Why you need to speak to a Dominatrix


Hopefully, you’ll all have heard of Ted – as in www.ted.com

Ted is…well, I can’t describe Ted better than they do themselves. ‘Ideas worth spreading. Remarkable talks by remarkable people. Free to the world.’

The link to the Ted website is on my favourites list; I have the app on my iPhone – and inevitably, I don’t listen to the talks half as much as I’d like to. Not enough time, all the usual excuses. Then last week, I found myself with a spare half hour. I parked the car, spent two minutes trying not to take the view of the Howardian Hills for granted and listened to a Ted talk.

It was one of the most popular: Sir Ken Robinson asking if schools kill creativity – originally recorded in 2006 and perhaps even more relevant today. Here’s the link if you’d like to watch it in full.

He asks if you or I would recognise school if we stepped back into it today? Apart from a few shifts in emphasis (and a few less field trips on Health and Safety grounds) yes we would. Algebra and Geometry; Ox Bow Lakes; the causes of the Second World War…

And yet the world has changed beyond recognition. We’re educating children who are going to retire in 2060 but we have no idea what the world will look like in 2020. This is Sir Ken Robinson’s central thesis – that at a time when creativity and the ability to adapt is needed more than ever, schools still cling to the old hierarchy. Maths, languages, history at the top: creative subjects right at the bottom.

I was musing on this when I read a great blog: Want breakthrough ideas? First speak to the freaks and geeks. The author is Brian Miller, from Sense Worldwide, a ‘breakthrough consultancy’ – a company that advises clients on radical change. Again, here’s the link to the full article.

And as you’ll see, it starts with a truly memorable image, which I’ve unashamedly plagiarised for this week’s title.

The main point of the article is that remarkable ideas come from the extreme users of a product; the ‘outliers.’ So while the vast majority of people said Red Bull didn’t taste enough like a cola, the extreme users said, “This is awesome. I can go clubbing all night on this.” And a marketing campaign was born.

This set me thinking – because as you look round an Alternative Board table, you won’t find freaks or geeks, much less dominatrices. (At least, not to the best of my knowledge…)

So how do you keep a Board fresh, creative and innovative when, by and large, the people on it come from fairly similar backgrounds and have similar problems?

Looking at my own work and speaking to my colleagues in the UK and the US, it seems that there are four common themes:

• First of all, the Board meetings are meant to be challenging – and it’s my job to make sure that we’re looking at things from unusual angles. Does that mean that there might be more movement between Boards? Hmmm…quite possibly.

• Part and parcel of this is keeping the ‘big picture’ in mind: it’s easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of your day to day problems. That, I think, is where other Board members really help. Because they’re not so concerned with your day to day problems they can focus on your eventual goal – and bring an entirely different perspective to your problems.

• Thirdly, we’re constantly making use of new techniques and developments. I think the DiSC sessions are a great example of this. Not only are the Board members seeing how they all behave individually, they’re also learning how to interact with – and get the best from – the other people round the table and the different personalities within their businesses.

• Finally, there’s a social element to the Board meetings – and meetings outside a business setting always produce good results. Does this mean you should keep a date free this summer for a TAB York social event? Yes, it does.

With that, I’ll leave you. Good ideas come in all shapes and sizes – and from all sorts of sources. So if your wife finds a strange, cryptic message on your answerphone, remember – you were just doing some research…

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3 comments

  1. tommortonharrogate · April 20, 2012

    Surely you need >permissionhistory helps us avoid repeating the mistakes of the past
    >languages help us understand other cultures and respect and learn from them
    >mathematics underpins the whole of civilization (as the early Universities understood) because it requires the rigorous use of logical thought (it’s quite useful for business too!)

    You wouldn’t like to guess what I read at Uni, would you?…..

    Great post (as ever).

    Tom

  2. Dave Rawlings · April 20, 2012

    My youngest is doing GCSE History. He did a test yesterday on “Bloody Sunday” – which hadn’t happened when I was doing my O levels!
    Makes you think – eh?

  3. Great blog Ed – research in “Unlocking Britain’s Potential” government report highlights the need for change – the new collaborative approach to education through Studio Schools really tackles this very issue and is a unique and creative way of growing our future talent. It introduces a CREATE framework which has been developed specifically for Studio Schools in order to equip young people with the key employability skills that they need to flourish in life. Feels like we’re starting to get it at last …

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