Innovation and Creativity Articles and Videos on Facebook and Twitter

Be sure to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter where I share excellent innovation and creativity articles and videos. I’m always reading articles from great sources like FastCompany and Harvard Business Review. I’m also scouring YouTube and TedTalks for engaging videos on topics of innovation, creativity, and leadership. When I find an article or video that I recommend I post it to Facebook or Twitter.

3 Simple Strategies From the Pros: How to Title Blog Posts and Articles

We need titles for many things: ideas, concepts, images, tweets, social media and blog posts, articles, reports, and books. In an earlier blog post I shared some insights from my research on bestselling nonfiction books for how to create better titles. I would like to now zero in on smaller ideas or bite-sized pieces of writing. How can we title our articles, blogs, and other short social media posts that we want people to click on and read? Who can we learn from, who knows how to title? The answer is copywriters. A popular blog for copywriters is Copyblogger. I’ve heard many fine title writers recommend this site as a good model. I’ve taken a screen shot of some of the most popular, commented, and shared blog posts or articles on the Copyblogger site. Give it a look and synthesize what you see. What can we learn from these popular article titles on how to title our own articles and blog posts? What themes do you see?

From my quick glance I see three themes or tips:

  1. Use numbers. Most of the titles are about X ways, elements, secrets, etc. It seems like people want to click and read something that is quantitative. We all have time to read 3 quick secrets, or 5 quick ways, right?
  2. Make it “How to” focused. There are at least two articles that even start with that exact phrase in the Copyblogger image. The titles have a practical focus…you will learn how to DO something.
  3. Focus on the benefit or solve the problem in the title. What is your article going to help people with? Get more views for their article or blog? Write more magnetic copy that people will read? What are you helping them with?

Are there more than 3 simple ways to title? What other themes or tips did you see in the Copyblogger image? Leave a comment about other ideas you found or have for creating better titles!

Curiosity colons: Learning how to title from best selling books

What can we learn from how best selling non-fiction books are titled to help us title our own ideas and messages so that people understand our ideas and want to act on them? I’ve been thinking about this lately. I’ve gone through a process recently of trying to figure out a title for a book I’m finishing writing. I did a few rounds of surveys to target readers to help me generate ideas and decide. I’ve also done some research on what makes a great title. Even if you aren’t working on a book you are probably trying to communicate something important. We need to get to the point and be interesting in our communications. We can learn from how books are titled. Especially nonfiction books.

My book is on the topic of leadership development programs. My first title ideas didn’t stick with the target readers because they were too academic. I had to go back to the drawing board and research how to create a title for a nonfiction book. I’ve looked at some successful models on the best seller list and read articles on the topic. Some themes are emerging. Try it yourself, take a look at some of the books you own…what do the titles have in common? It seems like a format that works is to start with a short 1-4 word title that arouses curiosity, and then a longer subtitle that tells them what the book is about. This subtitle is also helpful if it contains a lot of key words that people would search for and it tells them what they will gain by reading your book…the questions it will answer, the pain it will solve, or the benefit of it.

Check out the New York Times nonfiction bestsellers and see how they are titled. What can you learn from them for how you title your emails, blogs, and ideas? Here are some examples of books you might have read. See how they fit this model?

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (by Malcolm Gladwell)

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (by Timothy Ferriss)

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t (by Jim Collins)

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (by David Allen)

My favorite book lately is “Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us” by Dan Pink. Looks like it fits the model.

Self-Innovation: Using 5 Innovator’s DNA Skills to Build a Better Fruit Fly Trap

The Five Innovator’s DNA skills are observing, associating, questioning, experimenting, and networking. You can put these skills to use in everyday situations.

The problem. I had fruit flies one summer day. This is fine in the 10th grade biology classroom but bad in your home. I was OK with an occasional few flying around but when one landed in my glass of red wine I knew it was time to spring to action.

I networked online. Someone else posted something about it on Facebook. People had suggested creating a trap.

I questioned. I asked Google how to create a fruit fly trap. I saw examples that used funnels and red wine or apple cider vinegar.

