More Ideas is Not Better

June 16, 2015 · Posted in business, entrepreneurship, innovation · 3 Comments 

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Monkeys-on-TypewritersI got an ad emailed from a company claiming they set the world brainstorming record by generating 454,000 ideas in one hour with 8,000 people. Let me ask you, how many of those ideas were good?

How many of those ideas are things you could profitably deliver? How many just plain stink.

If you had 8,000 people spitting out random ideas for an hour, how many do you think were the same? I would say most were pointless differences such as a shade of a color, basically copies. Even if all 454,000 were unique, is that all the important ideas for the specific need? If not, was the best idea found or is it still sitting out there undiscovered?

How long will it take to weed through half a million ideas? Can you test 454,000 ideas? How much would that cost? How much time and money would that waste?

More ideas doesn’t equal better ideas. More certainly doesn’t mean the best idea.  Your time is the most precious resource you have. You want to get the absolute most value from your time. You need to pin point the correct idea and all the valuable connected ideas immediately so you can deliver without pausing. You need to see in advance what customers want and how to profitably deliver it with readily available resources.

That last sentence is a phrase I use to promote Predictive Innovation but its true, isn’t it. If you wait to react you already lost time before you start. If you work on things you don’t have the resources to complete you waste time & money hitting dead ends or scrambling for the missing pieces when you could be delivering value.

I realize the reason people randomly throw stuff at the wall hoping something sticks is because they don’t know a better way.  That’s sad. Have you felt that way? You can do better. I want to help you do better.

What does better mean? It means starting with a reliable way to measure the value of each idea before you have the “idea”. Then a way to draw a boundary around all the relevant ideas so you know what is in and out. Perhaps more importantly see what you missed. Plus have all the ideas organized so you can quickly pinpoint the most valuable great ideas and how they are connected. That maximizes the value and minimizes the risk. Does that sound like what you’re looking for? Can you see how much better that is?

If you want to be part of a new group I’m forming to help entrepreneurs find and successfully launch great businesses and non-profits signup so I can keep you informed.

One man and a pile of junk ends poverty

March 30, 2011 · Posted in abundance · Comment 

Brazillian Homeless man's car made from junk
Orismar de Souza, a homeless man in Brazil, built a car using junk, spare parts and a hammer and chisel. Four years later, the “shrimpmobile” has him back on his feet.
This story mirrors the story of my great grandfather, James Dodd. He had worked as a coal miner since he was 8 years old to support his mother and siblings. During the great depression he and a friend built a motorcycle from spare parts and road to Detroit to find work in the factories. They left their wives and children behind and when they got to Detroit had to camp out waiting to find work. Remember, at the time there were barely any paved roads. They had to ride through the mountains of Pennsylvania, across Ohio and into Michigan on a single motorcycle they built from junk.

They had to camp for a month before they could get work. They then saved money and sent for there wives and children to join them. At one point my great grandfather had not eaten for a week. When the women who had been renting a room to him found out she offered him food. He insisted that he would not accept charity and instead did work on the house in exchange for meals.

At one point while working in the factory his job was to test alternators. he would put the bad alternators in a box. He arranged to buy the bad ones then at night in his kitchen he would repair them and sell the re-manufactured alternators to repair shops and people fixing their own cars. He eventually quit the job at the factory and was running his own business.

He invested the money from the alternator business into fixing up and renting houses. At one point he had an entire neighborhood with a grocery store which he would allow his tenets with children who had trouble paying the bills to owe him for food until they could find work. The one rule he had was that they had their children ready to go to church which he would drive them them to in the school bus he bought.

When he died the procession of people who attended his funeral was over a mile long. He touched thousands of people’s lives and it all started from a pile a junk.

How to hire the best people and why its harder to find them in a downturn

May 12, 2009 · Posted in problem solving · Comment 

In “Why hiring is paradoxically harder in a downturn” it was pointed out that A players can be 10 times more productive than C players. That big a difference can’t be from just being better.

A players are much more productive because they do things differently. You can’t be 10 times more productive by working harder or faster. Being 10 times better comes from not doing unneeded work, from doing required work in a different way, and from getting others to work in a way that creates an overall more productive result.

C players follow the rules and either lack skills or talent or just don’t try very hard. B players follow the rules and try hard. A players break the rules and change the game all together. A players are innovators.

You might feel you need B and C players until the A player figures out how to get the job done without anyone doing it. Since A players change the game you might not need anything except a few A players who work together. But since A players aren’t just more skilled they do things differently, if allowed they will show everyone how to raise productivity.

B players focus on skills. B players are better. B players are easy to spot. They have good grades, good references, and steady employment history. B players are what all the books on interviewing tell you to hire.

A players do things totally differently. A players might have top notch grades or they might have dropped out. But they do excellent work. A players might have horrible references but an amazing track record. A players tend to make B players jealous or frustrated. The B players TRY HARD but can never achieve the level of A players because the A players “cheat”, they play a different game.

Since B players fit the mold they tend to be mid level managers and many times will chase away A players. But if the B player can play the support role a B player can manage an excellent team of A players.

A players often do their job for the love of doing it well. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to be paid well, they do and deserve it. Allowing A players to reach the next level, that includes doing something totally different not just more of the same, is very important to A players. A players might seem like show-offs some times but probably are not motivated from the attention. They want to achieve the best possible. They don’t compete with others, they compete with themselves. In that way they often don’t even understand the idea of ranks of A, B, and C. They just want to do the best possible.

A players often don’t care about relative status. Paradoxically that makes them seem arrogant which is opposite from the truth. They just don’t care about meaningless ranking so they might not hide it (seeming boastful) or don’t honor it (seeming disrespectful). A players tend to be task focused so they don’t care about status, only results.

There are A players for everything so some of what I described does not exactly fit all roles. If the role requires tremendous empathy then the A player for that role will be hyper aware of ranking and status and play it to the best advantage.

If you want the best from A players, get out of their way and let them play.

How do you find and attract A players? Get rid of the Human Resource department. A players are not generic resources. A players are talented individuals. Since A players are often looking to achieve something spectacular, offer opportunities to do it. These types of roles won’t appeal to C or B players so they will weed themselves out. Highly performance based pay will attract A players and scare C & B players away.

Highly challenging tasks with real freedom to do chose how to accomplish the task will draw A players.

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