Tips and tricks on inspiring (or not crushing) creativity from IDEO and Fast Company 

Tips and tricks on inspiring (or not crushing) creativity from IDEO and Fast Company 

Filter bubbles are a problem for democracy. We believe they’re a problem for creativity, too.


From IDEO: Escape Your Filter Bubble and Enhance Your Creativity


  • Talk to strangers - Bill Murray's recommends conversations with cab drivers
  • Unfollow people like you - it will open your eyes to other perspectives
  • Join a different demographic - Bingo anyone?
  • Volunteer - It brings you eye to eye with people you don't usually hang with (and it will make you feel good)


From Fast Company: Expunge these three phrases from the conversation:


  • Best Practices - By the time they're 'best' they're stale
  • Return on Investment - Yahoo turned down an offer to buy Google for $1M because it didn't pencil out
  • "When I worked for ..." - It's so yesterday


Is the gig economy really exploding or are we being duped by headlines? 

Is the gig economy really exploding or are we being duped by headlines? 

"Over the past two decades, the U.S. labor market has undergone a quiet transformation, as companies increasingly forgo full-time employees and fill positions with independent contractors, on-call workers or temps—what economists have called “alternative work arrangements” or the “contingent workforce.”


While this article focuses on lawmaker concerns about the absense of rights and protections for contingent workers (a worthy topic on its own), what I found even more interesting was the data.


A scan of business headlines would lead most to believe the "gig economy" was transforming the world of work. In fact, it isn't. The Uber's, TaskRabbit's, and Upwork's of the world actually account for less than 1% of the contingent workforce (which includes temps, on-call workers, contract workers, independent contractors, and freelancers).*


Accurate data on the number of Americans employed under alternative work arrangements is sorely lacking, but the most rigorous estimate puts it at about 16% of the labor force. That number has increased by about 50% in the past decade with independent contractors accounting for most of that growth. During the same period, the number of traditional workers actually declined.


The problem in all this is that contingent workers have none of the protections and benefits that employees enjoy. Federal and State regulators are way behind the curve in this important shift.


You can view the full report on which this article is based here.


* Some estimates of the contingent labor force include also include part-time employees.

Half of AU/NZ firms expected to have activity-based work settings by 2020 

Half of AU/NZ firms expected to have activity-based work settings by 2020 

The walls have come down, literally and figuratively. In this space where people come together remarkable things happen. From fledgling concept to fully formed and flourishing; an exploration of the (future) workplace in Australia and New Zealand.


In this 35 page report, workplace legends Chris Cane and Chris Alcock share 11 case studies from AU and NZ where two-thirds of the workforce expect to be activity-based working (ABW) by 2020. Half of financial institution employees already do.

Each study includes quantified benefits such as:

  • An increase in net promoter scores, engagement, sustainability scores, speed to decision making, and talent attraction
  • A reduction in real estate costs, churn, and waste

While the banking industry has led the charge, the study indicates that all of the major insurance companies, professional consulting organizations, real estate and property sector, and technology companies have made a move toward ABW.

The authors credit the speed at which ABW has advanced in AU/NZ, at least in part, to the pioneering nature of their population. They are eager to try new and better ways of doing things and not afraid of challenging convention.


A simple ‘thank you’ will help you attract and retain talent? 

"On a given day, only 10 percent of people say “thank you” to colleagues—and 60 percent of people report that they never or very rarely express gratitude at work. So OpenIDEO posed a challenge for the best ideas on how  express gratitude in the workplace. Over 300 contributions later they announced the winners.


You can have a look at the winning ideas here, but the real winners are the employers that are doing something about the sad state of gratitude. In addition to lower turnover, research by Harvard and Wharton shows a simple 'thank you' can boost productivity by over 50%.

The article points to a number of great research papers and articles about gratitude. Here are a few quick tips for getting started:

  • Start at the top; people want to hear it from the boss
  • Thank the people who do thankless work
  • Quality and authenticity trump quantity
  • Gratitude isn’t one-size-fits-all
  • Make it personal

And there's a bonus in expressing gratitude. It feels good. 

Thank you for reading this post!

The fake news about Millennials…Let’s get the facts straight 

The fake news about Millennials…Let’s get the facts straight 

Maybe many of the assumptions we make about Gen Y aren’t unique to this generation. Maybe they’re specific to young people in general, writes Amanda Ruggeri


Garbage in, garbage out as they say, and in terms of designing for millennials, your workplace may be the garbage. That Gen Y is so different really is fake news. Remember beanbag chairs, lava lamps, and nahru jackets? What if workplaces had been completely redesigned to fit young boomers? 


This article debunks nearly all we think we know about Millennials. Compared to other generations:

  • They work harder
  • They are more respectful of authority
  • They stay on the job longer


Though not covered in this article, other research shows they are not more collaborative, tech savvy, or social.


Critically, in terms of workplace design, like every generation in the past, they will change throughout their lives. Already, the trends are showing the eldest among them are buying cars, having kids, and moving to the suburbs to raise them.


The bottom line is, it's time to stop making assumptions about how people are , get out there and talk to them about what they want and need, and design with the knowledge that they will change over time. 

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