I associated. I noticed the fruit flies enjoyed red wine. I noticed they like white surfaces. I noticed they like fruit (shocker!). I noticed they like to hang out on the edge of glasses. I could associate trap ideas from wine, white, fruit, and edges.

I now had a lot of ideas. The potential solutions were growing and developing…much like the fruit flies in my kitchen.

I experimented. I built a trap using red wine and a white card on top with a hole in it. I caught a few. I thought I would catch more. I had the wine for them but maybe I needed to have a separate area where the fruit flies could smoke too? I didn’t like this particular trap…wine is expensive! I observed the results and still saw that many fruit flies were hanging out elsewhere…they didn’t necessarily go through the whole.

I experimented again. I added a second trap. This one used a coffee filter style paper white funnel and led to a glass with apple cider vinegar. There was a hole for the flies to enter. A few came into this trap but not as many.

I experimented again. I added a third trap. I remembered the age-old wisdom. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. I thought about this metaphor. I think it was getting at the value of using something sweet. Heck, fruit flies are called fruit flies for a reason. For the new trap I integrated this age-old metaphorical wisdom and my observations. I simply put the banana peel from the banana I just ate in the glass. I used a simple white index card on top of the glass. I left enough space on the edge (not a whole in the card) for the fruit flies to come on in to the buffet. Sure enough…within minutes I had more flies in that glass than in all of the other experiments combined. Of the three traps on the counter…the fruit flies had certainly cast their vote with their wings. I went to the banana trap and simply closed the index card on top of the glass and then brought it outside to release the flies. This was a successful innovation thanks to networking, questioning, observing, associating, and experimenting.

What ways have you been doing everyday innovation…using skills like networking, questioning, observing, associating, or experimenting? What innovative solutions have you developed? What experiments should you run next?

New Idea: What if 10th grade biology classes did a section on innovation using fruit fly trap building after their genetics section? They’ve got to catch the flies somehow, right?

Incremental +1 or Breakthrough x2 Innovation?

incremental versus breakthrough innovation
Would you rather go +1 or x2 in your ideas and innovations? How about life? How about at work? When innovating and doing things better we have choices. Do we want a slight improvement, a +1, an incremental innovation? Or, do we want a x2, a drastic improvement? This is a breakthrough or even disruptive innovation. With the +1 approach things get slightly better. It is like a CD that now holds one more song, or is 1 inch smaller. The x2 approach is like an Ipod. It looks different and even operates different. It is a breakthrough or a disruption to the way things had been done before. It is a drastic improvement.

Perhaps you view the innovations you are working on in your life as a portfolio of ideas. You have some ideas that are +1s, they are slight improvements, are not risky, and have a good chance of success. This could be like reducing 200 calories in your diet just today by choosing a salad instead of fries. Make sure you are also working on some x2 ideas as well, those that may be drastically different, riskier, but also provide greater rewards. This could be like doing a full week detox or reboot to your body drinking only vegetable and fruit juices.

The process you take to generate and implement +1 and x2 ideas are quite different. Perhaps you are used to slight improvements but not deconstructing a challenge and reconstructing it from the ground up in a new form. These are new thinking skills to develop. Using idea generation tools like SCAMPER are helpful for +1 innovations, tools like metaphors are helpful for x2 innovations.

How to Communicate to Innovate: Networking to Individuals, Presenting to Groups, and Online to the World

Here is a new workshop zeroing in on what is important to managers, leaders, and change agents: Saving time, being clear & memorable, gaining buy-in, and reducing chance of failure by communicating for innovation.

How to Communicate to Innovate: Networking to Individuals, Presenting to Groups, and Online to the World

+ Gain tools and techniques to help you be successful communicating in different important settings. Join our interactive peer focused lab to work on communicating your challenge, gathering ideas for innovative solutions, and collaborate with others so you may more smoothly get buy in and implement new ideas with others.

+ Practice communicating who you are, what you are working on, and a challenge you could use insight on. Gain helpful feedback to improve your efforts quickly. Test it out in our workshop.

