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Stealing, Premortems, Verbable Ideas and the Quantified Employee


Is stealing ideas cheating or innovating?
Some of the world’s greatest inventions were improvements on someone else’s ideas, but when does being inspired by someone else’s work become cheating? This article from Scott Ginsberg on LinkedIn offers some controversial insights into the matter. He has created a new blog series that “deconstructs moments of conception from popular movies”, offering up video clips and a detailed analysis from each one. While it is certainly an interesting blog post concept, many commenters are not impressed with the overall message of the post.

This is a theme in recent months, with other posts we’ve noticed picking at the same message:

Online learning opportunities
For those who want to learn more about innovation from real life examples, this free 3 week online course from FutureLearn could be a good starting point. Innovation: The Key to Business Success looks at the concepts behind commercial innovation, but also goes into the success and failure points of real world innovation examples. “Using case studies from the University of Leeds and major high street retailer Marks & Spencer, we connect theory and practice to demonstrate the importance of innovation in growing and sustaining a business.”

Friend of CH David Burkus is hosting a free virtual conference on creativity – starting today. The conference brings together 30+ renowned experts on creativity and innovation for a series of 30 minute video interviews. Experts include Daniel Pink, Scott Anthony, Scott Barry Kaufman, Scott Belsky (everyone is called Scott!), Rex Jung, Roger Martin, Keith Sawyer and Teresa Amabile. It’s a great lineup – although hopefully it will be more than a bunch of authors reciting stuff from their books. We’ll be watching virtually.

Hindsight leads to ‘Premortem’
Oliver Burkeman discusses a new concept in business analysis; the ‘premortem.’ Hindsight – it’s not just for past events looks at psychologist Gary Klein’s concept of the ‘premortem’ as a way to use hindsight as a tool for the future. He suggests using the tool to analyse the ways in which a project could go wrong. The main problem with this method is predicting possible failures with an open mind, and not a biased one.

“In the fantasy world of the premortem, it’s already over. You’re screwed. Everything went as badly as you could have feared. Now: why?”

The Verbable Idea
You know you have made it big when your company name or product becomes a verb. We all Google, Skype and Facebook regularly, but thinking up a product or innovation name that can become a verbable idea is quite tricky. Michael Schrage’s article Your Next Big Idea Better Be Verb-able discusses “linking language to thought leadership” and why verbable branding is so important.

The Quantified Employee
We’re fans of the Only Dead Fish email newsletter, and were interested to read Neil Perkin’s brief analysis of organisations using data and insights from personal tracking apps prompted by his discovery of the FitBit corporate solutions page.

“Whilst the goal of improving employee health and productivity might be a laudable one, it does strike me that this only really works in organisational cultures that are characterised by high levels of trust and transparency, and that’s by no means every company. So is it empowering or just rather intrusive and a little scary?”

Some more things we enjoyed reading recently:
Living and working from the edge.
Learning from failure and dodging accountability.
Crowdsourcing common problems and big ideas.
Open plan office workers affected by higher stress levels and reduced productivity

Photo Credit: IntelFreePress via Compfight cc

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