Saturday, 28 February 2009

Innovation is like a dishwasher

This is what happens when you decide to make your own cartoon :-)

It was made when Joyce Wycoff,, asked for picture and cartoons describing innovation in different ways. I misunderstood the request and made this cartoon.

Quite some time ago now, but still the only cartoon I've drawn that has been published in real, i.e. paper-based, magazine. It was used by Professional Fundraisings article "Innovate or die", June 2007.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Themes inhibiting innovation

I need to draw things to see if I understand.

And when reading the (excellent) white paper The Sustainable Innovator from Invention Machine I had to see if I understood the recurring themes they have seen.

Here is the picture I draw. And now I understand this both as image and as text. I hope.

Boxes and arrows and pictures helps me learn. And maybe also the fact that I create something while learning.

Did I mention that the white paper was excellent?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Underdogs are stronger

Is it better to have "something" than to have "nothing"?

Have you ever seen a team coming to the game trying to defend their title? They have that title. And they also have to waste energy to defend it. A portion of their energy will be drained by fear of loosing what they have.
And since they are not only trying to win - but also trying to protect and defend what they have - they are less likely to succeed.

The opposite is also true. Having nothing can make you stronger. You have nothing to loose. And can use all focus and energy forward - to win.
(Beware. If you in the game suddenly think you have won already, you will spend time defending something you think you have...)

This is why the underdog is stronger. He has less to defend. And can only win.

So, what we normally think is good - "having something" - can be a bad thing. And what we normally think is bad "having nothing" can be good.

Oversimplified of course. But the patterns are there. In sports and in business. And in love!
If you have a lot of defend it will be harder to be offensive.
Me thinks.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

"Innovation responds to a need"

James Todhunter suggested that "innovation responds to a need. Without need, there is no innovation-no value."

Something like this?

Here is an updated version (triggered by James comment!). Where the cycle just starts all over again:

"Avoid loss" or "go for win". Same thing?

A couple of times I have been engaged in discussions where close friends are having personal problems. To me it sometimes seems as they, i.e. my friends, are trying to avoid to loose more than they try to win. A very simplified view of course!

Trying to play safe avoiding to loose and in that process hoping that it will automatically lead to winning. But that is not necessarily what will happen.

When you focus on "avoid loss" you have included a negative component in your process - "loss".

A more direct approach would be to develop a "go for win" strategy. And not include any negative component that has to be avoided.

How about a boxer . Consider the Champ entering the ring. If he chose the strategy "avoid to be knocked out". Will he become a winner? How will he box? Will he be an offensive boxer? Will he be a worried boxer afrid to be knocked out? Will he feel like a winner when boxing? Will he be willing to take a risk, lowering the guard, and hit the other guy?

And the other way around. If we "go for win" instead. Will he fight like a winner from start? Will he take risks?

Simplified again of course. But still valid I think. For the boxer above. But also for all of us dealing with our personal problems and situation. And of course in all business situations.

When discussing with my friends I have used the simple model belows to illustrate the differences between the two strategies.

In the first small model we focus (yellow border) on "avoid loss". And we hope that that will counteract (arrow with a line crossing) the negative loss (red). And in that process we hope that it produces a win. The win is the goal (filled green) but it is only a potential win (dashed border). And as you can see the arrow producing the win is dashed, meaning insufficient.

In the second model we focus on "go for win" and hope that it creates the goal - "win". The win is only potential here too- But in this model we have no negative effects.

And if you like boxing I think you would prefer two boxer selecting the second strategy below...

A quickguide for this notation can be found at

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Butterfly effect

Amazing how things, events, causes and outcomes are connected. Even the smallest beings and smallest action can influence and be part of creating something big.

Even a butterfly in Beijing!

Angry people at training

A twitter ( noticed that people were angry at a training he attended. Why was that? No clue really. But it made me start to think.

Trainings are great opportunities for many things. But there are also reasons why people would be angry. Although a natural feeling the anger is counterproductive in the training.

The "potential" anger should have been used in advance to prepare and plan for the training. That could? would? have reduced tha anger. And maybe selection of training and execution of training would have been more productive.

Here are some (basic) models (that could be expanded!) describing my thinking:

Changing the world

Do you want to change the world?

Release a butterfly.

Wonder if you have to do it in Beijing. Or if it works anywhere.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Definition of pessimist?

