February 2007 Archives

I am a big Dr. Loosen fan and so when I noticed this posting as one of the wines of the week, I had to reinforce the opinion of the reviewer:  this is an exceptional wine from a great grower!

The 2005 Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese is an exceptional white wine - a zippy Riesling with plenty of ripe fruit nuances. The palate profile consists of a...

Source: Wine of the Week: Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese 2005 (Germany) $20
Originally published on Wed, 28 Feb 2007 16:28:39 GMT

A-Z of social media

Socialmedia is a wkii that provides a guide to understand new media trends. The glossary of social media is a collaborative effort to make definitions in more precise.

How much Creativity is enough?

This post from Creativity And Innovation Driving Business asks some interesting questions about creativity and the difficulty of calibrating how much creativity provides optimal results.

How much creativity is enough? Is there an optimal level of creativity for a person to have? Is it possible to be “too creative?” Is it true, or a myth, that creative people can be difficult to manage?

Too much creativity or optimal level of creativity depends on the company, its culture and its individuals. Creativity in a corporate environment needs to be channeled to produce great products. Employing creative individuals in specific business units such as marketing, desktop publishing, web business, advertising or new product development makes business sense. An optimal level of creativity can be achieved within the organization as a whole, where the appropriate guidelines and frameworks are in place for creative individuals and their ideas, and to convert such creativity into viable business solutions. If the individual is employed in a role that requires creativity, there cannot be too much of it – however a defined structure that sets boundaries, such as market needs, financial constraints, resource availability, project checklist and milestones, etc. can drive measurable, sustainable and innovative results. When the business risks grow, a methodical framework or business process needs to be implemented to translate creative ideas into viable business enterprises.

An experienced manager knows how to manage creativity and creative individuals without coming in the way of generating new ideas. Creative individuals have the innate ability to visualize the end product; however, at times this is also coupled with the complexity to execute on a plan to get there. The key is to provide the creative individuals a platform to be creative, and lead their ideas into markets. Surrounding creative individuals with the appropriate infrastructure and resources to convert their ideas into workable solutions can be very rewarding and profitable. On the contrary, leaving them to their own devices can potentially result in chaos, delayed delivery, under delivery on commitments, overspending and incomplete end results.

Creative individuals can tend to be independent, expressive and passionate. Their mindset stems from the cultural differences between highly creative and operational organizational norms. For example, creative individuals thrive on generating ideas, and asking the "what if" questions. Some managers may prefer efficiency to unproven ideas and rhetorical questions. A manager can nurture their entrepreneurial spirit, and yet manage them well in group settings and staff meetings. There is also the possibility of expansive dialogs and debates, especially when a manager rejects an idea or two from a creative individual. This is perhaps the most challenging aspect of managing a creative individual: how to say "No" to certain ideas that may make compelling sense to the individual?

References: eCornell: Leading Through Creativity

 This is an interesting collaborative writing experiment.  I read the first chapter or two, and it is not shaping up to be anything of interest.  I think it needs a good editor.

British publisher Penguin Books has launched a Web-based, collaborative novel that can be written, edited or read by anyone anywhere thanks to "wiki" software, the technology behind Web encyclopedia Wikipedia. News.com reports.

The novel, A Million Penguins went live on Thursday and its first lines are already being written, edited and rewritten by enthusiasts onwww.amillionpenguins.com.

... The experimental novel, which Penguin says is the first "wiki novel" to be started from scratch by a major publishing house, will be online for at least six weeks.


[Smart Mobs]

What kills innovation

 This cautionary post provides a good lesson for organizations wanting to drive innovation.  One of the first tasks, of course, is to collect ideas.

Over the last few years I've found that the most significant obstacle to sustained innovation is feedback. I know you were probably expecting something more profound or robust, but there it is. Yes, you can fail if you don't have good processes. Yes, you can fail if you aren't willing to listen to your people about their ideas. There are hundreds of ways to fail from an innovation perspective, but feedback is the most subtle and the most powerful one.

Most firms move along, operating fairly well, and demonstrate some interest in a new product or service. Then, something changes in their market. A competitor releases a brand new product. The market shifts as a substitute arises. Then, the management team is all ears for new ideas. GIVE US YOUR IDEAS, will read the headlines on the corporate newsletter. The CEO and his reports will speak incessantly about the importance of innovation - but what they are really looking for is just enough innovation to catch up to or move slightly ahead of the competitor with the latest gizmo.

Now, all of that is reasonable and understandable. For the most part we only want to do enough work to move just slightly ahead of the competition. Anything else and we're the pioneers. So far, so good. The challenge happens when it's no longer necessary to generate ideas to move past the competitor. Ideas are not like water faucets. They can just be turned on and off at will. So, once the idea machine has been turned on, there's not much that can be done to turn it off. Except to ignore it.

As people capture and submit ideas, they expect that the ideas will be considered and evaluated. Once the management team no longer needs new ideas - or at least thinks this - they will stop evaluating new ideas, and while new ideas will continue to stack up in the idea database, none will be evaluated or considered. In fact, the submitters will receive no feedback at all. In fact, this lack of evaluation and feedback is WHAT KILLS IDEA MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS EVERYWHERE AND ALL THE TIME. If you want to kill an idea management system, just ignore it. Eventually, everyone else will too.

So, the next time you are sitting around wondering whatever happened to those great ideas you submitted, recognize that the management team you work for has decided that innovation is important periodically, and your ideas just aren't important right now. Like the boy who cried "wolf", the management team will be back for more ideas at some point in the future, but the ideas may not come to rescue them.

[Innovate on Purpose]

Google Notion of Innovation

Google posits 9 notions of innovation.  These principles have turbo charged Google’s growth

From Joyce Wycoff:

Everyone wants innovation; few want to allow the thinking time required to make it happen.  Google is an exception ... no wonder its earnings are in the stratosphere.  Try this notion on for size:  Employees get a "free" day a week. Sound radical?  Google states that half of all new launches come from this "20% time."  This is one notion of the 9 developed by Marissa Mayer.  See the rest here.

BusinessWeek Online states: Marissa Mayer helps run one of the world's most innovative companies by being an amazing talent finder. As Google's vice-president for search products and user experience, she is the last stop before founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin on the way to final approval of any new feature that appears on the Web's most valuable real estate.

[Heads-Up! on Organizational Innovation]

Heather Solomon created a CSS reference sheet for Windows Sharepoint 2007 that allows me to understand what they have done.  It is very informative.

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