+ Learn simple techniques that will allow you to communicate in ways that are engaging and memorable using involvement, story, visuals, and metaphors.

+ Develop individual professional relationships and a group of peer leaders that you can give and receive with on an ongoing basis to help you innovate in your work projects.

+ Save time and energy by learning how to communicate quickly and succinctly. We will help you craft your elevator speech and write “tweet-size” so you can free up time.

This is an innovative, highly engaging, interactive approach to communicating as a manager. This is connection-making learning, where you will make connections, get ideas for your own projects, and offer ideas to others that can help them make progress on their own initiative. Below is a large group presentation the workshop leader, Darin, has done that will give you an idea of some of the skills we will teach and do interactive activities with. View the a visual online sample webinar version to see this content in a different way.

Program Innovation is a topic area where the workshops help people to innovate by doing it. Workshops are designed to facilitate groups and institutions through the idea development process by systematically tackling a challenge relevant to you. This is a relevant topic area for organizations and groups within institutions. It is designed to help people improve how they work and have a high-impact.

Click here to see all programs in the Program Innovation topic area.

40 research based actions for leadership development program impact

These 40 research grounded high impact practices of student leadership programs can enhance leadership development and education efforts:

Cluster I: Participants Engaged in Building and Sustaining a Learning Community

1.    Utilize an application and selection procedure to select students who are invested in their own and others’ development and are committed to engaging fully in the program.
2.    Recruit from many sources and bring together a mix of students from a variety of backgrounds to create a diverse learning community.
3.    Hire student-centered educational practitioners as teachers and administrators to facilitate students’ leadership development.
4.    Create opportunities for leadership practitioners from a variety of fields and careers to serve as guest leaders, sharing their experiences through panels, discussions, and conversations with students.
5.    Reduce status differences, be open and accessible, empower students, demonstrate integrity, care, and model exemplary leadership practice through your interactions with students.
6.    Tell your stories, share real experiences, and ask thought-provoking questions.
7.    Mentor and support students outside of program meetings.
8.    Make the large learning community enrollment smaller through a structure that places students within smaller groups in the program.
9.    Allow students to shape and share in a group identity and work together to develop the small group, cluster, or team to which they belong.
10.    Utilize the small group as a laboratory to learn about leadership where students teach each other, engage in activities, work on projects, overcome challenges, and bond through developing as a team.
11.    Challenge participants to risk and learn from mistakes, ask difficult questions, and think for themselves all within a safe encouraging atmosphere.
12.    Set community standards and encourage participants to be approachable, encouraging, and willing to help fellow participants outside of the program as well as within.
13.    Facilitate participants giving and receiving feedback to one another in critical instances after they have had time observing each others’ leadership style.
14.    Utilize a wide variety of teambuilding activities and structures at the beginning of the program and throughout to allow participants to meet and connect on a one to one basis.

Cluster II: Student Centered Experiential Learning Experiences
15.    Engage students in practicing the leadership skills and concepts they are learning through group development processes within the program, in class projects, and with individual leadership plans.
16.    Engage students in practicing leadership in various out of class projects in the community and on campus.
17.    Engage students in practicing leadership through assuming positions and roles within the program to share responsibility in operating the program and teaching fellow students.
18.    Create opportunities for students to become involved in tangible ways outside of the program in the community, campus, and within other organizations.
19.    Engage students in written reflection activities in the form of journals, essays about readings, and other projects.
20.    Engage students in verbal reflection in reaction to discussions, questions posed, and current events.
21.    Formally engage students in completing vision and goal setting activities and other projects to personalize the concepts to the individual.
22.    Engage students in a variety of curricular activities designed to help them gain a greater understanding of themselves, including personality, strengths, style, skills, and values assessments.
23.    Engage students in simulations to give them practice with specific leadership skills, including strategic planning, ethics, and decision making.
24.    Engage students in group discussions, debriefings, and dialogues stimulated by events, activities, readings, and presentations.
25.    Engage students in making meaning and connections to readings through discussing their out-of-program experiences.
26.    Expose students to different situations, contexts, cultures, groups, and people through their stories and program activities.
27.    Give students opportunities to practice different ways of leading, leadership roles, and engage with others with different leadership styles.
28.    Provide opportunities for students to practice leadership and learn through service learning in groups and individually.
29.    Expose students early to a wide breadth of multiple service sites, people, and organizations.
30.    Allow students to have increasing responsibility and devote significant time for in-depth service to the site in which they are most interested or the cause about which they are most passionate.
31.    Bring groups of students away from the routine of the campus for an accelerated and in depth exploration of themselves, their fellow participants and leadership.
32.    Use alternative, group based, and experiential teaching methods such as a ropes courses, challenges, or intense exploration into a particular theme or issue.

