The Power of Small Creative Teams

When it comes to brainstorming and creative teams, Jeff Bezos at Amazon.com says to keep them small. Usually, when I’m involved in creative meetings with clients, most organizations want 20-30 people in meetings and that’s just too large and unproductive a group to work. With a smaller group of key people, you don’t waste a lot of time and man hours on bad ideas. Plus, like a herd of cats, large creative teams are simply too unwieldy to manage well.  Small groups move faster and are more nimble.  The perfect number?  

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Catalysts – Critical People to Innovation

I’ve been thinking a lot about “catalysts” lately, so I pulled this short post from my archives. What are “catalysts?” A catalyst is a person who isn’t necessarily a great innovator, original thinker, or iconoclast, but someone who by his or her very passion, are able to rally other people to a great cause.  They encourage innovators to

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With Creativity, Quantity Comes Before Quality

The other day my wife Kathleen and I were in the car listening to the new “Beatles” channel on our satellite radio. She remarked on the number of songs the Beatles had obviously recorded that we’d never heard before, and honestly, a significant number of those songs are junk. The Beatles literally transformed rock and roll, and we’ve come to think that everything they recorded was brilliant. But the truth is – even with the greatest artists –

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Telling Me “It’s Just Who I Am” Doesn’t Work

Whenever I teach creative people, one of the most common responses I hear is “I can’t change because this is just who I am.” They’re trying to tell me they are wired a certain way and as a result, can’t learn to write a different way, change the way they express themselves, or look at a challenge from another perspective. I agree that each of us are “wired” with certain strengths and personality traits, but too often, we use the “It’s just the way I am” response as a

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Are You Too Busy? Read This Before You Answer

Everyone’s “too busy” these days.  Too busy to write that novel, produce that film, visit your parents, attend church, go back to school, get training, read books, follow your dream – whatever. And it seems like everybody waves the “I’m too busy” flag like a status symbol. How many times have you started social conversations with that phrase? And if you have a day job, (especially for us creative types), that extra work is often overwhelming, so even thinking about

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By The Time You See the Threat, It’s Already Too Late

There's a career killing bullet out there with your name on it.

You can take this to the bank: Far too many ideas, organizations, and personal careers fail because they didn’t see the threats coming in time. For example, the Wall Street Journal reported recently that big food brands are in trouble. “For over a century, brands such as Kellogg’s cereal, Campbell ’s soup and Aunt Jemima pancake mix filled pantries of American households that wanted safe, affordable and convenient food. They provided companies with reliable revenue growth from grocery shelves, and there was

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Do You Have the Creative Confidence to Risk it All on Your Ideas?

Everyone’s creative, but not many are willing to risk it all on their creativity. But when you reach that point, everything in your life begins to change. Suddenly you’re willing to make that scary pitch for the dream project, present your ideas to the client, and push your team to new levels. I’m reminded of the handwritten note General Dwight Eisenhower wrote before the famous 1944 D-Day invasion saying that if

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