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this issue is dedicated to LIFE BEYOND THE SCREEN

when you need to call someone in the wilserness, look for the red tardis

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast* is an innovative Edgeware program (also in an Edgeware-Lite two-day workshop version). Its designed for the development of an innovation culture in companies and organisations through a focus on intrapreneurship.
Intrapreneurs are people willing to create and develop entrepreneurial, forward-thinking systems, balancing the needs of existing structures with a drive to think and act creatively, and so to develop or enhance innovative products, services and processes. Six Impossible Things stresses capability as well as competence that is, generic human values related to entrepreneurial excellence, including creativity and play, personal development and self-fulfillment, empowerment and belonging, humour and enjoyment, team dynamics, ethical business practice, and social and environmental responsibility. The general theme of the program focuses first on a practical, working understanding of Why we cant that is, why and how the structure of organisations inhibits creativity, entrepreneurial behaviours and processes. Second, it identifies How we can, given that we cant that is, how participants can use their emerging entrepreneurial capabilities, in the context of their understanding of organisational constraints, to develop an innovative, entrepreneurial culture, as demonstrated in practical, workable project activities.

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

* Alice laughed: Theres no use trying, she said; one cant believe impossible things. I daresay you havent had much practice, said the Queen. When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes Ive believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. Alice in Wonderland.

I have been speculating last night what makes a man a discoverer of undiscovered things; and a most perplexing problem it is. Many men who are very clever - much cleverer than the discoverers - never originate anything.
Charles Darwin, 1871.

The answer to this intriguing question has been over a century in coming. Openness to experience is a psychological term describing people who are imaginative, flexible, creative, and independent. context. Research into foundations of innovation and creativity involved 379 adults, each one of three children. The word leader was used only by the oldest to describe themselves, but not to describe either of the younger siblings. The word creative was used by respondents to describe the middle and youngest, but not the oldest. In research examining innovation in country towns, respondents identified themselves as (a) a community leader, (b) somebody with expertise that could be called upon, or (c) a support person. Such people enjoy novel experiences.

The least innovative towns reported the highest number in the first and third categories. The most innovative town reported the highest number in the second category and the majority of these were recent arrivals. A self evident truth is that people have mobility choices; to move towards something attractive, to stay somewhere attractive, or to move away from somewhere unattractive. These patterns of mobility are not random. Creativity, independence and mobility go hand in hand. It seems that creativity and innovation are more likely to come from those who are uninterested in either leadership or followership, independent thinkers operating outside of hierarchical structures or as rebels within them. It is a critical mass of such people rather than leaders that are required for innovation to flourish!!

A major contributor to openness is childhood family

1. Everything takes three times longer than it should. Especially the money part. 2. The best way to get approval is not to need it. 3. People want what they cant have. In fact, thats pretty much all they do want. 4. Once you become an entrepreneur, you find the company of non-entrepreneurs a lot harder to be around. Youve seen things they havent; the wavelengths alter, its that simple. 5. In a world of over-supply and commodification, you are no longer paid to supply. Youre being paid to deliver something else. What that is exactly, is not always obvious. 6. Word of mouth is the best advertising medium of all. The best word of mouth comes from disrupting markets. 7. People buy your product because it helps fill in the narrative gaps in their lives. 8. You can either be cheapest or the best. I know which one I prefer. 9. Some people think that once they secure venture funding, their problems will be over. Wrong. Thats when your problems REALLY begin. 10. Its better to be underfunded than overfunded.

11. If an average guy in a bar can understand what you do for a living, chances are youre halfway to becoming a commodity. 12. Its easier to turn an ally into a customer than vice versa. 13. If youre happy in your career before the age of thirty, youre probably doing something wrong. Heck, if youre happy in your career before the age of seventy, youre probably doing something wrong. 14. Smart, young, artistic people are always asking me which is a better career path, Creativity or Money. I always answer that it doesnt matter. What matters is Effective and/or Ineffective. 15. Write the following on a piece of paper, have it framed, and stick it on your office wall: Have you hugged your customer today? 16. People will always, always be in the market for a story that resonates with them. Your product will either have this quality or it wont. If your product fails this test, quit your job and go find something else. Just making the product incrementally cheaper or better wont help you.

19. Markets serve entrepreneurs better if the latter can keep the former undersupplied. Oversupply is the kiss of death. 20. I personally know a former CEO who, once he attained control of the company, ran an EXTREMELY profitable business into the ground in less than two years. From a market cap of $100 million to ZERO, just like that. Why? Short answer: He loved being The CEO, but he didnt much care for being a CEO. 21. In terms of becoming an entrepreneur, probably the most useful thing I learned in the last twenty years was how to enjoy my own company for long stretches of time. 22. One successful entrepreneur I know well has a wonderful quality, namely that he never, ever compares himself to other people. He just does his own thing, which actually serves him rather well. Just because his competitor has bought himself a bigger motor boat, doesnt mean he feels the need have a bigger motor boat. This quality helps him to build his business the way he sees fit, not the way the motor boat people see fit. 23. Running a startup is full of extreme ups and downs.