Cluster III: Research Grounded Continuous Program Development

33.    Offer a variety of themes, service sites, group & individual project choices, and team memberships to allow students to choose their leadership context and skills to develop.
34.    Incorporate a wide variety of delivery methods to appeal to different student learning styles.
35.    Integrate the various components students can choose into a common, coherent, larger whole curriculum that students experience in unique ways.
36.    Develop and offer program content based on previously established desired leadership development outcomes for the students.
37.    Explicitly state the mission and values of the program and model the values through the curriculum and participant action.
38.    Develop content that infuses student leadership and college student specific issues to make the curriculum real and have utility for the individual student.
39.    Create programs utilizing current leadership, student development, leadership development, curriculum, teaching & learning, quality program development, and education research and models.
40.    Improve programs continually led by both practitioners and students, involving multiple assessment and feedback systems.

Additional articles:

Eich, D. (2008). A grounded theory of high-quality leadership programs: Perspectives from student leadership development programs in higher education. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 15(2), 176-187.

Eich, D. (2009). Using leadership education research and assessment to positively impact leadership program outcomes. Concepts & Connections: A Publication for Leadership Educators, 16(3), 7-10.

Eich, D. (2008). 40 practices that enhance student leadership development. Student Affairs Leader. 36(16), 1-3.

Reflection and Strategy Activities for Personal Innovation Journey

This personal innovation journey program guides participants through a number of deep reflection and life assessment projects to help them make meaning of the past and present as well as strategize for the future. The activities are deep, creative, and visual. Participants will leave with “maps” they can put on their walls to keep their strategy at the top of their mind and be motivated to act.

Create Your Path: Reflecting & Strategizing for Professional Growth is a personal development focused topic area. Workshops are designed to help people discover and develop themselves to be more authentic, significant, and happy. Programs help students and professionals to create their own path to a successful life and career, integrating the academic, professional, and personal together.

Click here to see all programs in the Create Your Path topic area.

The Innovation Destination: Innovate Yourself – Keynote Conference Speech

Innovate yourself and what you are doing in your life and work! Get ready to point yourself in the direction of your destination and find the vehicle to get you there in this energizing and interactive keynote designed to accelerate your experience at this conference and then into your life! During this fast paced program you will connect fast and often with other participants. A variety of engaging activities will be facilitated to get you connecting & creating with each other and catalyze yourself to a new level of motivation, innovation, and learning!

Create Your Path: Reflecting & Strategizing for Professional Growth is a personal development focused topic area. Workshops are designed to help people discover and develop themselves to be more authentic, significant, and happy. Programs help students and professionals to create their own path to a successful life and career, integrating the academic, professional, and personal together.

Click here to see all programs in the Create Your Path topic area.

Speech on Developing and Communicating Innovative Ideas

I had been blogging about the process of creating a visual keynote speech. I recorded a final prototype version of a speech on “developing and communicating innovative ideas” from my home studio and posted the video here. I did this speech live for a group of 300…plus an overflow room for the live stream of the event. They also recorded the live stream of the event and you can view it at Showcase 2011 to see how it looked live. My keynote on developing & communicating innovative ideas starts at 32:15.
Developing and Communicating Innovative IdeasCreating a new visual keynote speech takes a lot of iterations. It is worth the effort though because then you can keep giving this speech, do it as a webinar, or even transform it into an article. Think of it an innovation process of creating quality content and you can then use this content in different ways.