Inspiration for Innovation in Cameroon, Africa

Two weeks working with almost 100 senior and emerging leaders in Douala, Cameroon in West Africa at the end of April 2015 has left us inspired in so many ways. My sister and collaborator, Valerie McIntyre-Baird, and I were hired by the national electricity company, ENEO, to design and deliver a leadership development programme. At the heart of our "Leadership Through Service (LTS)" workshop design, we developed a two-week Innovation Challenge that encouraged and guided programme participants to find, adapt and scale the "bright spots" of hidden innovation in their corporation and/or in other industries. The results were astonishing in terms of the potential scope and scale of the social, commercial, and technological innovation opportunities that emerged. Kudos to all the ENEO participants for their hard work, ingenuity and camaraderie throughout.

AND we were honoured to have been able to experience one of the most welcoming, creative and intriguing countries we've ever visited. Cameroon is officially bilingual like Canada (French, English) + Pidgin & over 200 traditional linguistic groups, with many of its electrical engineers having studied in Montreal at the Polytechnique. The country is known as "Afrique en miniature" as its varied landscape, vegetation and climate represents all of the African continent. The Cameroonian stories, villages, eccentricities, history, laughter, music, food, culture, fabric, designs, kindness, roadtrips, and friendships (old and new) will be with us forever. We will be back soon! 

Crowdsourcing for Qualitative Researchers

I was honoured to be asked to write an article about the impact of Crowdsourcing for the QRCA VIEWS magazine this fall. Collaborating with some very insightful editors, I examined the challenges and opportunities that the shift toward "The Participation Economy" (which includes Crowdsourcing) presents for marketing researchers who are using traditional qualitative methods to attempt to gain predictive insight about customers and the marketplace ... in order to help their clients innovate. 

The QRCA organization is the Qualitative Research Consultants Association which brings together qualitative and mixed methods research professionals from across North America. The QRCA annual conference is the BEST place to meet other marketing research practitioners who are working in the insights and innovation space. You'll learn a lot - the conference is focused on peer education - and make new friends and contacts. As a result of attending and presenting at their San Diego conference in 2013, I'm a member of the dynamic QRCA Creativity + Innovation Special Interest Group and have never looked back!! There is just so much sharing and learning among the members and through special guest webinars. Take a look at: how to join QRCA.

A digital version of the article is here: "The Participation Economy: from personal relationships to crowdsourcing."



The myth of the tortured innovator

by Marty Neumeier

by Marty Neumeier

Lots of great material in this latest book, The Rules of Genius: An innovator's guide to creativity by Marty Neumeier.  

> The book's Amazon.ca link:  

> Marty's Medium link. 

Rule #32 is one of my favourites: SPEND LONG HOURS IN THE JOY ZONE.

An excerpt: "When your work contains an element of joy, you learn faster. This is called "ludic" learning, or learning by playing. [...] When you're happy, you're more creative. When you're unhappy, you lose access to your intuition. Happiness and creativity are mutually supportive. [...] Ludic learning is often the doorway to genius."

> Deeper dives on this topic by Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi on Flow and Creativity.

 

Inspirations

Rounding up some media that inspired me in recent weeks ... I'm going to try to do this on a semi-regular basis. Here we go:

THE NEW NEW THING
Not sure why I haven't been reading everything Michael Lewis has ever written?!! The recent pieces about his book on Wall Street's recent trading shenanigans, Flash Boys, has lead me to read his 2001 book, The New New Thing, (as well as a suggestion by my friend, Danelle Greebe). It's a great examination of the Internet explosion's impact on business models, valuations, and the gambling mentality that is just now beginning to wane in the tech world. All seen through an entertaining ethnographic examination of Jim Clark, founder of SGI & Netscape.  
BOOK ON Amazon: http://www.amazon.ca/The-New-Thing-Silicon-Valley/dp/0140296468

INTENTION, MEDITATION, LOOSE TIES, HAPPINESS
Shawn Achor visits Google to discuss his most recent book, Before Happiness. In his last book, Shawn described why happiness is the precursor to success. Here, Shawn explains that before we can be happy or successful, we need to first develop the ability to see that positive change is possible.
VIDEO AT Google Talk : http://youtu.be/Muce2TxDlMw

SOCIAL PHYSICS & HOW OUR CONNECTIONS DRIVE OUR BEHAVIOUR
From one of the world's leading data scientists, a landmark tour of the new science of idea flow, offering revolutionary insights into the mysteries of collective intelligence and social influence.
VIDEO AT Google Talk: http://youtu.be/HMBl0ttu-Ow

DESIGNING A GOOD LIFE
Debbie Millman, one of my heroes, about actively creating your life. She's so heart-breakingly honest about her early choices in her education and career, self-loathing, and what she's learned about life. 
ARTICLE & VIDEO AT Brain Pickings:  http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/04/29/debbie-millman-good-life-project/

"I’m a big proponent of “busy is a decision.” You decide what you want to do and the things that are important to you. And you don’t find the time to do things — you make the time to do things. And if you aren’t doing them because you’re “too busy,” it’s likely not as much of a priority as what you’re actually doing." - Debbie Millman