Tuesday, 27 October 2009

X is nothing - Xing is everything

Many times the process is more important than the result. The verb is more important than the noun.

The planning process can be more important than the actual plan. The running can be more important than the run. The cooking process more important than the dinner.

When a child learn to do the math the method and process is often more important than the actual result. We want the child to learn how to calculate - not the answer "53". Or "78".

You often learn and build knowledge in the process. Maybe you do something with someone else having a great time together, and the end result is of less importance.

X is nothing - Xing is everything

Friday, 23 October 2009

Ebberods Bank = "Financial success"

There is an old movie and play called Ebberöds Bank with an interesting business concept.

In the small town of Ebberod a bank is started. This is the first bank in town. With some clever PR and marketing the first customers are attracted. And the business is excellent - they lend out money at 4 percent interest rate but gives 8 percent on the savings accounts.

How is this possible? "It is all about volume", says management.

The bank gets very popular and everyone wants to loan money and immediately put them back into a saving account. And since the bank is attracting so many new deposits and everyone continues to put money into saving accounts the bank has plenty of money...(Like a pyramid game, of course, a bubble that will burst one day....)

Everyone is happy! Business is excellent!

Everyone is happy except for a larger bank in the big city nearby. All their customers are leaving to put their money into Ebberods bank. Eventually the big bank is forecd to buy Ebberods Bank. Which means that the owner of Ebberdos Bank gets money for the bank and gets rid of the problem of a faulty business model. And a lot of soon-to-be unhappy customers...

Stupid? Well, the larger bank got into panic mode. Seeing all customers run away. And seeing a new bank with a business model they could not understand. Maybe thinking "They cannot be giving away money - so they have someting that work".

Ethical? Sustainable? No. But it is interesting that a business concept that do not work still can be a financial success for the "creative" person.

And I bet there are real Ebberod Banks out there. Business models and operations that seems to work in the short run. But are doomed to collapse. We need to figure those out, instead of getting into panic mode. Think twice when you see something very "succesful" that you do not understand. Questions to ask: "Is that sustainable? Sound? Ethical?".

I like that movie!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Step back and move forward

The ability to step back and outside of the system can be very valuable.

Lets say you are engaged with something. Maybe solving a problem, or discussing or arguing with someone. Lets illustrate that with "You" and an "object". The object is whatever you are engaged with. Like this:
If you now step back and try to see the situation from the outside you will learn new things. And see the situation with fresh eyes. If you are in a discussion you can see the other persons perspective. And you can see how you behave and act in the sitation. Are you stubborn? Unpolite? Not listening to the other person? What are you doing? How do the "object" respond? What progress are you making?
What do you see now - from the outside - that would resolve, speed up, assist, improve the situation?
Here you can see yourself on the outside:

The three arrows show that you can study yourself, the "object" and how you interact. And you can now "coach" yourself in the situation.
You can also step back further. And actually see yourself studying the system with you and the object. In this perspective you can learn more about yourself and how you learn and what you learn when stepping back. In this mode you become yourself your own coach for your coaching skills.
Like this:

So, step back. Get new perspective of the system, yourself and how you act. Step back further and become better at stepping back and how you learn.
When you step back the perspectives you get and what you learn will make it possible to move forward faster. And this is a skill that you can improve and get better at. All the time.
Good luck!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Lenses, Lenses,...

Different lenses can be used to study systems and solve problems. Read more about lenses and lenscraft at the Lenscraft WIKI.

Different people have different preferences. First example is where you just apply a lense to study something. You get a result and use the result to get into action. Maybe you use a SWOT analysis to figure out your strengths, and then step into action to use those strengths.

But you can also use two lenses in parallel. For example, do a SWOT analysis and a TRIZ Ideal Final Result. When you have results from both you can use it and move on into action.

Third example would be to use the lenses in sequence. First you use a TRIZ Ideal Final Result (for example) to see where you would like to be. And then you apply a SWOT-analysis to learn more about the obstacles and ways to get there.

