Routine vs. Creative work (Stanford Leading Innovation notes)

Bob Sutton: Simplified: Innovation = Creativity + Implementation

Diego Rodriguez (IDEO) (to clients): What is your space for failing? (also, what are the acceptable forms of failure in your organisation?) Note. Rodriguez now prefers ‘accelerated learning’ to failing (or ‘rapid learning’ rather than ‘rapid failing’).

Avoid a single ‘prototyping/ innovation room’ and encourage others think anywhere, anytime and hold ‘generative’ meetings when necessary (i.e. meetings that actually generate innovation, and are linked to learning).

Try to reduce the friction between a desire to go build something better, and all the excuses, questions, authorities and other organisational constraints, to make it happen

Steve Jobs: Its easy to kill lousy ideas. To be a great company, you need to kill most of the good ideas too (Sutton contrasts this with the cluttered approach of Yahoo)

Need to look at problems in a different way – e.g. the kid can’t reach the vending machine coin-slot (keep in mind re disability/ design), getting submariners to exhale while surfacing vs. equipment, NCR printing of both sides of a receipt for Walmart.

Perry Klebahn: Knowing (and communicating) when you’re doing BAU vs. Innovation, e.g. a calendar that shows an item of creative work, who’s doing it, how it sits with BAU, what the expected results are

Perry Klebahn (2):Skunk works tend to fail, as ‘not invented here’ or you can be unraveling BAU on a daily basis. You need people to feel part of it (demo progress, milestones, etc. ‘What’s in development’ news). The best approach seems to be a sort ongoing negotiation between BAU and innovation

Diego Rodriguez: Mind of the child technique, to balance ‘wisdom’ in design (‘curious, unafraid, living in the moment’ vs. ‘asking great questions’)

Diego Rodriguez: His 21st principle (in draft) Just Do It/ Enjoy the Road (I think he is thinking on actualised version of ‘Knowledge is the capacity to act’ (Sveiby)

Mauria Finlay (Netscape>AOL>Good>eBay>PayPal>Citrus Lane

Mauria Finlay: Careful not to mess too much with those (BAU)  processes that are deeply embedded with the user (e.g. entering credit card details) but innovate the less explored  or  established aspects (e.g. browsing, selecting content).

With packing, it’s better to have a postmortem and redesign the process than than to attempt to reform the process on the fly

Try to establish a baseline and track your innovations from that point

Watch out for intense cognitive load. Have you made the process too hard to follow?

Steve Jobs: I like living at the intersection of the humanities and technology

Diego Rodriguez: Yes, live on the intersection. Great designers are great readers. Great design is about pattern recognition, based on rich life experiences

Mix up your influences, follow people who’re a little different on Twitter, read Monocle magazine for its different perspectives

Diego Rodriguez: If you’re not failing you’re not tying hard enough. What if I fail every day? Micro failures to drive macro success

Frans Johansen – The Medici Effect (Harvard). How Renaissance painters, sculptors, poets, philanthropists, scientists, philosophers, financiers, and architects, shaped an era of innovation… contributions of disruptive innovation from people without having industry experience in that industry, such as Darwin (a geologist)  collecting bird species while giving poor notes to John Gould, who ultimately provided the ornithology knowledge.


Personal Learning Environments (PLEs)

An extension of Personal Knowledge Management (PKM), Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) are a potentially powerful way individuals and groups can map information and knowledge sources. PLEs can work for individuals, in terms of managing professional development, and for teams developing common practices.

Back on 18 November, Frances Di Lauro organised a talk at The Writing Hub, by 2 US academics (David Bolton, professor of educational research, statistics, and measurement at West Chester University and Maria Northcote, Director of the Centre for Advancement of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) at Avondale College)). A large part of the workshop covered the idea of Personal Learning Environments (PLEs). You can see the whole paper at

The image below is less the PLE environment discussed at the November seminar, more something that I thought would be useful way of interpreting it (and of  course, someone already had – PLEs)