Archive for January, 2019

Decluttering…Inspired by Marie Kondo

Sunday, January 27th, 2019

It took a while (years, I think), but yesterday I finally took notice of the idea of decluttering (mainly thanks to a couple of articles on AsiaOne) as it is inspired by Marie Kondo. I decided to watch the first episode of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on NetFlix, and found engaged by the cultural bridging displayed on the show. The formula was fairly simple: putting the Japanese sense of less is more with the US sense of automatic-consumerism yielded a challenge worth viewing – kind of like rubbernecking a road accident.

Then the connection struck me. Several years ago, one of the YCISL workshop project teams had worked on a decluttering idea (of toys and clothes of children who outgrow the items) and it became one that I use as an example over and over again. Thinking broadly, decluttering (or at least envisioning, planning and empowering for) is a prime leadership skill. Defocused and un-collaborative teams or products are prime candidates for decluttering leadership. Getting teams to bring everything to the fore and sorting them into piles is needed. Showing appreciation for purpose is also emotionally soothing for saving or detaching issues.

Decluttering is about sharing the vision of Point A and Point B, and how to get from Point A to Point B (this has always been what I view as the primary task of leadership). Sharing in the journey is the touch that contributes to fulfillment and success.

So I am hoping to design “Decluttering” into the YCISL projects. The steps from Brainstorming to Prototyping to Feature List to Product Realization are each decluttering exercises. Even Testing & Readiness requires disciplined decluttering. I have a feeling this will be a very useful idea for the YCISL model of creativity, innovation and leadership.

Thanks Marie Kondo for reminding me of this.


YCISL Team Project: Disrupting Human Behavior

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

One of the challenges that we have discussed in the YCISL workshops is changing human behavior. From ideas of the growth mindset (Dweck) to Simple, But Not Easy (Robbins), we know that changing human behavior like a disruptor requires a high level of mindful and persuasive creativity. We would need to leverage the sense of “new” (linked to the Try Something New workshop idea) and a worldview-framed story.

I am therefore considering the design of a YCISL team project with the theme “Disrupting Human Behavior” whereby teams have to realize a product that opens a new and competitively compelling path towards a sustainable objective.

The project would require a clear path and powerful messaging. Competitive advantage (just like in our Elevator Pitch exercise) would need to be awesome – as would ask and promise.

To be ultimately challenging, the teams would have to make (influence) other participants in the workshop willing to try the new path and consider sticking with it. It would have to be something workshop participants are actually doing at the start of the workshop – and would change their behavior by the end of the workshop.

How hard would that be?

YCISL Team Project: The _________ Guide for _________

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Had an idea for a team project theme.

The general idea is for project teams to ideate, develop and launch a guide. The users will be defined as part of the problem-setting stage and will help define the EQ part of this project work. Hopefully, a project like this would bring in each of the EQ quadrants we introduce in the workshops.

I got this idea after spending quite some time on Yelp! today. Yelp! is just too general and pitted with low quality information from un-calibrated sources with uncertain biases.

So the initial idea was “The Dining Guide for Stanford Visitors” whereby teams would visit various eateries at Stanford and pull together a guide whilst developing content suitable for the intended audience.

But the same approach can be applied to other areas such as:

  • The Quad
  • The Stanford Bookstore
  • Transportation
  • Sports & Recreation
  • Entertainment
  • Cantor Museum
  • and so on

Teams will prototype the guide on up to 3 platforms then proceed to complete the project on just one. Platforms could be a phone/tablet app, a web site, a brochure, a book, a video, a podcast, a news article, and more…

What’s the plan for YCISL 2019?

Saturday, January 5th, 2019

The December break was a good time to come up with ideas for the 2019 YCISL workshops.

  1. A Symposium on Inspiring Cases of Youth Creativity, Innovation and Leadership. The schedule would involve research & development of a TED-style talk on a selected person, place or event. The selected case would have to exemplify the YCISL principles of EQ, intrinsic motivation and creative energy. Presentations could also make commentary on other YCISL topics including positivity, fast thinking, problem-solving, gratitude, teamwork/teambuilding, brand identity, and your personal story.
  2. Team Project on EQ-fying Schools, Classrooms & Learning. Exploring a range of solutions to quality of engagement in Education. Particular focus in the first year will be on classroom OOBE (first impressions for the students and teacher). The aim will be to create an EQ-based familiarization between students and teachers in order to enable the reciprocal learning posited by Adora Svitak. We could touch on expectations, methodology and assessment.


Thoughts: New Year, New Resolutions & Change

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

Welcome to 2019!

An article in The Straits Times on December 28, 2018 titled “10 Tips for a Better Year” by Neen James reminded me that it was that time of year again when there would be a wave of self-improvement advisories. About how to approach making resolutions and keeping them. Another article “You say you want a New Year’s resolution…?” by Jamie Robertson on BBC News on January 2, 2019 further reminds us how most resolutions are short-lived – on the order of days.

Among the ten tips given by James, here are my three favorites within the YCISL context:

Know Your Priorities. For youth (especially pre-teen), priorities are often set by parents, teachers or other adults. So the challenge for youth is to be aware of their context given the surrounding priorities and pull together a set of personal priorities that connect. YCISL: Start with 3…and update as needed.

Surround Yourself with VIPs (Very Inspiring People). We know that your support network is critical to sustainable well-being. Can you think of 3 people who inspire you right now? Do you have the awareness and management skill to minimize the draining people around you? In YCISL, we like using select TED Talks for inspiration. For the 2019 workshop program, I am planning on leveraging Adora Svitak’s “What Adults Can Learn From Kids” TED Talk to inspire creativity and leadership through the form of “Quick-fire” projects focused on the classroom.

Make Time For Those You Care For. Caring often has a reciprocal effect. It elevates intrinsic motivation and feeds our sense of fulfillment. It is a perfect platform to train and apply our emotional intelligence because caring is sensitive to who and how.