"I'm not pessimistic. I just don't see any solutions. And I don't think we will find any." (Financial Expert)

The expert was commenting on SAABs future.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Not so inspiring

Yes, the famous Law of Murphy.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Inspiring proverb

"After rain comes sunshine"

Monday, 16 February 2009

Coordinating stealth submarines

Hmm. If we have two stealth submarins on secret missions out there, there is a risk they collide. The reason for having a stealth sub on secret mission is to gain surprise capability and potential.

Unfortuately we need some sort of co-ordination of the missions to avoid the collision. And that co-ordination reduces the surprise potential, since more people know about the missions.

So. What went wrong when a french and english submarine collided? (

Why education?

Some months ago I had a chat with a young man. He said he did not want to spend a lot of time on education. But he wanted to have a rewarding life, doing fun stuff, and be able to travel and so.

We spent some time thinking about this and explored some options.

To travel and do fun stuff you need money and time. So, how do we get the money? Well, we could buy lottery tickets and hope for the big win. If we get lucky we don't have to worry about money ever again. But probability seems low.

How about robbing a bank? That would give us the money. But if we are caught we have to spend time in jail. And that is not a way of having fun.

Then a viable option would be to work. A job would give us money that we can spend on the fun stuff. We just need to find a balance. How much time to spend on work and how much on other things.

Can we improve efficiency of the job? Yes, with proper education we can get other jobs. Or do the job better. And that way produce more money faster. There could be a slight delay, but education would in most cases give us better chances to make money faster. We thought.

We could even consider to invent something that might become a succesful business. This could give us a lot of money rather fast. But in order to "innovate" or "invent" we need education. And to turn that into a profitable business we also need education.
Without education we do not have the skills to invent something useful. And without education it would be harder for us to turn this into a succesful business.

So, education seems to be something good if you are thinking of making money in the future.

Yes, we all knew that already. Didnt we?

But for the young man this discussion actually made a difference. We explored options, laughed a bit about the silly parts. And in the end found out why we thought that education was the best option for now.

There are of course other ways of making money. And you could even argue that money is not everything in the world. But to get this young man to consider what educational path to take "future money" was a powerful argument.

The model below illustrates some of our exploration.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Problem finders

Sometimes it seems that we need problems more than we need solutions. Problems seems to be the stuff that triggers improvement processes, triggers solution processes, makes us see changes as something positive.

Without problems we are happy with what we have. "If it aint broken - dont fix it". But not fixing it will not improve it either. And we are more or less stuck with what we have. Starting up improvements will be "cost" and "change". And without a problem - why introduce cost and change?

We need to find more problems! So that we can improve.
And if we cannot find problems - we might have to invent and create problems.

"A problem! A problem! My kingdom for a problem!"

"Dont give me solutions. Give me problems".

Perspectives in conflict

When resolving or working with a conflict it is important to consider the different perspectives. What one group think is normal is abnormal from another perspective.

But maybe even more important is that the different perspectives needs to be included in the solution. A solution includes and integrates the different perspectives will have a better chance to remove the conflict.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Activities in forrest...

Many very weird traces of activity in the forrest indicates the presence of snow-dragons.

$0-budget? So what?

Manager at large corporation: "No, we cannot do. I have no budget"
Me: "Yes you do have a budget. It just says $0. What *OTHER* resources do we have that we can use?"

Why do we sometimes focus on what we don't have? Instead of considering what we have. And what alternatives there are.


Friday, 13 February 2009

Wrong side of town

Wonder if everyone in Stockholm lives in the opposite side of town. So that they have to travel through through town in the morning and in the evening. Or is everyone just taking their car out in the morning to produce a rush hour?

Thursday, 12 February 2009


It is not obvious if E85 is good or bad. Here is a model (yup, Swedish) indicating some aspects to consider.

What is good about E85 is that it is ONE way and path to explore. And we might need to consider to spend both time and money to seriously explore every option, every path, every way. Or?

Systematic results depends on systematic behaviour.

Cold, black and white.

Still very dark up here in Nordic. White on the ground though. And cold. Almost like a real winter.

Assuming things is still a very common habit. Annoying. And inventing other peoples problem.

I have shown the "fetch problems" model to some people. "Yes" - they say. Wonder if they also will use this thinking?

