Innovation Competency #4 – Master-Mind Collaboration

What happens when you combine the talents of a British textile merchant, a Swiss watchmaker, an American mathematician with a master’s degree in physics, an Irish electrician, a German glassblower, and African-American electrical engineer, and a partially deaf telegrapher?

For Thomas Edison, the result was a world-beating team of collaborators who churned out hundreds of commercially viable patents and products.

Although Edison was an incomparably brilliant independent innovator, he understood and valued the importance of working with others. He knew he needed a trustworthy team of collaborative employees who cold illuminate his blind spots and complement his talents.

The word “collaboration” comes from the Latin root collaborare, meaning “to labor together, especially intellectually.” The term “master-mind” was introduced by success expert Napoleon Hill to refer to a very high level of collaboration. He defined it as a “coordination of knowledge and effort in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” Hill emphasized that when people come together with their passions aligned with common goals, they can multiply their individual intelligence in an expanding framework of positive, creative energy. Hill witnessed the living expression of this idea in the laboratories of Thomas Edison.

Contemporary sociological and psychological studies demonstrate consistently that the collaborative, open model developed by Edison optimizes the confluence of creativity, strategy, and action.

Edison’s approach to master-mind collaboration allowed his teams to be exceptionally productive in generating, developing, and testing his innovations. Edison always understood, however, that the ultimate purpose of all their efforts was to crate exceptional value for their customers.

Next: Super-Value Creation

Read on overview of Edison’s Five Competencies for Innovation here.

This material adapted from Innovate Like Edison, by Michael J. Gelb and Sarah Miller Caldicott

A multi-part series being reposted in honor of Thomas Edison’s 166th birth February 11, 1847

Innovation Competency #3 – Full-Spectrum Engagement

When you are overworked and stressed out it’s very difficult to focus effectively on innovation. How can you successfully manage a massive workload, like Edison did, without succumbing to exhaustion and burnout?

Time management isn’t the answer.

Edison understood that although time on the clock was limited, the wellspring of creative inspiration was boundless. He drew on a seemingly endless source of energy and he had a remarkable range of expression.

No matter what he was doing, he was fully engaged, living life in the present. His ability to move freely, efficiently, passionately, and creatively through a day’s many activities and roles was a critical aspect of his success method. Edison discovered an optimal rhythm to facilitate amazing stamina and high performance.

Authors Michael Gelb and Sara Miller Caldicott, writing in Innovate Like Edison, call Edison’s approach full-spectrum engagement. It is a competency that you can cultivate to access the same boundless energy that fueled Edison. His approach balanced work and play, solitude and collaboration, concentration and relaxation.

Edison knew the value of how to discover simplicity and clarity in the midst of ambiguity and complexity.

Next: Master-Mind Collaboration

Read an overview of Edison’s Five Competencies for Innovation here.

This material adapted from Innovate Like Edison, by Michael J. Gelb and Sarah Miller Caldicott

A multi-part series being reposted in honor of Thomas Edison’s 166th birth February 11, 1847

Innovation Competency #2 – Kaleidoscopic Thinking

Edison’s ability to generate a vast range of ideas drove his world-beating approach to practical solution finding. He could consider many problems at the same time and was able to look at each one from multiple angles. At the height of his exploration into electrical power, for example, he worked on forty projects simultaneously. Edison credited his remarkable facility for making creative connections to his “mental kaleidoscope.”

Kaleidoscopic thinking is the term Michael Gelb and Sarah Miller Caldicott developed for Edison’s unparalleled approach to practical creativity. He had strategies for juggling multiple projects and how to “turn a problem around” from every angle. Kaleidoscopic thinking will help you develop your ability to generate ideas, make creative connections, and discern patterns. Using both your imagination and your reasoning ability, you can discover how to liberate your mind from the constraints of habitual thinking. Edison cultivated the use of metaphors, analogies, and visual thinking. His down-to-earth way of picturing things first in his mind’s eye and then on paper is surprisingly easy to learn.

Edison’s kaleidoscopic mind brought forward revolutionary ideas that changed the way we live. In bringing the world electric light, Edison bucked conventional wisdom. His ability to manage dozens of projects simultaneously at the height of developing his electrical power system stands as testimony not only to his exceptional kaleidoscopic thinking abilities, but his capacity managing complexity is a key skill covered in Competency #3: Full-spectrum Engagement.

Next: Full-Spectrum Engagement

Read on overview of Edison’s Five Competencies for Innovation here.

This material adapted from Innovate Like Edison, by Michael J. Gelb and Sarah Miller Caldicott

A multi-part series being reposted in honor of Thomas Edison’s 166th birth February 11, 1847

Innovation Competency #1 – Solution-Centered Mindset

The phenomenon of seeing what we expect or want to see is called “mindset.” It functions all the time, consciously or unconsciously, for better or worse. Your mindset reflects your sense of purpose, and your sense of purpose organizes your purpose. In other words, purpose determines perception.

