Danielle Uskovic

Hats off to creativity

Hats off to creativity

We’re putting a stop to bad brainstorm sessions. If you fail to prepare or invite the wrong attitudes into the room, you can actually create more problems than the ones you’re trying to solve. Revolutionary lateral thinker, Edward DeBono, is the master at manifesting brilliant ideas with corporations around the world having adopted his problem-solving techniques for decades. While there are books and workshops dedicated to just this one technique, here is a topline overview of Debono’s infamous Six Thinking Hats. What each hat represents: The white hat is hungry for information – facts and stats. The red hat feeds on emotional energy – feelings and intuition. The yellow hat is the optimist – seeing the bright side to everything. The green hat focuses on creativity – generating new ideas. The black hat is for judgment – the devil’s advocate. The blue hat manages the thinking process. Your hat dress code: We all embody elements of each of these hats, but trying to wear every hat at the same time results in internal conflicts and weak, half-baked ideas. There is a time and place for every hat, but we need to know when and how to wear each hat to cultivate the best ideas. Before the meeting This is when you wear your white hat. This helps you build your research, generate stats and find all the facts...

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Creative in five steps

Creative in five steps

Opening up For many of us, creativity is an enigma. We know the significance of it, but haven’t explored it. Luckily, creativity is not a talent; it’s a way of operating. So everyone has the ability to unleash their inner creative. Most of us are in a closed state most of the time – it’s how we get things done. But to be truly creative, we need to be open to it. We need to be in a state of “play”. Highly creative people recognise this and are adept at maintaining an open mindset. But how do we get there? In his profound 1991 lecture on creativity, British comedian, John Cleese, broke it down into five steps. 1. Give yourself space. You need to find a quiet, private place with zero distractions. 2. Allow some time. Your inner-chatter needs plenty of it to quieten down before you can get creative. 3. Add more time. Cleese recommends around 1.5 hours to focus on creativity – half an hour to get into the zone and an hour to get down to creative business. 4. Hold onto your confidence. This is the single biggest killer of creative thought, so nip those insecure thoughts in the bud. 5. Don’t lose your sense of humour. Boiled down, humour is two unrelated concepts put together to create new meaning. It helps you relax while opening you up to whole new areas of thought.   Once your time is up, you need to revert back to your closed state of mind. Why? Because open is for generating...

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4 epic tips to a successful meeting

4 epic tips to a successful meeting

Walk into any meeting these days and you’ll no longer be greeted with eager, punctual faces. Instead, half of them will probably be buried in their laptop, tablet or phone screens, a few wandering in on their own time and a few more unaccounted for. Once the meeting finally starts, it will either lack a real agenda or the AV equipment will fail resulting in another ten minute wait. Done well, meetings can help you make a decision quickly, determine next actions and bring everyone up to speed and on the same page. Done badly, meetings drain organisations of time, money and resources without achieving many (if any) positive outcomes. We’ve listed four handy tips below to ensure you can get the most out of your own meetings. 1. Stop herding cats Most employees today have lost sight of how a good meeting should be run. By having a clear agenda, refusing latecomers and creating a device-free zone, people will soon give you their undivided attention. This leads to less risk of miscommunication, more engagement from the room and a faster, more efficient meeting. Tools like Timebridge and Doodle can help you bring all the right people together and at the same time by providing alternative meeting times, sharing agendas and even sending SMS reminders five minutes before each meeting. No more excuses. 2. Cut the fat When it comes to meetings more people often leads to...

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Managing your relationships</h1>

Managing your relationships

Speak to any influential person and they’ll attribute their success to hard work and a strong support network. The problem for most people is not the hard work – it’s the networks they’re neglecting. Making new contacts isn’t tricky either. We’ve all gone through the networking motions – attend function, make light chit-chat, exchange business cards. But if you fail to maintain relationships outside the odd event, they will fall flat. The amount of effort you put into your Personal Relationship Management (PRM) equates to the amount of influence you have over your network. Luckily, there are a host of tools and techniques out there designed to make your PRM easy, efficient and effective. Here are four ways you can master PRM and build rewarding professional relationships throughout your career. 1. Move over Rolodex We’ve spoken about Evernote before and for good reason. It’s your productivity’s best friend. It also happens to be brilliant at storing business cards. This is how you do it: a. Create a new folder in Evernote called ‘contacts’ b. Open a new note in your ‘contact’ folder c. Take a phone of the business card via Evernote and attach it to the note. It’s that easy to keep all your contacts in Evernote which you can access both...

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Productivity and Remote Working

Productivity and Remote Working

Thanks to enhancements in technology and a united hate for peak-hour traffic, organisations are steering towards a more flexible workplace. These days, the physical office doesn’t always inspire employees to work. Neither does the 9am – 5pm time slot. Your office is also lurking with unpreventable distractions you won’t find anywhere else. Jason Fried, head of 37Signals, calls these M&Ms – managers and meetings. They have the power to pull you away from your work in an instant and steal hours from your workday and you can’t do a thing about it.  Empowering employees to complete work on their terms, doesn’t just create a better work/life balance, it actually helps reduce office expenses. It’s a win-win really. Web development organisations have been the pioneers in this field for years. They recognise their staff might work better at 11pm at night or more solidly when they’re not being interrupted by gossiping coworkers. The work of a developer is generally very solitary, so it makes sense they work better alone. But this sort of structure isn’t just for remote employees, it benefits office-dwellers as well. By using social business and CRM platforms like Yammer, Campfire and

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