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  • News Flash May 2009, The Firefly Group
    Stay up to date and curious about your field See Ideas below Remembering that Innovation isn t Normal Make opportunities to startle your routine See Say It Quick above Physical Provocation Fight against normal by being curious about objects in your environment Social Provocation Look for and associate with people who are different from you Intellectual Provocation Use imagery and the ideas of others to inspire your creativity Say How Fascinating Approach failure with curiosity expecting to discover an idea that was hidden from you before Fail Early and Fail Well Learning rarely happens without failure so plan to make mistakes strategically Having Support Innovation leaders Lundin calls them Cat Wranglers play an important role in nurturing developing and supporting individuals to innovate In CATS a chapter is devoted to each of the nine lives Concepts are illustrated with straight forward examples some of which span several of the nine lives so readers quickly appreciate the holistic nature of the innovative process Lundin also takes some time to identify and demystify the challenges to innovation that tend to block our creativity Not content with theory Lundin seems bent on provoking readers to boost their own innovative abilities Chapters at the end of the book offer creativity tools concepts practice activities and the opportunity to earn an innovation CAT Belt And you can find more CAT culture on the web Rather than fearing curiosity CATS embrace it and innovate as I urge you to do through Lundin s book Learn more at his web site http www catsinnovation com Ideas Preparation Imagine listening to a jazz band at a nightclub During a long number the saxophonist drummer bass player and piano player all take a turn improvising Each gets a limited number of measures to play whatever they want Each gets their moment in the spotlight Imagine too what it must take to perform solo before a live audience doing something you re creating on the spot which also must somehow fit with what the group has already been doing To do that you need knowledge about music history and theory You need a certain skill level and confidence You need a finely tuned sense of aesthetics You need to have had both successes and failures To be succinct you need to be prepared Preparation is one of the Lundin s conditions for innovation In CATS he argues that continually refining one s knowledge skills and expertise builds a storehouse filled with experiential knowhow Then when the need or desire for creation arises you ve got all the materials right at hand Innovation doesn t come from nowhere It s the synergy that occurs when experience knowledge skill and ideas encounter each other in new ways If you want to become more creative learn more about what you already know Review your knowledge base from time to time Refine skills so you can achieve fluency Then when it s your turn for the spotlight you ll be ready to improvise Activities

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/2009/May%202009.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Firefly News Flash (April 2009), The Firefly Group
    without full input from all group members is as unsatisfactory as one that s all talk and no action Kelsey and Plumb write about the responsibility facilitators have to design a meeting promote positive communication manage conflict and intervene when appropriate In addition several chapters are devoted to specific tools facilitators can use to help groups generate evaluate and decide upon ideas all while maximizing participation Kelsey and Plumb point out that the first step to a great meeting is determining whether a meeting is even necessary Do you need interactive communication to discuss ideas establish group ownership of a problem generate team commitment or make decisions Then plan a meeting If not then make Bob and all the other meeting naysayers happy and send a memo instead Here s a sample activity from the book Click it to see a larger image Learn more about Great Meetings Great Results at www greatmeetingsinc com Ideas Facilitate or Participate One of the most interesting discussions in Great Meetings Great Results explores four different roles a facilitator might take on The authors describe these roles as Pure Facilitator Serves the group by guiding the process working to get full participation and keeping the group moving toward its goal Has familiarity with but does not contribute to the content of the meeting Facilitator Expert Has detailed knowledge of the meeting content and is called upon to share information or opinions in addition to guiding the group process Does not have a stake in the outcome of the group s work Facilitator Leader Is the leader of the group in other situations and has responsibility for the ultimate outcomes and successes of the group Has a big stake in the results of the meeting and may strain group process if also has supervisory responsibilities Facilitator Member Has a stake in both the product and the process of the group Will need to share own opinions while maintaining equitable communication May need to overcome the perception of being just a peer one of the gang The authors offer helpful coaching to manage whichever role one might be called to perform And with any degree of facilitator role you find yourself playing at some point you will need to reduce the likelihood of appearing partial Kelsey and Plumb suggest the following steps to maximize a collaborative group process Define for the group the role you will be playing Notify the group when you are changing roles in order to give your input Encourage participation from everyone not just those with whom you agree Be aware of what you might say or do that would make you appear not to be neutral Hold your own opinions until others have spoken Considering these different aspects of facilitation has made me realize that there are opportunities to make a meeting more productive even if you don t formally hold the facilitator s role Anyone familiar with collaborative processes and tools can in the moment suggest a better way to