Monday, 9 February 2009

Dont push products - "fetch" problems

How come that some "sales people" try to push "products"?

The product is not what the customer need. The customer need to make value - or money. And he needs to deal with the things that is stopping him from doing so.

If we can get the customer to explain his problems, i.e. what is stopping him from making money, we can use our knowledge and skills in a "solutioning process". Hopefully we can create a solution that will remove the problem. So that the customer makes more money. In the solution we can use our products and services.

Do not sell products to the customer. Sell him more money. And to be able to do that you need to make him reveal and expose his problems. And that is maybe the most important task for the "sales people"; make the customer state his problems.

How can we get the customer to reveal the problems? Here is where you have to start to really think! Focus on the "??" in the model below. Instead of your products and services....

Problems are great (and necessary!) fuel!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Claiming a resource can lead to conflict

If two parts claim the ownership of some valuable resource a conflict may be the result.


When we are in a conflict - or see a conflict - we also are in a mental territory from where we experience the conflict. To be able to work with the conflict we need to move into a Solving Territory. We cannot stay in our Home territory. Same goes for the facilitator or consultant that support the process.

All parties involved need to move into the Solving Territory.

The Solving Territory is mainly a mental territory. But "real" parameters can be important. Such as the S-territory should be located in a neutral physical location.

More thinking to come....

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Who can solve the conflict

The thinking process is started. In postings here I have started to express some thoughts and visualizations. Hopefully these will trigger more.

Some great input also from a discussion at

The groups involved in the conflict are the groups that have to work with the conflict. Maybe not all conflicts can be resolved, removed or stopped. But we must continue to work with the conflicts. Reducing the negative effects. Maybe even find ways of benefitting from the conflict. Creating value to the groups involved.

One major question it how to get the groups working together and dealing with the conflict. If we can get the groups:
  • into the same collaboration space (or scene)
  • start working together with resolving the conflict

What processes, tools, methods and facilitation is then needed?

Well, thinking process only started.

Conflicts 4

When seeing a conflict we see it with different eyes. Those involved in th conflict will have their views and perspectives. And on the outside we will see yet another perspective. A perspecitve also biased of course.

What we see will be used in our anlysis and pointing us toward an underlying reason for the conflict. But that might not be the unerlyding reason at all. What looks like a religious dispute might be a fight over water.

And furthermore, there might be more than one reason for the conflict.

Conflicts 3

When "resolving" a conflict the end-state can be on different levels. Cease fire is not the same thing as living happily ever after.

Conflicts 2

Many conflicts seems to be based on "land"-problems. So, what can the reasons be for "fighting over a piece of land".

Here are some of them. Not all. But a start.

Conflicts 1

A first thought.

Wonder if parties involved in conflict focus on reducing the negative effects of the conflict instead of resolving the conflict or reducing the tension between teh groups. Since the negative effects could be different the means and methods used will be different for the involved groups. And they will not be able to co-operate. And the conflict will likely remain.
(see / on how to "read" the model)

At last!

Now David Lega's book is available in English. Go get it. Most likely it will challenge you mental models. And make you smile!
Go get it!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

My chinese name

A friend of mine helped me "spell" my Chinese name. And it would be something like 旸安德 (Yang-An-De)

Thanks, Leo!

Definition of creativity

The word creativity can be defined in many ways. One interesting
definition I have seen is:
"creativity; an excuse for sloppiness and lack of organizational discipline"

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Laugh anywhere?

Is it ok to laugh anywhere? Anytime?

I say it depends.

To laugh in Treblinka was ok and probably also necessary.
To laugh in Nurnberg trials would *not* have been ok.

Less dramatic examples can be found. But point is that laugh and
laughter is generally very ok. But you need to pay attention to
situation and context.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Conflict resolution

How can we use all problem resolution and innovation tools to deal with human conflicts. Thinking needed! Collaboration needed! And....action!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

modelling an octopus

This model created with a tool called Southbeach. Read more at Lots of examples, idioms and helpful material available.
Download your own copy and start modelling your problems and opportunities!

This model shows a harmful (red) octopus that uses his (or hers?) eight arms of destruction (reversed creation) on the useful or good (green) fish.


"Orville Wright did not have a pilot's license."
(Gordon MacKenzie)

This is a start...

...sort of. A place for publish thinking. And to be able to upload stuff.