Archive for October, 2013

This being October, the month we honor the great explorer Christopher Columbus, let us continue on the topic of exploration. To be an explorer you need to be open to new ideas and also to the process of innovation. All which take a healthy dose of creativity. All of this starts with the words we use to get the process rolling. What we tell ourselves, how a team responds to a brainstorming session, how management communicates its acceptance or rejection of an idea impacts the creative process.

Before Columbus could get into a state funded ship and sail out onto the seas, he had to express his idea for the whole project. Then he had to communicate that in language that would convince not only the King and Queen to fund his idea, but also to be convincing to the potential people who were to be his crew. How much more difficult and scary was his task then our sitting in a board room meeting tossing out ideas! Yes, a company can “sink or swim” based upon an idea not explored properly. But before an idea can even turn into a project, we must watch what words we are using at that early stage. 

The biggest pitfall is attitude because attitude controls how we phrase our questions and our responses. Also needing to stick to the entrenched way of doing things can produce negative language. Here are examples of words and phrases that kill innovation before it ever gets off the ground:

“We’ve always done it this way.”

“It won’t work.”

“You can’t do that.”

“I (we) don’t know how”

“I (we) don’t think I (we) can do that.”

“That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.”

“The boss won’t go for that.”

“Why should I care.”

“It would violate a rule (or directive or …fill in the blank)”

The operative negative words are “can’t”, “won’t”, “dumb”, and “why?”.

 In order to switch the language used from negative to positive we need to:

  • Be forward looking and open to change
  • Focus on opportunity
  • See value in an idea no matter how “out of the box” it is
  • Put status quo aside
  • Be open to challenging our assumptions
  • Refuse to accept limitations
  • View each idea as a new and exciting potential opportunity
  • Bring passion, not fear to the table

So if you want to discover new worlds, or just succeed in today’s difficult business climate, you need to welcome innovative ideas with open arms.  Explore, create, innovate, it all starts with the words we use.

Quote of the Week

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Quotes
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“Hold up your head!…You were made for victory.” – Anne Gilchrist

Fun With Language

Posted: October 23, 2013 in Fun with words
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Saw this sign in a train station. Once again, a few missing letters can create a whole new meaning!


Quote of the Week

Posted: October 21, 2013 in Quotes

“Vocation does not mean a goal that I persue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.” – Parker Palmer

Fun With Language

Posted: October 17, 2013 in Fun with words
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What a difference a few letters can make!  (looks like he’s wondering where the continent “wetland” is!)


Quote of the Week

Posted: October 14, 2013 in Quotes
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“To swear off making mistakes is very easy. All you have to do is swear off having ideas.” – Leo Burnett

Next week we celebrate Columbus Day, one of our greatest explorers. But exploration occurs in almost every facet of human existence. In business and, in our lives in general, we explore either to find new ways of doing things or out of curiosity as to what is out there. Exploration is good for business because it feeds it with new or different possibilities. It is always this new infusion of ideas, commonly called innovation, which helps a business to grow and prosper.

What is exploration?

Exploration occurs in 4 areas: physical, information, ideas, and artistic. Christopher Columbus was a physical explorer. He traveled out into that part of our world that at the time was a dark mystery. Other examples of physical exploration are archeologists exploring buried sites of ancient civilizations and our space programs or scientists researching the human genome. They all have the goal to learn more about the physical universe we inhabit. One can also explore information such as anytime you have a question that needs answering and you go to an encyclopedia or Wickipedia, or do a Google search. Inventors explore in the realm of ideas. They ponder the what if or the whys or the how can it be done differently questions, then seek out the solutions by manipulating the physical arriving at solutions leading to a new product or business innovation.  Artists in any medium are explorers as they think about and execute new ways of using their medium to express their feelings, points of view, etc.

Exploration takes a certain mindset

Children are the greatest explorers. Why? Because they don’t have the baggage (conditioning) we adults do when it comes to being curious, open to risk, or embracing the new. In fact they delight in doing so! Exploration of any form requires the leaving of one’s comfort zone and exercising those traits. However, as adults, unbridled exploration with no end goal in mind is only diversionary, like a hobby. To make the time spent exploring turn into something useful, one has to tap in to one’s creativity – take those discoveries and apply them to current situations or into the development of something entirely new. Great inventions and innovations are the end results of time spent exploring and applying that knowledge to real world problems.

Exploration leads to creating great communications

Exploration not only helps a business create new products or offer new and unique services but will also help you generate communications that connect. If you are willing to talk to your customers and ask questions (exploring their needs) you can tailor your message better to their demographic. Another example would be to risk the time and money to invest in a new way for your business to communicate it messages. Just think of the first person who used a website to market a business. They explored what was out there, dug into the technology of creating websites, than took the risk to launch their own site. Now almost every business has an internet presence! The phrase “Thinking out of the box” is really all about exploration…the exploration of ideas and possibilities!

So get out there and imitate Christopher Columbus. Exercise your curiosity, take that risk, explore things outside of your everyday world or industry. By expanding your horizons you never know where the next great idea, helpful tip, or business assistance will come from!

Need help generating new ideas? Try our fr*ee brainstorming session today. Call 908-241-5874 or to discover how the Word Wizard can help guide your explorations to success!