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/2009/April%202009.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Firefly News Flash (February/Marach 2009), The Firefly Group
    Buildings street vendors animals foods even kitchen utensils are foreign and confusing presenting complicated challenges for the main character As readers we find ourselves observing analyzing and interpreting this strange culture too And that s the fun of this book We also must decipher and ascribe meaning to the images that create this story Sometimes we even have to decide the order in which to read the sequential pictures Tan s book gives a heart felt voice to the immigrant experience and opens a window for anyone going abroad or welcoming new comers to their own land Learn more about Shaun Tan and The Arrival at www shauntan net Ideas Do You Belong Belonging is one of the most powerful motivators in our lives It s the foundation of our family commitments It fuels friendships It is the power behind peer pressure And it has a profound influence in the workplace Whether or not people fit into your organizational culture has an impact on teamwork performance and productivity The Arrival invites readers to consider both their own belonging and the belonging of people new to an adopted culture On his website Shaun Tan writes I think that the problem of belonging is perhaps more of a basic existential question that everybody deals with from time to time if not on a regular basis We often find ourselves in new realities a new school job relationship or country any of which demand some reinvention of belonging One of the great powers of storytelling is that it invites us to walk in other people s shoes for a while but perhaps even more importantly it invites us to contemplate our own shoes also We might do well to think of ourselves as possible strangers in our own strange land What conclusions we draw from this are unlikely to be easily summarized all the more reason to think further on the connections between people and places and what we might mean when we talk about belonging Empathy then is an important element in incorporating the ideas and experiences of new comers into one s organizational culture Read ahead to learn about an activity designed to increase one s empathic intelligence no matter what group to which you belong Activities Kate Koski is a member of The Firefly Group and president of CultureWorks a consulting firm whose mission is to improve workplace effectiveness through cross cultural awareness Here is a description of her activity GIVE IT UP which can create a profound sense of empathy toward people who have made a move across a cultural divide Give It Up by Kate Koski This is a simulation in which participants must emigrate from their homeland to a new one because of an ecological disaster everything is turning to ice and becoming unlivable They must adjust to their new country by choosing to give up parts of their identity or not At the start participants are asked to write down on separate pieces of paper two

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/2009/FebMarch%202009.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Firefly News Flash, January 2009, The Firefly Group
    up a time you can get together for a chat That s the concept behind StoryMatters a recorded webinar that demonstrates the power and versatility of stories to create value in the workplace Conceived by Terrence Gargiulo an organizational consultant who uses stories to enhance workplace learning StoryMatters is a montage of stories insights and ideas that build upon each other to draw valuable learning out of everyday experiences Now full disclosure I collaborate with Terrence on this project and I share StoryMatters as this month s Discovery because I am so excited about what I ve learned about using stories to promote learning Each session of StoryMatters begins with three 99 Word Stories Terrence finds a common thread among them and weaves in a few stories from his experiences I respond with a story and we talk about further insights and conclusions The whole recording lasts about 15 minutes but during that short time a dozen insights that have application to the workplace or personal living are sparked You can watch StoryMatters for your own interest or use it as an example of the type of conversations you might initiate in your home or workplace However you use the webinar please accept this invitation to eaves drop on StoryMatters then let how you ve been inspired Click HERE to view StoryMatters You ll be asked to log in which provides us with statistical information only Enjoy Ideas Priceless Stories Though they are often told at the water cooler in the halls and over the Internet stories are under appreciated and underutilized in the workplace Perhaps the oldest type of communication stories are so pervasive in our lives that we take them for granted Their value for teaching communicating culture and creating and maintaining relationships is often ignored However with the kind of intention demonstrated in StoryMatters the tales we tell each other can be a powerful conversational engine able to drill through the superficial layers of a topic and reveal new and more profound meaning Scholars may argue about what is or is not a story by analyzing whether it has a plot character development conflict resolution and so forth But in everyday life we tend to relate our experience in narrative form And as listeners we expect to hear stories The first thing we are likely to ask a friend after a few days absence is What s new What have you been doing Wondering how best to begin telling stories Here s an idea Double Exposure is a game invented to inspire conversations and promote positive relationships in the workplace Each player draws a random card which gives a prompt for a personal story You can download the instructions and the cards Print and use the cards as is or customize them for your own purposes Then when you play Double Exposure about your experience If we listen with intention to a story we can make connections to our own experiences When that happens we are able

