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A Sure-Fire Way to Stop Innovation

island We read the transcript of a great speech, entitled How to Get Rich, given by Jared Diamond at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. It offers some great lessons in history, economics, and innovation.

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He asks the question, “What is the best way to organize human groups and human organizations and businesses so as to maximize productivity, creativity, innovation, and wealth?”

Now wouldn’t we all like to know the answer to that question?

He says that in the thirteen thousand years of human history, we have thousands upon thousands of “natural” experiments. To answer his question, he looked at extreme examples of societies in isolation.

The isolation begins

About ten thousand years ago, the places we know as Australia, Tasmania, and Flinders Island were connected – people could freely travel back and forth between them. Then the glaciers melted.

Even though they were only about 200 miles apart, the water-going craft of that era couldn’t traverse the rough seas between these three islands. So the 4,000 people of Tasmania and 200 people on Flinders Island became completely isolated from the rest of the world.

The isolation ends
In the seventeenth century, these two islands were “discovered” by the Europeans. The first to be rediscovered was Tasmania. It was noted that, at the time, the society was the least technologically advanced and most primitive group of people in the world.

They had no fire. They didn’t have any tools. They didn’t even know how to fish. In fact, archeologists have shown that they had less technology than they had ten thousand years before.

So, you ask, what about the 200 people on Flinders Island? When it was discovered around the same time, there were no people there. They became extinct.

Our islands

So we learn that small isolated groups don’t innovate. They may even regress. This historical example got us thinking about islands that we create, often without even realizing that we’re placing ourselves in isolation.

Field

Discoveries aren’t isolated to a single field. If you only talk to people within your field, if you only consume content in your space, you’re missing out on a whole world of ideas that may be fruitful for your field.

Media
Many people only consume media with which they agree. Seek out the opposing point-of-view. When you do that, you’ll either reinforce your beliefs or you’ll start to discover other alternatives.

People
Universities often don’t hire graduates of their own programs as professors. They fear it will lead to nepotistic thinking. Let’s learn a lesson from their policy. Get outside your circles of friends and business associates. If you work in the for-profit world, get to know some people in the non-profit world. If you work in government, make sure some of your influencers are in the private sector.

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georgeI’m a pretty social person. But looking back on my former businesses, I’ve come to realize that I wasn’t feeling fulfilled because I didn’t spend enough time seeking out ideas and alternatives outside my sphere.

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It’s so easy to get so busy running your business, working your career, or managing your life that you fail to invest important time in connecting yourself to people, places and things that expand your mind.

Islands are a great place to visit. Just make sure you don’t get stuck there.

What islands have you seen people create?

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Little Adults, Bigg Kids: What We’re All Missing Out On

playground We recently read a great post by Dr. Robyn Silvermen about treating kids like little adults. She offers a lot of great links to research and other articles about this increasing trend.

 

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The calendars of kids today are as busy as ours. Between school and all their extracurricular activities, they’re too busy to really play.

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georgeI saw an interview with a little girl awhile back. She was brilliant, doing well in school and excelling at everything she did. Her one wish was that she could just have some time to play.

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Isn’t that sad?

Play pays

Don’t get us wrong – extracurricular activities are great, but it’s good to also have time to engage in activities that don’t have a goal with performance stress attached.

It’s good for kids to just play. It’s good for them physically, socially, and mentally. Play helps them develop their imagination and creativity as well as socially – all important skills in the years ahead.

Turning back the clock

Dr. Robyn cites a growing trend of kids having fitness club memberships. How many of us just love going to the gym? Do you remember playing … just good old fashioned play?  It was fun. Something you couldn’t wait to do. You got some great exercise, but you didn’t watch the clock like you do when you’re working out at the club. 

Speaking of clocks, the sad part is that we seem to be turning back the clock. Dr. Robyn’s article includes a quote that says kids are about two years behind in their development compared to sixty years ago. It seems we’re not evolving; we’re going backwards.

We need to do a 180

So let’s let the kids be kids. In fact, let’s take it a step further. Let’s do a 180 degree turn – instead of trying to turn kids into little adults, let’s become bigg kids.

Not in an immature way … just for fun and all the benefits that come with it.

We need to be more child-like. Do you remember being fascinated by bugs? Of course, we’re not talking about bugs inside the house. But isn’t it fascinating to just watch a praying mantis? How relaxing is it to see butterflies fluttering around?

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marylynnThat’s one of the reasons I love going for walks. I just love seeing all the cool plants. There’s a lake close to our house so I can watch the fish. It sure beats going to the fitness center and watching TV!

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We get so busy working that we don’t have a second to spare. Sometimes we even block people out so we can get all of our work done. That’s when play time is especially important. Play time is social time. You can relax and talk with people.

And you learn … things that you might not learn any other way. Because other people have different interests. By playing – socializing – you expand our interests. That helps you look at old problems in new ways. You find solutions that you may not find if you don’t get out of your routine.

