divergent thinking

What’s this?

A trolley loaded with luggage? Nope.

This is a giant cake! With chocolate,  strawberry, and blueberry icing.

One of my favourite scenes from the Hindi movie Jaanu Tu ya Jaane Na is when Meghna asks these kind of questions to Imran Khan. They play this game called… “What’s this?”  It’s where you look at something ordinary and you try explain it in a exciting way. It’s a pretty decent game if you ask me.

Ken Robinson gave a talk recently at the Art of Marketing here in Calgary where he mentioned this concept  – divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is the ability to come up with lots of possible answers or interpretations to a question.  He showed statistics indicating we lose this ability at a rapid rate as we get older and get more educated. An education system that emphasizes linear thinking, multiple choice testing – where you have to converge on one answer to get the correct answer. That’s fine, but what happens if a student doesn’t learn that way?  What about having some wit? Scoring 190 on an IQ test isn’t the only barometer for intelligence. What if your talents lay elsewhere? How do you nurture that?

It’s those who improvise, live in randomness, are ready for whats thrown at them. They can make connections that others can’t see. Paul McCartney had it right:

I use to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird.

living in a bubble

hot rocks (credit: dwhartwig)

I feel like a  lot of these big companies are living in self delusion.

When all the media in the world is focused on a disaster, you can’t pretend nothing is happening.  You have to fess up to it. Be open to criticism. Kinda of hard when your brought up in a culture that doesn’t care for anyone outside your bubble. Out of mind, out of sight.

Until now.

It’s not some fad to be socially responsible, it’s expected. The companies that get this will survive. The dinosaurs that pretend everything is alright, will make a lot of noise, then disappear.  It all reminds me of a chapter in Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, Crush it. In Chapter 9, the title is “Best Marketing Strategy Ever”. It’s only 1 page long and he writes one word: CARE.  People who really care are the ones that win in the long run. I love that. Sometimes you gotta fake it, because its expected. But you can only fake it for so long, eventually someone will see through the bullshit.

tools to help you kick ass

Nerd time. Some tools I use to get things done.

Evernote: Use this to eliminate paper as much as you can, just scan it and you can easily search for the document later, because it finds those words in the scanned document. GENIUS.  No need to remember anything ever again. For free.

Delicious: Allows you to access all your bookmarks from  any computer. Get the Mozilla add-on. It has fundamentally changed how I find and save funny, interesting, any kinda of information on the net.

Dropbox: Don’t need external hard drives (usb) or email to back up your files. More secure than a big investment bank.

A notebook: Yeah that’s right-  a notebook. Helps you jot down ideas or whatever comes to mind on the spot.  I trust writing stuff down more than the best memory in the world.

end of the super bands

kasabian may never be generation defining, despite how much they rock
Internet piracy changed the game. Lady Gaga, Bieber and Hannah Montana get media attention because their fans are too young to know about others or download free music. Country music thrives because their fans also buy CDs.
On the upside while there may no longer be supergroups like Oasis,  there may be a bunch of small groups catering to different tastes. I personally think it’s better to have more successful bands than an “all or nothing” system like the old school music industry.
I see the same thing happening in the business world.
In the future,  there ll be the fortune 500,000. Less big public companies, and huge number of small private companies.  A more robust system, not so dependent on the stock market. Why do I say this? I feel more people now want to be in control of their destiny. That idea is taking over the world. If you got an internet connection, you can see what successful people are doing and you have to be naive to believe others also don’t desire that as well.