A solution-centered mindset gives you access to a wide range of tools for innovating.

Thomas Edison’s purpose was clear: “bringing out the secrets of nature and applying them for the happiness of man.” He believed that his success was inevitable and this belief energized his every endeavor. Edison’s unwavering focus on finding solutions allowed him to embrace incredibly complex challenges and overcome many setbacks.

His solution-centered mindset allowed him to embrace seemingly fantastic goals – like lighting the world – and make them come true. Edison aligned his goals with his passions and cultivated a powerful sense of optimism that had a magnetic, positive effect on his coworkers, investors, customers, an d ultimately the entire nation. It’s called charismatic optimism.

Edison’s passion for his goals and his charismatic optimism were nurtured by an unrelenting desire to learn, especially by reading. Throughout his life, Edison devoured books, plays, journals, magazines, scientific papers, and newspapers. Edison’s voracious reading created a constant stream of ideas, insights, and inspiration that led him to breakthrough solutions. His never-ending quest for greater depth and breadth of knowledge helped him develop an unprecedented approach to experimentation in service of innovation. His experiments were characterized by a remarkable combination of persistence and rigorous objective that accelerated his success.

A solution-centered mindset is the launching pad for the realization of your most ambitious innovation objectives and the fulfillment of your highest personal aspirations.

Next: Kaleidoscopic Thinking

Read an overview of Edison’s Five Competencies for Innovation here.

This material adapted from Innovate Like Edison, by Michael J. Gelb and Sarah Miller Caldicott

A multi-part series being reposted in honor of Thomas Edison’s birth

February 11, 1847

12 Best Books of 2012

Making a “Best of” list is always hard – it’s a very subjective process, driven by my personal tastes, professional needs, and plain curiosity.

I’ve always been a voracious reader – a cherished habit passed down to me by my late father. In the past year, though, I’ve been able to ramp it up considerably because of my role as Vision Room Curator.

It’s not only a pleasure to read, it’s part of my job description – how cool is that?

Even so, it’s also hard to narrow it a “Best of” list down: in 2012, my reading included:

  • 127 books checked out from my local library
  • 68 print books purchased
  • 31 books received for review
  • 75 digital books on my Kindle

I also perused dozens of bookstores on my travels, writing down 63 titles for future review and/or acquisition. There are also a lot of late releases just coming out that I don’t have time to take a look at – yet. Be that as it may, here is my list of my 12 favorite books published in 2012.

Outside In

  Outside In

Guest Experiences for ChurchWorld is my passion, and this book by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine will provide churches a “go-to” manual for years to come

 

Deep and Wide

Deep and Wide

Andy Stanley and Northpoint Ministries have a solid model that all churches would do well to study – not to duplicate, but to understand how to impact your community for Christ.

 

Center Church

Center Church

Tim Keller delivers a textbook for doing church; possibly the most important church theology/leadership/practical book in a decade

 

The Advantage

   The Advantage

Patrick Lencioni captures the concept of clarity (he uses the phrase “organizational health”) like no business thinker today

 

The Icarus Deception

   The Icarus Deception

Seth Godin’s most recent book is probably the most challenging personal one I’ve read – and that’s saying a lot!

 

The Lego Principle

   The LEGO Principle

Joey Bonifacio writes in a simple, profound way about the importance of “connecting” in relationships that lead to discipleship

 

Missional Moves

   Missional Moves

Rob Wegner and Jack Magruder in a quiet, unassuming way, illustrate how Granger Community Church is transforming into a community of believers reaching their community – and the world.

 

Lead with a Story

Lead with a Story

Paul Smith delivers a powerful tool to enhance the leader’s skill in storytelling.

 

Design Like Apple

Design Like Apple

John Edson delivers a stunningly designed book that challenges the reader to understand and utilize Apple’s principles of design

 

 

Better Together

   Better Together

Church mergers (and closings) are going to be a huge event in the next decade; Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird give an excellent resource on how to survive and thrive throughout the process.

 

Quiet

   Quiet

Susan Cain writes the book I’ve been waiting for over 30 years – because I am an introvert leader.

 

 

Midnight Lunch

   Midnight Lunch

Sarah Miller Caldicott delivers a powerful primer for collaborative teamwork.

 

 

HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations

   HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations

Nancy Duarte is not just a great writer – she knows how to deliver a great presentation from the first idea to the final applause.

 

 

Okay, it’s not 12 – but it is a baker’s dozen!

Let’s see – there’s still over 2 weeks left in 2012 – plenty of time to find a good book – what do you recommend?