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I’m sitting here on a Monday afternoon, and I’m trying to synthesize the various things that I’ve learned about over the past week or so.
First, Kent Allaway asked at the end of his PCMA blog post on Blurring Lines, ” If information truly is the key, how do we share knowledge among the community, in order to benefit ourselves and our customers…?” In this post Kent talked about competition, cooperation, and co-opetition. More and more, organizations need to find ways to add value to the lives of their customers. They made need to go outside their four walls. They may need to provide wins for others while staying focused on their own goals.
It calls to mind a recent chat I had with Hilary Marsh. We were talking about content management, content curation, content strategy, content marketing (you get the idea… content). Hilary gave me this great illustration which has stuck with me. Imagine a museum. Suppose 70% of their exhibits come from their own holdings. To make up the difference and provide their patrons with a great experience, they have to “partner” with museums and other entities and borrow from their collections. Who wins? Both do! The local museum is not looked down on because they had to borrow from a museum in Philadelphia or Chicago or San Francisco. Rather the perception is favorable. The curator made the efforts necessary to expose the local audience to exhibits they might not otherwise see. And if those individuals find themselves in one of those cities, they might be more apt to visit that museum and see the rest of what they have on display. In my thinking it’s giving up control to gain prominence.
Interestingly enough, I heard or read two references Friday to 3M, historically known as one of the most innovative companies in the US. In 5 Ways Process is Killing Your Productivity, Lisa Bodell, author of Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution, wrestles with the question, “When people’s jobs depend on meeting metrics and maintaining the status quo, can you fault them for their reluctance to expend any energy toward creation and invention?” Process keeps people in meetings and writing reports. How do we create, foster, and nurture an environment of innovation, collaboration, and engagement? (see how I used 3 of my 5 MIICE words for 2012 right there?)
The other reference to 3M came from a recent Bloomberg Radio interview with Thor Muller and Lane Becker, authors of Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work For You and Your Business. Their perspective is that one has to have a commitment to goals while having an openness to other ideas and directions. Muller and Becker believe in training oneself to be able to “link together unrelated concepts in order to generate meaningful insights”. An individual also has to be in “motion” to get out of a routine and be able to “run into new ideas in new contexts“. 3M has put itself in a position to be innovative by creating this kind of work environment. Thus, by following these kinds of approaches, the “accidental” discovery of Post-It notes was not really accidental.
And, of course, I wouldn’t have gotten to this without reading Dave Lutz’s blog post on Creating Planned Serendipity For Your Conference Success. He has some great ideas on how to foster engagement and connections at conferences. I like his take on an “army of connectors”. Putting attendees in proximity to other people and connecting them and then creating an environment conducive to conversations are key components to this concept of planned serendipity.
What additional insights can you share on collaboration, innovation, engagement, and planned serendipity? What has challenged you recently to think differently about your organization’s goals and strategies?
I present to you “The Greatest of Great Ideas in Less Than 180 Seconds”: the best of the notes, quotes, tweets, posts, and questions from ASAE’s Great Ideas Conference. I have organized these topically rather than by session or chronologically. I have put in bold ones that resonated with me, my personal favorites.May the content below inspire you to more great ideas!
On presentations and learning:
- The brain craves meaning before detail.
- Give people three reasons they need to do something. Short term memory can’t handle more.
- Think visually and tell stories to be remembered.
- Retention goes up to 65% when just an image is used. Telling stories is underused.
- The story is for your audience, make sure they care about what you’re talking about.
- Talking trumps listening, cut presentation content in half and provide time for discussion.
- Provide bite-sized education: 10-minute segments are best.
On innovation and creativity:
- CEOs and senior management must be open to innovation from any level.
- Innovation like jazz often happens in the spaces between the notes.
- Innovation is not about products and services; it’s about experiences.
- The overhead projector appeared in the bowling alley 30 years before it appeared in the classroom. We’re slow to innovate.
- Sell dreams, not products.
- Dream bigger! As Steve Jobs said, in crazy there is genius.
- Creativity is found in connecting disparate concepts. Connect ideas and fields: Steve Jobs modeled Apple stores after the Ritz-Carlton experience.
- There is no magic toolbox for innovation. But uncover opportunities. Then act.
On leadership, opportunities, and competition:
- Visions should be bold, concise, crisp and have a deadline.
- Besides identifying new business opportunities, associations have to identify current ones that are no longer relevant and eliminate them.
- FedEx redefined overnight service. How are you redefining your market?
- If we hypothetically created the competitor that puts us out of business- what would we do differently?
- In a global economy you compete with everyone from everywhere for everything.
- Think big, start small, and scale fast!
- Collaboration is too often something we are weak at internally which is why we have trouble collaborating externally.
- It doesn’t have to be your program you’re promoting. You may need to collaborate with others to better serve members. What collaboration could occur so we can achieve our goal?
- Inventing it all yourself is too slow and too expensive. Do you have the capacity to make the right connections?
- When you plan, do you collaborate to paint a clear picture? What does your preferred future look, feel, and sound like?
On the role of associations:
- Association web sites need to focus on benefits and information to members- not about who and what the association is.
- If we closed our doors, would they notice? What would members not be able to do for themselves? Innovation comes to life when you think differently.
- Associations should not want members; they should want engaged, empowered, and active citizens.
- We don’t always have to be education providers, we can serve as curators and provide value to our members.
- If an association does not build the capacity to innovate, its very existence is thrown into question.
- You have to conceive of your brand as having an impact beyond your potential membership base.
- 75% of association executives believe their members use smartphones, but only 28% of associations have a mobile strategy
- In Japan buildings are painting giant QR Codes on top of roofs so they can be seen by Google Maps.
What would you add to this list? What are your key takeaways? What blog posts on Great Ideas have you gotten additional insights from? (Feel free to provide links below.)
I’d like to thank Amanda Batson, Bob Vaez, Jamie Notter, Devin Crosby, Abby Myette, Maddie Grant, Tobin Conley, Walt Tracy, Kim Howard, Linda Eller, Jane Lee, Lowell Aplebaum, Sarah Albright, Stacy Copeland, Scott Oser, Nancy Fisher, Mark Dorsey, Staurt Meyer, Nora Burns, and Carmine Gallo for their tweets, comments, and contributions to my understanding.