Idea Surplus Disorder #52

In this edition of Idea Surplus Disorder: a new Filament offering, disruption, good living, bad reading, cubist paintings, Disney on skis, the history of the book chapter, propaganda posters, and more.

Idea Surplus Disorder #52

Good morning, and happy Monday!

In this edition of Idea Surplus Disorder: a new Filament offering, disruption, good living, bad reading, cubist paintings, Disney on skis, the book chapter, propaganda posters, and more.

I’m Matt Homann, the founder of Filament, and I’m glad you’re here!

Filament's Last Minute Meetings

Filament is rolling out a new opportunity for our valued clients (and readers of this newsletter): Last Minute Meetings. 

We call these turnkey Filament meetings “Last Minute” because we’re only able to offer them when we’ve got a few open days on our calendar in the upcoming weeks that might otherwise go unfilled. Oh, and we also offer them at a significant discount from our normal rates.

Our three pre-designed full-day meeting choices include Building Your Agile 2024 Strategy Plan (Build your 2024 strategic plan in just one day), Rebooting Your Team Culture (Focus on improving ways your team works, meets, and collaborates together), and Rethinking Your Offerings (Look at what you sell – and for how much – and focus on creating extraordinary value for your customers).

The three half-day workshop-style sessions include Meeting Mastery: (How to meet better, decide faster, and collaborate more effectively). Focusing on Feedback (Learn and practice ways to build generous, effective feedback into every part of your culture), and Beyond the Brainstorm (Use Filament’s methodology to turbocharge your innovation and learn how to move from idea to experiment in hours vs. months).

We’ll cover all the logistics, including meeting design, facilitation, illustration, food, beverage, and parking for up to 25 attendees and here are the dates we still have open in the next few weeks:

For Full-Day Meetings, we're available on February 22nd, 27th, and March 8th. For Half-Day Workshops, we're open on the mornings of February 27th and 29th.

Slots are limited. Reach out to me with any questions and to book your Last Minute Meeting! 

Ideas + Insights

Is the era of "keep doing what works" leadership over? Forty-five percent of CEOs don't think their current companies will survive ten years on their current paths.

Even though optimism about the overall economy is up in this year’s survey—the share of respondents who believe global economic growth will improve over the next 12 months has more than doubled—that optimism has not translated into a consensus to stay the course. On the contrary, 45% of CEOs say their business won’t survive more than ten years on its current trajectory (up six percentage points from last year). What’s more, [they say] disruptive megatrends are considerably more likely to affect the fundamentals of their business in the next three years than they have in the past five.Russel

In 1951, British philosopher Bertrand Russel shared his Ten Commandments For Good Living. Here are my favorites:

  • Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to succeed.
  • Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  • Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

Need to take a break? Follow these five simple rules:

1. Something beats nothing. 2. Moving beats stationary. 3. Social beats solo. 4. Outside beats inside. 5. Fully detached beats semi-detached.

This exchange between Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern sums up entrepreneurship for me:

  • Seinfeld: "I'm never not working on material. Every second of my existence, I'm thinking, could I do something with that?"
  • Howard Stern: "That, to me, sounds torturous."
  • Seinfeld: "Your blessing in life is when you find the torture you're comfortable with."

You've heard of Occam's Razor, but have you heard of Hickam's Dictum?

The opposite of Occam's razor. In a complex system, problems usually have more than one cause. For example, in medicine, people have many diseases at the same time.

I loved this entire essay about the challenges of launching something new (Thanks, Patrick). Here are three of my favorite bits:

In truth, genuinely ‘new things’ are almost always unresolved, unrefined and uncertain. They aren’t optimized, their true purpose is unclear, their features are underdeveloped and their propositions haven’t yet crystallized. New technologies are often exciting, they can present new possibilities, novel ideas can emerge and new conversations can form… but we have to acknowledge that these conversations are in their infancy.
If they’re to find their true purpose they’ll need an environment which is patient, willing to give them time and let them make mistakes, yet the tone of these launches remains crammed with tall talk, transformational promises and resolved product language which they can’t back up.
If I had to choose, I’d prefer to be part of a culture which encourages exploration and experimentation, but that will require a change in our collective patience. Flaws are part of every new thing, and we need to remember that. If we’re to make progress we’ll need to give these ideas time to marinate and evolve, the third generation of this ‘new thing’ might well become a vital part of our everyday lives if we don’t kill it first.

How does work "work" when our newest employees don't know how to read well?

We are facing new obstacles in structuring and delivering our courses, requiring us to ratchet down expectations in the face of a ratcheting down of preparation. Yes, there were always students who skipped the readings, but we are in new territory when even highly motivated honors students struggle to grasp the basic argument of a 20-page article.
We are not complaining about our students. We are complaining about what has been taken from them.

Related: This is your mind on deep reading:

Our era of information overload represents a historical inflection point where our ability to read — truly, deeply read, not just scan or scroll — hangs in the balance.

I hate when people "just want to play" Devil's Advocate:

I’ve never met devil’s advocates with many good ideas. Usually they are compensating for their lack of creativity by being nitpicky. Their negativity isolates them over time, as idea people eventually shun them. They end up with a point of view that’s anti-change, anti-risk, anti-new. Mostly I see “Can I play devil’s advocate for a minute?” as a form of asking permission to put someone on the defensive—a psychological form of bullying.

Rob Walker has compiled a huge list of fun icebreakers. These are some of his favorites:

  • If you had unlimited resources, what frivolous thing would you collect?
  • If you could only use three condiments for the rest of your life, what would they be?
  • What was the first R-rated movie you saw? How old were you?
  • What is the dumbest thing you made your parents buy for you as a kid?

Fun Finds

Words of Wisdom

"Your job, throughout your entire life, is to disappoint as many people as it takes to avoid disappointing yourself." – Glennon Doyle
“You are just as likely to solve a problem by being unconventional and determined as by being brilliant.” – James Dyson
“When your identity is what you do, then what you do becomes hard to abandon, because it means quitting who you are.” – Annie Duke
"Who knows you is more important than who you know. Build a brand." – James Clear
"You’ll never get dumber by making someone else smarter.” – Tim Sanders
"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." Rumi
"[There's a] disease of thinking that a really great idea is 90% of the work, and that if you just tell all these other people, 'Here is this great idea,' then, of course, they can go off and make it happen. And the problem with that is that there is just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product." – Steve Jobs

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