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You have to Innovate 20% of the time

26 Nov

I was watching a video of Craig Rispin last week, he talked about how you have to innovate 20% of the time to stay ahead of the game, to be future proof.

What does that mean to you or i? Well it means we have to try new things, do things differntly, you wont be successful all the time, this is ok, but you will find an idea that will give you a big return and here’s where you bring in the 80/20 rule.

In is a book called ‘The artists way’, Julia Cameron says you have to be prepared to make bad art to make good art, you simply cant just wait to feel inspired, the day you get the perfect paint brushes or that new laptop you always wanted to write the book you want to write.

Julia promotes a form of stream writing called ‘Morning pages’ where you write 3 pages of A4 foolscap of what ever is going through your mind, it’s nothing new, this technique was first discovered by Leonardo Da Vinci, Its about thinking different, here are some steps to think like Mr Da Vinci

Leonardo had many good ideasImage

Morning pages and stream writing are techniques of tuning into your subconscious that many find helpful in their lives.

I once watched an artist sketch his ideas on an old newspaper, with a pen he borrowed, that i feel was innovative, i would never have thought of that, maybe it was intuitive to him or maybe he was resourceful, before long i could see his idea, it was a lesson for me, if you want to do something, just start and your halfway done

80% of the wealth you generate comes from the 20% of you effort, you’ve heard all this before, i know did, somehow in the modern age we live in, it was a rule that didn’t apply these days, i haven’t heard it in a while.

Expressed another way?


Well if you find the 20% of your effort thats giving you the 80% return and you double the effort (the 20%), before long you are getting a return of 160%, it doesnt take a genius to figure this out.

When Craig Rispin worked with Steve Jobs, they set aside Fridays to ask themselves one question.

That one question is…

‘Is there a better way?’


It’s interesting that these guys that were so busy, probably had endless people they had to meet would set one daya week to this, but i guess if you have all the answers maybe your asking the wrong questions

Everyone’s heard the stories of google employees having 20% of their time dedicated to their own side projects.

Blogger and twitter came about as side projects, noone could have though they would have been as popular as they have become, one of the pratical applications of twitter was notifing people of the Calafornian bush fires, technology is being developed to predict these fires through crowdsoursing and social media 

All of a sudden having a side project sounds like a thing you should be doing?

Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the world’s leading creative organizations says his number one innovative company is Apple.

Apple spend 10% a year on research and development of their products, all of it is self funding.

I read a while back the biggest threat to companies was the the fear of failure, or to put it another way, the fear of failing at something new was hampering the success of the companies, it would seem some people are so afraid to be seen as failures, this is why they do not succeed?

The simple fact is, you will fail at some things, but seen in another light, there are no failures, only stepping stones.

I read in a the an article by Harold Mitchell on the weekend

Inaction is action and inertia is not an option

Where ever talent and innovation goes, innovation, creativity and economic growth are sure to folow

What are the 2 major trends right now in Technology?

  1. Transperancy,
  2. Crowdsourcing

Transperancy is how experiences the information they view online, in the video below Craig demonstrates how a user can view a movie, pause the movie, search for a seafood restaurant, find the nearest one on google maps and call the restaurant to order food.

Never has the consumer been able to search so much data, extract the valuable information and go back to watching a movie, so many difficult, complicated and valuable tasks completed through an interface anybody can use.

With Crowdsourcing, in the video below, Craig gives an example of how end users collaborated to design a hotel in a computer game, half life.

This design was such a success, the hotel was built and then the people that collaborated to design the hotel, including Craig Rispin went to stay in the hotel

Since his input was part of the output, he had an emotional attachment to this hotel.

Wisdom of crowds? This is one of Obama’s crowds


Craig mentioned James Surowiecki and his book ‘The wisdom of crowds’, it encapulates three parts

1, Cognition     

Thinking and information Processing Market judgment, which he argues can be much faster, more reliable, and less subject to political forces than the deliberations of experts or expert committees.

2, Coordination

Coordination of behavior includes optimizing the utilization of a popular bar and not colliding in moving traffic flows. The book is replete with examples from experimental economics, but this section relies more on naturally occurring experiments such as pedestrians optimizing the pavement flow or the extent of crowding in popular restaurants.

He examines how common understanding within a culture allows remarkably accurate judgments about specific reactions of other members of the culture.

3, Cooperation

How groups of people can form networks of trust without a central system controlling their behavior or directly enforcing their compliance. This section is especially pro free market.

People have an emotional attachment to devices/products which is hard to believe.

