Brick Wall Chats

I have decided to start a new video series.

I’ve had nice/good/supportive feedback from the videos I’ve been doing with John Girard (the KM and Creativity series) and Paulina Larocca (the Creativity Chats series) but scheduling time to record them with John and Paulina has been come increasingly challenging because of our schedules and the timezone differences, so, I’m going it alone.

I’ve decided, at least for now, to call the new series: Brick Wall Chats because of the background I’m using in the videos. People seem to like the background because it’s colourful and different and interesting, which is why I liked it too.

Right now (June 3, 2019), I have recorded 15 videos and will release one per week. The topics range from the business to the personal: metrics and digital transformation to how I have come to be doing the work that I am doing.

If you have a topic suggestion, feel free to get in touch, the same goes if you have comments or feedback about any of the videos. You can subscribe to my channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCQHNT4UDtM4o-Dcqd9cLGw?view_as=subscriber.

Looking forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences with you.

What I do….in my own words

I have written this as a response to someone who is curious about what I do, but hasn’t been able to talk with me, I share my slightly edited response at his request.

First I have to start with a link to the videos on my website with a recommendation that you watch them, I’ll try not to repeat myself here.

The work I do is centred around helping people to rediscover their creativity. I work with organisations and individuals to do this.

With individuals we engage in a variety of creative activities and discussions about how they can be more creative in both their personal and professional lives. This conversation typically goes over a series of sessions during the course of a period of weeks or months.

In the case of organisations I work with them to look at ways to make their staff more creative, which leads to innovation so that the two are tied together in an organisational setting more so than in personal setting. We look at ways to bring these activities into the daily activities whether it’s in meetings or in the office environment in general– something they can do in their offices or cubicles or in a meeting room with some other people, we look at doing workshops on a regular basis as in an organisational setting it is more about culture change and employee engagement, which as we both know, studies have shown that increased/improved employee engagement has positive effects on the organisation and its profitability and success.

I come to this work through a path that started in accounting and information technology, then knowledge management. There’s more about that in the first part of the second video in the Creativity Chats series that I am doing with Paulina Larocca, so I won’t repeat that here, you can watch the video, here https://youtu.be/1jxUgHyTRDk

Our exchange started from your question about employee disengagement and ways to decrease it; usually people talk about increasing employee engagement rather than decreasing employee disengagement. I know I sent you a blog post from another site as well as the one on mine and that you are looking to put some dollars behind that. I think if you take figures from the Gallup studies that look at the consequences of increasing employee engagement by 10%, for example, it is going to give you the numbers you’re looking for its just that it’s the opposite of how you been thinking about it.

The creative leadership work that I talk about on my blog can be seen as a contributing factor in improving employee engagement so you may want to consider that too.

Anyway I hope this all helps let me know if you have questions.

Best Regards,
Stephanie

Creativity and Innovation for KM Programs

If you know me and/or have been following this blog, you know that since mid-July I have shifted my focus to creativity and innovation, something that I have been working on for the last six or more years.

As I have shifted focus I have reached out to some of you in my KM network, because I wanted to share the news with you and renew our connection. I also asked for a favour of some feedback on what I was doing or if you knew anyone who might be interested in what I’m doing. Most of you were happy to help, and a few of you admitted that you couldn’t, which was a perfectly acceptable answer.

Anyway, with that first round of feedback and conversations, I realised that I wasn’t doing a good job of conveying my excitement over my shift, and why I thought I was particularly relevant for KM programs. I’ve taken a few weeks to reflect on how to do this better and received some coaching about how to approach it and have developed a short slide deck, which you can see below.

I’d appreciate it if you have a couple of minutes (there are only 6 slides), to take a look at it and let me know what you think.

Thanks!

Why Creative Leadership is good for your organisation

Let’s first start with: what is Creative Leadership?

Creative Leadership takes more calculated risks and keeps innovating in how they lead and communicate. They are ready to upset the status quo even if it is successful and are committed to ongoing experimentation with disruptive business solutions

In a 2010 study done by IBM (and cited in this HBR article) organisations that had creative leaders had 6 times higher revenue growth and planned to get 20% of their revenue from new sources in the near future.) The article also cites increased employee engagement as an outcome of Creative Leadership.  

