Idea Surplus Disorder #53

In this edition of Idea Surplus Disorder: collaborating without consensus, questioning your innovation, business life support, impossible things, hanging out, streaming better, focusing faster, and Kindle-ing free – and read to the end to learn what's up at Filament this week.

Idea Surplus Disorder #53

Good morning, and happy Monday!

In this edition of Idea Surplus Disorder: collaborating without consensus, questioning your innovation, business life support, impossible things, hanging out, streaming better, focusing faster, and Kindle-ing free – and read to the end to learn what's up at Filament this week.

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

Ideas + Insights

How do you collaborate when you don't have consensus? Experiment to find a way forward:

Stretch collaboration requires us to keep moving and trying things with the understanding that we can’t control the future, but we can influence it. The definition of success in this kind of collaboration isn’t to come up with a solution, but to be working toward it.

People like you more than you think:

It makes sense that people are vigilant to potential sources of embarrassment, awkwardness, or judgment. But these fears are often illusory, or at least exaggerated. A good way to overcome them is to get out there and strike up a conversation with someone new. Call that person you have been meaning to, say hello to the colleague you have been avoiding, or register for that networking event and try shifting your attention to your conversation partner instead of yourself. And remember, people will probably like you more than you think­.

Here's a great "rule" for client-facing teams from Todd Henry's Herding Tigers:

Your team members need a set of principles by which to relate to one another and work together on projects. “We always defend one another in public, regardless of whether we agree in private” is an example. You might not like another person’s idea, but you will defend that person in front of the client in order to maintain team unity and create a safe environment to think potentially dangerous thoughts.

I'm a sucker for lists, and this collection of innovation-focused questions is a great one. Some favorites:

  • If we could only change one aspect of our product/service to make it better, what would it be and why?
  • What are the ‘unwritten rules’ of our industry, and what would happen if we broke them?
  • How might someone with no expertise in our field approach this issue?
  • Can we imagine a future where our product/service is obsolete? What replaces it?

Here's another question about your business (inspired by this newsletter):

What in our business is running on life support? And is it time to let it go or double-down and save it?

I wasn't going to make this a "questions" edition of the newsletter, but these two about AI's impact on your business are too good not to share:

  1. What useful thing you do is no longer valuable? AI doesn’t do everything well, but it does some things very well. For many organizations, AI is fully cable of automating a task that used to be an important part of your organizational identity or strategy. AI comes up with more creative ideas than most people, so your company’s special brainstorming techniques may no longer be a big benefit. AI can provide great user journeys and personas, so your old product management approach is no longer a differentiator. Getting a sense of what AI can do now, and where it is heading, will allow you to have a realistic view of what might soon be delegated to an LLM.
  2. What impossible thing can you do now? The flip side of the first question is that you now can do things that were impossible before. What does having an infinite number of interns for every employee get you? How does giving everyone a data analyst, marketer, and advisor change what is possible? You can look at some of the GPTs my students created as inspiration.

How many jobs is your job? Here's a ChatGPT prompt that might help you find out:

I’m pasting a request for a worker, but I suspect that this company needs more than one person to do these tasks. Please analyze this job description. Tell me how many people you would need to do this job well, and what their titles would be.

The only way to learn how to use AI in your business is to use AI in your business:

You can’t just entrust a few architects with the “new way of doing things.” Instead the only way to generate value from AI is to have people across the organization — in all siloes and in all domains — actively engage with it.

Why don't Americans "hang out" any more?

We come into this world craving the presence of others. But a few modern trends—a sprawling built environment, the decline of church, social mobility that moves people away from friends and family—spread us out as adults in a way that invites disconnection.

Fun Finds

Words of Wisdom

"The best teams aren’t those that are the most skilled, but those that make the best of being human." – Marty Neumeier
"Writing can give you what having a baby can give you: it can get you to start paying attention, can help you soften, can wake you up." -- Anne Lamott
"Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness." – Yousuf Karsh
"The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life." – Jessica Hische
"If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better." – Ed Catmull
"Many of life’s failures are people who didn’t realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison
“If you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.” – Steve Jobs
"You have an unlimited number of future opportunities, which means there are an enormous number of them that you don’t have to take." – Dan Sullivan

New From Filament

  • Last Minute Meetings: If you're looking for a Filament meeting, here are a few discounted days coming up that might be a fit.
  • SuperCollider: Shhhhhhhhhhh. More coming next week.
  • New Skills For Work: On February 27, learn how to build your best meetings.

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