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/2009/January%202009.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Firefly News Flash December 2008, The Firefly Group
    invite people to speculate about how the various concepts are interrelated As the group fills the cells with a statement or collage to express the relationships a complete picture of the concepts and their impact emerges You can see how a public school invited teachers students and the community to participate in an on going conversation about core values by clicking here For an interactive example of how a matrix activity can be used to surface critical issues for the orientation of new staff at a social services agency click here Visit Thiagi s site for dozens of matrix games and find out how designing some empty space into your training can result in a more fulfilling learning experience Ideas The Law of Empty Space When we built our house the contractor asked if we planned to use the attic My wife couldn t imagine what we would store there but for a few extra bucks a trap door was installed to access the space Today that attic is crammed with clothing luggage holiday decorations and childhood keepsakes It s almost a scientific law if we create an empty space it will get filled This is as true for my attic as it is for the virtual space of a meeting coaching session or workshop Left alone those empty spaces become a magnet for clutter and confusion But with a bit of focused management they can also spark creativity As mentioned in Discoveries leaving some open space can inspire important conversations Another useful way to invite dialogue is the use of silence When most North American teachers and facilitators ask a question they wait an average of only three seconds before rephrasing their question or asking a different one Imagine how the quality of thinking in the room would increase if they waited as few as six seconds before expecting a response Even if a facilitator waits what feels like an uncomfortably long time the Law of Empty Space will kick in Someone will fill that silence with a brilliant insight that keeps the discussion in motion So make your own experiments with silence and then how the Law of Empty Space has worked for you Activities Space Time Boundaries What if we thought of our time as a space to manage for our own creativity Would it be a way to cut the clutter that culminates in stress Here are a couple experiments you might try The office was closed for the day Should I use that time to accomplish something just for me that I wouldn t ordinarily do Or should I use the time to finish off a half dozen work projects that had been lingering Here was my solution I set aside thirty minutes for each of my pending projects At the end of a thirty minute period I made a decision about whether to extend the time or move on to another project By noon I switched my focus and spent the afternoon doing that

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/December%202008.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Firefly News Flash, November 2008, The Firefly Group
    die The intention is to encourage creative thinking about the subject You can CLICK HERE to read and keep your own copy of Snake Eyes In addition Tamara Pinkas the Cooperative Education Coordinator of Lane Community College in Eugene Oregon has adapted Snake Eyes as a review for a course that she taught which covered a whole term Here s how she did it I began by creating six groups and giving each group one of the topics covered during the term 1 Workplace Discrimination 2 Workplace Harassment 3 Resumes 4 Interviewing 5 Cover Letters 6 Job Applications Each group developed one sentence that was either a summary a truism or a sage piece of advice about their topic This seemed to work really well and upon completion of this part of the game I wrote each sentence very large on a separate flip chart page which I taped across the front of the room A couple of examples are Discrimination hurts everyone and When interviewing think before you speak The next part of the game turned out to be challenging for the students Even though I gave everyone a handout with explanations and examples the groups struggled to write the type of sentence they rolled I m not unhappy that they struggled they were just vocal about being confused and having trouble I think they actually did very well Some examples of what they come up with are a The roll was never part of and the topic was discrimination The students wrote Discrimination hurts everybody so it s a good strategy for advancing your career That got a good laugh b The roll was opposite and the topic was cover letters The students wrote Never write a cover letter it is a waste of time Amazingly when given a choice of doing it again or doing some practice interviewing the whole class embraced doing it again saying that they now understood the game The best sentence was for similar and the topic was Applications The students wrote Your application should be neat and complete and sweet and would compete with the elite for the top seat where you meet and greet There was instant recognition by the class for this as the most creative and humorous Thanks Tamara for sharing your experience with Snake Eyes Activities Try Your Hand at Creative Chaos I didn t realize that chaos could be an important element of creativity until I took an art class where the teacher used randomness to wonderful effect On one Dry Erase Cube she wrote different types of artistic materials like ink pastels magazine pictures or cloth On another cube she wrote various elements of design such as line texture shape or color When she rolled the cubes we students were to use the artistic material on the one die to add the design element of the other die to our paper We had to be incredibly imaginative and flexible to make a coherent work of art