This innovation didn’t happen by accident, it was planned


Craig Rispin says:

Social media, the correct use, i didn’t know there was a correct use…

21 Nov

While searching for lectures/information sessions 2 weeks ago, i saw that the city of Sydney library run a series of courses about technology subjects, i picked Social media 101

Introducing Jeffery Cruz and an introduction to social media 101

What i learnt from this session was how to use social media in a positive, less time consuming way

Many businesses and individuals are using social media to:

  • Reach new customers
  • Engage existing customers
  • With the key performance indicators (KPI’s) this effort on social media can be measured on the return
  • 64% of people in Sydney are on Facebook

While Facebook is the current preferred social media of the masses, it’s worth noteing, this might not be the case in the future

What does that mean? Well all signs seem to indicate that Social media isn’t the waste of time other’s make it out to be, the difference being you need to have a strategy before you start participating

Which is another interesting point, the city of Sydney posts content based on a calendar.

Monday might be lifestyle, Wednesday events in the library, Friday might be a weekend festival and so on…

The point is it isn’t randomly created by someone that’s bored with dealing with customers or needs a break from checking in Harry Potter books, to the city of Sydney posting on Facebook, Twitter and the rest is a science an art and it works, Jeffery explained how he controlled content, had tools like Hootsuite to enable them to do just this.

Introducing David

I learned about a librarian futurist called David Lee King, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was all made up, gone are the days where a library was just a library, they are so much more and offer a huge range of services with enthusiastic people who are really switched on to social trends. And they want you too, if that’s your choise

So, i’m now following David and he has some interesting things to say too

The most notable difference after this talk later was my behaviour, i was very excited!

When i was telling some friends about the ideas i learnt, i experienced quite a bit of rolling of the eyes, the playful glance of eyes, like i had lost my marbles and maybe i did?
My mind was being flooded with ideas, new possibilities for moving forward and of course as a professional software tester, stepping up my game and being able to demonstrate just what i am capable of doing, by demonstrating what i have done.

In the presentation Jeffery gave some examples of Facebook pages that had won awards, on of which was a small dog training company from Ireland that took booking’s though their page and others

Introducing Craig Rispin

I was listening to a talk by a futurist called Craig Rispin last week (and he’s coming to Sydney soon too, before Santa Clause too) and he was saying that in the future all jobs will be Freelance, a lot of them currently are if you have been folowing globalisation outsourcing trends

Craig says you need to ask yourself:

* Where do I ultimately want to be in my life?
* How should I do it?
* How does this fit with my life values and goals?
* What could be my next step?
* How can I prepare for the next change as I do my current work?

It’s becoming clearer to me that to have a professional presence on social media is crucial, like it or hate it, this is the way of the future. You are marketing a product, the product it you, if you don’t decide your future someone else will do it for you, thank you someone else, i think I’ll decide my own future

A man ahead of his time on his Nokia?

What’s interesting is, when i think of all of this is that social media technology, iPhone technology is nothing new, what’s new are the ideas, even the ideas are not that new. Not if you spent your youth watching Star Treck that is

If you have the idea you can pretty much do anything, crowd sourcing is an idea for getting the labor, crowd funding is another idea to supply the $$ for the idea

Before the social media presentation i didn’t have any ideas for social media, except maybe it was something to be avoided, all in all, a bad idea and many people are of that opinion.

But not so, the facts speak for themselves.

Jeffery explained:

Incorporate your organisation’s goals to your Social Media Plan:

1. What is your online organisation?
a. What is your unique voice online?
b. What is your story and how is it compelling, authentic, personal?
c. What will make your organisation appealing to SM users?

2. What is your online product?
a. What makes your product different?
b. What makes your product appealing online (photos, videos, stories, interactions)?
c. In addition to your product, what value-added information/entertainment can you provide?

3. Who are your online customers?
a. Demographics (location, gender, age)
b. Interests
c. Spending habits

4. What are your online goals?
a. Build your brand?
b. Drive online traffic? In-person traffic? Immediate sales?
c. Build connections/engage customers?

So, as a software tester, a soon to be freelance software tester, i never thought of this option before, i will now be aligning myself (i am the product) in this light.

The funny thing was, before going to see this Social media talk, i checked out a book downstairs in the library called ‘Accordion crimes‘ by Annie Proulx, a friend said it was the best book he has ever read, i was looking forward to reading it too.

In an Agile world, this book would be on my backlog

After the talk, i brought it back and told the librarian that i just had too much work to do to read Accordion crimes, but it’s on my list, i can order it online and go to my local library and pick it up, just about the only thing i cant do at the library is get coffee, i have to go next door for that and i do.

Everything has its correct use, a machine always has the exact number of functions, nuts and blots, any craftsman will tell you this and a bad craftsman will always blame his tools.

Social media is a great tool i learned and when you know how to use it to your advantage it can make the world of a difference

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