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Collaborative painting at book launch


In the spirit of creativity and innovation, and to celebrate the launch of Coaching for Innovation, we asked guests at our recent launch event  to contribute to a collaborative painting. Material was provided  to enable each person to make their own creative contribution – adding whatever they wished to the canvas as the mood took them. We promised that the  finished product would be photographed and uploaded to the website – so here it is. By the way, team painting is an exercise drawn from Coaching for Innovation.  Part of Building Block 8 in Chapter 9, it can be used as an exercise to strength the creative potential of the...

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What is the most creative thing you have ever done?


This was the question we asked guests at the recent launch event for Coaching for Innovation held in Switzerland (the country where both Maureen and Cristina live). Big, small, inventive, funny, serious – everyone has at one time or another done something creative. People were asked to write a brief description of their creative moment onto a card in order to enter a prize draw  – we had two copies of the book to give away to the lucky winners. With the kind permission of our guests, here are a few of their creative moments to inspire you: “As I was trying to raise funds for a good cause and wanted to have some fun as well, I asked a good friend to cook at my home. I invited people who then had to make a minimal contribution – good fun, very good friends and I raised nearly CHF 10,000.” “Creating light bulb cupcakes.” “During a bad period of my personal life, I was obliged to look deeper into myself and there was a puzzle to be used to build a new me…And I was very creative then…building a new me step by step with help from very interesting people…finally I liked me. I vote for creativity and the courage to change!” “Implementing a mobility plan for an international hub at work, involving all employees, on-boarding leadership and living it by example, using a rewarding culture rather than a must-do culture” “Building Lego from scratch with my son.” “A self-made carnival created as a child when I was nine.” “Doing nothing.” “I made the curtains of my new house before the house was built.” “To ask for creative birthday presents – outings with a smile.” “Two wonderful children.” “Coming from the environmental sector to studying gemmology to become an expert in this new field.” “Adapting Romeo and Juliet to make it approachable to a teenage audience.” “I wanted to leave for six months sabbatical leave. At the same time, my employee had the opportunity to move to the global team. My manager said to me, “Only one of you can leave the team. You can decide who it will be.” Thanks to my out-of-the-box thinking and understanding the real needs and fear of my manager, I found a solution that enabled both of us to go for our dreams. And my manager was happy waiting for me with my job to come back to.” “Leave everything behind to discover the world.” “I invented a new way of talking via Skype with my four and six year old nephews. They would say, “Ask us a question and we will respond...

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Metaphorically speaking…


“When is a metaphor more than a metaphor?” Perhaps you can help us to decide when you have finished reading this post. The reason this question is there in the first place  is because one of our Coaching for Innovation Test Pilots, who has a strong professional interest in the sustainable use of our global resources, recently visited this website for the first time and took a closer look at the images we use.  Whilst she appreciated the content of the site, her attention was drawn to the use of incandescent light bulbs, clearly visible not just on the book cover but also used in the background imagery of the website (the field of light bulbs with the dragonfly). Now as we all know, incandescent light bulbs are technologically outdated, having been superseded by new innovations. They are gradually being phased out and replaced with more energy-efficient types; halogen bulbs, which are 30% more energy-efficient, and the CFL long-life bulbs, which are 80% more energy-efficient. So here we have a dilemma. Both the publishers and the authors were driven by the imagery of the designs, looking for something attractive with eye-appeal as well as capitalising on what the light bulb represents in the context of innovation. For some, the type of light bulb used in the imagery can be interpreted as sending out a very wrong and indeed environmentally unfriendly message, especially when the word “innovation” is floating around. Changes at this current time to the book cover will certainly not be possible but if and when we reach paperback or reprint (fingers crossed), we will be very happy to raise the matter with Palgrave Macmillan and look for a solution. However, now that we are aware of the issue, we wanted to bring it to the attention of our readers as well so that you will appreciate that we have not been driven by a need to ignore the innovations around lighting but have – without thinking in depth – allowed ourselves to be inspired just by the metaphors. The feedback from our Test Pilot demonstrates that no matter how well you think you have thought things through, there are always new and different perspectives that we can learn from. What do you think? By the way, if you would like more information about energy-efficient lighting then try this link .  If you haven’t already switched, then it is definitely time to do so! And speaking of energy and innovation, one of the greatest books our energy-conscious Test Pilot has ever read on the subject is “My Inventions”  by Nikola Tesla. She says it is an inspirational read...

