back in” to the canvas of your choosing.

Category : Blog

So… what did you learn?

Start Stop Continue Review - Delightability LLC

Here is the situation.  You’ve just completed that latest software build or that big fundraising event.  You’re going full steam ahead to the next opportunity.  You’re at capacity so you don’t really want to spend time talking about the past, especially those things that didn’t go well.  And you certainly wouldn’t want to have difficult conversations with colleagues. We’ve heard the cautionary tales about Look Back – Fall Back, Negative Target Fixation, or Don’t Trample my Elephant.

Sometimes you have to slow down, in order to speed up.

 

Project Meeting Event Debrief from Delightability LLC

But, the other side of this is your next project will only be as good as your last project, plus “what you do different.”  If you don’t learn anything  then you’re not likely to do anything different. You wouldn’t intentionally enter your next assignment with your biases, blind-spots, and developmental needs all exactly where you left them at your last project, would you?

There are 3 tools that are easy to use that can speed your individual and group learning so that you can be a higher performing team even if that team is only “me, myself, and I.”

Visit the Feedback and Learning page to see how to use these tools and download the full size PDFs for free.

 

 

 

 

Category : Blog

Pies, Pants, and PlayBooks -Will Your 2012 be any Different?

Seems we arethe PlayBook -Delightability LLC all busy making plans to do something different. You may have plans to work off grandmothers pumpkin pie, get ahead at work, or spend more time volunteering. We purchase calendars, wall planners, and gym memberships – anything to help us reach our goals.

the PlayBook -Delightabiity LLCIf you are looking to get more accomplished in 2012, you may want to start by replacing your planning calendar with the PlayBook. You can keep on doing the same old thing, but you’ll not likely fit into a slimmer pair of pants.

To make a bigger impact you need the courage and conviction to try something different. Get started in the right direction. Take the challenge, compare your calendar to the PlayBook and select the tool that will make your 2012 a success.

Category : Blog

Visual Real Time Collaborative Project Management Tool


Successful project management is more about good discussions, clear deliverables, and commitment to a common path forward than it is about a piece of software.  History is full of big projects and accomplishments that predated the existence of the software industry.  Turns out that successful project management is about humans, psychology, communications, process, accountability, and many other things that sometimes get substituted with meetings, reports, tiny unreadable schedules, and much finger pointing, blaming and shaming.

Even project management professionals with certifications struggle to make the customer come alive inside the organization they work with and have productive conversations around a common big picture.  If you are a project management pro ask yourself if you’ve ever been on a project that failed.  Chances are, if you’ve been around the block a few times, you have.  Common tools of the trade do little to excite and enroll others.  As it turns out, exciting and enrolling others is much of what successful project managers do.    I like this infographic that project management pro, Olga Sa, created where she indicated that 90% of project management has to do with communications.

Better Project Management using the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.
Not surprisingly, the Big Idea Toolkit can be used to better manage projects.  Here is an infographic of better project management using the Big Idea Toolkit.  Please check it out and if your so inclined we’ve love to hear what tools and methods you use in managing your projects large and small?  Also, how are they working for you?

If you are into Scrum and Agile methods you might like this related post on the For Doers blog: Is your product or service on a path to irrelevance?

 

Category : Blog

Does Your High Performing Team Have a Different Mental Space for Ideas and Execution?

The highest performing teams don’t need “team building” events because they are already a higher performing team doing the many little things that make the team flow and work well together. Like a good Jazz trio they have a rough plan but can improvise and work off of each other as necessary. Resorting to trust falls and wailing on each other with padded sticks won’t make a low performing team soar.

We’ve found that high performing teams are fully engaged and have a different mental space for dealing with ideas versus working the execution of the plan. We’ve incorporated these realities into the Big Idea Toolkit by including a PlayGround and PlayBooks.

the PlayGround from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.The PlayGround is where high performing teams capture and share ideas. Embrace the notion that ideas can come from anywhere and will often come at times inconvenient. If you still boast an annual planning cycle then you’re probably blind to the best idea which may come the days following the completion of your annual planning. Being blind to ideas that could move your company forward can be detrimental and may serve to disengage the employee or partner whose ideas are ignored. Funny psychological thing is, it is more important to have your idea captured and heard than actually implemented. People like to be heard, respected, and valued. Ignore this reality and you are a dead brand walking.

