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SuperVUCA, peak creativity, napping and NLP


A SuperVUCA world
What’s your view on acronyms and mnemonics? If you’re familiar with creative thinking techniques you’ll probably have heard of SCAMPER. This week we also noticed TRANSFORM, which looks pretty useful as a prompt for creative thinking. The problem with acronyms, though, is that they’re often tenuous – in that the initials are often pre-decided. So, following VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) we have the new ‘Super’ VUCA (Vibrant, Unreal, Crazy and Astounding). Not sure about that one.

We came across SuperVUCA through via Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, who offers conference highlights from the World Business Forum in Sydney, starting with a summary of his presentation. He says: “Whatever business you are in, whatever country you are in, wherever you are living, an irrefutable fact is that things are never going to be the way they were or the way we would like them to be; they are going to be all over the place.”

He goes on to offer 10 tips for creative leadership, including:

• The CEO’s role is to code: Revolution begins with language; never underestimate its power. The CEO’s role is to become the Chief Excitement Officer and the CMO’s role is to be the Chief Magic Officer.
• Creativity is just connecting things. A creative environment is fostered by Responsibility, Learning, Recognition and Joy. Each employee should feel these four things every day.
• Creative leaders execute. In traditional companies, only 20% of their time is spent on execution, whereas in companies such as Google and Facebook, the CEO spends 70% of their day on execution.
• The role of the leader is to create creative leaders. Everyone is born creative, this needs to be nurtured. Anyone can become a leader and the role of the CEO is to bring out the best in their people.

Off-Peak and Peak Creativity Times
In another article from Kevin Roberts this week, he discusses Off-Peak Thinking. This is the theory that there are optimal times for carrying out works of creativity and innovation. Roberts discusses research published in the Journal of Thinking and Reasoning, which suggests that while people have varying times in which they are least susceptive to distraction and most productive, these times are not necessarily suitable for creativity and innovation. Roberts sums up his argument succinctly: “If a task requires methodical action, do it at your peak work time; if it requires off-beat thinking, do it when you’re open to distractions.”

Napping on the job
“It’s best to give your brain downtime. I have a nap every afternoon,” says Vincent Walsh, professor of human brain research at University College London. “If we want people to be more creative we need people to be able to do less. Companies should allow naps in the afternoon. They should get rid of the habit of clocking in and clocking out.”

The idea of napping at work is nothing new, for instance this 2006 Guardian story describes how staff at the Leo Burnett advertising agency can spend 20 minutes a day in sleep pods. But we reckon the reality is that the pressure of work usually leaves such sleep pods empty – despite the repeated health benefits. Have you ever taken an afternoon nap on a work-day? Is there space in your office to do so? If your office doesn’t have suitable napping zones, how do you find somewhere to get some zeds? Google Naps, of course.

Challenging Chesky
A few weeks ago we discussed Brian Chesky’s article ‘Don’t Fuck Up The Culture’, but this week we bring you a response and critique to Chesky’s approach. Scott Berkun offers A Critique of ‘Don’t Fuck Up The Culture’ and questions Chesky’s understanding of the term ‘culture.’ He suggests instead that it is the CEO who defines a company’s culture and that it is emotional, not a ‘technological resource.’ He argues: “It is based on trust and even (platonic) love between people. It is hard to describe culture rationally or in the same easily measurable terms the business world operates on, which explains why so many attempts by business leaders to control and scale culture ultimately fail.”

NLP = Neurobollocks?
“NLP is nowadays widely-regarded as pseudo-scientific bollocks of a particularly refined and rarefied strain.” So argues the Neurobollocks blog – debunking pseudo-neuroscience so you don’t have to – in a no-holds-barred analysis of the technique invented in the mid-70s by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Another quote: “Despite being nearly 40 years old, and a ridiculous, facile hodge-podge of concepts from psychology, philosophy, linguistics and new-age twaddle with absolutely no support from any reputable sources, amazingly, NLP is still very much alive and kicking.”

The article brings to mind Jon Ronson’s excellent Guardian article, in which he describes his encounters Richard Bandler and Paul McKenna. Well worth a read.

The Unknown Mystery of Human Nature
Sukh Pabial’s blog Thinking About Learning offers a discussion of human nature this week – Improvisation, Creativity and Innovation – and how the improvisation created when two people meet creates innovation: “Change, then, is all about bringing people together and letting them find their own way to make things better.”

Creativity & Talent
Finally, this video from Bookarmy discusses the link between success, creativity and talent. In BOUNCE – How Champions are Made, Matt Syed gives examples of single geographical areas that have offered significant numbers of ‘talented’ individuals. Syed suggests that it is not just a question of genes, and that “Champions are not born, they are made.”

Some more things we enjoyed recently:
The effect of drowsiness on spatial awareness
The Guardian tackles the pronunciation of popular brands
Debs Gerrard discusses the inspiring back stories of art.
Ashridge’s top 10 tips on how to optimise learning
The 4-C models of creativity
27 Insights About Creativity That Every Entrepreneur Should Read


Photo Credit: aussiegall via Compfight cc

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