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How do you rate as an innovator?


Did you know that you can develop the skills and behaviours that lie at the heart of being innovative? To be more innovative, you have to have good habits and behave like an innovator. In their book The Innovator’s DNA, Dyer, Gregersen and Christensen state that ‘…innovative thinkers connect fields, problems, or ideas that others find unrelated’. The authors have identified four discovery skills that ‘trigger associational thinking by helping innovators increase their stock of building block ideas from which innovative ideas spring’.  The four key skills are: Questioning: innovative people always ask ‘why’ and they love to challenge the status quo Observing: innovative people pick up on the smallest of details in how people behave and the ways in which things are done giving them food for thought. Networking: innovative people invest time in linking up with people from different backgrounds and with different expertise and they learn from them. Experimenting: innovative people constantly explore new ways of doing things and experiences. These four key skills together have a mutually reinforcing impact on the fifth skill: associative thinking or the ability to make connections. Find out which habits and behaviours are already working well for you when it comes to innovation and identify those  that could do with a little work. Practise them, gain confidence and then apply them to play your own part in driving innovation. Take our short questionnaire and  “Check Your Innovator...

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Why is a box of books like a new baby?


When we received  our authors’ copies of Coaching for Innovation earlier this week , shortly after publication on 2nd May, 2104, it was an occasion for celebration. After two years of hard but enjoyable work, our “baby” had finally arrived. All we could think of was the achievement. We savoured the moment and we are now looking forward to bringing up the baby with your support and encouragement. We are grateful to all those who have helped us so far in making this birth...

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There must be a better way to cut cherry tomatoes


Creative thinking comes in many guises and can be stimulated and encouraged in ways you might never have thought were possible. Sometimes, it is simply about doing things differently. This clip on YouTube about a time-efficient way to slice cherry tomatoes has had more than four million hits. That is a lot of energy saved when making the salad! Did you realise, though, that being creative in the kitchen can have a positive impact on how creative you are in other areas of your life as well? Psychologist Dr Simone Ritter from Radboud University Nijmegen has found that even just changing the way you make your usual sandwich can help boost levels of creativity. Dr Ritter’s research featured in a BBC Horizon documentary broadcast in 2013. You can explore how you can be more creative in this interesting article on the BBC website, “Five Ways to be More Creative” By expanding your experiences and turning your daily routines on their head once in a while, your brain builds new pathways, makes new connections and becomes increasingly better at generating new ideas. In Chapter 9 of Coaching for Innovation, you can find out how to use Building Block 8 to strengthen your creative potential and that of your team as well....

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The spirit of coaching for innovation


Welcome to the first  blog post.  We see the blog as a way of having a conversation with you. Our hope is that this will become a two-way conversation and turn into a dialogue with you where we can share thoughts, ideas and experiences around the topics of innovation, creativity, and of course coaching. We (that is Maureen and Cristina) are writing this first post together – a reflection of how we wrote our book.  Every single word was the result of us sitting together, thinking together and writing together.  We debated with each other, we agreed and we also frequently disagreed, but we always found a common – and mostly creative – solution that integrated our initial and separate thoughts into one joint approach that was usually much better than anything we could have come with separately. We asked each other many questions, we listened with great respect to what the other had to say and we worked hard to generate multiple options. Our belief was (and still is) that as long as you keep looking,  there will be a solution that suits us both and brings something new to the table.  It was a true microcosm of the spirit that underpins Coaching for Innovation. With this website – and most of all with your support and collaboration – we look forward to continuing our learning journey with...

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