You know the old adage, ideas are a dime a dozen. Well, in the internet age, they’re actually even cheaper, they’re free. Ideas are great but unless acted on they’ll make no impact in the real world. That is what the PlayBook is for.

Publishing a shared PlayBook reminds a high performing team what they have committed to.

Publishing a shared PlayBook reminds a high performing team what they have committed to. Shared commitment and visibility are prerequisites for excellence in execution. Actions, deliverables, owners, and dates provide the team with clarity on the who, what, and when of execution. Using a weekly 4-Square Personal Action plan further individualizes the PlayBook deliverables so each team member knows what they are doing each step along the way.the PlayBook with a High Performing Team - from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC

Using the PlayGround and PlayBooks helps a team to form productive habits that will help them to make a bigger impact in the world. Use them alone or as part of the complete Big Idea Toolkit and pretty soon, your higher performing team will be celebrating yet another win. And… when you do if you want to celebrate with some trust falls or a stick fight, more power to you.

Category : Blog

Business as Unusual: If you Want a Different Outcome, then you Need to Do Something Different

Do you have a place to capture  ideas and free your mind?

Do you have a “system” to move things forward?

Do you have a way to get organized and break projects down into manageable pieces?

sticky note - get more organized from he Big Idea Toolkit, Delightability, LLC.If you answered yes to these questions, great.  But, most people employ tools and tactics, like faith, scratch paper, random sticky notes, whiteboards, and a various paper and electronic calendars.

Some people even reduce the amount of things they do, striking a balance between what they can remember and what they feel they can get done.   That’s all well and good until you need or want to do more at work or at home.  You don’t want to be that person that says the all too common excuse, “But I don’t have time.”   We all suffer from time poverty but, some people get more done, while others let time and opportunity pass them by.

If you want to be highly productive, then you’ll need a new approach to getting organized and getting things done.

With more time you could plan a party, write a book, get a new job, make a career change, relocate or move, get involved in the community, solve a nagging problem, invent something, remodel your office or home, start a business, start a blog, learn a language, spend more time with family, write a program, plan a major vacation, run for office, write an initiative, host an event, relax,  master a new sport, supercharge a non-profit, volunteer, make and then do your bucket list.

But nobody can give you more time.  You’re still stuck with 24 hours each day, so to free up time for important things, you’ll need to better utilize the time you have every single day.

That’s why we created the Big Idea Toolkit, so you can get more important stuff done, whether that is for you, your family, at work or in your community.  If you want different outcomes and you want to be a highly productive “doer” then you need a new approach.

Watch the introductory video for the Big Idea Toolkit.  Questions? Please comment or contact us.

Category : Blog

Dogs, Gators, and Humans – 2 out of 3 are Wired to Care?

Pet AlligatorIt’s true and there is a good book by the same name, “Wired to Care.” In it, the author explains that our limbic system is that part of our brain that makes us feel. Dogs have a limbic system almost as developed as our own. That’s why when you come home after having a bad day at work your dog is “there for you.” It doesn’t understand what you did at work or why they pay you, but it feels that you are down and approaches you with tail a’ wagging and tongue o’ drooling.

A pet anaconda or alligator on the other hand, has no such limbic system so it will bite you in half or eat you whole, feet first without remorse.

That’s why anacondas and alligators are not Man’s Best Friend.Cookie the Corky

Including pictures of your intended audience and a few details about them can turn on your limbic system and make you care more.

If you want to do good things for your Audience you’ll need to be a little more dog and a little less alligator.

Category : Blog

About Us

Like you we get ideas. We are all idea people. The Big Idea Toolkit was born out of our recognition that people have ideas but get stuck at all stages of bringing those ideas to life. We hope you find this toolkit and site gives you a nudge, a process to follow, and inspiration to make your ideas a reality. Thank you to our clients who told us - "You guys should make this a product available to others." We are Delightability, LLC and we believe if you Delight Customers - Success will Follow. more..

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If you have questions or need some help please email us or call us at (206) 356-8811