Play expands our imaginations. Our imagination leads us to be more creative, more innovative. Which is how we find those bigg ideas that lead to bigg success!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success!
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

___

Next time, we’ll take on Washington and Wall Street. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Related posts

A Wii Bit of Fun

Backyard Bliss

(Image by mommyof9)

Little Adults, Bigg Kids: What We're All Missing Out On

playground We recently read a great post by Dr. Robyn Silvermen about treating kids like little adults. She offers a lot of great links to research and other articles about this increasing trend.

 

___

The calendars of kids today are as busy as ours. Between school and all their extracurricular activities, they’re too busy to really play.

___

georgeI saw an interview with a little girl awhile back. She was brilliant, doing well in school and excelling at everything she did. Her one wish was that she could just have some time to play.

___

Isn’t that sad?

Play pays

Don’t get us wrong – extracurricular activities are great, but it’s good to also have time to engage in activities that don’t have a goal with performance stress attached.

It’s good for kids to just play. It’s good for them physically, socially, and mentally. Play helps them develop their imagination and creativity as well as socially – all important skills in the years ahead.

Turning back the clock

Dr. Robyn cites a growing trend of kids having fitness club memberships. How many of us just love going to the gym? Do you remember playing … just good old fashioned play?  It was fun. Something you couldn’t wait to do. You got some great exercise, but you didn’t watch the clock like you do when you’re working out at the club. 

Speaking of clocks, the sad part is that we seem to be turning back the clock. Dr. Robyn’s article includes a quote that says kids are about two years behind in their development compared to sixty years ago. It seems we’re not evolving; we’re going backwards.

We need to do a 180

So let’s let the kids be kids. In fact, let’s take it a step further. Let’s do a 180 degree turn – instead of trying to turn kids into little adults, let’s become bigg kids.

Not in an immature way … just for fun and all the benefits that come with it.

We need to be more child-like. Do you remember being fascinated by bugs? Of course, we’re not talking about bugs inside the house. But isn’t it fascinating to just watch a praying mantis? How relaxing is it to see butterflies fluttering around?

___

marylynnThat’s one of the reasons I love going for walks. I just love seeing all the cool plants. There’s a lake close to our house so I can watch the fish. It sure beats going to the fitness center and watching TV!

___

We get so busy working that we don’t have a second to spare. Sometimes we even block people out so we can get all of our work done. That’s when play time is especially important. Play time is social time. You can relax and talk with people.

And you learn … things that you might not learn any other way. Because other people have different interests. By playing – socializing – you expand our interests. That helps you look at old problems in new ways. You find solutions that you may not find if you don’t get out of your routine.

Play expands our imaginations. Our imagination leads us to be more creative, more innovative. Which is how we find those bigg ideas that lead to bigg success!

___

Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success!
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

___

Next time, we’ll take on Washington and Wall Street. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Related posts

A Wii Bit of Fun

Backyard Bliss

(Image by mommyof9)

Are You Fishing for Customers in the Wrong Hole?

“If you want to catch a trout, don’t fish in a herring barrel.” – Ann Landers

George said he’s been fishing at times when he would have been happy to catch any fish at all. He’s even had times when his friend a few feet away was catching all kinds of fish.

So he found out what his friend was using – what bait or lure – and changed his, but he still didn’t catch any fish. He concluded he was fishing in the wrong hole.
 


Fishing for business
Sometimes we experience the same thing when we’re fishing for business. We’re putting our line out but we don’t get any bites.

It may be that the customers aren’t where we’re fishing – they’re in another hole!

For example, maybe your customers are primarily shopping for your product or service online and you’re only marketing offline or vice versa.

People don’t use the internet for that

George remembers having a debate with one of his business managers. This happened to be a plumbing business. They were discussing how to allocate advertising dollars between various media. George thought they needed a bigger online presence. His manager insisted that customers wouldn’t go online if they had a plumbing emergency.

After surveying calls that came in, the manager reported back to George that an overwhelming majority of the people who had called with a plumbing emergency during that time period had found them via the internet.

Sometimes we think we know where our customers are, but our perceptions are clouded by our own biases. Fortunately, there’s a way to find out for sure.

Today’s bigg action item – survey your customers.

Find out how they learn about new things. The odds are your future customers are probably a lot like your current customers.

How one car dealer did it

One example of this is a car dealer. He had the employee who pulled the customer’s car into the service bay record what radio station was playing. He analyzed this information to determine which radio stations to use.

Is there some way in your business to naturally find out what media your customers use? If there is, develop a system to track the information so you know in which hole to cast your line.

Work with your direct mail supplier

Here’s another example from George’s service businesses. His mailing service was able to take his customer lists and ping the national databases to see where their existing customers fit in. Then they had a good profile of the people to target with future advertising – target people who are similar to your existing customers.

Survey them directly

You may just have a survey form that your customers fill out. Offer them some incentive to take the time to complete your survey. It may be a product or service you offer that’s relatively inexpensive …

… or cut a deal with another merchant – maybe even work a trade – to offer an incentive to your customers (e.g. movies, dessert, or gas)!

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