Why does this matter?

Well the revenue/profit connection is clear (I hope). But what does Employee Engagement have to do with anything?

Well, employees who are engaged in their jobs/careers are more productive, which leads to increased profitability. Because they are more engaged there is less absenteeism, increased loyalty, higher retention and thus lower turnover.

Employees who are satisfied and engaged are better at solving problems and engaging with customers (from the previously cited HBR article).

So, how do you bring Creative Leadership to your organisation?

Create a culture where it is okay to try and fail, a culture where it is acceptable to question the status quo, to unlearn and selectively forget past successes, and co-create new products and services with employees, customers, partners, and the wider community. Help staff re-learn how to be creative, because it was educated out of them. 

Creative Leadership isn’t just about those higher up in the hierarchy having these skills, this is about everyone having these skills. In the knowledge economy, everyone is a leader and everyone is a follower. Creative Leaders create more Creative Leaders.

Entelechy

Why Entelechy?

I have had a few people comment about the name Entelechy: what does it mean? It’s too hard, no one will understand. How do you pronounce it? Why?

Entelechy means: realisation of potential. When I saw it, I knew it was the name for my next adventure. It summed up where I am in my own career: realising my potential and it described what I wanted to help others do: realise their potential.

What has helped me realise my potential is the expanding out from my accounting and information technology background and exploring my other side, the non-analytical, creative side.

I started to do that after I finished my MBA and was working for a high technology company. I had all this time on my hands, what was I supposed to do now that I didn’t have to study? I tried all kinds of things, but painting grabbed my heart and soul. Then it became about how do I bring this into my day-job, and that is how I spent the last 7 years, exploring that idea, talking to people, reading, looking at research, and, of course, continuing my own creative journey, which has brought me to Berlin.

Berlin, the city that buzzes with the energy of creativity, whether it’s some kind of artistic endeavour (painting, dance, music, etc.) or the creativity of the start-ups that populate the multitude of co-working spaces.

This is where I have met other people like me, who want to bring this creativity into a business/organisational setting, to help employees be more engaged, connected, resilient.

There is support in popular press for this idea of bringing the “whole person” to work, not just a part of the person. Introducing a culture that supports creativity and innovation is the way to do that.

We are born creative, but it is educated out of many of us, it’s time to re-learn that and realise our potential.

Entelechy!

Collective Intelligence

Today (September 27, 2018), is the second time I have come across the term, “Collective Intelligence” in the last week. I liked it the first time I heard it and the first time I heard it was in reference to what knowledge management had evolved into at a large, international organisation.

The second time I came across it was earlier today, on the website of an organisation who seems to be doing work like I am doing: creativity, innovation, resilience, autonomy.

I am sure there are lots of other places that it is used, I’m sure the words aren’t new and the ideas expressed in both situations aren’t new. But what attracted me, was that they describe what I have done and what I am doing, which somehow reassured me that I wasn’t crazy for doing what I’m doing.

So, are you trying to capture, leverage, tap into the collective intelligence of your organisation? It seems that anecdotal evidence suggest using a combination of knowledge management activities, combined with creativity to give you innovative, unique results to help you realise your potential: Entelechy

We need to talk, I can help you!

It’s been 4 weeks…

It’s been 4 weeks since my transformative conversation with Paulina Larocca, and what a month it has been!

I am ever so grateful that we connected, I have Kristen Peterson to thank for that, and I am grateful that the other coach I had asked to work with me refused, for reasons which are his own.

In the last month I have started a new webpage (you’re on it) as well as a new Facebook page. I have written several blog posts about the shift and what I’m doing now. I have spoken to a great group of women at a Future Females event here in Berlin, and have lots of people/organisations talking to me about doing workshops and coaching with them, I am so excited! I am also working on a series of videos, which will be created over the next few months to share my thoughts and experiences with creativity and innovation, so keep an eye out for those.

If you have questions about any of this feel free to get in touch, even (or especially if) you are not in Berlin, this work is definitely not tied to location!