24. MBAs are conditioned to use their brains in much the same way as sex workers are conditioned to use their genitals. Nice work if you can get it. 25. Bill Gates may have a million times more money than me, but he isnt going to live a million times longer than me, watch a million times more sunsets than me, make love to a million times more women than me, drink a million times more fine wines than me, listen to a million times more Beethoven String Quartets than me, nor sire a million times more children than me. Human beings dont scale. 26. F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, There are no second acts in American lives. F. Scott was a drunkard and a fool. archives/003642.html

Posted by Hugh Macleod at January 14, 2007 10:47 PM | TrackBack

17. Products are idea amplifiers. The molecules and/or bytes are secondary. 18. People remember the quality long after theyve forgotten the price. Unless you try to rip them off.

Which is why so many successful and happy entrepreneurs I know lead such normal, stable, unglamorous, boring, family-centered lives. Somehow they need the latter in order to balance out the former. Extra-curricular drama looks great in the tabloids, but thats all its ultimately good for.


* Elbeck, Uffe (2003, Second Ed. 2006), KaosPilot A-Z. Aarhus: KaosCommunications

Michael approached me a few weeks ago and asked if I would write a short review of the second Kaospilot A-Z for his next newsletter real fast, due to publication deadlines. I was having a ghastly day an unholy collision of events in my personal and business lives but being a sucker for doing anything Michael asks me ;-) I readily said yes, whereupon the 275 page tome was delivered to my office.
Aaarghwhat had I let myself in for? How could one read, absorb and review any book in a day or two with an already full calendar, a head full of personal issues and a To Do list that takes up an entire Holy Mackerel to do list pad? Perhaps the momentary panic could be alleviated with food (yes, Im one of those sad sacks who finds solace in chocolate, wine, BLTs and all manner of other culinary outlets). Determined to fulfill my NYR to take lunch I rummaged in my desk and located a handful of almonds, an apple and a few slightly stale rice cakes and settled down for 15 minutes with the book. It is a predictably beautiful to look at bright, fun and filled with gorgeous images, photos and words of inspiration. Lots of white space and use of my favourite colour palette (earthy oranges and terracottas) offer a visual feast. Simple graphics illustrate esoteric concepts like the Fourth Sector and important points are picked out in bold for the benefit of the time poor. As a piece of art the book would come close to meeting the high standards of the JM team. But of course it is the words and spirit of the book that provokes thought and touches heartstrings. Stories of inspiration and shared thoughts bought together to celebrate Kaospilots 10th birthday in 1991 2001 then added to produce a book that in the words of Uffe Elbaek

A book about hope, learning, playful leadership and how to navigate in times of turbalence

truly reflects Kaospilots here and now. Stories of an incredible journey for Kaospilots, its students and the other people who have sweated over the years to create this ever-evolving school unlike any other in the world. Uffe tells us in the introduction that there is no right way to read the book front to back, in one sitting or otherwise, and he is right. The best testimonial I can give is this one. I was having a bad day. Why is unimportant. I took 15 minutes to scan the book (of course, I have read it in much more detail since). In that time I was reminded that I control my own destiny. That I can make changes that will result in my business, my self and my family being in a better place tomorrow than they are today. To steal a concept from Kaospilots and twist it a little, I needed to be my own corporate chaplain, acknowledge that my working and family life are inextricably intertwined and stop acting like a lack manager (read KP A-Z2 P61 and youll get it).

The book made a material difference to my day then and on many other days since. I cancelled a bag of meetings and freed up my calendar so I could focus on what was really important in my business. I scheduled meetings with several of my staff with whom I had scarcely interacted over the past few weeks. I finished off the darned Strategic Plan and distributed it in imperfect form rather than wasting a bunch more time to get the words right (the spirit was sound). And importantly I went home early and cooked dinner, confronted those issues at home, made them my first priority and acknowledged that part of the solution lay in my need to change. Lets not get too dramatic the collective problems of that day were trivial on reflection. My point is that the book was a timely reminder of the truly important things in life, and the simple tools we can apply to overcome the normal hurdles we face each and every day. Give it a read any way you like you might find it changes your life, or perhaps just your day. PS my NYR has gone to pot. Next year I intend resolving to give up ricecakes PPS be sure to read Michaels article and check out the uncanny resemblance between Michael and Ketan Lakhani on page 265 PPPS does John Kaos article give Donald Rumsfelds famous Known Unknowns quote credibility???

only dirty people need to shower


+ Whosoever would undertake some atrocious enterprise should act as if it were already accomplished, should impose upon himself a future as irrevocable as the past. Jorge Luis Borges, The Garden of Forking Paths + Years of solitude had taught him that, in ones memory, all days tend to be the same, but that there is not a day, not even in jail or in the hospital, which does not bring surprises, which is not a translucent network of minimal surprises. + Jorge Luis Borges, The Waiting +

+ The concept of Slow emerged from the Slow Food and Slow Design movement in Europe and the United States and builds on and develops the ideas of sustainable living as a desirable future. Slowness as a pedagogy allows students to learn not at the metronome of the school day or the school bell, but at the metronome of nature, giving them time to absorb, to introspect, to contemplate, to argue and rebut and to enjoy. ... The learning opportunities which foster slowness are created in such a way that they operate on three levels which are not discrete, linear or sequential. Taken together they enable experiences which foster genuine and sophisticated understanding. The layers are:

looking and listening exploring and thinking making and being

Geetha Narayanan (2007), A Dangerous but Powerful Idea - Counter Acceleration and Speed with Slowness and Wholeness, tkt2007/edition-13/narayaran/

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