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/November2008.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Firefly News Flash, October 2008, The Firefly Group
    to express their expectations for a new training initiative Later a group of nursing professionals made connections to the challenges they face caring for medically fragile children At day s end leaders of a small church redefined the challenges they face by linking them to more positive opportunities To get similar results simply pass out the candies and ask everyone to make a connection between an important topic of the meeting and the message they find You ll be surprised at the insights people are able to share and your participants will be delighted both with the chocolate and their own ideas Worried about tempting someone off their diet Relax no one has to eat the candy just ask them to take a peek at the message inside the wrapper Will people always be able to make connections Yes Perhaps not everyone but most everyone will If you don t feel confident open a candy ahead of time and be prepared to model the type of response you d like to see Dove candies come in dark and milk chocolate plus other varieties and can be found in grocery or drug stores Give them a try then let me know what sweet successes you ve tasted Ideas Inventing a Metaphor Perhaps it s a bit corny to look inside a candy wrapper for deep insight If you are expecting divine inspiration I would agree Stick to the time honored texts of the spiritual movement of your choice But if you want to add a bit of inspiration give people a memory hook spark a creative discussion or enliven the conversation then a wrapper is just fine In The Taste of Success we are making strategic use of metaphors With any analogy you can invent it yourself or ask participants to invent their own Either way is fine but the effects are different Invent the metaphor yourself and you have more control of the resulting discussion and learning Ask participants to invent the metaphor and they own it and they keep it In fact many people will even slip their foil wrapper into a pocket When they find it again they ve got an instant reminder of a meeting or even the events of a whole day Ensure your success by setting a positive tone Begin with confidence expecting the best from your participants You can even explain that you are doing this activity to take advantage of the brain s extraordinary ability to make associations that might otherwise be elusive without a kick start If people seem resistant or skeptical model the type of response you d like to see Then trust the process You will always get at least a few great responses which may be just the level of new insight the whole group needs Activities Looking for Words of Wisdom What other opportunities exist for inspiration a chance to pause or an occasion to think more deeply Are there ways you could use The Taste of Success

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/October2008.htm (2016-02-15)
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  • Firefly News Flash September 2008, The Firefly Group
    Gaming Association NASAGA for more than ten years But I do keep discovering new things through NASAGA on a weekly basis NASAGA is trainers curriculum designers professors facilitators and consultants who are committed to playful learning that s effective interactive and fun They explore the use of not only games and simulations but also improvisational theater storytelling magic tricks and many other techniques to enhance learning The group boasts a very active list serve and on line community which exchanges best practices and resources This is NASAGA s most visible asset It also publishes an on line newsletter three times a year with interviews ready to use games and commentary What makes these NASAGA resources so wonderful is that membership is free and just a few clicks away NASAGA s most valuable asset by far is its annual conference this year to be held in Indianapolis Indiana from October 15 18 The conference has a reputation for insightful keynote presentations playful breakout sessions and open sharing of tips tricks and techniques All sessions emphasize action over theory so you ll have the chance to experiment with learning games as you learn about them And at the conference everyone is a colleague The atmosphere of play and discovery tends to ease the professional barriers that can plague other conferences You ll find yourself playing along side the person who was the presenter at your previous session It s not too late to reserve a space at the NASAGA conference in Indianapolis In fact early registration discounts end September 15 You can learn more about it register or sign up for the list serve at www nasaga org I look forward to seeing you there Ideas The Proposal Presentation Game What would it be like to have play take a more central role in your life Recently I accepted this challenge as my own when I prepared for an intense and conflict laden meeting At a board of directors meeting I was presenting a proposal to purchase some property I needed their approval to take the next step and learn the seller s bottom line price My proposal was complete the I s and T s dotted and crossed the known unknowns spelled out but I was nervous This was a tough group Because I wanted to keep my blood pressure below the boiling point I set myself this challenge What if the meeting was a game If it was a game I wouldn t care as much about the outcome Yes I d play hard I d play fair but I would also have fun During the meeting difficult questions were asked and several outrageous illogical comments were made I kept my cool responded as best I could and was even able to insert a few light witticisms Surprisingly the anxiety I had anticipated was not a problem Was my proposal accepted No but I went home a winner I d done the best job possible the meeting ended positively and

    Original URL path: http://www.thefirefly.org/Firefly/html/News%20Flash/September2008.htm (2016-02-15)
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