Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Identifying, Organizing and Connecting the Dots

Knowledge alone is not useful unless we make connections between what we know. Nearly everything new builds on what came before; nothing outside of chemistry and physics is entirely new.

Future breakthroughs will be sparked by identification, assembly and insightful connection of existing innovations. Such process involves more than amassing long notes from readings, conversations, or thinkering in the garage or at the computer. Condense is the operating word.

The more knowledge and experience acquired the more meaningful connections you can make. Spending some precious time building up notes on trending topics you are interested in can pay off in long-term benefits. When the time comes to make your big move, whether in consulting, startup or writing, reviewing old notes helps recall in making insightful connections to recently acquired information.

Always be alert to serendipity of accidental discovery. In a networked world it can happen by focusing on identifying dots and sharing skills and expertise –and by mining your own data. The challenge with the latter however, is in managing information overkill. Condensing notes into bullets or one-liners significantly reduces bulk and improves spotting those elusive dots. The selected items can be extracted and arranged in a separate file and access to background details is made easy by embedded links.

An example of an easy-on-eyeballs format is the January 2014 post titled, Networking Maxims. It is now followed up with a collection of maxims related to instructions and observations on organizing for innovation:

Collect and sift ideas.
Glean news that matters.
Make note-taking a habit.
To get ahead, scout ahead.
Translate words into action.
Failure sucks, but instructs.
Solve problem, sell solution.
Nurture accidental discovery.
Be a reader, thinker and doer.
Develop knak for synthesizing.
Imagine new uses for old ideas.
Turn constraint into advantage.
Combine old things in new ways.
Act fast, re-calibrate on the go.
Write it down and follow through.
Curse idleness, embrace challenge.
Mix, link, think, listen and learn.
Practice enlightened trial & error.
Experiment; be willing to be wrong.
Use technology to develop new ideas.
Convert good intentions into action.
Push beyond idea stage; do research.
Spot the best ideas and deploy them.
A good excuse doesn’t fix a problem.
Turn ugly idea into stunning reality.
A good idea is enemy of a better one.
Look for low-cost and no-cost options.
Identify and harness disruptive forces.
Build a functional and powerful network.
Beware of absolutes & snap judgements.
Pair ideas with action; -spark with fire.
If you have the most to lose, adapt fast.
Distill complex matters to their essence.
Assimilate the good idea, discard the bad.
Apply your skills to problems that matter.
Think around the corner &/or over the top.
Too often workable ideas get brushed aside.
Mistake: Find it. Fix it. Prevent it. Learn.
With mental notes the ink tends to fade fast.
The receptive mind is open to the unexpected.
Remember: Great questions beat smart answers.
Don't be intimidated by people smarter than you.
Leverage the best of existing with the emerging.
Track the latest high impact ideas –and innovate.
Keep intriguing ideas alive by tinkering with them.
Rare is there respect and pursuit of our own ideas.
The examined experience is always the best teacher.
There’s always a better way, Find it, then, refine it.
Even the best idea must compete for time & resources.
A brilliant thought not recorded is often lost forever.
On the way up keep to the high road; it’s less crowded.
Recognize & exploit previously undetected relationships.
Seek the best of what was and is -ignite what might be.
Insight arises from mistakes made and connections found.
Commit to making your idea work; else, it’s just a notion.
If your goal is success, don’t be distracted by social media.
Filter significant facts -those with impact- from trivial ones.
Be selective in collecting, condensing and sharing information.
Make novel connections by having all the playing pieces visible.
Many are smarter than you; outsmart them all by being prepared.
To facilitate review of long notes, put essentials into one-liners.
Spot trend. Anticipate curve. Get in the groove. And take the lead.
Let evidence and results –not expert opinion- shape your decisions.
If you're not great at anything, it helps to be good at many things.
Ask a lot of “why so”, “why not” as well as “what else” & “what if.”
Absorb what’s useful, discard what’s not –& add what’s uniquely yours.
For every problem there is a simple solution –but too late or wrong.
Always chose words soft & tender, for tomorrow we may have to eat them.
ExchangeMagazine carries an article by Professor Edward Hess, author of "Learn or Die." wherein he admonishes business leaders to build a culture where lazy thinking is snuffed out and big thinking is rewarded.
Let's use some of his "bold" headings in our notes:

Teach employees to work around their weaknesses.
Empower fast, cheap, customer experimentation.
Allow dissent to combat lazy thinking.
Turn mistakes into surprises.

Here is an early post that may interest new bloggers with strong points of view on seriouis matters:


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