Looking forward to sharing this journey with you!

Leaving 19 years of KM behind?

Since deciding a few weeks ago to fully evolve into creativity and innovation, I have had a few people ask me about leaving 19 years of knowledge management behind (4 in a full-time position, and 15 as an independent consultant), after-all I’ve written books, chapters, articles, spoken at conferences around the world, and worked with clients on 4 continents. They are surprised, to say the least.

However, I don’t see it as leaving KM behind, I see it as an evolution. The metaphor I’ve used is that instead of dragging my KM box with me, l am standing on that box. It’s here supporting me instead of me carrying it around. It’s a good feeling to stand on that 19 years of experience and knowledge and to be using it to support my next steps.

Productivity, is that all there is?

(this blog post originally appeared on my Missing Puzzle Piece Consulting blog in April 2017, and I expressed similar thoughts in a chapter I wrote for KM Matters, which was published early in 2018. I am reproducing it here, because I will be taking my Missing Puzzle Piece Consulting webpage down, and this content is still relevant.)

We seem to have spent so much time in the last 100+ years trying to drive efficiency and effectiveness into our processes. How to do things faster, with more quality, with better outcomes, reduce waste, reduce re-work. These are not bad things, but in our push to be effective and efficient many of our organisations have removed time for reflection, for questioning, for considering alternatives out of the process.

That’s not to say that there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in the last 100+ years, there most definitely has been. Whole areas of study have been developed/discovered, new technology is being developed all the time, but what about the “smaller” things, everyday things. What happens when we take away the time to think and reflect? We do things by rote, not thinking about if that’s the right thing to do, we get tired and suffer burnout, we start to make mistakes and treat people badly because we have focused on efficiency and effectiveness to the detriment of the system as a whole (see United Airline’s complete failure to respect passengers  (https://fortune.com/2017/04/11/united-airlines-video/ and https://innovationexcellence.com/blog/2017/04/17/innovating-for-a-worse-customer-experience-insights-from-united-airlines/ and https://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/03/27/united-airlines-bars-teens-from-flight-for-failure-to-meet-dress-code-social-media-erupts/)

How do we bring that space for reflection, for some humanity back into our activities? By introducing time. Time for reflection, time for learning, time for asking questions, time for talking to other people, time for doing things differently, time for experimenting. Time.

My path to creativity

In my introduction, last week, when I spoke at the Future Females: Berlin creativity event.  I made a joke about being an accountant and a IT professional and that I was going to talk to them about creativity. I said, “I know what you’re thinking, what is and accountant and IT person going to tell us about creativity?” and really, how does someone who studied accounting and IT come to be doing creativity?!? I mean, really???!!!

You’re going to have to trust me that it is all connected, I don’t want to bore you to death with all the details, but the short answer is, that after having the creativity, figuratively, if not literally, beaten out of me of during years of education, I came to realise how important it is.

I was exhausted and burnt out and a bit bored because I had finished my MBA and didn’t have any hobbies, after-all who has time for hobbies when there is school work to be done. So, I started trying things out: drawing (oooh, this is math, I can do math), photography (oooh, nice to be outside, what happens when I do this with the shutter speed?), rock climbing (hated it, never again), going to the symphony (loved it), painting (ooooooh this is amazing, this one REALLY stuck). As I tried out all these things some of them stuck, and some of them didn’t, but I slowly started to figure out who I was, other than a student. Who I was, when I wasn’t trying to do a “should” or a “supposed to” and it was fantastic. Having these creative outlets helped me be more balanced, to be better at my career, because I thought more critically, and I was more resilient.

I decided a week ago to leave the knowledge management consulting that I had been doing for 15 years behind, and to step fully into the creativity and innovation work that I had been developing over the last 6 years and it feels like, this is it, this is what I am here for, this is what this long, circuitous journey has been about: getting me ready to use all the skills and knowledge I have accumulated along the way to help organisations and people to be more balanced, to use both sides of their brains, to look at things differently if they want different outcomes; to apply artistic practices and principles to all kinds of problems to arrive at better, more balanced, more useful solutions.

I am so excited to be here!