Last example is when you take (two or more) lenses and combine them. Use them together. Maybe doing a TRIZ 9-window and a SWOT within each ofthe nine boxes? The result would be something different from applying the lenses in sequence or individually in parallel.

Imagine what magic would happen when other lenses are combined and used. Using multiple lenses in different ways is a powerful "tool".
In the examples I have only used SWOT and simple TRIZ-mechanisms as illustrations. Learn more about other lenses and join the discussions! And good starting point is http://lenscraft.wikispaces.com/

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Illustrated quote, sort of.

Graham Horton said "Research means converting money into new knowledge. #Innovation means turning new knowledge into money."

I like that. Here is simple image illustrating the quote.

Thanks, Graham.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Crime as an example for shared creation.

Was just playing with modelling tool and trying to show to a young person how options can become clearer when drawing pictures (and models). It became a magical moment of shared creation.

In the picture you have the "honest" person box in right bottom. Working to get money for pleasure and expenses. And possibly also save some for later consumption. (Later consumption illustrated with a delay arrow.)

In the dashed box you have the criminal acting. Doing crimes to get money from the honest persons.

To stop the criminal we pay tax to get police officers. And the police have (at least) three things to do. Put criminals in jail (assuming they are guilty of course), stop crimes and possibly try to stop money "transfer" to criminal.

We could also spend time (work) to try to stop the criminal from stealing our money.

When we put the criminal in jail he becomes a prisoner. And after that he becomes an honest person. (We hope).

Of course the model is incomplete (In fact all models are...or should be?). But the most interesting thing was how easy it was to continue discussion about the model and how reality works. The youngster added a lot of questions and perspectives. And we could easily have built a more detailed model. And also find some "solutions" to the problem we could spot in the model.

Like "How do we make sure that the prisoner becomes an honest person?" and "How do we deal when criminals steals from other criiminals?"

I love to see how shared modelling and storytelling sparks thinking and discussions.

When you now see this model I do not think you get the same value from it as we did when doing it.

Key is "shared creation". The model and modelling is the playground for this "shared creation".

The shared creation process is often more important than the resulting model. But, the model is very valuable when we want to continue the shared creation or move on to problem solving, discussions, presentations,...

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Be the child and something green

When running workshops including some sort of creativity (which all should....) I sometimes bring up child perspectives. How curiosity, simplicity, creativity, play can be used to find solutions and approach problems.

When asked if we could use child perspectives and thinking during the workshop everyone nods. We agree to be naive, curious, play and approach things as children do.

So, I then make a small test. And I ask:

"What is huge and green, lives four meters under ground and eat rocks and stones?"

Noone has yet instantly answered that question in my workshops. Sometimes complete silence. Sometimes some giggling and laughter. Possibly some whispering in the other end of the room.

I then again remind them:

"Well, think again and bring forward that child in you. Any suggestions?"

And usually some good answers are now voiced. First a bit unsecure. Than louder and with more laughter added. And as I acknowledge all good suggestions we usually end up with the beast I had in mind:

The Big Green Stone-Eater.

Most of us acknowledge how useful it can be to think like a child. But still we find it very hard to do it. In groups even harder.

Challenge yourself - be the child you are! And be prepared that it is hard work and you need to practice!

And when someone asks a complicated question - the answer might be something as simple as The Big Green Stone-Eater.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Aj, så klumpigt.

Det händer att det ringer ideella föreningar - som jag är medlem i - och vill ändra hur jag betalar (exempelvis) medlemsavgiften. Så här kan det låta:

- Hej, jag ringer från föreningen X.
- Hej [hinner jag nästan säga]
- Jo, först vill vi tacka dig för att du är medlem. Och snart är det dags att förnya medlemsskapet.
[Här ville jag komma in i samtalet - men fick inte...]
- Och då undrar vi om du kunde tänka dig att ändra till autogiro. Så skulle vi spara pengar och administration.

Aj! Det gjorde ont. De vill att JAG ska ändra mig för att spara DERAS pengar. Oavsett hur behjärtansvärt ändamålet och föreningen är så måste det gå att säga på annat sätt. Och framför allt; sälja in det till mig.

