Playing with connections

To help you get into the habit of making connections, there is a very simple game you can play that will help train your mind.

First, make a list of about 50 everyday household, workplace, and high street items, for example, game of Monopoly, pet dog, sycamore seed, chair, pencil, paperclip, desk, car, pedestrian, etc.

To begin with, you may like to put each one on a separate small piece of paper or card. Then, identify an aspect of your work or home life on which you wish to focus. Let's imagine that you choose to explore something that is an issue in all organizations: cutting your costs.

Pick one of your cards. Let's say you chose the game of Monopoly. For between 20 or 30 minutes, concentrate on finding connections between cost cutting and the game of Monopoly.

Try lots of different techniques:

♦ Working on your own and coming up with a list.

♦ Asking yourself questions about how they are similar in shape or colour or process or any other thing you can think of.

♦ Brainstorming.

♦ Focusing on one aspect of either of the two areas.

♦ Getting up, walking around, and seeing if the problem looks different when you are on your feet.

The kinds of ideas you might have come up with would include:

♦ There are risks involved.

♦ You "go round in circles" when playing Monopoly and when trying to save money.

♦ When you pass "Go" you get money and when you do something to cut costs you get money.

If at any time the connection you are making between the two items gives you an idea, capture it. What tends to happen is that to begin with the ideas are quite obvious. After a while the thinking starts to deepen. Someone might notice that the houses at one end of the board are cheaper than those at the other end. This could suggest to you that the best way of cutting costs would be for you to move offices to cheaper ones and make a significant saving, rather than spending so much of your time talking about making minor cuts.

Games like these are a good metaphor for what needs to happen in a creative organization. Peter Drucker talks of taking "a systematic leap into the unknown." Certainly there is much that is unknown, but equally there is much that can be done to make creativity more systematic.

How To Accomplish More In A Fraction Of The Time

How To Accomplish More In A Fraction Of The Time

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave several of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to produce and check off items on our to-do list by each day’s end seems to decide the direction and quality of our existence for us.

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