Varför inte starta ett samtal? En riktig dialog? Lyssna på mig? Kanske vill jag berätta något för föreningen - eller göra något mer.
Och sedan kanske berätta hur livet blir lättare och bekvämare för mig. Samtidigt som de också kan göra sitt arbete i föreningen enklare och effektivare.

Att ringa upp någon - inte lyssna - och föreslå "Vi vill att DU ska ändra dig så att VI sparar pengar" - är INTE en vinnande strategi. Ännu sämre (och dyrare för föreningen!) är det de gånger det är en inhyrd telemarketingfirma som gör jobbet åt föreningen.

Nästa föreningen som försöker samma sak får en omedelbar uppsägning!

Use a map to find'em all - Revisited!

In earlier post "Use a map to find'em all!" two parties were described and how they could focus their efforts to "win".

Today on radio a debate indicated very clearly that there were parts missing in that model! The persons debating focused not on any of the things described in the earlier model. They skipped today and the future and instead they focused on the past. Trying to show how succesful they had been in the past. And how the other party failed in the past.

In this map these two new potential focus areas are indicated (yellow border boxes)

1. When listening to debate the earlier map was considered and it was clear something was missing. Having a map (or model) means you have a chance to better see what is missing or needed.

2. Maps should and could be re-visited! The landscape changes or more details becomes available. Or something was missing from the start.

Maps and models are useful. And fun.

Monday, 5 October 2009


I like to kinth.

Kinthing is useful for many reasons. Kinthing can solve a lot of problems for you, and it is often very fun and rewarding. When normal thinking don't work - kinthing might.

And it is easy! Anyone can do it. Just do it and soon you will be able to kinth fluidly. And in any situation.

Kinth; think backwards and/or re-arrange and/or re-group.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Doing the same thing creates change.,

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (Albert Einstein)

I disagree. Or rather, there are situations where doing the same thing over and over again is the key to create different results.

So, if you do the same thing over and over again you should very often expect different results. Doing the same thing will trigger change.

If you every morning ignore your wife your marriage will change. If you take a hammer and hit the wall the wall will change, and one day there will be a hole. If you treat people in a fair and consistent way the respect for you will change - grow.
If you kick your dog over and over again it will die. And with the last kick the result will be different.

There are plenty of situations that are less drastic of course.

Every sound qoute makes sense only in specific contexts.

Thursday, 1 October 2009


We talk a lot about openness, sharing information, publishing. But what about if you want to do the opposite. Keep something secret.

To keep secrets we could learn some easy-to-use principles from the military.

This is an excerpt from an instruction book for how to classify information - used within Swedish military and others:

"Våra försvarsförberedelser är i vissa fall svåra, i andra lätta, att dölja för omvärlden. Det är svårt att dölja våra resursers existens, något lättare att dölja resursernas egenskaper och tillstånd och lättast att dölja våra avsikter beträffande resursernas utnyttjande."
(RISK 1990 - Riktlinjer för sekretessbedömning inom försvarsmakten, M7745-705003)

The text says that it is hard to hide the existence of something. A bit easier to hide performance and status and easiest to hide the purpose or objective.

Presence, Performance, Purpose = 3P as guide for how to keep secret.

Example 1. It is hard to hide that your country develop a new bomber - B8. You can hide the fact in the early phase perhaps. When the "enemy" has discovered your bomber - you can still hide performance and status. How many bombs can it carry? What sort? What range can it operate within? But even those things will be known soon. So, now you can still hide its purpose or objective. How are you going to use the bomber? And what country will you attack first...

Example 2. You have a secret lover. Your husband will find out eventually. Denying the existence would then be silly. But performance and status, such as hair-color, sexual performance, how often you meet the lover can still be hidden. After a while even thse things will be known. But your last secret - purpose/objective - will be the hardest to figure out for your husband. Will you leave husband for lover? What is your plan with the lover? Will you get another lover?

If you want to keep something secret - consider the 3P - Presence, Performance and Purpose. Be prepared that the secret will be known by others in that order.

Do not struggle to much hiding its Presence. Hide the Performance instead. But most important - never give away Purpose!